Gem from Life with Katie is a popular blogger writing about family life with Katie and now Pip too. Read more about her here….
Quick 5 – In my life at the moment…
I’m reading two books at the moment. For *cough* fun I’m reading Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy. I’m not mad about the book though I must say but am going to finish it because it will be made into a film and I want to see how it ends. I’m also reading “Raising Boys” by Steve Biddulph in the hope of gaining some insight into the brain of Pip.
Avicii which I’m absolutely loving! Our other main favourite in the car is Taylor Swift’s “Red” album. Katie and I love singing along. Katie asked me to put the song on where they dress up like hamsters the other day. She actually meant the track “22” where they dress up like hipsters! I love lots of types of music from classical to rock. I’m still a Radio 1 girl, mostly because they played The Smiths on Radio 2 recently and I cannot accept that The Smiths are now Radio 2 music!
Oh where do I start? You would see that I clearly have no life if I listed all the programmes I record and wade through each week. TCM and I both love Elementary” and “Grey’s Anatomy”. We scare ourselves silly each week watching “The Following”. I love watching “Girls” which I find off beat and hilarious.
I’ve just polished off an emormous Toblerone. Does that qualify as food? I am Coeliac so food plays a big part in my life, mostly having to avoid the things I used to love. I like to bake tasty gluten-free cakes and biscuits and my brownies are legendary. Our favourite meals are mussels and frites or fahitas and my favourite restaurant to visit is our local Thai restaurant. If there was one thing I could eat right at this minute, without fear of being ill, it would be a piece of warm French stick laden with butter.
I’ve always liked to dance and sing, performing in many shows as a youngster and becoming a Butlin’s Redcoat in my late teens and early 20s. I am part of a Reiki healing group and have been doing Reiki for many years. Since Pip joined us I’ve felt very tired in the evenings so am mostly just chilling and watching TV and going to my healing group.
What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Knowing how much to talk about or downplay the fact that they are adopted. I want them to know they can always talk to me about it without fear of upsetting me but I don’t want them to feel that it is everything about them, because it is just a part of their personal jigsaw puzzle. It is a topic that will ebb and flow throughout the years I am sure and may differ for each child. I think it will help them that they shared a Birth Mother and can support each other with that. I also worry about getting the parenting bit right and how many of our parenting challenges are because they are adopted and how many are them just being children who are pushing boundaries and exploring their personalities. I try not to see every parenting challenge as being adoption related which helps us stay grounded but can be a challenge in itself.
What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
I wish I had known how emotionally charged and complicated contact can be. When going through the adoption process we were encouraged to think quite literally about contact and the fact that we might have to write letters. The reality of writing letters that are unanswered or letters that are replied to sporadically is far more complicated as is the issue of telling the children about the letterbox contact. We also have direct contact with Katie and Pip’s middle sibling, Kip which is a new contact and is quite involved plus we maintain contact with both sets of Foster Carers. It’s a lot of contact in one form or another and it can feel intense, for me that is.
Why did you start blogging about adoption?
I started blogging about adoption as a way of keeping friends and family up to date with our introductions with Katie. I also have an extraordinarily disastrous memory so continued to keep a record of Katie and Pip’s lives. I also wanted to share our adoption journey with other people to show that it is something that ordinary people can do. Our life as adopters, thus far, has been relatively straightforward but I seek to be honest about our entire journey to offer as full a picture of our experiences as possible.
Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
From my children and our life mostly but I also have daily bulletins from Google with news articles about adoption and fostering and take inspiration from policies and events happening in the world of adoption. I also read other blogs, when I have the time, and draw on, and relate to, the experiences of other adopters.
What made you choose the blogging platform i.e blogger/wordpress that you did?
Blogger was the first platform I found and I found it very straightforward to use. Having said that I am now feeling constrained by its limitations and am seeking to self-host and redesign Life with Katie probably using a WordPress theme package. This is very much a work in progress at the moment and I am trying to find the theme that best suits my needs.
Can I say wine? I am mostly a water drinker, with the odd cup of decaf tea or herbal tea thrown in, but generally around about 6pm I can feel the desire for a glass of Prosecco creeping up on me. Am I a lush or just a stressed parent?
What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My husband, TCM, and also one of my best friends who is a childcare expert. I am lucky to be able to gain lots of insight into child development from her and assess where my children are experiencing difficulties but it also helps me to see my children as regular children first and adopted children second.
Reward charts yes/no?
I’m still undecided on this one. We don’t have issues around shame to manage so we use a pot of beads that Katie collects for good behaviour. There is always a good reward sitting on the shelf for her when her pot is full to add incentive. I do think they only work as an incentive though when Katie wants them to work and I don’t use the beads all the time. They come and go when a focus on a specific behavioural issue is required. I spend my life looking for the ultimate parenting tool (rather like looking for the ultimate handbag and diary) but I suspect it does not exist (hence the need for wine and meditation!).
What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
“Pick your battles!” I have heard this from many people and it is good advice. Choose one or two things to focus on at any time and turn your back (sometimes literally) on the others. I often walk away and seek to not feed energy into an issue that will esculate or have an undesirable outcome. This is generally harder than it sounds though.
What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
I hope I can give my children the skills and emotional support to live their lives to their fullest ability. I hope I can help them become adults who feel confidence in who they are and what their abilities are. I hope I can help them feel whole and grounded and accept their different start in life. I hope I can support their journey towards understanding their life and themselves. I hope they grow up knowing they are loved without boundaries
What makes you and/or your family laugh?
The children. The funny things they say and do. Their quirky ways and mannerisms. Katie makes some hilarious faces and is ridiculously cheeky. For example. When TCM was attempting to explain to her that Mummy was upset when she broke my vase from Greece because it meant a lot to me, she did a very loud fart and said “Well that meant a lot to me!” What more can I say?