“Lots of people go mad in January. ” ― Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Canary
Ain’t that the truth!
I laughed out loud at that quote. Especially after the last couple of weeks here at PASH towers. And a lot of the madness in our part of the world is courtesy of a certain 11 year old girl.
A normal day includes…
There has been a lot of rudeness…mainly towards me. A whole load of ‘I’m not doing that’….mainly aimed at chores and anything else she doesn’t particularly want to do. This includes (and this isn’t an exhaustive list) brushing teeth, having a shower, homework, not beating holes into her brother, or the fabric of the house, not screeching at the top of her lungs about the general iniquity of life, pulling up socks, not interrupting me when I’m speaking to someone, not answering when asked something, eating her dinner, flushing the toilet, going to sleep, waking up, getting dressed or undressed, and moving at a pace faster than the worlds slowest snail.
We have in play diagnoses of ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety and possibly dyscalculia. So we have some very reasonable explanations for all of the hugely inconvenient (to the rest of the family) behaviour above. And, to be fair, that’s exactly what we’d put it down to.
Until I had a chat with a couple of mums at the school gate this week. Both of whom have neurotypical children with no additional needs.
The general (and very surprising to me) consensus of opinion is the 11 year old girls, whilst we love them with all our hearts, are, quite frankly, fairly feisty and obnoxious little beasts!
The other mums were bemoaning the bad attitudes and rudeness of their girls, the unwillingness to engage in anything that didn’t have a screen and headphones. The state of bedrooms and the general lack of hygiene. And just how loudly a smallish girl can shriek if she’s in a mood…which she probably is. And if she isn’t…she will be in approximate 7.32 seconds! Or thereabouts.
And it got me to thinking.
It might not be the diagnosis!
As the parent of adopted children we rightly need to be vigilant. To educate ourselves about the trauma our children have suffered and the impact of the various diagnoses they have often been given. To ensure that we have a sufficient toolkit to support these children in a world that is undoubtedly harsh, but even more so when you’ve been through the mill as they have.
We need to ensure that we have self care strategies over and above the parents of neurotypical children, because we often carry a higher emotional load for our families, and need to offset this as best we can.
But we also need to remember that sometimes, just sometimes, it might not be the diagnoses. It might just be that our wee girl is simply being a moody, bolshie, fetid 11 year old girl.
And what a joy that is!