When split pea first arrived into my life and home she didn’t show much emotion for a child who’d just be removed from all she’d known for the first two years of her life. Brave is one way to see it and indeed she was…is. But the reality was that she didn’t know how to react and had an almost automated response emotionally. The main skill she had was to survive and smiling, hugging and kissing indiscriminately where her tools.
So months later as the tears started to flow readily, sometimes loud and angry or in silent heart breaking mourning, I felt relief. I didn’t always respond in the way I would have liked, tears and tantrums which appear out of what seems the smallest thing takes some getting used to as a new mum to a two year old. But once I remembered the prep talks, the books I managed to speed read and the fantastic advice read and heard from experienced adopters I saw her tears for what they were. Sorrow for all she had lost and fear she could lose again.
So I would hug her and sing some Bob Marley: Honey don’t worry! About a thing Cause every little thing is gonna be alright! Woke up this morning, smiled at the rising sun, three little birds were on my doorstep. Singing sweet song, with a melody pure and true, singing this is my message to yo..ou..oooou! Split Pea don’t worry about a thing. I would repeat the words; don’t worry about a thing, over and over and after a time Split Pea would join in and babble along. It’s been awhile since I’ve held her and sang this song, as her speech has developed I talk to her about feelings instead but we still have the hugs.
This last year I’ve had battles to secure funding for therapy and an allowance as I watched Split Pea display complex needs and struggle with social interaction, especially with her peers. I found it tough to cope with, on top of dealing with a nursery who didn’t get it and a reduced network of family and friends who found some of Split Pea’s behaviours didn’t fit with their basically compliant children. I’ve been exhausted, angry, depressed and impatient. Not all at the time but enough to feel like the worst mum in the world. Raising my voice and sulking in silence with a daughter who has done nothing wrong except be the person two years in care created. ‘If she could behave, she would do it’, is a quote I’ve read which sums her up pretty accurately.
However recently when I start to rant over something often trivia and occasionally major, Bob’s words come back to remind me that we two are doing alright. Split Pea has patted my back and told me; ‘Don’t worry about a thing mummy’. Straight away it took me back to the nights when I held her and sang those words to her. Calm and common sense returned and I am again thankful for this little girl, again ready to make the world better for her no matter what.