Just as predicted Girl is back to the unwanted behaviour. Last Thursday we (or should say I) spoke to her about her grandfathers cancer. I had to mentally prepare myself for it first and to be honest I felt like I didn’t know enough about cancer to answer the questions she may ask or even how much to tell her so I Googled the subject of how to talk to children about cancer first and found a good article by Macmillan Cancer Support (link below).
I was all set to tell her on the Wednesday evening but after reading the article I decided that in the morning would be better so she didn’t lie in bed thinking about it, that in the morning we would share a bath so there were no distractions or… well…escaping. In the bath she would have no choice but to listen.
Now I wasn’t sure she would understand and I don’t know if it was an age thing and she did liken it to her old friend Mary passing earlier in the year but two minutes later after getting out of the bath she was skipping around, singing and dancing. She didn’t seem the slightest bit bothered.
We met with her birth grandfather and her sisters for a meal on the next day, Friday. Girl was quiet throughout the meal, would barely speak to anyone, infact I had to remind her a few times that people were talking to her and it was rude to just ignore them. She spent a good proportion of the evening lolling all over me or pretending to sleep on the bench seat. In my opinion not really appropriate restaurant behaviour but rather that than running round a packed restaurant (surely it isn’t just me that thinks that kids should be under control in a restaurant?).
It ended up being quite a late night due to the very poor service (Frankie & Bennies I am naming and shaming you) but she seemed quite happy on the way home playing silly games. She loves to equate how much she loves us by supermarket distances. I told her that I loved her to the moon and back she replied that she loved daddy to Asda and back and me to Sainsburys and back. It’s our little in family joke that we have been doing for quite a while. I guess when you are three a trip to Asda does seem quite far and Sainsurys even further and it just continued from then!
The very next morning though, we had a lot of very bad behaviour, kicking her brother, squabbling, spitefulness. OK so we get a lot of this anyway but this was different, more intense and she was reduced to tears by the slightest thing. I had been planning on taking her to a baby shower and when she wasn’t behaving I told her she could not come with me. When she continued to misbehave I told her she could not go to the cinema with her Aunty. Even more bad behaviour and I pulled her treat of going to work with daddy. All these things were my downfall. I know that consequences do not work and to also not follow through just makes me out for a fool. I ended up taking her to the Baby shower of her Godmother simply because I felt the kids needed a few hours separation and the baby shower would be calming. Well it was but she also sat with a sulky scowl on her face throughout the whole party.
I have struggled to write this post, I am worried about writing a blog post stemming from somebody else’s unfortunate circumstances but it does have quite an impact on our lives and is part of Girl’s ongoing story so cannot be ignored. When we adopted Girl we did so with the understanding that she would have direct contact with her adopted sisters and one of her grandparents. The contact with her sisters was not an issue as they had no relationship with the birth family but we would all share the direct contact with the grandparent.
I was understandably more apprehensive about the latter contact, I was mistrustful of the situation, I felt as though my daughter’s security would be in the grandparent’s hands every time we met. However, our social worker assured us that the grandad had the best of intentions and would do nothing to sacrifice the little time he had to spend with his grandchildren, he knew that any failure on his part would result in contact being halted permanently and over the few years that Girl has been living with us contact has gone very well, in fact so well we are comfortable enough for him to know where we live.
When we first started contact we knew that a time would come when things would be a little more difficult, that granddad had a debilitating disease although it was in remission at the time. Last weekend was contact day and sadly the news was broken to us that grandad has been diagnosed with cancer and from the little information available so far the prognosis does not sound good. I can’t tell begin to tell you how sad I am, I have a massive amount of respect for this man and have grown quite fond of him over the few years we have known him.
I have not told Girl yet that her grandad is poorly. The announcement has opened up a whole can of worms before we even start to think about the sad situation of life and death and not for the first time this year.
We know that the contact guidelines are going to have to go out of the window but frustratingly it is at a time when Girl is not coping with contact very well. I am certain in the future she will appreciate any increased contact that we might have now but what about the immediate future? Can she actually cope with it? What about her getting used to seeing granddad a little more and then suddenly not at all?
Then of course we would like to support granddad any way we can but just don’t know how because of Girl’s security. We probably won’t be able to visit granddad in hospital or attend the funeral, which just seems wrong somehow. What happens if and when granddad passes? Will the birth parent become aware of the contact between us?
A million more questions seem to have risen to the surface and I am mixed between sadness for granddad, guilt that we can’t be of more help and also guilt that I am having all these thoughts about how its going to impact Girl, it’s quite a strange and awful situation to be in for all parties involved.