There has been shouting, swearing, trashing and bashing. There have been tears, blame, exhaustion and then analysis and planning. We are in the same old cycle that drives the four of us. The seeds of the cycle were sown eleven years ago in the filthy and violent household in which my son and daughter spent their early months and years.
God only knows where we find the energy, but Rob and I have dusted ourselves down again, diagnosed the immediate problem and realise that we know the solution because it’s the same old solution. We’ve been avoiding putting it into practise because it needs an injection of energy and enthusiasm for family life that frankly it is sometimes difficult to muster.
So freedoms have been reigned in, privileges pared back and a strong, dependable structure has been laid down. Close supervision is again the answer and Rob and I have again initiated our system for managing the weekends. Rob will take out Child A to perhaps the cinema, I will take Child B for a cycle ride. We will have lunch in our pairs and then meet for tea, after which we watch something on the television together. Before bedtime we will announce the Sunday schedule. Maybe Child A will cycle to the paper shop whilst Child B makes cakes. We then might all go to the park with scooters. Some supervised chores will take place, then tea, baths and reading.
It kills me that we have to live like this. I’m naturally a laissez-faire person, especially at the weekends. But the structure and supervision work, every time. Gradually there is less destruction, energy becomes smoother and less spiky and unpredictable and we start to repair and have fun.
For a long time I hung on to the hope that eventually I would be able to be a ‘normal’ parent, and that adoption would become a peripheral. Each time I dust myself off and begin another fresh start, I feel a little stab of grief for the parent that I wanted to be. But soon enough our children will settle down again and I will remember what I adore about our odd family and I will be flooded with love and admiration for them. For now, we have just had our first weekend free of destruction and that’s a good start.