Before we adopted Girl we had these mindless daydreams of counting down sleeps with our child until holidays, Christmas, birthdays but the reality of this with a child with attachment disorder is very different.
We all get excited about lots of different things but for Girl it can all be too much for her to bear and can cause her actual real heartfelt anxiety. For instance the thought of behaving for Santa and being on a 'good girl' list is like an invitation to sabotage any good behaviour that we may normally expect, the very idea that that there is any chance at all that she may not be good enough to get gifts from Santa is enough to make her behave badly enough so that she knows she won't get hurt when she doesn't. It's like trying to have some sort of mad control over something she can't possibly control.
The whole commercial build-up to everything must be a nightmare for most parents but for us sometimes it feels like its a hundred-fold, Halloween decorations in September, followed immediately by Christmas decorations and on January 1st out roll the Cadbury's Creme Eggs and I really wish I was exaggerating. My little Girl went off the rails in September when she realised Halloween was approaching (only 8 weeks away) and only really got back on in February. Girl has been asking us for weeks how long until Easter, my reply is always "a long time away darling". I would love to be able to tell her exactly, to share the excitement of an upcoming event with her but I know that as soon as she knows how soon it is the behaviour will go on a downwards slope.
We have learnt to keep very quiet and low key about anything that might cause too much excitement, unfortunately we cannot impose this on every single person we know so where we are trying to be fairly non-committal about events, family and friends can unintentionally hinder our efforts and this week I have been spotted behind Girl flapping my arms, shaking my head, jumping up and down to attract attention and waggling my eyebrows in a desperate attempt to stop the words
"...only 5 more sleeps until Legoland..."
which was then quickly followed by the words
"...and then a few days after that it's Easter!"
Thanks heavens that when this happened Girl was in one of her sullen-and-not-listening-to-adults moods and I dont' celebrate that mood often!