Backwards to Basics

The initial signs of her wish to regress came from our first few shopping trips together. There was a complete fascination with the baby aisle. Bottles, nappies, baby food and baby bath products. Just touching the stuff and looking at the pictures of babies.

This progressed into “playing” babies which involved me treating her as if she were much younger. At five she would instruct me on what constituted the right way to look after a baby. Never a complete surrender of her control but safety behind her precise instructions.

It made immediate sense to me and I remembered some of the preparation training I had which spoke of stages of missed development and building blocks. Fragile foundations.

I have to admit it felt a little strange and uncomfortable to me treating a five year old like a baby but I also felt she needed it. It was soothing to her alongside baby style bath times with baby products and toys.

In fact these games constituted the only time she would be soothed and calm, with most other times like living with a street cred’ Mowgli on amphetamines. Jumping, shouting, climbing, punching, biting, crying, laughing, spitting. There were no social niceties no matter where we were or who was present. Attention! Attention!

I realised we would have to move through the baby stage and made the instinctive decision to buy a tipi from a maker in Wales (bear with me). The journey to get it was one of our first ever long trips away from home and was fraught with the incidents that unfamiliar surroundings bring in the early days. The most spectacular attention event was her running away from me and fully clothed into the sea on a snowy winter morning. Woolly gloves, bobble hat and all. Her lips went blue and people tut tutted.

Safely back at home and safely off the roof rack, I persuaded a very kind and generous gentleman we knew to let us put the tipi, all fifteen feet of it, on his farm land in the woods. It was safely near where we lived and we could get there in five minutes. Nobody could see or hear us and it allowed us to spend endless days with no distractions.

The regression for us was going back to nature. Blocking out TV, music, noise, shops, new people, neighbours, cars, school. In their place we bought in trusted friends, pants and vests, eating with fingers from the barbecue, drinking out of bottles, fires, snoozing under canvas, mud and climbing trees.

During one of our first visits she led me in a play about how I find a fairy child curled up asleep in the woods under a tree. I would have to express shock at finding her and pick her up and “save” her. It always made me think of the myths of storks and gooseberry bushes. It also made me sad.

After a while though, this freedom to play in the woods bought opportunities to let go of her anxiety and allow the constant drip drip of adrenalin to subside. It was simple and basic and safe. I felt it allowed her to think clearly, which allowed her to express herself safely through play, both happy and sad. It also set her up for life to access free of charge and healthy self soothing.

To this day if things are teenage tough, a camping trip, a walk in the woods, a swim in a river or even some quite time under a tree can bring a new perspective and a calmness that is priceless.

I truly believe that for some children regressing by going back to nature can unscramble and redirect basic instincts of fight and flight.

Recently there was some discussion in our house and with fellow mums about the distasteful description of traumatised children as feral. This word conjures up thoughts of all the wrong kinds of wildness and it does a disservice to the instinctual and often wise strategic behaviours of those children who have had to learn to survive loss, chaos and lack of control.

To return to basics, go back to nature, into the wilderness, back to the beginnings of life itself can, for some, have a healing and uplifting effect.

(And of course, there’s nobody tut tutting, and the ketchup falls on the earth not the carpet, and the phone doesn’t ring, and the cats can relax at home, and the trees get climbed not the sofa, and only the pants and vest get ripped, and uptight mother can stop worrying about what the neighbours think of all the noise……….)

 

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Faith Hope and Charity

 

 

 

With the Spring comes hope and faith. I always, without fail, get that giddy feeling that all is well and that fun is close ahead. To me it’s the real New Year.
It’s a time for new beginnings and a reflection on all that has been digested during the cold times of hibernation.
Who could be entirely glum or disheartened in the face of daffodils, the blue sky and new born lambs.

This past year has contained the hardest of times as well as the most hopeful of changes. A shift has occurred as my daughter has bravely transitioned into adulthood. I am, for the first time in 14 years, able to take meaningful time out and add charity to the well worn staples of faith and hope.

As I sit on my step in the warm breeze and think it all through, what stands out is those people, aside from my immediate family, who have made our struggles bearable. Those who have parented my daughter when I could not have gone it alone. A cast of “extras” whose very real and huge importance is often missing in our story and whose charity is humbling in its tenacity.

I risk embarrassing them in cyberspace public but this is our Spring awards ceremony (no speeches required) ;

Claudia AKA Mum/Fixer/Protector

Blown into our lives like an angel right from the start. The patience of a woodland deer and the strength of an ox. There every single step of the way. Mothering through madness and badness and everything that could be thrown at her, both literally and metaphorically. Unrecognised by the social services as the key factor in our survival and humble in her demands for recognition.
We would like to award her the prize for dogged loyalty and pure love in the face of extreme challenge.

David AKA Dad/Head-teacher/Brother

Despite not being the “fatherly” type he generously took on the voluntary role of a gentle parent. A fine example of a reliable male role model, teaching equality with the joys of music and artistic expression. Following us whenever we moved and committing to the bigger picture without question.
We would like to award him the prize of loyal sensitive soul brother.

Krissi AKA Big Sister/Therapist/Leveller

She first started supporting us as a fifteen year old volunteer. She meant I got to have a coffee with a friend, a haircut or a long bath. She meant my daughter felt understood and safe. Wise before her time she ‘got it’ without any training. Now a married woman, a scholar and a mum herself she has taught me a thing or two over the years. Another unsung hero who has saved the state a fortune in care costs.
We would like to present her with the real life superhero award.

Andi AKA Uncle/Bodyguard/Wise Owl

A long term and loving friend who has walked beside me for over twenty years. A rock in a hard place and the one who can always make us laugh, even when it’s gone a bit tragic. The maker of hearty meals and the holder of hands. A mentor and teacher in the school of ‘all will be ok’
We would like to award him the always there (with a cheeky grin) in a crisis trophy.

As we all branch out to support others who are on the adoption journey and tackle some of the questionable parts of the system, I am hoping and believing, that as a team, we can offer faith, hope and charity in great big lovely bucketfuls.

My name is Jazz…

 

 

My blog number 5

When I was 5 I met one  of my best friends Emma and then my utter best friend Erin. we us to go to festivals and play. we ran a cafe and we used to help. I used to bee ridding my bmx with shaved hire saying I’m a f**** wild child and making Emma and Erin lave.

I us to play beet them up and hurt them I still do to this day but I dot mean to I’m only messing. as we got older we do grown ups things like shopping going for coffees and going round one and another houses.

I remember when Emma came to my new house the one I told u about last week and she said I got to learn to nit. I said what do u mean and she said I’m  pregnant. i started to cry my eyes out but we went closer.

me and Erin went to spain to Ibiza we had a grate time but I had a panic  attack and didn’t sleep for a week it was because of been navers about been 18.

But when it came I neely wet my self because I got my new phone which was a massive trust step because I had loads of phones before and got them taken a way because i us to rang 999.

me and my friends went on a speed boat and went to the beach and drink coctails and eat. we had lollies and sun baths and went in the sea and then we went back to the viler and a had a barbquw.

we had vodka jellys and shampain and then me and my friends got redy and then we went to space club.

I had vodka and orange then we danced. then me and my mum and Claudia went back to the viler and went to bed but I couldn’t sleep so I went in the pool. i was narked and my fiends stared to come back and so i ran back in to the viler and dove in to bed so thay didnt-see!

a cupel of days later we went back to Britten and I moved in to my new house which u all no.

this what I like to do when it is Summer.

When the sun is shining I like to go and put my shorts on and a vest and flip flops and bee like a spring lamb. then I put my head phones on and I fell prowd.  I like to go in to town in my boy racer car and do crusing and show off.

I look at the fit girls and boys and wink at them and blare music out.

I also like to do gardning and walking the dogs and going for barbecues and playing football and and show of my body because I’m a swell head. happy days Ha ha!

 

Apron Strings

 

 
The thing about attachment is that it hurts if its broken.

Being a mum to someone who had experienced an almost unrepairable break before I even met her wasn’t easy from the off.

Trust is the biggest issue and engendering that is a long and committed process.

In my chosen vocation as a mum I have found myself having to take on, as if by osmosis, hyper vigilance, sensitivity to sound, heightened awareness to the violence in culture, a love of routined familiarity and an irrational fear of drunk people. On a good day I have hidden this transference but used it to plan ahead, protect and empathise. On a bad one it has made me feel too much too deeply and I’m no help to anyone.

I have now spent going on fourteen years being tuned in to another person who very often wasn’t tuned into themselves let alone me. Walking by her side so closely and vigilantly has taken me down some incredible and at times scary roads. After an epic journey the paths have become familiar and very well trodden. Sometimes the sun has been shining through the trees onto those paths and other times they have been dark and scary with the possibility of getting lost or separated.

The most wonderful gift of all is knowing the paths so well that on a clear day we can walk straight to the spot where we sit down together and admire the view.

But then one strange and unexpected day, when the wind changed direction, we got to a crossroads and we found that we were pulling the invisible cord in different directions. Straining to the point that its going to snap.

Some arguing and tussling between us ensues and I state the case for taking things in my direction. But I’m heading home for a rest, and she wants to explore with all the curious energy of Darwin.

Like all mothers I knew I had to cut the cord. In that moment I also knew I would feel the intense fear that loving someone so much can easily arouse.

Getting the scissors from my well worn bag of tricks I hold my breath and……cut.

My heart was beating faster with each  tentative snip.

I had been the editor extraordinaire. Snip.

The translator. Snip.

A medium between her and the secure majority. Snip.

I’m the one that knows the password when she feels unsafe. Snip.

I’m the one that knows her eyes so well she doesn’t even need to speak. Snip.

It’s my heartbeat that regulates hers. Snip.

If I breathe she breathes. Snip.

(Where’s the damn ivory tower when you need it. Her hair is short now so she wouldn’t escape…)

As I watch her walk away… no hang on, she’s actually skipping  away… my heart is bursting with pride at her bravery and faith in the future. I can forgive myself for the times I perhaps didn’t map read properly on our journey. I can focus on listening to the song she’s singing as she begins to disappear out of immediate view.

If in a short while she doesn’t look back, or return for something I’ve forgotten to give her, I will take a deep and sorrowful breath and then…. I shall go home, take of my apron and dust down my dancing shoes!

 

photo (8)

In the woods…

My name Is Jazz…

 

 

My blog number 4

When I was 17 and a bit I was carping

myself because I was soon tearning 18. I was very skid because I thort I was going to bee chuck out off my mums house.

my brother was coming up to bee twenty and he was moving out of his house next door. I was skid and rally jealous so I said to my mum can I move up their. she had a thinking face on.

I was skid. why? because I was thinking to my self I’m I just saying that because I’m trying to bee tuff or to mack me look better than him and to mack him fell jealous because of what he did to my (wich I will tell  a nether day) but I kept on thinking then I throat all of the good things about it like havering my two most wonderful dogs in the would.

I was have a day dream about been free and wild and then the hobibail bits like I’m not a kid eny more. will mum think I hate her for moving on? will I still  be her little girl?

So I siad to my self go go go do it.

wen it was a cupel of days before my 18th bd I went to Ibiza with all of my friends. when it was my bd i got a key to my new house from mum and I was carping my self but full of joy.

when we got back from hour holidays I could nit what to bee in my house so time was goin to slow for my likening.

when my brother was moving out i was going up their  slowly making it mine. Then one day I was  there with my new  support worker and my mums very close friend Claudia. we had tea and did some maths and I said I’m going to have a bath. mum came and they said  I think jazz wonts to stay over is that okay? The resen way thay said that is because we tryd a time before.

mum came and knock on the bath room door and she said are u coming home?

I said is it okay if I try to stay ageing so she said are u saw? so I came down stayers and rote rules down.

I woke up the next morning and neely wet my self. mum came up and I said hello. They had trayning so we got people from a agency to help me.

we went to see the brave film. I loved it so when I got back I wonted to stay at mine ageing so I did and thats why my mum calls me brave bear.

One  of the people from the agency is working with us guys now as my  support worker and still after 7 moths I still hate it when mums gos back to her house with the cats and her very good friend.

but my mums good friend works with me as my support worker and we also got one more she is like my sister and my best fiend to.

but as the time goes on it much easer to let mum go.

then one day me and Claudia went to the landlord to sing the the lease it was the prowdist mont I felt for a long time

photo (7)

No Choice

Everything always felt political to me, the sensitive one. Rabbit pie. Pink frilly tulle for dancing in. Cowboys and Indians. The magic wand that didn’t really disappear things. Joan of Arc on a Sunday afternoon. Crossing my legs. Opening my legs. It felt like an invisible burden to be so stupidly concerned with everything. In my earlier years I felt it was the fairies of my escapist books, calling me to fight some yet unknown fight. I sought proof of other worlds in amongst mossy rocks and religiously followed Johnny Morris.

Chimerical tendencies and flights of fancy, seemingly easy for me to indulge  in as a child, allowed an internal magic mirror that showed all insensitive others to be the poor deluded. Magical thinking was ok as it was considered part of healthy development…. until a certain age. After that I just seemed kooky.

Time to grow up. I put a cloth over the mirror and danced the dance of forced insensitivity. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. upstairs, downstairs in my lady’s chamber.

Nature was sure to get me in the end and the right chemical mix emanated from a dark strong man on a warm Summer’s day. Within months my alpha and I were nesting in a cobweb shrouded attic with little more than a mattress for sleep and a candle for light. The strength of the chemical reaction made this feel normal, a return to the old ways. By night I looked up at the sky through the broken slates and dreamed my way through a web of adventures.

The years rolled by, until I woke up with a start one day and found I had a ceiling without a sky view… and an unkempt lawn. Til death us do part. I feared a shamefully slow death of a precious love but I held tight.

The pacing eventually came. Room to room, upstairs downstairs, in my lady’s chamber, then back around again. Trying to make sense of it all. Clinically declawed by pills to make the howl of the wild subside? No. Not me. I decided to fight back with an inner call to the jaded idealist.

Running for the hills I never looked back, following my nose and the scent on the wind. I strode off the path meeting fellow fairies, faggots and freaks. Ecstatic with the freedom I skipped and jumped and howled at the moon for several sweet years. But as day follows night the strongest of all chemicals kicked in and shook me away. I yearned for a small hand in mine, a forming heart to nurture and a meaningful loss of control. I hermited and scratched my scraggy head.

Estranged from the domestic world I had forgotten the rules. Remember…… Remember…… I told myself as I stared at the flames. Ying meets Yang, Adam meets Eve, Boy meets Girl, Seed meets Egg. All clear so far but none of it fitted. Something was calling me through the haze. I scryed and scryed myself to sleep, night after night until it came crystal clear. All I had felt and all I had learned led me to know the baby was already born. Lost at sea, upturned, wild and dispossessed. A sense of urgency took over and I threw on my disguise of compliance. I had to seek approval from the keepers of the dispossessed and my resolve must be hearty. Yes sir no sir three bags full sir. Dust yourself down girl or they will know that your cloak of respectability has lain untouched for years. I was dutiful and dedicated for eighteen long months. Pan tapped on my windows and scratched on my roof. His aroma twisted down my chimney and caught in my hair……. But I was steadfast and hearty. Approval finally came.

The rebel inside whispered in my ear with a voice of disdain: “fit mother, shit mother, who decides.  It all comes down to money in the end. Responsibility shifted, child shunted, kerching the dice has fallen……” But I fought it off, arguing for the one who already waited.

The approvers bought brown cardboard folders containing shattered lives. Best feet forward. Little faces looking out. No smells, no sounds, no touch.

You must choose now.

The rebel voice inside once again shouted “did you prepare me for this with your corporate psychology washed down with cheap tea? More importantly, did they prepare them? What kind of hocus pocus do I see before me? Two for the master and one for the dame and none for the little one who lives down the lane”.

Just stop thinking damn you and choose.

My chosen one was shunted towards me one autumn day. Take her to the park they said. Get to know her. Five years old she was smiling but her eyes were dark with the cornered fear of no choice. As she sat on the swing she spat in my face. Good for you I thought, the spirit’s not broken. As we rolled about in the damp earthy leaves her belly laughed out and our wild sides momentarily connected.

Delivered back to the surrogates into an awkward silence. Her best trousers were muddied. But we all knew the deed was done. Restrictive little arms wound around my neck and an intake of breath took in my scent. “I’m scared” she whispered. “I am too” she heard back. Walking away I turned to see her face at the window. Her tongue came out and so did mine.

My name is Jazz…

 

 

After sitting quietly eating shortbread and watching One Born Every Minute, Jazz started writing her blog. As usual, on her mobile, earphones in playing favourite music. She sent me the end result by email even though I was right next to her. I suggested it was very personal and people she knows as well as others she doesn’t will read it. Was she sure she wanted to post? She smiled her beautiful smile and said ” it’s the truth mum and Tracey Emin would”

Jazz has been insistent on being heard since I started this blog so here it is:

My blog number 3

On they 26/2/2011  I  was 16 and i went to hositbl  wit panic attacks. I remember been in the abilanse.  On the way to hositbail I was trying to be  as. brave as I can but I now what mum was felling wich  was teering me apart and  how I was felling was the same.  so we got put in a smal room for 7 hours.  The pain was unberbul for all of us. when we finely  got sean with out been hobiail the woman dident speak verry good  Eginelish .  I will never forget my mums face it was red like some think out of Tom and jerry. I said to my mum is she mad.  we got a esesmont. thay couldn’t help me so we went to my friend house and she mad us a cup of tea then I went home sad.

The next day we went to Scarborough. i was going of the rails.I went to got my hair pretty  much all off and I look hobiail. When my mum saw me she look like she was trying  not to cry I new what I had done but I was ent very whell.

So we go back to Whitby and I said to mum I fucking out of here excuses my langwich.  I went and got spray pint and deoderunt wich I am not alound.  then the police came and thay took me to the stachan and I got put in a seput room. I keep on texting my mum saying come but thay would ent let her.  I spared spray pint in mu math. then mum came in and said to pc man you have to speke to jazz in a certon way. he said dot tell me how to do my  job then I showted I want to go in to town on my on. They couldet keep me  so thay said oley for a hour. Then I got rapet. I was vey scered. It was horibail. He pushy me a round. And was genreley been a basted. And he gave me weed.

mum rang me I put the phone down on her so she rang agin so I pick up I met back up with her and we went home. I went to have a bath I had mess in my pants mum ask me way so I told her. she cryd. When the Pc cam I told them and then thay cort him he dident get charged.I was in a mess.

I got beeter and stronger and when I was 18 I moved in my on house up the drive fr my mums house. we got a new friend who looks after me but of cores I was rally skerd I thort he was serial killer but he is totally the opposite. he is grate fun.

I rember the frest  time I staid at my new house it was with my new friend and Claudia.  it was a amazing felling. I felt more proud than I ever felt bee for. I rambler running happy to my mum bear still to this day. I wish I still lived with her but I just think I am very  proud.