Me. the Boy and the Monster is a powerful book about adoption, trauma and abuse. It is written by Cat McGill who reflects on these issues drawing on her experiences of parenting Tickle her adopted son and her birth daughter Fairy. The book is a clever mix of personal stories taken from Cat’s blog and really clear explanations of the impact of trauma on the brain and hence on behaviours. I have had to wait a few days before posting this review as it had quite an impact on me as an adopted person myself.

Me, The Boy And The Monster

The Author

Cat has a background in developmental psychology which equips her to translate some quite complex theories into relatively easy-to-understand language for the newcomer to such topics. Cat is also a mum to Fairy her daughter by birth who arrived first. Cat decided to adopt Tickle her son and over time has learned to get to know him and to confront challenges she may not have expected such as violent behaviours. Like many a parent, she has used blogging to process her thoughts and feelings. Via social media she has found a powerful adoption community who can offer vital support when it all seems too much as an adoptive parent.

Tickle and the Monster

Tickle is a little boy who had a bad start in life including various forms of abuse in his birth home. Cat did not know the full extent of the abuse against him when she adopted him and had to cope with distressing disclosures. Decisions had to be made about which authorities to involve and how as Tickle shared more of his past. The Monster refers to the entity inside of Tickle that tries to keep him safe. It is a concept developed by Cat to help herself and others to make sense of things when Tickle’s behaviour is challenging.

Topics covered in the book

There are some quite deep issues covered in the book but they are presented in ways that make them easy to understand. I need to return and read again in certain parts to fully grasp things but the language is not daunting. You will learn about dissociation, attachment and enabling emotional regulation. Although I think adopted parents may gain most from the book, I also think any parent can learn from some of the information on how the brain works. Cat shares some useful strategies to try when things go awry with your child too which as a birth parent I can see the sense in.

My overall impressions

In a way I feel I was the wrong person to review this book or at least on a first reading. I was born in 1968 the product of the Swinging Sixties and dance halls by all accounts. I spent many months in a Catholic Convent as my birth mum veered between having me adopted and not. I was fostered to my family in 1969 and the full adoption order went through in 1970. I have no evidence that I was abused so I find it difficult to compare myself with Tickle who has suffered so much. And yet I know I have struggled over the years so keen to work out my identity and so fearful of people in all sorts of situations. I am hard to get close to and I am ever vigilant almost expecting to be hurt. That has eased over the years of course but remains a part of who I am. Cat’s book helped me understand myself better and to forgive myself for being quite so weird. If I take Kate out of the equation and just see a little girl whose needs were not met as a baby, it all makes absolute sense. My late Dad once gave me a great gift by saying “Over the years I have worked out there will always be a void in you and whatever me and your Mam did we could not fill it”. That sounds terribly sad but it gave me peace in a funny sort of way. I have emailed the author about all this and she is incredibly generous-spirited and has shared some resources for me to investigate further.

What I can say is that I highly recommend this book. Some inspirational people like my parents, Andrea who knows who she is and Cat (who would not accept that about themselves) go further than most of us in giving a child or children in need a new opportunity. I hope anyone parent or not reading this blog would want the best for all children and I reckon we can all do this better in our families, friendship groups and society as a whole if we understand children generally better and especially those who carry trauma.

I usually give the books a review a score. I am not going to do this today. This book is more important than that.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-Boy-Monster-Exploring-psychology-ebook/dp/B07M9Z9DBX/

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Confessions of a New Mummy

Family Fever
Cuddle Fairy

Ways to take care of your skin are highlighted in advertisements in magazines and on the television all the time. Sometimes they seem to make grandiose promises of everlasting youthful looks and often they come with a high price tag. You may be considering cosmetic treatments to sort your skin out. Today I am looking at 5 ways to take care of your skin many of which will not break the bank and might even save you money.

Alcohol

My husband has recently stopped drinking as much alcohol as he was. I am amazed at how better he is looking facially. He really does look that much younger. I guess that makes sense as drinking dehydrates your skin and body generally. If you want to look older and tired, keep drinking alcohol! Doing so will almost guarantee that you will find yourself looking at dry skin treatments. If you cannot face cutting alcohol out completely, ensure you are drinking plenty of water. When you are having a tipple, ensure that you have a glass of water or a soft drink in between your alcoholic ones. Check out government guidelines on safe levels of drinking for men and women.

Sun

Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays which can damage our skin in terms of ageing but also lead to cancer. It is relatively simple to be more sun savvy. Spend more time in shady environments between 11am and 3pm. Cover up your skin with clothes and don’t forget that hats and sunglasses are helpful too. Make sure to use sunscreen with a high protection value.

Smoking

My husband is a long-term and heavy smoker. I have never smoked. I think my husband looks older than his years. I always get complimented on my good skin. I accept I am blessed with good genes when it comes to my skin but I also feel not smoking has helped keep my skin looking good. Apparently, smoking reduces the skin’s natural elasticity breaking down collagen and stopping its production too. This is interesting as I understand collagen in under threat in the menopause and I notice my skin is drier these days. Smoking is actively reducing the blood flow to smokers’ skin so their skin gets less nutrients and oxygen. That can’t be a good thing! There are charities that can help you quit smoking and the NHS has tools available to you too.

Skin care products

It is ironic but some of the very products you are using on your skin could be damaging it. It is far better to use mild things on your skin. Harsh chemicals are not going to do your body any good and that’s no real surprise. You need to know your skin type and choose products that work best for your type. For example, alcohol-based things are not going to do your dry skin any favours. In a similar fashion, oil-based things won’t be your friend if you have oily skin.

Confessions of a New Mummy

There may come a time when you look in the mirror and realise you’re unhappy with yourself and your life. While these are normal feelings to have every once in a while, it’s important you don’t let yourself dwell on the negative.
Instead, use the following advice to help get you out of your slump and find brighter days ahead. It’s better to recognise what’s occurring and to take action than it is to do nothing and sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Avoid focusing on the negative and concentrate on taking actions that are going to help you find more contentment overall.

Pinpoint the Root Cause

Your first order of business to finding more happiness is to pinpoint the root cause of your emotions. For instance, it could be that you don’t like your neighbourhood or job and need a change. On the other hand, it could be a more serious issue such as dealing with one of the many mental health disorders that exist. If this is the case then seek help right away from a treatment facility such as The Recovery Village.

Look for A New Job

Another piece of advice if you’re feeling unhappy with your life is to go out and look for a new job. Working in a dead-end position may be causing you to feel bored or uninterested which is only making your situation worse. Finding a new role at a company that challenges and appreciates you may be all you need to turn your outlook around for the better.

Find A Hobby

You could be feeling unhappy lately because you aren’t spending your free time wisely. A good idea is to find a hobby that you enjoy doing and brings a smile to your face. There are many options out there, so do some digging and be open to trying out a new challenge that will keep you occupied and engaged in life.

Schedule A Holiday

It could be that you’re feeling unhappy with your life because you’re being overworked at the office or are stressed out at home. One idea is to schedule a holiday so you can take a break and go away someplace warm where you can relax for a bit. Practicing more work-life balance is going to allow you to regroup and maintain more steadiness and stability in your life.

Open up to A Friend or Family Member

If you’re feeling unhappy with your life, then consider opening up to a friend or family member about your problems. It’s likely they’ll be able to offer some support or useful advice that will make you feel better and more optimistic about your future. If nothing else, it’ll be nice to know you have someone who you can turn to when you need help.

Practice Gratitude & Maintain A Positive Attitude

A positive attitude goes a long way in allowing you to feel happier in general. If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your life, then consider practicing more gratitude on a daily basis and taking note of what you do have. This exercise is beneficial in keeping your mind focused on all your blessings instead of what’s lacking in your life.

Email marketing is vital for most businesses these days. Do you know many people who don’t have an email address? Of course not so email marketing is a very effective way to communicate with existing and potential customers. The issue is that most businesses and that includes bloggers are becoming aware of the power of email marketing. That means you have to be able to stand out in the inbox. It’s time to get personal and relevant. Remember you are competing with emails from friends, family, small and large businesses, educational establishments and faith groups.

Here is a great infographic that will improve your marketing efforts via email.

Advantages of email marketing

There are so many benefits to using email to engage with your customers. Only people who have some interest will sign up to receive your emails so you are not wasting time on people who will never be your customers. You can work out the interests of different customers and use segmentation to get the content they want most to their inboxes. Emails are easily shared with your recipient’s contacts meaning potential new customers for you. Email marketing is less harsh than telephone marketing as the customer can decide if and when to read your communication. It is also affordable and environmentally friendly as nothing is printed.

Next steps

If you really want to get to grips with email marketing, you are advised to check out https://myemma.com/resources and https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/.

I am not feeling particularly upbeat today but I know from experience that that is the very best time to focus on my weekly positives. There is nothing particularly wrong. I am having to watch the pennies really closely which is never fun. My daughter is not well. Unusually, I have also found a number of bloggers less than pleasant this week. It is rotten when you are doing your best to please people and you just get grief. Right, let’s focus on the good stuff.

1. Although my daughter has had a couple of health issues this week, she is improving aided by various medication and lots of rest. She is currently snuggled up on the sofa with a duvet watching a soap opera. Nothing wrong with that!

2. My oldest son is getting very proactive about his future. He made a list of what he thinks he needs to do. Some of this involves getting involved in blogging and social media which was a surprise but something I can help him with. His diet has also improved again with him taking charge and doing a better job of making sure he eats healthy food.

4. My youngest son just gets on with things in his usual way with good humour. He is my ally when it comes to meal planning.

5. Reading is going well so I did a review of a book of feminist fairy tales and am currently reading a book about adoption and trauma.

6. I sorted my bedroom out which was long overdue. It is looking good and I found some more books to read in a laundry basket of all places. I have also sorted out the room we use as a wardrobe.

7.Strange happenings apply this week. I came downstairs the other day to find my husband steam cleaning the floor. My youngest son said he thinks he might use some of his time cleaning and my oldest son said he would clean the oven if I showed him how to do it. There was even one morning where the two lights that it is impossible for anyone to switch off me were actually switched off by the time I got up.

8. I am still sleeping well and getting in my regular walks on the private road near us and when it is not too boggy on our favourite forest path.

9. I found two cheap bins for the house which were nice and spacious. Isn’t it funny how storage and bins become so thrilling when we are mums?

10. We went to a car boot sale type thing and my daughter picked up a super expensive toy in its box for less than a fiver.

11. I am enjoying lighter evenings and slightly milder temperatures. It is not perfect but it suggests Spring is at least considering showing up soon.

12. I should also report that my husband is a great grand father for the second time with a new baby girl on the planet. Yes, he is way older than myself!

As ever, this summary of the cheerier stuff has lightened my mood. It is so important to keep counting our blessings.


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

My Random Musings
Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Musings Of A Tired Mummy