Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mothers' Day

Little man, just before bed, "just one more sleep Mum and then it's your special day" closely followed by a hand clap, his and mine x

Friday, February 7, 2014

When I grow up

What is wrong with adults? Why do we have to make an immediate assumption about what children will do 'when they grow up'? Why can't we just let them 'be kids'.

Stroke a dog and you'll grow up 'to be a vet'
Show an interest in lego and you're an engineer in the making
Ask to stir the gravy = "next Jamie Oliver"
Pick up a leaf = botanist or better still 'Attenborough'
Skip = gold winning olympic gymnast
Run - gold winning sprinter
Observation on culture or opinion on right or wrong = next prime minister

Seriously,  is this necessary, just look at their faces when you say this, they think we're all mental.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

True love's kiss

The boy has recently developed a fascination and passion for lego which warms my heart immensely. He'll sit for hours building cars, planes, towers, diving boards, the possibilities are endless. Tonight he built a treasure chest so I supplied the treasure (an old heart shaped pendant from a garish blue necklace). It got us onto the subject of love. He told me wisely that love should be looked after which is why he'd put it in a lego chest with a secret button that only he knew the code to. I said he was right but that love should also be shared at which point I gave him an impromptu kiss and hug. After I let go and tucked him in he told me it had been a 'true love kiss'. Admittedly this was a line stolen from our fav Disney film (Frozen) but the sentiment was that I'd really meant it. At last he believed and maybe even felt that my love was real. 

The small act of building stuff out of little pieces of plastic has helped him unlock or allow himself to acknowledge and accept that genuine act of love and affection. Funny how things work out huh.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Animal instinct

There are at least three separate subjects I would have loved to have written about today but this short note will hopefully go some way to explain the patience and love two members of our family have displayed to our three new additions since their arrival 6 months ago. 

Coco and Ned are our much loved dogs. They've endured no end of turbulence and some extreme violence (scissors and tail) since June. Much like us they've rolled their eyes and looked longingly at each other trying to remember what life as like before the tornado struck but much like us, their love is unfaltering. 

Their instinct has also proved immensely helpful. There is no better barometer of child ill-health in our house than a chocolate lab. Tonight, eager to get an early night, I searched the house for the dogs so I could get them out for their last pit stop. One was not in her usual spots. I found her on middle tiddles bed. Immediately I ask her to move, she doesn't, I try and shift her, she's stuck like glue, only then do I hear the raspy sound of a boy full of snuffles and the distinctive murmurs of an incoming cold. She's detected every sniffle since the day they arrived and has found her way through the house and into their bedroom at even the slightest off-colour day or night. 

The night that little 'un came down with croup she literally cemented herself to the floor of her bedroom before we had even a suspicion she was poorly. It was only four hours later when the little tiddler woke herself up with a bark so ferocious I literally didn't know what to do that we realised why she had so adamantly not wanted to leave her side.

I wasn't the best Mum today. One thing after another meant that I wasn't as patient as I later wished I could have been. We all have plenty of days like this but it doesn't make it easy so I guess it's good to know that when my time is being taken up looking after one, the pups are always looking out for the others.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's true

It's true, most of the people who blog are the ones who have the shittest time (or so I am told). I suddenly realised I too am guilty of only putting pen to paper when the shit has hit the fan. The truth of my adoption journey so far (6 months) is that a huge amount of it has been magic. Each school holiday has been a milestone. Summer was mental in more ways that one and nearly left me in an asylum. Half term went better, even if we did have our first big sickness (croup). Ever heard a seal bark, me neither until October 2013.
Christmas was a revelation, we expected the worst and actually it turned out great. Guards were then let down, battle attire came off (ours), we realised we couldn't recount the last bite, spit, punch, tail snip, kick. Admittedly the car got keyed again but that was down to over zealous wand work en route to Harry Potter Land (forgiven). Everyone smiled (at least once), dinner was eaten, presents were unwrapped and chocolate was shared. Seriously, we even survived the in-laws and out-laws in the same room.
Nativity didn't go terribly, one lasted 30 seconds, another 3 minutes but in better news, the one least likely to survive a public show of confidence sang her heart out and did a dance routine.
Teachers have unfortunately come, gone and slipped a disk but we've coped with that too. Mummy was a dinner lady but that's another story and all the while we've ticked along.
Friendships are formed, if not for all them, for one and that's a start.
Talking of friends I went to ones' for dinner the other night and noticed a sign in her kitchen, it read "Don't forget, to the outside world, we're just a normal, happy family', I laughed so hard I almost forgot to put it on my wishlist.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Ever After

There's nothing headline that says things have changed or moved forward. No one tells you, you don't wake up but you do begin to notice. You start and end the day with a smile on your face, you look at the clock and feel pleased that its nearly 3pm. You go to the park and laugh, woop and clap because you can. You genuinely enjoy time just being a family. 

You start to know and understand what to expect, what's hungry related, tired related or something's-really-up-but-I-cant-bare-to-talk-about-it related. We've continued to pull the sad out of toes when we're feeling bad or mad. We've moved from biting, scratching, punching and spitting to"OK Mummy, you're just and idiot" this is real progress. 

No one has trashed a room, strangled a dog or beaten the crap out of a sibling for a full three weeks [makes contact with wood].

We've survived Mummy's birthday, a routine medical, spelling tests, a be-bright-be-seen mufty day and Harvest Festival. Complete with church, cans if beans, a coach, singing and a man in a dress! 

Everyday my love grows. Everyday the bond grows, everyday I learn something new but something else becomes more familiar which is equally as rewarding.

Tonight we read a book called Happy Ever After and I stopped to ask each of them what they're happy ever after looked like. One included Dalmatians and a pink car, another his soft warm bed, books and pizza and another 'everyone being together and being kind and happy'.

Little voices only tell what's true.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Talking to friends tonight it struck me just how overwhelmingly we've been supported by our local school. Coming to parenthood via adoption you have lots of expectations. When I thought about school I imagined the playground would be a friendly place but I might struggle to get the teachers to understand the complex needs of children who had experienced early neglect and trauma. How wrong could I be?

The playground is a ferocious place. The fact I have just appeared from nowhere (nowhere meaning absent from any earlier years groups, clubs or nurseries) but having admitted that 'no, I have not just moved to the area' makes me a bit of a unknown. I don't want to share the children's life story with every single person who asks, it's not my story to tell, it's theirs, so they can choose who and what they say. Because of this, the playgrounders can't place me so I might as well not exist oh and to them my children are probably a bit strange. They don't run to me when they spot me at the end of a school day, they sometimes say 'strange' things when we're getting into the car ("I've been thinking a lot about the bad house today"), they've bitten, kicked and punched me in front of astonished parents for no reason other than the fact that they've probably fretted all day about whether or not I would even turn up to pick them up (something they were used to in the past). 

Mine is the daughter who got invited to the party and was brave enough to go for ten minutes. Whose other daughter gets up from story time to make loud animal noises and put her hands in the sand pit (just wanting to soak up every sensory experience she can in this new wonderland that is a classroom having been so void of early stimulation). Whose son runs from the room every time a tap is turned on having been scolded due to poor supervision.

The fact is I honestly care less about what any of them think than I thought I would. What matters to me so much more is the overwhelming support of all of the teachers, dinner ladies, care takers, receptionists and head teaching staff. After a difficult education meeting where the reality of just how much our children had been let down by the education system was laid out in front of us, I received a call from the acting headmaster. He said he understood it had been a difficult meeting but that 'for the record' he thought 'we were doing a great job' and that we were 'greatly admired by him and his team'. He also said he understood 'just how enormous an undertaking it was' to take on 3 children and most importantly that he knew 'we'd have good days and days that were total shit'. He wanted me to know that 'no matter what, there'd always be someone at school to have a cup of tea with us if we needed to chat or just rant about a difficult sock morning or a spelling meltdown' so 'to know they were there' and 'just pop in anytime'.

That was the first time since we met the children that I felt fully supported by anyone aside from Mr W. Since this time we've worked together, the children have been unobtrusively and unknowingly assessed and we know where we are. It is grim reading, my 53 month old daughter scores 8-20 months in her ability to make and maintain friendships, but we finally have a start point. Somewhere from which to begin.

Tomorrow we meet to discuss the support and funds needed to make up some of the earlier mistakes. Temporary cover is in place to ensure that class teachers can attend and knowing they're there with me makes such a difference.

Last week the children all dealt with a big week at school admirably. I was so so so very proud. They all managed to sing their little hearts out at Harvest Festival and then eldest daughter sprinted across the playground in my direction at pick up on Friday clutching a certificate from said deputy/acting headmaster. It said simply, Headmasters Certificate awarded to xxx  xxx for 'never giving up'. Well if the ferocious playground Mums didn't think that me and the tiddlers were crazy enough already we all whooped and skipped out of the playground just to prove we are. Took all my strength not to high five the headmaster as we went past. Never imagined a school could give them so much. Feeling very lucky and grateful.