Monday, 31 December 2012

A Year in Reflection

It's New Years Eve - I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering where the year went and looking back at, what turned out to be, such a momentous year for us as a family.

I guess that today's entry has to be a reflection on the past year and a look at both the high's and lows of our adoption story.

At the beginning of the year we can safely look back and say that we were at our wits end - Papa and I couldn't cope with the kids - their behaviour's were off the scale, school couldn't cope, we were losing friends, Papa was stressed beyond belief and I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. Trying to hold together a family is tough. Especially when we 'inherited' the issues that were given to us. To have had no adoption support at that time was particularly hard and it wasn't until February that any provision was really given. To be honest , we had to prove that we were on the verge of 'disruption' - which is a term that essentially means the adoption is not working - in order to get any support. Despite that support being promised to us over a year previous. But I really want to reflect on what we achieved, rather that what failed, so I wont dwell on the issue of support.

We went to Singapore in February, as planned, although it was a strange trip - we wanted to take the children and introduce them to our friends and Papa's family - but in our hearts we knew that they may not stay with us, that post trip they may have had to go back into care. Our Singapore trip was a little muted I think. We didn't spend too long with Papa's family - and they, I believe, chose to keep a short distance, in order that they would not get too attached to the kids. We took Granny with us for support - and Papa and I even had a couple of night's out by ourselves. I took Papa out to see the musical 'Wicked' which was in Singapore at the time and for one night at least we could forget about the kids and the decisions that needed to be made.

We came back in March to a full therpeutic support package with some financial assistance granted and our lives became immeasurably better. I won't say that therapy is a 'cure all' for anyone and I was a little cynical, but for our children it was a relief. somewhere they could share their emotions, discuss their past and the abuse they suffered. They didn't have to discuss it with us - and to be honest, they still don't - not yet. But KC has told me that one day he would like to tell me what happened. By having this outlet for their emotions, they calmed down in school - Although I was (and still am) constantly called in, the issues became less - and we felt we were dealing with a manageable situation. It was around April that Papa and I sat down with our social worker and agreed that we could allow this adoption to happen - but only with continuing support. With that in mind we needed to move home. The children couldn't share a bedroom and our old house wouldn't allow for TJ to have a big enough room of his own - so we found a new build house near the children's school and began the fun process of selling and moving!

In April we sold our house, put in the Adoption papers and we placed the deposit on our new build... Things were finally moving.

In May the house sale fell through for the first time... Everything was on hold - but at least the kids were settling in. They chose their new middle names and we waited for the court dates.

In June the house was sold again - phew!!!!!! It was about that time we were informed that the support would only last for three years - which is the statutory time for the placing authority. After that we would have to re-apply and prove our need for support beyond that with our current authority. We consulted lawyers. We were told to postpone the court dates for three months whilst the complaints process ran its course. We did... the authority went mad. They insisted on regular meetings etc (which they never had previously) and came to our home to question our committment to adopting the kids. As we pointed out - if we were not committed then there is no way we would be dealing with this - we would simply put them back into care and go back to our previous 'care-free' lives. We aimed for a court date three months away - in September... and we waited.

July - the house fell through again - but now were committed to the new house - we had paid the full deposit and were suddenly back to the stressed position we began with. If we couldn't move house then the chances were we wouldn't be able to keep both children. Then Papa was stressed financially, I had to practically give up work as I was either in school or attending therapy with one or the other children and suddenly we were a one income family with massive expenses. I made arrangments to hand my business back to the franchisor and one of my employees made arrangements to take the business on - I may have had a huge amount of debt to clear but at least the business I had spent 5 years building would be in good hands and I wouldn't be losing any more money.

August came and the complaint reached its final stages - the council were found to be at fault and therapy was to be made available until the children reached 18, compensation was discussed - finally, we thought we could see a light at the end of the tunnel - we were now up to our ears in debt. But the good news - we sold the house again! And this time the buyers wanted to buy our furniture as well - So we rushed out to buy lots of lovely new furniture for our lovely new house and the amazing new start we were going to have as a family!

What do they say? If you want to make God laugh simply tell him your plans....

September came and we went ahead with the adoption - despite the court battle (see previous posts). There was suddenly loads of interest in my little blog and we were talking TV series and book deals... very exciting... On September 28th (my birthday) we moved into our new home. On Sept 29th the buyers of our old home pulled out.... We were now left with two mortgages, one income and a huge set of bills.... And to cap it all... the council decided that no compensation was necessary - they just apologised for the poor service and said they would make sure that they didn't let something like this happen again in the future. I now had to contact our MP and the Government Ombudsman and the whole thing started again.

October... October just kind of went by in a blur. We settled into the new home and things calmed down even more. They seeemd so much more settled here. I think the fact that we left our 'visitors' behind in the other house also helped.

Then came November and we decide to let our old house out - financing two mortgages whilst waiting for it to sell was just too much. And we knew that no-one would be looking to move until the New Year. But we were lucky. In came a lovely family who took our home and have made it their own. Whilst relieving Papa of the financial burden. so now we are landlords. Scary... We also had the children baptised and held the Adoption Celebration in our local courthouse both were really lovely celebrations with friends and family who had supported us throughout... It was a busy month but one that cemented us as a family unit.

Then it was December. We decided to go back to Singapore for Chinese New Year - but this time there will be no 'maybes' or 'what ifs'... the children are adopted - we all have the same name and we will go to see the family as part of their family. There wont be any embarrassed silences as people ask if we are going to actually go ahead with the adoption - its done. And we are going to love it. So we got on with preparing for Christmas

Christmas this year has been lovely - calm, relaxed with family. New Year is just us... and thats how I want it - A new Year, a new family and new start. Isn't that what New Year is about?

I'm not saying it will be plain sailing and I know 2013 will be just as challenging - the difference is that this year - I know we can face those challenges... but we have so much to look forward to. Papa's 40th, Chinese New Year in Asia, My sister's wedding and that's just all in the first four months.... However don't quote me on the 'tell God your plans' line I used earlier!

Mind you, today the kids were watching The Muppets Treasure Island movie and I overheard KC saying to TJ - see the frog and the pig are like Daddy and Papa - one is skinny and cute and the other is fat and bossy... I let it go - I know it was a bit disrespectful but it did make me smile... Its not every day I am compared to Miss Piggy - but don't tell Papa... I want him to think he is the boss!!!!!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas 2

So after the festivities of the big day were done with we moved onto Boxing Day and the countdown to TJ's birthday, which is on the 28th. It's like one long party in our house!

KC went to his room and spent much of the day filming his own version of Batman versus Spider-Man whilst battling his giant gecko... It was actually quite imaginative and stood up to the four times he made us watch it. Grandpa and Grandma from Singapore sent over Skylanders Giants, a game for their Wii console... They loved it and spent the remainder of the evening playing it in the playroom whilst we adults fell out over the board game Frustration which my aunt sent for the was actually great fun...

My aunt called on Boxing Day via the FaceTime thingy on the iPad... Also there was my Nan who is staying with my Aunt over the festive period. We all chatted about our Christmas so far. 'Did you all have a nice Christmas?' My aunt innocently asked, 'Yes, we did thank you... ' I was rudely cut off by my Mum who said, 'Well, you know who didnt have a nice Christmas don't you?' and then my Mum launched into a list of 'people who wouldn't be enjoying Christmas!' Namely my sister and her partner who have both come down with a viral infection, as has my nephew... And TJ was ill... Mum was relishing the tales... I could see my Aunt was trying to keep things jolly as Mum turned our joyful family Christmas into an feature length episode of Eastenders.... We soon said our goodbyes.... I say soon, it took about 10 minutes as my Mum, Aunt and near deaf Nan had a three way tussle over when Mum was returning home... I'm still not sure if its Sunday or Monday and she's staying with me....

ASBO dog has been ok this trip... She has only mauled my dog four or five times, barked at the Christmas wreath, tree, presents... Anything with the word Christmas in it really... She is not a festive hound. We sent the cat away for the week, although I think the cat was secretly pleased as he went into his cat box without a murmur, which is very unusual...

I may have been a bit full of a cold and may have lost a bit of Christmas spirit but I have to say this has been the best Christmas for years... Really lovely!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

It's Christmas....

... and we all have the flu!!!!!

Well, I do - and thats all that counts! But despite my obvious illness I soldiered on - making the full Christmas dinner a la Nigella and steaming my own pudding (whilst I steamed my face at the same time!) Mother wanted me to 'put it in the microwave,' I think my Mum would microwave the entire Christmas dinner if she could.

This year was so much better than last - last year I got the norovirus after attending a Christingle service at a local church. I still think that the reason we all got sick there was that we partook of the coffee and mince pies dished out by the lovely member of the WI. One of whom used the same tea towel to mop out one cup before refilling it with coffee and serving it to someone else... namely me! Why can you never find a health and safety officer when you need one.

But this blog is not all about my health issues - it is also about the family Christmas that we enjoyed - this year, the children got excited about the advent countdown and waiting for the big red guy. Last year - they were really quiet - I dont think they knew what to expect from Christmas, but they more than made up for it this year. They went to bed late on Christmas Eve - I let them watch the Snowman and the Snowdog - big mistake!!! I cried from pretty much the beginning, KC worried that our dog was going to die and TJ was enthralled by the whole thing - I have never seen him sit in front of the TV in such a state of rapture - he loved it... and that made me cry too...

But off they went to bed in their new pyjamas - they needed to put new ones on so that they would be in their best clothes for Santa.

They were up next day and came rushing into our room with their stockings.... 'Can we open them?' was the uniform cry. We wiped the sleep from our eyes and away we went. I had barely enough time to get the recycling bag upstairs before the present opening frenzy began. (I am a little bit anal about the paper!!!)

They had just finished with Santa's gifts (KC got lots of things for his pet rabbit - he actually asked Santa for presents for his pets and TJ got the usual 6 year old requests of Moshi Monsters and anything Arsenal... not my fault!!!)

Then we got Granny up and had breakfast before moving onto round 2 - presents from family under the tree....

Lunch was a success (apart from my gravy which was foul - but luckily God gave us Bisto...) and afterwards we settled down to the usual family Christmas - board games, TV and alcohol... fantastic.

I know there have been complaints about my not keeping on top of the blog - forgive me... there will still be updates but they will be intermittent I'm afraid... children do that to you...

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Fever Pitch...

Today I have had a complete roller coaster of a day. Completely barking!!!!!

This morning TJ and KC swapped roles - TJ decided that he was now well enough to go to school (I think that fact that today was his class Christmas party had something to do with it) and KC decided that he would come down with a fever and a cold. So TJ skipped off to school while KC sat in bed. And I got to look forward to another day stuck at home twiddling my thumbs whilst knowing there were still a million and one things to do before the big day next week. Or that was the plan...

By 10am KC was racing around the house - his cold miraculously cured - asking to watch TV all day and eat spaghetti bolognese - I had been successfully duped by an 8 year old!!!! Then I got the call from the school - TJ's nose had pretty much exploded, his temperature was over 40 degrees and he probably needed immediate medical attention. So KC was packed off back to school faster than his fibbing little legs could carry him - luckily, the only thing going on was the class Christmas party (I'm sure the teachers love this time of year - they get the parents to send in the food and then leave the kids with the nasty Poundland mince pies whilst they tuck into the Waitrose ones in the staff room). I collected a very blood stained and morose TJ and headed off to the walk in medical centre - after being advised by the doctors receptionist that A and E had a three hour wait - the medical centre only had a 90 minute one... great!

My past experiences of A and E havent been particularly good - the medical centre was even worse. Seriously, I'm sure I have caught something. The place was full of children with various ailments. I carried TJ in - 'Why's his nose bleeding?' the receptionist barked. 'Because he has a very high fever,' I replied. 'OK she said - but nose bleeds usually have to go to A and E.' We were allowed to stay.

About 3 hours later the doctor saw us - by now, TJ was practically comatose in my arms. But at least the bleeding had stopped. TJ has a rare medical condition. The doctor saw this and asked if he had any family members with the same condition in case TJ needed a blood donor. It was a question I had never even thought of. The boys have different fathers and KC doesn't have the condition - but TJ has other full siblings who are adopted elsewhere. So somehow I shall have to find their families - what if one day they need help like this - or, heaven forbid, TJ needs that blood off them? We can't go to the birth family. Its one of those sudden 'adoption reality checks' we have every now and again. Of course the doctor doesnt know he's adopted, nor that we are gay. So he  ploughs on asking questions about the boy's mother, was she the carrier - what about siblings. I had to stop the doctor and tell him that TJ was adopted. I don't mind but all of this is done in front of him and as you never see the same doctor at these medical centres you are always repeating the story. There is a letter that I have written and is on TJ's file - but no doctor ever seems to read it.

Anyhow, the upshot is that TJ is now dosed up on anti-biotics after catching a nasty virus.

But on the upside, the major pet store - where we purchased the boy's bunnies - that turned out to be full grown adults and decided to try and kill each other in front of the children, called and offered to pay the vet bills, refund the cost of the rabbits and give us a second hutch so we can separate the two bunnies and don't have to disappoint the children by giving one back - that was a lovely gesture and seemed to come from a genuine need to correct their mistake.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Christmas Carol... Concert

Yesterday night was KC's Christmas Carol concert, which was lovely simplified version of the standard church carol concert. A few sing-a-long carols with some soloists and few Bible verses thrown in.

The evening started with an instrumental version of two carols - I think one was Silent Night - the jury is still out on the other. These were played by a small instrumental group - I can't really call them a band. But they worked valiantly. The two clarinets and two flutes tried to harmonise and the lone trumpet made its call. What was unfortunate for the children is that there was no-one to conduct them so they all played at different speeds and in some cases a seemingly different tune. As the girls on the wind instruments played with grace the boy on the trumpet obviously thought he had heard his cue and came in at full pelt - rather like a large elephant breaking wind. It was about this time that the lady next to me erupted into uncontrollable laughter. I looked at her with disdain - these children were trying their best and were unaided... Then one of the clarinets seem to have turned the music two pages at once and she started into the chorus whilst the others remained on the verse. But she was lost in the music so didn't notice the angry glares on either side of her from her fellow musicians. The lady next door to me was crying. Her little toddler son, said, 'Mummy, I can't see - so Mummy duly placed him on her shoulders where the little darling decided to boot me in the head. Such fun! Luckily I know them very well so could see the funny side of my near concussion.

The band finished, the audience clapped, my friend calmed down and straight away it was time for KC and his class to sing. They were doing a 'modern' rendition of 'The Holly and The Ivy'. It's great that schools want to modernise carols but they really need to let the parents know how the new tune goes. It was obvious that none of the children knew how the carol went and the parents hadnt been able to help them. In my own experience whilst I was rehearsing KC, I sang the tune and he looked at me and said, 'It doesn't go like that.' That was it, rehearsal over. So come the big performance KC simply stood there opening and closing his mouth trying to fool us all that he knew the song - when of course he actually ended up looking not unlike a ginger gold fish - to be fair he wasn't the only one mouthing along... so I knew which other parents were also flummoxed by the tune. I also knew which parents had gone online and downloaded the correct version for their darlings to learn - their children were in the front singing with gusto! Next time I shall be downloading with the best of them!

The carols went and the readings were read and then the school chaplain got up and gave a lovely talk about a little girl giving her father his Christmas Present. There was a lot of reverent story telling (are all vicars wannabe actors) and lots of interaction.... then at the end it transpired that the empty box the little girl had given her father was the best present a child could give... the gift of love. I fought the vomit reflex as it suddenly dawned on my that KC would now have an excellent excuse to buy me and Papa nothing for Christmas... and we wouldnt be able to reprimand him. I think I may try the same thing on Papa - I can't wait to see his face when I present him with a huge box - full of nothing... but my love....

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Yesterday TJ came down with Child Flu - its the boy version of manflu - he had it bad. He woke up at about 2am and then continued waking up on the hour throughout the night. Great fun.

Papa and I took it in turns on that first night - I did 4 times and Papa did 1! Just the one - he had work next day and I only have to study, write, organise a family Christmas and two children to care for. I should have realised!

Yesterday I set out all the Christmas menus and got online to do the shopping. Only 4 delivery slots left! I went through my itemised list and had bought nearly everything I needed when I looked at the clock - I had forgotten about KC - he was still at school... and school had finished 10 minutes ago - my heart raced. I ran out of the door telling TJ to stay in bed, I would be 5 minutes. As I ran the computer beeped - I looked back - 'You have 5 minutes before you lose your delivery slot' it said. Bugger!!!!! Food or kid???? Which should I do? I opted for the child - who I envisaged as stood outside the school gate alone and crying. I ran to school - no, I literally ran! I got there to find no KC... What was going on? I went into the school yard to see KC and 4 friends playing football with a teacher. 'Daddy!' he cried, 'You came!'. The teacher looked at me disapprovingly. 'I'm so sorry,' I said, 'TJ is at home sick and I have to get back.' I hope the teacher believed me as I grabbed KC and he waved goodbye to the other 'forgotten' children. My name is now probably on a 'list' somewhere in the staff room...

We ran in through the front door - I raced to the computer as it flashed up - 'Your designated time has now been lost - please log on again to rebook a delivery slot.' Even the computer was admonishing me!

I logged back on to find all the delivery slots over Christmas had now gone - I have £120 worth of shopping in my trolley and nowhere to send it to - unless I wanted it on Dec 28th, which defeated the object of shopping early! I put my head in my hands knowing I was now destined to have to go to Sainsbury's on Christmas Eve as the weekend before I am up in Cheshire collecting my mother and the ASBO dog for the Christmas break. Then suddenly a slot flashed up as available. Obviously, another sap had gone somewhere else and missed their 'designated shopping time.' I booked it - 7am on Saturday - but I don't care. We can get the shopping put away and I'll then head up to Mum, its going to take me all day to get there anyway. I breathed a sigh of relief and then the screen froze when I was paying... Is it really worth it??????? I cried for a while and then called the Customer Services Department. It helped that TJ was crying next to the phone. The Customer Services lady was lovely - took my card details and even gave me a voucher code to save on the delivery cost - which is £10 for the festive period!!!!!

So I am all ready - I hope.....

On a positive note - my insurance will cover the damage to TJ's teacher's car!!!!! And I wont lose my no-claims and, even better news, as I am not claiming for my car I don't even have to pay any excess... Honesty was the best policy. The chap at the insurance company was very impressed that I had left my details when the car was unattended... apparently most people don't, which I find shocking... I didn't tell him it was TJ's teacher I hit....

Last night Papa agreed to take turns watching TJ if he woke up in the night. Of course he did - beginning at 2.30am... 'Your turn,' I whispered in Papa's ear... I won't tell you what he said but the second word was 'off!' Charming. Needless to say 'sharing' the night time duties involved me getting up on the hour every hour - so as I type this I am slightly cross eyed!

Today is KC's Carol Concert - I didnt think I would be able to go but my lovely adorable and slightly mad Turkish cleaner has agreed to watch TJ while I go to the school. Bless her!!!! She definately deserves a bonus!!!!!!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Visiting Father Christmas...

What a lovely weekend.

We had arranged to go to Lapland with our very dear friends and their children - not the real Lapland, but Lapland UK - which is just outside of Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Not quite as exotic but every bit as magical.

We were hurrying out of our drive - all packed in with Christmas music on the stereo. I reversed out of our drive and suddenly heard a 'crunch'. "What was that?" Papa exclaimed. My heart sank. In our excitement to get out I had failed to notice the car parked over the road from me and had gone straight into the side of a blue Ford Focus. We got out to inspect the damage. Luckily there wasn't even a scratch on our car. Then I turned to look at the Ford. The area above the wheel had just crumpled. I stared at it. Then the evil little voice inside my head said 'No-one saw - jump in and drive off." I was about to listen to my good little voice who would probably contradict this argumment when a real little voice piped up from the backseats, "That's my teacher's car." I turned slowly to look at TJ. "It is," he said, "that's Mrs P's car - she parked there earlier - I saw her and waved." We were caught red handed. I couldn't even contemplate doing a runner now (not that I would have I hasten to add - it was just a momentary blip). So I called TJ's teacher - who I work with on the PTA. She came down to see me. Luckily she was very good about it and more surprised about the amount of damage done to her car and none to mine. But we exchanged details and left with a clear consicence and our heads held high... whilst Papa complained about our losing our no claims bonus now...

Off to Lapland!!!!!

It was fantastic - the children all made teddy bears with the elves and then gingerbread men with mother Christmas before we were given free time to explore the 'Winter Wonderland' - which included ice skating, writing and posting letters at Santa's post office and eating very expensive sausages before going round the gift shop to spend our elf 'jingles' - real money isn't used in Lapland - oddly enough all major credit cards are accepted though. Either way the kids were all massively hyped up to see the big man. We were collected by our elf guide and led through the winding, snow covered forest where the elf taught the children how to listen to the trees to find out which road took us to Santa. They turned up at Father Christmas's log cabin and in they went to see him. Both KC and TJ went last year - but this year we are repeating everything as last year they just didn't know how to deal with Christmas at all. All of our customs were new to them. As TJ exclaimed when he saw the Christmas tree - 'It's the same decorations as last year!' At first I thought he was disappointed but then I realised in his short life he had already been to many houses for different Christmas's. Of course we have moved house as well this year - so it was reassuring for him to see that although we had moved our Christmas would still be the same and Santa would still visit.

The children each sat down next to Father Christmas and told him what they wanted. 'Just one thing.' Father Christmas (one of the best I have seen) wisely said before the boys gave him a list. KC opted for a toy elf - which luckily arrived last week from the USA whilst TJ asked for a new Arsenal kit - which Granny has already got him. Then he added 'with a number 12 on the back!' "Of course I can do that!' Santa exclaimed. I looked at Papa. in TJ's letter to Santa he said a kit with a number 11 on the back - what was this sudden change to 12 about. Bugger! And Mum has already bought the kit. We spent most of the way home 'bigging up' the number 11... Now Papa and I will have to find out who number 11 actually is! Unfortunately, I have taken a little bit of a shine to the football player who is No 12 and encouraged TJ to put some lovely posters of the rather good looking chap on his wall - so it maybe that I am to blame - just don't tell Papa!!!!!!!!

They came home clutching the toy huskies Santa had given them exhausted but incredibly happy.. I think this is probably KC's final year of truly believing - and not just faking it to make sure he gets his haul of presents... and it was lovely to watch his face light up - especially when he looked at Santa's Good List to see how Santa knew so much about him - to see that the book had no writing on it at all - just magic writing only Santa could read. An excellent touch and how Santa knew all that information about the kids I do not know... well, I do but the children don't!!!!!!!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Play Aftermath

Last night I watched KC in his Christmas Performance. TJ actually sat enthralled all the way through and his only comments were positive ones. As many of you will remember from KC's summer performance TJ took great delight in critiquing each performance as it happened - much to the 'delight' of the parents around us. He was a pretty harsh critic that time. But I think after his own performance he now knows how much work the children put into their little show. KC was the Ginger Elf - who was a naughty elf and hid in Santa's sleigh (I was paying attention) - then he fell out of the sleigh into a child's home and had to be rescued by the Christmas Fairy. It may not have been Merchant Ivory but TJ loved it. He also loved that KC's elf hat had 'Kiss Me' written on it. KC's other 'skit' was a retelling of the Willy Wonka story - but with only four children. She was Mike Teevee - again typecasting!  That 'skit' wasnt as successful as some of the children forgot their lines - luckily KC remembered them all and even said lines that weren't his - I am sure the other kids were grateful! One of the other performers thanked KC for the intervention. The child playing Augustus Gloop left a Pinter pause long enough to drive a bus through and KC simply said his line for him. 'I know what my line is,' the boy said , 'I was just acting.' This caused a ripple of amusement from the audience. TJ looked on approvingly, 'KC knows everything,' he whispered in my ear.

After the performance the impossibly cheerful drama teacher held a raffle - that cost me a fiver and we didn't win anything! Then she laid on a huge spread of cakes, sweets, chocolate and squash for the kids. Needless to say by the time I prised TJ away from the cake stand - still clutching a piece of swiss roll - both boys were fully loaded with enough sugar to keep them buzzing the entire night. They were fighting in the back of the car when suddenly they stopped. KC said 'Daddy, why are you being so quiet?' I looked in the mirror, 'Because I dont have the energy to shout at you both.' I replied. 'Oh,' said KC, 'Should I be setting a better example for TJ?' 'That would be nice,' I said - now realising that my parenting skills were second to none. So KC sat quietly for at least two minutes - then TJ kicked him in the shin and all hell broke loose again. But it was nice while it lasted. I did what all parents do in this situation. I turned the radio up and drove home as quickly as I could before sending them to bed!

I sat down and watched the TV with my pizza and a glass of red wine. Waiting for Papa... He finally rolled in at around 2am. It must have been a good night. He had to take a female colleague home. That can't have been easy as apparently when they got to the address she gave the taxi driver she woke up, looked around and said, 'I don't live here,' and then slipped back into a drunken slumber leaving Papa to work out where she actually did live. Luckily, he was in just as bad a state so he didnt care about it and found the whole thing hilariously funny... I'm afraid I may not have been the most appreciative of audiences as he woke me up in order to share his experience at 2am!

I did enjoy watching him crash around the bedroom at 6am though trying to get ready for work... I offered to turn the lights on for him, but apparently he is used to getting dressed in the dark and didn't want any lights - just a glass of water!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Little Angel

Today is a busy day for us all. TJ has just had his Christmas Nativity play - he was a beautiful little angel, who not only managed to remain white but also danced a solo to mark the coming of the baby Jesus... I think some parents were a bit miffed when I shouted out '7' in my best Len Goodman impersonation - obviously they felt he deserved a higher score! Seriously though, he was brilliant - I know I am being a doting parent - but I didn't even know that he had forgotten all the steps and wasn't supposed to be spinning around in the middle of the stage - he managed to fool everyone into thinking that was how it was choreographed. Everyone that is except the teacher who choreographed it and had to get up and guide him gently back to his rightful position behind the shepherds. I felt sorriest for the child playing the donkey. As Mary and Joseph sang a beautiful solo that left many in tears - poor old donkey-child had to stand between them wearing a paper plate coloured in as a mask and looking completely lost. At one point it did seem as though Joseph was singing to the donkey but we soon realised he was telling Mary how he would love her and her baby.

We came to the end of the Nativity and everyone stood up and clapped. I was so proud of TJ - last year he just stood on stage and cried - this year he has gained so much more confidence and was so pleased to see me there - he even gave me a cheeky little wave. Of course, as professional performer myself I didnt approve and have reprimanded him completely... well, maybe I waved back too... like all the other naughty parents....

Tonight we have KC's end of term Christmas play to see. The impossibly cheerful drama teacher has been working with them all term and KC will be playing two roles  - the ginger elf (typecasting) and Darth Vader (I think) - I'm not quite sure where the Dark Lord of Star Wars fame fits into the Christmas story but I'll let you know how it goes...

Papa is unable to attend either - he has a very important day at work - it's his office Christmas Party. So whilst I am sitting through (I mean enjoying) our little darlings Christmas offerings - he will getting drunk, eating vol-au-vents and then probably photocopying his bottom - or some such office nonsense. I was invited but it fell on the busiest Creative Day of the school year - I told Papa that maybe he should miss the Christmas party as this maybe the last year that the children still have that 'Christmas awe' about them. His reply, 'get a baby sitter and ask them to video it for us.'... sigh...But I should be grateful, after I get back from KC's extravaganza I can heat up the pizza he has left me for my dinner... I think I maybe getting bottle of wine to go with that!

The impossibly cheerful drama teacher has just called me to remind me to get KC there early and to remember that there will be refreshments and a prize raffle after the show this evening.... Festive Fun!!!!!!!! I shall definately be needing that wine!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Birthday Weekend

This weekend marked KC's 8th birthday. I cant believe how fast the time has flown by. He wanted to go horse riding for the day so we went down to meet our friends and everyone had a riding session - even Papa - everyone except me, as I am horribly allergic to horses - the mere thought of them makes me sneeze!!!!!!

KC had a great day and his Godparents completely upstaged our gift of a skateboard (which he had been asking for for ages) by giving him a lizard - well, a leopard gecko. All other presents were forgotten about - only the gecko - now called Climby (as he climbs over everything) was the centre of attention.

Ginger the bunny had been attacked by his brother Shadow a couple of days ago. Luckily no major harm was done but a bunny battle can be quite viscious and poor Ginger ended up spending most of the day at the vet. Turns out the pet shop - whom I won't name here - had told us these bunnies were around 12 weeks old and would need their 'chop' when they were 6 months. however, upon seeing the afflicted rabbit the vet turned him over and grabbed his bits saying 'this bunny is definately mature!' So now the rabbits are booked in for the snip on Wednesday - until then they have to separated. KC was in floods of tears when he saw Ginger and he held it close to him simply saying 'don't die, Ginger, don't die.' It was heartbreaking. I explained that Ginger would be ok but that he and Shadow needed a special injection to make them be nicer to each other. TJ looked up at me - 'Will I need that injection too?' he asked. I looked at him, 'Sometimes, I think it would help a lot,' I replied, 'but I dont think you would thank me for it.' We left it at that.

Yesterday we had a Christmas party with the local adoption support group. It was great fun and packed! As we left KC said to me, 'Are all those children adopted?'. 'Most of them,' I replied. 'But they were just normal,' he said. Its things like that that make adoption support so necessary. The kids know they are different to other children in their school but it is so important for them to realise that they are not so different.

As soon as we entered the hall Papa started to sneeze. 'I hope you are not coming down with anything,' I said caringly, 'I have my work's Christmas party to go to tomorrow and I don't want to miss it!' He assured me he would be fine. Then this morning he couldn't move - the poor guy ached all over. 'I blame those kids,' he said, 'I'm obviously allergic to them.' He now refuses to enter a room where there are more than 4 children.

So today I have two small children under my feet playing with various animals whilst Papa lies in bed shouting orders for endless cups of tea and lemsip!

I am still going to my party though - he will just have to make his own tea!!!!!!!!

Friday, 7 December 2012

What a week!

Its been a bit of a hectic week so I have to apologise for not updating the blog as regulalry as I should over these past few days. Sorry...

Yesterday was indicative of the week - I had a therapy session in the morning. Its a parenting session, ideally for both of us but wierdly enough my therapist can't understand why Papa has to work during the day. As important as therapy is I have to constantly explain that with only one of us working now we kind of rely on Papa remaining in employment to eat and as brilliant as his bosses have been about the amount of time he has needed off work, I think we would be pushing it if he then asked for a day off every week to attend a therapy session, especially when there isn't any tea and biscuits. I've always imagined adult therapy sessions to involve food and tissues - maybe I have watched too many US TV shows - in the UK therapy consists of two ancient armchairs, no heating and definately no budget for refreshments in a draughty council office. Luckily my therapist (who also looks after the 'participants' on the Jeremy Kyle show - after they have poured their souls out about their neighbour eating their dog or some such nonsense) is also a heavy smoker - so we have to take our session outside at regular intervals for her to sustain her nicotine levels.  Yesterday was a lovely session though - she actually sat with me and simply said 'you and Papa have done an amazing job - think of where you were last year and give yourself a pat on the back.' At first I thought she was just flattering us - after all therapy is bloody expensive and I'm sure she has bills to pay - but then I did sit and look back - and where we are now is actually pretty amazing. Despite all the ups and downs we have come through as a strong family unit. Yes, we have issues and thery are very different to other families issues but we are getting there and, finally, enjoying life.

Tomorrow is KC's birthday - I can't believe it's his second birthday with us. But what is just as fantastic is that this year he is excited! I think last year - his first birthday with us, he wasnt quite sure what was going to happen - do we celebrate birthdays? - will he get presents?. He didn't even ask for anything, just waited till the day to see what he got. This year he has a list, he is bright and his eyes are sparkling and he is genuinely excited - it really is a transformation. He has figured out that he is getting a lizard - mainly because we are going to see his Godparents tomorrow for the day - going horse riding and then a birthday tea - and his Godfather breeds lizards (and snakes too but we dont mention those). Top of heiswish list was - yes, you guessed it - a lizard! So today I nipped out and picked him up a skate board. This is so in the morning he will get that and hopefully the lizard will then be an extra surprise. Although the lizard may not happen as Goddad is away and its down to me and Godmum to get said animal into a cage... I'm not sure how that will work but it will probably make a great blog entry.... but, I know he would be grateful for whatever he gets - simply because he knows what it is like to get nothing.

Anyway, they have had a great week at school - rehearsing for their carol concert and nativity play. TJ has just told me that the baby Jesus got a monster off one of the kings. I looked at him, 'Are you sure?' I asked. 'Yes,' he replied, 'The king has to give Jesus Frankenstein'. I explained that it was Frankincense and was a kind of nice smelling perfume. He looked at me, 'Don't be silly, 'he muttered, 'Why would baby Jesus want perfume - thats a rubbish present, I would give it back.' I hope no-one gives TJ anything he doesnt like this year, they would soon know about it!

Yesterday I was in the post office, mailing a pile of Christmas cards - (the stamps cost more than the cards!!!!) - I overheard the lady behind me, 'This year, she said,' I have told our Angel that she is not going to have a lot of presents, we just dont have the money and I thought it better to tell her before she sees the small pile of presents.'
'It's so true, I think everyone is struggling this year,' her friend replied.
'Yes, this year I've only managed to buy her everything on her list - there's no extras.'
Well, its a good job her daughter will understand the nature of frugality then. I always thought the 'list' was there so we could pick a couple of things from it... but maybe I am old fashioned....

Today, I went up to London - to meet with a very nice literary agent (I had to say that as he reads this blog) to get some advice about how to turn this little blog into a book. Yes, a book! It was fascinating to learn how it all works and now I am really excited about it - lets see what happens. But just as exciting was going up to London - by myself, wearing nice clothes - and not having to think about the kids all day. Papa and I even went out for lunch... a grown up day. Its amazing how the little things suddenly mean so much when you have kids...

Now the boys are sat in front of the wii playing the French version of Sonic and Mario at the London Olympics. 'Why is it in French?' I asked. KC looked at me, 'Because they wear nicer clothes.' he said. A fashionista in the family - I was stunned - then I saw that the characters were all dressed as some sort of insect. I don't remember the Ferench team wearing bumble bee onesies. So maybe we don't have a budding fashion designer after all - although considering what passes for fashion nowadays he may be on the right track.....

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent Begins....

What a weekend.... On Saturday it was the school Christmas Fayre... And I was an over weight elf selling over priced reindeer food.... When did that happen? When I was a kid we left a carrot and a glass of sherry out for Santa and his reindeer. Now Santa requires a whole meal energy boosting food complete with magic dust and glitter for his reindeer and probably a pair of Uggs for himself. My partner in crime for the day was my police woman friend, who was also an elf. This worked out quite well as earlier in the day KC asked me why I had 'magic dust', surely only Santa had the magic. I pointed out that our friend was a policewoman and as such could be trusted with magic dust and had it locked away in her police car. He accepted that, so all was good.

The fayre (yes they did spell it like that) was great fun and the kids had a great time. Apparently there were lots of positive comments about our stall so we must have done something right! Papa had to look after the kids for the day.... I'm surprised he had any hair left, they went bonkers and had a whale of a time... At Papa's expense!

We opened the advent calendar this weekend and the children are beginning to get excited... TJ asked if he could open all the little doors today. I looked at him inquisitively but he simply said, 'if we do that then it will be Christmas tomorrow!' You have to love his ingenuity. Then he told me what he was going to be in his nativity play next week... An angel! I nearly fell over in shock... Obviously his teacher was having a laugh. But no, he is to be an angel and will do a dance over the Blessed Family. God help them! However he has informed me that I am to make his costume... It has to be white and have Wings but it has to be an angel costume for a boy... So white shorts and white football socks are the order of the day, apparently all boy angels wear football kits! Well at least it's an easy costume to put together.... I guess all the boy angels will be wearing England football kits!

My fantastic cleaner was in today, she spotted my two boxes of Turkish delight, "you are liking Turkish delight?" She asked with a wistful tone. Thinking the sight of it had made her homesick for her native land I offered her a box. "I can't take it," she said. "It's ok,.' I replied, 'it was buy one get one free from Sainsburys'. She looked at me disdainfully, "Just because I am Turkish it does not mean that I like Turkish Delight." I suddenly felt horribly racist... She stared at me.... " but... I do like pistachio nuts!' Well, that's cleared that up, and at least I know what to get her for Christmas this year....