Thursday, 31 January 2013

The cat's tail/tale?

Yesterday we had a bit of a quiet time. Well, it was quiet after we came home from school.

I had allowed the kids to take their scooters to school on the proviso that they would be extremely careful on the road and would be wary of any pedestrians - previously, TJ had flown down the hill knocking people out of the way left, right and centre. However, promises were made and the children rode into school and then rode back home again. However, as I wrote yesterday they decided that they would get together with their friend and throw stones at passing cars whilst riding their scooters.

Both boys were grounded.

The upshot of that was that the house was really quiet - no TV, no games consoles bleeping away. Just two children getting on quietly with some arts and craft. A friend of mine had given them some brilliant paint it yourself wooden dinosaur kits and the kids and I thought that we would take the opportunity to make them.

Everything was put together and the boys were painting away. I nipped upstairs and was on my way back down a few minutes later to find KC standing in front of me looking very worried.

'I think I'm in more trouble,' he said sheepishly.
'Why's that?' I asked him - using that knowing tone that parents get.
'I think I accidentally painted the cat,' he said and upon seeing my face change added, 'Well, it's tail anyway.'

I went into the kitchen to find our beloved moggie now had a bright red tail - words failed me.
'He jumped onto the table to see what we were doing,' KC explained, 'And I thought his tail was a paintbrush, so I dipped it into the red paint.' By now the story was beginning to show a few holes... 'Then I tried to get it off, but it spread all over his tail and now I don't know what to do.' He started to cry. Great now I can't even get cross without looking like a fierce ogre... although crying is a form of control as my mother frequently reminds me.

So KC and I spent a few minutes washing a very grumpy cat's tail - and now its only the white bits that are still red - which does give the cat a kind of punk rocker look. So I guess we'll go with that for a while.

I had better keep the dog away from them when they are glueing things!!!!!!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Schools - Secondary... or Boarding!!!!

Last night I spent much of the evening researching the secondary schools in our area. I know that seems really early but we live in a part of the UK that still uses the selective system, that is that the children still have to take an exam at 11 to show whether they are academically gifted - this then means that those who have the talent (and can take exams) can get accepted into Grammar schools whereas those who aren't (or who dont cope well with exams) end up in the Academies - if they are lucky, state secondary if not. As you can tell I am not a fan of this system - even though I would have done well under it. But neither of my children are academically gifted and, as their learning is roughly two years behind their peers, I know they wont be ready to take their 11plus exam. Ideally they will blossom in their teenage years - once they have managed to deal with the horrors of their early trauma. So the state system is probably something we are going to have to avoid... It just astounds me that in this day and age we still map out our children's futures from the age of 11 - if they can get into Grammar then they will be ok, if not.... well.

Which leaves us with the private system. Luckily I managed to find a couple of schools that specialise in small classes for children who may show talents elsewhere - with animals or the creative arts (both of which would suit Lea) or with sciences and problem solving (which has TJ written all over it). However, it wont be cheap - probably around £10k per year per child. I showed Papa and he loved it until he saw the prices, after that he suddenly had a change of heart and felt that the state option might be better after all... then he had a bright idea... home schooling. I could easily home school the kids and then we dont have to worry about them being led astray by dodgy mates or getting lost in the system. I was considering this...

Then today happened!

Coming home from school today and both children raced off on their scooters with a friend of TJ's... fine... they are all quite sensible and the roads near us are very quiet. Until, I came around the corner to see the three kids racing along the path and throwing stones at passing cars! I was livid. I furiously shouted at them and they all stopped what they were doing. 'You had better go home,' I told the friend. Lea and TJ both looked sheepish and scuttled off home. When we got in I calmly asked them what they thought they were doing - to be met with a flurry of answers all laying the blame for their actions squarely at the foot of the friend. I'm afraid I lost it - I dont really have a temper but when I lose it people know... within seconds both kids were in their rooms crying after I had hollered at them and banned Skylanders, TV and scooters for a month! (that may go down to a week with good behaviour). I then spoke to both individually about their actions and choices and... well, the usual stuff... Whereupon TJ said to me, 'But why aren't you telling my friend off?' I calmly explained that whatever his friend did was his choice and was for his parents to deal with but my children were not going to behave like that. So now I am worried that the children are both gravitating towards the more troublesome elements of their year group - apparently that is quite common for children from traumatic backgrounds - they are attracted to chaos and see similarities with children we may prefer them not to mix with. How can I change that? I want to be an accepting and open parent but sometimes I just want to lock them away for their own good! I now see where Rapunzel's step mother was coming from!

Then it hit me! Boarding School!!!!! Although Papa's nephew is at one of the better boarding schools and so far we have had to deal with under age smoking, drinking and probably lots more to come... but at least our nephew's parents don't have to deal with it - they leave that to the school and us as his guardians. So boarding school abroad is my latest option - we can let Papa's sister look after them, I'm sure she will be happy to return the favour. We go to Singapore next week and while we are there I shall start exploring my options!!!!!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Two days work in one...

Yesterday, I went up to Lancashire to attend my Aunt's funeral. It was a bit of a trek coming back as I came on the train. We had to detour through Stafford as a young boy, who was on his way back to school, got onto the wrong train and didn't really want to go to London. Poor lad. I had actually seen him on the platform earlier and wondered why this boy was unattended - I thought at first he was a runaway or up to no good, how wrong I was, this young man was on his way back to one of England's top public schools and would probably one day lead our country... although the fact he can't follow simple directions at a train station is cause for a little concern for our nation's future.. When did I suddenly get so old I asked my self later? A few years ago I wouldn't have given him a second glance, but now I was making assumptions about him, I wonder if that's something that happens when you become a parent? The judging of other people's children. Still, at twelve years old he shouldn't have been hanging around train stations unattended at 8pm! (or am I still being old fashioned?).

The funeral was lovely though, a mixture of sadness and joy at seeing old friends and catching up with family. My cousins and I are now (nearly) all in our 40s and 50s and we commented that where we used to meet at weddings and christenings we were now more likely to meet up at funerals - again, another sign of age? One of our family friends commented, 'This is our third funeral this month, it's lovely to see so many people again.' Mind you this is Lytham St Annes - so I guess funerals are a regular occurence in a town we used to nickname 'God's Waiting Room.' However, my Aunt was given a lovely send off by her family and, I can honestly say, its the first funeral I've ever been to where the congregation did a mexican wave - which certainly made it memorable!

Back at home, Papa had to take the day off - or rather work from home - in order to look after the children. He had a list of what to do - in typical Papa style it took the form of bullet points and a spreadsheet. 8am - get kids up, 8.30 - go to school. 3.10 - pick Lea up - 4.30 pick TJ up from football club. 5.30 - feed them.. I kid you not - it said 'feed them'. Luckily I had bought some oven ready lasagnes - which apparently, according to TJ, were delicious and 'better than my home made lasagne!' I had also pre made the packed lunches, just to make sure that everything was done... at 7.30 - bed... Papa then said to me, 'But what do I do with them between dinner and bed?' 'You could play with them, ' I suggested helpfully. He thought about it, 'I'm sure they will have some homework to do.' he said. You can take the boy out of Singapore.... etc...

So this morning we all got back to normal and TJ said, 'Daddy, I don't have any clothes to wear.' And sure enough no socks or pants or shirts for him and no jumper for Lea. Of course, 'Monday is usually washing day and as Papa had been working then no washing had been done. I called Papa this morning and said, 'Now do you see what I have to do all day, when you think I am sitting around doing nothing?' His reply, 'You watch far too much daytime TV for me to think any different!' So I am now writing my blog surrounded by dirty washing - I think I would officially go on strike - but my cleaner is in today and she scares me so I had better get the house sorted before she arrives.... So now I am doing all of yesterday's chores whilst trying to catch up with todays!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Things to do!

So today was the day that I got loads more of my book written.

Yes, today I was going to be organised. I was finally going to set aside certain days for certain tasks, Monday for cleaning, Tuesday for therapy, Weds for studying, Thurs for TV scripting and Friday for book - leaving me with the weekend to be a parent! Ha!

This morning I was getting the children ready for school (which took a lot longer than usual as TJ's head was beeping! - I have no idea what that means but apparently it is because he thinks too much and therefore needs time off school, like thats going to happen!) However, we were nearly out the door when Lea reminded me that I had volunteered to help in the school - in a moment of do-gooder madness I had agree to sit with the 'kids that don't read good' and laugh at them in order to demolish their self esteem and get them ready for their bus driving careers... or perhaps it was to encourage them - I always get those two mixed up. Anyway, I had forgotten all about it and was in my dog walking clothes as opposed to me Head Teacher meeting outfit. I raced upstairs and got changed at the speed of light much to the dog's surprise - she was still on her lead.

The kids went to school and I popped into the meeting with the other parents. Its amazing how whenever any volunteers are called for its always the same people you meet. You would think in a school of over 400 pupils that there would be more than 6 parents (and one retiree) who would want to get involved with their kids education. There always seem to be plenty of parents around when things go wrong or if there are complaints to be made but if you ask for volunteers.... Oh well, there you go....

I've just cleaned the bathroom and my hands are itching - I think I'm allergic to Flash with Febreze. Why the cleaner uses that I'll never know...

I digress.

So I came home all ready to get on with my writing. Then I flicked the TV on to catch the news. Again it is always essential that I am up to date with the latest happenings around the world otherwise what would I talk about at the high powered dinner meetings I have to attend, or in the playground... but instead it was the Andy Murray/Roger Federer mens semi final (well of course it was men's - I do like that they remind us about that constantly throughout the match - I can see its men thank you!) Well that was it, the morning was gone.. and lunchtime... and it wasn't until nearly 1.30pm that I sat down to write my next sentence.... then the phone rang. My script writer friend who is working on the TV pilot needed to chat - we then had a long conversation about TV pitches and our agents... it all suddenly seemed very grown up.

So I made a cup of tea and we had a chat.

I sat down again and my phone went. My good friends were in the area and could they pop in for tea. Sure! I put the kettle on.

We then all left together to pick up the children and I had another meeting at school with TJ's teacher. Which went very well. All very positive. Progress is being made - which is a miracle in itself!

Then I came home and remembered my lovely sister and her fiancee were coming tonight and I hadn't cleaned the bathrooms, made their bed or vacuumed... I thought about doing all that (well, I cleaned the boys bathroom out of necessity) then remembered I hadn't written my blog. So now I will have to go back and finish the cleaning and I still haven't written anything - so much for organisation!!!!!!!!!

Still, at least its the weekend!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Papa Turns the big 40!!!!!

Yes, it finally happened. All the speculation and worry came to nothing. Papa turned 40, the world didn't end, he didn't suddenly turn grey, although neither did his 'life suddenly begin' as all his cards suggested - it was a normal day...

Well, as normal as any day can be which begins with Papa refusing to get out of bed or to see his own children. 'Leave me alone,' he muttered from under the bed clothes when I suggested that he should allow the kids to come and wish him a happy birthday. By now both were outside the bedroom door clutching their gifts and cards. I eventually got him to sit up - I used the same principle I use on the children, 'If you let them come and see you once they have gone to school then we can go shopping if you like... maybe a nice lunch?' We already had dinner planned in the evening with our friends, so I know that was taken care of and that, if the worse came to the worse, I had a good 8 hours to coax him out of bed - perhaps using M and M's?

The children were allowed in to see Papa - he greeted them as I imagine Queen Victoria greeted her brood upon the death of Prince Albert. 'Happy Birthday, Papa,' the boys shouted in unison - their faces eager with anticipation.

'Is it?, ' came the forlorn reply from under the duvet, 'Is it a 'happy' birthday?.'

The kids looked a bit confused, 'Its your birthday and we made you a card and bought you a present!'
'The children's present is a clue to my present,' I added jauntily.
'I don't want any presents,' Papa said.
Once again the kids were dumbfounded (which is not easy to do)

'Daddy made a cake,' piped up TJ, breaking the silence, 'I picked the flavour - its banana and chocolate.' TJ might have got away with this if he hadn't added, 'But we didn't have 40 candles.'
'That would be a fire risk,' I laughed. I soon stopped laughing as Papa glared at me.

Papa opened the kids card - which was lovely and then their present, a book on Digital Photography. He started to smile. 'Did you get me a camera?' I passed him my present, a Digital SLR camera. He beamed. 'I've always wanted one of these!' he said.

To be honest, I didn't have much choice in the way of present buying due to the fact that Papa had in previous weeks left pages surreptitiously open on my iPad on the Curry's Camera page - or on a certain brand of camera's website. The hints were palpable. He even left me his credit card to pay for it - unfortunately as a stay at home parent studying psychology whilst writing a book and a blog I don't earn much...
Anyway - he perked up after that and we went to Bluewater, which was a fun experience without any children in tow. Papa bought shoes and we had lunch. We were normal gays again! Hooray!!!!!
Then I had to end his idyllic dream - 'Come on,' I said, 'Time to pick the kids up from school.'
'Do we have to?' he said, 'They just remind me how old I am.'
And that dear hubby is the beauty of children!!!!!!

That evening we went out with our friends to a lovely restaurant and the children (both ours and theirs) behaved impeccably and slept all the way home. That evening as we went to bed, I said to Papa, 'So did you have a good day?'
'It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be - in fact it was quite fun,' he replied. Which I think is the best that we could have expected.....

What was noticeable over dinner was how open KC now is about his adoption. He told our friends son all about how adoption is really scary. You don't know where you are going or what will happen to you. You don't know the new family and you don't know how to behave. His friend listened intently and we as adults, listened but tried to pretend we weren't... Both to save his feelings and our own... I think if we had let him talk to us he would never have been so candid and we, as adults, add an emotional quality to what is to him, a simple fact of life. Children are adopted, they have no control over where they go or what happens to them. His friend turned to him and said, 'I've never been adopted... Yet!' We decided it was time to move on and the boys spent the rest of the evening discussing the differences between the major world religions... I kid you not!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow Day... and Memories

This weekend we finally got snow - lots of it... and boy were the children excited. They couldn't wait to get outside and use the sledges we bought them the last time it looked like it might snow - about 3 months ago. But they certainly made up for it yesterday! We were out in the bitter cold and blizzard like conditions for at least an hour. By the time we returned the boys were covered in snow from head to foot. TJ resembled a small snowman....

We had to come home in the end as KC was in floods of tears. The little monster had spent the whole afternoon throwing snowballs at anything that moved - and he has quite a throw. Well, he threw one at Papa who then did the unthinkable - he threw one back and it caught KC full in the face. Cue hysterical tears and an immediate need to go home. I tried to comfort him and explained that if you throw snowballs you have to expect to have them thrown back - that didn't go down too well and KC decided he hated us all, he hated snow and he hated being outside. Fine, I took him home and sat the Incredible Sulk in the kitchen to have a long chat about attitude - he is 8, where on earth has this sudden need to be rude to everyone come from - my little ginger angel is turning into a demon. I expected that at 14 or 15 but not yet....

Today school decided it would close due to the snow and Papa had to work from home because his bus service was cancelled. Apparently the main roads and railways are fine - we just cant get to them as the council decided not to grit the roads that feed onto the main ones - keeps the traffic down I guess.

So we are all at home - but Papa is actually trying to work - which can be tough when there are two bored children tearing around the house. (secretly, I'm pleased they are being such horrors - then Papa can see what I deal with every day!)

I persuaded them to come and choose Papa's birthday present online - hopefully with delivery in time - as they both refused to go shopping for a present. They now know about internet shopping and it has made them very lazy! So we went online and chose something and immediately after they wanted to go out and play in the snow. I think that the snow took precedence over the present as I simply had to show them something and they were shouting 'Yes, get that - that one,' I went to something else, 'Yes, that, that... can we go and play now!' I hope Papa enjoys his box set of 'Classic Car Crashes' - which TJ thought was an ideal gift. TJ did offer to give Papa one of his toys... 'not a good one though,' he added as an afterthought, anything to avoid going to the shops!

But present was duly chosen and purchased and I took the children and their sledges up the hill to give Papa some peace and quiet. Today, it was TJ's turn to turn on the tears. About 30minutes in and he decided that snow was too wet and too cold and could he go back home now. I love that we are raising such hardy young men eager to cope with whatever the world throws at them!

Please let them go back to school tomorrow. I am sure though that as it is a snow day that the school will happily hold a 'make-up' day in the Easter Holidays - I would hate for my children to miss out on their education.....

On a different note we lost my Aunt over the weekend. She fought a brave battle against cancer but finally went peacefully on Saturday night. I spent much of yesterday reminiscing with my Mum the great times we all had as children with my late father and cousins. I won't say much more as it is a family matter but she will be greatly missed and although we had drifted as I got older, we always exchanged birthday and Christmas cards and she was so welcoming when Papa and I got married and later when we adopted the boys sending cards and gifts.

However, one memory remains with me though - the night my father died, her younger brother. I was stuck in Singapore. I couldn't get a flight home as it was two days before Christmas and I had to wait at the airport for a seat to become available. My Aunt was the last person I called while I sat at that airport and she simply asked me if I was alone. By that time I was. She said, 'then I'll stay on the phone with you.' That was the first time I cried and as I sat there in an empty airport bawling my eyes out she simply stayed with me telling me to 'let it all out and that she wouldn't leave me.' I think I was on the phone with her for nearly an hour. I'll never forget it and we'll never forget her.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Breakfast Cereal....

What is going on this morning?

For the past two weeks TJ has insisted on only eating one type of cereal - Weetabix - that's it. Nothing else, just Weetabox... Until today. Today he took one look at the golden Wheaty goodness in his bowl and said, 'I hate that - I wanted Shreddies!' Yet, only a few weeks ago I was called by his teacher at school as TJ had been crying all morning, the reason? He hated Shreddies... I kid you not!

Now food and TJ has always been a difficult mix - TJ has a disorder which makes swallowing and therefore, eating quite a chore for him, so we never force him to eat and sometimes meals can take a long time - up to two hours! However, TJ is also incredibly stubborn and once he decides he doesn't like something or doesn't want to do anything then it can be a nightmare. This morning was obviously going to be one of those days.

It didn't help that last night, while KC was at drama with the impossibly cheerful drama teacher, TJ had to come shopping with me. Like most parents I bribe my children around the supermarket. My favourite reply to 'What do I get if I'm good?' has always been, 'A happy Daddy!' Last night that wasn't working. Last night TJ pulled out all the stops - instead of the usual whinging and whining his way around the store - which just infuriates me and we end up falling out, he did the reverse. He was helpful! Firstly, I nearly fell into the trolley in shock and then I found I quite enjoyed this new shopping experience. He got the eggs for me, ran ahead to get the bread and even waited patiently while I queued for cheese. We got to the check out and he helped with the bags and then sat quietly on a bench whilst I packed. 'What a good boy,' the lady of the check out remarked. 'Yes,' I repleid, 'but I know he is plotting something.' The lady looked at me with disgust as if to ask how I could possibly doubt this little blonde angel, who by now was sitting directly under a spotlight and was backlit - so he did look slightly heavenly. We went to leave when TJ quietly said, 'Oh the toys are over there, I wonder if they have a football toy?' Ah - now the reality. As anyone will tell you (especially Papa) I am the pushover in our family. 'Ok, lets go and look at them,' I said.

But once again TJ fooled me. Instead of going for the most expensive thing on the shelf, as expected, he pulled out a little silver 'Roy of the Rovers' novelty trophy mug. 'I think I would like this,' he said. I looked at the price, a final reduction to £2 - result. 'Ok,' I said, ' thats fine, you've been really good today so I can let you have that.' 'Hooray!' he shouted, 'Now Arsenal finally have a trophy!' The man next to us nearly fell over laughing....

Of course, that led to repercussions in the car. As soon as KC got in - completely hyper after an hour with the impossibly cheerful teacher - the first thing he said was, 'What did I get?'

'You got a drama lesson,' I told her. He thought about this and burst into tears -'I dont' get anything, TJ gets everything, you hate me and you love him more...' etc etc. I was trying to drive so I said, 'KC take a look at the price tag, what does it say?'

She stopped crying, 'It says the number 2,' she replied. 'Right,' I said, 'Then you can have your £2 pocket money when we get home, ok?'

'Good,' she said, 'because I want a CD.' I think someone will be learning the value of money very soon.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Bird Tables and School Projects - Siao!

This morning I went outside to find that KC, who had gone out to feed his rabbits, was standing stock still in the middle of the garden with one hand held above her head. In that hand was a piece of bread... I watched for a moment or two - it was at least -3 degrees out there but he stood stock still.

I asked him what he was doing. 'Ssshhhh,' se hissed, 'Its for my school project.'

I waited...

'We have got to see what birds come into our garden and write them down for school.' he whispered.

'And you are...?' I questioned.

'I am being really still so the birds think I am a bird table and then I can see them.' Of course, this made complete sense to an 8 year old. TJ came to see what I was looking at... He took one look at his brother standing in the frost covered garden and simply said disdainfully, 'Siao' and walked away. (For the sake of my non-Singaporean friends you pronounce that as in 'miaow' - years of speaking Mandarin translated into English have helped with that one. I even did a whole TV series that way - but that's another story - that involves bikes and kites... and setting myself on fire... another day!)

But back to today and I now have to clarify that comment.

Yesterday after street dance KC came home and was eager to share his 'moves' - I asked him if he was going to 'throw some shapes' - he looked at me as though I had just spat at him. 'No, but I'll show you my dancing,' he replied. And so he went into his routine - which I have to say was pretty impressive - particularly as he was running the song in his head and so all we heard was the sound of his feet and hands making the beats. But, I have to say, he has pretty good rhythm! Anyway, once again the suitably dismissive TJ walked into the room, watched his brother and said, 'Siao'.

I was quite taken aback. 'Where did you hear that I asked?'
'Papa says it all the time,' came the reply.
'Does he?', I said, 'And when have you heard him say that?'
'Whenever you are dancing in the kitchen and think no-one can see.'

(I now have to add that 'siao' is Hokkien - a Chinese dialect spoken in Singapore - and means 'crazy'.)

I looked at TJ, 'Do you know what it means?' I asked.
'Yes,' he replied, 'It means 'you are not cool',' and then added, 'Which you are not.' He then left the room and went upstairs to play Skylanders. I thought our kids were supposed to worship us as Gods until they were at least 15!

Back to this morning. I brought KC in and told him it was too cold to be standing outside, even if he did want to feed the birds. 'Can I wear my gloves then?' he asked. 'Not today, 'I said. 'besides it's time for school.'
'Then can we get a bird table for the garden,' he said.
I thought about it, 'Why don't you ask Papa when he gets home? Just tell him it's for your school project and he is bound to want to take you to get one at the weekend.' We'll see who is 'siow' then!

On a final note, Papa is 40 next week. He has told me not to blog about it - this is due to the fact that he is already moping. Apparently, his life is now practically over and he has nothing to show for it and can we all stop talking about it and reminding him... Well, dear, its very hard not to talk about something when everytime I turn on an electrical device it flashes up the days, hours and minutes I have left in which to purchase your birthday present!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Facebook and Gay Marriage...

This morning I read a Facebook post that infuriated me - I'm sure the person that posted it didn't mean anything and is a very nice person (I dont actually know them - but thats the problem with Facebook, anything automatically becomes shared and then public property)

Anyway, I wont go into it but the crux of the matter was the gay situation in Singapore - for those of you who don't know, Singapore still outlaws gay relationships - well in particular gay sex and a well meaning person had written that it was unfortunate that the right wing Christians didn't realise that gays were 'created' due to the hardships they suffered in childhood, development issues, abuse and lack of love and I'm afraid I saw red.... and I wrote this:

'As a gay man, partner of over 10 years in a civil partnership and raising two 'damaged' children, I am horrified by some of the comments on this thread and to even suggest that I am gay due to abuse, lack of love etc is frankly ignorant and offensive. I was raised in a church going family, filled with love, my grandfather is a vicar as is my uncle. I battled with my homosexuality because the church taught me it was wrong and therefore I was not worthy. It has taken me a long time to reconcile my faith and accept that this is all part of my journey. I cannot deny who I am as if I did that I would be offending the very God who created me. But I can learn to live in a moral way. I am faithful to my partner,I love my kids, I attend church regularly, am confirmed and have had my children baptised. I don't judge anyone for their beliefs but I won't be told that I am gay because I am in some way damaged... That insults the parents of gay people everywhere.'

For me it was a very personal thing to share but I think it speaks for me and for many who I am sure recognise that their sexuality is not 'caused' by anyone or anything.... maybe some disagree - feel free to tell me why... I love a debate...

Which then brings us on to the issue of gay marriage, which seems a lifetime ahead of the issues currently being debated in Singapore.

I thought about it and actually we should thank the right wing church for denying gay people the right to marry...

When I was single I was able to drop everything and go to New York with my friends - just to meet up for a weekend, I went to the gym, I was healthy and fun loving.

Now don't get me wrong I love Papa with all my heart - but we decided that we would take advantage of the new equality laws and held our Civil Partnership 6 years ago. We then wanted what our straight friends had - a family. So we applied to adopt and were blessed with our two children (whom I also love dearly). But now I have put on at least 3 stone, drink too much ,am constantly stressed and exhausted. Papa and I argue over things like whose turn it is to clip kids toenails and why is there no milk for breakfast. We are constantly tired and broke - with every last penny going on our kids...

Just think if the Right Wing church had their way we would have been spared all this and would be happily attending gay orgies and shopping while listening to Kylie. So the Right Wing Church does love gay people - behind the facade of vitriolic hatred they simply wanted to spare us gays from being as unhappy as they obviously are in their lives!!!!!!

Luckily - I have an amazing support network of friends and family and no matter how bad it gets there is always someone to call or somewhere to go and have a coffee while the kids run screaming in another room. Much better than sitting in a room with other like minded people spewing hatred towards a group of people we have probably never met.

After all what goes around comes around... at least I hope so!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Homework Blues....

Apologies for not posting since Friday - weekends are always tough and I often think that the weekend gives everyone time to read through the week's blogs and see what's been going on in our crazy lives. It also gives me time to read back over the week's entries and take stock of what has been going on - sometimes I even amuse myself, although that's not too hard!

Yesterday, I met up with my friend who is working on the script of the blog - and we finally managed to cobble together what should be a very funny pilot episode - hopefully, we will be able to get some interest from that - next I have to start work actually writing the book... But as any parent will tell you finding the time to do anything that is just for you is a nightmare - children are like leeches, they suck onto you and don't let go until they have drained every last bit of energy from you - leaving you completely exhausted. But I will get there...

This week the children started bringing homework back - I don't know if I have mentioned it but their school went into special measures - typical - I spent months looking for a suitable school - loved this one (and still do) but now the powers that be have decided its failing. To be honest, I think the school does an excellent job - the children are happy and polite and enjoy going to school - which I always think is half the battle. However, the powers that be have decided that the failing part of the school is obviously down to the kids and are sending home shed loads of homework (I may be being mean here - but I don't ever remember getting homework when I was 7 - just reading and spelling) these guys are coming back with worksheets in maths, literacy and are expected to read every night and do their spelling. When do they get time to play? - oooo I sound like Julie Andrews talking to the stern Captain in the Sound Of Music!!!!!! I shall soon be running up play clothes using the curtains.... Surely social skills are as important as academic ones - or am I being old fashioned... anyway... I am just ranting now and I didnt mean too.

The crux of today's blog is that yesterday evening KC came home clutching his mass of homework - a maths worksheet, a literacy one, two reading books and his spelling. Of course he isn't expected to do it all in one night so I said we would do one worksheet tonight and one tomorrow - Wednesday is street dance and Thursday is drama so homework needs to be done on Monday and Tuesday. TJ had football club so it was an ideal time for KC and I to sit and work together... OH MY GOD!!!!!!! I wanted to kill him... he couldn't do it, he wouldn't do it, he cried, he screamed, he threw things, he was sent to his room, he came down and 'accidentally' spilt water on his homework, he decided to do it but he didnt' want any help... then he needed help... then.... aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Then TJ came back from football - except it was cold so his football coach kept them inside and they drew pictures of their favourite footballers... I paid for that?????? Not happy - I expect him to come home muddy and exhausted - not as hyper as when he went in the morning. Anyhow poor TJ came into the kitchen as Lea was having a major tantrum. 'I think I'll go to my room and do some drawing,' he said quite calmly... it didn't occur to me that this was very unlike TJ and that I should have been worried. No, I just took it at face value and was grateful that only one child was playing up.

So eventually, KC finished his homework - after nearly 3 hours!!!!!!! It was now TJ's bathtime - I went upstairs to find him sitting quietly and colouring....  on KC's school jumper. 'What are you doing?' I shouted. He looked up at me, 'Colouring,' came the reply. 'But that's KC's school jumper!' I continued to holler. He looked at me as if to ask why I was stating the obvious. 'Well, I couldn't find any paper.' he said. I just looked at him in disbelief. 'Then you will have to buy KC a new jumper!' I said. 'With what?' came the reply.... I was stumped. After a few seconds thought I came up with the reply, 'Well we are going to start giving you pocket money - and I am now taking it away until the jumper is paid for!....'  I was satisifed with this answer and it was only as I walked away to run TJ's bath that I realised that as he had never had pocket money he wasn't really missing not getting any for a few weeks. hmmmm....

Friday, 11 January 2013

The word of the day is... gay!

Well, I was planning on writing a lovely blog about children, pets and fruitcake - but instead it is probably going to more about the conversation I just had with my youngest child.

Namely, because he walked through the door after coming home from school and said ' Daddy, there is a gay toilet in school - its the toilet that when boys use it they have to kiss each other.' Great! There wasn't anything homphobic about the way it was said, and I don't think the comments were meant in a nasty way - just usual 7 year old curiosity.

My first instinct was just to sit down and think about where this was going to go. TJ obviously thought this had caused a problem and said, 'I didn't say anything about it - I think its disgusting when two men kiss each other.' I was about to freak when he added, 'Or when a man kisses a woman - that's even more disgusting, cause its a girl!'
'So all kissing is disgusting is it?'I asked him. He nodded and then added quickly, 'Well, not when grown ups do it - that's up to them!'

So I went upstairs and pulled out my copy of 'Let's Talk About Where Babies Come From' (which is also called 'Its Amazing' in the USA. For any parents and teachers this is an amazing book (see what I did there) that goes through where babies come from, families and the different types of families as well as the idea of love. Its very easy to use and you can pick and choose the chapters that are relevant to the question you have just been asked by your child - why do they always ask things when you are least ready to answer them!?

Anyway, the book covers what it means to be straight, gay and lesbian. It looks at how familes are made up of single parents, single gay parents and parents of both sexes or the same sex - in a child friendly way. By the end of our chat TJ looks up and says, 'So you and Papa are gay?' 'Yes,' I replied. 'Oh, ok,' he said. Then added, 'So am I gay too?' - this was obviously the question that had been worrying him, 'No,' I said, 'You are 7, you probably won't know if you are gay or straight until you are much older. But being gay is nothing to be ashamed of, I'm gay, Papa's gay, we have gay friends and gay godparents... but you also have straight friends and straight godparents - and they all love you just the same.' I sat back impressed with my own parenting skills. TJ looked at me thoughfully, 'Cool,' he said, 'I didnt want to decide just yet.'

I guess the other chat about it not being a choice will come later... He then rushed off and pulled out a Crunchie bar from his selection pack - which I cannot believe has lasted this long - and ate that while watching a cartoon.

He was about halfway through his chocolate bar when TJ suddenly said, 'But I think I would like to marry a boy - then we can make loads of mess and play Skylanders all day!'

All is back to normal again!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Thank you for the....

We decided to sit down and write our thank you letters. I say 'we' decided. To be more frank, I decide it was time it was done...

Good grief it was like pulling teeth. KC, who has problems with writing anyway, diligently sat down and copied everything I wrote down for him first. Unfortunately, his writing is so bad that most of it is pretty unintelligible but at least he got there... TJ on the other hand... sigh...

Where KC struggles, TJ can cope. His writing is fine... his stamina and concentration powers are close to zero. The first three letters went by without a hitch. Then the whinging started... 'my hand hurts...' closely followed by... 'my back hurts...' then came .. 'I have a headache.' To all of these I had the stock reply, 'well, if you are in so much pain I think once we have finished instead of playing Skylanders you should go to bed and rest.'. The threat of Skylanders removal is a blessing (thank you for that great gift Grandma and Grandpa - a thank you letter is on its way - from me!!!!!)

This argument got us through a few more letters then he changed tact... 'Why do people have such long names?' (he objected to having to write Uncle... and Aunty.... He even want to write Pa and Ma instead of Grandpa and Grandma, even though that would have changed the meaning of his letter), next complaint was, and I kid you not, 'Why did people give us so many presents?' - I think even I was stunned by that one and simply said, 'well, we can give them all back if you like.' Finally, he turned to me and said, 'I think you should write all the letters and I should just sign them!' Obviously TJ has me mixed up with his PA. Anyway, it took over 2 hours to write 10 letters - I was nearly suicidal. I have also stopped drinking alcohol for the month in suport of Cancer Research UK - its their Dryathalon Caompaign and I signed up to it in a flurry of good intentions. Papa looked at me knowingly while I signed up saying 'We have two kids... I give it two days!' I nearly succumbed on that day - but true to my word I held off. I have taken to drinking plain tonic water and pretending its laced with gin!

Then I went upstairs. I heard a commotion from KC's room. I opened the door and it looked like the butterfly cage in the zoo - except with moths. When he was given a gecko by his godparents they came with the usual godparent warning, 'Beware if the wax worms are not fed to the beast within 2 weeks they will become flying moths.' He had heard the moths rattling around in the box and rather than taking them outside opened the box to see what would happen. Cue small child leaping around the room with the butterfly net from his science kit! It would have been quite a beautiful sight had it not been for the fact that Papa is terrified of moths (I have no idea why - I told him they were just the less pretty cousins of the butterfly, but that didn't go down too well). So we then spent 30 minutes rounding up moths....

Last night KC dropped the cricket house - where crickets live before they are fed to the gecko.... crickets are much harder to catch than moths and they hop under beds!!!!!!! I hope we got them all.... And one of the rabbits has now decided it would rather chew its way out of its hutch than stay in bed all night... I have to be careful before we enter the garage in case it hops out, or the cat gets in there.... oh the joy of having pets!!!!!!!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Back to School....


The little darlings went back to school today... and I get my life back - well, from 9 till 3 each day anyway!

It's already been a year of changes. I handed back my business on Dec 31st and am now officially a student again - with a little bit of blogging and writing thrown in. As well as being a full time stay at home parent... which is the hardest work I think I have ever done!

Christmas and New Year went by really quickly. We had such a lovely time. To finish everything off we took the children up to London over the weekend. My sister was in town having her fitting for her wedding dress and we agreed to meet her and my Mum in Chinatown for dinner afterwards. Lobster noodles - lovely! Then they headed back home on the train and we took the boys to Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights - via Hamleys, of course... and every toilet in every department store. I'm sure TJ is some kind of toilet geek in that he has to visit every one in every store/restaurant/cafe whatever - whenever we enter a new environment his first question is always, 'Is there a toilet in here?' I don't know if this is some throw back to his previous life with his birth family or a desparate need to make sure he isn't caught short and thus wets himself. Anyway, at first it was amusing - now two years in its just annoying! It may seem a little mean spirited to describe your child's behaviours as annoying - but this constant need to visit the bathroom drives me mad. We are always late to meet people and if we go out shopping I know we will spend at least a quarter of the day visiting various conveniences. You may think he just likes hanging out in toilets... (lets not go there) ... but no, everytime we go in he will give a running commentary on the cleanliness of the establishment and of the previous users. I'm sure he has a spreadsheet somewhere detailing the best toilets to visit in the UK. He was always impressed with the toilets in Singapore and can't wait to go back and visit them.

Yesterday was the mad rush to get everything ready to go back to school - then Papa decides he wants to go to Ikea... On a Sunday!!!!! But off we go. We are only going to get some shelves, we will not be swayed by the extra bits that we don't need, we will head straight for the shelves and leave.... so we ended up with the shelves... plus a wardrobe, coat hangers for the wardrobe, new cushions, hooks for the shelves, a sopa dish, three mirrors and storgae box for under the bed. As Papa was putting the shelves up he realised they don't give any screws or fittings... But as he pointed out, my late Father had a huge selection of screws and they are all in the tool box my Mum gave us. In 6 years we have never had to purchase a wall fitting, screw or nail. I was a little emotional when Papa said, 'I never met the man but I have so much respect for your Dad - how anyone was this organised is incredible.' And indeed he was. My Dad died at 53 from an aggressive cancer that killed him within 3 weeks of diagnosis and as I get nearer his age I'm convinced that I will go as well. It doesn't help that I am the world's biggest hypochondriac and only have to get a mouth ulcer to be convinced that my days are up. But I digress - needless to say Papa had all the shelves and mirrors put up before the kids went to bed and then we put up TJ's wardrobe. I was exhausted by the end of the day.

TJ informed me last night that he was not returning to school - no he was running away. I asked him where he would go as he packed his sports bag with the necessary toys - 'I shall go to Granny's,' came the reply. I asked if he wanted a lift. 'No I shall walk.'
'But Granny lives over 200 miles away,' I told him, 'That's a long walk.'
'Then I shall run,' he said quite matter of factly and went to bed.

This morning he ran to school as if the previous evenings conversation had never happened!!!!!