Monday, 30 September 2013

Droopy Drawers!!!!!!!!!

Yes, this weekend it was my birthday and those of us who remember the Bingo Halls of the 80's (I worked in one as a teenager) will recall that the shout from the floor when my number of years alive was called would have been 'All the 4's - Droopy Drawers'.

 I don't know how I even got to be this age - but it's still a lot of fun and life constantly surprises me.

Not as much as Papa and our friends (Furry and Fairy, our best friends and the boy's godparents) surprised me this weekend.

How they kept everything secret I don't know - even when I was driving into London I didn't know where we were going. We parked on the outskirts of London where my first surprise awaited - meeting Furry, Fairy and their two children whereupon we left our car and a taxi picked us up and we went into London. I had no clue where we were going but when we pulled up outside the Mandarin Oriental hotel I realised that we were heading to Heston Blumnthal's restaurant "Dinner" - reknowned for British Historically inspired food.

It was amazing. Papa had organised a private room (Tudor inspired) with our own waiter who took us throgh each course describing its historical originsn and how it had been 'updated' by Heston and his team of 55 chefs.

The kids had a great time. The Sprog had his first Hston steak and TJ had slow cooked chiken breat - which I was assured was yummy. Although he did get a bit grumpy because everyone was 'taking pictures of him' - actually it was the food that people were snapping. (I think TJ is like me and prefers to eat rather than take pictures of his food - hehe)

Whilst we had the famous Tipsy Cake for dessert - mine on a special Happy Birthday plate - the children had their own display with a chef showing them how to make Heston's ice cream frozen in Nitrogen - they picked flavours and toppings and then watched it being blasted in front of them. The kids will never settle for Sainsbury's raspberry ripple now.

We left stuffed full of amazing food and wine (although Papa's wallet was considerably less stuffed) and went back to my next surprise. Papa had rented a penthouse apartement over looking the city. We sat looking at the view drinking red wine whist the children sat in their room amazed by the fact they had a TV in there. (we don't allow that at home - so it was a treat for them as well.)

The surprises kept coming on Sunday.

After checking out we went for breakfast and then took the children to see a movie before we went for yet another culinary treat - this time Tom's Kitchen, I had my big 40 at his Chelsea restaurant so it was lovely to go to the lower key version at Canary Wharf. Amazing food again.

I returned home incredilby spolied, blessed by a beautiful family and friends and totally stuffed!!!!!!

Roll on 45! 

Friday, 27 September 2013


Before I even start I have to let you know that today's post is not a flagrant advertisement of my upcoming birthday (although cards and presents would not be rejected because of this) but it is about my eldest son's reaction to a birthday other than his own.

Last week Papa took both boys out to 'secretly' purchase my present - despite having a list of 'suggested' presents and Papa had suggested that the children donate their pocket money towards the cost.

TJ happily gave up his cash (I put it back into his piggy bank later) and chose a present that Papa then paid the difference for. The Sprog refused. He was not giving up his money. He decided he would make something.

Of course, I'm fine with that - but he hasn't actually done anything about it. As my big day draws closer I am enjoying reminding him that my birthday is this weekend.... TJ is desparate to give me his present - he keeps giving me clues, such as "It begins with a 'P" and "It can go on the wall." (no surprises there although I shall do my best 'surprised face in the morning) He is genuinely excited...

The Sprog sat at the breakfast table and simply said, "I didn't get you anything." I looked upset. "How sad. But have you made something - that would be nice."

"No, I don't want to," he said.

I looked sad... (I used Acting face number 17... Sad, with a hint of love)

"Well, its just a birthday," he said, "Its only another day."

"Ok, you are right," I replied, "I shall remember that on your birthday - we don't need presents or a party, its just another day. I like that idea - saves a lot of hassle and money."

He looked stunned.

"Not my birthday," he said, "That's my day."

"Just another day," I said...

"What about my birthday," piped up TJ.

"Would you like to keep celebrating birthdays?" I asked him.

"Yes," he replied, "I want a football."

"Then we will celebrate your birthday," I said, "And you can come to my party."

"I wanted to go to Legoland for my birthday," said the Sprog.

"I don't think so," I said, "after all it will just be another day."

He wasn't speaking to me when he got on the school bus this morning...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Processed Foods and Naughty Kids...

I'd like to say I was offering you a link between the two... although I'm pretty sure that there is.

After all, there has to be a link between the type of food we feed our kids and their level of attentiveness etc. I recently read that fish oil supplements help dyselxic kids focus in class - so guess what the Sprog will be on next week.

Although his progress in his new school has been amazing. Full marks in spellings and yesterday he managed 12 maths wuestions completely unaided... and miraculously got them all correct!

TJ is also making progress and his reading has come on leaps and bounds despite his addtional needs.

So all good.

In fact on Monday evening after all this praise from school for both boys, Papa and I were exhausted, so rather than make dinner I went to the supermarket and purchased a Bistro Meal - main course, dessert and bottle of wine for a tenner. Well, it was a treat.

Halfway through tucking into his chicken en croute Papa suddenly stops eating and says to me "what's that?" He pointed to a small blue thing on his plate, neatly tucked between the meat and the pastry.

I took it out for him and unrolled a bright blue plaster, one of those ones that caterers use so they can spot them if they fall off.

I told him what it was - he went pale.

He decided not to finish it... but he did manage to eat the dessert. We left the wine for another night - not because we were worried it maybe infected with anything but simply because it was a school night and getting up to get the Sprog to his minibus by 7am is not funny if your head is fogged up.

It reminded me of a pre-made salad I purchased from another major supermarket where Every Little Helps... As I opened the salad a dead grasshopper landed on my plate.

I took the salad back to the shop whereby the manager said to me, "Well, at least you know it was fresh." He laughed at his own little joke. I was not amused, I gave him a hard stare - a stare that TJ has now perfected and gives to drivers who cuts us up on the roads. He refunded my money and gave me a replecement salad.

So the children had a good week up until yesterday when TJ decided he would like to be rude to his piano teacher - whom he normally loves. He didn't want to play, he 'didn't get it', he wanted to mess around and whenever she asked him to do anything he told her he didn't want to and finished the session by playing amazingly and then blowing a raspberry in her face telling her 'piano is easy'....

I went ballistic when I was told.

So he got a good telling off and then grounded.

This morning he was as good as gold and sat quietly in his room - too good... I went up to get him ready for school to find he had been colouring... all over his wardrobe. His brand new wardrobe was now coloured in blue ink!

Cue another telling off and then I passed him a cloth. "What's that for?" he asked. I expalined that he was now in charge of scrubbing his wardrobe clean... he wasn't pleased.

Thy are both at school now - thank goodness and I am going to take my wrath out on the supermarket where we are asked to try something new today - although a blue plaster wasn't what I had in mind!!!!!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Charity Begins at Home...

Well, so the saying says... unfortunately TJ had other ideas.

He came home from school clutching a pack that was to be coloured in and then constructed into a little house shaped box.

Instead of collecting food etc for the school's harvest festival, this year they will be collecting pennies for a charity that helps homeless children - a lovely thought.

So TJ and I duly put the box together and coloured it in. Then I explained that we could put it by the oor and drop any spare change into it.

"Why?" he asked. I explained what the box was for and the charity it would go to.

"Why, should I give money to children I don't know?" He asked.

I explained the concept of charity to him - helping those less fortunate etc.

He thought about this.

"Ok - well you can give your money but I'm not giving any of mine. If they want my money then they will have to do something for me first." I'm not sure he fully grasped the concept.

Then Papa came home, "Guess what guys?" he said handing them a fiver each, "I'm going to give you a bit extra pocket money this week - but its to buy Daddy a birthday present?"

"Why?" asked TJ.

"Because Daddy looks after you and cleans and cooks and because isn't it nice to do something on his birthday,"said Papa.

"Daddy likes cooking so he doesn't need any presents!" came the reply.

"Yes," the elder Sprog joined in, "Thanks for the extra money but I'm not spending my money on Daddy - I want sweets and some Skylanders cards."

Papa got a bit annoyed, "I'm giving you extra money for the present," he said.

"I'll make the present," Sprog explained, "Then I can keep the money, ok?"

I told Papa it really didn't matter I would prefer a present the kids had made than some tat from the Pound Store that would end up in a cupboard.

Papa looked at me. "I've already given them the cash," he explained, 'How will they understand the concept of money?"

"I think they understand it perfectly," I replied as I watched TJ raid the penny box and pocket the cash I had just put into it.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Life Goes On...

That's been my motto this week - for both kids and for Papa.

The kids have both settled back into the school routine - which also means that the novelty of being back at school has worn off.

Yesterday I spent most of the morning dealing with issues.

Firstly, the eldest sprog wouldn't get out of bed. Now I appreciate that it's an early start but I ended up in the room singing 'Good Morning!' from 'Singing in the Rain,' at the top of my voice until eventually a little voice peeped out from under the covers.

"If I get out of bed will you stop singing?"

"That's the idea," I reassured them.

"Ok, OK, I'm up!"

Sure enough it did the trick and we managed to get breakfast out of the way before the mini bus arrived.

Although to be fair, the homework from Sprog's new school is massive - The sprog gets some every night and it is a sudden change, in the old school (TJ's current school) they only get homework once a week - but we have been fitting it into our routine. Home at 4.30, homework done by 5. Then dinner before some TV before baths etc.

I have noticed though how much more focused the sprog has become - previously, I hate to say it, but they had used their 'problem' to become lazy - even getting other people to write the work out. That's all changed! What was great was that at Sprog's drama lesson last night the impossibly cheerful drama teacher stopped me to say that she didn't know what had happened but Sprog's new school was obviously working. Sprog was now focussed, polite and aware of the others in the group - its early days but that was great to hear!

TJ has noticed that as well, so his manners have fallen off a cliff... sigh...  However, he got all his homework out of the way and was off playing on the wii... but I re-instated extra for him - his handwriting is awful and yesterday I discovered that he didn't even know his full alphabet - I was appalled, how had I missed that? We had been so busy concentrating on the eldest and the problems that I think I may have missed the younger - who doesn't have the same issues but is just as lazy! (I think its an age thing rather than a genetic disorder - I hope so) But thats the problem with adoption, you don't really know how the parents coped in school - well, we know a bit.. but not enough to fill in the gaps - if that makes sense.

Anyway, Sprog was dispatched and I went to get TJ up - he got up, had his breakfast but then refused to get dressed. I ended up having an argument with a 7 year old who was sitting stark naked, except for his socks, refusing to go to scohool.

"I will take you to school naked!" I told him.
"You won't," he said.

We had reached the front door when he realised I was serious.

"People will see me" he cried
"Its up to you - the choice is yours but you are going to school." I said

The uniform was on in two minutes.

Papa came home in the evening.

"Can you do the kids this evening, please?" I asked. "They haven't been naughty - they've just been kids."

So Papa handled the children for me whilst I made supper and poured a gin!

But as Papa says, we have to do it all again next week - life goes on!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Wrong Trousers...

Yesterday I received a package through the door.

I say 'I' as the package wasn't actually addressed to anyone - it just had our address on it.

But as I was at home I decided that it would be rude not to open it - besides it will be my birthday in a couple of weeks - so it may have been a present (or that was my logic)

I opened the package and out fell a pair of black trousers.

That was it. No note, no explanation.... just a pair of men's black trousers.

Now, I knew they weren't mine, despite my poor memory I would hope to think that I could recall losing trousers - besides they weren't jeans so they definitely weren't mine!

They obviously didn't belong to the boys, which left me with one option.... Papa!

I spent the day going over Papa's obvious infidelities. A spurned lover had obviously returned his trousers. Or it was a current lover that wanted me to know about the illicit affair and had therefore posted a pair of Papa's trousers for me to find and him to explain. This would lead to his admission of guilt and love for the other man and he would be in tears as I cut up the rest of his suits and threw them on the front step before calling the divorce lawyer... I really have to stop watching Coronation Street! ( I think Eastenders would have made a funnier tagline there but no gay man watches Eastenders whereas Corrie....)

By lunch time I was practically tearing my hair out... well, Bargain Hunt was on and the stupid couple had gone for an over priced piece of Moorcroft! Why! Why? Why!

Papa sent a message - "I've just been winked at by a guy in my office - still got it!" I counter texted by telling him the guy probably had a twitch, or something in his eye - who says romance is dead!

I then asked him about the trousers... silence...

"I don't know what you are talking about." came the reply. "Check the size - they might have gone to the wrong address."

I did just that and there under the label was a name - neatly stitched in. It was our nephew, the one from Singapore who went to posh boarding school. But why had his trousers come to our house.

I went onto Facebook. Nephew is now back home and about to go into the army to do his national service, although why Singapore bothers is beyond me. If anyone wanted to do the city state harm they would simply turn off the water. After all a country with no natural resources is kind of reliant on its neighbours, but on the upside it does produce a lot of handsome, muscular young men - which I'm sure keeps the pink pound rolling in. Singapore may not be exactly tolerant of gay people, but if they are spending money then I'm sure that the Singapore government will forgive anything.

Mind you they have a lot of work making a muscular young man out of the nephew. He does like his food, particularly michelin starred food - which tends to be on the rich side - in both senses of the word! (I'm sure he'll forgive me for saying that - and I know he will have a great time and probably come out of the army in great shape - his Uncle definitely did! Well, actually he didn't as he was a storesman, but dont tell the kids - they think he was a war hero!)

Anyway, the riddle of the trousers was solved. Although now there was another issue.

"Why do we have your trousers?" I asked nephew.

"I took them off in my 'friends' car after a party," came the reply.

I laughed. Papa didn't. "What was he doing taking his trousers off?" Papa screamed when I told him. "He was probably just changing." I said. "He had better have been, we were supposed to be his guardians!"

I tried to explain that nephew was already an adult and in the army now - surely if he wanted to take his trousers off, for whatever reason, that was his business.

"Not when he is under my guardianship" came the Draconian reply. "What's my sister going to say?"

I let it lie...

God help our kids when they get old enough to leave their clothes in other peoples cars....

Actually, yes! God help them...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Getting Ready for Winter...

Yes it seems to be that time of year again and Lea was very concerned about what we were going to do about her rabbit, Ginger, now the weather is getting colder.

Papa has decided that neither Ginger, nor TJ's guinea pig, are to go back into the garage as last time they escaped and destroyed most of his nicely stacked cardboard boxes and led us to believe we had rats.

Now the garage is cleared out and paper boxes have been replaced with nice see through plastic ones, so we can clearly see the stuff we have never used for years and which Papa still refuses to either throw away or give to charity.

So we decided the pets were to stay in the garden and therefore we went up to the local pet shop to look for covers to go over the hutches and keep the little rodents warm.

Papa took one look at the prices and decided the animals could freeze to death!

This provoked much hysteria from the children so he decided that he could make the covers much more cheaply from a piece of tarpaulin. So our next stop was the local DIY superstore where we found a huge piece of waterproof tarpaulin which was quickly purchased and brought home ready for the transformation into a hutch cover - it was like living our own episdoe of the kids TV programme Blue Peter!

Papa and the children measured the hutches and soon set down to work cutting and sticking and velcroing bits together. I say children but within abot 10 minutes TJ was bored and had sneaked upstairs to play on the wii and Lea had managed to 'pop to her room' for a minute and was never seen again. I later found her on her bed listening to Michael Jackson cd's (CD's that had been 'borrowed' from my collecion I hasten to add!)

So Papa was left cutting and sticking and swearing (well, the kids weren't around so he could) while I washed and ironed all of Lea's clothes - this fancy private school requires PE kits to be washed and ironed every week! Not like TJ's state school where the kit comes home at the end of the term and practically walks into the washing machine by itself!

So Papa and I go on with everything. I cleaned shoes, made lunches, baked a cake and some muffins (I really am Martha Stewart) Papa placed the new hutch ocvers over the animals homes with the satisfied cry of "£25 - thats all it cost £25, stick that major pet store!" He was very pleased.

"Kids', I shouted up the stairs, "Come and see the brilliant hutch covers that Papa has made!"

Needless to say they didn't come and later that evening I found all my beautifully ironed PE kit simply shoved into Lea's sports bag... great!

So Sunday, being the day of rest, saw Papa and I at our busiest whilst the chidlren enjoyed their much needed relaxation... Just wait until next week!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Surprise, Surprise!

This post isn't about the plethora of old TV shows that ITV seem to be reviving to save their Saturday Night TV slots (Surprise Surprise, Through the Keyhole, Family Fortunes - its like 1989 all over again!!!!!!)

This post is about secrets and my eldest daughter's inability to keep them and my youngest's way of dealing with interrogation!

TJ's best friend's birthday is on the same day as mine - no problems there, TJ was invited to his friends party, which was in the afternoon and I then planned an evening dinner out for all the family.

However, Papa found out and told me that I would have to let the best friend's mum know that TJ couldn't go as he had planned a 'surprise' day trip... But he wouldn't tell me anymore...

Obviously, TJ was very upset by missing his best friend's party so Papa agreed to let him in on the secret... He was very careful not to let Lea know too much as she simply cannot resist telling everybody everything - this was noticable when we went out anywhere over the summer - I'm not sure that the lady on the ticketing counter at Chessington was really enthralled by her retelling of her entire life history - I think she may actually have been traumatised and was in need of counselling by the time he had finished. She looked visibly shaken as Lea took the ticket, gave her a grin and skipped off.

So, this morning, once Lea was on the bus to school I turned my attention to TJ and grilled him over his toast - I gave him double chocolate on toast - just to ease the vocal wheels.

"What's going on for my birthday?' I asked.
"I can't tell you," TJ replied, "But we are going to your favourite place!"
"Are we?" I was intrigued. "I wonder where that place is?"
"Its somewhere you love going!"
"Is it?" By now I as getting a bit excited.

He then clammed up.

"Would you like more juice?" I asked sweetly pouring him his favourite grape juice.

"Yes please," he replied politely... I sat watching him and smiling...

"Ok, I'll tell you." he said, then added, "but I want chips for dinner."

"Alright," I gave in. My curiosity was too much...

"We're going to..." He paused as if he was hosting a reality TV show...
"We're going to.... Sainsburys!"

He then fell off his chair laughing "Because that's your favourite place!!!!!"

I laughed with him.... but if he thinks he is having chips tonight he has another think coming!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Homework Blues

Both kids came back with homework tonight and I suddenly realised how difficult it is to juggle two set of homework.

TJ had reading and the Sprog had maths. 
Luckily, Sprog is now at one of those 'traditional' schools where I can understand how they work out the answers, which helps when it comes to homework.

He had 20 questions to do and we did the first 10 together. Once he was sure how the equation worked I moved onto reading with TJ. 'Are you sure you are ok?' I asked the Sprog. "I know what I'm doing," came the reply, " you go and help TJ."
Such a lovely child....

So I read with TJ and then went back to Sprog to find he had finished all the questions. I was so proud I could have cried. 

Then I noticed he had missed a question. "You had better do that one," I said. 
"You go and check on TJ while I do it," came the reply...

Alarm bells went off...

"Don't worry," I said, " why don't you show me how you do it."
"Go on..."

Suddenly there were tears. " I am too tired," he cried, "too tired!"I decided not to argue and let it go...

It was later that evening that I looked under the sofa and there hidden away sat a small calculator... 

Monday, 9 September 2013



What a way to start a new week.

TJ has gone back to absolutely defying me in every aspect. I just can't seem to get anything right.

He went to school today and was fine this morning but since he has come home he has been a nightmare.

Even walking back he was angry. He didn't care if it was raining, he didn't care his coat wasn't done up. His hands were cold - which was obviously my fault. He got home soaked and then stood in the doorway and blamed me for his being wet through.

I took him upstairs to change - but he refused to undo his shirt buttons. I had to do them as his shirt was too wet and his hands were too cold.

Thne he threw his lunchbox at me, followed by his schoolbag.

I picked up his tie from the floor. The same tie that Lea had used last year but now it had been ripped apart - completely destroyed.

"How did this happen?' I demanded. I was met with the infuriatingly annoying 'shrug of the shoulders'.

"I want to know how this happened!" I was getting angry but trying to remain patient.

"I was someone in after school club," came the reply.

"You haven't been to after school club! You are at home!" I think even the logic of this had escaped him.

"Then it happened when I took it off.'

"How, how can simply taking off your tie rip it up?" I was trying my best to stay calm.

"I don't know - its just a rubbish tie."

I know the adoption counsellors are screaming 'attachment' at me and telling me he is angry with himself and I know that he wants me to shout at him, that he wants me to get so angry I could spank him (I don't) but he seems to want to push me there at the moment. I also know that for him this will vindicate everything he knows about 'parents' - they get cross and are mean to their children - and at the same time this will re-inforce his own low self esteem and feelings that he is only worthy to be shouted at.

I know all that - so why do I still want to put him over my knee? After all it didn't do me any harm... or did it? I guess the jury is out.

So I have sent him to practise his piano, then we will do his reading... but there will be no TV or computer games and if we can't mend his tie then he will be buying a new one tomorrow with his pocket money.

Perhaps if he keeps getting into trouble I can keep sending him into his room with only his piano for company. In years to come he will be on TV after starring in the Last Night of The Proms - bemoaning his awful parents who made him practise whenever he was naughty... and how the only good thing that came out of his life was his piano playing career. (I watched the Liberace movie the other week - the parallels are there!)

Mind you, on Saturday instead of watching 'X Factor' TJ actually did want to watch the Proms and sat through it all asking what the different instruments were and who was playing what - that was quite something to watch and I thought we had bonded a bit... oh well...

So he is playing waltz on his keyboard and the logical 'consequences' side of my brain have been satisfied... but the emotional 'angry' side of my brain also needs placating.... so rather than 'getting the strap out (as my Dad often threatened but never did) I have made a cup of tea and am telling you!

This isnt a blog - its therapy!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Food, Glorious, Food?

This morning opened ominously...

It began like this... Papa turned over in bed and said, "you won't be offended if I say something, will you?"
As soon as your partner says that you know you are going to be massively upset... 
"Go on," I replied.
"Promise you won't get offended."
"Just say it!" I said.
"Ok, but erm... Are you planning on losing weight?" 
I was now bloody offended... But couldn't show it... 
"Of course I am," I replied... And then rolled over to begin my morning filled with self loathing and bitterness about the young beautiful me that no longer existed... It was enough to make me reach for a bacon roll... I didn't, I made a full English breakfast instead... 

This obsession with food all began with Nigel Slater and his daily tv show about cooking with whatever is left in your fridge... By Friday he was showing us the delicious baguette stuffed with left over lamb and almonds and whatever fancy stuff he had in his well stocked fridge. I kind of lost it with the tv... And when Papa came in from work it was to see me standing with the fridge door open shouting, 'look at my fridge! Show me what bloody delicacy you can make from that..." I was revealing to Nigel the entire contents of our fridge which consisted of a half eaten tub of Philadelphia cheese (with chives) and a bottle of wine.
Obviously Nigel Slater doesn't live with two small gannets, I mean children, who simply vacuum everything that isolated in front of them!

So Papa ordered a take away while I opened the wine. I always think fish and chips should be washed down with a good Sauvignon...

Yesterday was The Saturday Supermarket run... And I was going to stock up my fridge fully for the entire week, just as Nigel suggests.... It was a lot of fun planning meals for the entire week and shopping fully prepared, without running the risk of throwing stuff into the trolley just because the kids 'absolutely need it' or its their 'favourite!'

How the hell did you spend £200!" Said Papa at the till... Mind you he was clutching a Superman dress up outfit and a computer game... Never take children shopping on a Saturday with an easily swayed Papa... "It's the cost of food," I told him, ignoring his extra purchases...

Obviously, it's all my fault....  I am eating too much and spending too much money... So the idea of my diet will serve two functions... A thinner, less angry me and a reduced food bill.... 

Until then I shall practice my "of course I'm not offended' face..... 

Friday, 6 September 2013

That movie... you know the one... It has Sandra Bullock in it... no not Speed or Speed 2!

Wierdly, I have actually finished my manuscript - or the first draft anyway of my book based on the blog.

I seem to have been working on it forever and by yesterday I was so sick of editing it that I was beginning to hate it.

Which is when Papa said, 'Right, that's it, tomorrow I'm posting it to your agent!"

He has just called me to tell me its now gone.

I can't change anymore at this point. Its kind of liberating but now I want to do something else.

So I went shopping to take my mind off it.

It didn't.

I spent the whole time wondering if anyone would like it - had I written too much or too little. Had I added in enough new material or relied too much on material thats here already...

Only time will tell.

Although today was an interesting day.

I now know how Sandra Bullock felt in that film where she loses her identity (I can't remember what it was called). I took my car in for a service today to be told they had no paperwork or record of my booking it in - I know I did - then they said they had no courtesy car for me! I was about to kick up a stink as I had places to go (shopping being one), but they hurriedly found me a powder blue VW Beetle - I think it might have been the receptionist's own car as it was full of hair grips and sweet wrappers.

Then I toddled off to Bluewater to the Apple store where I had booked in for someone to have a look at my iphone as the camera wasnt working it is now - I fixed it! By turning it off and on again) But once there I was told that they had no record of my appointment....

So I went and had an anonymous coffee... and with both kids out until way after 5 I was happy to enjoy the peace and quiet of a packed shopping centre and just watch the world go by...

Now how long will it take my agent to read my book and call me to tell me what he thinks!!!!!!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Back to School

Yes, the little darlings are finally back at school.

Only this time they are taking part in our social experiment. One going to an independant secondary school and one staying at the local primary.

However, this means that the school run, which used to be a 5 minute walk across the road now takes all morning.

But this morning we got into the routine that I think will work. I'm up at 6 to get myself sorted out, then Lea is up at 7am and out of the house by 7.30am - there is a minibus that picks her up and she is the first one on. I thought that would cause a problem, but she likes it as she gets to choose where to sit. As soon as Lea has left I make a cup of tea and the get TJ up at 8am - then its back out of the house at 8.30 for his school start.

Of course, Papa will tell us we are having a lie in as he leaves the house just before 6 to make the commute up to London - I'm still negotiating a cup of tea in bed before he leaves - that hasn't happened yet!

This morning the 5minute walk to school took nearly 20minute as TJ wanted to stop and look at everything and... amazingly... chat... with me! Previously, he and Lea used to race ahead and I would be left bringing up the rear dragging the dog behind me. But no, now he wanted to talk to me - tell me about his friends and his day. It was lovely, I was enjoying it so much he was nearly late! Then the most incredible thing happened... TJ gave me a kiss before going into school. The very same child who a few days ago tried to kill me - now gave me a kiss and wave and raced into school.

Last night when the bus dropped Lea off she and TJ spent 30minutes playing a game together and telling each other about their day at school. It was just so calm...

Maybe this secondary school business will work out after all!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Death by Attachment...

Today marked the Sprog's first day in his posh private school.

Sprog was very excited about today - but also obviously anxious, the usual pre-school sleepless night, for both him and me, followed by an early rise - when I got up he had already arranged his school uniform on his bed and was planning his breakfast. He wasn't sure if he would need his PE kit  - so he decided to take everything and bring home what wasn't needed. As TJ was off school today I was able to run him to his new school and will pick him up later - He can start taking the mini bus tomorrow, hopefully, he will then know some of the other children on it and they'll have a great trip into school.

TJ was also anxious. This time about being by himself. And he took it out on me!

We had a lovely morning playing games, making a cake and then we decided to take the dog for a walk and TJ took his bicycle. The bike is admittedly too small for him, but he won't let us change it - he refuses to ride anything bigger just yet - which turned out to be a blessing for me.

He was cycling away and the dog was wheezing beside me - I'm sure she is asthmatic and she has just celebrated her 9th birthday.

Suddenly I had to stop - as my youngest child pedalled full throttle directly at me and tried to run me over. He pulled away at the last minute, laughing maniacally. Then he turned round and did it again, this time running right into my right ankle - which hurt... a lot!

Think of Chuckie, the evil monster doll from the 80's movie Child's Play and you have the right picture. He saw that I was hurt and then ... tried to do it again. This time I grabbed the bike. "What are you doing?" I yelled. "I want to kill you!" came the reply.

I was stunned.

If you have ever seen the TV show Family Guy - I now knew exactly how the mother, Lois, must feel everytime her 'baby boy' Stewie tries to kill her (although admittedly its a lot funnier on tv - in a cartoon!)

Stewie obviously has attachment issues - as indeed does TJ. Attachment Theory is based on the idea that most mammals - like dogs - get attached to their parent or owner - they know where they are, they feel safe when they are around, they respond to boundaries and grow in a nurturing environment. This is also true of children - but especially for those who have had traumatic early starts and haven't been able to attach - firstly to their mother and then to the serious of foster carers and eventually the adoptive parents. There is a lot of talk in adoption about attachment and, I have to admit, I dismiss quite a bit of it as it can make sweeping generalisations....

But there is an obsession with death that is tied into attachment and boy does TJ have it - with TJ it focuses on super heroes and killing bad people - usually as gruesomely as possible - but that's understandable and come from a lack of self esteem and feeling powerless - as a super hero TJ can control his environment and stop all the bad things from happening to him. However, sometimes TJ aims his obsession at me - always at me. He wants me to die - he tells me daily and then tells me what items of mine he will have once I am dead. This is not said in a malicious way - just matter of fact.

But today was the first day he actually tried to kill me.

Despite the pain in my leg, I didn't get cross - I didn't shout - I think I was too stunned. I just said, "What would you do if I was dead?" "I'd be happy." he replied as he cycled off.

Now again I can think of a couple of reasons why this would be - the analysts would probably say that he is afraid to love us - so rather than risk loving us he wants to see push me away by telling me horrible things and as he gets closer to loving both Papa and I so he has to find more and more nasty ways to push us away.

The other part of me thinks he genuinely hates me - at least for today - because I have done the one thing that no-one, not his birth family, not social services, no-one has ever done... I have separated him from his brother and that terrifies him. He and the Sprog have been through everything together - Sprog parented him when his birth parents were unable, or incapable, The Sprog held his hand (metaphorically), as they went from foster carer to foster carer and was with him throughout his adoption journey to us.

Hopefully separate schools will hopefully help them grow as individuals and, although TJ will hate me for a while it should prove beneficial in the long run. I think the Sprog is grateful for the break - to have the resonsibilibty of looking after TJ removed from him.

So when we got home I asked him how he was going to cope if I was dead - I kept it practical, "Who will cook your food?" "I'll eat crisps," came the reply. "Who'll wash your clothes and clean up?" "I'll learn," he said.

I could see this was going nowhere so I decided I would simply no longer do anything for him.

"Can I have a drink?" he asked a little later.

"Get it yourself," I said.

"But I can't reach the cups."

"Not my problem - you don't need me remember?"

He thought about it then went and got his school water bottle and filled it from the sink.

Then he wanted lunch. But after having no joy from me he eventually took an apple from the fruit bowl.

Finally, he said, "Can we play a game now?"

"Why should I play with you?" I asked, "You don't like me - you wanted to kill me, remember?"

"Not really," he said softly. "I wouldn't do it really."

"OK, then" I said, "You say sorry and I'll make you a sandwich and we can play a game."

He looked at me and softly apologised before climbing into my lap and crying.

Since then we have had a lovely day - but I'm putting the kitchen knives way out of his reach!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 2 September 2013

All Quiet on the Home Front....

This is bizarre...

Both kids are still at home - its the last day of the summer holidays for The Sprog and TJ goes back on Wednesday... so my expectation was that today, being their last day off together, would be chaotic.

It's not....

They are playing nicely on the rug - building lego and I am able to sit down and write - this would have been unthinkable even yesterday... maybe they are in a state of shock about school re-starting, or maybe they think if they are really good then I won't actually send them preferring them to be at home with me...

Either way, I am looking forward to getting the routine back into our lives.

All children need a routine - it keeps them safe, lets them know tht the grown ups are incharge, but for adopted children, particulalry those who were adopted at an older age, this is so important. We have first hand experience of both children when they go 'off book' (as we call it). Sprog spirals out of control - usually getting massively over excited about everything... and I mean everything, even a change in her bedtime sends him off kilter. TJ gets anxious and needs constant reassurance - this usually takes the form of countless questions ranging from 'whats for dinner?' to 'what time is it now?' - every five minutes.

Needless to say holidays are hard work - both kids need to know what is happening from day to day and even when they wake up - they need to know what they will be doing and in what order.

In a way we have instated our own 'holiday routine' - we get up, have breakfast, take the dog for a walk, do some homework then lunch and then leave the afternoons for whatever activity they want to do. So to see them spontaneously sitting down and playing together quietly, with no parental instigation is quite strange.

Oddly enough TJ has just looked up at me and asked 'Why is it so quiet?"

I just told him to go back to his game - I may even have a cheeky cup of tea....