Tuesday, 29 April 2014

It's Hard to Say Goodbye...

This weekend we took Granny home after her fortnight Easter stay with us.

Whilst it's always lovely to have Granny (although maybe not her ASBO dog) it's always sad to have to say goodbye. But as my Mum refuses to drive down to us (she hates the M25 london orbital motorway - or car park as we call it) I have to go and pick her up and take her home again. Unless she opts to come down on the train - although that would mean putting her 'beloved' hound in kennels for the duration of her trip. Something she refuses to do - and as asbo dog hates the cat - we have to put our cat in the cattery for the period of time when asbo dog is here - although I think the cat is glad of the rest.

This time it was the rabbit which bore the brunt of asbo dog's 'curious' nature (she's just playing, apparently) - and poor rabbit was 'yapped at' for hours on end. By the end of the trip even my mum said that next time she might have to put her dog in the kennel - or maybe we could send the rabbit away too. At this rate we will all be in a hotel somewhere whilst Mum and her pooch live it up in our house.

Anyway, KC decided to join me on the trip back to Granny's this time. He was very well behaved. He has discovered 'High School Musical' and watched the show three times whilst singing along to all the songs - this would be fine except he is listening to it on his headphones whilst watching the DVD - so any sense of tune is completely lost - a little like the show really.

Well, we spent a lovely weekend at Mum's and even took my Nanny (nearly 91) out for Sunday lunch... except she didn't want sunday lunch as she is on a diet so had a salmon starter followed by a raspberry pavlova (cream's not fattening apparently).

We then took her home and took mum back to say our goodbyes before making the four hour trip home.

As we were saying goodbye, KC grabbed hold of Granny, gave her a big kiss and said, "I hate saying goodbye - but I'm getting better at it."

I thought Mum was going to cry and she gave him the biggest hug ever!

But KC has always hated goodbyes - before he wouldn't even come down the stairs if someone was leaving preferring to hide in his room and we would have to force him into saying his goodbyes. I guess it comes from the idea that everytime he said goodbye as a young boy, whether it was to his birth mum, birth grandparents, foster carer's, social workers - whoever... whenever he said 'goodbye' it really was a goodbye - not a 'see you soon' or 'until next time' but a full on, proper 'goodbye'.

I don't think many 9 year olds will have said as many 'proper' goodbyes as he has... but now he is getting used to the idea that goodbye doesn't necessarily mean forever....

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Chocolate in Bed...

It's been a while since my last post.

What with puppies and Easter holidays and having Granny to stay its all been a bit manic. But now the boys are back at school then things should begin to quieten down - one hopes!!!! Ha!

Last night we decided to take Granny out for a meal and booked our lovely childminder (who is also our cleaner). She is a lovely Turkish lady but takes no prisoners. However, she adores the boys and they, in turn, do as she says (which is rare).

So we went out and were only five minutes away when the phone rang.

"Puupy is very naughty,' she bellowed into the phone, "Puppy is eating all the pasta you left on the kitchen table for me."

I had made enough pasta to feed a small army - have you seen how much two boys can eat? - but there was enough for the sitter's supper, should she want some. However, it seemed as though the puppy had eaten it - although why she felt the need to update me with this information I wasn't so sure.

"Never mind," I replied, "There are plenty of crisps in the cupboard."

The sitter thought about this, "Good, I will be eating those then." she said and rang off.

With that settled we went out for a lovely meal - where the waitress was so slow that I was tempted to go and collect the food myself from the kitchen 'pass' (see I watch Masterchef) where it had been sitting for ten minutes whilst she showed her bunions off to her colleagues.

We came home to find both boys asleep and all three dogs silently sitting on the stairs - even ASBO dog was behaving. Turks must have a way with animals - or she scared them into submission after the pasta incident - Never come between a baby sitter and their food!

I went in to say goodnight to the boys and found that TJ's face was covered in chocolate. "Has TJ been awake?" I asked the sitter as she was leaving.

"He only got up to go to the toilet," she said and she left.

I noticed that all of TJ's easter eggs, which had been put into his room to keep them out of reach of the puppy, had all been opened and the largest one (a gift from Granny) was now simply a gold wrapper.

I decided to leave it until the morning.


This morning I questioned TJ about his Easter eggs and the chocolate on his face.

"Did you eat three eggs in bed last night?" I asked over breakfast.

He looked sheepish, "No," he said, "I shared it with the sitter."

"Did you?" I asked, "well, let me give her a call later and I'll find out if she enjoyed them."

With that I let him sit quietly staring at his cereal.

As we were walking to school he suddenly piped up, "When I said I was sharing my egg with the sitter - what I meant was that I wanted to share it with her, but by the time I thought about it I had eaten it all."

I looked at him, "It's not the chocoloate I'm cross about," I said, "Its the lying," He looked suitably crestfallen. Then I added, "We shall talk about this when you get home from school."

That should give him a whole day of worrying... cruel, probably...  effective, yes!

Great - so now I have to hide chocolate from both the puppy and TJ!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Poo, puppies and parenting...

When did my life become all about poo?

When we first adopted the boys, we knew there would be lots of challenges, but one that we thought we could avoid would be that of dirty nappies and poo... Of course, in their early days we had a couple of accidents and our youngest did end up back in pull up pants for a short while but apart from that, all was fine.. Poowise.

Then we got a puppy. I had forgotten how messy house training a pup is. Yesterday morning for the first time, puppy asked to go out. She ran outside and did her 'business' in the garden. I stood by her telling her what a good girl she was and rewarding her for pooing outside. She was so happy that she immediately ran back up to my bedroom and pooed again by the bed. She sat there waiting for me to praise her... She didn't get it that time.

Then later that day I needed to send out a couple of emails and do the online shop (I am never taking the boys supermarket shopping again, I usually end up buying loads of junk and spend most of my time apologising to whomever TJ has offended - he has learnt that if you put your hand up to your mouth and whisper how fat or ugly someone is then they can't hear you... Unfortunately, he hasn't mastered the art of whispering!)

Anyway, I popped both boys into the garden to 'play' and I pulled out the laptop.

I had two minutes...

Then the crying started. 

I decided to leave it. It sounded more like an 'I'm going to tell' cry than a major incident. But then I heard them talking... "You think I care if you tell him?", KC asked his brother, "What can they do? Ground me? They can't do anything else. So I'll just carry on hurting you."

I was actually stunned. This was my responsible older boy talking. Not only was he being frightful to his brother (who hasn't done that at some point?) but what stunned me was his dismissal of Papa and I as 'they'. It dawned on me that in his mind we weren't his parents, just those who look after him for now.

I was hurt.

Then I remembered his foster carer saying to me, "it will take them as many years with you as they have been in care for them to accept you as their parents." I poo-pooed it at the time (see what I did there?) But I think she was right. TJ was just 5 when he came to is, as he approaches 9 he does seem to accept that we are his parents and would never refer to us as 'they'. KC was 6... So we have a couple more years to wait."

I then heard a blood curdling scream. I rushed out and TJ was bawling. His face was covered in dark wet stuff. I looked at KC. "It's just mud," he said defensively.

"It's dog poo," screamed TJ, 'he put dog poo on my face!"

I sniffed the offending article. It was poo alright.

Now I was in a dilemma. What could I do to KC?  I told him to stay put while I cleaned up his brother.

As we left I turned to him and said, "I heard what you said young man," I was obviously channelling my  father here, 'and if grounding doesn't teach you a lesson then we will have to think of something else, won't we?" KC looked suitably stunned. Then I channeled my mother, "Just wait till your Papa gets home!" I said through gritted teeth. Poor Papa, after a long day at work being 'strict Edwardian father' probably isn't top of his 'to do' list.

As I cleaned TJ up he said, 'Daddy, my tummy hurts, I think I need a poo." I have learned that when his tummy hurts a poo is imminent... I learned that the hard way. I popped him on the toilet and went to deal with his brother.

After the usual chat about how wrong this was and how it made his brother feel and other similar nonsense I informed him that for the remainder of the week instead of watching tv for an hour in the afternoon with his brother he would be sitting with me and we would do times tables together. This time it was his turn to let out a blood curdling scream. Well at least something hit home!

I then had a call from the bathroom. 'Daddy, come and look at my poo... It's huge!'

He'll be asking me to put it on a Facebook next...

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

April Fools Day

So my April Fools this year were a little sparse.

Its normally one of my favourite days - although those around me may say different.

But yesterday I aimed my 'humorous gags' at my children.

In the morning I informed them that I would be collecting their new pet - a pet with the head of a fish, the body of a monkey and the feet of a kangaroo - it was called a Lirpa Loof. TJ was a little wary - "If it has feet like a kangaroo," he said, "Won't it be very bouncy?" He already thinks the new puppy is too bouncy.

"No," I replied, "you can train them to walk not hop."

He thought about this and then told me he would ask his teacher if she had seen one before. After the previous weekend his teacher should be feeling too sheepish to disagree with anything I say. TJ has already started bedwetting again and I am due to see said teacher tomorrow - my guess is she will keep trying to put me off until the Easter break. She doesn't know me very well...

Anyway, back to my story.  KC was simply excited - he loves all animals and a Lirpa Loof sounded great fun.

As I took him to his school but I also reminded him that today was 'hug a teacher day," and he had better make sure he hugs all his teachers as soon as he sees them. I don't think he fell for that one...

I picked them up from school later - they were both excited to see their new pet, which I had told them I had collected before 12. I took them home and presented them with a pack with the words "Lirpa Loof' written on it. These were their pet documents. They ran into the garage to look for the new animal.

I let them look for a few minutes before I asked them to spell out the words Lirpa Loof backwards... They were not impressed. KC scowled at me and told me 'he knew all along.' Oddly, TJ looked relieved. Both boys sulked - which made for a quiet evening.

I decided to move onto another target. Many years ago one of my best friends made a movie in Singapore - I told him via Whats App that it had been selected for release across the US and Canada as part of their Asian season. He later told me that even after checking online he couldn't find the details. I told him it was my mistake it was actually scheduled for release on the same date next year - now that's the way to keep a good April Fool going!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Happy 'Gay' Dad's Day

I've only just calmed down enough to write this - although those of you who follow our adventures on Twitter have already heard most of this already.

I'll recap.

On Friday, after school, I went to collect my youngest son. TJ walked out of school and immediately we were surrounded by children asking me 'Where's TJ's mum?" and "What happened to TJ's mum?"

I was stunned, I wasn't sure what to say or what to do. TJ was distraught and just wanted to go home. I couldn't understand what was going on. I bundled TJ into the car and we left.

As we walked through the door I asked him what that was all about.

He reached into his bag and threw a card at me. A card in pink, shaped as a handbag with small butterflies and pom poms stuck to it. It looked very nice.

"A mother's day card?" I asked, "Did you make that for Granny?"

Every year the boys have celebrated Mothers Day by making cards and buying little gifts for my Mum, then we celebrate the later Mothers' Day, Singapore follows the American one, and the boys do the same for Papa's mum. Its a system that works for us. Until this year.

This year it had all gone wrong.

TJ told me to look inside the card. He was bit sheepish and obviously embarrassed to hand it to me. Inside it read: "Happy Dads Day."

Of course I accepted the sentiment and told TJ what a lovely card it was and then put it on display - ready for his brother to come home...

When things had calmed down I asked TJ if he wanted to make the card for me and Papa. "No', he replied, "I was making it for Granny but Miss said I had to make it for you - so (and this was the bit that really angered me) she told me that as I don't have a mum I couldn't say Happy Mothers Day, I had to write Happy Dads Day... in front of everyone."

He then burst into tears. "But I told her you wouldn't want a pink handbag?" he sobbed.

I was furious. Here was my little boy, coming to terms with being adopted, learning about different families being subjected to complete humiliation in front of his class mates - not to mention how it reflected on Papa and I, obviously all gay dads would love a pink handbag(?!?). I wouldn't have minded if TJ had wanted to make the card for us and had written "To Daddy and Papa on Mothers Day" - or something similar. But this was inexcusable.

Papa and I are adults, we've been called many names and we can put up with the little jokes and the knowing looks across the playground - but this? This was coming directly from school.

TJ went to his school disco and I immediately fired off an angry email to his head teacher.

Yesterday his head teacher grabbed me for a quick chat. Luckily she was incredibly apologetic and was investigating... but for us the damage has already been done.

TJ had a restless weekend and is bed wetting again. I can only keep re-assuring him that everything is ok. This just made me more angry with the teacher.

If the teacher was unsure then surely a simple phone call could have settled the issue.

Its a shame as TJ was beginning to love school - this has set him back but it wont break him. I'm sure it wasn't meant maliciously, at least I hope not, but I think someone needs a training day on what being inclusive and diverse actually means.

On the plus side we did talk about what we should say when people ask abut his family. Did he want me to say he was adopted - was I allowed to tell his friends.

He thought about it. "Yes," he said, "But only if they ask."

That's fine with me.