Saturday, 29 December 2012

Festivities mixed with sadness

  We've had two Christmas days, which means two Christmas dinners, lots of cake and an awful lot of chocolate. Even Tigs didn't want his breakfast the day after Boxing day. We have full waste bins, and the cupboard in our spare room is no longer full of garish parcels. I suppose this means that Christmas is over.  But the notice on the whiteboard in the kitchen still says 'happy birthday Jesus', and there are decorations everywhere, so it can't be over yet. Personally I can't get the decorations down quickly enough after the big day, but there would be riots if I took them down yet, so the boys' somewhat battered paper chains still grace the lounge, and will probably stay up for another week at least.

  It was an incredibly busy period, complicated by my mothers health issues - which I haven't written about until now as it is painful to confront the fact that she is  failing, In the 18 months since Dad died I have been convincing myself that she has been pretty stable, but in reality her health is slowly slowly declining. It is very painful for her, and she is getting to the stage where she has had enough. Death doesn't hold fears for her, and she has now expressed a wish to go. She spent a night in hospital last week, and we are in dread that she may have to go in again. We just pray that she can be pain free as pain dominates her life at the moment, and also her mobility has drastically reduced in the last few weeks, which has worrying implications for her whole future. She tries to keep positive, but I think it's a struggle. She puts a good face on when we visit of course.

  On a happier note the boys seem to have enjoyed the season, although they were both painfully excited. Pup in particular could not cope with himself at all on Christmas morning and was very hard work. He and Tigs dominated the stage at Church on that morning; all the kids are encouraged to bring up a new toy to show off, most of them will stand up and shyly whisper into the mike that the leader holds out to them. My two exhibitionists grabbed the mike, Tigs shouted very loudly about his new football gloves and Pup attempted to get the congregation to play his new game with him! Tigs did himself proud by doing the reading - Luke 2 v 1 - 14 at the Sunday carol service - not bad for a 6 year old, especially one with a  three second concentration span!! (I feel the need to say that this was at his request, he's been asking to read in church for weeks)

One bonus arising from Christmas is that the boys now both have Nintendo DSes so we have some very peaceful times....

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Peace Hippo

   There are a lot of arguments in our house these days. Pup is becoming very opinionated, and while it's good he knows his own mind, we are finding that he is objecting to everything we ask him to do. And Tigs is growing up and challenging Pup more and more. In some ways he behaves like the elder brother despite being three years younger; he often takes the initiative, and makes the compromises; and he is stronger for his age and faster. Of course this means Pups big brother status is challenged, which results in a lot of conflict. This doesn't mean the boys don't get on, they are very attatched to each other, and would rather be together than apart 90% of the time; when they are together there is a lot of giggling, running about and wild sillyness. But they still argue a LOT.

  So we have introduced the Peace Hippo.

  He is small, soft, grey and furry and lives on the shelf in the hall, and he is supposed to help in mediation. If anyone has an argument with another family member, rather than shouting at them they run and get the hippo. While they are holding it they can have their say and not be interrupted. Then they need to pass it on to the other person involved in the dispute, who gets their turn to speak.

  We've had mixed results with him so far. Sometimes the act of going to get him helps them calm down. And they have to think about what they are saying more when holding him, because they know they are being listened to (interruptions not allowed). Sometimes things escalate to far too fast and hippo gets forgotten. But I think he is helping!!!

Joy and grief

With the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long
Beneath the Angels strains have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong
And man at war with man hears not
The love song which they bring
Oh hush the noise ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Mothers little helpers

  My GP prescribed me some tablets about a month ago. Result: I feel a lot less stressed recently and much less inclined to painc about everything, far fewer white nights when I wake and lie just worrying about everything  (and I do mean everything) But last week I missed a couple of doses, and by Sunday I was feeling really antsy and anxious again. So - the tablets DO work!

  As a result of feeling so awful on Sunday I let all the boys go to Church on their own. A bad move maybe, because P and T  were not on their best behaviour and Himself had to leave the service early with them. Pup was being too rowdy. He is becoming very vocal these days. He has always been talkative which is great (most of the time!) and his teacher admits that he has a fantastic vocabulary which he uses to good effect. But he is now becoming very argumentative and sometimes will not shut up. In fact there are times when the rest of us cannot get a word in edgeways; and poor Tigs gets forgotten. Pup is in trouble as well - he is under threat of exclusion from Cubs again if he can't behave there, although we will fight that one tooth and nail for him :( His school teacher says that he is in big danger of being left behind academically at school, not for lack of intelligence, but for multiple reasons - behavioural, poor fine motor control, inability to concentrate and to multitask (eg he cannot write and think what he is writing at the same time, so although he can tell a great story, when he tries to write it down it becomes very simple and basic - on the lines of 'the boy ran, the boy ran to the shop, the shop was shut'.  We are worrying yet again about his senior school. We have to start looking next September - I know that seems ages away, but these things creep up on you.
  Meanwhile both boys teachers are off sick. Pup has had 2 of his class teachers go sick with stress so far and I am hoping that is not the problem with his year 4 teacher :(  Tigs' teacher was threatening to have a nervous breakdown the other day at his parent teacher consultation session. She seems to have drawn the short straw this year; all the rowdiest kids in the year are in  her class! 

  Anyway, I have to stop writing; the boys are in the lounge Wii ing, and it is supiciously quiet in there - no sounds of arguing. I need to go and find out why.......

Saturday, 24 November 2012

So Chuffed

   On Thursday our local camera club ran its 'Image of the year' contest, They had  three sections, projected pictures, black and white prints and mono prints. I've only been in the club a few months and only entered one contest so far; but I thought I'd have a go at this one - just for the experience. The judges in these competitions are usually really helpful in the positive comments they make. So I entered two pictures in the projected image section.

And I won!!!!!

   I was so surprised and pleased, it was such a boost. It was a really close contest with lots of super photos. They were marked out of 20, two pics got 20, but the judge chose mine as winner. My other photo scored 19. 

The old wall

Sun on the Pikes

I'm not boasting (of course). Just saying.  I wish I could show some of the other photos, there were some super shots.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

It's that time of year

 Warning: this post is not for Santa believers!

  It's the time of year when I start ordering stuff.  Mysterious packages are being delivered - we had two today. Fortunately the boys are at school, so I have time to hide them before the school run. eBay and Amazon are doing well by us this year (I'm a lazy shopper) Apart from Christmas it's Himselfs birthday soon. I've got presents for him from the boys; but I haven't a clue what to get him from me. He wants slippers - WOW, exciting! 

  I do enjoy all this gift giving. When I was eleven my parents gave up celebrating Christmas, Dad thought it was way too commercialised and had lost its real meaning (true!). I tried to be grown up and understanding about it at the time, but it was hard. It is such fun choosing gifts for family, and I always enjoy the 'wrapping evenings' (ideally with a good film and a glass of wine) the week before Christmas . No, we are not very organised in our house. Our cards get sent out at the last minute too.

  Interesting dilemma this year as Tigs has decided that Father Christmas exists. He knows most of his presents come from family, but he's decided that the stocking that we fill and sneak onto his bed on Christmas Eve has to come from Santa.I did tell him that this isn't true, but he wants to believe it, and he got upset with me - so I shut up! I don't think we'll make a big issue of it. We are not big fans of Santa here; the thought of an overweight man in a red suit coming down our chimney and 'Ho Ho Hoing' is most unappealing to me! People who sneak into your house at night are burglars.

  I have a feeling that if Tigs does accept that there is no Father Christmas he will go round telling all the kids in his class, and I will become most hated mum of the year amongst the other mums. Mums who feel it is vital that their kids believe. Personally I feel it is pretty important that they believe in Jesus, but that is their choice, not mine. And it's Tigs choice if he chooses to believe in Santa. Funnily it hasn't been an issue with Pup, he became slightly confused one year when school was pushing the Santa myth, but seemed happy when I told him that Santa was a 'fun pretend'. He likes pretend games anyway, and I don't think he has ever said anything to the other kids at school. Tigs is much more literal and always asks if things are real. He likes to have his facts sorted in his head, and  he can be very determined - if  you try and correct him he will argue back, often quite logically. I am pretty sure that he won't believe for long, especially when he cottons on that the presents come whether you believe or not.

  What I really HATE is  in the weeks before Christmas when total strangers feel they can ask my kids if they've been good. This totally bewilders the boys as they've never been told that if they're naughty Santa. won't come. Nor have they been told that they are good or bad. I am terribly tempted to tell the boys to reply  "Is that any of your business?" Or something ruder. But I probably won't.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Happy birthday Dad

  Because it is my Dad's 84th birthday, which also makes it exactly 18 months since he died. That is hard to believe. I still wonder if he would still be there if I drove over to their old house and rang the bell; sitting in his chair by the window quietly reading or just thinking.

I miss you Dad.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Adopting part 2

The first part of our adoption story:  Adopting part 1

Pup had been with us for nearly 18 months. He was a week shy of his third birthday. We had got over the 'never again' stage. We were starting to wonder if maybe Pup might need a sibling sometime, but we were not quite ready to act.

Then we got a phone call. It was from the senior social worker at Pup's hometown of 'Royston Vasey'. Pups birth grandmother wanted us to be told that his birth mum had just had a baby boy. A healthy baby boy (no CF!) who had been taken straight into foster care. I scribbled the details on the back of an envelope. Name birth date, birth weight. I've still got that envelope, in Tigs memory box.
  To say we were torn in two is an understatement. We were in a whirl. Was this for us? Could we say no if he was offered to us? Could we deprive Pup of his brother? For us to have this baby he'd have to have been taken from his birth mum permanently. She'd lost one child already. Did she deserve to lose another? She was older now - should she not be given the chance to cope? But what if she was given the chance and failed Tigs? Could we pick up the pieces? Maybe a year, five years down the line? Then again would Royston social services even consider us for this baby? There were dozens of potential adoptive parents out there, younger, without the burden of a disabled child and many of them living much nearer. We did not contact their social services as we did not want want it to seem as if we were trying to grab this baby. Our social worker advised caution.

   We heard nothing. All we had were those scribbled details on an old envelope. We asked our social worker to request a photo 'to show Pup'. That took 5 months to arrive.
  We heard nothing. We had decided by then that we really wanted Pup to have a sibling, we felt a 3 year gap was perfect, we felt that to have his very own brother would be perfect. Pup was keen on the idea of a little brother or sister. At first he wanted a sister.

  We told Pup his 'first mummy' had had a baby brother, he seemed mildly interested. He prayed for his brother. At another time we asked him again if he'd like a sibling to come and live with us. This time he chose a boy (phew!).

  We'd had enough of being patient. In April we spoke to our adoption agency and let them know we'd like another child; they knew the situation and started to chase Royston Vasey social services. Suddenly things started to happen.We heard that Tigs would be adopted, that had been decided in February. (thanks for letting us know...  not) We heard that he had been without a social worker for some time, that he was in a stable foster home, that he was thriving. We still had just one photo. Royston admitted that they would consider us for Tigs. We got paperwork, we got meetings with a new social worker. We discovered with sinking hearts that the whole assessment to adopt process would have to be gone through again from scratch. They 'fast tracked' us; it took 4 months. Twice weekly meetings, paperwork coming out of our ears; while caring for Pup, who was hard work - feeding him alone took an hour at each meal.

  We told Pup he might be getting a brother, and asked him what the name of his new brother was. He said "I think maybe Tigs?"

 We had to wait until November to meet Tigs; he was 14 months old. We missed that much of his life. I can cope with knowing that we missed so much of Pups life, because we didn't know about him, but I have a little bitterness about missing that time with Tigs, especially missing his first birthday. He was very well cared for, but.....
   For the introduction week we went and stayed in a cottage near Royston; we took Himselfs parents with us this time to babysit Pup. We were a little wiser this second time around and did not let the social workers run the show. They wanted us to meet Tigs for the first time without Pup. We said 'no way' He was Pups own brother, Pup would feel totally indignant at being left out. That battle took a while to sort out, but we won that battle.

Tigs was unwell the day we met, full of cold and a sorry little boy. He was ill all week, and finding it hard having all these new people invading his life. But he's a positive child, and kept going despite obviously feeling quite poorly. He and Pup almost immediately started fighting over toys (some things don't change), but they were interested in each other, and Pup tried hard. The intro week was exhausting physically and emotionally as they are, desopite his very supportive foster carers, who again allowed us to break rules and threw the intro plan out the window (don't tell the social workers!), and spend almost all our time with Tigs. Pup came with us some times, other times he was allowed to stay with Grandma and Grandad.

   So Tigs came home to us. He was confused, he was not obviously unhappy but he had this look of bewilderment on his face for the first month. His eczema dramatically worsened, he ate like a starving animal (comfort eating?) He delighted in pulling Pups hair; which didn't quite put Pup off the idea of having a little brother, but made him a little more wary. He did not want me for a Mummy, and did not want cuddles or affection at first. When a friend visited who looked a bit like his foster mum, he was all over her.

  Then he got sick. 2 days after christmas I took him to our local cottage hospital at midnight, struggling to breath and very unhappy; and they sent me off to drive him 10 miles to our nearest A&E at midnight with Tigs gasping for breath. He cried all the way there which was reassuring to me as I could not see him in the back of the dark car trying to breathe. When we got there the nurse demanded to know why he wasn't sent by ambulance. A & E was busy, he was put on oxygen, given nebulisers and left alone in a bay with me for 2 or 3 hours. At one point he vomited and his oxygen saturations dropped to scarily low levels. I was wondering if we were going to lose our new son.  When they finally got round to sending us to a ward at about 4 am he was sitting up smiling at the nurses between gasps for breath. His Consultant looking at his X rays the next morning told us they looked 'really really bad'. He had pneumonia. He was meant to be very ill, but he didn't know it, and obviously was not aware of the correct protocol for a sick baby. He was  rampaging around his cot, rattling the bars, climbing and pulling the emergency bell until he got out of breath then he'd collapse in a heap until he got his breath back- and be off again.
  He bounced back, in three or 4 days he was well on the mend, and was allowed home. That is when we realised what a strong and resilient little boy we had. And these days he is as tough as ever; strong, agile and happy (most of the time), but with a mischievous streak a mile wide. He has made our family complete. He's taken our focus off Cystic Fibrosis, which is nothing but good. He is a delight.

  BUT this is my personal quarrel with social services. It took 6 months for Pup to come to us; that was hard enough. But to make a tiny boy wait 14 months when there is a family ready and waiting for him.  14 months. We wanted him so much, we were ready for him. As far as we know Social Services had no plans to place him with anyone else.  Our feeling was that he wasn't prioritised because he was in a safe stable foster home, and there were needier kids in town. I understand that. But is shouldn't have to be like that.

  And there are children out there who wait years for parents. children who can't go to adoptive parents because they are the wrong colour. We were rejected as potential adopters for one blue eyed blonde boy because he had one West Indian grandfather. We gave up enquiring about mixed race kids, or children with maybe one Romany or Italian parent. We laughed when we read in 'Be My Parent' about children with one Bulgarian and one Chinese parent and a Scottish grandmother who needed parents to 'reflect their ethnic origin.' I think things are changing; I hope for the better. But there are still dozens of kids out there needing homes. We feel that 2 is enough for us, but I still feel guilty about that sometimes.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A love letter

Tigs was the first downstairs the other morning. When I came down he gave me this little note he'd just written for us.

Dad nn and Mum I lov yoo soo moch

It's got pride of place on our message board. He called us the 'best mum and dad he's had' tonight.

Makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Negative thinking

Pup is off school today; he threw up spectacularly last night. I don't think he's really ill, but school demands that the kids stay off for 48 hour after they have upchucked, so here we are. I'm a bit disappointed, as I wanted to go over and see Mum, but happy for Pup, as he isn't too good at the moment, and a duvet day will be good for him.. He had his regular 2 monthly outpatient appointment yesterday, and they were reasonably pleased with him, but he does seem tired and washed out, and he's coughing a lot. His lung function has worsened again too. I'm wondering if he is ripe for more IV antibiotics. They've prescribed him a course of orals, so we'll see how that goes. 

It all bring home to me more and more that CF really is a degenerative condition. A 15 year old girl with Cystic Fibrosis died last month. One of many children unfairly struck down before they've had a chance at life. This one hit us, and many in the CF community really hard.

Why? We are all being conditioned to believe that CF'ers can expect a much longer life these days. We've come to expect it. Our Doctors stress the positives, they don't use the 'D' word. Median life expectancy is near 40. Medications improve all the time. They tell us that Pup could make 60, easily.

But the figures actually mean that half of all CF'ers will die before they reach 40. And that doesn't mean that they will live 40 fit and happy years and then die. They may be more disabled at the age of 20 or 30 than the average 90 year old, they may endure years of struggle, in and out of hospital. Waiting for a lung transplantlike the girl who died. Kept alive by intravenous antibiotics, feeding tubes, oxygen, endless pill popping.


I'm not just thinking of Pup. The CF Trust has a forum that links parents of CF kids, we get to know others on Facebook, you see their pictures, read about their antics, learn to care about them. We get advice from adults with CF, and read about their problems and worries. But we also see pictures of happy lively healthy kids. Those are the ones that keep us going, those and the stories of adults with CF running marathons, climbing mountains and achieving great things.

At least Pup is having a thoroughly good day, so far he's played on the Wii, his DS, done some online homework and is now deeply involved in a computer game. He is one real little techy.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Boys behaving badly

Sometimes I think that  should be the title of this blog. But I'd hate for my boys to think in ten years time that that was the way I thought of them. They are good a lot of the time. But yesterday was not our best day, and now Pup is grounded for life, and Tigs for... as long as I can hold out. However the problem with grounding your kids is that you can't go out if they are grounded. No networking with other mums in the playground after school. No chatting to friends while Tigs is at Gym club. Social isolation....
Ok ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration; but I am feeling it already, and it's only day 1.

Oh dear. And I had thought that we were making progress.

It is amazing how well behaved they were this morning. The morning after the very-early-to-bed night (for misbehaving) before. I would like to think that it will last. Dream on...

Other news. Weather grey and dismal. Himself seems less tired lately. Cats in winter raven. This is the state I've noticed all our cats experience in or about October each year, their appetite doubles. They are building up winter coats and fat layers, I suppose. The Ginge has had 3 breakfasts so far today. I can say No to the boys but not to the cats. Ginge sits on my foot and bites my leg and squeaks at me, and I instantly give in. He has the most pathetic miaow, it has absolutely no street cred whatsoever. All the local Toms must laugh behind thier paws at him. However Monocats miaow, when she chooses to use it, is low and totally tragic.
In fact The Ginge has got totally no dignity or self respect whatsoever.

 As you can see.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Long time no blog

We've just been trogging along here, and I haven't written as there hasn't seemed like much to blog about; well only depressing stuff. We have had some good times, don't get me wrong, but I am still in that 'glass half empty' mode that I've been in for a while and I'm finding it hard to see the good in a lot of things. Less so now than last week when it felt like everything was getting too much, and I was a 'not good enough' mum. But yesterday at bedtime Tigs cuddled me from his bunk bed (a bit scary as he always leans right out, and one day he will fall out on top of me) and he said I was the 'best mum ever', and he was throwing me kisses as I left his room. So maybe I am good enough - just about.

School has today finally acnowledged that Tigs can actually read - he's just been choosing not to do so at school, for personal unexplained reasons of his own. He is a good little reader. Being quite hyperactive he has trouble doing what he's told at school, and he is always in trouble for some mischief or other. Swearing, throwing a banana skin down the toilet, hitting (usually not malicious, just over exuberance), and awful sins like going into the classroom at breaktime. I am so weary of being called over by his teacher after school to be told of his latest crime. So yesterday my heart sank as teacher came over to me, carrying a big plastic bag...
"There was an Incident at school today (oh dear....) We tried to ring you about it (oops. Must be serious) Tigs wasn't involved (incredible sense of relief) Some other boys tried to flush Tigs jacket down the toilet" 
She must think I was nuts, as in my happiness at hearing he hadn't Done Anything I made it clear I didn't give two hoots about the fate of his (brand new) winter coat. Actually the coat is fine, after two trips through the washing machine.

Pup? He shows a few signs of growing up; but with him it's one step forward, two steps back. He seems happier at school, and I'm really chuffed that I've spotted him playing with some boys from his class a couple of times recently. Progress?

 Sometimes I would love to have nice 'normal' kids. But that would be boring wouldn't it? Then again boring sounds quite appealing at times. And they can be normal. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Reasons to be cheerful

(Warning: not a cheerful post)

Fighting depression at the moment. I never get very down these days, but I am a little low. SAD season starts with the shorter days. So I need to think of the good stuff. The trouble is in this state of mind I twist all the good into problems and worries.

Lovely big garden = lots of work
Lively cat = he's going to get run over.
Elderly cat = will she get ill?
Mum is fit and well  = when is she going to get ill? I saw her yesterday and I'm going down with a cold today, have I given it to her? 
House decorating to plan = decisions I cannot face.

Worrying about the boys futures? I can't even go there at the moment. Tigs has a slight tic = has he got Tourettes? Himself is tired all the time - has he got some dreadful undiagnosed condition? He has just found out that he didn't get the promotion he was trying for, and is very fed up about it.

And I have lots of jobs to do, feeling overwhelmed by them so I'm not doing any of them. Shopping was delivered about half an hour ago and most of it is sitting on the table presumably waiting for the fairies to put it away. Washing machine is waiting to be unloaded. When I get depressed; I go all passive. Drink tea. Snack. Stop praying. I've got big decisions about my future to make. .... sometime.

And for goodness sake I've got nothing to moan about. The news headlines are all about people made homeless by floods. Syrian children being tortured. We live in a great town, in a free country, have a lovely home (if in serious need of redecoration).  We are not bankrupt or persecuted. We have two gorgeous boys, lots of great family, the best cats in the universe. Pull yourself together girl.

Enough. I'm going shopping.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A weight off my shoulders

  We've always resisted trying to get Pup's behaviour issues diagnosed; partly because we feel that he has enough 'labels' hanging around his neck already. Premature, adopted, cystic fibrosis. It's a lot for a boy to handle. But I've given in. I took him to the Quack this week and asked her to refer him for an assessment. School is getting increasingly concerned about him, he is disrupting at Cubs, at Sunday school, and almost everywhere we take him out. He is getting more and more out of step with other kids his age. We are worrying more and more about how he will cope at senior school. At the very least he could get badly bullied.

So we've taken that big step. I think it may be a long road. I thought I would feel guilty, but I don't, I feel like a big weight has dropped off me. Yes, we want him to be 'normal' (if there is such a thing). But we want him to get all the help he needs as well. And another label just might make people more tolerant of his idiosyncracies.... we hope. 

I don't really know how he feels about it. He knows his behaviour causes problems. (how could he not know?) I was as direct as I could be with him, and tried to explain to him that we are not saying he is naughty - in fact he is a child that loves to be helpful and to please people. He isn't talking about it. But he doesn't like to talk about negative things, he never has. I just hope we are doing the right thing for him. I've had too many years of people saying to me "It's just attatchment disorder", "He'll catch up", "He'll do it in his own time", "Don't worry, he's a lovely boy." Sorry, but being lovely isn't enough. Sadly he has to conform at least to some extent to societies expectations, even if those expectations can be unreasonable sometimes. I don't want him to stop being 'Pup'. He has a strong personality that will always shine through. AND he is an optimist! I think, I hope that he will cope.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

My life is ruined forever!

Pup  came upstairs yesterday evening howling "My life is ruined forever!"

I am NOT laughing. (well not where he can hear). The problem is that he and Tigs were playing with separate Brio tracks, and could not agree over how to allocate the trucks fairly. So Dad made them take turns over who chose which truck. Tigs chose one of Pups favourites.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Back to school

   Boys back to school, back to routine, and back to spending school days on my own from 9 to 3.

   This is no burden, I've always been happy alone, and have to make a big effort to socialise, even with good friends. I'm pretty antisocial by nature and ahve always felt that the life of a  hermit is quite appealing. I certainly do not spend the time watching daytime TV. I may spend just a little too much time far too much time on my computer.  But I'm also sorting the house. We've still got a total bomb site of a spare room from when we emptied Mum and Dad's house. Got rid of loads of debris, but there are so many things that I am reluctant to dispose of yet. And I'm storing a lot of Mum's stuff  that she doesn't want cluttering up her room in her residential home. Books, photo albums, all her art work. And some of Dad's stuff that I can't bear to part with, like his old collection of cigarette cards (technically these are Mum's but she is just not interested in going through his things.)

  And then there is housework (nuff said)

  And the garden. When we moved in here three years ago our garden was a meadow. The previous owners had zero minus ten interest in the garden, our neighbours say that they ripped out a lot of trees and bushes, and just planted grass. (why?) It is a big garden by the standard of modern British gardens. Our house was built in the 1950's an era when land was not at such a premium, and we have a great back garden, 60 foot long and 60 foot wide at its widest point. We've done a lot of work in it, but still have a long way to go. Minor detail of two small boys taking up way too much of our time - they have to be fed, taken to school, entertained, physio'd (Pup) and told off. Time stolen from gardening (and drawing, photography, sewing and about 20,00o other hobbies I like to indulge in. Oh and Himself needs a little attention every now and again. And the cats have to be fed watered and entertained occasionally as well. But at the moment the garden is my priority during school hours, while the good weather lasts. It got slightly neglected  left to turn into a jungle over the summer holidays. Now I'm playing catchup as well as still working on infrastructure. And enjoying it.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

This little cat..


This little - or now not so little - cat kept me sane during the chaos and sadness of last year when Dad was ill and died, and during the months when we were taking my parents' home of 30 years apart and 'rehoming' mum.

He was always there to welcome me home with his little broken miaow, he is simple, uncritical and gorgeous.

No I don't love him more than my kids, but he is so restful to be with, and you cannot say that about either of our boys. He is so straightforward and affectionate when so many other things are worrying and full of conflict, (not physical conflict - never that!)

   Thank you Moses. Mose the Pose, The Ginge, Furface. Just stroking you makes me feel at peace. When you come rushing into the house demanding food NOW it gives me such a lift. Or when you come racing towards me when I get home, raising your tail flag in welcome. Sometimes you think you are a dog, like when you play 'fetch' with your toy mice. Sometimes you are just peculiar - how many cats will choose to sit out in the rain? Ok you have some less savoury habits. I hate finding sad little dead baby birds on my kitchen floor, or live frogs hopping around the dining room. And when you have been out on a rainy night and you come in and leap onto our bed and shake yourself all over us, it can be  a *little* irritating.  But no-one's perfect.

Saturday, 1 September 2012


  I'm still in bed, with 2 cats, who are lying as far apart from each other as possible. Monocat is curled tightly, the Ginge is sprawling. I can hear reassuring gentle chatter as Himself negotiates getting boys dressed. Pups 'angry birds' t-shirt is dirty, and he's not happy about that, but thankfully today he's willing to compromise and find something else. Tigs seems to be pulling all his clothes out of his drawers to find the 'right' top. He'll probably come out of his room dressed in thick trousers, jumper and long sleeved top despite being told that it's a warm day and that he neeeds shorts and T-shirt. Tigs likes jmpers, and likes to be covered up. I was just like that as a kid, my mother virtually had to drag my cardigan off me on hot days.  I've told Tigs that, and he thinks it's funny (and reassuring?) to hear that he is doing something mummy did when she was little.

Life for once feels 'normal', kids behaving rationally (well they are small boys, so I'll say fairly rationally!) We are all going out for the day, I hope this peaceful feeling lasts!

Meanwhile I must get up, Himself has done breakfast and has made the picnic. He's 'on duty' this morning - we alternate at weekends having a lie in while the other 'does' the boys - that time is a real haven of peace. But it's time to climb out of my haven and get to it.....

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Babies and plots

 We were at Tigs gym club today. There were as usual a bunch of mums in the 'waiting  room' while their offspring were springing around in the gym. And as usual several of them had babies. Today there was one very tiny little boy, must have been a few weeks old, max. And I was finding it really hard to even look at him; the baby longing came over me in a massive way. It's way too late for me to have a baby. No I didn't want to steal him, but I just felt so cheated. Crazy, as I'm no more entitled to a baby than any other woman. And both our boys came to us quite young; as toddlers. But I still crave a newborn.

  It has spoiled a few relationships; funnily enough the hardest for me was when we'd had Pup for about a year and a casual friend with a child of Pups' age got pregnant with her second son. I could barely manage to croak out 'congratulations' when she told me. I couldn't face her for months. Even when we found out about Tigs birth just a few weeks after her son was born I found it so hard, as we had to wait for months to know if Tigs was going to be ours, and for over a year to get him (that's another story.)

Not sure if I will ever get closure on this one. Maybe when (if!) we get grandchildren. However by the time we get grandkids Himself and I will probably be in residential care, pushing our matching his 'n' hers zimmer frames around; and way too old to enjoy the kids. Like my poor mother who I think had given up ever being a grandmother by the time my sister had her first child at age 38.

  Anyway apart from that, today went reasonably smoothly. It wasn't a day i was looking forward to, I had to drop the boys at Holiday club, collect my Mum to take to the dentist, drop her at home then collect boys. I did seriously panic when I thought that the appointment was going to overrun so I'd be late to pick the boys up, but we were just in time although Mum had to come along to holiday club for the ride as I didn't have time to drop her at home first.  Not ideal, as she was numb and exhausted, but we coped. Boys were higher than kites after their fun morning, in fact bouncing off the clouds; but in a happy way, not distressed, so that was OK.

New topic

This afternoon the boys were playing in an old tent in the garden, I was in the lounge. Tigs comes in:
 "Mum, Pup asked me to go and get his toy puppy!" (Pup often uses Tigs to fetch and carry for him - like older brothers everywhere, I suspect)
Mum "That is in his room, Tigs and you aren't allowed in Pups room, are you?" (he consistently steals and breaks Pups toys otherwise.)
Tigs "Oh." Runs back out to garden - and Pup.
Comes back indoors about 2 minutes later. "Going to get something from my room Mummy!"
Runs upstairs. I can hear no fairy elephant noises coming from his bedroom which is above the lounge, so I am naturally curious about what he's up to..... and where. A minute later he runs downstairs and past the lounge door in haste, with a cheerful grin and something behind his back. 
"Bye, mummy!"
Mum "Stop! What are you hiding?"
Tigs, fidgeting. "Nothing......"  
Oh yes, you guessed it. The 'nothing' turned out to be Pups toy dog, as expected.

  Those two are ganging up to get 'one up' on Mummy more and more often these days. I am still (usually) wise to their plots. But I am sure it won't be long before they can successfully bamboozle me.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Busy week ahead

Get boys to holiday club by 9.30 (we haven't eaten breakfast much before then for days so it will be a massive shock to the system) Instruct the club leaders in dealing with Pups medication. (and in dealing with Pup)
Rush into town to get photo's printed for contact letter to boys birth mum.
Pick up my mum, take her to dentist.
Take mum home, pick up boys. 12.30. Scrape them off ceiling.
Feed boys 
Take boys to Tigs Gym club
Home, feed all,  put boys to bed.
Sit down.

Holiday club am 
Playdate pm. Overexcited boys.

Holiday club am
Opticians pm. Taking boys to opticians is NOT fun. Too many tempting buttons to press. And getting one to sit still while he is being examined, and the other to sit while he is not being examined - oh my!!!

Go to work for a rest. Himself is holding the fort as he usually does on Friday.

 All the time worrying about Pup who had his outpatient appointment last week and has apparently lost weight over this last month despite growing a centimetre in height. His Doctors are quite concerned about this. He's also got a cough, which always sets my alarm bells jangling, hard. The good news is that his lung function seems to be improved.

Roll on the weekend! I'm almost tempted to say roll on school! Starts next week. I'm not looking forward to the sometimes tedious routine of school runs, or the hassle of school mornings. But it will be good to have some time to do 'non boy' things. I have so many plans.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hard thinking

  Doing some very hard thinking here about getting (or trying to get) some extra help for Pup. In fact more about help for us coping with Pup. We are not having a good time at the moment. A week on holiday by the sea showed us how Pup does not cope well away from his home environment. Worrying about his health too.
Lots of thinking going on, and stressing about his future.  

It was not  bad holiday although stressful in  parts, and both boys had a great time in the sea. In fact rather too great in Pups case as he nearly got washed away by a freak wave on our last day.

Some of the good bits:

Friday, 10 August 2012

Sad happy sad

Sad - because a 12 year old girl has been murdered in south London, possibly by a close relative. Thinking how her family must be feeling at this moment.

Happy, we've got our boys back from Grandma's. However despite (or because of?) an exciting visit, with swimming trips, and a visit to Wicksteed Park with extended family they have come home inevitably somewhat unsettled and were little sods quite challenging today.

Sad because I'm finding work difficult at the moment and am having to make big decisions about my future. I've been nursing for 23 years (wow!), and need to think what I should do next. Working just one day a week  is not good for me and not good for my place of work. Not working at all would be hard as well. Increasing my hours would not work for the boys at all. I had to come home early from work today because I was exhausted, and that's not good.

We've been enjoying the Olympics together; the boys have special dispensation to scream as loud as they like when team GB wins a medal, and they are taking full advantage of it.The weather is great, and Himself and I are having quite a lot of time together.

So.... mostly good around here.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Home alone

Three boy free days for himself and me.

The boys are at Grandma and Grandads, with Himselfs very brave parents. We went over for the weekend and a family celebratation, and left them there; the Grandparents are returning them to us on Wednesday. It is just sinking in that they won't be  coming into our bedroom this morning, that we've got three days without meds or physio, without small boy fights (we get a lot of those at the moment).Three days of peace.

Feeling a little lost and aimless, and a lot guilty. The boys knew what was happening and were happy with it, in fact really excited about it; but at bedtime they were asking us not to go. We hoped they'd be asleep by the time we left so it would be a fait accompli in the morning when they woke. But Pup emerged from his bedroom as we crept out of the house and stood at the top of the stairs saying  "Please don't go, I'm begging you."
We went anyway. Grandma reports on the phone that he went to bed and back to sleep almost immediately.

Praying that they don't exhaust the grandparents too much. Pup gets so overexcited and he has no 'brakes' on his behaviour. He admits he can't stop himself, and he doesn't yet recognise soon enough when he's getting OTT, so he can't calm himself, and he still fights us when we try to get him to calm down. Just hope he isn't like this with the grandparents. Tigs is simply hyperactive and can be very very tiring. Gold medals to the granparents for taking them. Most people won't take our kids on, even for a short break.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Adoption in the news here.

 Recently Pup has taken to going to bed with some of his old photo albums. Most noteworthy the one compiled by his foster carers, full of pictures of people who are now strangers to him, places he can't remember, and dozens of pictures of a cute smiling baby.
He hasn't been talking about it much yet, but I had a taster last night when I went up to say goodnight.

"Mummy, there's a picture in here I want to show you" 

......Several minutes spent trawling through album.....

"Look, it's you and Dad with me!"

"Yes, that's the day we met you!"  (Very thoughtful foster carers included a photo they'd taken of 'Intro day' in their album.)

Little giggle, grin "You're smiling!"

"Yes Pup, that's because we were really happy to be meeting you."

"Oh.............           Night night Mummy."

Now I think the best thing for me to do is lie low and wait for more questions. I hope that's the right choice. He very rarely mentions adoption at all, and I do not want to force things.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

We have the lurgy

DO we have the lurgy.

I will spare you the details but it is messy and painful, and all except Himself have been 'laid aside on beds of sickness' as they used to say in our church when I was a kid. Pretty gross description, and in this case pretty accurate. We have had a sad few days. Tigs was first, then Pup. Then me. They are creeping back to normal, I am still shakey and off my feed. Pup is still using it as an excuse not to eat; since food is not his thing anything that lets him off eating is not all bad as far as he is concerned. And he got to play on the Wii and watch TV a lot.
The really rotten bit is that my sister and one of her kids are visiting, and they've come down with it too (guilt, guilt) AND we had guests at the weekend, a family  who are now gone off camping in France. We will find out later if they caught it -  I am quite prepared for them never to speak to us again.

However it hasn't all been a bad weekend, although we didn't get out, some fun was still had:

This is what was happening when I was in bed yesterday, captured by Himself on MY camera. And no, he didn't ask if he could borrow it.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Because a close relative was getting cross with one of my sons today and shouting at him because his behaviour was irrational and annoying. (it was annoying me too). Yes, he needed checking. Yes sometimes you need to shout because he needs to stop NOW, as what he's doing is dangerous or impacting badly on someone else. But you don't need to shout just because he's being annoying.

Because the same relative read my sons school report and told him off about the negative parts of the report, without mentioning the first sentence which read 'He has done really well this year and should be proud of himself'.

Because sometimes I run out of patience with my kids big time too, and I don't want to.

Because people outside see two pesky annoying kids and don't see two kids who are achieving great things despite all the grot they've had to put up with in their lives.

Because sometimes having kids that are 'different' is so isolating. Even friends who know my kids really well, love them and understand them, cannot know what it is like to live with them.

Because I'm afraid for their futures. And I love them.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A song in his head

  There is always singing in our house in the mornings (along with the shouting, banging, nagging, arguing etc....) This morning it was a medley from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Do Ray Me. At least they have both moved on from Wheels on the Bus. One day we will get into the 21st century, I'm in no hurry. Nor it seems are they, they prefer songs that are 'singable' to rock or pop music - so far. No doubt that will change .
  It is more commonly Tigs who is singing or humming. It doesn't matter to him that he doesn't know the words, or the tune, he'll sing it anyway. Tig has a few 'tics' and grunts that can be  a little irritating to live with at times, but sometimes if you listen carefully to him you realise that the little breathy noises that are coming from him are from subvocalised songs. I try and ban him from singing aloud at the table or when we are trying to hold a conversation. Sounds cruel? Well if I didn't we'd never be able to eat or talk! But the music usually breaks out at some point.  I tell him that even if he's not allowed to sing out loud he can always sing in his head.
  Having said that Tigs is usually singing, Pup comes a close second. He's in the choir at school, and likes to practice his songs. He has a much better memory for the words than Tigs, so is slightly easier to listen to. And when they are both singing you cannot hear yourself think, let alone talk..... 
  This morning they were doing both parts of 'Any Dream Will Do' while they were supposed to be putting on shoes and coats; they don't know it all yet so the result was 'interesting'.    I did try and chip in with the 'correct' words.  Indignant response: "Mummy, we're doing our version!"  
Oops. Sorry.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Why I am not a troll

One of the few bloggers I read reasonably regularly has just written a post on trolling. I love it.

Not having a big fan base I haven't had any trolls yet. On the few occasions I post on blogs I do try hard to be positive.  I can see how easy it would be to forget that there are human beings that have feelings at the other end of the cable that links my PC to the world. Must keep reminding myself of that.

'the bloggess' on Trolls

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

One of THOSE days...


No-one in our house was injured or suffered loss or trauma. I should not be complaining. A tiny boy was killed in a gas explosion in Northern England yesterday. Syria is in meltdown and its people are enduring terrible things. The world is full of grief.

So I have to get some perspective and be thankful. However... it was still a SOD of a day.

   Tigs was in one of his pain in the backside most delightful moods in the morning. He was not going to do what  I wanted him to do. He was going to do the opposite. Even if he didn't want to do it.. Sadly things degenerated into a battle scene, with a lot of screaming, where I ended up dressing washing tuthbri-ing combing creaming everything-ing him. This is Mr Independant who could dress himself at 2, and hates being 'done for'. It did not go down well. As a result we were seriously late leaving for school. Meanwhile I'd told Pup to set off for school on his own. He's quite capable of getting there safely. However he dawdled and dallied, took 5 minutes to decide to cross a road, and ended up getting to school after Tigs and I did.

SO: Both boys late for school. Tigs burst into tears as soon as he saw his teaching assistant, and had to be taken aside to be dried out before he could join his class. I went home and burst into tears too - sadly no-one there to mop me up. Cuddling the Ginger menace helped.

  Our neighbours have gone away for a few days and were expecting a 'large parcel'. They warned us before they went, but said that they had asked for delivery to be delayed until next week. It came anyway. Not one but two VERY large parcels. Himself managed to get them into their garage in the evening as we could not use our hallway meanwhile.

  My Toshiba portable hard drive died on me, it was my main place for storing all my photos. I can recover most of them, as they are stored in other places too, but there are a lot I had photo edited that are lost, and some personal files too. And it was the only place that I had organised my pictures, so hours of work to do again. I could have cried.

  I went into town and picked up my new glasses. I can see really well with them but they are very uncomfortable, and will have to go back. Then I had to do a massive supermarket shop as we had run out of everything (comes of going away on holiday) Supermarket shops are my pet hate, as time wasters they score about 12 out of  10 for awfulness (thank God for Ocado!)

  The pollen count here is about a zillion parts per million. We have a couple of wild areas in the garden with a lot of long grass, which I decided to tackle. BIG mistake. Had to retreat into the house sneezing and with horribly itching eyes, didn't dare open the windows for the rest of the day.

  And... it rained on the washing, and the tent put up to dry in the garden.

  However, whinge over. Today has been much better. We've made a few changes to how we manage Tigs, we had a happier morning I've sorted some of my photos. Kids did OK at school - no-one got sent to the head teacher, no-one got sat in the 'thinking corner'. Hoping life is on the up.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

We've been on holiday

   We were camping in the Lake District. We had some glorious sunshine, we climbed a mountain, rode a train, paddled in the sea, tried scrambling on rocks, both boys bottled out of abseiling.

We've let Pup do stuff that probably no kid with CF should do:

this was a pool at our campsite

We've let Tigs do stuff that probably no kid should be allowed to do.

yes, he landed safely... and did it again... and again.

We haven't lost all our commonsense however. The weather forecast at 6pm on Thursday night was dire. We were debating whether to drive home that night, but decided it was safer to stick it out and go home on Friday morning (instead of Saturday) I am so glad we did. We woke to pouring rain on Friday morning, and all got soaked getting the tent down. By the time we left the roads were quite scary, we had to drive first over small mountain roads that had become virtually streams. Then the motorway was pretty bad, heavy traffic, heavy rain, spray everywhere. NOT nice. It took 3 hours more than usual. However I'm glad we left when we did, because there was severe flooding in the Lakes that day; I think we just got out in time.  No-one was killed in the floods thankfully, but there were a lot of homes and other buildings damaged. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

A bit of a nothing blog

Not got much to say for myself at the moment, so probably shouldn't be saying much!

Our boys behaviours are challenging to say the least..

I'm overtired.

Monocat has had a lot of her teeth removed and is sulking. I think she'll be happer soon, her teeth were  really bad.

The Ginge excelled himself today, he brought two frogs into the house before breakfast, later the neighbours were shocked to found him in their bedroom, he must have snuck into the house behind their backs.

I don't have much positive to blog about work... but I don't blog about my job. BAD idea. However I would like to feel a little more positive about it.  :-(

Any good stuff? Well, Pup is learning to trot! 

 I've been practicing my drawing.

And The Ginge is NOT at all impressed.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Adopting part 1

This is one I've been meaning to write for ages. 

  Every family has its own story. Each adoption story is different. I've been reading a few adoption blogs recently, and some are helping me gain insight into my boys, and why they are.... they way they are. 
I'll have to begin by saying that I think our attitude is not quite the same as that of many adoptive parents. The fact that the kids are adopted isn't something we focus on. We are always aware of it obviously, but our older sons medical condition has always dominated our experience of him; and that is the 'lens' through which we tended to view him from the beginning. When our second son arrived we were focusing on having a 'normal' child. Once the ordeal of adopting was over the adoption bit sometimes seems incidental. Of course it's not. It's central to them, and vitally important.

  Where to start? I find I don't want to write about the infertility issues, the years of waiting, of hoping. The highs and lows, the exciting meeting with social workers, to discuss possible children the phone calls to say we'd not been chosen. The good and bad experiences with many social service departments.
  I'll start with a prayer, in January 2005. I was losing hope that we'd ever get a child. We'd even been linked in 2004 with a little boy and lost him due to changes in his family situation. We were worn out with it all after a couple of years of waiting. So in weary desperation I prayed that we'd hear about the right child within the next week....
About 3 days later we got a phone call from our social worker telling us about a tiny boy just over 15 months old. We'd seen him in 'Be My Parent' but not enquired about him, because we'd given up trying for young children, we wanted preschoolers but were beginning to resign ourselves to accepting older kids. But this boy was a little different. He had Cystic Fibrosis. I knew a little about this condition from my nursing experience, Himself knew barely anything. We were told his life expectancy could be 30 years or more, but nothing was certain. He looked gorgeous, and seemed otherwise ok with no other issues apart from slight developmental delays which everyone said were due to being born prem and having so much illness in his first year of life. We thought, we prayed and we said yes. We discovered that no other families were seeking to adopt him. So we went into this with a great deal  of hope.

  Fast forward. We didn't get to meet him until June. Sometimes the adoption system in this country breaks your heart. Meetings, paperwork, e-mails, more meetings,the matching panel,  approval. A little boy waiting for a Mum and Dad. A foster family caring for a sick and needy little boy on top of their own family and a selection of other foster kids.

  Then there he was, suddenly centre frame. Our Pup. The person it was all about. Our new and terrifying responsibility. No longer a child on paper but a real live person. He was 20 months old, just walking, he could say 'hello' and 'car'. He was full of smiles, happy to meet new people,  gorgeous and friendly. That should have set off some alarm bells, but everyone kept reassuring us that he was normal. Just an extrovert. Well that is true. He IS an extrovert...
   We took a week to get to know him in his foster home, spending as much time with him as we could, while staying in a cottage nearby. We met his birth mum. We took him out, we learned about his routines, his medication, his physiotherapy - oh and all the normal toddler stuff. Then we had to go home without him. Two days later his foster carers arrived with  a carful of toys clothes, highchair; and one tiny boy. Our son. Two days later they left us alone with him, our new son.

 Most  of those first few weeks is a blur. We were so tired, we didn't know him , he didn't know us. We had to get used to living together, he had to adjust to a household totally different to what he was used to. No other kids, no dogs, instead 2 cats. People spoke with a funny accent. There were dozens of new people to meet. It was supposed to be a precious time of learning about each other. It was exhausting for us. We had so much to learn about caring for a child with Cystic Fibrosis. Just adapting to having a toddler in the house was hard enough. His nappies - Himself says that after changing a CF nappy no nappy will ever hold fears for him again! Doctors appointments, physiotherapists, dietitians, more social workers. Meeting family. 
  It was hard but I don't think  that my memory underestimates the fun, the excitement of seeing him settle in, of watching him adapt to our household, and become part of our extended family. of seeing him learn and achieve new things, Some bits were - and still are - very tough. He doesn't do food, and getting him eating was a massive battle. He came to us subsisting mainly on milk.

  I cannot imagine life without him now, and am so thankful we have the privilege of caring for this very strong resilient little boy, who has been through so much more than most kids his age. Yes, he still has big issues, but I am always amazed that despite everything he manages to keep going and keep positive.