Thursday, 31 January 2013


Pup is going on a playdate after school today. He is excited. I am scared. Tigs is indignant.

(Luckily it is just for an hour, and only 100 yards away.)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The red zone

  Just when I think someone is beginning to calm down and grow up, he grabs his brother in the street shakes him and throws him to the ground. :(   In front of a crowd of kids. Why? Because his brother wasn't listening and was in front of him.

  He says that he gets into the red zone and then these things happen. He bites, screams, grabs, thumps. It isn't necessarily anger.  Sometimes it's overexcitement.  Once he's in the red he claims he can't stop himself. So how to keep him out of the red? Oh I wish I knew, I wish I knew. It is just a flashpoint, and it never lasts. Right now he is being sweet and delightful, cheering his Dad on in a race on the Wii. In fact he is not prone to this sort of behaviour at home; it's when he is overstimulated. I am just so glad these outbursts are less frequent and that he is beginning to understand himself well enough to describe what is happening to him. The problem is that as he gets bigger the outbursts are more noticeable and harder to deal with. Not small boy tantrums any more.

+     +    +    +    +

  My red zone today was a little different. it was pure embarrassment. At about half past two I suddenly noticed  a loud buzzing noise coming from the dining room, and located it to the radiator valve. It wasn't just normal radiator noises, but very loud and persistent. The heating was off. I turned the valve off. No change. We've had boiler problems recently and I'm a bit jumpy around anything to do with the heating system. I had to leave for the school run soon. Panic. Email himself at work (he's hard to get hold of on the phone.) No reply. I decided to cut losses and get kids, hoping the house would not blow up in my absence. So I quickly moved velcrocat who was sitting on a pile of washing way too close to the radiator for my liking. If the valve blew she'd be right in the line of fire. She's a stubborn miss, and the noise hadn't deterred her at all. 


Under the washing (and under velcrocat) was one of the boys toy aeroplanes. The cats weight had pushed the 'on' button down and it was buzzing furiously. I switched it off..... perfect peace.
Cue hasty email to Himself calling off the panic, and one rather late Mum collecting kids from school. Fortunately Pup was out of his class late too, because he can panic dreadfully if I'm not there on time to collect.

Monday, 28 January 2013

So quiet

  Boys at school, velcro cat and I are in the kitchen. I rarely remember to switch the radio on during the day, and daytime TV is for sick days. I like this silence. In spring the windows are opened and the birds interrupt - but I don't mind them. We have a major road running about 3/4 of a mile from us, but it is in a cutting and even when the wind is in that direction it's just a low hum. On the other side of town the noise is intrusive. A few years ago when we were planning to  move we looked at (and loved) a house on the East of town - but it ran a hundred years from the Big Road, which is on an embankment at that point. Er... no thanks!

  When I'm home alone I always have an ear open for the phone - in case of issues with Mum, or the boys at school. In Pup's first year of school I lost count of the number of times I was phoned to say he had fallen and hit his head, and could I please come into school and take him up to A&E. The first time or two I did, but then I got fed up with hours of both of us sitting and waiting only to be told that he was fine (which I could see very well for myself as he cantered around the waiting room giggling.) So I decided that I'd use my own nursing skills to decide if he needed to see a Doctor. So I used to bring him straight home, sit him on the sofa and let him wallow until he got to the cantering around stage. Tigs is made of tougher stuff. He bangs his head almost as often, but he bounces. Actually what I am worrying most about as I sit and wait for that phone call is not if they are hurt but whether they are behaving themselves. Neither has been excluded - yet - but both sometime flirt with trouble. It is not unusual for me to be taken aside by both teachers on the same day to report a misdemeanour or something sad. There is  a real sinking of heart, a dreadful feeling of failure. I've let down these boys if I haven't brought them up to be decent kids. No I don't want perfect Peters (as I keep telling them!) but two Horrid Henrys.....  Noooooo! Please!

  I owe it to their birth mum who trusts us with them; and to them; to give them the best I can. Sometimes I run out of best. This morning I walked out on them in the kitchen because of the dreadful arguments (over who has which mug, who gets the choco crisps first....) It was walk out or yell. Thankfully Pup is growing up - I heard him telling Tigs that Mummy had had enough; and that they'd better get on. When I got back after a short breather in the lounge they were eating together amicably. I have noticed a big improvement in ther negotiating skills lately. I'm also learning not to jump in with both feet straightway when the arguments start - often they will blow over quickly; if not both boys are learning to reach their own compromises. They are both strong characters, so it can take a while.

Pup, shouting furiously and grabbing  " I want the blue cup"
"No it's my turn!" Tigs turns on a good whine - has great acting skills.
"No it was your turn yesterday"
"But I wanted it today. it's not fair! You always get it"

This part goes on for a while very loudly and gets a little repetitious and very angry. I try to sit it out with gritted teeth, unless it's loud enough to disturb next door, or unless someone gets thumped.

"Ok Tigs, you have it today and I'll have it the next two days.  And I get the green bowl. Deal?"
"Deal!" Happy grins and giggling. They've gone from sworn enemies to best mates again in about two microseconds. And I am reassured that not interefering was the right thing to do.

Maybe this is why I love the quiet so much when they are not here.  :)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Lazy Saturday

In bed, with laptop and cat.

  What could be better? Well actually having  husband here too would be nice, but he is managing the wild beasts downstairs, Just now there was some yelling and someone was sat on the stairs, but the storm faded quickly, and now all I can hear is cheerful chatting. Probably Pup who can make one sentence last for ten minutes. This is pretty frustrating because we are working very hard on his *not interrupting* skills. So of course (to set a good example) we are now not allowed to interrupt him. Pretty difficult when all you want to say is "Please pass the jam." and you have to wait ten minutes to do it. Pup also has a compulsive urge to finish everyones sentences, or to give examples of whatever you are telling him about. It doesn't make him easy to talk to, even if it's a conversation that interests both of us. The big subject at the moment is the Tudors. He is studying them at school. Since I 'did' them at A level, and find them quite fascinating, it is hard for me to listen to him talking about them without interrupting!

  It can get pretty tense when he just will not stop whittering; and can lead to whoever is talking to him going off in disgust. E.g. me, when all I want to say to him is "what do you want for tea?"  or "Hang your coat up" - you know, boring Mummy stuff.  The only way round it I think is to play interrupting games. This sort of approach usually works best with him, and gets him giggling. He just cannot get the normal non verbal cues that someone else needs to talk (like me standing there in front of him with my hand up!) It can also be quite hilarious, especially when he knobbles someone who doesn't know him very well and starts speechifying at them. Especially if it is about one of his obsessions. Like Octonauts - a TV program probably aimed at 4 year olds -  that he absolutely loves. He will play that incessantly. It is about a bunch of animals rescuing creatures in danger, just up his street, he loves any rescue stories. Fortunately he does like a few programs aimed at older kids. Latest is Fort Boyard.

  I'm glad he can talk. He talks about some of his feelings and about positive things at least. Some areas he won't touch - like when negative things happen at school. I think some of the other kids in his class can be cruel at times; but cannot get a handle on it as he won't even skirt around the subject so I'm hearing it third hand from parents of other kids. We have a 'thumbs up, thumbs down' code as to how things go at school each day; and that is as far as we get with him.

  As for non Pup news? The snow has nearly gone apart from a few small patches and Madame Blanc our snowlady. Himself helped our church win the town interchurch quiz last night. Tigs has raised naughtiness to a new level - most harmless scrape of the week was rinsing his toothbrush in the toilet. I've got annual leave from work next week (yay!)
And it's our baby boys birthday - he is TWO today! Happy birthday little Mo.

 Then and now - our baby.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Latest B to the Three news

Boys back at school. They have now driven their head teacher away, she is off sick until further notice (they've already given 2 teachers nervous breakdowns, and their other teachers seem to be off sick a lot more than average!   
Our TV has a green spot on  the screen. I think it is on its way out - it is 18 years old, so not doing badly!
 I've started going along to a support group for mums of disabled kids. Lots of tea and home made cake. Yum.
I did an extra shift at work this week, while boys were at school; will probably do more.  I actually quite enjoyed it. Only 4 hours, so not long enough to get tired.
We had too many donuts and sweets at work yesterday (courtesy of a visiting rep). And I was given some of the leftovers to bring home for the boys - who don't like donuts. Tragic.
 I am trying to get fit by running but haven't been out for 2 days.
I have just really upset the ginger peril, I was screaming at getting slightly annoyed with my laptop and he ran over to me miaowing and sank his teeth into my hand. Ouch. I don't think he likes shouting.
 Mum is improving very slowly and painfully. I am trying to kid myself that she will get back to her old self.  Sadly though, I think she is giving up.
Feeling  a lot better in myself nowadays, and can think ahead a bit. I want to do a photography course this year, and get more organised (not too organised, that would be dull!)
Is that all our news? I think so. Life is pretty humdrum a lot of the time; like most families, we get along, we have odd moments of excitement, and many days that are pretty much routine. Boys are always challenging and frequently exhausting, but (mostly) delightful. I want more time to do all the projects I've got lined up; Himself feels much the same.  The cats sleep a lot. I want to be a cat.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails.

What are my little boys made of? What makes them the way they are?

  I know my history has shaped my character behaviour and expectations from life. Obviously with my boys it's the same. To the best of my knowledge they've not been abused or neglected since they were born. They had excellent foster carers. But something about their view of the worlds is not the same as mine. At least at an unconscious level.  Being taken from your birth mother immediately after birth, swapping parents yet again as a toddler... it must do something to you at a really deep level. They see us as 'Mum and Dad', but - do they have any deep anxieties about the permanence of their stay with us? We have always stressed to them that they live with us forever or until they want to leave as grown-ups, and that even when they leave they can always come home. We've explained that we want them, that they belong, we've told them why they couldn't stay with their previous carers. But is that enough? I don't know. I don't know what could be enough. Both of them really live in the 'now' and don't look ahead too much. Both (especially Pup) put the past behind them very thoroughly. When his key worker left his preschool for a new job she came to us to explain, and warn us that she thought Pup would be upset as he seemed very attached to her. He never mentioned her again, didn't remember her name after a month or two and didn't seem to recognise other preschool helpers even a few weeks after leaving preschool. Is that him ruthlessly 'putting the past behind him', or is it poor memory?

   At the moment they are both going through a phase of "When I was a baby / a toddler / with first mummy I did..... such and such." It seems totally innocuous and I tend to play along, apart from reminding them occasionally that they have never lived with her since they were born. I don't wish to keep correcting them, but I do wonder how many 'false memories' they are building up! Also I forget how much of what we've told them that they do forget. Yesterday Pup took the news that he had another younger sibling with great surprise, despite us talking about the sibling many times in the past, showing him photos etc. He was asking to meet them, and sad that he couldn't - at least until they were both grown up. He hasn't asked to meet any other of his birth family.

  My boys are very similar in many ways. Both extrovert, noisy, hyper, musical, advanced readers (although not keen readers), good with words, demanding, affectionate, loving buttons, levers and any sort of techy stuff. Not artistic, not great lovers of doing things with their hands - e.g. Lego - (but  both terrible 'fiddlers'!). I have to assume that most of these traits come from their birth mother. But their short attention spans, restlessness, chaotic behaviour, Pups hypermobility and other behavioural issues, Tigs anarchic behaviour.....where are these from? When you adopt the 'nature versus nurture' issue is always at the back of your mind. And the fear of how much they have been damaged by their past. I am very happy that Pup always feels he can express his feelings; he tells us if he is happy or sad. This morning he was talking about how he was afraid to go back to school, and how he liked it less this year because he loved his teacher of last year. But what feelings are churning away deep inside him, to come out later? He has insecurites about change and leaving places..... is this him, or is it his past? Tigs anarchism - is it a reaction to all he has experienced?

  They are not the children I expected to have.... But then who ends up with the kids they expect? My birth kids would be introverted, very quiet, artistic, avid readers and model makers, probably nervous and maybe somewhere on the autistic spectrum - if they took after me that is. My husband is similar in many ways. On the other hand they may have turned out totally different to both of us. I am not disappointed that my children are different. It makes me happy to see that they are interested in things I enjoy; but I also love to see them developing their own interests and characters. Of course we are influencing them all the time... but how much??
  Unanswered questions, and most probably never to be answered. Don't need answering. My boys 'am who they am'. But I worry in case any of their behaviour is due to 'damage' and may cause them problems later, in their relationships, school lives, working lives, faith.... The good bit is that I think we are a close family, the boys love each other and us, and we all feel free to say so; we love to be together (mostly!). I hope we can build strong enough walls here to keep them safe.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The latest headline

Breaking news:
Social services are likely to be called in to a house in England where a cruel and heartless Mum was reported to the police by her son Pup, nine years old with Cystic Fibrosis, after forcing him to wear socks. The home is unheated at present due to a broken boiler.

  Pup feels his human rights are being violated by this abuse, and claims the right to have frozen feet if he wants to.
(please note, he hasn't reported me yet, but it won't be long)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy 2013!

2011 was a hard year for us. 2012 had its moments. We are hoping for an easier and less painful year  in 2013. Wishing the same to all our family and friends.

  Somehow the changeover of year seemed really significant this time round, not sure why. We actually stayed up for it, for the first time for some years - partly by accident I have to say, we just hadn't bothered to go to bed. The boys haven't asked to stay up yet, and we are not tempted to suggest it to them! Our house is a bit chilly at present as the boiler has gone caput. Not a disaster as it isn't too cold and we've got a cosy gas fire in the lounge; but it means no showers or baths and nowhere to dry clothes. The gas man has promised to return tomorrow with a replacement part (do not ask me what, boilers are a mystery beyond my understanding) So we may have heat by tomorrow night! 

We don't seem to have achieved a lot since Christmas, boys are still tired at times and Tigs in particular is cranky. We took them to look at a steam railway museum yesterday to their delight. They are not at all good with the sort of museums that are 'look and don't touch' but this was very different. You could get up close to many of the trains and even inside some of them. Tigs and Pup are very 'hands on' children, so they thought that this was great