Friday, 22 February 2013

Thw Wicked Witch of the West

  That's me. The evil nagging mummy. Always on my kids backs, telling them to do stuff, telling them off for not doing stuff, clearing up stuff they haven't done and getting mad at them for not doing it.  At least that's who I feel like and I hate it. They are 2 very chaotic kids, with short concentration spans, hyper and distractable; and sometimes they drive me crazy.

  Before I had kids, when I knew all about parenting, I was going to be a laid back mum, who gave my kids a lot of space and freedom. Of course good manners and helpfulness would be important, but they would be encouraged to find their own interests, plan their own play. I was not going to fill all their time with planned activities. I'd make sure they had a big variety of toys and books, I'd encourage them by using the toys myself, drawing and painting, making, sewing, gardening.....  but they could join in when they wanted, I'd take them for fun walks and trips. I'd spend time with them, but  on their terms. Their free time would be their own.

                                         Free time.      What.    a.    Joke. 
  They have way too much to do. Get up, go to school, come home,  snacks, homework, jobs, physio, clubs, feed, clean, bed....... With my two all these things take twice as long because they are so distractable and excitable. We have a really strict routine, if we did not we wouldn't cope. Pup at least would never do anything, and I think he'd get stressed. 

E.g. Home from school routine: Coat and shoes off, put away, unpack bag, put away, homework in in-tray for later, get changed, snack (in front of telly if he's behaved well), do homework. Believe me it is necessary. Pup is getting it down to a fine art these days and can get through the routine well 3/4 of the time, unless routine changes, Tigs is an anarchist so tries to do everything except what he's asked. E.g 'coat away' means 'throw coat on floor in hall', even if that takes more effort than hanging it up. 'Get changed' means he spends an hour wrecking playing in his room, then comes downstairs howling and half dressed because he's just realised it is too late for a snack. And me on their backs all the time to ensure they do stuff. I hate it. And yep it would be easier to do their bags coats etc, But what sort of adults would I be producing? Entitled people who feel they should be waited on all the time? As it is they do very little to help around the house so far. Pup sweeps the hall floor once a week, they keep their rooms tidy (or don't!). Other jobs are random. I'd like them to do more but I'd feel even more wicked witchy if I had to nag them more, and they seem to have so little time just to be themselves, as it is.

Do I feel bad when I ask them to do things?  Yes

Do I feel especially bad for Pup, because I want whatever life he has to be good? Yes. But then I feel bad for Tigs because I don't want him to miss out.

Am I trying to 'make it up to them' for all the bad stuff that's happened to them?  Probably.

Do I feel bad because they have 'elderly' parents who don't have the energy that a pair of 30 year old parents would have? Yes.

Should I be kicking myself like this? er, no! I feel as if I'm behaving a bit like Pup - when he realises he's forgotten to do something he starts to cry and bash himself round the head.  I just want to be the best mum I can be. I want to stop nagging, and never to shout again.. The boys don't hold grudges, they are cuddly, loving and gorgeous. For now we are the parents they want. I seem to be the mum they would choose to have, wicked witch or not. We've never had "I hate you". "You're not my real mum." or any of that... yet. Tigs has threatened to leave home one or twice. That is all so far. May it last!

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Pup walked to school independantly today.

  He's nine and a lot of Mums would not agree with letting their nine year old go to school alone. But we live in a housing estate where most of the traffic is school-run parents. it is a ten minute walk. OK there are a few franky dangerous Mums-in-a-hurry who don't seem to care if another child dies as long as their child gets to school on time; but most of the traffic is slow and steady. And we have to let him off the short leash sometime. Because of some behaviour issues we are reluctant to let him go alone to the nearby playground and shops, but he is beginning to need space and freedom.He may be emotionally at about age 4, but in other ways he is a normal nine year old. And I've been brainwashing him about road safety from the day he could walk.

  Tigs was being  a right royal pain in the butt  slightly unco-operative, and Pup was ready, coat and bag on, by the door, so I told him he could go on ahead. Now I have done this before and he's dawdled and dillied and dallied until we caught him up; obviously too anxious to go without us, despite being desperate to try. But today we were 3 minutes behind him, and we didn't see him all the way to school, or even the burn marks he must have left on the pavement. I got to school panicking slightly in case he'd got lost or abducted by aliens, and there he was in the playground cheerfully chatting up the deputy head teacher.

So... a breakthrough, even if it was a scary one.  

  And it is his first school swimming lesson today, so another scary thing. I'll have to wait until 3 o'clock to find out how that went. Could be entertaining to hear from his teachers how he gets on; he can swim, but he looks rather like a demented walrus, and swims underwater as well, with backside sticking out. Not a pretty sight.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Walking on eggshells

So Tigs has grown out of his dinosaur pyjamas.

  As they are for age 2-3 and he is an average size 6 it is not unreasonable to tell him that I am passing them on for another little boy to wear. Howls of protest. "I love those pyjamas!"

  Now what?  Is this adopted child insecurity or just the normal reaction of a child who loves his clothes? I know that parting with things can be very painful to some adopted kids, which is one reason we have so many outgrown toys and games; I do tread very carefully when it comes to taking things away from them. Pup struggles to give any of his toys away - even the toys he never touches. 

  As for the pyjamas - Tigs has always had favourite items that he wears to death. Usually when they are worn out I put them in the spare room for a while, until he has forgotten about them, and then dispose of them quietly so as not to upset him. This time I decided to confront the issue, and he flipped. So I will just put them in the spare room as usual and see what happens. He will probably forget.... I hope.  But the other day he saw a photo of himself wearing his very favourite ever pair of trousers, and demanded them back. Sadly they were thrown away as unwearable and way too small about a year ago. There are serious disadvantages to having a child with a good memory.

  On the good side there was a message in Tigs school reading record book yesterday to say that his reading is fantastic, and he's been promoted to purple reading books. The next stage is chapter books. Well done Tigs!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Just when it can't get worse....

It will.
Cannot go into details, but we've had big issues with both Pup and Tigs behaviour this week. Really just stuff coming to a head. Himself is becoming very down about it - usually he can cope, but it's getting to him.  On the other hand I'm getting to the ''Oh well, we'll get over it, we've got over all the others'' stage now.

It has been a busy week. A silly mistake by our Doctors surgery did not help. I order Pup's medications by email about a week before we run out; they write the prescriptions then send them to our local pharmacy to dispense: I just go and collect  a few days later, at my convenience. Simple. Yes. Foolproof? No. This time the surgery completely forgot to do the prescription. 

So... I go to pharmacy to collect drugs on Thursday... not there. I've had a LOT of issues with the surgery before, so rather than ringing them and getting the brush off, I head down there to sort it out. It takes them ten minutes to realise that, yes they did get the email and yes they forgot to do anything about it. I tell them we are nearly out of his medications and we need them NOW. 

I get lots of apologies. I have to say that the receptionists were really trying to help.

They can get it done this afternoon if I'd like to come back? No thanks. 

They can fax them to the pharmacy? OK... but how do I know they will do it? They have told me what I think are blatant lies before.

SO... I take a seat and I SIT. The receptionists finds a free Doctor and gets the prescrition written - with difficulty because some of the drugs are not on their lists and he has some that are not approved for kids.
I take the prescriptions back to the pharmacy, who of course have to order most of them in. And Pup has to wait two more days for his drugs.

So I am sending the surgery a bill for about an hour of my time and 5 miles travelling including petrol.

Do you think they will pay up?

Friday, 1 February 2013

I hate Cystic Fibrosis

  Sometimes it feels as if CF rules our lives. We know Pup had it when we took him on, we studied up on it, we knew there was a big risk that his life would be one of struggle and illness. But we hoped. And he is well. He is clear of chronic lung infections. He doesn't need dozens of nebulizers,  inhalers, antibiotics (oral and intravenous), steroids etc every day like many kids with CF. He doesn't have a permanant feeding tube or ports for IV access. He is rarely in hospital. He isn't awake all night coughing. He just about manages to put enough weight on to keep the Doctors happy.

  But it can be the little things that get to you after a while. Making sure he doesn't run out of his medication. Every week we are ordering, and collecting.  Ensuring he eats. Not being able to eat out on impulse because we haven't got his Creon with us(digestive enzymes which he needs with every meal). Fitting in his physio, which of course he resents having to do. Managing his diet which needs to be high in calories, salt and fat, without giving the rest of us too much of either (and I could do with dropping a few pounds anyway!). Dealing with the chronic stomach pain and gastric reflux he lives with all the time; which wear him down. Being unable to work longer hours because of his needs. I don't resent these things. They are part of the job we took on when we took Pup. In fact in some ways it probably helps because they have made us more organised - regular mealtimes for example!

  What worries me often is the effect on Tigs. I really do not know how it is affecting him. He is naughty at mealtimes and I know that is a reaction to the extra attention Pup gets then. He understands in his head that Pup has special needs he doesn't have. He can explain to anyone who asks him how Pup is different. He never comments when Pup gets chocolate and crisps in his school lunch box and he doesn't. But what does he really think of his brother and all the extra demands his condition makes of the family? It is very hard for him when Pup is in hospital. How will he cope as he grows older, especially if Pup deteriorates? Will he become protective of Pup, especially as he gets bigger and stronger than him? Will he cope with hearing the teasing and negative comments that Pup has to live with at school? Tigs is a real mixture of very independant and capable, and very immature. I suspect in that he is like many adopted kids. He also has a temper. At the moment it's Mum and Dad he takes it out on.......   I can imagine  so many possible scenarios where he gets into big trouble because of Pup, because of his history, because of his character which is volatile to say the least.

  They will probably never happen. One moral of all this I suppose, is not to look too far ahead, take life a day at a time. Then I may worry less! And the other is be prepared for anything. I mean anything.  Adopted kids are little kegs of dynamite.