Saturday, 27 April 2013


  Pup went on his school trip, and he had a great time. All the feedback we are getting from his teachers is really positive, even the head teacher told me that she'd heard from the other teachers that he'd been really good. He even ate his meals without nagging. It was a real rite of passage for him. For a lot of the other kids as well probably, but with all Pups issues it seems even more significant. We are really proud of him.

 Tigs was great while Pup was away, calm (for him anyway!) and well behaved. I asked him if he missed Pup and he said "Just a little bit". I think he really enjoyed being an 'only' for a couple of days. Apparently he was well behaved at school too, which is pretty unusual!

Monday, 22 April 2013

It's no big deal - is it?

  It happens every week. Kids go away on school trips. They have fun, they learn a lot, they come home safely, full of all they've seen and done.

  But this is my kid, and he's gone away with school for 2 nights this week.

  He's got  a major chronic health condition, he has some sort of behavioural issue on the ADHD / autism spectrum that make him very hard work especially when in a new situation, when he is excited or nervous, or when he's away from parents. He is adopted, with all the subconscious insecurities that brings.

  He was excited, he was admitting that he was nervous, he was counting down the hours. He couldn't wait.

  And me? I'm petrified.

  I wanted him to go. I didn't want him to go. The teachers reassured me that all the parents are scared. They have had a big meeting with me about Pips special medical needs; they are confident. I trust them (mostly!) He has to be allowed to go, to be normal.

  I am going to be a jibbering wreck for three days. Pup is going to have a fantastic time. 

  Tigs? I'm not sure, he worries me. He is great company when Pups destabilising influence is out of the house, when he does not have to compete for attention. But he will miss Pup dreadfully. They are so close. OK, one minute they are screaming at each other, shoving, slapping etc, but the next minute I may hear Tigs say to Pup "I love you to the moon and back."  and the reply "I love you to Pluto and back." With lots of cuddles and play wrestling. At the weekend because Pup was nervous, he was on a knife edge and exploded at the drop of a hat. A tiny secret part of me, the part that is exhausted from handling boy traumas, is saying 'Phew, peace for a couple of days!'

  Last minute nerves caught up this morning. Pup was saying "I don't want to go, I'll miss you too much!" Tigs was saying "I don't want to go to school, I'm too poorly!"  He has suddenly developed a probably fatal case of man flu that I think is partly his way of coping with the situation and clawing back a bit of the attention. BUT I coaxed and cajoled them into getting ready, the school run and handover of medication etc went smoothly, Pup ran off happily with his class. However I was not the only worried Mummy, I saw several leaving the school in tears. The house feels unusually empty today.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Mum, what are black and white people?

  So Pup asked me during the sermon at church on Sunday evening.
And I do a silent 'yesss' in my head. So far he's had no idea that people are divided into 'black' and 'white' by most of the world. No awareness that people can be judged on their colour.

  Yes, he has to learn. Kids do need to know about evil, and I suspect that he will begin to learn very soon.

  I explained to him that people with dark brown skin are often called black, and people with pale skin are usually known as white. He thinks this is crazy - as do I. There are kids with all sorts of shades of skin at his school, and he doesn't differentiate between his friend with dark brown skin and tight curly hair, the boy in his class who is from China, the lad whose Dad is 'Asian' in appearance  and all the other kids with all 'white' genes. We are so lucky that these issues do not seem to have arisen at school.

  He hasn't a clue. Why is that important to me? It means that he is growing up with the early years of his life reasonably  untainted by racist ideas and ideologies, and I think that those first few years are when our deepest ideals are fixed. My parents were not racist, but I was a child in an era when racism was epidemic in the world. South Africa, the USA all had some very warped social attitudes. Even in the UK we used to hear very negative views expressed about people from other nations, and who looked 'different'; people were judged on their colour. I think it influenced me subconsciously, and it took me some years to overcome it completely.

  We never describe anyone as black or white in our house. If we get forms asking us our ethnic origin we don't say we are white. I have had to correct school when they've listed our boys as 'white British'. I know there are many people who are proud to describe themseves as black or white. I certainly agree that they should be proud of who they are - but I am sad that they feel that way about colour. Except in the general way that people are happy or unhappy with their hair colour, eye colour, that fact that they look (or don't look ) like Dad or Aunty Flo.

  I know we can't solve racism by what we are doing. I can only try to bring up my boys in a way that will encourage them to see all people as equal, and not pigeonhole people. Yes there do  have to be some pigeonholes (religion, nationality, country of birth.....)  But I can't see what skin colour has to do with it, unless you are a medic such as a plastic surgeon!

Maybe we are naive idealists. Maybe we don't live in the real world. Maybe we are incredibly lucky to live in a place where there are very few racial tensions and there is no need for us to 'take sides'. Where befriending someone with a different skin colour doesn't put us and them at risk. Where everyone can travel on the same bus. I'm just incredibly grateful. Even in this country there are places where  there is no peace between 'ethnic groups', there are people who would attack a boy because his skin is the 'wrong' colour.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Busy weekend

  It started with friends arriving on Thursday evening. We've known them for years, and although sadly they live 400 miles away we do see them as often as possible. In many ways their journey has mirrored ours. We all met through a Christian walking club. They started dating a few months after we did, married six months after us, the guys were each others best men. Like us they lived in a small flat when they married and have moved house twice since then. More significantly, like us they have two adopted boys. They adopted after us, but their boys were older when they got them. The youngest is Pups age but the older is a teen. We'll call them the Celts. Daddy Celt used to live in our town, an they'd been invited to a local wedding, so were killing two birds with one stone by staying with us for a few days. So they arrived Thursday evening, and 3 excited small boys got to share a room. What they didn't get was a lot of sleep that first night.

  Friday I had to go to work while the others had a fun day out, joined by my sistet and her youngest teen. The oldest has gone abroad to see boyfriend. (that's a whole 'nother story) So I came home to a houseful; fortunately Himself had saved me some of the pizza (I don't get home until  after 7 or 8 on work evenings so they don't wait tea for me). We had ten staying over that night - bodies in every room.

  Saturday got really complicated. At 9 am 3 people went out. then 2 went out at 10am. At about 11am 3 (not the original 3) returned, 2 left to go home (sister and offspring), then 2 more came back at 11.30. 4 left for the wedding, then returned at 2pm. At 3pm 3 kids went to the shops for half an hour. After tea 4 went off to the evening wedding reception. Himself collected 2 of them at 9pm, the others returned at 11.30 pm. Meanwhile all had to be fed and provided with regular tea and coffee, and small boys placated. And lots of gossip caught up on. Is it any wonder my head (and the dishwasher) were spinning by the end of the day? At least we only had 8 sleeping over.

  Sunday morning all to church, then rush home to feed the Celts before their 400 drive home (all boys to school tomorrow). We were planning a peaceful restful afternoon and evening, but the Pup suddenly decided he wanted to go to the evening service at church because it was a baptismal / confirmation service. We thought he might change his mind, but he was keen, so I took him, to the first part at least. He was enthusiastic, and even danced in front of the Bishop (Bishops reaction not recorded) Sadly he was suffering with severe stomach ache which took the edge off it a bit. However he came home demanding to be baptised himself. We'll have to think long and hard about that one. He needs to understand  what he's doing and to be sure it's what he wants.

I'm tired. And we have the boys to get to school tomorrow. It's going to be a shock.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


  I managed to get up, sneak downstairs and have breakfast in peace before the monsters boys were up this morning!! YES!!!!

(disclaimer: most mornings we do eat together)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sense and Sensibility

How can one child be so rational and sensible one minute, yet a complete and utter airhead the next?

How come he seems so intelligent about some things yet hasn't a clue about another thing that seems totally obvious to me?

How can he get so wound up and hyper that he cannot stay still, listen, see, or even apparently think straight?
How can he suddenly get so terribly distressed about apparent trivia?

How can he talk non-stop yet be physically incapable of listening to anyone?

  Pup. I do not get him sometimes.  Some of his behaviour is normal child stuff, and of course thare are parents who say to me "All kids do that." Yes, of course they do but if you are an adoptive parent you will know that adoptive kids often do do much the same things as normal kids - but much more so. I am sure that some of my problems with him are because he is a boy, and I have little aquaintance with small boys. I was one of two sisters, we did have boy cousins but didn't see them too often, I went to a girls school after the age of 11. So boys all seem a bit like aliens to me. But Tigs, however frustrating and wild he is, seems much easier to understand and talk to - most of the time at least.

  Some of it must be about me and how I relate to him. Some of it is about him. He is gorgeous; most people agree he's a delightful boy. He is incredibly affectionate (especially to me) forgiving, kind (except to his brother maybe!) But he has no controls, no lid, he boils over all the time. It makes him incredibly wearing to be around. He is also lost in his make-believe world a lot, and it can be hard to drag him back to reality. If you go for a walk with him you will usually find yourself in mid rolepay, walking with Cap'n Barnacle or some othe hero figure. That is hard and I have to ask him to be Pup sometimes as I get really tired of joining in the game (and I hate roleplay!) - or equally frustrating is trying to walk alongside him as he acts out his game; runs off, comes back, air fights the baddies......

  I would like to understand better how to help him live 'normally'. Not to conform to societies expectations just for the sake of it, I'd love him always to be himself. But to know and be able to fit in with the 'rules' when he needs to. We have always hoped that as he got older and more self conscious he would begin to try and conform. So far it hasn't happened. I am reluctant for him to have more treatment or therapy, (he has enough intervention in his life already!) but I feel that I need some help myself, just so I can help him better.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

For the children

  In memory of thirteen year-old Duwayne, Jade ten, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden five, the Philpott children who all died from a fire started by their parents on 11 May 2012. The children were in bed, the fire is supposed to have been started in order to frame a previous girlfriend of their father with arson and recover his 4 other children by her.

Yesterday their mother and father (Duwaynes stepfather) were both found guilty of their manslaughter.

Question: how can anyone who did that to their own children ever live in peace again?

Monday, 1 April 2013


  Kids in bed, Himself and I relaxing tonight watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Somedays  we actually get to be normal. Today was a lazyish day, took the boys swimming, Himself did some gardening, I was meant to be finishing Pups jumper but never got round to it, so just pottered. Dull stuff for anyone else to read about, nice normality for us. Actually not our normal, but our ideal - if only we had days like this more often!  

  Pup had a massive meltdown on Saturday because Himself and I were joking with each other and Pup took it wrong and got really upset. He is still harking back to it. *guilt guilt*, and complaining that he can't understand. On the positive front, Pup managed to eat two and a half slices of bread and half a tin of tomato soup for lunch today, entirely voluntarily. That may not sound impressive for most nine year olds but for Pup it is stunning. Tigs has a cold and rotten cough, so his energy levels are lower than usual and he is being slightly less wearing than usual and also delightfully cuddly. 

  The cats are sleeping a lot, still in hibernate mode. However we have found several small bodies in the garden that must be ascribed to them (mice!) and a pile of feathers on the lawn that suggest a pigeon had a near miss on Friday. We've finished off the last of the hot cross buns that Himself and Tigs made us the other day - yum! Life isn't so bad.