Monday, 31 December 2012

A Year in Reflection

It's New Years Eve - I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering where the year went and looking back at, what turned out to be, such a momentous year for us as a family.

I guess that today's entry has to be a reflection on the past year and a look at both the high's and lows of our adoption story.

At the beginning of the year we can safely look back and say that we were at our wits end - Papa and I couldn't cope with the kids - their behaviour's were off the scale, school couldn't cope, we were losing friends, Papa was stressed beyond belief and I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. Trying to hold together a family is tough. Especially when we 'inherited' the issues that were given to us. To have had no adoption support at that time was particularly hard and it wasn't until February that any provision was really given. To be honest , we had to prove that we were on the verge of 'disruption' - which is a term that essentially means the adoption is not working - in order to get any support. Despite that support being promised to us over a year previous. But I really want to reflect on what we achieved, rather that what failed, so I wont dwell on the issue of support.

We went to Singapore in February, as planned, although it was a strange trip - we wanted to take the children and introduce them to our friends and Papa's family - but in our hearts we knew that they may not stay with us, that post trip they may have had to go back into care. Our Singapore trip was a little muted I think. We didn't spend too long with Papa's family - and they, I believe, chose to keep a short distance, in order that they would not get too attached to the kids. We took Granny with us for support - and Papa and I even had a couple of night's out by ourselves. I took Papa out to see the musical 'Wicked' which was in Singapore at the time and for one night at least we could forget about the kids and the decisions that needed to be made.

We came back in March to a full therpeutic support package with some financial assistance granted and our lives became immeasurably better. I won't say that therapy is a 'cure all' for anyone and I was a little cynical, but for our children it was a relief. somewhere they could share their emotions, discuss their past and the abuse they suffered. They didn't have to discuss it with us - and to be honest, they still don't - not yet. But KC has told me that one day he would like to tell me what happened. By having this outlet for their emotions, they calmed down in school - Although I was (and still am) constantly called in, the issues became less - and we felt we were dealing with a manageable situation. It was around April that Papa and I sat down with our social worker and agreed that we could allow this adoption to happen - but only with continuing support. With that in mind we needed to move home. The children couldn't share a bedroom and our old house wouldn't allow for TJ to have a big enough room of his own - so we found a new build house near the children's school and began the fun process of selling and moving!

In April we sold our house, put in the Adoption papers and we placed the deposit on our new build... Things were finally moving.

In May the house sale fell through for the first time... Everything was on hold - but at least the kids were settling in. They chose their new middle names and we waited for the court dates.

In June the house was sold again - phew!!!!!! It was about that time we were informed that the support would only last for three years - which is the statutory time for the placing authority. After that we would have to re-apply and prove our need for support beyond that with our current authority. We consulted lawyers. We were told to postpone the court dates for three months whilst the complaints process ran its course. We did... the authority went mad. They insisted on regular meetings etc (which they never had previously) and came to our home to question our committment to adopting the kids. As we pointed out - if we were not committed then there is no way we would be dealing with this - we would simply put them back into care and go back to our previous 'care-free' lives. We aimed for a court date three months away - in September... and we waited.

July - the house fell through again - but now were committed to the new house - we had paid the full deposit and were suddenly back to the stressed position we began with. If we couldn't move house then the chances were we wouldn't be able to keep both children. Then Papa was stressed financially, I had to practically give up work as I was either in school or attending therapy with one or the other children and suddenly we were a one income family with massive expenses. I made arrangments to hand my business back to the franchisor and one of my employees made arrangements to take the business on - I may have had a huge amount of debt to clear but at least the business I had spent 5 years building would be in good hands and I wouldn't be losing any more money.

August came and the complaint reached its final stages - the council were found to be at fault and therapy was to be made available until the children reached 18, compensation was discussed - finally, we thought we could see a light at the end of the tunnel - we were now up to our ears in debt. But the good news - we sold the house again! And this time the buyers wanted to buy our furniture as well - So we rushed out to buy lots of lovely new furniture for our lovely new house and the amazing new start we were going to have as a family!

What do they say? If you want to make God laugh simply tell him your plans....

September came and we went ahead with the adoption - despite the court battle (see previous posts). There was suddenly loads of interest in my little blog and we were talking TV series and book deals... very exciting... On September 28th (my birthday) we moved into our new home. On Sept 29th the buyers of our old home pulled out.... We were now left with two mortgages, one income and a huge set of bills.... And to cap it all... the council decided that no compensation was necessary - they just apologised for the poor service and said they would make sure that they didn't let something like this happen again in the future. I now had to contact our MP and the Government Ombudsman and the whole thing started again.

October... October just kind of went by in a blur. We settled into the new home and things calmed down even more. They seeemd so much more settled here. I think the fact that we left our 'visitors' behind in the other house also helped.

Then came November and we decide to let our old house out - financing two mortgages whilst waiting for it to sell was just too much. And we knew that no-one would be looking to move until the New Year. But we were lucky. In came a lovely family who took our home and have made it their own. Whilst relieving Papa of the financial burden. so now we are landlords. Scary... We also had the children baptised and held the Adoption Celebration in our local courthouse both were really lovely celebrations with friends and family who had supported us throughout... It was a busy month but one that cemented us as a family unit.

Then it was December. We decided to go back to Singapore for Chinese New Year - but this time there will be no 'maybes' or 'what ifs'... the children are adopted - we all have the same name and we will go to see the family as part of their family. There wont be any embarrassed silences as people ask if we are going to actually go ahead with the adoption - its done. And we are going to love it. So we got on with preparing for Christmas

Christmas this year has been lovely - calm, relaxed with family. New Year is just us... and thats how I want it - A new Year, a new family and new start. Isn't that what New Year is about?

I'm not saying it will be plain sailing and I know 2013 will be just as challenging - the difference is that this year - I know we can face those challenges... but we have so much to look forward to. Papa's 40th, Chinese New Year in Asia, My sister's wedding and that's just all in the first four months.... However don't quote me on the 'tell God your plans' line I used earlier!

Mind you, today the kids were watching The Muppets Treasure Island movie and I overheard KC saying to TJ - see the frog and the pig are like Daddy and Papa - one is skinny and cute and the other is fat and bossy... I let it go - I know it was a bit disrespectful but it did make me smile... Its not every day I am compared to Miss Piggy - but don't tell Papa... I want him to think he is the boss!!!!!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas 2

So after the festivities of the big day were done with we moved onto Boxing Day and the countdown to TJ's birthday, which is on the 28th. It's like one long party in our house!

KC went to his room and spent much of the day filming his own version of Batman versus Spider-Man whilst battling his giant gecko... It was actually quite imaginative and stood up to the four times he made us watch it. Grandpa and Grandma from Singapore sent over Skylanders Giants, a game for their Wii console... They loved it and spent the remainder of the evening playing it in the playroom whilst we adults fell out over the board game Frustration which my aunt sent for the was actually great fun...

My aunt called on Boxing Day via the FaceTime thingy on the iPad... Also there was my Nan who is staying with my Aunt over the festive period. We all chatted about our Christmas so far. 'Did you all have a nice Christmas?' My aunt innocently asked, 'Yes, we did thank you... ' I was rudely cut off by my Mum who said, 'Well, you know who didnt have a nice Christmas don't you?' and then my Mum launched into a list of 'people who wouldn't be enjoying Christmas!' Namely my sister and her partner who have both come down with a viral infection, as has my nephew... And TJ was ill... Mum was relishing the tales... I could see my Aunt was trying to keep things jolly as Mum turned our joyful family Christmas into an feature length episode of Eastenders.... We soon said our goodbyes.... I say soon, it took about 10 minutes as my Mum, Aunt and near deaf Nan had a three way tussle over when Mum was returning home... I'm still not sure if its Sunday or Monday and she's staying with me....

ASBO dog has been ok this trip... She has only mauled my dog four or five times, barked at the Christmas wreath, tree, presents... Anything with the word Christmas in it really... She is not a festive hound. We sent the cat away for the week, although I think the cat was secretly pleased as he went into his cat box without a murmur, which is very unusual...

I may have been a bit full of a cold and may have lost a bit of Christmas spirit but I have to say this has been the best Christmas for years... Really lovely!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

It's Christmas....

... and we all have the flu!!!!!

Well, I do - and thats all that counts! But despite my obvious illness I soldiered on - making the full Christmas dinner a la Nigella and steaming my own pudding (whilst I steamed my face at the same time!) Mother wanted me to 'put it in the microwave,' I think my Mum would microwave the entire Christmas dinner if she could.

This year was so much better than last - last year I got the norovirus after attending a Christingle service at a local church. I still think that the reason we all got sick there was that we partook of the coffee and mince pies dished out by the lovely member of the WI. One of whom used the same tea towel to mop out one cup before refilling it with coffee and serving it to someone else... namely me! Why can you never find a health and safety officer when you need one.

But this blog is not all about my health issues - it is also about the family Christmas that we enjoyed - this year, the children got excited about the advent countdown and waiting for the big red guy. Last year - they were really quiet - I dont think they knew what to expect from Christmas, but they more than made up for it this year. They went to bed late on Christmas Eve - I let them watch the Snowman and the Snowdog - big mistake!!! I cried from pretty much the beginning, KC worried that our dog was going to die and TJ was enthralled by the whole thing - I have never seen him sit in front of the TV in such a state of rapture - he loved it... and that made me cry too...

But off they went to bed in their new pyjamas - they needed to put new ones on so that they would be in their best clothes for Santa.

They were up next day and came rushing into our room with their stockings.... 'Can we open them?' was the uniform cry. We wiped the sleep from our eyes and away we went. I had barely enough time to get the recycling bag upstairs before the present opening frenzy began. (I am a little bit anal about the paper!!!)

They had just finished with Santa's gifts (KC got lots of things for his pet rabbit - he actually asked Santa for presents for his pets and TJ got the usual 6 year old requests of Moshi Monsters and anything Arsenal... not my fault!!!)

Then we got Granny up and had breakfast before moving onto round 2 - presents from family under the tree....

Lunch was a success (apart from my gravy which was foul - but luckily God gave us Bisto...) and afterwards we settled down to the usual family Christmas - board games, TV and alcohol... fantastic.

I know there have been complaints about my not keeping on top of the blog - forgive me... there will still be updates but they will be intermittent I'm afraid... children do that to you...

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Fever Pitch...

Today I have had a complete roller coaster of a day. Completely barking!!!!!

This morning TJ and KC swapped roles - TJ decided that he was now well enough to go to school (I think that fact that today was his class Christmas party had something to do with it) and KC decided that he would come down with a fever and a cold. So TJ skipped off to school while KC sat in bed. And I got to look forward to another day stuck at home twiddling my thumbs whilst knowing there were still a million and one things to do before the big day next week. Or that was the plan...

By 10am KC was racing around the house - his cold miraculously cured - asking to watch TV all day and eat spaghetti bolognese - I had been successfully duped by an 8 year old!!!! Then I got the call from the school - TJ's nose had pretty much exploded, his temperature was over 40 degrees and he probably needed immediate medical attention. So KC was packed off back to school faster than his fibbing little legs could carry him - luckily, the only thing going on was the class Christmas party (I'm sure the teachers love this time of year - they get the parents to send in the food and then leave the kids with the nasty Poundland mince pies whilst they tuck into the Waitrose ones in the staff room). I collected a very blood stained and morose TJ and headed off to the walk in medical centre - after being advised by the doctors receptionist that A and E had a three hour wait - the medical centre only had a 90 minute one... great!

My past experiences of A and E havent been particularly good - the medical centre was even worse. Seriously, I'm sure I have caught something. The place was full of children with various ailments. I carried TJ in - 'Why's his nose bleeding?' the receptionist barked. 'Because he has a very high fever,' I replied. 'OK she said - but nose bleeds usually have to go to A and E.' We were allowed to stay.

About 3 hours later the doctor saw us - by now, TJ was practically comatose in my arms. But at least the bleeding had stopped. TJ has a rare medical condition. The doctor saw this and asked if he had any family members with the same condition in case TJ needed a blood donor. It was a question I had never even thought of. The boys have different fathers and KC doesn't have the condition - but TJ has other full siblings who are adopted elsewhere. So somehow I shall have to find their families - what if one day they need help like this - or, heaven forbid, TJ needs that blood off them? We can't go to the birth family. Its one of those sudden 'adoption reality checks' we have every now and again. Of course the doctor doesnt know he's adopted, nor that we are gay. So he  ploughs on asking questions about the boy's mother, was she the carrier - what about siblings. I had to stop the doctor and tell him that TJ was adopted. I don't mind but all of this is done in front of him and as you never see the same doctor at these medical centres you are always repeating the story. There is a letter that I have written and is on TJ's file - but no doctor ever seems to read it.

Anyhow, the upshot is that TJ is now dosed up on anti-biotics after catching a nasty virus.

But on the upside, the major pet store - where we purchased the boy's bunnies - that turned out to be full grown adults and decided to try and kill each other in front of the children, called and offered to pay the vet bills, refund the cost of the rabbits and give us a second hutch so we can separate the two bunnies and don't have to disappoint the children by giving one back - that was a lovely gesture and seemed to come from a genuine need to correct their mistake.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Christmas Carol... Concert

Yesterday night was KC's Christmas Carol concert, which was lovely simplified version of the standard church carol concert. A few sing-a-long carols with some soloists and few Bible verses thrown in.

The evening started with an instrumental version of two carols - I think one was Silent Night - the jury is still out on the other. These were played by a small instrumental group - I can't really call them a band. But they worked valiantly. The two clarinets and two flutes tried to harmonise and the lone trumpet made its call. What was unfortunate for the children is that there was no-one to conduct them so they all played at different speeds and in some cases a seemingly different tune. As the girls on the wind instruments played with grace the boy on the trumpet obviously thought he had heard his cue and came in at full pelt - rather like a large elephant breaking wind. It was about this time that the lady next to me erupted into uncontrollable laughter. I looked at her with disdain - these children were trying their best and were unaided... Then one of the clarinets seem to have turned the music two pages at once and she started into the chorus whilst the others remained on the verse. But she was lost in the music so didn't notice the angry glares on either side of her from her fellow musicians. The lady next door to me was crying. Her little toddler son, said, 'Mummy, I can't see - so Mummy duly placed him on her shoulders where the little darling decided to boot me in the head. Such fun! Luckily I know them very well so could see the funny side of my near concussion.

The band finished, the audience clapped, my friend calmed down and straight away it was time for KC and his class to sing. They were doing a 'modern' rendition of 'The Holly and The Ivy'. It's great that schools want to modernise carols but they really need to let the parents know how the new tune goes. It was obvious that none of the children knew how the carol went and the parents hadnt been able to help them. In my own experience whilst I was rehearsing KC, I sang the tune and he looked at me and said, 'It doesn't go like that.' That was it, rehearsal over. So come the big performance KC simply stood there opening and closing his mouth trying to fool us all that he knew the song - when of course he actually ended up looking not unlike a ginger gold fish - to be fair he wasn't the only one mouthing along... so I knew which other parents were also flummoxed by the tune. I also knew which parents had gone online and downloaded the correct version for their darlings to learn - their children were in the front singing with gusto! Next time I shall be downloading with the best of them!

The carols went and the readings were read and then the school chaplain got up and gave a lovely talk about a little girl giving her father his Christmas Present. There was a lot of reverent story telling (are all vicars wannabe actors) and lots of interaction.... then at the end it transpired that the empty box the little girl had given her father was the best present a child could give... the gift of love. I fought the vomit reflex as it suddenly dawned on my that KC would now have an excellent excuse to buy me and Papa nothing for Christmas... and we wouldnt be able to reprimand him. I think I may try the same thing on Papa - I can't wait to see his face when I present him with a huge box - full of nothing... but my love....

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Yesterday TJ came down with Child Flu - its the boy version of manflu - he had it bad. He woke up at about 2am and then continued waking up on the hour throughout the night. Great fun.

Papa and I took it in turns on that first night - I did 4 times and Papa did 1! Just the one - he had work next day and I only have to study, write, organise a family Christmas and two children to care for. I should have realised!

Yesterday I set out all the Christmas menus and got online to do the shopping. Only 4 delivery slots left! I went through my itemised list and had bought nearly everything I needed when I looked at the clock - I had forgotten about KC - he was still at school... and school had finished 10 minutes ago - my heart raced. I ran out of the door telling TJ to stay in bed, I would be 5 minutes. As I ran the computer beeped - I looked back - 'You have 5 minutes before you lose your delivery slot' it said. Bugger!!!!! Food or kid???? Which should I do? I opted for the child - who I envisaged as stood outside the school gate alone and crying. I ran to school - no, I literally ran! I got there to find no KC... What was going on? I went into the school yard to see KC and 4 friends playing football with a teacher. 'Daddy!' he cried, 'You came!'. The teacher looked at me disapprovingly. 'I'm so sorry,' I said, 'TJ is at home sick and I have to get back.' I hope the teacher believed me as I grabbed KC and he waved goodbye to the other 'forgotten' children. My name is now probably on a 'list' somewhere in the staff room...

We ran in through the front door - I raced to the computer as it flashed up - 'Your designated time has now been lost - please log on again to rebook a delivery slot.' Even the computer was admonishing me!

I logged back on to find all the delivery slots over Christmas had now gone - I have £120 worth of shopping in my trolley and nowhere to send it to - unless I wanted it on Dec 28th, which defeated the object of shopping early! I put my head in my hands knowing I was now destined to have to go to Sainsbury's on Christmas Eve as the weekend before I am up in Cheshire collecting my mother and the ASBO dog for the Christmas break. Then suddenly a slot flashed up as available. Obviously, another sap had gone somewhere else and missed their 'designated shopping time.' I booked it - 7am on Saturday - but I don't care. We can get the shopping put away and I'll then head up to Mum, its going to take me all day to get there anyway. I breathed a sigh of relief and then the screen froze when I was paying... Is it really worth it??????? I cried for a while and then called the Customer Services Department. It helped that TJ was crying next to the phone. The Customer Services lady was lovely - took my card details and even gave me a voucher code to save on the delivery cost - which is £10 for the festive period!!!!!

So I am all ready - I hope.....

On a positive note - my insurance will cover the damage to TJ's teacher's car!!!!! And I wont lose my no-claims and, even better news, as I am not claiming for my car I don't even have to pay any excess... Honesty was the best policy. The chap at the insurance company was very impressed that I had left my details when the car was unattended... apparently most people don't, which I find shocking... I didn't tell him it was TJ's teacher I hit....

Last night Papa agreed to take turns watching TJ if he woke up in the night. Of course he did - beginning at 2.30am... 'Your turn,' I whispered in Papa's ear... I won't tell you what he said but the second word was 'off!' Charming. Needless to say 'sharing' the night time duties involved me getting up on the hour every hour - so as I type this I am slightly cross eyed!

Today is KC's Carol Concert - I didnt think I would be able to go but my lovely adorable and slightly mad Turkish cleaner has agreed to watch TJ while I go to the school. Bless her!!!! She definately deserves a bonus!!!!!!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Visiting Father Christmas...

What a lovely weekend.

We had arranged to go to Lapland with our very dear friends and their children - not the real Lapland, but Lapland UK - which is just outside of Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Not quite as exotic but every bit as magical.

We were hurrying out of our drive - all packed in with Christmas music on the stereo. I reversed out of our drive and suddenly heard a 'crunch'. "What was that?" Papa exclaimed. My heart sank. In our excitement to get out I had failed to notice the car parked over the road from me and had gone straight into the side of a blue Ford Focus. We got out to inspect the damage. Luckily there wasn't even a scratch on our car. Then I turned to look at the Ford. The area above the wheel had just crumpled. I stared at it. Then the evil little voice inside my head said 'No-one saw - jump in and drive off." I was about to listen to my good little voice who would probably contradict this argumment when a real little voice piped up from the backseats, "That's my teacher's car." I turned slowly to look at TJ. "It is," he said, "that's Mrs P's car - she parked there earlier - I saw her and waved." We were caught red handed. I couldn't even contemplate doing a runner now (not that I would have I hasten to add - it was just a momentary blip). So I called TJ's teacher - who I work with on the PTA. She came down to see me. Luckily she was very good about it and more surprised about the amount of damage done to her car and none to mine. But we exchanged details and left with a clear consicence and our heads held high... whilst Papa complained about our losing our no claims bonus now...

Off to Lapland!!!!!

It was fantastic - the children all made teddy bears with the elves and then gingerbread men with mother Christmas before we were given free time to explore the 'Winter Wonderland' - which included ice skating, writing and posting letters at Santa's post office and eating very expensive sausages before going round the gift shop to spend our elf 'jingles' - real money isn't used in Lapland - oddly enough all major credit cards are accepted though. Either way the kids were all massively hyped up to see the big man. We were collected by our elf guide and led through the winding, snow covered forest where the elf taught the children how to listen to the trees to find out which road took us to Santa. They turned up at Father Christmas's log cabin and in they went to see him. Both KC and TJ went last year - but this year we are repeating everything as last year they just didn't know how to deal with Christmas at all. All of our customs were new to them. As TJ exclaimed when he saw the Christmas tree - 'It's the same decorations as last year!' At first I thought he was disappointed but then I realised in his short life he had already been to many houses for different Christmas's. Of course we have moved house as well this year - so it was reassuring for him to see that although we had moved our Christmas would still be the same and Santa would still visit.

The children each sat down next to Father Christmas and told him what they wanted. 'Just one thing.' Father Christmas (one of the best I have seen) wisely said before the boys gave him a list. KC opted for a toy elf - which luckily arrived last week from the USA whilst TJ asked for a new Arsenal kit - which Granny has already got him. Then he added 'with a number 12 on the back!' "Of course I can do that!' Santa exclaimed. I looked at Papa. in TJ's letter to Santa he said a kit with a number 11 on the back - what was this sudden change to 12 about. Bugger! And Mum has already bought the kit. We spent most of the way home 'bigging up' the number 11... Now Papa and I will have to find out who number 11 actually is! Unfortunately, I have taken a little bit of a shine to the football player who is No 12 and encouraged TJ to put some lovely posters of the rather good looking chap on his wall - so it maybe that I am to blame - just don't tell Papa!!!!!!!!

They came home clutching the toy huskies Santa had given them exhausted but incredibly happy.. I think this is probably KC's final year of truly believing - and not just faking it to make sure he gets his haul of presents... and it was lovely to watch his face light up - especially when he looked at Santa's Good List to see how Santa knew so much about him - to see that the book had no writing on it at all - just magic writing only Santa could read. An excellent touch and how Santa knew all that information about the kids I do not know... well, I do but the children don't!!!!!!!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Play Aftermath

Last night I watched KC in his Christmas Performance. TJ actually sat enthralled all the way through and his only comments were positive ones. As many of you will remember from KC's summer performance TJ took great delight in critiquing each performance as it happened - much to the 'delight' of the parents around us. He was a pretty harsh critic that time. But I think after his own performance he now knows how much work the children put into their little show. KC was the Ginger Elf - who was a naughty elf and hid in Santa's sleigh (I was paying attention) - then he fell out of the sleigh into a child's home and had to be rescued by the Christmas Fairy. It may not have been Merchant Ivory but TJ loved it. He also loved that KC's elf hat had 'Kiss Me' written on it. KC's other 'skit' was a retelling of the Willy Wonka story - but with only four children. She was Mike Teevee - again typecasting!  That 'skit' wasnt as successful as some of the children forgot their lines - luckily KC remembered them all and even said lines that weren't his - I am sure the other kids were grateful! One of the other performers thanked KC for the intervention. The child playing Augustus Gloop left a Pinter pause long enough to drive a bus through and KC simply said his line for him. 'I know what my line is,' the boy said , 'I was just acting.' This caused a ripple of amusement from the audience. TJ looked on approvingly, 'KC knows everything,' he whispered in my ear.

After the performance the impossibly cheerful drama teacher held a raffle - that cost me a fiver and we didn't win anything! Then she laid on a huge spread of cakes, sweets, chocolate and squash for the kids. Needless to say by the time I prised TJ away from the cake stand - still clutching a piece of swiss roll - both boys were fully loaded with enough sugar to keep them buzzing the entire night. They were fighting in the back of the car when suddenly they stopped. KC said 'Daddy, why are you being so quiet?' I looked in the mirror, 'Because I dont have the energy to shout at you both.' I replied. 'Oh,' said KC, 'Should I be setting a better example for TJ?' 'That would be nice,' I said - now realising that my parenting skills were second to none. So KC sat quietly for at least two minutes - then TJ kicked him in the shin and all hell broke loose again. But it was nice while it lasted. I did what all parents do in this situation. I turned the radio up and drove home as quickly as I could before sending them to bed!

I sat down and watched the TV with my pizza and a glass of red wine. Waiting for Papa... He finally rolled in at around 2am. It must have been a good night. He had to take a female colleague home. That can't have been easy as apparently when they got to the address she gave the taxi driver she woke up, looked around and said, 'I don't live here,' and then slipped back into a drunken slumber leaving Papa to work out where she actually did live. Luckily, he was in just as bad a state so he didnt care about it and found the whole thing hilariously funny... I'm afraid I may not have been the most appreciative of audiences as he woke me up in order to share his experience at 2am!

I did enjoy watching him crash around the bedroom at 6am though trying to get ready for work... I offered to turn the lights on for him, but apparently he is used to getting dressed in the dark and didn't want any lights - just a glass of water!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Little Angel

Today is a busy day for us all. TJ has just had his Christmas Nativity play - he was a beautiful little angel, who not only managed to remain white but also danced a solo to mark the coming of the baby Jesus... I think some parents were a bit miffed when I shouted out '7' in my best Len Goodman impersonation - obviously they felt he deserved a higher score! Seriously though, he was brilliant - I know I am being a doting parent - but I didn't even know that he had forgotten all the steps and wasn't supposed to be spinning around in the middle of the stage - he managed to fool everyone into thinking that was how it was choreographed. Everyone that is except the teacher who choreographed it and had to get up and guide him gently back to his rightful position behind the shepherds. I felt sorriest for the child playing the donkey. As Mary and Joseph sang a beautiful solo that left many in tears - poor old donkey-child had to stand between them wearing a paper plate coloured in as a mask and looking completely lost. At one point it did seem as though Joseph was singing to the donkey but we soon realised he was telling Mary how he would love her and her baby.

We came to the end of the Nativity and everyone stood up and clapped. I was so proud of TJ - last year he just stood on stage and cried - this year he has gained so much more confidence and was so pleased to see me there - he even gave me a cheeky little wave. Of course, as professional performer myself I didnt approve and have reprimanded him completely... well, maybe I waved back too... like all the other naughty parents....

Tonight we have KC's end of term Christmas play to see. The impossibly cheerful drama teacher has been working with them all term and KC will be playing two roles  - the ginger elf (typecasting) and Darth Vader (I think) - I'm not quite sure where the Dark Lord of Star Wars fame fits into the Christmas story but I'll let you know how it goes...

Papa is unable to attend either - he has a very important day at work - it's his office Christmas Party. So whilst I am sitting through (I mean enjoying) our little darlings Christmas offerings - he will getting drunk, eating vol-au-vents and then probably photocopying his bottom - or some such office nonsense. I was invited but it fell on the busiest Creative Day of the school year - I told Papa that maybe he should miss the Christmas party as this maybe the last year that the children still have that 'Christmas awe' about them. His reply, 'get a baby sitter and ask them to video it for us.'... sigh...But I should be grateful, after I get back from KC's extravaganza I can heat up the pizza he has left me for my dinner... I think I maybe getting bottle of wine to go with that!

The impossibly cheerful drama teacher has just called me to remind me to get KC there early and to remember that there will be refreshments and a prize raffle after the show this evening.... Festive Fun!!!!!!!! I shall definately be needing that wine!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Birthday Weekend

This weekend marked KC's 8th birthday. I cant believe how fast the time has flown by. He wanted to go horse riding for the day so we went down to meet our friends and everyone had a riding session - even Papa - everyone except me, as I am horribly allergic to horses - the mere thought of them makes me sneeze!!!!!!

KC had a great day and his Godparents completely upstaged our gift of a skateboard (which he had been asking for for ages) by giving him a lizard - well, a leopard gecko. All other presents were forgotten about - only the gecko - now called Climby (as he climbs over everything) was the centre of attention.

Ginger the bunny had been attacked by his brother Shadow a couple of days ago. Luckily no major harm was done but a bunny battle can be quite viscious and poor Ginger ended up spending most of the day at the vet. Turns out the pet shop - whom I won't name here - had told us these bunnies were around 12 weeks old and would need their 'chop' when they were 6 months. however, upon seeing the afflicted rabbit the vet turned him over and grabbed his bits saying 'this bunny is definately mature!' So now the rabbits are booked in for the snip on Wednesday - until then they have to separated. KC was in floods of tears when he saw Ginger and he held it close to him simply saying 'don't die, Ginger, don't die.' It was heartbreaking. I explained that Ginger would be ok but that he and Shadow needed a special injection to make them be nicer to each other. TJ looked up at me - 'Will I need that injection too?' he asked. I looked at him, 'Sometimes, I think it would help a lot,' I replied, 'but I dont think you would thank me for it.' We left it at that.

Yesterday we had a Christmas party with the local adoption support group. It was great fun and packed! As we left KC said to me, 'Are all those children adopted?'. 'Most of them,' I replied. 'But they were just normal,' he said. Its things like that that make adoption support so necessary. The kids know they are different to other children in their school but it is so important for them to realise that they are not so different.

As soon as we entered the hall Papa started to sneeze. 'I hope you are not coming down with anything,' I said caringly, 'I have my work's Christmas party to go to tomorrow and I don't want to miss it!' He assured me he would be fine. Then this morning he couldn't move - the poor guy ached all over. 'I blame those kids,' he said, 'I'm obviously allergic to them.' He now refuses to enter a room where there are more than 4 children.

So today I have two small children under my feet playing with various animals whilst Papa lies in bed shouting orders for endless cups of tea and lemsip!

I am still going to my party though - he will just have to make his own tea!!!!!!!!

Friday, 7 December 2012

What a week!

Its been a bit of a hectic week so I have to apologise for not updating the blog as regulalry as I should over these past few days. Sorry...

Yesterday was indicative of the week - I had a therapy session in the morning. Its a parenting session, ideally for both of us but wierdly enough my therapist can't understand why Papa has to work during the day. As important as therapy is I have to constantly explain that with only one of us working now we kind of rely on Papa remaining in employment to eat and as brilliant as his bosses have been about the amount of time he has needed off work, I think we would be pushing it if he then asked for a day off every week to attend a therapy session, especially when there isn't any tea and biscuits. I've always imagined adult therapy sessions to involve food and tissues - maybe I have watched too many US TV shows - in the UK therapy consists of two ancient armchairs, no heating and definately no budget for refreshments in a draughty council office. Luckily my therapist (who also looks after the 'participants' on the Jeremy Kyle show - after they have poured their souls out about their neighbour eating their dog or some such nonsense) is also a heavy smoker - so we have to take our session outside at regular intervals for her to sustain her nicotine levels.  Yesterday was a lovely session though - she actually sat with me and simply said 'you and Papa have done an amazing job - think of where you were last year and give yourself a pat on the back.' At first I thought she was just flattering us - after all therapy is bloody expensive and I'm sure she has bills to pay - but then I did sit and look back - and where we are now is actually pretty amazing. Despite all the ups and downs we have come through as a strong family unit. Yes, we have issues and thery are very different to other families issues but we are getting there and, finally, enjoying life.

Tomorrow is KC's birthday - I can't believe it's his second birthday with us. But what is just as fantastic is that this year he is excited! I think last year - his first birthday with us, he wasnt quite sure what was going to happen - do we celebrate birthdays? - will he get presents?. He didn't even ask for anything, just waited till the day to see what he got. This year he has a list, he is bright and his eyes are sparkling and he is genuinely excited - it really is a transformation. He has figured out that he is getting a lizard - mainly because we are going to see his Godparents tomorrow for the day - going horse riding and then a birthday tea - and his Godfather breeds lizards (and snakes too but we dont mention those). Top of heiswish list was - yes, you guessed it - a lizard! So today I nipped out and picked him up a skate board. This is so in the morning he will get that and hopefully the lizard will then be an extra surprise. Although the lizard may not happen as Goddad is away and its down to me and Godmum to get said animal into a cage... I'm not sure how that will work but it will probably make a great blog entry.... but, I know he would be grateful for whatever he gets - simply because he knows what it is like to get nothing.

Anyway, they have had a great week at school - rehearsing for their carol concert and nativity play. TJ has just told me that the baby Jesus got a monster off one of the kings. I looked at him, 'Are you sure?' I asked. 'Yes,' he replied, 'The king has to give Jesus Frankenstein'. I explained that it was Frankincense and was a kind of nice smelling perfume. He looked at me, 'Don't be silly, 'he muttered, 'Why would baby Jesus want perfume - thats a rubbish present, I would give it back.' I hope no-one gives TJ anything he doesnt like this year, they would soon know about it!

Yesterday I was in the post office, mailing a pile of Christmas cards - (the stamps cost more than the cards!!!!) - I overheard the lady behind me, 'This year, she said,' I have told our Angel that she is not going to have a lot of presents, we just dont have the money and I thought it better to tell her before she sees the small pile of presents.'
'It's so true, I think everyone is struggling this year,' her friend replied.
'Yes, this year I've only managed to buy her everything on her list - there's no extras.'
Well, its a good job her daughter will understand the nature of frugality then. I always thought the 'list' was there so we could pick a couple of things from it... but maybe I am old fashioned....

Today, I went up to London - to meet with a very nice literary agent (I had to say that as he reads this blog) to get some advice about how to turn this little blog into a book. Yes, a book! It was fascinating to learn how it all works and now I am really excited about it - lets see what happens. But just as exciting was going up to London - by myself, wearing nice clothes - and not having to think about the kids all day. Papa and I even went out for lunch... a grown up day. Its amazing how the little things suddenly mean so much when you have kids...

Now the boys are sat in front of the wii playing the French version of Sonic and Mario at the London Olympics. 'Why is it in French?' I asked. KC looked at me, 'Because they wear nicer clothes.' he said. A fashionista in the family - I was stunned - then I saw that the characters were all dressed as some sort of insect. I don't remember the Ferench team wearing bumble bee onesies. So maybe we don't have a budding fashion designer after all - although considering what passes for fashion nowadays he may be on the right track.....

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent Begins....

What a weekend.... On Saturday it was the school Christmas Fayre... And I was an over weight elf selling over priced reindeer food.... When did that happen? When I was a kid we left a carrot and a glass of sherry out for Santa and his reindeer. Now Santa requires a whole meal energy boosting food complete with magic dust and glitter for his reindeer and probably a pair of Uggs for himself. My partner in crime for the day was my police woman friend, who was also an elf. This worked out quite well as earlier in the day KC asked me why I had 'magic dust', surely only Santa had the magic. I pointed out that our friend was a policewoman and as such could be trusted with magic dust and had it locked away in her police car. He accepted that, so all was good.

The fayre (yes they did spell it like that) was great fun and the kids had a great time. Apparently there were lots of positive comments about our stall so we must have done something right! Papa had to look after the kids for the day.... I'm surprised he had any hair left, they went bonkers and had a whale of a time... At Papa's expense!

We opened the advent calendar this weekend and the children are beginning to get excited... TJ asked if he could open all the little doors today. I looked at him inquisitively but he simply said, 'if we do that then it will be Christmas tomorrow!' You have to love his ingenuity. Then he told me what he was going to be in his nativity play next week... An angel! I nearly fell over in shock... Obviously his teacher was having a laugh. But no, he is to be an angel and will do a dance over the Blessed Family. God help them! However he has informed me that I am to make his costume... It has to be white and have Wings but it has to be an angel costume for a boy... So white shorts and white football socks are the order of the day, apparently all boy angels wear football kits! Well at least it's an easy costume to put together.... I guess all the boy angels will be wearing England football kits!

My fantastic cleaner was in today, she spotted my two boxes of Turkish delight, "you are liking Turkish delight?" She asked with a wistful tone. Thinking the sight of it had made her homesick for her native land I offered her a box. "I can't take it," she said. "It's ok,.' I replied, 'it was buy one get one free from Sainsburys'. She looked at me disdainfully, "Just because I am Turkish it does not mean that I like Turkish Delight." I suddenly felt horribly racist... She stared at me.... " but... I do like pistachio nuts!' Well, that's cleared that up, and at least I know what to get her for Christmas this year....

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Washing Machines and Colds

I am full of yet another cold!

When people talk about the joys of having kids (apparently there are some) they dont mention the constant cold you will have - every time I get rid of one set of germs provided by one child, the other one walks through the door and sneezes on me - thus ensuring that I now have another set! In fact this game of 'relay flu' has been going on since the beginning of the school year and I feel as though I have been constantly ill. Before the kids came along I was the picture of good health - gym going, luxury travel suntanned, well dressed... now I look like a bag lady extra from an American Crime series with constant tissues, last seasons clothes that no longer fit and the only reason my skin is darker is because I barely get time to wash (I exagerrated that last bit - I do still keep clean - but I daren't scrub too hard or I will take on the skin tone of Gollum - actually, I think I currently resemble him!) Scary....

Needless to say Joseph and Mary decided not to take our house - typical - as Papa said, its the first time that they turned the innkeeper down. I imagine that is what it would be like if Mary and Joseph toddled up to a Premier Inn and found Lenny Henry sitting on their bed.  They would be out of there in a shot dragging the star above them.... Not that I have anything against Premier Inns - it could just as easily have been a Travel Lodge!

Yesterday, the children came back from school covered in mud - it looked as though they had decided that mud wrestling was a great new sport - only they did it fully clothed! so i got them through the door and tossed their coats, trousers etc into the washing machine. I came downstairs to find them both staring into the turning drum, 'Look that coat's yours' KC said excitedly to TJ... They sat there transfixed watching the washing go round for at least 15minutes... I wonder why we ever needed TV now!

This morning was the first really cold day of the Winter. Bitter! TJ  came downstairs and said "Daddy, I'm wearing hot pants to school today!" I stood there dumbfounded and then he explained that he had warmed his trousers up on the radiator and now they were lovely and toasty... phew!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Early Nativity

We have decided to let out lovely listed Georgian townhouse out. Mainly because after three failed attempts it still hasn't sold. Selling anything is a nightmare at the moment. But, in the long run letting may be the best way to go for us.

Papa and I popped over to the house yesterday to sort out the gas certificates and clean the fridge. As we did so there was a knock at the door. I went to one it and found a young couple outside. He was tall, blonde and very good looking. She was tall, beautiful, immaculately dressed and pregnant. "We are coming to see the house," he said, "the agency is to be meeting us here." He was obviously European and seemed to do most of the talking. I introduced myself and he shook hands saying, ' My name is Joseph and this is my wife... Marie. ' he said 'Marie' but I knew he meant Mary.

I showed them upstairs and on the way up he said, "We are expecting baby soon, it is to be a boy." I nearly fell down the stairs. I left them to look around and I rushed back down and ran into the kitchen whisper shouting, "Papa, go outside and check if there's a star above our house... We 've only got Mary and Joseph upstairs... And she's expecting a boy!" I tailed off as I realised Papa was not alone. "Meet jackie... The agent," he said to me through a gritted smile. I greeted the  bubbly blonde ... She smiled.... "That's exactly what I said to my boss!" She whispered back... We all got on fine after that.

Mary and Joseph seemed to really like the house, he tried to pay the deposit thre and then, but Jackie insisted on running the credit checks etc... So we won't know until tomorrow but, as my friend warned me, we had better be careful in case a load of shepherds turn up with their livestock and leave droppings all over the new carpet!!!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Christening Weekend

This weekend saw a double celebration. It was mine and Papa's 6th wedding anniversary on the Saturday and on the Sunday we had the two children baptised at my Mum's local church.

The weekend could have gone so horribly wrong, especially as the country is in the grasp of floods and horrendous weather, but it actually all went beautifully to plan.

On the Saturday night we met up with our closest friends and their two boys for a Family anniversary dinner with all four of us and Granny. A gorgeous meal and the children behaved so well. At least until the cheese course, where my cheese board was devoured by three little boys. They ate everything except my Stilton... But I forgave them for that, then they ate my grapes!

The Sunday was amazing. Our friends, soon to be the kid's Godparents, came to Granny's house after they had checked out of the hotel and we all left for the church together. There were so many shoes to put on that my Mum joked that her front hall looked like a mosque. We then had the fun of sorting out little shoes for little feet. I panicked a little. "We are going to be late!' I exclaimed. Mother looked at me disparagingly, 'Well, they can't start without us," she said. A good point, well made.

The service was beautiful. TJ was a little scared so I spoke to his older sister beforehand and told him to show his little brother that there was nothing to worry about. The vicar took the boys up to the font for the baptism. 'Who wants to go first?" He asked. KC stood up, "TJ will!"he said.

I threw him a hard stare. But TJ rose to the occasion. "Can you make my hair spiky?" He asked the vicar. I think TJ had the font confused with the hair washing basin at the hairdressers. Every time we go to the hairdressers he asks them to wash his hair! Which is weird because at home he hates having his hair washed!

Service over, we headed back to the hotel for a lovely three course Sunday lunch.

The waitress came to take our order... She came round to TJ, "and what would you like, young man?" She asked him, then she started to giggle. I looked sideways and TJ had managed to suck his face into a wine glass, it was jammed on and he couldn't get it off. you could see in his eyes that he was scared about having this thing stuck on his face but also about the trouble he was in. However, upon seeing his duck billed lips which had been vacuum sucked into the wine glass his new Godmother and I fell about laughing and the waitress prised the glass off his face with a loud 'pop'!

 At the end of the meal we sat back to have coffee. I turned  to see TJ ordering a coffee from the waitress, 'Daddy let's me have it," he told her. "You are not having coffee!" I told him. "Wait till the cigar arrives," my uncle said. Unfortunately, I wasn't entirely sure if Uncle was joking!!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Great Fire of London - Panic!

Apologies for not posting yesterday - my eldest has decided it would be great fun to infect the entire family with a strain of flu as yet unrecognised by medical science. He had it for one day... then was fine and skipping off to street dance followed by tag rugby (I am desparate to combine those two) but left the rest of us, particularly Papa and myself, suffering horribly - probably for weeks on end. TJ got up this morning and began to sneeze. 'Uh-oh,' he said, 'I'd better stay at home today so you can look after me.' As 'looking after' means he lies in bed demanding the world on a plate (well his meals at least) I decided he would be better off at school!

Yesterday was dreadful. I began with the flu in the morning and everything seemed to take on a life of its own. I got up late - I just couldn't seem to operate the shower and shaving took forever. Then I got the boys up - by now we were running late anyway. KC wanted porridge for breakfast - so I got that on, with a happy smile as the milk boiled over in the microwave. We had a rushed breakfast and I sent the kids up to get dressed. KC got dressed really quickly, so he could feed the rabbits before school - he is very consienscious  where they are concerned - ask him to do homework and it's another matter! TJ came down the stairs fully dressed. Then time seemed to stand still as he suddenly said, 'Why am I in my school uniform? Today is dress up day!'

I looked at him and my jaw hit the floor - at the same time I heard the bin men coming up the street - 4 hours early!!!! I told TJ to get upstairs and take his clothes off. I then shot past a stunned KC who was happily feeding rabbits my new brussels sprouts (he hates brussels sprouts and obviously thinks I haven't noticed that they keep disappearing out of the fridge) into the garage to collect the two weeks worth of recycling and get it outside - just as the truck was pulling up to our house. 'Wait...  please!' I implored the binmen. They did so, luckily, as I pulled out three bags of fortnightly waste. They stood and watched me struggle down the drive - they can't collect it from anywhere but the kerbside. As I put it down the bin man said 'We thought we would do your street first for a change.' I looked up the street and it was full of half dressed men and women rushing their bin bags down to the road waving at me. I was doing my bit by holding the eager bin men up.

Then I remembered TJ and that we were already late for school. I raced in to find him lying naked on his bedroom floor examining an insect bite on his bottom. 'I think I've been bitten by a vampire.' he told me. Why any vampire would want to bite him there escapes me. I didn't dwell on it. 'Get dressed,' I yelled. 'Into what?' he yelled back.

I was perplexed....

Then I remembered that today they were focussing on the Great Fire of London and  luckily KC did that the year before so I raced into his room and pulled out the costume from last year - a mish mash of three quarter velvet knickerbockers, black football socks, a white shirt and black waistcoat - topped off with school shoes and a flat cap!  TJ put them on in record time and as quickly as they went on, they fell off. TJ is still very small for his age and KC's clothes literally fell off him. So I ran and grabbed safety pins and began pinning the clothes wherever I could. TJ looked at me, 'Why are you sweating?' he asked - 'Because I am running around after you!" I replied - probably unfairly. 'I don't care about dressing up, I wanted to wear my Arsenal kit.' he said scornfully. How much easier that would have been.

But I bundled both boys out the door and we ran to school.

I dropped them at the gate and breathed. Then I remembered my car was in for its service in 6 minutes time and my friend who was meeting me at the garage so we could go for coffee was now calling me to find out where I was. I ran back home. I got to the garage and my friend said, 'You look really hot, is everything ok?'

I dont think she was prepared for the barage of abuse that came from my mouth - but she bought me a coffee anyway....

Anyway it was nothing compared to what Papa got when he got in that evening. 'Did you send that email?' he asked. 'I'm sorry, I forgot, I have been really busy today.' I replied as I was cooking his dinner.

'Busy doing what?' he said sarcastically, 'We havent got a trampoline anymore for you to play on....' . I think he thought this was funny - he soon realised it wasn't....

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas Fayre

Yes, the plans are under way for this years' PTA Christmas Fayre. I love it when we spell things in an Olde Englishe Stylee - although it always reminds me of American 'Tudor' themed restaurants!

I, as an active member of the PTA committee, have bee designated to run the 'reindeer' magic food stall as you know and today the preparations are getting into full swing. My friend is going to help run it with me and we have both been told to dress up. I am not one for dressing up - but she is! She keeps sending me pictures of 'sexy' Mrs Santa outfits to see if I approve - I dont think I am possibly the right person to give an opinion - but needless to say if she wears any of them then the queues of children accompanied by their eager Dad's will run around the building.

KC intercepted my phone as a message came in. 'Daddy,' he said, 'There's a picture of a lady elf on your phone.' I went white - but yes, there it was in full iphone colour - a catalogue picture of a sexy lady in black fishnets and a skimpy 'santa' outfit. I put the phone down thinking that it could have been much worse.

The phone pinged again - indicating another message. KC ran to get it. 'Now the elf is sending a picture of its shoes!' he said excitedly. The shoes that my friend wants to wear with the afore mentioned outfit. So now my eldest believes that we will be visited by a skantily clad, Mrs Claus in high heel fur lined sparkly shoes on Christmas Eve - I think I'll let Papa sort that one out. He has a much better figure than me!

My outfit was also being discussed - a huge turkey?...  a penguin?... or everyone's favourite... a rudolf the reindeer 'mankini'... It amazes me that the teachers at school find time to do any teaching - they seem to be always on the internet looking at dodgy costumes... Its a great school!!!!!!

I think the image of me in a mankini, with or without the red nose, would be enough to close the fayre and probably land us with a huge law suit! I'm going with the penguin!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Why do Girls want to Rule the World?

That was the question posed by TJ on Sunday night during the results part of the TV show 'Strictly Come Dancing' on the BBC. TJ had just finished watching Girls Aloud perform their new hit (which seemed to be about Girl Power) and TJ was obviously disturbed by this.

I asked him what he meant. 'Well,' he said, 'Girls get to do everything, they can tell boys what to do, they can be really bossy, they are cleverer than boys and if they hit you you can't hit them back - why don't they let the boys have a chance at ruling the world.' Papa and I smiled and tried to explain to both boys that men had pretty much run the world for ages (probably until the Spice Girls came) and that girls were now taking their turn. 'What about our turn?' said TJ. I had to concede that maybe he does have a point - to a 7 year old we are all equal and now the balance seems to be tipping in the favour of the girls (in his eyes) I guess that will be their battle of the sexes in years to come.

TJ soon put things back into perspective though - 'But girls are rubbish at football,' he declared. 'Actually,' I said (now in full on girl power mode myself) 'lots of girls are very good at football - remember the Olympics and we watched the girls playing better football than the boys?' TJ looked at me in disgust, 'That was just the Olympics', he explained, 'If girls were really good at football they would get paid lots of money like the men and I would have a poster of them.'

If anyone has a poster of the Arsenal ladies football team can they let me know - at least he can have a poster - I can't guarantee that they will be paid the same as their male counterparts though.....

Then Kylie came on. I got a little bit excited... 'Who's that?' said TJ. My turn to look horrified, 'That's Kylie Minogue,' I said, 'The best singer ever!!!!' (I am an unashamed fan).

'Never heard of her' my youngest said.
'But I play her all the time in the car!, I explained.
'I dont listen to that,' came the reply, 'It's rubbish.' I was shocked.... 'And she's really old,' he added. Time for bed I decided!

Then TJ saw the male dancers on the show who were wearing a sort of lacy corset job (very revealing) 'See,' he said despondantly, 'Even she makes the boys wear girls clothes, those poor men.' I actually thought the boys looked very 'happy' in their outfits - but I am biased....

Definately time for bed - so off I went!!!!!!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Stop over in Lytham!

I have popped up to the lovely town of Lytham st Anne's for a couple of nights to see my family in the North. In doing so I have left Papa alone with the kids.... He'll be ok... Won't he?

It's not even 8am and already I have been asked how the dishwasher works.... Hmmmm..... I left a full list explaining the boys routine and the school outline for today, it's slightly different today as the kids have to wear yellow for the Children in Need charity day. KC has taken on the responsibility of showing papa what to do with the rabbits.... Papa doesn't do rabbits. Mind you, yesterday I was feeding the cat and KC asked what flavour cat food it was in the pouch... I read the label aloud... "it says a delicious gravy infused rabb.... Oops! I mean chicken." I quickly added!

My hotel is funny. We are staying at a hotel we used to go to a lot when I was young. I was obviously much more forgiving as a child, either that or I am channelling Alex 'something Italian sounding name' on the tv show 'the Hotel Inspector'. Or I am horridly spoiled in my hotel experience, which is probably true. But I think my chin hit the floor when I opened my hotel room door.... It was like stepping into the 80's, I even had a pine kitchenette with a gas hob and overhead grill. The tv is a big old box thing and the bed is essentially a large single. Thank goodness I am by myself! I am plucking up the courage to use the bathroom.

Staying above me is an elderly couple who I met on the stairs last night.... They are definitely here to party. They didn't go to bed until 1am last night and were up at 7! They are also obviously fans of Fred Astaire as they have been tap dancing from the minute they woke up. I might pop up and brush up on my time step later.

I have just opened my curtains to see the lovely seafront views across the dunes.... But no, I am at the back of the hotel so my view is of two spotty youths having a fag by the bins! I suppose it could be worse, there could be three of them! And as I type the rubbish truck is backing up the drive with a high pitched beeping noise.... and I didn't even ask for a wake up call, now that's service!

Well, time to shower and then off to meet my Mum and my Aunt for breakfast!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


Today it was the turn of Bluewater (Europe's largest shopping destination) to be the cause of my lack of work.

A good friend of mine needed help shopping.... I say help, she actually needed someone to agree with her and convince her that spending a lot of money was a good thing... Oh and to carry her bags! Seriously, it was a lovely trip and a much needed diversion.

Yesterday I encountered the pensioners en masse, today it was the turn of the young mum with the pushchair.... And even a dreaded double buggy!

Wherever we went there they were chatting away and blocking the aisles. Great fun! Well, of course, it became even more fun once the little darlings started bawling!

Mind you, if there is a recession there was certainly no sign of it today and my friend did her best to relieve the debt crisis. I even succumbed to the retail frenzy myself and got some early birthday presents for our eldest.

It was soon time to come home and today TJ was bringing a friend home for a play date. I say play, but they actually played together very little. They ate all my chocolate cake and drank a gallon of lemonade. After their consumption the boys rushed off to play the wii, which lasted ten minutes then they went their separate ways... One to play the guitar in one room and one to play table football. But they both seemed happy. When it came time for the boys to leave I asked him if he and TJ had a good time. "Yeah," came the reply, "I love playing with TJ"." So there you go.... They had a good time and that was the main thing.

KC then came home from his first day at rugby.... Covered in mud but happy as ... Well, as a kid covered in mud!

So straight in the bath for him while I cook lasagne.... Apparently that's what rugby players eat!!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tesco's - an elderly day out...

That is my word for today....

I began the day with a list of things to do, including getting started on my next assignment, sorting out the pets vaccinations, booking the car in for a service and lots of work to catch up on.... Oh and I needed to go to the supermarket. As regular readers know I usually go to our local Sainsburys but this week I received a number of vouchers for Tesco, there is a new superstore nearby so I thought I would try it.

Obviously I decided to do this first before I completed all my other tasks. Get it out of the way. Oh but first I had to get the children to school.

'Can we take our scooters?' KC asked.
'Of course you can." I replied in my most paternal tone.
'Great!' Shouted the kids. They got their scooters out and handed me all their bags, sandwich boxes etc. I looked like a contestant in Double or Drop. ... But I carried on smiling and off we went.

They scooted ahead and got to the roadside. We don't live on a busy road and the boys are usually quite sensible. 'Can we cross?' KC shouted.
'Yes, ' I replied 'but remember to look both ways first!'
KC complied and waited at the kerbside... She stood there good as gold watching her little brother practically walk out in front of an oncoming car. I screamed and a lady who had just crossed the road with her children jumped in front of the car and stopped it whilst grabbing a stunned TJ by the hand. Luckily the car was only going about ten miles an hour but even so it could have been bad. I thanked the lady and spoke to the boys. 'But I was looking and listening,' TJ said. 'I saw the car and it should have stopped.' I forget that TJ believes the world revolves around him, he has promised to keep practising. 'You could have stopped him,' I said to KC.
He looked at me and simply said, 'but I wanted to see what would happen.'
Great, my older child wants to see his brother splattered across a road. I guess that's pretty normal in siblings..... Sigh.

They then carried on scooting and once again I had to reprimand TJ as he was racing down the school pathway knocking parents, children and dogs out of his way. It was carnage! I don't think we will be taking the scooters tomorrow.

I then walked the dog, to relieve my stress and get ready to work.

I sat down to work and remembered I had to go to Tesco. So off I went.

Tesco at 10.30am on a Wednesday morning is a nightmare. It is like an old people's outing. The amount of Skodas and Hondas in the car park should have warned me to leave but in I went. I have nothing against the older generation, we will all be there ourselves one day and we have much to learn from them.... Like how not to shop! To begin with I wandered behind the elderly couples chatting and looking at the variety of food with a warm glow, how lovely.... Then the two older ladies who were chatting as they shopped side by side blocking the whole aisle... And the amount of motorbility scooters... Does anyone walk anymore??? They stopped in front of me a everything. I dutifully waited as they examined the food and gradually my warm glow turned to rage. By the time we got to the fruit section internally I was screaming, 'it's just bananas buy the damn things!' As the aisle walkers took out the boxes to see... and I quote, 'if there s a bag that had 6 bananas put in it by mistake.' Apparently this had happened to a friend of theirs and they were hoping that lightning would strike twice! I was tempted to buy them an extra banana if only they would move.  I eventually got around them and found myself dancing backwards and forwards as a lady on a motor scooter went through the bacon packs checking sell by dates. When the lady with the screaming baby came round the yogurt aisle I nearly cried with exhaustion.

I added a bottle of gin and headed for the check out. It was only as I got to the car that I realised I had forgotten the cat food and a cucumber.... So back in I went....

I got home three hours later, just in time for my Mum to call and tell me how she had just spent a couple of hours out shopping with my Nan.... So obviously Wednesday is a shopping day preferred by the elderly.

By now it was time to go and pick the kids up from school and, as it was a nice day, we went to the park. Then KC had dance class whilst TJ did his homework. Papa arrived home as I was cooking a Thai curry. 'What did you manage to do today?' He asked..... I think he got a shock when I glared at him and said between gritted teeth... 'Nothing, absolutely nothing!!!'

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I'm a Wee-Wee in a Bottle....

Or that's what KC was singing this morning. I blame Papa for introducing him to Christina Aguilera.

But much fun and hilarity was had by TJ and Papa as they took turns to wee into their little vials. And, surprisingly there was hardly any mess. Which astounds me! How come they can bloody well aim into an opening barely a centimetre wide with incredible accuracy but show them a huge gaping toilet bowl and they suddenly lose this ability and instead spray the bathroom like a territorial tomcat.

But, we took TJ to school, KC attended therapy and then afterwards I made the visit to the Doctor - where the lovely young nurse took a sharp intake of breath when she read my blood pressure. I love it when they do that. She then looked at me pityingly and asked when Papa would be able to come in and do his. She then asked, rather pointedly I felt, how old my children were... Why? What does she know? Should Papa be preparing for the worst - not my imminent death but his having to look after the two little monsters on his own forever!!!!! Did this young lady not realise that she was dealing with possibly the biggest hypochondriac on the planet - even before I left the surgery I knew it was time to put my affairs in order (I saw that on the TV show Doctors the other week). So now my blood pressure is definately up - and its a non-wine day!!!!!

I have reached that age where I have to stipulate which days are alchol free and which allow me a tipple. Today is alcohol free.... bugger!

Last night I attended the PTA meeting with 4 other eager parents - in preparation for the Christmas Fund Raising Fair. To be fair (did you see what I did then) our school always has a massive fair and it raises a huge amount. However, that means that each year we have to top the year before and, as the work and committment gets harder, so the number of parents willing to help dwindles.

So this year I am in charge of putting together Magic Reindeer Food with the little darlings, a scoop of oats, a scoop of bird seed and a little magic dust (glitter) and then the children make their magic wish and I charge them £2 - but this year we are also having real reindeer - so I am now going outside with my stall to ensure the children don't feed the 'magic' reindeer food to the not so magic reindeer from Devon. Personally I wanted to see the little darlings sob when the reindeer didn't fly after being fed this concoction. (They are supposed to leave it out for Santa and the Reindeer on the night). Then a bright spark decide what would be great is if I dressed up an elf!!!!!! Good grief.... so now I am to be an overweight elf, dishing out over priced Reindeer food that can't actually be fed to the Reindeer.... and they wonder why there are only 5 of us on the PTA!!!!

Still it'll make a good blog!!!!!!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Wee Romans...

It's been a lovely weekend - the kids have both been little angels - so something must be up. Or is it simply that all the ads on TV are now for Christmas and the children are ensuring that they don't end up on Santa's naughty list.

I once told them about how their Uncle (my brother) was once so naughty that when he woke up one morning he didn't get any presents in his stocking - just a lump of coal. How he was so upset when he watched me and my sister opening our presents that he just cried for the whole of Christmas Day. But he was never naughty again. This must have had quite an impact because even now whenever TJ steps out of line his older sister reprimands him saying ' remember what happened to Daddy's brother.' Interstingly when I first posted that story on Facebook a number of my friends believed it. I'm not sure what that says about my parents!!!!!

Anyway, back to the boy's Christmas truce... is it wrong that I am enjoying this end of hostilities between siblings.... no, absolutely not! Its just a shame it can't last for a full year.

I have had to go and re-register with the doctors. The receptionist happily gave me the four little tubes for urine samples and told me to 'bring them back on Tuesday with all the necessary paperwork.' Papa took one look and said 'But I go private...' Apparently this excludes him from giving urine. I had to explain that we still have to go to the GP occasionally, especially when he is ill. He has reluctantly agreed. TJ on the other hand is desparate to wee in the bottle - although I know it will be me that ends up holding the tube trying to catch his urine. As anyone with little boys knows, children can aim their wee anywhere except where it is supposed to go, so as long as I hold the bottle as far away from the toilet bowl as possible then I am sure to catch some!!!! Of course, it is me that has to take all of this to the doctors and I will then have to have my blood pressure taken as well. The others are all excused this as they wont actually be physically there. I imagine that after spending the morning filling tubes with urine and then getting the children to school my blood pressure will be off the scale!!! I'll let you know how that goes tomorrow!

Yesterday, KC and I spent the afternoon doing his project - he had a whole term to do it in but I only found out about it last week, when it wasn't handed in! Anyway, I negotiated an extension for him from her teacher (these year 3 teachers can be tough) and we did it together. He had to choose a topic related to the Roman way of life. Thank goodness I paid attention on the school trip to the Roman Villa - God knows that KC didn't - he was only interested in the 21st Century rubbish that was littered around the place and having lunch. However, we opted to do entertainment. I, of course, was focussing on music, drama and art.... KC wanted to do gladiators chopping each others limbs off and chariot racing where speeding chariots lopped limbs off the slower racers - there is a theme here. So we have created a mosiac of two halves - one showing the beauty of Roman Culture - the other the brutality... So in a way it depicts the Romans quite well. I found KC last night giving a presentation to an enthralled TJ. He was explaining that if the Emporer didn't like any of the boring music or art then he sent the offending artiste to the Colosseum to have their limbs cut off by a gladiator. Apparently KC is an excellent teacher and TJ now knows everything about the Romans - or so KC told me.

I shall wait and see how her presentation fares in school today. I have images of children (and probably teachers) racing from the classroom traumatised by KC's vivid description of life and death in ancient Rome!!!!!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Political Correctness

Today's title doesn't really refer to the political pettiness we often see around us every day but rather to the sudden change in attitude from our youngest son... Personally, I blame school!

TJ has always been a little mysoginist - he often tells us how much he hates 'girls' and how he thinks certain jobs are for women, like hairdressing and cleaning whilst men should be playing football and wrestling - not necessarily at the same time.

One poor young male student who was on the check out at Sainsbury's was given one of TJ's hard stares and from his small perch at the front of the trolley he suddenly said, 'Why have we come to this counter? We normally get served by a girl.' Naturally I was horrified and tried to laugh it off, explaining to the lad that normally we go to a different counter and TJ likes the lady who serves. To be fair, the lad probably didn't care and was just counting the hours until he could go to the pub, but TJ then shouted, ' No, I don't like her - but he is doing a girl's job.' At this the student became suddenly alert and said indignantly, 'Well, at least I've got a job.'
'Daddy hasn't....' was TJ's instant retort.
The lad wasn't sure what to do with that information, but he looked at me pityingly as I unloaded my bottle of gin. Great - now even the counter staff at Sainsbury's think I am an alcoholic, unemployed stay at home Dad - 'I work from home,' I explained with a smile, ' You don't work,' TJ exclaimed, 'You play on the trampoline and eat bacon...' This accusation has been hurled at me many times by our youngest and I have no idea where it came from. although, every time it is mentioned Papa seems to give a sly grin.

Anyway, this morning on the radio Chris Evans (the DJ not the film star - I have to clarify that for our US readers) played 'Candyman' by Sammy Davis Junior  - he plays it every Friday at 8am. KC always sings along and it's very sweet (well, it would be it's candy...). Today TJ suddenly shouted out, 'That song is wrong. It should be Candyperson.' I was a bit stunned that he should react so violently to a song. 'Really,' I asked. 'Yes,' he replied, ' Candy 'man' is sexy...' ( I think he meant sexist) '...and the Candy could come from a man or a woman so it should be Candyperson.'

I couldn't really argue with that so have asked him to write to Chris Evans and let him know. 'I will,' said TJ, ' And I'll tell him to stop playing that song 'cause its rubbish!'

'What would you like him to play instead?' I asked. He thought about it and suddenly said birghtly, 'They could play my arm fart' and he proceeded to make fart noises with his armpit - charming!

I'm sure the BBC will be updating their weekend playlist shortly...

Thursday, 8 November 2012


The title sounds like a trashy horror movie... I wish it was. Although sometimes our eldest child's nocturnal walkabouts have given us both a shock.

Once whilst watching the movie 'Insidious' (about the possession of a small boy by an evil being) TJ suddenly appeared in eerie silence in the living room doorway backlit by the hall light - my popcorn flew across the room and Papa squealed like a small girl - or large meerkat, depending on your viewpoint. Upon hearing our commotion TJ simply opened his eyes and stared (which caused Papa to cower) before simply turning around and going back to bed.

The other night I heard a noise from the bathroom - rushing in expecting the worst I found TJ singing to himself whilst placing all his teddies and soft toys into the bath. I managed to steer him back to his room just before he turned the water on and drowned the lot of them. Can you imagine explaining that to a 7 year old next morning? But it did have the look of The Shining about it, especially as he grinned inanely whilst placing each toy next to each other in their pond of death.

TJ has a mid sleeper bed - one that has a pirate theme, so it has a hide out underneath. A hideout where the cat likes to sleep. A couple of nights ago I went in to find TJ standing in the corner of his bed - perilously close to falling out. 'What are you doing?' I shouted - not realising he was asleep. 'You have to save the cat... save him!!!!!!!' TJ screamed back at me - I have no idea what that was about but in the morning TJ simply got up and said, 'I dont think the cat should sleep in my room anymore.'... To be honest, I think the cat was relieved. He had seen what happened to the toys the night before....

Well, last night TJ went for one of his walkabouts and I steered him back to bed just before he went down the stairs - he had a need to turn the lights on... I have no idea why but it was very important to him that we burn as much electricity as possible. He got back into bed and lay there staring at the ceiling with his eyes open (that's always freaky) then told me he was cold and pulled his covers over him before drifitng back to that most beautiful of childish states - sleep. Its funny how we stand for ages and coo over our slumbering darlings and smile when they snuffle or snore. In my own experience if I so much as make a little bit of noise I am dug in the ribs and told to turn over or even go into the other room - where is my adoring gaze??????

I digress... so this morning TJ got out of bed and proudly showed my the video he had taken with his leap pad - of him sleep walking. He didnt believe me when I told him of his walkabouts so he set his recorder up and it had captured the moment he left his room. I now think he may have staged it in a 'Paranormal Activity' type of fashion... but it was pretty cool (and a little bit creepy) to watch. But at least now he will believe me when I tell him of his night time habits!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Rabbit, Rabbit.....

So the children adopted their bunnies. Two gorgeous little dwarf rabbits that underwent a variety of names ranging from Vlad to Spider-Man to Halloween Monster but eventually we settled on Ginger (for the ginger rabbit) and Shadow (for the black one).

Oddly enough the kids selected rabbits that reflected their own personalities. Ginger has proven to be the bossy dominant bunny ( much like KC) whereas Shadow mirrors TJ in that he is much shyer and less happy to be handled. But the kids have been very good. I made sure they left the bunnies alone for the first couple of days and after that time had passed they sat quietly with their rabbits whilst I made sure they learned how to handle them. TJ was thrilled today when Shadow hopped to him without fear and ate the dried apple treat from the palm of his hand. No sooner had Shadow finished nibbling when TJ popped the rest of the treat into his mouth. "Mmmmm, it's lovely," he said as I looked on horrified. " Can I have this for lunch tomorrow?" I would love to be a fly on the wall when the dinner staff watch him nibbling on rabbit treats. Still it's probably healthier than crisps!

Today was one of my 'called into school' days. We have only been back a day after the half term break and in I was called. There is much concern about our older child. He is simply unable to retain information and the worrying thing is that the younger one is now overtaking the older in terms of academic ability. This, of course, has the undesired effect of reducing KC 's self esteem to a ridiculously low level. The school want to work with me to find a way to help him start to rebuild his confidence. It's hard for him as he was the main focus of his birth families abuse and therapy simply brings all those memories, the ones that he has tried to suppress, to the surface. It must be so hard to remember inconsequential things such as times tables or reading when your brain is dealing with such horrific memories.

However, in his favour, the school did comment that his dramatic skills were really good and he had a flourishing imagination, something he didn't have when she came into the school. Apparently, he was unable to have original thoughts a year ago and relied on tv for ideas. Since we cancelled satellite tv his mind has started to work independently and he is creating her own stories. I can now see the damage tv was doing to his unformed mind, it allowed him to escape his past but didn't allow him to see any positive future. That sounds a bit priggish, and I don't mean it to. I am only speaking from KC's perspective and am not judging kids who love tv. I think tv is great for children who have not suffered trauma, but in our case it was proving to cause more damage than good.

However, tonight the kids came home and both went to their rooms, not out of choice but because I grounded them. They had invented a new version of football... One that involved using my French windows as a goal!!! Normality has definitely resumed in our household......... Maybe tv isn't so bad after all!

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Celebration Hearing and Hallowe'en

Yes, it's been six weeks but finally I have normal Internet access... Everything works again, computer, iPad, iPhone... The lot. I never thought I would be so happy about anything that concerns technology. But I am. Now I can get that assignment in for my psychology degree by next Sunday... Oh, and complete my blog of course!

It's been a busy few days. We had our first Halloween in our new home and this year Papa took the children out begging door to door... Or trick or treating as it is apparently known. I was suitably equipped at home with huge amounts of sweets. I wanted to give out tangerines with pumpkin faces drawn on them as I had seen made on one very worthy tv programme, thus not subjecting the little darlings to tooth decay. However, I opted for the usual bumper pack of haribo as I didn't want to be known locally as the  'mean one who gives out fruit'..... So I dished out small packs of sweets to a seemingly endless parade of poorly dressed ghosts and ghouls... And to the bunch of teenagers who were obviously hoping for a cash option. Then the kids eventually returned clutching their carrot baskets ( I recycled their Easter baskets by cutting the green leaves off) I told the kids they were long pumpkins from Asia... They accepted that explanation. Their baskets were brimming with Cadbury celebrations, haribo packs and.... An orange with a scary pumpkin face painted on.... Apparently it was from one of our immediate neighbours. Papa was really impressed and the kids loved them and actually ate it first ignoring the sweets. I smiled but inside I was year I am doing comedy fruit as well!!!

We had Granny staying with us for the week, which was lovely. She even kept the boys overnight whilst Papa and I went to a friend's civil partnership. We stayed in a hotel for the first time since the children arrived... I worried for about twenty minutes, then we realised we had no Internet and no phone reception, so we wouldn't even know if anything untoward happened. I drove back into civilisation the next day expecting my phone to light up the minute we regained reception. But nothing. We got home where Mum told us they had been angels... Helpful, going to bed on time, no problem... Either my mother was lying to protect the kids, or she locked them away all night, or they were really as angelic as she claimed. If that's the case then I am booking for a week next time....

Finally on Friday we had our celebration hearing at court for the adoption. This is a happy day where the children and friends and family are invited to go to court and the judge makes a show of presenting the adoption certificates and announcing the adoption as official. We were all a bit nervous and TJ decided to choose that day to throw up everything he had ever eaten. It was obviously nerves, after all his concept of court has been warped by constant trips to prison for the members of his birth family. He was convinced the judge might send us away. But in the end it was lovely. The judge allowed the children to sit at the big desk, to go into her chambers and try on her wig. She even gave them a lovely card and cupcakes. They were thrilled and can't wait to go back to school and tell their friends all about it. My best friend sat there in floods of tears, which was inconsiderate as I had invited her to take the pictures....

We then went to lunch with our friends and family and had a fantastic afternoon which culminated in the kids adopting their own bunnies.... More about them tomorrow.....

Friday, 26 October 2012

School Trip

Today I was 'volunteered' to be a parent helper on my oldest's class field trip to the relics of a roman villa. Apparently there are more roman villas in our part of the world than anywhere else in the UK.... We are truly blessed. I arrived at the school as the rain poured out of the sky, great  stuff! Sixty kids at a damp archeological site. I was given my group, which included KC and one of his best friends, plus another child who was late, his Mum had overslept and they were on their way, apparently.... To balance my three obviously dysfunctional kids I was presented with three over achieving children, I knew this as the minute I walked in they started sprouting A level knowledge of the Roman way of life... I knew my day was not going to be a straight forward one.

How right I was.

The kids were all given a worksheet to complete upon arrival (apparently all the answers were at strategic points around the villa. There were things to draw and every group (we were group 7 of 9) was allowed a ten minute break in the gift shop. Great!

I hadn't counted on the competitiveness of other parents... They were off! Some of the parent leaders informed their groups that they would not be having lunch until the entire worksheet was completed. I heard another tell her group that if anyone needed the toilet they had to do it now or wait until they wre going home. Manic Mums... I was the only Dad there, as you may have gathered. I didn't want to enforce the 'learning' aspect if the day on my group... I would like to say that this was as a result if my 'Guardian reading'' middle class method of education, whereas in reality the little girls knew far more than I did about how to complete a year 3 worksheet and the boys were too busy racing around and pretending to be Roman gladiators to give a damn about the history of the building. I spent most of the time running around after the three musketeers and preventing them from further destroying the building and in between checking the answers of eager youngsters desperately seeking approval of their answering ability. Eventually if was lunchtime... I sank to the floor to consume my cheese sandwich and flask of coffee...

It was during this period that one of my group discovered that one of the other groups had completed their worksheet in full... All 14 sections. The Mum in charge was loving it, then one of my over achieving charges said quite loudly 'I wish we were in her group instead of this one...  We are only up to number 11!" I would have responded but I was trying to stop KC's best friend from flicking his cheese sandwich at another school group who had just arrived...

Then it was our turn in the gift shop.  KC wanted everything he saw, including a full roman soldier outfit for £50. I told him he had £5 like everyone else. He ended up buying a rubber sword, despite my showing him all the fantastic books about roman life... As I showed him he said, "it's my pocket money and you said I could get what I want... And I don't want a book." Fair enough. So he bought the sword and I bought the book. Mainly so I could share my knowledge of Roman life with the obnoxious threesome... Actually they were lovely, just very earnest!!!!!

We then came home and I was so pleased to open that Friday bottle of wine whilst Papa does the bedtime routine!!!!!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Thats all I can say - Wow!
I have been amazed and touched by the sheer amount of people who have expressed their good wishes and support after my blog entry yesterday. The number of page views has gone off the scale - the most I have ever received and I can only say how truly humbled we are.

There is so much more to add to yesterday's blog - as I said it really is only the tip of the iceberg - but I guess that is something that will wait until after the legal stuff has run its course - who knows, perhaps the TV show will lead to a book spin off - 'The Reality Behind 'Relative Strangers'' - believe me there is definately a books worth of material - I just wonder if it would be too depressing. On the other hand, as I said yesterday, we have been blessed with the gift of balance. I think if the kids had Fairy Godparents (instead of just Fairy Dads - I thought I would say it before anyone else did) then the gift would have been 'balance'. Interestingly, when we met the boys the cottage that they put us up in (self catering - to keep costs down, naturally) was actually called Fairy Cottage - and there were lots of little fairies hidden around the house. At the time we thought it was hilarious - now I wonder if it was the beginning of a homophobic jibe... Or am I reading too much into things. I'm doing that a lot recently, especially as I am currently recounting the entire placement period with the Ombudsman and various other legal bodies - it just never seems to end. The complaints system is ludicrous - you go through months and months of investigations - then when the complaint is upheld then local authority are not really obliged to do anything - why would they be? They are investigating themselves after all. Its kind of like the Jimmy Savile debacle going on in the UK at the moment - the BBC are investigating the BBC - all big corporations seems to have the right to investigate themselves. But thats another axe to grind....

TJ managed to pull his curtains down last night - completely, the brackets were ripped right out of the wall - there was a terrible crash and I raced into his room to find him sitting amongst dust and football embroidered curtain material. He looked up at me with his big blue eyes... I looked down at him with my cold stare (not unlike Paddington Bear's) "What happened?" I asked authoritatively. I got the standard shrug of the shoulders. "I think you had better think about your answer whilst you have your bath and I fix the curtains" I told him. He agreed.

A little later I asked him again, "So, are you ready to tell me what happened?".
"Yes," he replied. "I was trying to close my curtains and they just fell off on my head."
"Really?" I said.
"Really - it did really happen."
"Tell me more..." I cajoled him....
"Well, I was trying to close them by climbing to the top to reach the round hoops (curtain rings) and then they fell down."
And so we got to the bottom of it - needless to say he is no longer allowed to close his own curtains - even if the old lady living over the road does get to see his bottom (he is very worried he might scare her)... and poor Papa spent a good hour last night polyfilling in the huge holes TJ had made in the walls. And its a brand new house!!!!!!!!!!!!