Friday, 8 June 2012

Week 12-13

Tomorrow will be exactly three months since we met our sons. Just typing that makes me feel emotional. I cannot believe how much has changed in our lives since then. We have been through lots as a couple but this has certainly been the biggest yet, nothing else has been this exhausting or this amazing.

Week 12 was the last week of Joe's first half term at his new school and it was a much better week for him. He ran in to school happily each day and I don't know if that was because any of the impacts of the previous week's actions, or because there wasn't much work happening, it was mainly jubilee celebrations! On Wednesday he went in dressed as a king and was chosen to carry one of the flags in the school's parade to church. A few weeks ago I don't think he would have coped with that at all, so we were really pleased.

We had both social workers visit at the end of week 12 when the boys weren't around. We were feeling really upbeat and positive by the progress, but the boy's social worker seemed unusually negative and said that she though the school was never going to be right for Joe as it was too academic in its focus. We were a bit thrown by this as we don't normally disagree with our social workers but this time we do. We remain convinced its a fab school for him.

School broke up last Friday and the boys had an after term picnic on the beach with a few children/parents from Joe's class. He played really well with the others and seemed on very good terms with them.

Saturday was the start of jubilee weekend and saw the arrival of my mum and dad, for their first weekend stay with the boys. I am not sure who was more excited! It was also the day of our street party, which was just fabulous. Last year I couldn't wait for the party as I was excited about drinking with the neighbours, this year I couldn't wait to give the boys the experience of playing in the street and soaking up the atmosphere.

With the road closed they loved running up and down all day with the many other children that live close by. They were in and out of each others houses, had their faces painted, met new friends and generally had a ball. We bathed them and put them in their pjs and then let them back outside to enjoy the disco until 9. Charlie stole the show by getting on the microphone and saying he wanted to sing a song. In front of the whole street he gave a perfect rendition of Baa Baa Black sheep which had everyone in tears. Goodness knows how I will cope with nativity plays....

Mum and Dad took over in the evening once the boys were in bed and let G and I enjoy the company of our neighbours for a while. I enjoyed it a bit too much and had to face my first hang over with kids on Sunday which wasn't so much fun! Sunday was a nice family day, mum and dad were great with the boys and helped out lots around the house. We had a roast dinner then a trip to the park, then a tea of cakes and sandwiches. That's how I remember my childhood Sunday's - a visit from Grandma, roast lunch, cakes for tea. I guess I am trying to recreate happy memories of my own past.

Mum and dad left Monday morning soon to be replaced by Gary's mum, who had lunch with us before we all headed off to the local carnival, to be fleeced by the rides and stall holders! Balloons in tow, we headed home where Nanny stayed for tea and bath time, meaning both grandmothers have seen that process now! It's nice to start to feel like a normal family with less restrictions on what's going on in the house.

On Tuesday G went shopping for our camping trip whilst I supervised three different play dates! Firstly we went to friends to borrow their roof box, and the boys got to meet and play with their children. This was great fun until Andrew arrived home in his paramedic car, meaning he was soon the coolest man in town!

We then headed to the park to meet a girl from Joe's class for a play, which moved back to her house later as the rain started. Then back at home, a boy from Joe's class joined us for an afternoon play date, which I think we all survived!

On Wednesday we loaded the car to a point where we could barely fit the boys in, and headed off for our first family holiday - camping half an hour up the road! It was meant to be an experience for the boys, a chance for us to relax with them, and do boy stuff like running, building camps in the woods and making swings in the trees. Unfortunately we got there at lunchtime, spent three hours setting up our elaborate camping paraphernalia and then it started to rain!

By sheer coincidence a family turned up to set up camp next to us, and Joe recognised one of the boys as being from a year or two above him at his school. He was there with his mother and some other parents and children and at first all seemed ideal. Then it became apparent that they didn't want to play with Joe and actually become a bit mean to him. I was chatting to one of the mums of the group and explained that he didn't quite get the concept of possessions yet, and didn't understand that he couldn't just play with what he fancied, and that he had only just been placed with us. We went over to sort out the fracas that was building, and in the end I said to Joe that the boys didn't want to play with him and that we would go and do something else. I picked him up and he got really upset. The mother full of good intentions then dealt with her kids, and later they invited Joe to play. When it got a bit nasty again, one of the boys told me that Joe was annoying. I said that he was much younger than them and didn't always understand. The boy turned round and said 'it's because he hasn't got a mum and dad.' My heart sank. Lesson learned, don't talk to strangers about it! Made me realise though, that he's going to have to learn to deal with comments like that and it's not going be easy for him when we are not around.

We had dinner and lit a fire. We let the boys stay up until Joe asked to go to bed, which was about 8.30! We turned in a few hours later and spent our first night under canvas.

Sadly the next morning brought more rain and the field was getting very boggy. The farmer came to warn us that flooding was likely and so we had to take our camp apart and leave at lunchtime, all soaked to the skin and covered in mud. I did feel cheated that we didn't actually get to have any fun with the boys, but we got home, washed them and spent the afternoon in our PJ's before letting them camp in Joe's bedroom for the night, sleeping bags and inflatable beds included! We put them to bed early so they could enjoy a couple of hours of playing before we forced them to sleep.

Today I had planned to take them both to soft play, but Charlie ended up being excluded from that trip. The last couple of weeks his 'pushing' has really escalated and he's just refusing to listen or do as he's told. The social workers think it's regression to the terrible two's, but it's terrible two's in the body of a four year old and as much as you try and keep your cool, he really has a knack of winding us up. There have been a number of firm conversations this week about doing as he's told but nothing is working. This morning I told them soft play was a treat if they tidied up their toys after last nights sleep over. Joe dutifully did but Charlie refused. So he wasn't allowed to come.

In the end it did Joe a lot of good to be taken on his own. Charlie gets much more 121 attention because Joe is at school full time, and I think Joe really liked the tim out with daddy. Even if it did mean I had to play football for an hour!

After another melt down this evening, which got me to the point where I had to shut the door on him and walk away to calm down for fear of what I may do otherwise, we have decided a change in tactic is needed. So tomorrow morning we will be make star charts!

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