Sunday, 17 June 2012

Week 14 - lots to report!

It feels like it's been a busy time since my last post. I normally post on a Sunday but as my week 13 post was last Friday, I should start by noting last weekend's highlights too!

A quiet night on Friday and on Saturday I took the boys to the park to meet up with friends. It's Joe's sixth birthday next month and we are going to buy him a bike as he's never had one. We've been debating what to do re stabilisers, but he's saved us that headache. Spotting his pal Jasper's shiny new bike, and never being one to be shy of taking any one else's toys he likes the look off, Joe was soon trying to get around on the bike. It was quite back breaking holding the back of the saddle so I was quite pleased to have the help of several of my friends who took a stint. He declared to me that it was harder than he thought and I reassured him that it will take weeks of practice. Within 10 minutes he was doing circuits of the park unaided - a true pro! I felt strangely emotional and when I text G to tell him the news, he did too. Later we reflected that we missed their first steps - that seemed like the closest next best thing!

Saturday afternoon a couple of our friends and their three boys dropped by out of the blue. Joe and Charlie haven't met them before but with that fantastic unquestioning sociability that children of this age seem to have, they were shoes off and playing in Joe's room before we could get Paul and EJ through the front door! There soon followed a fashion parade of fancy dress outfits, and it was lovely to see them playing so well.

Saturday evening we had friends round for dinner. It's the first time since the boys arrived that I actually got round to cooking a proper meal and laying the table. It was also the first time we've told people to come round at 7, so they can see the kids before they go to bed, rather than asking them to hold back until after the boys are asleep. It's a nice nod towards life becoming more natural.

On Sunday morning we went round to our neighbours three doors down, who haven't lived here for that long and whom we didn't know prior to our street party. They have a little boy who Joe took a real shine to at the street party and they kindly invited us round to play. It was lovely letting the boys head off whilst we sat and had coffee with Joel and Sam. We are definitely starting to relax and I think that's probably helping the boys too.

This week the boys were back to school/nursery and fortunately Joe appears to have settled in a bit more, once again bouncing through the gates each morning, which has been a real relief for G and me. Charlie has started to respond well to the sticker chart and achieved his first reward on Thursday. And given a toy shop full of things to choose from, he selected an apron, so he could help with the washing up!

Good days seem to follow bad days which follow good days - some days it's easy to cope and other days it's hard. G had a tough one on Wednesday where Charlie had been pushing all day and the housework felt to be too much to deal with, but the more we talk to other parents, the more we realise these day to day stresses are normal. It's like we've now joined some kind of secret club. When you're not a parent, people tell you lovely things about their children. When you get children, you find it really quite hard work and often stressful, and you think you're different to everyone else. But then the rest of the club reveal the big secret, they find it hard too! The more we've talked to people, the more we've started to relax in to the role a bit. Not saying we're there yet, but as each week passes we're feeling more and more settled into this new routine.

On Friday of this week we had our second Adoption Review Meeting. This is a meeting of the boys social worker, our social worker, an independent reviewing officer and a health visitor. The first meeting took place after two weeks of the boys moving in, this was our three month check. Everyone seems really delighted with the progress that the boys are making and the way they are settling in. Having seemed sceptical last week, the boys social worker said that she thought our email to the parents in Joe's class was actually a fantastic idea that she will be advising others to do. All things considered, everyone was happy for us to move on to the final stage, which is our formal application for the courts to issue an adoption order. Basically this is the step that officially makes them our children and removes their 'looked after child' status. A big step but one that we have no hesitation in making - neither of us could imagine life without our beautiful boys.

On Saturday we had a simple but lovely day. I took Joe to his first football coaching session in the morning and then out for a drink and cake, whilst G took Charlie to soft play. Joe loved football, and if he can learn to listen to instructions, I think he could be quite good. More importantly though, it's the start of us doing 121 activities, things just for them and not bundling them together as a pair.

After a quick lunch the four of us headed over to friends who have a larger garden than us, so we could finally finish drying the tent out. They took the boys off to the park, which was the first time we've left them with someone else (when not asleep) and although it was only half an hour, it was lovely to see them comfortable with our friends. When they came back they had great fun playing tennis in the garden. Then in the evening we headed down to a local pub that's known to be uber child friendly where we met up with a few other parents and children from Joe's class. We had our best night out with them so far. It was lovely to be really relaxed, the kids were having a lovely time, no one was worried if they got down from the table and went to play, we parents took it turns to check on them out in the garden and we had a chance for adult company. We stayed out much later than intended but the boys were having such a lovely time, it was so nice to see. Joe seemed part of the gang with the others from his class, Charlie was happy playing with the older boys, we felt chilled out and it was the first time where I felt we actually all had a lovely night out, rather than it being for them, or for us.

We carried the boys back on our shoulders and put them to bed where they fell asleep within minutes. We went to bed soon after, feeling very contented.

A quiet family day at home today, and after much searching, we've booked a family holiday for August. Let's hope it doesn't rain on this one!

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