Wednesday, 12 June 2013

April & May 2013

Well life sure is busy these days, explaining the fact that this is longest period I've had without updating the blog.

Overall, the last couple of months have been good for both boys, we are well and truly in 'normal family life' mode and the kids continue to develop well.

We started April with a contact session with the boys older birth sisters. This was the second time we've met up with them since the boys joined our family, and as always they took it completely in their stride. It's lovely to see them together, we met at a soft play centre so they had plenty to do, and the boys were delighted to see the girls, but equally weren't phased at saying good bye. We will see them again in the Summer holidays. The girls both seemed much more settled since the last time we saw them, and it sounds like their current foster placements could become permanent, which would be amazing for them.

We've had busy weekends, bbq's with the family, playtime with friends, trips to the park etc. The boys enjoyed their Easter school holidays and we took them up to London for a couple of days too. They loved the train journey and their first stay in a hotel. We did all the big sights, we went on the London Eye and, with Joe having done a term on the Great Fire of London at school, we also climbed the 300+ steps to the top of the Monument. One step out on to the balcony at the top and Charlie declared that he was desperate for a wee, so down we marched again - deep joy! I love doing family experiences like this with the boys, I find myself looking at them and thinking how little of these experiences they would have had if they hadn't been rescued from their previous family.

In May half term we did a big first, taking the boys to Spain! This was a whole week of having those thoughts about how great it is to give them these sort of life experiences. The boys loved every minute of being in Spain. We had Grandma and Grandad with us too, and it was great for us to have a holiday - I wasn't sure we would have relaxing holidays again, but I actually managed to finish a book, which was great! Sadly Joe was poorly during the holiday with an ear infection, which resulted in us visiting a Spanish hospital to get antibiotics. He's a very strong little man, he didn't cry or complain once, even though he had an ear and sinus infection which really had taken hold. It didn't ruin his holiday however, and not only did he complete his first unaided length of the swimming pool, by the end of the week he was surface diving to pick up things from the bottom of the pool.

The boys revelled in the new experiences of being abroad, happily greeting everyone they met with a 'Ola' and trying new foods, and of course playing on the beach.

Joe really seems to have matured and settled over the last couple of months, he's really good fun to be with and at home is really well behaved. He loves school and we have no problems getting him to go in each day. He can still play the fool a bit with this friends, I think he's still keen to please others and will be very easily led, but the school manage him amazingly well. He's not at the top of the class academically, but he's starting to believe in himself a bit more, and is less self-depreciating than he was. His reading and writing is behind, but I can see a difference in him, I think it's starting to make more sense.

I think he's well liked too, he seems to know the names of kids from every year group, and the teachers all seem very fond of him, but he's not made any deep friendships yet, and he's not been invited for play  dates or to any birthday parties this year, which I think he's starting to become aware of. It breaks our heart to see other kids coming out of class clutching invites, with him asking if there's one for him in his book bag. I think it's the hard thing for him having joined a very established class group - everyone has gone out of their way to welcome him and us, and we couldn't have asked for more, but I think he's missed out some of the early friendship forming that went on. But without us having said anything, the school have also picked up on this, and have instigated a 'circle of friends' group for him, which is fantastic. His class also blends with the other year 2 group next term, and I think that will probably be a really good thing for him, as it might put him on more of a level playing field. I think he still lacks some of the maturity of his peers, and can sometimes be a bit much for them to handle, but he's settling down and getting better and better all the time, and as I say, certainly with us now he's a very well behaved little guy, so I'm hopeful that this is just going to get better and better for him.

Charlie is best described as a handful! He's a character and very loving and loveable but he still has the curiosity of a child much younger than his years. He's not a malicious child, quite the opposite, and he's often very funny, but it's like he sets his mind on what he wants to do, what button he wants to press or where he wants to wander off too, and that's it, his mind his set, to the exclusion of listening to G or I telling him 'no.' It can be really frustrating! Again, the school have been amazing with him, somehow securing him 121 support in order to help manage him, and slowly we've started to see him settle, he's managing to do a bit of work at school now, which is a new thing.

With Joe, we can very much manage behaviour with consequences, (i.e. loss of Wii time for example) but with Charlie there is not a consequence we have yet found that bothers him. However he thrives on reward and is so proud if he achieves a sticker or a good work reward from the Head Teacher. He seems popular and certainly every year six girl seems to know him and go out of their way to play with him - I think he has celebrity status at school! But he's actually not that fussed about playing with others yet, and we find that Joe actually plays better with Charlie's friends when we have them back after school.

So it's now June and the reason I've finally found time to update this blog, is that sadly I'm sat next to Joe's hospital bed whilst he's fast asleep. The ear infection he had whilst he was in Spain had clearly not gone away, but he never once complained or changed his behaviour, so we had no idea, until Monday night when he went very docile and complained of a sore ear. We noticed it was inflamed so we resolved to take him to the GP Tuesday morning, expecting another round of antibiotics. We were a bit shocked when they sent him straight to A&E and he was admitted for an infection of the middle ear that had spread to the mastoid bone. Potentially a very serious condition, because of the proximity of the infection to the brain, but fortunately found in time for it to be controlled with very strong IV antibiotics.

So I am about to spend my second night on a camp bed at the side of his hospital bed. It's the first time we've had to deal with the boys being properly poorly, and it's a real reminder of just how much the boys mean to us. It has been awful watching him in hospital, I think far worse for us than he's actually found it. I now understand what other parents mean when they say how much they would do anything to trade places with their son or daughter. Joe has actually loved the experience, in his true stoic style he has yet to cry or whinge about it, in fact he was delighted earlier when I told him we would be here for another  night, he's so excited about having his own TV next to his bed and to have me stay with him for sleep overs! I on the other hand have welled up on more than one occasion! Charlie too is missing his partner in crime, he was very reluctant to leave G at the school gates this morning and was very keen to come and see his big brother as soon as school was over.

We've plenty more to look forward to in the coming months, school summer holidays in particular are lining up to be great fun for the kids.

And this Sunday is Father's day, a double celebration in our household! I love life with our kids, it's tiring, frustrating, exhausting and I sometimes find myself completely at the end of my tether. But my God, I wouldn't change it for the world!


  1. Wow, a massively busy time for you, but you're giving me great hope (as we're about to embark on this journey) that it's not as terrifying as my dreams are telling me!

  2. Thank you. We too are about to embark on the adoption journey and your blog has both inspired and reassured me.