Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Update on Little Prince

I had a meeting with Little Prince's teacher yesterday morning, which went very well. She likes Little Prince and wants to do her best for him, and it probably helps that out of the three boys who are having behavioural issues in her class at the moment, Little Prince has involved parents who are supportive of what school is trying to do!! Anyway I explained about Little Prince panicking that I have gone to Ethiopia everytime I go anywhere, being unsettled still after our chaotic Christmas, being scared and feeling he has to do what the other child says (ie kick someone or the child will punch Little Prince) and how easily led he is by who he is with. The teacher agreed that she had seen that if he plays with the quieter children he plays quietly, but if he plays with the loud children he plays loudly. We chatted about what the Speech Therapist had observed and the teacher agreed with some of the assessments made, but she also was very reassuring that Little Prince interacts appropriately with his friends and shares his toys, takes turns etc. I felt much better hearing that as it confirms what I feel about her labelling of Little Prince ie he does display autistic-like behaviours, but only when he feels threatened (asked to perform when he's scared of failing) and unsafe (in a totally unfamiliar environment with a non sympathetic adult who didn't try to engage him). At school where he feels safe (after a huge battle but we have finally got there, thankfully) and has sympathetic teachers and staff who he feels like him and can keep him safe, he behaves much more appropriately, most of the time anyway!! His teacher explained a bit more about the behaviour chart, and said she is using it to praise and really concentrate on all the positive behaviour that we know he can be capable of. He responds very well to praise and positive encouragement, so I think this will be a good tool.

Little Prince's teacher is going to chat to me after school most days, so that we both know what is going on and also so that Little Prince is aware that we are talking and both know what goes on! Today's report was mainly positive, he behaved very well during the morning. The class were doing mental maths, and Little Prince had one of the older children helping him - he would tell her his answer and she would write it down for him. However, he did play "the fighting game" during one of the playtimes and had to go inside to write lines, which with his dyspraxia would be an achievement in itself!! I pointed out that autistic children (and attachment disordered children, but she could understand and relate to the former!!) find the unstructured playtimes very hard to handle and that he was going to need a lot more supervision and structured play to be able to get through the playtimes. She explained that the dinner ladies are currently undergoing training in structuring playtimes and that should help him tremendously.

Urgh sort of day!!!

Yesterday Drama Teen woke up with a blinding headache and I had to keep her off school. She was obviously ill and spent most of the day complaining of being either too hot or too cold, or sleeping, poor thing. There was no improvement by the evening so she has been off school again today.

She didn't wake up until well after I'd got Little Prince off to school. When she did get up she told me she had lots of spots on her tummy and they were starting to be itchy!! Uh oh!!!! I sent her to get dressed while I rang the doctors, she wasn't pleased that after rushing to get dressed we couldn't get an appointment until lunchtime!! The doctor had to get a second opinion, from her colleague, but between them they decided that Drama Teen has Chicken Pox!! At almost 15, she is not having a good time with it!!! She insisted that the doctor gave her some Calpol as she doesn't like swallowing pills! The Pharmacist laughed and said she would have learn as they don't make contraceptive pills in liquid form!!! Not really what I want saying to my 14 year old, but she wasn't listening as she was feeling quite overheated and faint! She has announced she feels cr*p and looks cr*p and that she isn't leaving the house until the visible spots have gone!! She liked the idea of a week to 10 days off school, until the meanest Mum in the world rang school and asked them to send work home for her!!!

The next "urgh" of today is our boiler!! It has been cutting out for the past few days, we press the restart button and it comes back to life, only to cut out again. And the times between "cutting outs" have been decreasing rapidly!! The boiler engineer checked it out and we have a ruptured internal fuel line. He was all set to replace it, but needed to turn the feed from the oil tank off, but he couldnt' as the cut off valve and oil line were buried by the builder when he built the new garden wall!!! So he crimped off the internal fuel line to the cooker part of the boiler (its an Aga-like thing) so that we could keep the central heating going. Trouble is about an hour or so after he left, it started cutting out again!! Its freezing!!!!! I've got in touch with my Handyman to come and dig out the fuel line, so that when the boiler engineer comes back he can fix the faulty internal fuel hose and we can be reliably warm again!!

The final "urgh" of the day is that I've got an upset stomach and feel yukky too!!! Hopefully tomorrow will be better and brighter!!!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Little Prince's Latest Assessment

Me and Mr Messy took Little Prince to a specialist Speech and Language Therapy assessment today. This was to assess how he uses and understands speech, rather than how he pronounces words. The assessment was over two hours long and very indepth. Little Prince has a very good vocabulary, she assessed this as being at about an 8 year old level, not bad for a little lad that isn't even 6 until the end of the month :-) However, when doing the assessment activities, if Little Prince found them hard he refused to co-operate, at different points in the session he lay on the chair sucking his thumb, he was distracted by objects in the office, he kicked out and had to be restrained (by me). This and the fact that he didn't seem to care or notice that this was inappropriate behaviour led the therapist to say that he has social and communication difficulties, another word for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This feels like a kick in the stomach, I don't know why but Autism has always scared me and is something I have never felt I could cope with. Now it seems my precious boy could have this. The therapist said quite bluntly there is no cure, the only thing we can do is to teach him the skills that most children learn instinctively - making eye contact in conversations, taking turns in speaking, listening and responding to others and more stuff that I can't remember. The therapist wants to talk to Little Prince's teacher and will then put all her findings and observations in letters to both his Paediatrician and to us. I've got a meeting with his teacher first thing tomorrow morning, and I'll see what she has to say.

DCSF Update

I managed to get through to the DCSF today, just before their Helpline shut! I was told that they are extremely busy, but that they hope to work on sending dossiers out tomorrow. The lady checked and we are number 27 in the queue at the moment, so there is very little chance that our papers will be ready this week to be sent. She assured me, once again, that they would contact me when the papers were ready to send, so that I could arrange the DHL shipping. Disappointing.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Musings on why...

I've been thinking through what has been happening with Little Prince and wondering what could be making his behaviour deteriorate so rapidly at the moment.

Thought 1 - he is worried about me going to Ethiopia and being so far away from him, and him missing me. Every time I leave the house without him he asks if I'm going to Ethiopia! I'm trying to reassure him that I wouldn't EVER go away that far and for that long without telling him, but I don't think its sinking in!

Thought 2 - he still hasn't calmed down after the chaotic Christmas we had, and is unsettled by LMS's comings and goings from University.

Thought 3 - a new boy has joined his class at school, who has more behavioural issues than Little Prince (and doesn't seem to have supportive/concerned parents!) and is either encouraging or bullying Little Prince into acting out more. Little Prince told us today that he kicked his friend because New Boy told him to and if he didn't kick New Boy would have punched him!!! I'll be talking to school on Monday!!!

Thought 4 - he has said that he doesn't like school any more and his work is too hard. Maybe the level of work expected of him is beyond his concentration abilities (he is very clever, but just can't concentrate for long periods of time) and he's feeling worried and unfortunately stupid again :-(

There's obviously a lot going on for Little Prince right now, and it could be a combination of all of the above!! Not that any of those thoughts excuse his behaviour and he has to learn that violence is just not acceptable. But knowing what could be behind it might help me and his teacher find a way to stop it getting any worse.


I went to pick Little Prince up from school today, and when his class started to come out of their door and he wasn't there in front I began to wonder why! The teacher walked out last, with three boys including Little Prince - she then lined them up against the wall outside their door and beckoned me over!! Uh oh!!! It appears that Little Prince's wild behaviour since Christmas isn't calming down and could even be escalating! He has been fighting and being silly during most playtimes and the behaviour has started spilling into the classroom too. Earlier in the week he told me he had spent time in his previous class after a fighting incident, so I wasn't overly surprised! The teacher has now decided that he will be having a behaviour chart (stickers to earn extra lego playing time each day) and that we will review it in a couple of weeks time. She also agreed that if they don't see improvements soon then we might have to get back in touch with his peadiatrician for more advice and support.

I talked to Little Prince on the way home and he says he is behaving like that because he doesn't like school any more and the work is too hard! I tried to point out that he finds his reading and his spellings easy and he did agree with that, but he says his sums are too hard! He has always been very good at maths, so I was very surprised to hear this! I think I'll have to talk to his teacher next week and see if the work expected of him has made a sudden jump in difficulty??

I tried to talk to Mr Messy about all of this but ended up putting the phone down on him!! All he seemed interested in was if the other boys were being given behaviour charts too!! I don't care!! They aren't my children and I don't have to deal with their behaviour - all I'm interested in is how to support Little Prince and help him deal with school in a more appropriate manner!! Urgh!!!!

Swimming Lessons

Once I got home from my Makeover Day, I had to run round and get Little Prince ready for his swimming lesson. I was pushed for time so I got quite stressed and snappy about it, which always sets Little Prince on edge! When we got there he got even more upset and hyped up as my friend Post Lady and her girls got into the car park just a fraction before we did!! He has to be first!! The lesson didn't go very well, I could see the teacher was getting quite irritated with Little Prince and that he was disrupting the other children's lesson. In the end the teacher seemed to just give up on Little Prince and ignore him and let him just splash about. So I wasn't surprised to get a phone call later that evening from the swimming school principle (and also Little Prince's private swimming teacher who adores him). She said that his teacher had spoken to her after Little Prince's lesson and said that she felt Little Prince wasn't really getting any benefit from the lessons and wanted to know if I felt it was worth him carrying on participating. We discussed various different scenarios (ie him moving back down to the beginners class with his friend Post Lady's daughter or him taking a break from lessons). In the end we decided that it would be better all round if he took a break from group lessons and just carried on having private lessons instead.

Naturally I'm upset about this, but I could see that the group teacher was getting steadily more and more irritated by Little Prince and that he seemed to sense this and it made him feel unsafe and so his behaviour escalated. There would be no point trying to keep him in the class, as the irritation would probably turn to dislike and would probably make Little Prince feel bad about himself. He does really enjoy his private swimming lessons, and it is obvious that his teacher thinks he is wonderful, enthusiastic and always happy :-) But even though I am sad (and sad for Little Prince - who isn't bothered, he's just happy he can have friends round another evening during the week!) I'm not devestated and have accepted that Little Prince does have difficulties and won't be able to do everything that other children can do. But we will still make sure that he participates in things he wants to join in with to the best of his abilities.

Makeover Day!

Do any of you watch makeover programmes, like the ones presented by Trinny and Suzanna or Gok Wan? I love watching them and have always hankered after trying it out myself, but am way too private to ever bare my soul (or anything else!!) on TV. So when I found a place doing colour analysis and style advice in a nearby village I decided to have a go. I had got a session booked before Christmas, but it was the day I broke my toe and I was in no fit state to go anywhere! So I've been waiting a looooong time for this, and yesterday was finally the day.

I was so nervous before I went, even crying at Mr Messy that they would take one look at me and say they can't help fat blobs. He calmed me down and pushed me out the door anyway!! The woman doing the analysis and styling was lovely, and I was the only one referring to myself as fat. She pointed out my good points, which I hadn't even known I had!! She is also a life coach, so she gave me plenty of pep talks throughout the day and I feel a lot more positive and have a clearer idea of how to go about losing weight (the MAJOR thing bothering me about myself).

Anyway the colour analysis consisted of me sitting in front of a mirror draped in a white cape (like you wear at the hairdressers). Different swatches of material were then put near my face to see what suited me and what didn't. There were so many different swatches that this took nearly all morning!! And in the end it turns out I suit soft Summer colours and to my total surprise PINK!!! I have very rosy cheeks and totally avoid wearing pinks, but quite a lot of the colours that really looked good were pink or colours with pink undertones!! The stylist then worked out my "wow" colours! I thought this was going to take just as long, but it was much quicker and I'm encouraged to wear blues and pinks. Still can't get over the pink lol. She also put make up on me, to show me what sort of colours will work for me and even though I never ever wear make up, I was quite impressed with the results! I'll have to buy some!!!

I went into the village for some lunch and then returned for the afternoon style session. This made me feel quite uncomfortable as the stylist studied me and looked at me, not something I like people to do!! I prefer to fade into the background and not stand out!! I felt very "under the spotlight" and as I said, uncomfortable. Anyway I have been told I have a rounded top half and square bottom halfand that my personality is a "Natural type." The stylist suggested I wear softly tailored clothes, not frilly frou-frou things and not formal suit-like things either, and definitely not dramatic "in your face" outfits lol. She went into loads of detail about what style tops, trousers, skirts, shoes, coats even jewellery I should go for. I can't remember much of what she told me lol, but luckily she will send me a file in the next couple of weeks with all the information in it. Then I'll have to go shopping :-)

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Shopping Day :-)

I have been feeling a bit down (combination of fed up with DCSF delays and recovering from Little Prince's behaviour at Christmas and being woken up at 3am to comfort Little Prince after a bad dream) so when my friend Post Lady called yesterday morning and said did I want to go shopping in five minutes I leapt at the chance! It was much better than veg-ing out on the sofa watching cr*ppy daytime tv lol. We went to a local outlet shopping centre and I looked for a new handbag, I got my current one as a Christmas present in 2007 and its looking a bit tired, and I'm bored with it lol. I saw a few I liked as we mooched round the shops, but nothing that screamed "Buy me, buy me" so I kept looking. We had lunch at a pub next to the shops and were both very restrained in our food choices and didn't get dessert - perhaps I will have lost weight at Weight Watchers tonight!! We wandered slowly back towards the car and in the first shop we'd been in I found THE BAG :-) It has lots of seperate pockets, is really soft leather and was perfect :-) AND it was in the sale too :-) After that it was still a bit early to set off back to pick the children up from school, so we sat in a coffee shop chatting for ages. She listened while I offloaded all my worries and fears about Little Princes's behaviour, and didn't once say "All little boys are like that" because she knows him and realises he does have issues. She was calm and sympathetic and kept telling me what a good job I am doing. I couldn't believe how much better this made me feel!! Most people tell me that "All little boys are like that" probably to make me feel better, but it doesn't!! If all little boys are like that, why am I finding it so much harder to cope than other mothers of little boys?!

This morning (after a full nights sleep) I feel so much better and brighter :-) Isn't it amazing what a new handbag and offloading your worries to a sympathetic friend can do :-) I've already got so much done this morning and its not even 11am!!

I'm even feeling positive about having had the first (of MANY!!) injections ready for travelling to Ethiopia!! I have three more appointments over the next couple of months and then one booster in 12 months time and I'm done!! I warned the nurse when I arrived at the clinic how much I hate injections and she was very kind and gentle and took very good care of me :-) Afterwards it did take her and the receptionist a LONG time to sort out the appointments for me, Mr Messy and Little Prince to have all our injections - its so complicated lol. When I got back I reassured Little Prince that it wasn't as bad as when he had his BCG and he is feeling a little better about going. Although he was asking if he HAD to go to Ethiopia, when I said yes he did he said I had to find out what he could do when he was there!! I've told him to talk to his friend with the Ethiopian Mum, as they have just been to visit family in Ethiopia!!

Now off to get some more jobs done, including booking Little Prince's birthday party. I can't believe my little man is almost SIX!!! Wow where did the time go?!?!

Monday, 12 January 2009

DCSF Latest

I rang the DCSF today, my primary excuse was to make sure they knew to send two copies of our dossier to Ethiopia. My actual reason was to see where they were up to and was our dossier ready to go yet!! As suspected our dossier isn't ready to go anywhere yet, but they have logged my call!! The lady on the other end of the phone was very sympathetic, and said that they are a very small team and have two members off at the moment, so they are very busy. I commiserated with her, but also warned her that I would be back on the phone next week! She said she hoped they would have good news for me before I had to call again - talk about getting my hopes up lol. I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground though, and just put it down to her trying to make me feel better.

Odd Weekend

Well not so much an odd weekend, as an odd student! We were supposed to be going to a meet up in London with other prospective Ethiopian adopters, but Mr Messy double booked us to have a student and by the time I'd realised it was too late to cancel the student. I wish I could have done!! She was ever so slightly strange lol. She didn't take her coat off the whole time she was here, and kept her bags with her at all times! She knew we had cats before she agreed to the visit, yet was so scared of them she couldn't be in the same room as the cats at any point! We spent the whole visit trying to confine the cats to the kitchen/dining room which meant that student was waited on hand and foot and we had to eat all our meals on our laps in the lounge. I wish we'd gone to London!!

Thursday, 8 January 2009


I absolutely HATE and DETEST having injections, but I know I have to have some for travelling to Ethiopia. I checked with our GP surgery and they got back to me yesterday, they were recommending LOADS of jabs!!! And on top of that I have to pay for them to stab me with loads of needles!! Urgh!!!! One of Mr Messy's colleagues is married to a nurse in a Travel Clinic so she and I chatted and she is sending me a list of her recommendations, and it wasn't quite as many as our surgery had said, so that's a little better!! I'll have to be big and brave and get it over and done with soon, to make sure I have time to get them all done in time!! Its quite surreal and doesn't feel 100% real that we will be adopting our little one soon, but it is getting closer and closer and I will have to start getting on with all the jobs (and jabs lol) I keep putting off!!! Once LMS had gone back to University properly next week I'll be starting redecorating her room, ready for Little Prince to move in! Me and her had a whale of a time yesterday finding lots more bits and bobs for the redecorating project :-) I hope he likes it!!

Cute Coincidence

Me and my friend Post Lady went out for lunch and shopping yesterday. We had a great time nattering away over lunch and catching up all the things we've been up to over the Christmas holidays. While we were out shopping I decided to call in a tiny craft shop, that I usually overlook and don't bother checking. They had a display of small painted hearts, some of them even had names painted on. As I usually do when I see something like that, I checked what names they had (it didn't take long there were only 5 or 6 with names on). And one of the hearts had the name we would like to give our future daughter - it is an unusual name that you just don't see on personalised stuff EVER!! I had to buy it and its now hanging on from the corner of my computer screen, and will eventually be in our daughter's bedroom - when I've finished decorating it in a HEARTS theme!! How cute a coincidence is that :-)

Last Few Days

I've just dropped LMS off at the station to go back to University (until tomorrow as she has an exam, but term doesn't properly start till next week and she doesn't want to be alone in the shared house that long!). Drama Teen and Little Prince are at school, Drama Teen seems to have settled back into the routine very quickly. Little Prince is still very hyped up after Christmas, I talked to his teacher this morning and she'd noticed that although he is doing very well during parts of the day, in others he is struggling to concentrate and not mess about. Hopefully this will improve as he gets used to being back at school again. I also mentioned that I will be travelling to Ethiopia soon (ish!!) for about a week and that could disrupt Little Prince. His teacher was very understanding and just said to keep her fully informed and that she will plan activities that she knows he enjoys for the week I'm away and that she would do all she can to help him through it. I have begun to talk in vague terms about Mummy going to Ethiopia for a while without him and Daddy and LMS looking after him. He is NOT pleased with the idea!! His solution - don't get a sister, they are yukky anyway and he has too many of them already!! I think I need to do a bit more chatting to him lol.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Dossier (lack of!!!) Progress

As reported in the previous post, our dossier is safely back in the hands of the DCSF (UK govt Dept that processes all intercountry adoption applications). I managed to get through on their helpline, after only half an hour of frantic redailling, this afternoon. Apparently our dossier is now logged back into their system and will take about 4-6 weeks to be sent out to Ethiopia :-( I was shocked and totally disappointed to hear this, as when our papers were first sent to the DCSF they were sending papers to country in ONE week!! Just our luck I suppose, which doesn't make it any easier to bear :-( I have no idea how I'll keep myself sane for the next 4-6 weeks, and if its even longer I'll be a complete basket case!!! My poor family :-(

I'm still here!!!!

We've had a manically busy Christmas with visitors from the US and Germany on top of the normal friends and family visitors. Mr Messy has done a number of photo shoots one full day one with the girls where he booked a hair and make up lady in to help out. Another with my sister, hubby and four kids, one of whom did NOT want her photo taken (although he thinks he's captured her in a few lol)! The photographs from the wedding he shot just before Christmas have needed to be edited and sorted out. And he also had to make a couple of trips to his office over the holidays (despite the fact he was supposed to be working from home). The girls and Fraulein have had a full diary of social engagements that sometimes needed us to ferry them around, and we tried to show LMS's American friend some touristy places too, which included a full day trip for Mr Messy, LMS and Friend to her University Town and to a nearby castle. What is it about American's and castles lol?!?!

Little Prince has found the constant to-ing and fro-ing and chaotic lack of routines very very hard to cope with and has been getting increasingly wound up over the holidays. I love having all the children home for the holidays, but I think Little Prince is more than ready to get back to school and some normal routines. He has had quite a number of tantrums where he has got completely out of control, he hasn't realised it until afterwards (and has been so very very sorry, poor lad) that he was causing actual injuries to me. The usual calming techniques I use haven't been as useful as normal, and it has taken a lot of hard work and patience to calm him down again. Hopefully being back at school and in normal, everyday routines will help and his behaviour won't continue to escalate.

I've also been very (EXTREMELY) distracted by the fact that our Ethiopian dossier arrived back at the DCSF the day after they closed for their Christmas break. It meant two whole, very long weeks not knowing if our papers had arrived safely and it despite my best efforts to concentrate on other things, it has been gnawing away at the back of my mind the whole time.

So it hasn't been the most relaxing of Christmases. But we have all had a great time nonetheless. Little Prince was thrilled with all of his presents and our house looked like a Toys R Us bomb had exploded on Christmas Day!! LMS had enjoyed having her friend visit, although she may have been hoping he was a complete loser or too geeky, as she now has an even bigger 'thing' for him. He was a lovely, charming young man and tall, dark and handsome to boot! Poor LMS :-( All is not lost as she is visiting him in the States after her stint at Disney World finishes this Summer, and she is already counting down to then!!


25th May 2009 - See New Child again & Court Date

23rd May 2009 - Fly back to Ethiopia

26th March 2009 - Fly to Ethiopia :-)

3rd March 2009 - Dossier Arrived at Orphanage

26th February 2009 - Dossier sent to Ethiopia

22nd December 2008 - Dossier back at DCSF

28th November 2008 - Certificate of Eligibility ISSUED

6th October 2008 - PASSED Approval Panel

7th July 2008 - Homestudy Update Started

28th Feb 2008 - Told LA we wished to change country


Formally withdrew from the China Adoption Programme 17th July 2008

LID (Logged in Date) with CCAA 16th August 2007

Documents to China 10th August 2007

Passed Approval Panel 5th March 2007

Homestudy started 6th June 2006

First Contact with our LA 1st Jan 2006