Heavens. (Oo I sound just like Grannie Jean. Hi Jean *waves).
It’s already April 2015 and officially twelve months into our adoption placement with Lyall and Richard. Someone’s proverbially sat their big clumsy bottom down on life’s remote control and we’ve sped through a year of parenthood on fast forward. It’s gone really bloody quickly.
Everything’s fine, thank you, albeit a little turbulent now that the boys are officially into the ‘testing the boundaries’ phase, which incidentally we were warned of during our adoption training.
“Your adopted child(ren) will test your rules and boundaries once they’ve settled in; prepare yourselves for some difficult behaviour.”
I think was the line, which naturally we completely shrugged off and forgot about. Until now.
We’ve had a jolly old few months of ‘difficult behaviour’ including (but not limited to) spitting swimming pool water into the faces of unsuspecting toddlers, grumpy, huffy sulking, creasing up my brown throw on the settee (the epitome of irritating), crocodile tears, hands up inside jumper sleeves (actually that’s the epitome of irritating), mooning out of the window at innocent elderly passer-by, stuffing so much loo roll into the toilet that it overflowed, scuffing new shoes, calling a lady Mrs Twit at Sainsbury’s, opening the car door with such force onto next-door’s brand new Honda, that its market value took a very rapid plunge and hiding the dreadful new ‘hide and seek’ Scooby Doo toy in Daddy and Dad’s bed – providing the shock of one’s life when getting into bed next to what appears to be a brown horses head beneath the covers.
And it’s been hard work; I am essentially a human nagging machine, pointing, shouting, shaking my head, frowning to the extent that I need another round of Botox and we’re getting very blinkin’ bored of saying no to everything. One valuable piece of advice that’s helped to prevent us from going completely bonkers is to learn the art of leaning in with a quiet whisper as an effective (and really creepy) nagging tool. Consequently we’ve found that a mixture of shouty and whispery seems to work best. I caught one of the boys by surprise yesterday, when expecting a whispery nag, instead startled by a deafening ‘STOP HANGING ON THE DOOR HANDLE!’, immediately turning a door swinging six year old into a trembling, guilty (and perhaps a little gormless) looking dingbat.
So how has the first year gone you might ask? Well. Having given this question some considerable thought, I think I’d break the first twelve months into three phases.
The first phase, which social worker types describe as the ‘honeymoon phase’ I describe as the ‘hypnogogic phase’. (Hypnogogic meaning surreal, by the way – thanks to Google synonyms for making me sound dexterous – meaning clever, thanks again to Google). For the first three months or so, our lives felt like a dream; long days in the garden spent with our new children in the sunshine. No work to worry about, for me anyway, also rather dreamy. Every time Lyall or Richard called us Daddy or Dad we would double-take and we were plunged into bizarre situations like not knowing own sons’ dates of birth when asked by their nursery manager (mortifying for both parties, of course).
Then came the ‘reality phase’, including first days at school, screamy children’s parties, visits to the doctor and dentist accompanied by some very good behaviour for the most part, asides from aforementioned sticks thrown at old men and coerced donkey rides in the toy room. During this phase we realised the huge feeling of responsibility that came with parenthood and we became quite cautious about things like checking seat-belts in the car and keeping the boys in full sight (nobody in Coventry Ikea was prepared for a panicked man screaming “RICHARD! GET HERE NOW!” after loosing sight of him in the queue for a hot-dog, only to realise that he was indeed right next to me, looking understandably baffled).
And now as mentioned we’re slap bang in the middle of the ‘testing the boundaries’ or rather ‘naughty little shits’ phase (sorry Mum), albeit we are actually having a lot of fun and not really too phased by all the shitty outbursts of naughtiness.
What has grown throughout the last year is our true love for the boys. Of course, right from the nerve-racking introduction back in March last year we have loved Lyall and Richard, but it’s evolved, blossomed if you will, into true love, which feels like something remarkable and extraordinary.