Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm back!!!

Helloooooo!!!!! Remember me?? It's been so long since I blogged that I really don't know where to begin, but in the last few weeks something has been niggling away at my little brain and I just thought, where better to share my ramblings than here?

Button and Belle are both thriving. Button is turning into a pre-teen and is doing great in school. He remains the happiest boy I know. Belle is nearly 6, very smart and full of attitude. She's great company and is fantastic with Button. It's Belle that my thoughts have been turning to recently, and here's the why!

Belle is bright - very bright. I don't think she's gifted, but she's definitely clever. She loves science and insects, and wants to be an entomologist when she grows up (go on, look it up - I know I had to!). She's also very pretty and small for her age, what some might describe as "cute". I know better though - she has told me in no uncertain terms that she doesn't like to be called cute - especially by other children. So here's the million dollar question! Are positive stereotypes a bad thing?

We have never had a single negative racist remark made towards our children. Other than one old lady who declared "that's not your baby" when i was pushing Belle in a buggy, all the comments we have received have been about how lovely they are. But as Belle gets older I'm beginning to see that the attention she receives only serves to single her out more - and make her aware of her own differences.

If she had brown stringy hair and freckles and was tall for her age (as I was at her age) would she be getting all this attention? Belle would like nothing more than to blend into the background, she doesn't like to be the centre of attention and is really quite shy. But her ethnicity makes that difficult. I know that I myself am guilty of gushing about her (and Button too, but he could' t care less about how people perceive him!), I'm just so fascinated by how her little brain works. Her love of science coupled with her devotion to Disney Princesses makes her a very interesting little person to be around. But that's a parent's prerogative, surely? It's when strangers do the gushing that the problem arises!

Before she started school I was told by a few different people that she'd be fine because "Asian kids are really clever" - but what if she wasn't? What if she had struggled? Do people expect more from her academically because of her race? As it happens she IS clever, She IS pretty and she IS dainty - she is the epitome of an Asian stereotype.

But she is also a 5 year old girl who doesn't want to be singled out because her hair is so shiny, or picked up and carried around by older girls. We are walking a fine line between making her feel proud of her heritage and yet not making her feel too different.

Friday, June 25, 2010

School's Out!

So here we are at the end of another school year. Where did that time go? It seems like just a few weeks ago we were worried about "Snow Days" and whether our little darlings would be able to get back to school after Christmas.

I always get a bit emotional around this time of year. Time, and the inevitable way it just marches on, can leave me a bit morose. I'm just not ready for Button and Belle to grow up and it's happening way to quickly for my liking! So while I'm thrilled and excited about the developments they are both making, I miss my babies.

Button's school year has been really good - at his recent parent teacher meeting we were told that he's really beginning to let hinmself relax, and trust his teacher. His anxiety has reduced thanks to all the structure and scheduling they have put in place for him and as his Teacher put it (more eloquently than I ever could, but then again she IS French!) "Our little flower is blooming".

As for Belle, well, what can I say? My baby girl is getting ready for big school and is approaching it with the same enthusiasm and joy that is the essence of who she is. The world will welcome Belle with open arms, because that's exactly what she expects! Now if only we could find a school uniform to fit her.....

Thanks to my wonderul new friends, I seem to have done what I never thought was possible and managed to get myself a life! I know! How mad is that? And I'm enjoying every minute of it!

When Button arrived home today he had a card for me from Teacher. It contained a quote from Henry Matisse - "Il y a des fleurs partout pour qui veut bien les voir", which translated means "There are flowers everywhere for those who bother to look". Says it all really, doesn't it?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tazzy is Grumpy

I was tagged by a very grumpy Jen over at the King and Eye to list 7 things that make me grumpy. Just 7?? Is that all???

1. Early mornings! Every now and then, Button decides that 5.30 is a perfectly reasonable time to get up, and invariably, these mornings fall on the day of the weekend that happens to be Mr Taz's lie-in. Then on my lie-in everyone will sleep until 8.30! It's sooooooo unfair!

2. Lack of sugar! I am a sugar addict - and if I don't get a fix I get very grumpy indeed. My latest indulgence is sherbet dib dabs - you don't get much more sugary than those!

3. People who get off escalators or travelators and don't move on when they get to the top- you know who I mean, they stand there, having a chat about which way to go now! MOOOOOVE!!!!!! I nearly took some old lady's ankles out this morning with the buggy, and bizarrely, I ended up apologising to her!

4. Checkout operators who read the cover of your magazines as they're scanning them through! I once had a girl actually flick through my mag while I was packing the shopping. Cheeky mare!

5. Losing things. This is a big issue for me. I get unreasonably upset over things going missing, whether it be toys, paperwork or even socks! You would imagine that this would inspire me to keep a very tidy house........

6. When I order a Chinese and it's not as nice as I thought it was going to be :o(

7. There's not much about Mr Taz that makes me grumpy (he's a fast learner, and I've been using ABA techniques on him!), but he has never learnt to hang out washing properly. He seems to think it's ok to hang everything from the middle, so I have to go out and redo it all when he's not looking.

That was (rather unsurprisingly) easy! Don't be fooled by the sunny, positive exterior - inside I'm a seething ball of grumpiness! Oh, and if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Belle rocks!

It's an interesting experience, this parenting gig! Especially when you have one child with Autism and the other with Attitude! Button and Belle are two such different characters that watching them together is always going to be fun, but in recent weeks it's taken a whole new turn. Let me explain......

Button has never (and I actually mean NEVER) had a conversation with another child (including Belle) without being prompted and guided, and having some big pay off at the end. Usually chips. He just doesn't "do" children - I think they're too unpredictable for him.

Two weeks ago, he arrived home from school and as usual ran in to the sitting room to jump in the window and wave at the bus. Belle was in there on her laptop. I was just about to enter the room when i heard the following

Belle: Hello Button! How was your day?
Button: Fine thanks!
Belle: Good. What did you do?
Button: I played Bingo
Belle: What else?
Button: I did photocopying for Teacher
Belle: Wow! Very Good! Anything else?
Button: Work. I was working for the iTouch

To say that my jaw hit the floor would be an understatement. I was immediately on the phone to everyone I could think of, and posted it on facebook. Proud Mama moment!!!

But since then it has happened nearly every day. My children are actually talking to each other. And not just about what Button did in school. Belle will ask him a question and he will answer her directly. Nearly every time. He is also beginning to look for her to interact with and if I ask him to go and check if she's ok, he does it willingly. I have always felt that he loves her in his own way, but now we're seeing the beginnings of an actual sibling relationship, and it's beautiful to watch.

She's some girl, my daughter. A lot of kids would have given up trying by now, there's only so much being ignored a 4 year old can take. But not Belle. She is such a good sister to Button. She accepts him exactly as he is, and understands totally that he needs some help with things that she can do herself. She holds his hand (tightly!)when we're out, answers his many repetitive questions and gives him his favourite keys or teddy if she finds them lying around. She really is Button's best friend and ally in this world and I'm so proud of her!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

15 things about me

I love being tagged! It saves me having to come up with an idea for a blog! So I was delighted to be tagged by both Jeanie and Lora to do this post! But once again - I'm showing how completely dull I am! You have been warned......

1.Things that scare me

- Not being able to find one of the children
-Something happening to me while the children are still small
-Rollercoasters - even the little kiddie ones make me really nervous!

2.People who make me laugh

- Mr Taz - every single day!
- Michael McIntyre -LOVE him!
- My brother - I can appreciate him now, but he drove me nuts as a child!! He once convinced me I had a talking bed by hiding underneath it and having a chat with me!

3.Things I hate the most

- Rudeness - there's just no need.
- Discrimination
- Pineapple

4.Things I don't understand
- Racism
- Negative people
- Quantum Physics

5.Things I am doing right now
- watching Belle blow bubbles :)
- listening to "Tom and Jerry - The Nutcracker" playing for the umpteenth time on the television,
- having a cup of tea

6.Things I want to do before I die

- grow very, very, very, old!!!!
- go whale watching
- learn to play the piano

7.Things I can do
- bake
- cross stitch
- touch my nose with my tongue! But I only demonstrate this after a few drinks - it's not an attractive look!

8.Ways to describe my personality
- positive
- fair
- shy

9.Things I can't do
- play the piano
- speak a foreign language
- sing - doesn't stop me belting out a few tunes in the privacy of my kitchen though!!!

10.Things I think that you should listen to
- good music
- your children
- your inner voice

11.Things you should never listen to
- people who start a sentence with "I'm not racist but..."
- rap music - I'm going to sound like my father here, but that's just noise!
- Barney - yes, the purple dinosaur! he's banned in our house.

12.Things I'd like to learn

- the piano
- Thai
- how to not worry about things that are outside my control

13.Favorite foods
- cake
- cake
- cake

14.Beverages I drink regularly
- hot chocolate
- coke

15.Shows I watched as a kid
Famous Five
- Wombles
- Hong Kong Phooey

So there you have it! I'm not going to tag anyone - but if you want to take up the challenge, feel free!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tazzy gets cross!

I haven't blogged for a long time. Mainly because life seems to have gotten in the way, and we've been busy with Easter holidays, house renovations and the general chaos that is my life, but also because nothing has moved me to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be!). Until this.

The story of a Russian boy who was adopted by an American woman and then returned alone to Russia because his new mother basically changed her mind. My blood is boiling about this!! If I could get this woman alone, I don't think I could hold myself back. How dare she??? What was going on in her mind that made this course of action even remotely ok?

First of all, Artyom is 7. Not 7 months, or 7 weeks, but 7 years old. He has been removed form the care of his biological (allegedly alcoholic) mother, and placed in an orphanage. Two years later he is adopted by this woman, flown halfway across the world to live with strangers, in a country where everyone and everything is unfamiliar to him. Did it not occur to Ms Hansen before she adopted him that a child of this age may have a few "issues", that bonding and attachment would not happen over night, or even that he might be scared and overwhelmed?

Allegedly, Artyom displayed some worrying behaviours. If that is the case, surely sending him back to Russia ALONE, is a little extreme. One wonders what this woman would do if he had been her biological child? There is no return window in the parenthood shop! You get what you're given and you love your child unconditionally. If you run into problems along the way, you do your best to fix things, and use all the resources you can to help your child grow into a happy, stable, loving person. End of!

Adoptive families spend lots of time and energy reassuring our children that we are their "forever family", that we love them unconditionally and that we will never abandon them. So when a story like this breaks, we are concerned that our children will worry about it or that someone in the playground will tell them that their mummy can send them back anytime she wants. Ms Hansen has not just damaged Artyom, she has also caused heartbreak for hundreds of other families waiting to adopt children form Russia (all adoptions to America have been suspended), hundreds of children now have to wait longer in orphanages, while their forever families sit in empty bedrooms, and thousands of adopted children are questioning their place in their family. Shame on her.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Happy 10

The wonderful Jen, over at The King and I, has tagged me for a Happy 101 award! The deal is that I have to write about 10 things that make me happy every day. Never one to walk away from a challenge (unless it involves physical exertion) I am happy to oblige!

1. The obvious - my gorgeous, happy, healthy children. There were many years when I thought I'd never be able to have 1 child, let alone 2, with baby #3 (or Smallie as we refer to him) in the pipeline. Every day I look at them and count my blessings.

2. My lovely Mr Taz. He is a wonderful husband and father and he makes me laugh so hard that I'm glad my pelvic floor never went through the rigours of pregnancy and child-birth!! Through all the ups and downs of adoption, autism and parenthood, he's always supported me 100%.

3 My parents. I had the happiest childhood you could possibly imagine, and today my parents are healthy and as madly in love with each other as ever. They have set the bar really high for me and it's my ultimate goal for my children to have as many happy memories of their childhood as I do of mine.

4 Cake! I love cake! having recently gone back to Weight Watchers, I can't enjoy it as often as I'd like to. But a nice cake makes me very, very happy!! And a chocolate cake makes me positively ecstatic!!!

5 My facebook family. You guys and gals have been my comfort and support for a year now, and you are the nicest bunch of people I know. I'm a blow-in to the town where I live and making friends has never come easily to me, but now I have you all to chat with and a certain select few to have coffee with. You're all a little bit crazy too, you do know that don't you?

6 This is stretching the "every day" aspect of the challenge. But i do get very happy when my house is tidy!!!

7 That moment where the children are in bed, and you sit down in front of the telly to watch a programme other than Dora or Peppa Pig! Bliss!

8 I have a photo in the kitchen of Button and Belle laughing. It's impossible not to smile when you look at it, so I have palced it on the window ledge beside the sink. If I'm having a "moment" I look at it and all's right with the world again. I'll post it on Facebook later and see if you agree!!

9 Watching my children head off happily to school. Button hops on his bus every morning and Belle skips in to playschool as happy as larry. After the horrendous first year we had with Button in school, knowing my children are in the right educational placement for them, makes me happier than you could ever imagine. And it's not something I take for granted, believe me!

10. My bed. This includes my electric blanket and my new goose father and down duvet! Aaaaahh!!!!

Not a very exciting list, but these truly are the things that make me happy! Can I have my award now, Jen?