Thursday, February 26, 2009

Noah - maybe I spoke too soon

Remember how I posted that Noah is being just lovely at the moment? I even dared to say that his behaviour was great at his school IEP yesterday - that must be what did it. I got home from the IEP turned the water on to give the kids a bath and it ran stone cold.
This was the day where I had quite a short time frame for bath, tea and into bed because we were having a Down syndrome committee meeting here at 7pm. I dragged Paul out of bed - he had finally admitted he was sick after coughing for 3 weeks and having a temperature of 38.4 when he went to the GP - he said the hot water meter wasn't going round at all (In NZ the electricity and hot water heater are on two different meters that way the electricity company can choose to heat the water when it has spare electricity). we had a good look around the hot water cylinder for switches that Noah could have touched and even brought Noah to look and tell us if he'd touched anything.
We still couldn't work out what was going on so called the electricity company who said they'd send someone out within 2 hours.
After the committee meeting and when we were just about to go to bed at 10pm we realised no electrician had been so phone d again. After various gaps where the foreigner I was speaking too checked stuff with other people he told us that although the person I spoke to earlier had logged my call, she hadn't sent it through to an electrician. So he sent it through then and said someone would be with us within half an hour.
One of the advantages of having such a big family popping in and out is that Joe was here working on his computer so we were able to go to bed and leave him to wait for the electrician. Half an hour later exactly we heard the gate go - it was Hannah! Half past ten and she'd realised she left her book here.
Ten minutes later and the electrician arrived. He was here all of 30 seconds going to the fuse box and noticing a switch has been turned off - Joe was pleased to be able to say it was his parents house and they were unobservant.
This morning we talked to Noah and he said yes he touched the switch in the fuse box but as we hadn't asked about that he didn't think to tell us!
The fuse box is taped shut now and we'll just wait to see what our call out charge is!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How old am I?

This time of year, I think I must have an allergy to a particular pollen, as the skin of my face and neck gets very itchy and lumpy. I was trying to point out to Hannah that I've now got bags under my eyes with really prominent creases so I look like a tortoise. "Don't worry, you always look like that" my daughter reassures me!

So I turn to Paul who sees people of all ages at his clinic and is usually quite a good judge of age. "How old do you think I look?" He replies "Early 50's" (knowing I am 51 and this will annoy me) then says "No you do look a bit younger possibly 45"

Finally I try asking Noah. He says I look like the old lady in the Madagascar movie. When I say how old? he says "Dead old" I ask what he means and he says "SO old, you die." Silly question I guess!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Frantic Friday

In my imagination the life of a stay-at-home mother should be calm, organised and quiet. How come my life is anything but?

Friday dawned with a lot of whinging sort of crying from J saying her tummy hurt. This was even before our resuscitating first thing cup of coffee - so Paul told her to go back to bed and lie quietly until we were ready to get up. The whinging continued along with "I can't move" and "I don't want to go to school." We have so many aches and pains from J that resolve within an hour or two of not making a fuss and we'd just had two evenings running of her being unable to read her school reading book or spelling list to me - the first time she couldn't find them with all the other books I'd seen them with previously, then next morning she found them behind her chest of drawers (where she'd obviously hidden them) the second evening she was so unable to cope with any help with reading - the implication that she gets anything wrong is unbearable to her - that she put herself to bed half way through our session.
So with all this in mind I decided this was not likely to be a genuine tummy ache, Paul put a hand on her tummy which was soft (this excludes peritonitis and thus any reason for sympathy in our house!) so we told J she had to get dressed for school.
I then rather unkindly told her she was like the boy who called wolf and that one day I would send her to school when she was sick by mistake.
When she didn't eat any breakfast I wasn't too worried - on a previous occasion this week she had sulked and even when I put a sandwich in front of her said "I'm not going to eat it even though I'm really hungry." But when she just lay with her head on the table and wouldn't drink anything I did begin to wonder if she could be sick.
Just before her taxi was due to arrive I took her temperature which was 38!
I then rather ungraciously muttered "Well perhaps you are sick after all" and sent her back to bed.
It was pouring with rain and just them J's taxi arrived so I got soaked explaining what had happened to her driver. I didn't want to take J out in the rain - by this time it was true that she couldn't walk. The driver (a CYFS worker) kindly offered to babysit J while I splashed through the rain with Noah.
We were on a tight schedule as the babysitter only had a few minutes, but Noah had his own slow agenda on his mind, made even slower by putting his shoes on the wrong feet!
When I got back - a bit hot and bothered I saw a car I didn't recognise parked outside our house to find it was Lily's work support worker plus a very wet Lily (and Hannah - who had crossed the road from her flat recognising this as a way to get a free ride into town)
Lily had been waiting in the pouring rain at a bus stop just outside our house, but the bus hadn't come because they had closed the road for some water pipe repair and redirected the bus. She wouldn't have been able to read any signs about this.
Lily had seen me appear both when I spoke to the taxi driver and when I took Noah to school, but had not thought to call out to me on either occasion. Instead she had called her work support worker's mobile (this was perhaps wise considering how I was not my calmest)
Anyway they all went off to town, J's babysitter went home and J began vomiting while I thought how terrible a foster parent I would have been if as I nearly did I'd sent this now very unwell child to school.

The phone rang and it was the man who'd travelled from Auckland (at great expense to us) to install the aga (a big cast iron stove/cooker) in our new house. He said "The aga's not all here, I'm missing 8 rods and a grey panel" and "but there's more, the hearth is too small." I made a few phone calls and he went to inspect Sam and Anika's garage (where the aga has been stored for the past year) for the missing pieces.
J vomited again and I attempted to phone Paul who was doing an away clinic in Wanganui. He didn't answer his phone so I sent a text saying "Bits of aga missing, hearth too small, J fever and vomiting, miss you"
Two friends arrived for coffee, J slept, the phone went and it was the man about to lay the floors in the new house "This is your last chance to check the carpet is right" - I decided that we will cope with whatever they lay and gave him permission to go ahead.
Paul phoned, commiserated nicely and said a nurse had told him one of the patients on his clinic list had died, so he'd crossed the patient off and carried on working his way through the list only to discover the patient wasn't dead and had been waiting outside for an hour - hard to explain your way out of that!

The post came and Joe was overjoyed that it contained police checks from NZ and UK - he has been waiting on these to get his visa to go to Korea to teach English. He has to get these apostatised (is that the right word?) at the British Embassy and Ministry of social development respectively and as he couldn't get any info by phone or internet decided to drive to Wellington (two hours) to do this. When he got there he found the British Embassy only opens from 10am to 2pm and he'd been given the wrong NZ forms! A bad day for Joe too.

Paul got home at 6.15pm and I asked Hannah to come and babysit for a few minutes so we could whizz over to the new house and see what was going on - she wasn't happy with this as she'd decided to go to a movie with Sam, Anika, James (Beth's boyfriend) and Joe and was leaving at 6.30 and still need a shower. I told her to have a shower at her house and Paul and I dashed round but of course everyone had left for the w/e.

We got back our house had a few minutes to talk with Sam and Anika who were meeting Hannah there. Sam had just heard he'd got a new job in Auckland working for Bluebird foods (he's a food technologist) he starts at the end of March which is the same time we should get into the new house, so life should be hectic with packing for all of us now and we may end up with Joe, Sam and us all moving at the same time!

They have to now try to find a flat in easy reach of South Auckland. They are hoping to share with Beth and James (assuming he gets a job and can leave Palmy) Beth will probably have to look for a flat for them as she's living in West Auckland at the moment.

As the older kids left I realised I hadn't thought about anything for tea. Darling Paul took Noah and Lily with him to the fish and chip shop while I gave Isaac and J a quick bath. Then we got the kids into bed as fast as possible and Paul and I watched three episodes of Boston Legal back-to-back!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Noah's husband

Noah is being just great at the moment, no outrageous escapades, just cute stuff.

Yesterday Joe (aged 28) picked Noah up from school. Noah wanted to explain to his teachers who this was and I guess "brother" didn't seem good enough to explain someone so much older than Noah. So Noah told everyone "This is my husband!"

I tried to explain relationships a bit further to Noah but he still thinks that he should have someone in each relationship to him, so now I am his wife as well as his mum.

We also asked Noah to tidy away his clothes -Isaac had got into the cupboard and pulled nearly everything out. I think Noah is going to be tidier than any other member of our family - as the photo shows he even hung up his undies!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our clever Isaac

Isaac is still so proud of himself being able to walk. He totters around and collects things which he presents to me - the toilet brush is a favourite! Finally he can play with the birthday present we gave him for his second birthday 15 months ago, it's a little toy pushchair and he sometimes loads it up with his soft toys.
He can also climb onto chairs now (but sometimes can't climb off again) While we were on holiday he looked like such a little old man sitting on a garden chair that we couldn't resist giving him the newspaper and taking this photo.

He is also picking up more signs and on the way home from school signed two together - goodbye cat. He tries to copy animal sounds and says "Noah" in a sing-song voice.

We found him by the playstation the other day. The microphones were still out where Lily had been playing Singstar. Isaac had a microphone to his mouth and was trying to sing!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Deciphering the truth

I seem to spend a lot of my time at the moment trying to distinguish between truth and lies. We have to tread very carefully to avoid confronting J as she lies automatically, but sometimes it doesn't even need a confrontation. This morning we had a lot of ridiculous talk over packing her swimming gear - she has a lesson at school and one directly after school supervised by a CYFS worker.

Last night I told J what to pack. Then this morning we start off with

me "Have you packed your swimming gear"
J "yes"
then "my mum is coming to the lesson and she's packed everything"

J "can I wear my bikini?"
me (the dragon who prefers 7 year old little girls to dress as little girls) "no take your school swim suit"

J "I can't find it"
(I find it in a few seconds)

all is quiet for a while (excepting the fight over packed lunch box contents)

then as J is about to leave I check her bag and find a bikini in it

J "I didn't put it there"

I think I shouldn't have asked her a question as then she automatically lies - then realise I didn't even ask a question.

I take J out to her waiting car and tell the CYFS worker J has said mum will be at swimming (she's not meant to be) J immediately denies this.

This is very nit picking stuff I know but it just a path we seem to tread constantly with J at the moment.

Still Lily went one better and managed to dupe me totally.

She has now left school and started paid employment (Yeah!) but wishes she was still at school.

She spun both Paul and me a story of how she'd met her old school teacher on the street and he wanted her to pop into school to talk to the kids about something (we probably weren't listening at full capacity here)

So Paul and I agreed she could call in after her time helping out at kindy. I them got a phone call from said teacher saying could we please not let Lily come into school unless it had been arranged beforehand. I still didn't get it and said but I thought this had been arranged.

Lily was soaking wet as it was pouring with rain so Joe kindly picked her up from the school.
I had a quick word with Lily about lying then she had a shower as she was so wet and cold.
Afterwards Lily told me that she had sinned to tell a lie but the shower was her forgiveness.

We have to do some sorting out of both lying and theology for our Lily I think - meanwhile she has stormed off to work today, after not doing her chore of loading the dishwasher, arguing with J (who then screamed as loudly as she could making Isaac cry) and telling us we are the most horrible parents in the world and she wishes she still lived with her birth parents (who looked after her for 5 days!)

On a more positive note, on Monday Lily started paid work - magnificent for someone with DS especially in a recession. She is doing 10 hours a week at Farmers but as its 3 hours 20 mins on Mon Weds and Friday mornings it more or less fills her week

Joe has found a temporary flat but is still here a lot sorting out computer programmes. This has meant that Paul and I have been out for two nights running - unheard of!
We went to see the film Valkyrie ( I went saying "the cinema will be really crowded as its only just been released" - but there were only 12 people there ! I enjoyed the film too -usually I go for films that feature smart American kitchens so this was far from that)
Yesterday we went to a church home group and it was great to have a bit of adult conversation. I hope we can continue to manage to go even once Joe goes to Korea.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bored ....... for a minute

It finally happened and I had both J and Noah at school yesterday and today - tomorrow is Waitangi day and NZ bank holiday so no school then. I seemed to have so much time to myself, so even though I had been to the new house to check the tap ware, shown an estate agent round our rental as it's now up for sale, made some rock cakes and a spaghetti bolagnase I ended up with an hour to spare.

I sat down with my book (Isaac was in his cot for a rest) and it was so quiet that I thought "I'm bored!"

It's fully disappeared now then as suddenly we're inundated with stuff again. Beth is in Palmy for the weekend for a wedding, Joe needs to sleep on our floor for a few days as there is a crazy flat mate who won't let him into the new flat he's supposed to be in and CYFS have given J a timetable which means she is out four afternoons a week after school, also Isaac's glasses prescription has arrived. - I'm not bored any longer!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back home but not to school!

We had a good (mostly) holiday in Nelson with sun, beaches, reading, catching up with my sister and her family and the joy of watching Isaac enjoy walking.

Also the irritation of 24 hours a day with a foster child who still needs to be constantly occupied, ask constant questions, be involved in everything and can not accept that there is anything she doesn't know - this is behaviour that was obvious at the start of her placement but had maybe been masked by the routines of school and not being constantly with us. Still we did see some genuine child like play with dolls and a Wendy house and it was good to give J lots of new experiences. I have also just realised it is the anniversary of her coming into care and children often act out then.

On Sunday night I was so looking forward to getting J and Noah back to school the next morning and having the smallest amount of time to myself. However we could hear Noah coughing all night long and next morning he was hot, just lay around and couldn't eat breakfast - in the end even a tough hearted mum like me couldn't send him to school.
Still we had J in her uniform waiting for her taxi. When this hadn't arrived by 8.35 I phoned CYFS only to find out that her primary school doesn't start back till Wednesday. (The only one in Palmerston to start so late!)

Can you imagine how I felt when I got this news. I am proud of myself that I remained calm (well mostly!) and survived the day!

Today Noah is better and has gone to school and we have a teenager from church here who is occupying J, so life is picking up!!