Following on from @craftikitty’s theme of Moments to Treasure on the #waso in March, I decided that I enjoyed reflecting back on the past month so much that I would do it at the end of every month.
Overall, April has been fabulous. I think the comparatively fewer illnesses has helped (just one bout of Tonsillitis and one of Conjunctivitis!) and spring has sort of sprung, allowing us to be back out and about again.
In writing the following blog post, I have of course entirely omitted any bad bits or incidents, so don’t go thinking life with the Bears is like life with the Waltons! There has of course been the odd “situation” or two, not least Little Bear scribbling all over a pub seat with a felt pen; Little Bear somehow gravitating towards the only disabled person in a whole building and (accidentally) giving them a good whack with his lightsabre; Little Bear pelting a ball at Grizzly whilst he was driving…to name a few! But, as my Dad would say, that is all part of life’s rich tapestry.
So, without further ado, here is my roundup of all the best bits of April chez Adoption: The Bear Facts.
April saw the Easter Holidays (not that Easter was actually in the holiday but still). I was a little anxious about how it would go, especially how the boys would get on with one another without school to give them a break. It’s fair to say that my nerves were frayed at times – I don’t know what I was thinking of taking them both to the supermarket! However, the way the boys interacted with each other throughout the holiday surpassed my expectations.
Following the stressful Sainsbury’s trip, I took them home via the park in an attempt to restore myself as “fun mum” rather than “shouty mum”. I remembered taking them both to the same park last summer. Big Bear had done his best to distance himself from Little Bear and had played with some older children. Grizzly had randomly asked who would play who if we made a Bond film and Big Bear had replied that his brother could probably be in it but would get shot in the first scene! This pretty much sums up how things were at the time.
But on this occasion, the day of the stressful Sainsbury’s trip, neither boy sought out another playmate. They chose to play together and chose to play on the same equipment at the same time. I took loads of photos for Grizzly – all with a big green-coated figure and a smaller yellow-coated figure side by side, smiling and laughing and having fun. And to top it off, nobody suggested shooting anybody, which is always a bonus.
At home they bounced on the trampoline together. I stood watching as too much supervision is definitely preferable to not enough at our house, but I needn’t have worried. Although it was quite rough and tumble, I was heartened to see that the months have helped them to reach an unspoken consensus, with some mutually understood boundaries, so nobody was hurt and there was almost constant laughter.
When it was time to calm down a little, they sat side by side at the kitchen table and decorated gingerbread men. You could have been forgiven at that point for thinking it was The Waltons as they were incredibly polite and sharing with one another. The icing and sprinkles were passed backwards and forwards when requested and always with a please or thank you, with no prompting from me at all. Watching them was so pride inducing that I was probably getting close to “happy tears”. However, the cat then brought in a half-eaten blackbird and all hell broke loose!
April also saw our first holiday with Little Bear which, despite some initial blips, was a resounding success. You can read about it here: Our first post-placement holiday
Thanks to my parents braving taking Little Bear to the theatre for the first time (The Cat in the Hat, he loved it), I got a “mummy day” with Big Bear. He has become really aware of music recently so we had the sunroof open, tunes turned up loud and sang (really tunefully obviously!) at the tops of our voices all the way there. It was ace. Despite the fact that he knows the words to Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself better than I do, which makes me feel old, it was lovely to spend some quality time with him.
When the children returned to school, Little Bears hours at preschool increased a bit. He is now doing 2 mornings and a full day to help with the transition to school. We weren’t sure how the long day would go as he does still need a rest after lunch but first signs indicate he is coping well, which is great and assuages my concerns about September a little.
Little Bear’s new hours mean we can still have “mummy days” on Mondays and Fridays. Last Monday was a gorgeous sunny day. Little Bear and I packed a rucksack, donned our wellies and headed to our local country park. We had a lovely relaxed time, wandering where the fancy took us, hunting for bears and exploring. It was one of those rare trips that lives up to, if not surpasses the image you have in your mind’s eye of how the trip would ideally go. And above anything else, I really enjoyed hanging out with my little buddy (and I didn’t once wonder how long it was until bedtime).
This month we have also employed the first stage of Operation House Improvement. Grizzly and I had been flopping onto the sofa at the end of long and busy days, ready to relax but instead feeling edgy and a bit stressed because there was so much MESS. Now that we had 2 boys, there were just so many toys that even if we made a concerted effort to tidy up the living room, it still felt cluttered and overstimulating. The solution, we decided, was to transform our conservatory from an occasional dining room into an everyday playroom. A new carpet and a bit of furniture re-arranging later, it was done. It’s brilliant. I have no idea why I have been so anti-playroom up until this point. The boys can get out every single toy if they want to and at the end of the day I can just shut the door and relax without seeing a single one. Well, ok, the odd one does sneak into the living room but putting them back is nowhere near the mammoth task it was before.
Having a designated space just for playing seems to have improved the boys’ playing too and we have re-discovered long since discarded and forgotten about games and jigsaws etc. I love it. Phase 2 of Operation House Improvements coming soon…
As I write this, I have a warm and snuggly Little Bear in the nook of my arm, leaning his head against my chest, my cheek resting on his hair. My own little hot water bottle to snuggle whilst it snows outside. In April?! I wonder what May will bring..