The children have found a toy shot-gun. Oh Goody! I’m now breakfasting with Bonny & Clyde. Actually, they’re more like Butch & Sundance
In the early days of our son's adoption we tried to limit any stimuli which would encourage a violent or aggressive reaction. I've talked about some of the challenges we faced in an adoption blog, 'We don't do this, we do this'.
As a consequence we had to vet some of the gifts people inevitably, very kindly and with the best intentions, bought for him. We also limited his access to some tv shows, again something I have touched on in an adoption post, 'SPD in Emergency'.
This morning the children discovered one of those gifts, a toy pump action shotgun. Stuffed at the back of a cupboard I had completely forgotten about it.
It was in fact our three year old daughter who found it during an impromptu game of Hide and Seek, at 6.30am. (Yes, our children do play Hide and Seek at that time of the morning, which would explain the enormous bags under my eyes!)
Of course, the children began playing with it. Our tolerance of such stimuli has, after almost five years, lessened enormously. I therefore left them to it, unperturbed until, emerging from the bathroom it was brandished in my direction by our son. "Stick 'em up Gov'ner," he said.
I was quite shocked at this. "Since when have you started speaking like someone from Eastenders?" I asked. Oh, you see, it wasn't the gun, it was his accent I found shocking!
"Ha, we're Bonny & Clyde," he said and ran off with his sister in hot pursuit.
Relocating to the sitting room they played happily until breakfast, our son shooting his sister, she falling dramatically off the sofa, then getting up to repeat the process again and again
The discovery of the toy gun, a present bought with the best intentions, made me think about how kind friends and family have been to us over the years. Their generosity with gifts for the children, particularly in the early days of our adoption of each, has been overwhelming.
All have been very gratefully received by our children, that sentiment being echoed by J and I.
In most cases.
That can't be said for one of my mother-in-law's Christmas presents for our son the first Christmas he was with us.
Now, I should explain, my in-laws are very kind and generous with their gifts. They also conform to norms that are a little different to those of my family. So, for example, once they get it into their heads that they should buy you a particular gift each year you can expect to receive said gift on an annual basis.
This would explain why my sister in law has bought me shampoo for Christmas for each of the Christmases we have known one another. I have been bald since my early twenties and, well, I'm now much much older than my early twenties.
Similarly, J's family have a habit of buying one another groceries for Christmas. I'm not talking about the unusual, deli special kind of groceries. They would be unusual gifts, out of the ordinary from our normal purchases which would constitute a treat.
No, these groceries are of the box of Oxo cubes, packet of TUC biscuits, catering tin of baked beans type.
I suspect the history of this is that, at some time in the past a family member received a hamper for Christmas. Liking the idea, but not necessarily liking the contents, they decided to replicate it the following festive season, replacing the contents with items they knew the recipient actually liked.
Consequently we generally receive a box which bears a strong resemblance to a war time food parcel as a gift from some of J's family.
As usual, I digress. It being the first Christmas post our adoption of our son, at the time this happened we were in the throws of J returning to work from adoption leave and my taking over care of our son full time.
Our son opened his presents from his grandmother excitedly. The smallest, and heaviest, present was the one he left until last. He unwrapped a small box, opened it and pulled out a small brass bell, which chimed with the same resonance of those used by elderly dowagers to call their servants as they reclined in bed.
Ringing the bell loudly our son dutifully turned to his grandmother: "Thank you Granny!"
"You're welcome," said my mother in law, "I thought you could use it to call Daddy when you want him!"
J says he heard me audibly snarl at this point. I don't believe I am capable of snarling, not least in public.
However, suffice it to say that the bell sadly was lost a few hours later. Forever. Never to be seen again!
Then there was the late Christmas present. Delivered by some well meaning, and forgetful, friends when they came to dinner the following June.
"We've had your Christmas present in our car for months!" The wife told our son upon arrival. Our little boy was on his way to bed, so he was allowed to open the gift but not play with it until the following morning.
He unwrapped the present and revealed the most wonderful miniature accordion. We were truly touched, it was a lovely present. Our son went to bed, placing it on the end of his bed where he could see it and from whence, we promised, he could play with it the following morning.
It was 5.45am the following morning when our son woke and decided to start playing his accordion.
Loudly, tunelessly, hideously. I was startled awake by the sound genuinely thinking some animal was dying in the garden.
Sadly, we've been burgled over the intervening years. Twice.
Both times the robbers have taken the accordion. Nothing else. Just the accordion. The first group of thieves were clearly bungling burglars, they dumped the accordion in the garage, where our son found it some months later.
The second lot of burglars appear to have been much more efficient in disposing of the accordion.
And finally, I need to say a very special 'thank you' to our local MP. She did the kindest thing very soon after we adopted our son, arriving one morning with the biggest box of Lego you had ever seen.
"We don't need these any longer, so I thought you would like them for your new son," she said. I was overwhelmed at her thinking of us and indeed her gift began a love affair between our son and the little plastic Danish bricks that has endured ever since.
My love affair with Lego lasted for a shorter period. A much shorter period. I'm not sure of the history of Lego, but assume it was originally developed by the Danish military as an anti personnel weapon. The effect of it getting stuck in the soles of my feet certainly being utterly debilitating.
Every time I see my MP friend I remind her of this fact, before thanking her again. "Why should I be the only one to suffer," she usually replies.