Back to school

The girls started back to school yesterday and today it’s the little ones turn to rejoin their preschool term. It will be a quiet morning though at present I am having a coffee in the kitchen and waiting on Sindy to arrive. Thor has been chatting to himself upstairs for some half an hour and now I am hearing Amritsar and Tara’s voices along side his. There’s no major screaming going on, so I guess Aaliyah and Caleb are still sleeping. Remus has started his whining. He starts it fairly quietly, but over the next twenty minutes it will slowly up its volume and by the time there is the pitter patter of footsteps on the stairs, he would have reached his crescendo of whines, interspersed with yelps. Added to this will be the scratching sound of Gracie’s paws, clawing frantically at the closed living room door. Sindy has just arrived and ascended the stairs. The chatter up there has become more audible as they all fight to tell Sindy about this and that. Now, they’re all good talkers, even Caleb has joined the ranks. He was the quieter of the bunch until recently. He has been the slower developer out of the five. Even being a twin with Aaliyah, she crawled six months before him, though he managed to drag himself using just his arms for quite some time, before finally getting up to speed with a real crawl, raising his bum and using his knees. There’s nothing wrong with being a late developer. Because once you have caught up, you might just even surpass the rest! Well at least that’s what we’re hoping. He walked six months after Aaliyah as well. But when he did get up and do three steps in a row – the sense of achievement on that little boys face. It was magical. So talking is Caleb’s final hurdle to being a regular little boy. Not so long before all three of the little ones start at the girls junior school. Next September is not that far off. Hopefully Caleb’s speech will be up to scratch before then. A lot of his words are legible now. Also, he is making sentences that are appropriate to the situation. Just six months ago, quite the opposite. I found myself straining to understand and mostly just nodded in agreement and smiled. He has had a couple of meetings now with a speech therapist. She is helping, but just having four siblings to debate with helps a lot also. Big sister Tara always tried to finish sentences for him (given their special friendship) which didn’t actually help as it made him a bit lazy with his own assertions. This doesn’t happen so much now, which is great as his communication skills are progressing steadily.

Breakfast now at an end, just one small altercation with Aaliyah as she screamed at me having a naughty cigarette on the terrace, ‘My shoes Dadda, my shoes’, waving her big girl, buckle up shoes at the back door. Sindy intervened and buckled them up for her. I came back into the living room and the shoes had been removed and with no screams she asked ‘My shoes Dadda, my shoes’. We put them back on, along with Caleb’s and Thor’s. All is now well and they are being snugly adorned with hats and gloves as it’s cold outside and time to fill up the Shogun in preparation for the school run. Five sets of ‘Kiss and hugs’ later and the house falls silent, just Remus and Gracie staring up at me. Now free until 11.30am so I feel one of ‘Dadda’s Jams’ mornings coming on.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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