Two More Sleeps To Go

A crazy enough day, what with our nanny off and John at work. Overall the not so famous five have been well behaved, just the occasional flash point or two from each and every one of them.

Remus has been hiding mostly! He has restarted daytime snoozing on our bed. I think in order to avoid the children and their various antics. He knows he’s not allowed, but I’ve kind of turned a blind eye due to the fact that Christmas is almost upon us.

One of Thor’s gifts was an art set. And this afternoon they each in turn painted a landscape scene. You might remember that painting is generally banned from the house due to a couple of incidents! The main one being Tara and Thor stripping off and covering their bodies in hand painting. Aaliyah and Caleb were thankfully just face painted.

Thor’s pile of presents is slowly diminishing as things get opened, broken and binned! I don’t know how they manage to accomplish the sheer volume of destruction.

The living room is really looking Christmasy now, though I held off from playing Christmas music today, giving Thor a final feeling of birthday spirit.

This afternoon they all kept singing ‘two more sleeps to go’. That is, until tomorrow, when as you know, it will be ‘one more sleep to go’!

John due home at 6pm. So, I am sure the tempo will be raised for the final witching hour. But they are all settled for now at least.

Happy Winter Solstice (04.19 GMT) Tonight

At present Thor is In the living room screaming. Just a small echo of the astronomy of this moment! Yes, it is the Winter Solstice tonight, here in the Northern Hemisphere, the eve of (our) Thor’s birth!

For me, this astronomical event signifies the true start of Winter. Some imagine that December 1st indicates the beginning of Winter, but hear me out? With Christmas but a few days away – how did the birth of Christ get conveniently moved to that specific date? Wasn’t it the Roman conversation to Christianity (in order to better control their vast population), that turned the pagan festival of the solstice into what is now the Xmas holidays?

So, I would like to get all pre Christ for a moment and wish you all a ‘Happy Winters Solstice’ and as for our son Thor, I’ll save his birthday wishes for tomorrow. FYI – Thor is still in the living room screaming…

Yesterday’s Party

Thor enjoyed his party very much with his school friends plus Charlie from his old preschool. The soft play area was perfect for hosting children’s parties because they are safe areas, the food and the party bag is also included in the set price and all we had to bring was a shop brought birthday cake.

Once we arrived home and the not so famous five had come down a little from their sugar highs, all went up to bed with not too much of a struggle. Tomorrow is the actual birthday (Sunday 22nd December), so another cake, this time the home baked one!

Not a lot to report really. The beginning of the Christmas school holidays and our nanny is off for the next couple of weeks. So just John and I at home to man the ship! Will we sink or swim – that is the question?

All playing nicely at present in the living room. Which is nice due to the fact that daddy gave them their sweetie bags given to them at school as soon as breakfast was finished. He’s gone out for a haircut and believes that they can self monitor the consumption of the sweets! Believe me, I’m not getting involved. They will surely be sweet-less within the hour. Then, your guess is as good as mine! An update for you before bedtime no doubt. You know, I can’t really feel too Christmasy until Thor’s birthday is behind us. But that is just the way it is. On the year of his birth, I actually got to bring him home on Christmas Day as by that time I was experienced enough with feeds etc. Only three days for him on the maternity ward at the hospital. Anyhow, the best Christmas present ever! The word home, maybe that’s the wrong word to use. I was alone and living in a serviced apartment in central Bangkok. It would be five months until we actually returned ‘Home’.

But here we are now, not five months, rather five years later. Doesn’t time fly!

Running on Vapours and Burnt Cakes

Two days ago we ordered heating oil. We were quoted 2nd January for a delivery. But we have 5 children and its Christmas we said, but sadly this fell on deaf ears. Yesterday we called a competitor and were told that they also could not help due to being so busy at this time of year. It was quite cold yesterday, but as soon as the children left for school, I turned off the heating and hot water and on their return at 3pm, I switched the system back on. What were we going to do?

Thankfully our nanny suggested another option and that was to buy the kerosene by the 20ltr jerrycan. So we purchased five and we picked them up. I emptied them into the fuel tank this morning. The first splosh fell flat on the base of the tank. We were indeed running our heating system on vapours.

Another company was called today and they thankfully can deliver on Monday or Tuesday. Drama averted. Christmas would have been a nightmare without heat! On the subject of heat, one of our two ovens is also broken. The engineer came out 2 weeks ago and said he would come back with a part. We heard nothing back. But yesterday Sindy followed him up and thankfully they are able to come on Friday. Though the only time slot they had was 12 – 6pm. I do hope they come early as we are celebrating Thor’s 5th Birthday then. Sindy has very kindly said that she would be more than happy with waiting in if she had to and come to the party when they were done. Thank you Sindy, yet again!

On the subject of ovens, I tried to bake Thor’s Birthday Cake on Monday in the surviving oven and twice it burnt. I have not burnt a cake in many years. The second oven will roast meat, but as for baking, the temperature is not even enough. I do miss the fan assisted one that should hopefully be fixed on Friday.

I finally managed to bake two acceptable layers for the vanilla and strawberry cake and I put them in the freezer. I couldn’t make a third layer due to running out of eggs and not really wanting to chance burning the cake for a third time. Thank you again Sindy for running out and getting more eggs. A personal message to her – we do appreciate you!

Anyhow Thor’s actual birthday is on Sunday and I think that we can eat the two layer home made cake then. And as for the party! It’s okay to shop buy on occasion, I just won’t make a habit of it. Today’s picture is taken from Tesco dot com. I would also like to thank Tesco for actually not substituting or saying not in stock. I purchased two of them, so I hope the grownups get a slice too. More on Thor’s Big Boy Birthday then…

I could have told you about the drama with the calor gas for the stove, but I won’t bore you with that today! Not being on mains gas has its disadvantages doesn’t it?

It’s Not Easy Understanding Surrogacy

I noted on the BBC’s London news tonight, another Surrogacy story regarding a hospital, compensation and commercial Surrogacy in the US. I am not extending any political view, though Tara and I had another talk today about ‘FAMILY’!

When clearing up last night just before bath-time, I came across a letter scribbled on an envelope, no doubt meant for the ‘Elf Mail’ service leaving from the living room fireplace. Reading the letter did bring a few tears to my eyes. I have now had another chat with all of the children (about Surrogacy) tonight, bar Aaliyah as she was at her Gymnastics class with Sindy.

If you can not make out the writing in tonights photograph, though Tara is a great writer for 6, almost 7 years old, I will express her words now! Remember, we have talked about Surrogacy in the past and all of the children have the knowledge of a baby being blessed into being from three separate elements – an egg, some fertiliser and a tummy. The tummy of course needs to be that of a woman.

Anyhow, this is what she wrote: “Dear Mum – What did you give to me for my birthday. I hope you had fun at my birthday party. Love Tara x❤️o

It wrenched my heart when I read it. There are a few ethical questions to be considered. There are also one or two legal matters and global differences in the written word of the law that should be looked at!

We had such a hard time with our 5 x separate parental orders with the U.K. courts. Our rights to be parents here in the UK were seriously set at a disadvantage. Remember that we chose international commercial (compensated) Surrogacy because the U.K. Law seemed so very behind with its bias for the surrogates rights above that of the genetic (intended) parents rights. Okay, so compensated Surrogacy was our choice and that had me personally thrown to the four winds for Eighteen months of my life spanning 2013, until almost 2016.

Yes, if our surrogate was an altruistic surrogate who used her own egg to help us have a family, she would have every right to be a third parent. That idea cannot be denied… that was not however what we chose when we both decided to become parents. Too many cooks can seriously spoil the broth.

Our route was explored and followed as we realised that an egg donor isn’t generally part of the planned parenting scenarios, much like sperm donation there is an element of something being gifted. This fact is one that is unified within the laws of pretty much all governments and the laws that they abide by. However. In the case of the surrogates (for us), they were also chosen with the idea that they were single women (independently empowered) and any financial betterment would significantly improve theirs and their individual own family lives. We did not want any party being coerced into something that was not 100% their choice.

Well there you go. These choices were part of our family’s story and this is very well documented in my novel Eighteen Moons (available on the Amazon platform).

I have tried to be as open with our family story with the children as possible. I will remind you that we have always maintained the reality that there are three elements to being gifted life – an egg, some fertiliser and a tummy.

I know that Tara is still only six years old (almost seven). But I really hope that knowing that she has two loving parents will be enough for her? There was never any intention that Tara needed a ‘Mum’ and that is the simple truth. In these modern times – one parent families are normal. Be that a single mum or indeed a single dad. Two mums have always existed, though in the past, been generally unreported! Being an openly Gay Dad was a real and obviously open option when this countries laws allowed for gay marriage, wasn’t it?

John and I were the ‘Family Planners’, the progenitors of our family, not our egg donors or the compensated surrogates.

But alas, convention leaves our Tara imagining a third parent, a mother! I know it can’t be easy for her to comprehend, though Amritsar’s more analytical thinking does give her an advantage on understanding the reality of our own family and its origins.

It did upset me that clearly Tara would like a ‘Mummy’. I know that it must be drawn from peer pressure, the norm at the school gate. They go to a ‘Christian’ school however and I really do hope that there is no misguidance from that element of our children’s daily lives! I also must add that I really hope that it is not the children in her class that may have picked on her for the fact that she has two dads, not a mum and a dad! As clearly two dads are not physically able to generate a child. I know this will not be easy for them as they grow and hopefully blossom into the beautiful human beings that they were born to be. They will of course, live and learn as we all must do.

In the case I heard on the news tonight about an NHS trust making a woman infertile and her seeking the help of IVF in the USA – how very dare they (with the UK law in their favour), assert that the financial compensation should not be able to help her and her aspirations regarding family planning in The United States, being assisted with her frozen eggs and the help of a surrogate.

As for Tara – she knows that she is loved very much.

On a final note, British fertility law and that of assisted reproduction really does need a major rethink. The tears from earlier today were not the first tears to be shed regards my legal legitimacy as a parent – the outdated laws in this country (and the general idea of social acceptance) should be reconsidered in the reality of this, the 21st century in modern day Britain.

We love you very much Tara – both of us, your parents Xxx