A Day of Quiet Reflection (or Not)

These are the words I found myself saying to Aaliyah earlier. Why you may ask? ‘Dadda I am getting socks – Dadda I am not getting socks, I am getting’!!! And all went silent, she returned to The living room. Then the conversation moved on to ‘give me my pillow back, it’s mine – give it back’. Thor is hammering away on the piano and there are screams to daddy ‘can we go bike riding, please daddy’?

This morning started early. A bed invasion at 6am, home made pancakes, then the chaotic discord commenced! Thor disappeared and came back swaddled in a bed sheet. Baby Thor has reimagined himself yet again. The games children create can be pretty random can’t they?

I am reminded of games played on the top floor on Wednesday when the little ones should have been having my sleep! Sindy went up to wake them at 2pm to find their bathroom floor covered in 2 nappies worth of poo (Thor and Caleb’s) plus half a dispensers worth if hand wash. The boys feet were caked in bubbles and the stinkiest poo ever imagined! They told her that the bubbles made sliding in the poo easier… go figure! Aaliyah slept through all the stinky proceedings. There will no doubt be an update on today’s proceedings later.

Aaliyah and Gracie

There is real love between Aaliyah and our adorable Dalmatian hound Gracie. She really does get overlooked a lot of the time, Gracie that is, not Aaliyah. With Remus’s rather robust behaviour, he is certainly the ‘Top Dog’ in our house. About a year ago, Aaliyah’s traumatic threes kind of slowed down a notch! It is true that I was sending her to the naughty chair rather a lot. Then, as if by magic, her continual antagonism just slowed down. At the same time she started to show our two Dalmatians Remus and Gracie, an awful lot of attention, especially Gracie (a girl thing I guess). Ever since, every day the two can be seen playing from time to time. It’s fascinating to watch as Aaliyah holds grace by the neck with both outstretched arms to minimise the licks and they just play together. Maybe this love can be nurtured into something very positive! Of course her behaviour, Aaliyah’s not Gracies still finds her sat on the naughty chair, but not nearly as much as it used to!

After we Arrived Home with baby Thor from Thailand

We weren’t prepared. We weren’t organised. Our au pair was ready to throw the towel in. Sara, Johns sister had gone home to Dublin. John himself had a busy workload and was straight back to work. Yet here I was, with a very screamy Thor, feeling himself out of sorts (the long trip home on the airplane and everything was new to him). Our au pair had decided to lock herself in her bedroom complaining of ‘the flue’. It was a Monday and the girls in my absence, had been drafted into a west London preschool by John, in order to free up the mornings for our au pair. She flatly refused to participate, though she had dropped them in that morning. It was a Monday and Sara had left the previous day. The plane brought us home early morning. We arrived back at the flat and John went straight back out the door to work! I just could not believe the shabbiness of the flat. Two toddlers are a lot of work to be sure, but with john so pressured with his work life, our au pair had allowed the flat to become a sorry sight compared to its former glory. The girls toys were stuffed into a chimney breast and the walls were covered with various detritus. General dirt and pencil scribbling, in most rooms. Thor was also screaming and screaming. I found a spoon in the kitchen, besides the microwave that had been left there for some time. I tried to pick it up but the jam on the said spoon had almost crystallised, making it impossible to budge. I managed to sort it out and settle Thor into his baby sling and set off for the preschool to pick up the girls. On my arrival it was lovely to talk to the manager, then a couple of members of staff, who were all knowledgeable about the girls new baby brother, finally coming home. It soon came to the reintroduction! Remember, I had been away from my little angels for five months at the mercy of the Home Office and their scrutiny over baby Thor’s right to a British passport. Thor was quite bemused by his surroundings and I was very apprehensive. Would the girls remember me? I had been with them since their births, right up until the day I left for Thor’s arrival in Thailand. I had missed their second birthday (that was spent in Dublin with the family), they were now toddlers using their very first diction and attempts at conversation. The door of the main play area opened and Thor and I entered. A minute or so before the girls saw me, one of the teachers had gone over to coax them towards me. They looked up, they smiled and then they shouted with glee ‘Dadda, Dadda’ Tara screamed with bliss, then ‘Dadda, Dadda’ Amritsar echoed. It will be remembered as one of my happiest ever moments in life. I welled up but had to take a few deep breaths and start the big introduction to their new baby brother Thor. We were finally reunited, the girls and I, plus there was a new member of the family, baby Thor. Though I felt shattered and realised  that there was a massive job ahead, to organise family life into some kind of order, things were definitely looking up. We were all back together, a family united, as it should be.

Remember that I have never brought politics into this family diary, but I have to admit, I do bare some malice towards the Home Office here in the U.K. As when the girls were conceived, the Home Office  website clearly stated that a passport application for a baby, born through IVF and Surrogacy abroad would take six weeks. That was six months before their births. We looked back at the Home Office website pages every few weeks. Six weeks changed to eight weeks. A little later the same page was updated to three months and finally within a very short timeline, the information had changed to four months, though in our experience of three occasions, the reality was a five month wait. In the USA, children born through international Surrogacy would be Home, with a US passport in just two weeks! Shameful really, isn’t it?

I do scrutinise these changes of passport waiting times in my novel ‘Eighteen Moons’. Believe me, when your own government is seemingly working against you at such a fragile time – it’s a major uphill struggle – and for us it certainly was, at every single juncture. Shame on you – the then Home Secretary ‘Mrs Theresa May’!!!

Five Months In Thailand 2015

As with last weeks ‘Look In’ on India with random pictures, I thought that this week we could just take a peek back on some of the time I spent in Thailand. It was difficult being away from John and our beautiful daughters, but my separation was necessary. Though difficult back home, John coped with the help of our au pair and his sister Sara.

The birth of our first son Thor was one of mixed emotions. I was very happy to have finally (biologically) fathered a child, but we did not immediately bond. From the moment of his arrival, he made his presence known in a very vocal way. He was the screamiest of our five children and even today there is seldom a full day when he does not have a least one major breakdown. Though we are very ‘Bonded’ now, those early days were thwart.

Bangkok Street food is amongst the best in the world. A far cry from the ‘Delhi Belly’ moments from the street vendors in Mumbai. Noodles were my staple really. Though our apartment was beside a great supermarket (no longer there). The majority of the 5 months was spent at the ‘Marriott Executive Apartments’ on Langsuan. This time we were not taking any chances, I would live in a decent and safe place. That being said, I hired another nanny Ameena, who helped us through those long first months, estranged from those I loved, back in the U.K. I am still in contact with Ameena and her sisters, all of whom loved little Thor Thor.

A great restaurant that John, Ameena and I took Thor to on the Sukhumvit road (one of the longest roads in the world). A bustling market by day and pop up fish and seafood restaurant by night.

Buddhism being the national religion of Thailand, meant that I saw my fair share of Buddhist monks. At the end of my stay in Thailand I spent the last two weeks listening to evening chants before bedtime. That in itself is another story, I will save that one for a later date.

We finally had to say goodbye to Ameena and here sisters as this picture was taken on our last day in Thailand. John had flown over specially to accompany Thor and I on our homeward journey. At that time I needed his support. I thank you John for that. So there you have it! My five months in Bangkok, Thailand, awaiting Thor’s UK passport. The birthplace of our son Thor.

Maybe a Nostalgic ‘Look In’ on Kathmandu next week…