When I was a little girl my mum used to tell us ‘dream starters’ to help us go off to sleep. These involved us coming up with names / people / locations and she would start the story off, we would then continue it in our heads as we were going off to sleep.
Recently I found myself putting Tom to bed and I had forgotten to bring a book up so I offered him a ‘dream starter’, he wanted a story about mummy and daddy, a real one. Now this was a bit of a shock, I was expecting it to be about him and dinosaurs!
So I told him a ‘real’ dream starter about how we met and came to find him. This is an edited version of the story and some of his, and my, responses in brackets as I feel they add to it. (As a note I used mummy and daddy all the way through as it was easier for him to understand at this time).
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful mummy and a slightly weird daddy (lots of giggling).
Beautiful mummy and weird daddy saw each other across a room and decided they liked each other and wanted to get married. (He was fine with the concept of love & marriage at first sight – we didn’t get married for over 2 years!).
Mummy and daddy loved each other very much, they had a big house but it was very quiet and there were no toys (gasps of shock and disbelief at this house be quiet and there not being any toys).
Mummy and daddy decided they wanted some little boys as they had lots of extra love and extra space in their house (“space for toys mummy?” “Yes and 2 spare rooms” “that’s good”).
Mummy couldn’t be a tummy mummy so they decided to see their friend the social worker Doris (“I know Doris, I know her, I know her” he was excited!).
Doris went looking for 2 really special boys with her friend Mandy (boys SW) and met Jane the foster carer (“that’s my Jane”, getting more excited).
Jane was looking after 2 gorgeous little boys called Tom and James (“it’s me, I’m in the story, it’s me, it’s me”, slightly over excited now & I was starting to think he was going to be too excited to sleep).
Mummy and daddy met with Doris, Mandy and Jane to talk about the boys, mummy and daddy liked the sound of the boys and thought they were the most gorgeous boys in the world (he just nodded his head as if to say “well obviously I’m gorgeous you tell me every day”).
Mummy and daddy decided they wanted Tom and James (“good idea mummy”).
Mummy and daddy then met Tom and James, they liked them and they all decided to live together in their big house with lots of toys, so Tom and James became part of “Team X” (we used our surname and sang the “everything is awesome” song from the Lego movie with added “when you’re part of Team X”).
Then ……… (“What’s happens next mummy” “we’re here now, what happens next is up to you” – long thoughtful look- “you can dream about all the exciting adventures the 4 of us will have together” “I liked that story mummy”).”
Since then he has asked to hear the story several times, he likes the idea that we had a story before the boys came, it has also helped him understand he has a story. He has tried to tell us “the story of Tom”. Obviously “the story of Tom” would be easier if we had his life story book but we are still having that battle with the LA! Tom also enjoyed being able to finish off the rest of the story, knowing he has a say in what happens next in our lives.
I keep thinking it would be nice to do our own life story book of how we came to have the boys, hopefully it will help the boys understand we all come from somewhere different but are together now.
While I write this Tom is smiling and looking gorgeous and happy watching Shrek and James is fast asleep, it reminds me of how much our lives have changed and how exciting our story is. On the other hand they were both screaming nightmares an hour ago and I was thinking how quiet and tidy my house used to be – but I wouldn’t change it for all the headaches in the world.