We Are Family


Terminology that comes easy

Terminology that comes easy - 20160701 114440

Things that seem simple to some, can be a minefield for others. 

I admit that  I am an older mum, but my brain hasn't gone to mush. I am not stupid, in fact I am quite clever - so why does the playground expectation and language floor me every time?   

The down side of adopting a year 2 child is that you haven't learnt the way to behave when your little one is in nursery, reception or year one. You haven't been allowed to ask those 'stupid questions' that no one knows the answer to, because you are new AND make those mistakes. In nursery, reception or year 1 you're allowed to ask a million questions or make a million mistakes but surely by year 2 you're supposed to know. It all seems so simple to the gaggle and it made me feel inadequate. 

Assembly is on Tuesday..... but no one tells me where assembly is or what time it starts - everyone else seems to know by osmosis. So I flush red - breathing through the incredulous looks as I ask these questions. I deal with the "wasn't it the same as your last school" and I mumble "oh you know" but of course I don't. 

It takes all my courage as I broach the "so how do I get my daughter into breakfast club or after school club?" The response is frustrating - "Nothing's changed from last year, just do it on school gateway." Argghhh! I don't even know what school gateway is and there wasn't a little piece of paper that even told me what time activities were.... 

I stand in the cold as parents are moaning that it is always the same people helping out at school trips, sports day or school fairs. So I think right "oh I didn't know extra people were needed, how do I get involved?" The response is, again, not useful "speak to your class parent rep"  Now to most this is simple but to me it shouts  ANOTHER BIG FAIL - what is a class parent rep and who the hell is my one??!! 

The list is endless and it's a mind field: play dates & birthday parties - how much should I spend, should I offer to help? Does she have to accept if she isn't keen on the child - how do I ensure she gets off to a flying start - how many times can I say no to sleep overs before they stop asking, she just isn't ready to be away from me yet!  

Then there is the knowing look; comments about absent fathers; working mothers; dresses being too short; kids turning up without hats in the summer; umbrellas not allowed in the class and evening parents events ( I am a single adoptive mother without any babysitters). 

As I say it’s endless.... I sit there and nod in ALL the right places and smile politely. Years of difficult negotiations in a high powered job at work did not prepare me for this type of poker face. 

But in the end we have 5 weeks to go before the end of term. I have managed to make two really good friends, been on 3 school trips, attended two assemblies, one nativity and one recorder concert on time, hosted 2 sleepovers and numerous play dates. I sold raffle tickets and smiled - Even when I didn't understand what on earth was going on?! I got her to birthday parties with a relevant gift & managed a cleanish uniform every day, Remembering a PE kit twice a week, library books and recorder on Tuesdays. 

Meanwhile she has blossomed with numerous friendships, awards and being voted in to represent her class at various activities. She still skips to school and I manage to get a kiss most mornings and a hug most evenings. I still don't understand the playground politics and half the things people say, I haven't volunteered at a school fair but I have 4 years to get it right so here hoping!

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  • Anna

    You go girl! Both of you!! Wonderful blog. And I totally recognise the feeling. Sounds like you learnt fast! And that your girl is thriving. Kudos to you!

  • Deb

    All of your blog resonated with me. I’m an older mum, high powered job before all this, and the school stuff is such a minefield. I have two girls in the same year and the questions are so intrusive! They are not twins and people actually ask if the second was a slip! What do you say when it wasn’t your pregnancy!! I’ve found a few like minded souls who have made life much more bearable, and a few other adoptive families in the same school so feel very lucky that we have people who understand some of our issues are not the same. Even shoe shopping was a minefield! You can imagine the looks..went to get their feet measured and oh being asked what size they were I had to get them to show me their shoes. I got such an odd look from the sales assistant. However, when they were off running about “testing the comfort” of their new shoes I explained about the adoption. The sales assistant beamed and “found” some trainers in the back room that were going to be marked down the next week. Small kindnesses like these keep us going eh? I think you sound like you’re doing marvellously. When you’ve been good at something it’s hard to go back to being a complete beginner at something so good on you for rising to the many challenges. Your child is thriving and that’s the best outcome you could ask for!

  • P

    OMG you read my mind. If it's not the adoptive parenting, it's the single parenting or the working parenting. All adding up to another parenting fail! Or so it's feels. In the end I just have to keep reminding myself that I don't need to be perfect. Just a loving mum who is 'good enough.

  • JM

    I totally get where you are coming from. My daughter also arrived in the middle of year 2 and I had no idea about the primary school lingo or the myriad of expectations of parents. Luckily there is a lovely lady who works in the reception and she said I can email her whenever I have a question. She always replies quickly and it never seems to be a problem for her. She has also helped me when I am late for work because my daughter is clinging to me, sobbing and screaming because she doesn’t want to be left. This kind member of staff will come up with a ruse such as needing help with photocopying or another job which my daughter will then trot off to. I am also a single parent. I would speak to the person at the school in charge of looked after children as they should have some sympathy and understanding ( it may be the SENCo) and at least be able to link you up with someone who you can ask questions to. They should have put you in touch with the class rep when your daughter started but you can always ask the teacher at pickup. I also found that the single mums are more open to meeting new people! Good luck and you will be fine xx

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