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Why is she in the buggy?

pram-450787_640The first time it happened I really felt her pain.It was her first play date ever and her new friend ran confidently around picking up toys and evaluating them for fun value. My daughter ran ahead delightedly pointing out her possessions and waiting for approval. Suddenly the friend let out a shriek ; my daughter had proudly held up her tatty old half-perished dummy which she wouldn't go to sleep without, the one she arrived with that made her feel safe. “Oh no”, said her suddenly much more grown-up friend. “That's for babies; you shouldn't have that”. The friend eyed her suspiciously and my daughter flushed with shame. Confused she looked to me and although I made light of it, the rest of the play was not relaxed. After the friend left she kept reliving that moment of shame. When she went to bed I saw her really struggle with her need for the dummy and I told her it was ok to have it if she needed it. “She thinks I'm a baby,” she said through tears.The second time we were on holiday and I was more prepared.Having made firm friends with a little girl of a similar age, they were giggling away, thick as thieves until we got up to leave and our daughter climbed into her worn out old buggy. The other girl was speechless and no longer laughing. She turned to us - the adults with whom she now clearly felt more affinity - and enquired, “Why is she in a buggy? She's not a baby.” Once again our daughter flushed with shame. Quick as a flash I bent down, and in a whisper said, “Well, first of all - between you and me- this isn't a normal buggy - it's magic and takes her to special magic places - that’s where we’re off to now actually; and secondly we're staying a lot further away than you are and it's very late for little girls to be up now.” I’m not sure she believed me but it stunned her into temporary silence and away we went, but all the way home she kept repeating, “she didn't like the buggy did she? She didn't like the buggy? You had to explain".It made me sad and then it made me a bit angry. What is the rush anyway?What if she's a little slower in shedding some of the comforts of infancy? Why does it matter? Why is society so geared up towards moving on to the next thing as quickly as possible? Couldn't we all benefit from taking a bit more time over things?Her childhood already seems to be going by so fast and I for one am in no rush to push her even faster through it. She can take as much time as she wants.

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Touch Wood

Before I was a parent, in fact well before I’d even met my husband, I only had one proper, if somewhat amorphous, goal: I wanted to be a happy mum, eeking out a living from teaching, writing bits and bobs and selling homemade fudge from an old ice cream van at festivals.

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The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Our son is 3

My son is 3 and this is our 3rd Christmas together but his very first Christmas we didn't get to share with him. I catch myself feeling melancholy that our boy, was wrapped up in someone else's arms, waking up on Christmas Day with another family and both he and us (on this day) had no idea of each other's existence.

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The Twelve Blogs of Christmas #3: Not this year's festive favourite.

DSC_4359I think it's fair to say I am not this year's festive favourite! The reason being we have decided to try and have the Christmas we want for ourselves and our children - rather than a (vain) attempt to balance everyone else's desires with our own. We are seeing all our family, just not on Christmas Day or Boxing Day... My Christmases up to now have always felt like snatched moments of joy in a sea of obligation. The dynamic hasn't exactly been uplifting. I don't want our children to be saying the same when they are adults. It also feels like a unique opportunity in the year to regroup, spend a period of special time together when the outside world really does retreat a little. It could even be a bit restorative - and boy would that be great. My mother feels my approach is selfish. She wants to spend Christmas with her children and grandchildren. I understand that and am sorry, but realised I am getting better at prioritising my own sanity and the needs of my primary family of four. She can't really grasp the turbulence of our daily life, especially at this time of year, or the value of moments like Christmas on our long road towards secure attachment. And hey, if the kids are really challenging, there's always somewhere to run! Happy Christmas!!

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Echoes

I loved my Dad, but as a teenager and into my twenties I swore that I would not be an “old” father. I felt at the time that the age difference wore away at our closeness; we had very little in common and I did not want that with my children. He was 65 when I graduated from college; he was 74 on my 30th birthday; he lived for another 19 years and died when I was 48. The age gap didn’t make that much difference to our closeness in the end; somehow spending time shaving him and combing his hair, dressing him, taking care of him, talking to him all the while enabled me to rediscover that connection we had, but there were lost years no doubt before he got older and more frail.

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Random reflections on time

The passage of time has always been uppermost in my mind during my ‘adoption journey’, perhaps inevitably given that my daughter was ‘old’ (in adoption-speak) when she came to live with me.

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Ask the Kids #9

As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us - their parents.

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The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: 12 Days of Christmas

 I appreciate that I may not understand the symbolism, but frankly if my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree, irrespective of the five gold rings she gave me previously, which I probably would melt down and stick in the savings vault, I would definitely lose my Christmas Spirit.

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Ask the Kids #1

As part of National Adoption Week I asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us - their parents.

Here are the answers of a 4 1/2 year old.

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