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12 blogs under the Christmas tree #4

My gift under the tree right now would be for my son to find peace at bedtimes to help him switch his mind off and let his body relax and drift of to sleep feeling safe and with a smile on his little face.

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Potty Blues

I thought I was prepared. I had had the Gina Ford potty training bible by my bed and religiously read and re-read. I even got Barley to look at the pages in the hope some of her words of wisdom would infiltrate Barleys subconscious.

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Why Doesn't Daddy Smile?

946840079623I’ve always thought of myself as a happy-go-lucky type and the first two words that sprang to my friends’ lips when asked to describe me today were “funny” and “laid back”. Of course like everyone I am prone to be unfunny and not at all laid back at times, but generally I like to think they’re right.My own memories of looking after my sister’s children are ones purely of skipping and singing silly songs and laughing a lot.So when our daughter turned to my wife last week and asked her, “why doesn’t Daddy smile?”, at first it made me laugh and raise my eyes skyward, shaking my head in the manner of “oh, the things that children say”, but after a while it shocked me and has given me real pause since.In all our family pictures, there I am mucking about, pulling funny faces, laughing and smiling. But pictures capture a single moment and do not tell the story or indeed paint a thousand words. The camera can and does, maybe not lie in that moment, but perhaps cast a concealing sheen over the truth.And so I have revisited my role as an Uncle and dredged up other not so glorious moments where I was impatient, grumpy, angry even; a lot of them. And revisited, taking off my rose-tinted Daddy specs, how I have been of late as a father. Impatient, grumpy, angry even. It’s trying dealing with a small person developing a will of their own, stepping out of the era of complete malleability and obedience and into the “No!” era. I’m not coping well with that. The first “No!” was funny; the ten thousand following, not so much.I am ok with being a good-enough parent, but “Why doesn’t Daddy smile?” isn’t good enough. Not by a long way.I’m in danger of being remembered as the Dad that never smiled, the grumpy one, the frustrated one, the no-fun one, the one that shouted, the one that had lines etched deep into their ageing face that in others were laughter lines but in him ones of fatigue and misery.And so I resolved to make a conscious change. I came home from work today and instead of flopping down exhausted onto the sofa, instead of nodding absently, not really listening to the chattering child, instead of saying “Bed. Now.” in a raised voice, I spent 30 minutes playing hide and seek. My hiding places were ingenious and she just hid in the same place each time, so I won hands down, in case you were wondering.; she might be only 3 but she’s just rubbish at this game. But we laughed when we found each other, we laughed when I caught her peeking while she was counting to ten, we laughed when she found me trying unsuccessfully to fold my six foot frame into her minute play tent. We laughed a lot. We tired each other out. And when I said “time for bed”, we stopped our game and we smiled at each other. For a long time. Nobody captured that moment, but it will be etched in my brain for the rest of my life. And I hope that image of my smiling, loving face might, just might, stay with her too.

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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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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 Questions #5 A peek into how we do family.

[caption id="attachment_1353" align="alignleft" width="225"]Photo by Lili Gooch Photo by Lili Gooch[/caption]How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning?Our 18 month old sleeps in her own room. We used to wake to her chatting to herself in her cot bed, but more recently she has been less patient or possibly more anxious. In any case, she now tends to cry out for us in the morning. We go to get her up and either get up for breakfast or, if it’s still too early, bring her into our bed for snuggles and sometimes a bit more sleep before we all get up.Why adoption?For us adoption seemed right for a number of reasons. Firstly, as a same sex couple we would not be able to conceive a child naturally and if one of us were to have insemination then we felt this may create an imbalance with the non-biological parent in the couple. Neither of us have ever felt a strong urge to be pregnant or to pass on our genes. We did, however, really want a family and we felt we could love a child who is not biologically ours. With so many children needing a loving home in this country, it seemed a good choice.From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?2 yearsHow could it be improved? So many ways!! We had four different social workers and there were a lot of delays and very poor communication from our agency throughout. More coherent management of our ‘case’ would certainly have reduced the delays and reduced our stress.What has been the biggest surprise? I guess how easily we have bonded as a family.How was the assessment process?Fine. Could have been a bit quicker and more coherent but was ok.What's your favourite thing to do together? Explore the outdoors!What makes you and your family laugh?Chasing, tickling, dancing, being silly in general.The best thing about being a parent?Innocence and wonder.The hardest thing about being a parent?Backache!The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child? Be yourself.What time do you go to bed?Between 10-11pm.

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Ask the Kids #6

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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