I'm writing this for WASO on the theme of transition but it's so strange, because we're just at a point where transitions are a big part of our lives. Most notably, Squiblet's foster carers visited yesterday and it was clear to us that they have not managed to make the transition from being Squiblet's carers, to people from Squiblet's past. We had been told by our social worker that they would spend the visit reinforcing to Squiblet how wonderful her new home is and praising her for her achievements and settledness...this did not happen...not in any way! What did happen was that the whole family seemed fixated on getting her to perform party tricks like high fives as she used to do when she lived with them. Squiblet has recently morphed from baby to toddler and was having none of it! She also couldn't remember them. We have shown her pictures, talked about them and we made them a cake and used that as a way in to talk about them more and yet, after 3 months she just couldn't remember them and they clearly found that pretty hard to handle. I mean, of course it would be. To go from being someone's "family" to them forgetting you ever existed in 3 months, as an adult, must be pretty difficult. But then if I'm being harsh about it, that's what you sign up for as a foster carer. And that's not just what you sign up for, it's what you sign your whole family up for, including your teenage children...and it's got to be hard for them because they're not even fully emotionally developed anyway. I don't know how foster carers do it. I take my hat off to them. They have one of the hardest jobs in the world the day they have to say goodbye. But surely this meeting was supposed to be for Squiblet's benefit and not theirs? I thought it was supposed to be to help Squiblet understand that people don't just disappear, they are still there, and still OK even if you don't see them anymore. I thought this meeting was for them to see how settled she is so that they can feel happy that she has gone to a good home. Instead they seemed fixated that she hadn't really made much progress (she's gone from not even standing with furniture to walking...she's gone from saying nouns, to describing everything she sees and having mini conversations...she's gone from spoon to fork...she can crack eggs...she has jumped up the centiles for both height and weight...she throws her head back and laughs and laughs and laughs like she doesn't have a care in the world...I could go on) and that she was "already speaking well when she left" and "still isn't really walking very well". Eurgh. It made me cross. It made Mama sad. That's a role reversal as in the past I would always default to sad...it's my plucky inner mother hen that did it! I don't want anyone to march in and belittle her progress...we've never said it's down to us...we say it's down to her...down to her (despite her scary start in life) being a downright awesome, clever and sparky little person and all we are doing is giving her the things she needs to grow. The social workers have praised us and said we are making a difference and that made me feel really great, like we are doing the right things for her. But we saw that spark in her birth mum, and who knows where her birth mum would be if her environment had been different from when she was born. The foster carer however, wanted to explain Squiblet's intelligence to her early input, the books they had read....the things they had done. Aaargh! All very tricky! And I'm trying to feel sad for them, sorry for them, to understand, put myself in their shoes...but I can't and the reason I can't is because I have to put Squiblet first now, and I know that I could never be a foster carer because I just couldn't do the part where you have to say goodbye, let them fly away and know in your heart that someone else will give that child what they really need 1000X more than you ever could because they are going to love them forever, without question, without financial incentive just because. Apologies for that incredibly long sentence!
And onto our transition. Our transition was a gradual one. Somehow we went from being two mums who tried so hard all the time that by nap time they collapsed in a heap. We loved our daughter from the day we met her...I don't know how it happened like that but it did. But now our love for her has grown and grown and we have become a family. Today when I was watching Mama take her for a walk in a restaurant I had a tear in my eye. We are a unit, a co-dependent unit of people who love each other. Mama and I were talking about that the other day...do kids love you or do they just depend on you? I'm a big softie sentimental old soul and I think that they love you...if they feel like you love them. And maybe when they're a teenager they "hate" you, but then when they come out of that they love you again. I know I love my parents. I love them for who they are, for all their quirks, and that's not just because I know that they love me, it's just a feeling which is real, and is there, and I know it won't ever go away and that's what I want for our daughter.
So there we are. We've come through the first molar relatively unscathed after lots of frozen choobs and calprofen! Not really looking forward to the other three.
And to finish my rather emotional post I'll just give you a flavour of Squiblet at the moment.
neighbour: "oooh, are you looking at the birdy wirdy?'
That's gone down in my book of funny and awesome things she does!
Love to all x