No one intends to make you feel bad. Mostly, you make yourself feel bad.
All parents like to brag about their kid’s achievements – I know I do. And it’s hard not to offer advice or suggestions to other parents. Which is why, as a parent, you hear things like this a lot:
“Sam was able to write his name when he was two and a half”
“Amelia could swim by 18 months. You know if you leave it too late it’s just SO much harder to teach them to swim.”
“You’re going to need these phonics books, she won’t be learning enough from nursery so you’ll need to do extra reading with her at home.”
“Isn’t she riding her bike yet? Max could ride his when he was 4.”
“You know you really should be organising playdates for her on the weekends. Socialising and social skills are so important especially after this last year of lockdown.”
“Hasn’t she started swimming lessons yet? You’ll want to get her in soon you know before it’s too late.”
“Hasn’t she potty-trained yet? Clara was out of nappies when she was 2”
“Oh you should try drama classes – my kids just LOVED them. They’re on every Saturday”
“Gosh is she still not sleeping through the night? Kay was sleeping through from 6 weeks”
“You must get her into some dance classes or gymnastics classes – I’m surprised you’ve not done that already, she’s got such natural grace she’d love dancing.”
Well we have certainly had an eventful time of it lately!
I was of course jinxing myself in my earlier post when I said we had cracked the sleeping thing. It always gets me – we’ll have 2 weeks of sleeping through and I think we’ve done it, then suddenly night after night she’s creeping up into my bed at 1am, 4am, 5am etc.
I’ve discovered that the only way to handle it is to be consistent. Even if it’s 5.30am and only an hour or so to go before we get up, SHE doesn’t know that, she can’t tell time, and therefore she needs to learn the principle of staying in her bed until the sun on her alarm clock comes up no matter what. It’s hard to be consistent as some nights I’m so deeply asleep I barely register her getting into bed with me!
However on Sunday morning, when she crept in a 4.30am I got up to take her back downstairs to her bed. We had the usual “NO I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP IN MY BED I WANT TO SLEEP IN MAMA’S BED” mini-scream, so I picked her up in one arm, held on to the bannister with the other hand and headed downstairs.
Until about 2/3 of the way down the stairs when I slipped and fell down the stairs, with my daughter in my arms. Continue reading
Ever noticed how white our Christmases are? No I don’t mean the weather.
2020 has been quite a year – Covid aside, it has also been a year where a lot of us have woken up to the inequality and racism embedded in our societies. The Black Lives Matter movement has grown and gained momentum, and reflecting back I have personally been on a journey this year to try and understand more about systemic racism, structural racism and white privilege, and how it all fits together.
Reading books like Invisible Women, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race, Girl, Woman, Other, Parenting in Transracial Adoption, and a number of other books, I’ve been slowly starting to understand more about what White Privilege is and why most of us aren’t all that aware of it.
It embarrasses me that only this year, at 39, have I looked around at Christmas and wondered why Santa is white, why all the angels are white, why there appears to be no diversity at all at Christmas time in the images depicted.
It’s been a while hasn’t it?
Let’s see, what have we been up to? Frankly not a lot, what with winter and lockdown and so on.
I have FINALLY cracked the sleep thing and she’s got the hang of sleeping in her own bed all night, and staying there until the sun clock comes up (I really shouldn’t say such things out loud, it always jinxes it…). And I’ve installed some amazing toddler toilet seats and got some steps so I no longer have to deal with the potty most of the time, which is nice, having slightly less of someone else’s shit to dispose of…
Our mornings are in a pretty good routine now, and are punctuated by the calm, repetitive nature of CBeebies… Continue reading
I’ve been recently thinking about how lucky I am to have been able to adopt my incredible daughter, and how this would not have been possible until fairly recently. A few things have come up recently that got me reflecting on this, which I’ll go into later on, but first I thought a little brief history of Adoption policy in the UK might be helpful.
There is a great page that gives a potted history of Adoption policies in the UK which I have copied some bits from below: Continue reading
I am having some MAJOR swings up and down about moving house.
The estate agents told me if I want to get this Stamp Duty holiday which ends next March, I need to have found a buyer and a house I want to buy and exchange contracts by Xmas, as it’ll take at least 3 months to process everything. And that all the solicitors and banks are already getting backlogged with so many people desperate to move house right now, so a bank mortgage valuation that used to take 1-2 weeks now takes 4-5 weeks to get done and so on. So if I want to move I have to move fast.
One minute I think fuck it, I really love it there, and I really want to live there, and the kid’ll be fine and it’s SO lovely and there’s a great school and we’ll have so much more space and there are lots of other factors that will decide our future besides race and so on.
The next minute I think no, I can’t, it’s too much pressure to move and find the perfect house instantly and it needs to be somewhere we’ll be happy living for the next 20 years, and I can’t find that so fast, I need more time.
And I just can’t shake off the niggling feeling that I’m wrong about it all. Continue reading
“Came home from a full day’s playing at nursery SO TIRED I CAN’T REMEMBER ANY WORDS, and ALL I asked for was ice cream and chocolate and sweeties and my stupid mummy said no, so I was forced to lay on the floor and scream, and THEN she said I couldn’t grab the handle of the pan of boiling water on the stove so I screamed right in her face and punched her with my tiny fists so she would feel my wrath.
Then she said I could have an orange and I quite like oranges so I relented and agreed to stop screaming, but only for about 2 mins because the stupid woman peeled it wrong and I became INCANDESCENT WITH RAGE!!!!
Then I needed the potty and in spite of my terrible roars she insisted I wasn’t to put my hands into the poo, which is like totally oppressing my human rights, I mean I’m a strong independent woman and I can touch my own poo whenever I damn well please!!
Then I screamed some more so she would know how cross and oppressed I was, and threw a toy, which backfired and broke, so I cried about that for a while.
Then mummy said it was probably bathtime (the woman is OBSESSED with cleanliness) so I staged a protest on the stairs and decided hair-pulling would count as non-violent defiance.
I finally conceded to having a bath after my attempts to knock her over by head-butting her in the groin didn’t work. I pulled out the plug immediately because that’ll teach her to try and wash me! But then I got really sad because all the water was disappearing and I wasn’t actually finished playing in the bath. So I screamed some more, just in case mummy hadn’t noticed my displeasure.
She’s developed a slightly manic far-off stare and I can never be sure if she’s really listening to my concerns, even when I scream them directly into her face.
Mummy just DOES NOT understand what’s it’s like to be nearly three. Honestly it’s exhausting.”
On Saturday, the 4th of July, it was our one-year anniversary of becoming a family.
And what a year it has been!
In adoption, there are many milestones that could be celebrated – the day I was approved as a match for her, the day I met her, the day she moved in with me (the day I brought her home forever), the day the adoption order was approved, and the celebration hearing date. I’d never keep track and can only cope with one big milestone a year, so I chose for us to celebrate our “Gotcha day” as the Americans call it, on the 4th July, which is the day I met my daughter for the very first time.
I was so filled with excitement and emotions, it was such a vivid day for me, and she was shy at first, but as the day went on I got a little smile, and she played peekaboo with me behind a chair, and in the afternoon she put her tiny little hand in my hand, and my heart exploded with joy.
That day was the greatest day of my life, and even just remembering it brings tears to my eyes, it was so special and amazing. And for her of course, it was the day she met her mama for the first time, even if she didn’t really know it or understand at the time. Continue reading
Well, we’ve decided to attempt potty training….
This is something I had not realised everyone and his dog has an opinion on. It’s really hard to navigate when you are a first-time parent and you hear these type of comments ALL THE TIME…
- “Oh god it was horrendous, one of the worst things we’ve ever had to do”
- “Isn’t she potty trained already? Shouldn’t you be doing it now?”
- “Just wait til they are ready, then they just do it by themselves, and it’s easy”
- “Most of the other kids her age are already potty-trained…”
- “With boys it’s so much easier”
- “Oh you don’t need to read any books about it, they don’t need to be “TRAINED” – when they are ready they’ll just know how to do it and you won’t have to do anything”
- “Good luck – that was the hardest 6 months of my bloody life”
- “No but really, when are you potty-training her?”
- “Don’t rush it, I see so many parents trying to do it before their kids are ready, and it takes ages”
- “Don’t bother about all that – just let them run around naked for a while and accept that there will be piss and shit all over everything”
- “Seriously though, when ARE you going to potty-train her?”
- “My kids were potty-trained at 18 months….”
- “My kids weren’t potty-trained til they were 3 or 4”
- “My kid learned in 2 days and it was easy”
- “My kid took 7 months to learn and it was hell”
- “If you’re having to read a book about it, or ask for advice then she’s probably not ready yet, and you should wait”
and so on…. Continue reading
Ok, so recently I’ve decided to play around with my hair and see if I can follow the “Curly Girl” method, and see how curly I can get my hair to go naturally.
Now this is mainly due to the fact that I am still, after 11 months, trying to learn the best way to manage my mixed-race daughter’s amazing luscious curly hair. It has grown an awful lot in that time, and gotten so much thicker and longer. I didn’t want to just experiment on a two-year old with all these new methods and thought I would experiment on myself as well just to see what happens.
Given the current events worldwise in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I wanted to explain a bit more about why and how my curly hair journey is so interlinked with discussions on race happening around the globe. It sounds ludicrous to put those two things together, but hear me out. Continue reading