Undecided (The Disco Hamster)

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

Secret diary of of toddler…

“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.”

What a year it has been

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

Potty Training Magic

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

Curly Girls

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

Parenting Anecdotes

In amongst all the grim lockdown drama, here are a few more little snippets of things that have happened over the last few months, odd little anecdotes from our lives. Spoiler alert – these are mostly boring stories about some adorable thing my precious baby girl did – I’m aware that when most parents get in the zone droning on about their little darlings, most people reach for the sick bag or nod politely while fantasising about pulling the fire alarm to make it stop. In other words, these anecdotes will be mediocre at best, and you have been warned – read on at your own risk.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Continue reading

Celebration Day

Even though the Adoption Order was granted on the 7th January, when everything was formally made legal and official, there have still been quite a few minor admin things to do.

We needed to wait for the court bureaucratic wheels to slowly turn and issue various bits of paperwork so that she can be entered officially into the Register of Adopted Children, which once completed means that you can apply for an Adoption Certificate (which is very similar but slightly different from a birth certificate). This document has her new legally changed name on it, which you need to supply in order to do other official things, like apply for a passport, or change her name on other official things like the NHS/Dr’s surgery records, and her child benefits account, etc.

i have now received this, she now legally and officially has my last name/family name, and I have already applied for a passport so that we can hopefully go to Australia soon and visit my brother and dad and the rest of our family can meet my daughter! Continue reading

A non-story

Recently we had a really bad day. I started writing it all down in excruciating detail before remembering that I’m an incredibly boring mum now and have nothing interesting to say nowadays apart from the minutiae of our tiny little lives and not many people actually care. So I decided (for once) to edit myself.

In a nutshell, I made the wrong choice as a parent, I did something which I thought would be ok and things went wrong, and it was upsetting for both of us and led to an extreme amount of mum-guilt and tears all round.

Suffice to say I have now made more work for myself and also learned a valuable lesson.

Basically that’s all you need to know – I felt really crappy and beat myself up about it but it’s all fine now and I suppose parenting is all one massive learning curve so occasionally you will get things wrong. It’s inevitable, and it’s hard not to feel crushed by guilt when it does, but all you can do is have a good cry, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try to do better next time.

Forever

Today, on the 7th January, 2020, a judge heard our case, and as there were no final objections or appeals to be lodged, she granted my daughter’s adoption order.

A mere 6 months after I met my gorgeous baby girl for the very first time, I am now officially, legally, her mama.

Forever.

And ever.

It was such a monumental moment in both of our lives. and yet also slightly weird and mundane. I got the call while we were at toddler group, her social worker called me as soon as the hearing was over to tell me the good news, then we had a snack and went home for a nap. We celebrated by going to a soft play centre in the afternoon with some friends, and in the evening I did my best to explain to my baby girl that a wise judge said I could be her mama forever and ever, though I don’t think she has really understood any of it!

It’s such a huge, mega thing, and yet we carried on going about our day in a very normal way, mostly I guess because I already am her mama, but it’s been unofficial for the last 6 months.

In some ways this was really just a formality, as nothing about our daily lives will change in the slightest. And yet, she’s going to get an adoption certificate that says I’M her mummy, and she’s going to have MY family name, and I can apply for a passport for her, and all sorts of things. I was able to give her a new middle name (she already had two so I changed the 2nd middle name to a name that I chose for her). In giving her a new name, and a new family name, today she became a little bit more MINE in a way that she wasn’t before. (The books tell me this is called “claiming behaviour” and an important part of attachment, though we hardly need it!).

I still find it so hard to believe it has only been 6 months since she came into my life – it feels like she has been in my life for so much longer than that.

There is still a slew of paperwork to be done in finalising everything, but it’s all over, it’s official, no more waiting, no more bumps (other than the usual mother-daughter bumps) – we are now, and forever, a real, proper family.

It feels amazing, and weird, and lovely, and strange. I’m the happiest mama in the world.