Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel

After an awful night on Monday, where Jack-Jack was up from midnight until he fell asleep in his buggy downstairs at 3.15am, and I spent the rest of the night in a stupor on the sofa rocking the buggy with my foot, we seem to have turned a corner. The worst of this wave of teething is over! Jack-Jack's appetite is back, and he even slept through yesterday from 6.50pm until 5.15am! We're very excited for these brand new teeth to make an appearance now!

We had a really lovely supervision session with our social worker Jane on Tuesday morning. The purpose of a supervision (which happens about every 6 weeks during the first year) is to talk through any issues we might have, plan our training goals, make sure we're meeting the child's needs and that everything's going well, and audit our finance (receipts) recording. She was very impressed with the care we're providing for Jack-Jack, and said that her manager had also spoken about how well we're doing! They want us to move up to the next skill level (they go 0, 1, 2 and then specialised carers) as quickly as possible, and we're doing our first two training courses online next week.

We're in our fourth week of placement now and things are definitely getting easier, both the childcare aspect and getting used to all the other people who are involved. We're feeling very positive overall at the moment!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Changing plans

Jack-Jack's mum didn't turn up for contact again today. She did call ahead of time apparently to say that she wasn't coming, but the contact centre didn't have the sessional worker's number (or ours, or the social worker's), so no one knew and he was picked up and taken, and then brought back as usual. We heard from Jack-Jack's social worker the other day that the contact times are due to change to allow mum to call beforehand and save Jack-Jack an unnecessary journey, so hopefully once this is in place they'll also provide a list of useful numbers!

The sessional worker, who seems lovely and is also a foster carer, told me that this morning was his last time taking Jack-Jack to contact, as he's busy taking other children to their contact sessions at the new proposed times. This means that Jack-Jack's routine will change again (we haven't been told what the new times are yet, just that it will be later in the day), and he'll have to meet and get used to a new sessional worker, a different car, and possibly a new contact centre too as they won't necessarily have space available at the new times at the one he's been going to.

Thankfully the long car journey was probably quite good for Jack-Jack today as I'd think he slept for most of it. Our day started very early this morning and it doesn't feel like yesterday ever really stopped going by how much of the night was spent awake! He was pretty miserable today and had two long naps in the afternoon too which is unusual. I hope these teeth pop through soon so we can have our happy baby back!

Sunday, 27 January 2013


We've had a couple of reactions recently that have sat rather uncomfortably with me, although to all intents and purposes they were positive, and it's mainly around the use of the word "lucky". Someone in our hairdressers who knew of our journey to foster said what a lucky boy Jack-Jack was the other day, and this morning at church a lady became quite emotional when she realised that he was a looked-after child, and said more than once how lucky he is. (We don't generally go around telling people that we're foster carers, but we've decided that at church we will be honest as we're hoping to go there regularly long term, and they will find out eventually if we keep turning up with different children!)

This child is many lovely things, but he certainly isn't lucky. He's been taken away from his mother with no notice or explanation, experienced things that no child should have to experience, and is currently living with strangers. He will in all likelihood have to go through another major upheaval to move to his forever family, once he's settled, attached and happy here.

I know that it's a common thing to say, there's certainly no malice behind it, and people mean well, but I do think that there's some serious education to be done to separate the idea of "lucky" from adopting and fostering.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Routines, signing and a purple baby!

We've got Jack-Jack's basic routine down now, and as long as we plan our day loosely around it, he's very happy to nap in the buggy/carrier, and has had many a milk feed or meal out in cafes. He's becoming quite the baby who lunches! It's quite funny - however grouchy he's been with us beforehand, he still manages to charm the people around us with his huge eyes and cheeky grin, and he's very popular wherever we go.

His social worker left a message this afternoon to say that contact is on for Monday, although they're not sure whether mum will be there or not. Apparently the plan is to talk about rearranging contact for later in the day, so that mum will have a chance to phone beforehand to cancel it if she's not going to be there to save Jack-Jack an unnecessary journey, which is definitely a positive step forward.

We were looking through a baby book this evening, and when Jack-Jack arrived with us he was doing about half of the developmental things expected of a 6 month old (we're not getting hung up on this, we were just reading through the lists to see what to focus on to help him move forward), and he's now doing everything on the 7 month list plus some things on the 8 month list! The things we've picked out to focus on are mainly waving, clapping, pointing, drumming etc. as he's not using anything apart from screams to communicate with us at the moment.

Jack-Jack can be quite a screamy baby, and we've noticed that he gets extremely frustrated if he's screaming about something and we get it wrong (as you can imagine). We decided to begin signing with him, and started signing "milk" on Monday before every milk feed. This morning he signed back, more than once! The next step is for him to sign "milk" when we're not expecting it, just to say that he wants some. We're going to start introducing more signs which should help with his frustration and get him communicating with us.

Jack-Jack tried blackberries at breakfast and strawberries at dinner time today, in one of these. He absolutely loved it! He could chew (well mostly gum and dribble) on the soft fruit in the net to his heart's content and make as much mess as he liked, with us supervising his mealtime rather than hovering. We're doing a mixture of fork-mashed and finger foods for him at each meal, and I do recognise the importance of learning how to handle and manage different textures of food without choking on it, but the nibbler seems like a good halfway point for now as he has been known to be a little over enthusiastic at times! I wish I could post a photo of the happy but purple post-blackberry baby, but you'll have to imagine it - start with a ribenaberry and cross it with Violet Beauregarde and you'll be halfway there!

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Ok, I'm going to mention sleep again, but only because Jack-Jack had a great night! He went to bed at 7pm, grizzled a couple of times, but once we'd gone to bed he only woke up once for milk at 4am and then slept through until 6.30am! He also woke up in a cheerful mood and sang to himself in his cot for 15 minutes until we got up, which was a very nice alarm clock to wake up to!

I've been leaving a beaker (one of those spill-proof Nuby ones - we tried freeflow but it ended up flowing freely all over the carpet) of cooled boiled water on the floor for Jack-Jack to have a drink whenever he wants one, but until now he hadn't taken any interest in it unless I held it to his mouth, and even then he was just chewing on the spout. Twice today I looked over and he had the beaker gripped in both hands and was drinking from it!

We went to our local soft play centre this afternoon with our friend and her two little ones. They all had a blast. Jack-Jack was very happy sitting and watching the bigger kids, rolling on the floor giggling, and playing chase with me practicing his new commando crawl. He also gallantly put up with being poked up the nose by our friend's baby girl, and leaped on by her exuberant toddler son. He had so much fun he completely wiped himself out, and fell asleep on my lap during his afternoon milk feed. We ended up spending about 2.5 hours there in total - it's a complete bargain for the entry fee, especially in this snowy weather when we're all getting a bit of cabin fever!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Something old, something new

Jack-Jack appears to be teething (we prepared for this by buying herbal teething granules and Calpol - no one told us how difficult it is to actually administer either of these to a screaming baby at night!) Let's not talk about sleeping ever again - we may well just remove all clocks from the bedroom and be done with it, then if we try really hard we can imagine we've had a nice eight hour (or 4 hour would be nice too) stretch!

I had a call from Jack-Jack's social worker this evening, telling us that his mum has cancelled the next two contact sessions (due to be tomorrow and Friday), and that she hasn't made a decision on whether they are going ahead next week or not. I do feel very sorry for her, and her behaviour makes sense on some level if she feels that she's going to lose him - no one truly knows how they would react in the same situation. We do have to consider Jack-Jack's needs though - whilst he was undoubtedly being unsettled by having a 2.5 hour drive for no reason (so cancelling the contact in advance rather than not turning up is better,) it would be very good for him (arguably more so in the long term) to have a sense of continuity in his life by regularly seeing his mum and knowing that she's ok and still loves him. He also has no belongings from his mum's house so his social worker is trying to work with her to see if they can send some of his special toys and clothes, again so that he can have that sense of continuity.

In spite of all the upheaval Jack-Jack continues to advance in leaps and bounds and surprises us with something new every day - today he held his own bottle for the first time at lunchtime and only needed a bit of help to tip it up towards the end. I was talking to his social worker about his progress with us so far, and she joked that she won't even recognise him when she next comes to see him for one of her six-weekly visits. He's definitely moving from "baby" towards "toddler" at an alarming rate!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow day

Contact was cancelled due to the snow, and thankfully we had a text last night to let us know so we wouldn't have to be in such a rush this morning. Jack-Jack also contributed to the more relaxed feel today as he had an excellent night's sleep last night, only waking three times. He also inexplicably had the king of all naps this morning - two hours! (We resisted the urge to go and poke him to make sure he was ok, although we did check on him a couple of times as we couldn't believe he was still sleeping!)

My mum came to visit us today and met Jack-Jack for the first time. We all went out for a cup of tea and a piece of cake in town, and mum helpfully shovelled the snow off our front and back garden paths for us whilst we fed Jack-Jack his dinner which was lovely! She also brought the push-along brick trolley I had as a child, and we're going to strip and repaint it for Jack-Jack to play with (we say this confidently, although it may have to be shelved with "stripping and revarnishing the dining room table" and "sewing an heirloom patchwork quilt" in that mental drawer of future jobs waiting for time to do them...)

Sunday, 20 January 2013


I had another rocky night with Jack-Jack (he was awake for the majority of the night, and screaming for a proportion of that, goodness knows what the neighbours think I'm doing to him!) but today has been really lovely. Esmeralda came off night shifts this morning and decided to stay up all day, and we wrapped up warm and went on a trip to Tesco in the snow. Jack-Jack slept all the way there and all the way back, and was alert and content whilst we were there. He ate a good lunch in the cafe (so we also got to eat, and even had a coffee!) and was enjoying watching all the hustle and bustle going on around us.

Jack-Jack is going through so many changes at the moment. He's had to get used to us (and all the things in a home that matter to a baby and their routine - different cot, bedding, highchair, buggy, bottles, smells, sounds etc. as well as our different way of doing things.) He's had lots of physical advances: starting to crawl, he's now confidently weight bearing when we hold him up, and can balance himself sitting on the floor. He's also grown, so he's gone up a clothing size (he's mostly in 9-12 month clothes now!) and a nappy size since he's been here. His weaning is going very well, and he's getting much happier with the stage two food now, as well as eating lots of finger foods - he's eating much more at his meals, so his bottle feeds have naturally reduced in size. He's growing up before our eyes, it's amazing to watch! I'm not surprised his sleep is a little all over the place this week, bless him.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Forward motion

When Lady was the only dependent in the household, it was not unheard of for her to get a bit spoiled. We would spend time researching special toys, bought lots of natural dog treats and occasionally the fancy 100% meat dog food, and even sometimes cooked her rice and chicken if she looked off colour. As a comparison, for dinner tonight (which was late as we got waylaid with Jack-Jack's tea) she had leftover strawberry baby cereal (pink mush), leftover baby penne with ham (orange mush) and half a pot of petit filou, topped with plain dog biscuits and a dash of salmon oil for a glossy coat. I didn't hear any complaints, but I do wonder what she thinks sometimes!

Something had definitely unsettled Jack-Jack yesterday. Whether it was the long trip out to contact, the fact that Esmeralda has been on night shifts this week, surfacing trauma from moving away from his mum, teething or coming down with something, or the beginning of a developmental leap (or a mixture of all of these), he really had trouble sleeping last night. He wouldn't be put down to sleep in his cot at nap time in the afternoon as he just wanted to be held, and this continued on into the evening. After going up to resettle him several times after he'd gone to bed, I ended up rocking him to sleep in his buggy downstairs so that I could finish the bits and pieces I needed to do, and even once I'd gone up to bed myself and settled him in his cot we had a rather rocky night.

Today has been much better. Esmeralda stayed up until mid-afternoon, and we went on a trip out into town for brunch which was lovely. I'm really glad she was home (and awake), because this evening we had an exciting moment! We were watching Jack-Jack playing with his toys on the floor in the living room before his bath. He was getting up on his knees every so often and rocking as he does, when he suddenly shuffled one knee very slightly forwards! Esmeralda and I got super excited, and both got down on the floor with him, crawling around to show him what to do (Lady was looking at us like we were insane and it probably did look a bit odd if you were a fly on the wall!) We noticed that he was focussed on a space rocket plaster I had on my finger, so I tried crawling slowly backwards in front of him, giving him lots of praise and encouragement, and after stretching and reaching (at which point I felt rather mean), he moved forwards! Ok, it was more of a commando crawl than one on all fours, but it was forward motion none the less and continued across the room! We're so proud of him! This feeling may pass once he's racing around getting into mischief...

Friday, 18 January 2013

Baby diet

An interesting byproduct of looking after Jack-Jack is that both Esmeralda and I have lost half a stone in weight! It's a combination of being so focused on him and his needs in the daytime, and then trying to get everything tidied up, bottles cleaned and into the steriliser, paperwork done etc. in the evening that we barely have time to eat or drink, let alone sit in front of the TV and snack! Lunches have mainly been on the move, either pacing the hallway with Jack-Jack napping in the carrier (this is what I'm currently doing whilst writing this post on my phone) or hanging out the washing when he's down in his cot, and breakfasts have turned into quick and easy fruit smoothies (forget the coffee unless both of us are here, and even then it's likely to go cold!)

Jack-Jack's mum didn't turn up for contact again this morning, but this time the whole experience was a lot more positive for everyone, with Jack-Jack getting into his carseat and leaving with the sessional worker without tears, and looking calm and content when he returned. He seems none the worse for his long car journey, although he does want to be held a little more than usual today, and wouldn't go down in his cot for a nap. Contact is arranged for Monday morning again, snow permitting.

We have loads of snow here, and it's still falling fast. Jack-Jack is interested in looking at it through the window, but is just too young to enjoy it outside. He can't yet sit up by himself or crawl, although the crawling can't be far off. We keep noticing him raise himself up onto his knees for a few seconds and rock backwards and forwards - it won't be long before that first knee moves and then there'll be no stopping him!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Support worker visit

We had a visit from our support worker today, who came round to see how we're getting on, and to explain how to fill in some of the recording forms we need to do for Jack-Jack. When we told her that he arrived with absolutely nothing and that we've had to completely set him up, she suggested that we send proof of our receipts to Jane and see whether she could authorise a one-off payment to help towards the cost. Apparently this is discretionary and does occasionally happen. Although we don't get paid to foster, we do receive a fortnightly allowance that's supposed to cover Jack-Jack's needs - we've calculated that it will take almost two months of that just to cover what we've spent on him in the last 10 days, and by then he'll be in the next size up of clothes and will need a whole new wardrobe anyway so we'll be back to square one! The support worker also told us about a session that's taking place in a couple of weeks for foster carers to learn more about the matching and placement process which sounds interesting. It will be a good opportunity to meet other local carers anyway!

Jack-Jack has contact planned for tomorrow again, although if it keeps snowing at this rate I don't know whether the sessional worker will be able to get here to pick him up! I hope it does go ahead - it's been almost two weeks now since he saw his mum and it must be so confusing for him. They've told us that contact is due to be three times a week - if this is the case then the sooner it starts the better, so that it can become part of his new routine.

We're all new to this weaning thing, but Jack-Jack's very curious about food (especially if we're eating it at the same time) and is very happy to try anything we give him. He's now tried (aside from baby food) banana, rice cake, spaghetti shapes, toast and margarine, breadsticks, peeled grapes, blueberries, pasta and pesto, baked potato, tomato, cucumber, red pepper, lettuce, bread, a corner of a bourbon biscuit, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, crumpet, innocent smoothie and weetabix. He's also had some extremely diluted fruit juice, but seems to prefer water (or sips of our smoothie if we're having some - we may have to start hiding in cupboards to drink it so that he doesn't notice - his "sips" are remarkably large for one so small!)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Words of wisdom

When we told people we were applying to become foster carers, most of them had some words of wisdom for us, especially those who were parents already. "Ahhh, babies," they said with a knowing smile. "Get some sleep now while you can. And they don't half create a lot of laundry!"

The sleep thing - yes. The laundry thing - Esmeralda and I spoke about this beforehand, bought a giant airer from IKEA and smugly considered ourselves prepared for the extra washing and drying that a small person would require. Small people's clothing is small, we reasoned, so two full loads would fit nicely on our new giant airer. Being small, it would also dry quickly - like socks.

Here's where we went wrong: the small person's clothing is indeed small, and does dry relatively quickly, as do the flannels, muslins, tiny cot sheets etc. However we had failed to appreciate that the majority (volume wise) of the extra laundry would be our own!

By 1pm today my entire outfit (jogging bottoms and an old zip-up sweatshirt - it was a long night) was covered in a layer of milk formula, petit filou, mashed banana, caked-in breadstick crumbs, "grandma's" roast chicken dinner (puree), margarine, strawberry smoothie, dribble, baby sick and a vaguely warm patch of what I can only assume was wee (I changed clothes very shortly after noticing this one without doing the sniff test...)

Having lived with us over a week now, Jack-Jack already has a larger wardrobe than either of us, and if things carry on the way they've been going I think we might have to start borrowing his clothes!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Don't wake the baby!

I was working away peacefully in the lounge this morning during Jack-Jack's nap time, when suddenly a blurry figure flew down the stairs and past the lounge door at the speed of light, and I heard "THE TOOOOOOOAST" in an amplified stage whisper. The implications of this hit me immediately, and I jumped up off my chair, grabbed a tea towel and started frantically flapping it in the air below the smoke detector whilst Esmeralda whipped the grill pan out and waved it outside the kitchen window. The best thing about this whole episode was that 2 seconds prior to smelling the toast, Esmeralda said she'd been making up a parcel upstairs in the study, and was worrying about the popping bubble wrap waking the baby!

We found out yesterday that one of our friend's little ones has chicken pox, so we now have a two week wait to see whether Jack-Jack caught it at the soft play centre on Saturday. Thankfully Esmeralda had it as a child, and I had it for the first time in June last year (awful!) so if he does get spotty we'll both be able to care for him without catching it!

Monday, 14 January 2013

First tastes

We had a very successful military operation this morning (organised with a timetable, and it even included time for his first messy taste of banana!) to get Jack-Jack up, fed, clean, dressed and packed for 8am when he was picked up by the sessional worker who was taking him to contact with his mum. The journey takes about an hour or so each way, and as the contact was scheduled for 9am-midday, we weren't expecting him back until 1pm at the earliest.

At about half past nine, we got a call to say that his mum hadn't turned up, and the sessional worker was bringing Jack-Jack back. By the time they got back, Jack-Jack was screaming, his nappy was full to bursting, and he was so thirsty he accepted cooled boiled water from us, which he has always previously refused. We felt so sorry for him, and made sure he had loads of cuddles. It just seems so unfair, although we do want him to see his mum of course, it's a lot to put a little one through, especially all the driving and waiting around. His next contact is Friday, so hopefully that will go better.

After Jack-Jack's lunch, we all went out to a tea shop in town, and gave him some cucumber, sticks of red pepper, lettuce and bread to munch on whilst we ate our lunch. He sucked all the seeds off the cucumber and managed to get red pepper all over his face up to his eyebrows, which is definitely a sign of how much he enjoyed it!

It's lovely seeing him experience new tastes and textures (and it's hilarious looking at a piece of cucumber that's been nibbled on all the way round by someone with only two tiny teeth!) Esmeralda is going to make him weetabix for breakfast tomorrow, so perhaps that heralds the beginning of the end for the parade of (strangely expensive) jars and pouches of organic baby food in the kitchen cupboard...

Saturday, 12 January 2013


Jack-Jack turned seven months towards the end of this week. He seems to have come on in leaps and bounds since he arrived with us, although we still have very little information about his previous care, so we're not sure which milestones are actually true "firsts" for him. Possible milestones today included using a pincer grip, pulling his own hat off, trying to feed us, and not crying during any clothing change (miracle!)

One thing we are sure of is that the first snow of his life fell today! Unfortunately it was during his morning nap so he didn't get to see it, but we appreciated it for him.

We celebrated his seven month birthday with a trip to the soft play centre with a friend and her two little ones, and Jack-Jack absolutely loved all the sounds and colours, and was watching everyone and taking everything in. He particularly liked the ball pit, even though at one point all three of them were squashed into the tiny pool!

We decided to start him on step 2 baby food this evening (we have no idea if/when he had been weaned, so we started cautiously on step 1 food), and he enjoyed it so much that we gave him a baby biscuit to suck on after his fruit, and he devoured it with gusto.

Our first trip out to the big city is planned for tomorrow, and one of the items on the itinerary is to buy a giant changing bag, as our rose tinted pre-baby view of "oh it'll be fine we don't need one, we'll just tuck a bottle, a nappy and some wipes into one of our normal bags and off we go" seems like a distant memory...

Friday, 11 January 2013

First contact

Esmeralda was working today, so I decided to be brave and take Jack-Jack out by myself in the buggy, to the big Tesco which is about 50 minutes walk away. I prepared for every eventuality I could think of, including taking my kindle in case he dropped off in the buggy whilst I was having a nice cup of coffee (ha!) all of which took far longer than it needed to as Jack-Jack was refusing to be put down. We managed to leave the house eventually (after accidentally tipping the entire contents of a bottle over both of us and the kitchen floor) and got to Tesco safely. Unfortunately my lovely idea of having lunch together before a bit of light shopping wasn't shared by Jack-Jack, although he did let me purchase a sandwich (my first food all day), settle at a table, strap him into a highchair and get a couple of spoonfuls of food into him before he decided that it would be more fun to scream at the top of his lungs and refuse all attempts to placate him. I chucked the sandwich in the buggy, popped Jack-Jack in the carrier (brought along as a backup) and walked him around outside until he fell asleep, and then dashed back in to grab a few bits and pieces. He slept for about 50 minutes and was delightful for the remainder of the walk home, so must have just been tired, bless him. That sandwich tasted even better at 4pm when I finally got to eat it!

We found out today that Jack-Jack will be having contact with his mum for three hours on Monday morning. We have to provide milk, food, nappies and wipes for him, and have also been asked to send a little notepad in which we can share messages backwards and forwards. This is such a tricky thing to think about, especially for the first time as we haven't really been advised what to write. She won't have seen her baby for a week. Do we try to reassure her by saying how well he's settled and how lovely he is to look after, or does this sound like we're rubbing it in? Do we keep it strictly factual - "Jack-Jack woke at 5am, this is what he had for breakfast, he had a clean nappy at this time, this is when his next milk feed is due." Do we say we're looking forward to meeting her (we will, at regular Looked After Child review meetings) or say that we hope they have a lovely time together? Do we ask her what his favourite foods are, or if there are any special things she does in his routine that she would like us to continue so that she feels involved, or is that too much? I'm sure we'll work something out - for Jack-Jack's sake it's important to us that this relationship starts off as positive as possible under the circumstances.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

In any other job this would be called torture

So... I was just dropping off for a well-earned nap this afternoon, when someone screamed in my ear from two feet away, and then shouted at me in frustration at jet engine volumes until I'd jumped up and completed 15 renditions of twinkle twinkle little star in a row whilst jigging on the spot, before they finally closed their eyes and started snoring with the satisfaction of a job well done and allowed me to lay down again feeling slightly shell shocked.

It's a good job he's so cute!

One thing that we really weren't expecting is that our 2.5 year old puppy Lady seems to have really grown up and matured over the last 3 days. Jane even commented on it yesterday as she actually listened when Jane told her to sit. Lady is so good with Jack-Jack, although she seems to disapprove of most of our care of him, and stands over us watching very seriously when we're changing his nappy. She looks concerned when he cries, and rushes over to check he's ok. She even came to get me from the kitchen yesterday morning when I was doing the washing up, to tell me that Jack-Jack had woken from his nap, and then glared at me accusingly until I went to get him. Jack-Jack thinks Lady is the best thing ever and laughs at everything she does, so it's definitely the start of a beautiful friendship!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Explosive beginning

We've had a great first day together. Jack-Jack woke at 4.30am, but settled again at 6.10am for another two hours so he didn't do too badly. Me on the other hand - I'd be surprised if I got an hour's sleep! I couldn't believe there was a little one finally sleeping in the cot we put together so many weeks ago, and I lay there just listening to him breathe. I'm sure the novelty will wear off at some point, but it was mesmerising.

Jack was very patient with us, bless him. He doesn't like to be dressed or undressed at all, and aside from the usual, he had to endure two extra outfit changes today. One, because we were naive enough to think that any surplus food, when being spooned into a baby's mouth, would neatly stay on the bib (breakfast in PJs tomorrow!), and two because no one could have anticipated the world's most epic poo that happened in the GP's waiting room today. Who would have thought we'd have needed to take a whole clean outfit with us when walking 10 minutes from the house! We did of course have clean nappies etc. and Jack-Jack was so pleased with himself that he fell asleep on the way home, wearing nothing but a fleece snowsuit and socks.

He is a smiley, happy, cuddly delight of a baby who is a joy to take care of, and we look forward to getting to know him better over the coming weeks and months. Esmeralda is back at work tomorrow, but Jane is coming to visit in the afternoon, along with Jack-Jack's social worker who will hopefully be able to give us some more information about what's due to happen with family contact arrangements and his more long-term future.

Monday, 7 January 2013


We have our first placement!

We were called about 5pm about a 7 month old baby boy (Jack-Jack for the purposes of this blog), who needed to be placed asap. They had practically no information about him, so we didn't know his nappy size, formula brand etc. and we had another call at about 6.15pm saying that he was on the way with his social workers and would arrive in 40 minutes with nothing but the babygro he was wearing! We had a mad dash out to Sainsbury's for formula cartons, baby jars (we didn't know if he was weaning), nappies etc. and arrived back just as the social workers drove up. Thankfully we'd already prepared by buying some clothes in every size in our age range, and have bath bits, bedding etc.

He is absolutely lovely, the social workers are obviously smitten with him, and they said a couple of times that we couldn't have asked for a better first placement. We don't know how the night is going to go, but at the moment he's very contented to play on the floor with a plastic hanger and a remote control (right next to the baby toys!)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


It's been quite a day! I spoke to the duty team this morning, and from what they said and the questions they were asking, it sounded quite likely that the two youngest children from the family we heard about on New Year's Eve would be arriving today.

Esmeralda and I both arranged to be able to leave work early in case of their arrival, I made up a bed and cot with clean sheets, I got out appropriate toys, tidied up and cleaned.

At mid-afternoon I got another call from the duty team - there's been a delay and the decision whether to take the children into care won't now be made for another three weeks. They're not going to keep us on standby, so hopefully we'll get another call before too long, but there's still the chance the two little ones will come to us.

We feel disappointed, but it obviously wasn't the right thing that they come to us today. On the plus side, the house has never looked so clean and tidy! It was quite funny actually - we thought the house was babyproofed, but as soon as we imagined real children living here we could spot loads of things that needed locking away or moving up higher! Pretty much every surface is now clear from about three feet down!

It feels good to have had the first call, even though what we expected didn't actually happen. It's taken some of the fear and worry out of the phone ringing!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

2012 was a massive year for us, and I hope that 2013 is just as amazing if not better! We spent New Year's Eve watching films at home, and opened a bottle of pear fizz to toast at midnight. Lady wasn't happy about the neighbours' fireworks at all (they were so loud they sounded as though they were going off in our house so I'm not really surprised), so we ended up moving her bed into our room and everyone was asleep by 1am.

We had an update from the fostering duty team about 5.30pm yesterday - they said that they'd found someone who might be willing to take all three children, but after speaking to the children's social worker, apparently there's a chance that only the younger two will be coming into care. If that's the case, the likelihood is that they'll come to us - we'll find out the outcome tomorrow (and if it turns out they are coming into care, and are coming to us, we have no idea when the move would be planned so for all we know that could be tomorrow too.)

Somehow it's all feeling very real and like a dream all at the same time at the moment, we're trying not to get too excited...