I'm sure that this is the same for all children, whether looked-after or not, but we've found that people's first impressions of Peter really depend on what time of day they meet him. We had a friend come to visit this weekend, and as she left she commented on how well-behaved and calm Peter is. She'd been here for the two hours before bedtime, when he was winding down, having a bath and eating tea. As any parent will know, that could have easily gone the other way as overtired children rarely come across well! Esmeralda and I are probably more aware of this than most due to Peter's additional needs, and occasional (used to be much more frequent) epic tantrums accompanied by ear-piercing screeching, head banging and face slapping. He is an affectionate, helpful, clever, engaging sweetheart, but it's easy to miss that fact when confronted by extreme behaviours, and it can be soul-destroying to see some people's negative opinions of Peter formed in just a few short minutes.
We recently got to the point where my iPhone was almost filled to the brim with photos of Peter, so we decided to go online and make him a photo book to preserve the memories for him. As we looked through the photos to choose the ones to go in the book, we were surprised how different he looked when he first arrived. It's so easy to forget! He was pale, thin and small, in his own little world, hardly making eye contact and rarely smiling. Fast forward a few short months and we have a vibrant, happy, healthy child with rosy cheeks, full of energy who's shot up a size in clothing and shoes. I'm sure in another six months we'll look back and be amazed at the changes again - it's so rewarding to see!