Sunday, 22 June 2014

Five years old

Peter's turning five very soon. Five feels like such a massive milestone - it's the end of being a toddler and the start of being a fully-fledged child, and as a parent/carer you find yourself thinking scary thoughts like "only five more years and we'll be looking round secondary schools". One minute you look at your four year old and they seem so so tiny, and the next you wonder how you never noticed how tall they were getting. You start comparing photos from the start of the school year and see all the little changes in how confident and grown-up they are.

So Peter, on the cusp of turning five, here are five things I love about you:

- Your singing! You sing when you're happy, which is 99% of the time. You sing at the top of your voice, and you sing in whispers when we've asked you to be quiet. Even though you haven't worked out the concept of a tune you sing as though your life depends on it and some of my favourite moments are singing duets with you. At the moment you seem to like folk music and show tunes - a killer combination.

- Your independence! Nine months ago I never thought I'd miss you taking my hand and needing me by your side, asking to be carried 100 times per day, gluing yourself to my lap every time I sat down, wanting me to stay by your bedside until you fell asleep… but I do. I'm so proud of you and what you're achieving every day, but I selfishly wish that we'd had more of your baby days to treasure.

- Your communication! You're trying so hard to overcome your communication difficulties. You're working out new ways of letting us know who you are, what you need and how you feel, and when we get it wrong you tirelessly try again and again to get us to understand.

- Your determination! Everyday tasks are more difficult for you to learn, but you don't give up. It took you four frustrating tries this morning to put your hoody on but you got there! You're keen to learn and are patient with us as we work out ways of breaking down tasks for you and giving you the necessary 'muscle memory' to do it for yourself.

- Your memory! You've memorised hundreds of songs and rhymes, entire episodes of Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden, about 20 different Thomas the Tank Engine books plus loads of sections of Disney films, adverts, you name it. You can recall these at a moment's notice with frightening relevance to the topic at hand, whether we thought you were listening to our conversation, or not!

You are going to be a force to be reckoned with as you grow up, and I'm so looking forward to going on that journey with you.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Out of the mouths of babes

We are a Christian family and pray with Peter every day, as well as singing worship music together and attending church. Peter has delayed speech and understanding, and I've often wondered what his first real reference to God or his first prayer would be. Maybe it would be something profound!

Someone was handing round little slices of cake as we were leaving church this morning, and we gratefully took one each to eat in the car. It was the Vicar's birthday cake, so on the way to the car I said that we'd need to say thank you to the Vicar next week for giving us some of his lovely cake. Without missing a beat, Peter said "thank you Jesus for cake, amen."

His first prayer. It was definitely heartfelt and to the point!

We'll work on the theological issue of confusing the Vicar with Jesus at a later date…

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Family likeness

Today I noticed something fascinating.

As Jack-Jack's birthday is coming up we've found ourselves missing him more than ever, and today I decided to look his adoptive parents up on Facebook to see whether there was a recent photo of him. There he was as soon as the page opened, and it was astonishing how much he's changed! He no longer looks like the baby they collected from our house at the end of the introductions, he's now a little boy, and even more than that he really looks like his adoptive mum and dad.

When he lived with us, people used to tell us that Jack-Jack looked like us all the time. They'd stare at us each in turn and exclaim how he could have been born to either one of us. He doesn't any more, he looks like his new family.

Esmeralda was at a training course a couple of weeks ago where all the participants passed round a photo of their child as a point of reference. No one knew that she's a foster carer and not related to Peter at all, but when she passed his photo round all of them said how much he looked like her.

It's all down to a combination of picking up turns of phrase, sounds and accents, facial expressions, body language etc. from the people you spend so much time with, but I found it amazing that it's happening so quickly, enough to be noticeable in a photograph!