Saturday, 30 July 2016

Awkward conversations and leading questions

I grumble about my boys, but I must miss them when they're not with me. I'm instantly drawn in by any sound or squeak from a tiny person and often I can be found chatting away to a pre-verbal infant when I don't have to wrangle my own into not falling onto the train tracks. I took Brown Bear to stay with my parents yesterday and Blue Bear went to watch the football with Hubbie this afternoon, so I took the opportunity to go and have my hair done. I know proper 'me time,' not just the mad dash to get everything done between dropping them off and picking them up. On the way to the salon I saw a little girl with her parents waiting for the same train as me and chattered away at her as she squeaked back at me. On the way home I popped into Waitrose (shuttup, I'm addicted) and I did my usual wide-eyed, 'does your sock taste nice ?' schtick with another baby girl in Waitrose. As I was walking off I heard an older woman comment, "your baby is beautiful. She has your eyes." The mum smiled appreciatively.

It's unlikely that anyone would say that to me. Both my boys have beautiful eyes, but they are clearly not from my side of the family. I was telling mother-in-law the other day about the time when a mum from school asked - entirely innocently - why Blue Bear has blue eyes when Brown bear has light brown eyes.
"Well, he's got them from Grandpa, obviously." 
Said mother-in-law, suspiciously swiftly for a woman who can't hear the oven timer. I hadn't even considered that response. You see my eyes are dark brown and Hubbie's are, well we've no idea really, but they range from green to grey. Of all questions I prepared myself for this was not one of them. As a result I didn't have anything in the locker and just launched straight into it, 
"Oh that's because he's adopted." 
I'm not sure if the surprise was genuine, as I had assumed that another mum from our class would have mentioned it to her by now. Anyway, it gave me pause for thought as my reaction was a lot milder than when people first asked me about him and it felt like I was being interrogated at every turn. Maybe I've mellowed into the adoptive parent role.

I'm also working on my birth parent role - which I neglected when Blue Bear first arrived as I was so concerned that he fit in. I've been talking to Brown bear about caring and treating his brother with kindness. We spoke about how he hadn't always been cared for that well and that was why he was placed in a foster family. Introducing the concept of why children are adopted has been pretty tricky. In the car the other morning, just before I dropped him off at playscheme, he asked,
"Why didn't his foster family care for him ?"
"Blue Bear's foster family loved him very much. You saw that yourself." 
I said.
"His first mummy - the one whose tummy he grew in - sometimes didn't look after him, feed or wash him." 
I wanted to be careful to not portray her too negatively, but I also don't want to sugar coat it - or lie. We talked about what foster carers do and why children might be placed with foster families. Brown Bear seemed genuinely interested in finding out more about it so I tried to talk in an age appropriate way about it. I see this as part of the process that will eventually lead to telling Blue Bear how he came to be in our family. 

Oh and the other day Brown bear asked me if next time we can get a baby girl so he can have a sister.  I said, "Ask Daddy."

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