Screen Queen

Even more than my assertions about diet and food, the thing that really draws a raised eyebrow, a head tilt and a laughing “oh really?” is when I talk about the fact that baby Broccoli won’t be on too-familiar terms with Peppa Pig or Mr Tumble, because they’ll rarely be sat in front of the telly.   

 

To be fair, this is the one thing that makes me wonder if I really am being naïve when I think that they won’t be watching too much telly, or constantly seeking out an ipad or iphone for constant entertainment.   I know that times have changed and all that, but when I was a kid, we hardly ever watched telly. We had the radio on constantly (or whichever album my mam was obsessing over at any point), and we read, or played games.  Or just listened to/sang along (badly) to whatever music was on at the time.

 

I know that kids need to learn to use the technology that is all around us, and I love the “coding for kids” stuff that’s around, but I don’t want to use a screen as the default way to keep Broccoli occupied and/or distracted.  And I also think that this tend towards making sure kids always have something to distract them at all times is not a good thing. A bit of boredom is good for you – it gives your mind time to slow down, and to process how you’re feeling/thinking.

 

Not Plan B

After a couple of conversations with straight friends who are going through the adoption process, I feel like being queer while adopting definitely has some plus points.  In talking about my motivation to adopt, it’s been really straightforward to talk about the fact that for me, parenthood was never going to happen accidentally, or without external help.  

 

I’ve never really wanted to be pregnant, so for me, it was always really going to be adoption, or fertility treatment and a pregnant girlfriend.  And given that I’m resolutely single these days, the pregnant girlfriend scenario is ruled out. I’ve not had to have the in-depth social worker conversations about being unable to conceive, or failed fertility treatments.  Having said that, a lesbian couple I know have had to field questions about why they’re adopting rather than physically having a child “of their own”, with seemingly little understanding from the questioner about adoption being  seen as a *first* resort rather than the last resort when it comes to being a parent.

 

Maybe I just have a more open-minded social worker.  Whatever, it feels like a small bonus.

 

out of control

I’m at the stage in the adoption process where there’s basically nothing at all I can do right now.  I’ve had all of the in-depth meetings with my social worker to talk about me, me, me.  I’ve done stage one and stage two prep groups.  I’ve done two days of early permanence training.  Now, my SW is writing my Prospective Adopter Report.    So there’s nothing I can do other than wait until its done, and we can go through it together. 

I’m distracting myself from the lack of control through the medium of home cooking.  I just bought The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer, and it is amazing.  Every recipe looks great, and so far all six dishes I’ve done have been lovely.  Plus everything is all in the one tin, so there’s less washing up to be done afterwards, which is never a bad thing.

It’s actually getting me back into the swing of making dinner, rather than just buying something quick and easy, or constantly just eating risotto because it’s easy.  I sometimes find it quite hard to get motivated enough to cook when it’s just me on my own, but this is definitely helping.  And there’s always enough for lunch the next day, which has reduced my spending in the canteen at work, which is not the cheapest.

Handsomely Femme

Surprisingly this is not a description of my potential future girlfriend. 

No. 

This is the description of a pushchair

picture of Nuna's "suited" range of baby kit
 

I shit you not.

It ‘seamlessly fuses masculine qualities with feminine undertones for a balanced, smart look’, which is definitely something I’d appreciate in a potential future girlfriend, but isn’t really something I’m thinking about as I decide what kind of contraption is going to be better for getting a baby from A to B.

 

Bugg(y)ing out

My parents came to stay this weekend, so that my stepdad could decorate my spare room.  Which I’m trying to get used to calling “the baby’s room”, with varying degrees of success.  While he got busy with dust sheets and tins of paint, I took my mam to Mothercare, so I could get some kind of idea about what I might buy if/when Baby Broccoli arrives.  What I had no idea about was just how difficult it is to stop a potential grandparent buying up an entire nursery’s worth of stuff because they’re so excited.

I’m wary about buying anything at all, just in case I don’t get through panel, or I buy the wrong size, or I’m never matched.  On the other hand, if I do get matched, I won’t have that long to go out and buy everything I’ll need, so I really want to have some kind of an idea about what I’m looking for, and how much it’ll cost me.

What I learned:

Buying a pushchair (or pram) is as complicated as buying a car – colour choices, sun roofs, cup holders, fixed wheels or swivel wheels, parasols, storage baskets, umbrella fold, reclining seats, and on and on and on.  And the price ranges are immense – a basic model was £40, but they had some that were over £1000!   

Nobody gives a second glance when you pretend a cuddly toy is a baby so that you can see how easy it is to fold/unfold pushchairs while holding said furbaby. 

Pretty much everything (buggies, car seats, prams) is massively gendered.  If it’s blue it will be labelled as a boy’s thing, and if it’s pink it’ll be labelled as a girl’s.  And everything is one or the other.  There were no exceptions to this, apart from one range which deserves its own write up (check back tomorrow!)

I’m going to be hench within weeks of the baby arriving.  Buggies are not light.  Babies are not light.  I’m going to be carrying one or both of these things for many hours of most days. Bring it on.

Las Ketchup

I find it irrationally annoying that there is this whole thing about parents “disguising” vegetables with copious amounts of tomato ketchup.  Why?  what’s that all about?  this one I’m really confident that I’ll still be sticking to once I’m a mama.  for one thing, I don’t like ketchup, so it’s not something I’ll have in the house. 

 

easy, right?

me me me

One of the things I’m struggling with the most during the adoption process is the focus on me.  All the talking about myself.  60-90 minute meetings with my social worker, with themes like:

  • early life and childhood
  • work and relationships
  • how I was parented, how I might parent
  • how will my life change if I adopt

Its like therapy without any actual therapeutic benefit.    And its hard – I want to be honest, but really,  how honest do I need to be?  When my social worker queried my ecomap, and asked about male role models, I had to fight back the urge to bemoan the fact that there are fucking male role models everywhere, and the very *least* of my concerns are “is my child going to have enough men in their life”.  but you know, angry queer feminist probably isn’t a good look for a potential adopter!

Have baby, will travel

“Oh, you’ll have to stop gallivanting” has been a pretty common response when I’ve told people that I’m going through the adoption process.  Because nobody with a baby ever goes further than a mile radius outside of their home, obviously.

But come on, babies travel free pretty much everywhere, including planes, where you also get the added bonus of being seated in the bulkhead, complete with travel cot – why wouldn’t you make the most of that?!

A raised eyebrow and a knowing look from my sister led into warnings about the sheer amount of stuff that I’d have to take with me everywhere – nappies, bottles, sterilising kit, half a dozen outfits (at least) per day, toiletries, toys,and on, and on, and on.  Unless I’m going to the middle of nowhere, it’s not like I won’t be able to buy all of that stuff when I get there though – all I’ll need to take is just what I’ll need for the journey itself.

I’m pretty confident that all I’ll need to carry is the baby, and the one big rucksack or suitcase.