Bringing a baby home for the first time is an exciting and nerve-racking moment in any parent’s life. Bringing home a ready-made bambino fitted with all its pre-set gadgets and gizmos is no less than utterly terrifying. I’ve always been a slight technophobe, and gadgets with a complete mind of their own and a refusal to conform when you press the do-as-your-told button basically just freak me out.
Before we brought our little contraption home, we spent 10 days getting to know all its features and its scope of functionality. During that time we were able to dodge entire responsibility for any frustrating downtime caused by hourly malfunctions by hiding behind the backs of the expert handlers (aka foster carers).
These 10 days were intended to help us get acquainted with routines, habits, likes, dislikes, tempers, chastisements. It worked, it worked very well. Buttressed by the foster carers, we thought we had it in the bag.
So armed with one small feisty Pickle and the much-repeated 3 Golden Rules: “Step away from the child”; “Stay out of the loop”; “Carry a packet of Chocolate Buttons at all times”, we skipped off into the sunset for our new life as a foursome.
But at no point in the Instructions Manual was there a section entitled “Troubleshooting – The Realities of Post-Adoption Life”. And it didn’t take us too long to realise that it wasn’t going to be all motherhood and apple pie….
Those first months were a blur of Pickle stampeding his way through every room, switching every light on and off repeatedly, turning on every tap full force, refusing to get in the car, refusing to get out of the car, clinging onto his coat for dear life, pouring his own drinks, layering the sugar on his weetabix, and generally making sure he could ‘control’ absolutely everything. This was his reassurance, his safety net. I got used to sitting on the front doorstep, brew in hand, whilst he sat scowling at me through the open car door. It was a constant kerbside stand-off!
But we couldn’t really know what was (and still is) going on inside his confused mind. We could only imagine what it must have felt like to be ripped away from everything he had known (again), the people he loved, the place where he had felt safe, and to be thrown into a house with almost complete strangers. Behind these ritual malfunctions was a very frightened little contraption.
And so began our expedition along the rocky road …….to baking one mean apple pie!