Recently, NB experienced a depressing milestone in his little life - final contact with his birth mother.
I think it went ok, although I'm not privy to what goes on during that surreal hour in a small playroom somewhere in the bowels of a Sure Start Centre. When I picked him up, NB commented that his mummy was crying but then settled down and carried on his day as normal.
Not so the next few days. We had a lot of wetting accidents, tetchiness and tantrums as bad as I've ever seen them. Food was refused, toys were thrown and everyone's patience was stretched to the limit.
Twice, during the depths of a major tantrum, NB cried out desperately for 'Mummy' and made the makaton sign repeatedly, something he has never ever done in over a year.
Who knows what kids know and understand? NB doesn't have the language or proficiency of speech to communicate what's going on in his head, but there is certainly plenty happening in there.
"Always remember that Mummy loves you," she said as she handed him over to me at the car, tears running down her face. He probably won't consciously remember his birth family at all, but some part of his brain will surely carry the consequences of the trauma that he has experienced into his adulthood.
He seems to have settled down again now, and, with half term over, life is slowly getting back to normal for us, as far as you can describe any of this as 'normal'!