What the Neighbours Hear

I don't see all that much of my neighbours where I live now (apart from my friends that live around the corner of course!). Where I used to live, everybody was pretty much right out there. If there was a noise on the street, or somebody parked in the wrong place, people just came right out of their doors to stare and comment. The people on my street thought nothing of just asking pretty searching questions right to my face. Once, overhearing me explaining some aspect of NB's adoption schedule to the Health Visitor at the clinic, a total stranger asked if she could give him a packet of crisps she had in her bag because she felt so bad for him.

My new neighbourhood is much more the 'curtain twitching' sort of street. I know the names of a couple of people but mainly, apart from the curtain twitching, everybody just keeps themselves to themselves.

This means that all they really see of me and the kids is what happens on the drive as we attempt to get into the car. It's not a pretty sight. It usually involves a lot of running around and hiding (OB, not me!) and a painful negotiation increasing in pitch and intensity and ending with me urgently repeating "Just get in the car!" in a barely suppressed yell!

In photo portrait terms, the 'get in the car' ritual is just not my best side. I've considered making some sort of sign to carry with me that says "We also read stories, play and make cakes together! It's not all yelling!" I dread to think what would happen if one of my social workers took it into their head to survey my neighbours about my parenting style.

So today's seminar with Louise Bomber at the Home for Good Summit came as a timely reminder. Facilitate safety. Low-stress environment. Low-stress interactions. Pull back. Pause. Breathe before you speak.

In other words, try getting more organised in the mornings so that we're not in a mad rush getting out of the door! Or if that doesn't go to plan, just take a deep breath and decide that being on time isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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