Pyjamas and super tankers

I’ve barely been out of my pyjamas this week, not because I’m one of those much commented upon mothers who dares to do the school run in nightwear and slippers, but because I’ve been knocked over by a cold virus. It’s been dreamy daytime television all the way. I learnt that Dion Dublin now presents Homes Under the Hammer (yes, really) and that Adelaide seems a way nicer place to live than Prestatyn, that is unless you’re a thirteen year old girl whose dad is staying in Prestatyn. Doing right by family members is a messy and imperfect business.

Me before a lemsip

Me before a lemsip

We’ve had a run of dramas, which I won’t trouble you with; one a week, for what feels like forever. This week looked like it was going to break the run, but didn’t. There was a sting in it’s tail. It wasn’t as stingy as other stings, but a reminder (as if any more were needed) that the vulnerabilities of children who have experienced poor early care can be extensive (and sometimes expensive). It shouldn’t need repeating but they don’t just get over it, no matter how politically, economically and socially inconvenient that may be.

Episode 2 of The Brain with David Eagleman on BBC4 last night showed how crucial the first two years of brain development are and the enduring consequences for three young people who spent their early months in the appalling conditions of a Romanian orphanage. It filled me with a mixture of hope and anger; hope that this critical information has made it on to primetime television and anger that there are still too many services based on the ‘they’ll get over it’ model.

Next week sees the publication of the Adoption UK magazine, guest edited by me and themed around the mental health needs of adopted children and their families. It’s a subject I’m particularly interested in, or a stick with which I like to beat myself depending on how the week’s going. In parallel I’ll be publishing an article by Jonathan Green, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Manchester University. I’ve heard him say things in meetings, presentations and in private that I’ve itched for more to hear. He’s given me some hope that the super-tanker is indeed starting to turn.

In other news, we had the sad task of burying Treacle the much-loved guinea pig. He now lies under the apple tree in a tax-free Amazon box coffin. During my delirium Mr D stepped in and took over the hospital run, which was good because he’s much better at facing off the ‘how did this happen?’ questions than I am. Meanwhile, I’m tentatively researching the lives of some largely forgotten about Victorian campaigners for what may become my next book. It’s a bit of a brain holiday and something one can quite comfortably do in one’s pyjamas.


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