At the beginning I felt like people would know just by looking at us that Rae wasn’t biologically mine. There’s absolutely no reason why she wouldn’t look like mine but I thought that everyone would just be able to tell. Because of this I felt the need to explain to people when they asked questions that I had adopted her. We have the same hair colour (admittedly I pay for mine to look this colour) and Rae has a mass of wild curls that EVERYONE comments on. I have naturally curly hair so it’s not too dissimilar, although Raes are actual curls whereas mine looks more like a scarecrow when I leave it to dry naturally. We were in the dentists waiting room and an old lady was commenting on Raes hair and asked whether she got it from me or her dad and I told her I’d adopted her. As soon as I said it I wished I hadn’t. She immediately looked at her with pity and called her a ‘poor little soul’. This was the last time I told a stranger about the adoption. I don’t want people feeling sorry for her because it makes people treat her differently. Now when people ask who she gets her curls from I say me. They don’t know any different and have no reason to think she’s not biologically mine.
We went to Clarks to get Rae her first pair of shoes and the lady was asking questions about Rae and asked how she slept at night. I told her she was a great sleeper and always had been. She then asked how I’d got her to sleep through the night when she was a baby because she was trying to get her baby to sleep through and before I knew it I’d made up this story about how I did it. It wasn’t really a lie, it was just Maggie who had done the hard work not me. You’d have thought I was the next Jo Frost with the story I gave her (that’s Supernanny to those who don’t know). The more I talked the more I thought ‘There’s no way I can go back on this now and tell her I adopted her’ so I just had to keep answering her questions as if I could work magic with babies and had done with Rae.
As she gets older she will look more like me with facial expressions and mannerisms. I’m already noticing certain expressions that she’s picked up from me, namely the face I pull when I’m trying to get her to stop hitting the TV with a toy. I tell her to move away or I’ll count to three and come and get her, and she gives me this look, sticks her tongue in the side of her mouth and puts her finger up (not the middle one yet) as if she’s counting for me. So far she has never moved away willingly and I have to move her away again and again because she thinks it’s a game.
I’m definitely more relaxed out in public now than I was at the beginning. Last year I had to stay at my parents house to cat sit while they went to Ibiza (seriously!) and my brother and his housemate took us out for a meal. In the five minutes it took for us to get from the house to the restaurant Rae had managed to poo. I knew it would be pointless asking either of the boys to come and help me change her so went off to do it myself. I’ve come to hate those fold down changing tables, and Rae hates them just as much. Without going in to too much detail it was messy and resulted in Rae screaming and me trying not to. So with my anxiety levels already up I came back in to the restaurant to find we’d been sat on a table right in the middle of everyone else dining there. It was like we were on show. And there was no other babies or children present. Rae wasn’t in the best of moods after our wrestling match in the toilets and I was trying to keep her quiet so she didn’t disturb anyone (I’ve now come to the realisation that children are not quiet in restaurants and no longer worry about this). She then choked on a carrot stick and was sick down her dress and I decided we had to leave. The poor lads practically inhaled their food and drove us home. I did text my brother the next day and apologised for overreacting and I still owe them a meal. More recently I went for a meal with my sister and friend and it was a lot more successful. And it’s where I realised what a flirt my daughter is. She’s always loved the men, and literally chants ‘Grandad’ over and over when we are going to my parents house but she took it to a new level at this meal. There was one waiter that she took a shine to and would give him her best smile every time he came to our table. And I don’t mean just a normal smile, it was accompanied with fluttering eyelids and giggling. Even when he was just walking past she would be craning her neck to get eye contact with him, shouting hiya and even blowing kisses. I wasn’t even aware she knew how to blow kisses! Half of her meal did end up on the floor but I’m used to that now.
Just to update you Rae is still not walking on her own. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer because I’m not sure how much more my back can take. People say I’ll regret saying I can’t wait for her to walk but I genuinely won’t. And then I’ll finally stop having to hear the ‘is she walking yet?’ question, although I’m guessing this will be replaced with ‘is she potty trained yet?’. So to my family and friends who keep asking me – trust me when I say you will be the first to know as soon as she takes her first steps, but until then, and I mean this is the nicest possible way, please stop asking me!