Little Chick has told me to go away three times already this morning. And I am delighted.

Admittedly, he only says ‘away’, but the meaning is explicit: back off and give me some room.

Occasionally, I worry that we are smothering him, from a combination of desperately wanting to attach and from him being overwhelmed by adult attention. Sometimes I think we do, and will continue to do so, despite our best efforts. But now he feels able to tell us to give him space and let him be. He is gaining confidence daily.

The first time he said it I was taken aback. I almost argued back. But I stopped myself just in time. It is important that he can express his emotions. We have been working on this with him and it would be churlish to censor him now because we don’t like what he is saying. I did make it clear though that a raised hand was enough to accompany his request. Pushing is unacceptable, because we use kind hands in this family.

‘Away’ symbolises Little Chick’s growing confidence and attachment. He is already asserting his own independence but, importantly, he is doing so safely in our family within our home.

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