“Back?”, he asks, tentatively.
This is a reasonable concern for all small children, but especially for one with Little Chick’s start in life.
Since the Other Mrs Reed Warbler returned to work after adoption leave, we have worked hard each day to make it clear that while we sometimes go away, we always come back. We are vague on times (we can be until his concept of time improves) and try not to show our own anxiety or frustration when someone is considerably later than expected.
As his confidence has grown, Little Chick has started saying ‘back’ more. Now though, it is not a question but a statement. As he leaves the room he cheerfully hollers ‘back’, trying to reassure us that he will return shortly. He is considering how he feels when others leave and applying this to others. This is major. (I don’t have the heart to say that I’m not worried because I know I will bring him back if necessary and my only concern is what he’s going to do, usually look for food outside meal times or find a quiet spot for a poo.)
‘Back’ represents development. It shows growing confidence, deepening attachment, and newly found empathy.