This week, Little Chick has been saying self. A lot.
Like much of his language, this word has multiple meanings. Generally, this has two distinct uses: self in terms of identity and self as an abbreviation of myself, symbolising his desired independence.
Little Chick has, or appears to have, a positive identity and strong sense of self. We repeatedly tell him he is special and, again, he appears to believe it. We say he is good. That is a given. He is inherently good. But we praise specific skills and traits. He is a good listener, following instructions carefully. He is a good helper, assisting us with tasks. He is a good friend, sharing and being kind.
In terms of our relationship with Little Chick it is incredibly early days. On top of that, he is only three years old. But we are keen to foster this positive sense of self as we are aware it may diminish as he gets older and especially as he becomes more aware of his life story. We want him to be proud of himself, of his identity, of who he is.
Little Chick is desperate to grow up, to be a big boy. As he becomes happier and more comfortable with us, he is also pushing for greater independence. We see this as a positive development, a sign of his growing confidence and his increasing attachment. Each day, each week, he is making such progress. Obviously, we are encouraging and nurturing him, but we can take no credit for it. That is all on him. His birth parents provided the genetic disposition, his foster carer sowed the seeds of his positive self-worth, and we will continue to water them and watch them flourish.