Little Chick has developed a new, incredibly irritating habit of pushing on the stair gate at the top of the stairs. The stair gate is fixed so that it can’t be pushed open. However, the gate will not stay secure when it is partially opened by an adult then launched at by a sturdy little boy. In that instant, the parent will scream, the little boy will squeal, and the parent and health visitor downstairs will worry. Fortunately, we have a staircase with a landing after five shallow steps or it could have been far worse when a toddler takes a tumble.

The immediate tears that sprang forth from Little Chick were simultaneously alarming and reassuring. He was conscious, at least. He was visibly shaken, but didn’t seem physically hurt. All the same, we took him to our local minor injuries A&E.

Checking him in, I recounted the incident and mentioned that he was still in care (as we continue to await the adoption order). It was one of those moments when I felt like I was offering up his story without being asked for it and I felt like I was almost betraying him.

After just a few moments wait – much to Little Chick’s dismay, as he was enjoying playing with the Happyland rocket – we were seen. I repeated the details of the incident. Throughout, Little Chick was superb. He listened well, responded appropriately, and didn’t fiddle with too much medical equipment. In short, Little Chick demonstrated what a wee star he is. Coupled with his looked after status, it was obvious that the nursing staff developed a soft spot for him, confirmed when I was asked if Little Chick was allowed a teddy.

The Freemasons donated teddies to the hospital that could be dispensed as the staff see fit (or that was my understanding). It is a generous initiative by the organisation and a thoughtful gesture from the nurse, who then enquired what colour Little Chick would prefer. When selecting pink from the options (rather than blue, green, or yellow), the nurse double checked this with him. Little Chick repeated pink. The nurse then asked me if he was sure: I confirmed that pink was one of his favourite colours and he was sure. He wanted the pink one. Though frustrated, amid her kindness, it didn’t feel like the time to argue gender politics and plead her to let toys be toys.

On the way home, we asked Little Chick what he was going to call his teddy. Cathy. We were both surprised but touched by the choice: Cathy was the name of the nurse and his health visitor.

Cathy represents people who help us. Hospital and the medial staff can be scary, but, ultimately, people are trying to keep us safe and healthy or make us better. In a world where grownups can be unsafe and unpredictable, it can be tricky to convince Little Chick that these strangers are good people, allies, potential friends. But we must keep trying.

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