I am continually impressed by how much Little Chick can express in just a few words. The economy of his language is astonishing and further highlights my own verbosity. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that in one word – a single syllable – and one oh-so-important punctuation mark he can say so much.


The exclamation mark is essential. It shows the ferocity with which Little Chick uses this word. It is a demand, a threat, a call to arms. But, frankly, it’s becoming a pain in the arse.

Motherhood can be amazing. Some days I wonder how I got so lucky. But other days it feels like utter drudgery and I find myself daydreaming about sleep and daytime TV (that isn’t pitched at under-fives). I feel like a servant to the tiny tyrant who has taken over our lives and our home. “Now!” is synonymous with this. “Now!” makes me feel shit.

As an adoptive parent, I think it makes me feel ungrateful too. Yes, motherhood can be mind-numbing and dreary, but I wanted it. I worked hard for years to get to this point, consciously prioritising it above everything else. It was no accident. But my sacrifices – minimal as they were – are nothing compared to what others in the ‘process’ have lost. Little Chick. His birth family. His foster family. And more besides.

Somehow Little Chick’s cry of “now!” has also become synonymous with loss. My instinct is to give him what he craves to compensate for the other intangible losses. But my head and heart know better. More often than not, “now!” is met with a “no”, “not yet”, “later.” Because that is the answer he needs to hear now, even if it is not the one he wants to hear.

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