Little Chick returned to nursery this week after almost three weeks’ holiday. He was nonchalant about returning, which suited us as we had expected full on resistance after nearly two weeks of just the three of us.

His night terrors worsened over the holidays, but seemed to tail off the past few nights. In fact, everything seems calm and well. The new year has started brightly and there is a sense of peace in our home.

I fear that will be short lived.

Next week we have our celebration hearing, where we attend the family court. It’s entirely ceremonial, but seems a good way of drawing a line under the official and legal process. It will likely be the last time we see Little Chicks’ social worker (though our own will be available for a few more months). So, it will be time for another goodbye for Little Chick, who has already been bid far too many farewells in his little life. Although I don’t think he will miss his social worker’s visits – I suspect our anxiety at having to appease another professional transmitted to him – I think it will remind him that he no longer lives with his foster carer. This is to be expected and his foster carer has been forefront in his mind over the festive period. But we will see her again within the next few weeks and he can be reassured that she is happy and safe, and he is staying with us.

But this will intensify another goodbye: this is the last working week for his nursery key worker. He adores his key worker. He has attached brilliantly. Their relationship is everything we could have hoped for, plus we like her, respect her, and find her easy to work with. Unfortunately, it has met a premature end as she has been offered a great opportunity elsewhere. Our delight for her is directly proportional to our upset for him.

We had hoped that his replacement key worker might be the one he had last academic year. It wouldn’t replace the outgoing worker, but might soften the blow. Alas, she is also leaving, just a week later (I’ll worry about staff retention later). So, hot on the heels of a reminder of loss at the court will be the disappearance of his key worker, his friend. I’m not entirely sure how to help him, how to make it better. Someone commented that he is a resilient little boy and will be fine. Yes, he is resilient, but because he has had to be. And that saddens me. I just want to protect him as much as I can and for as long as I can from the sadness of goodbye.

Edit (February 2019): Without wanting to jinx it, everything at nursery seems to be going well. His new key worker has been great. We hadn’t spoken to her much previously, but she has consciously made an effort to keep us informed and be available. We appreciate this. Little Chick doesn’t give her a cuddle in the morning when he arrives, yet. This may never happen, as it did with his previous key workers. But I think it may be a sign of him being more settled generally – at home, in life, and at nursery. It is also a positive step in terms of school readiness, when the staff may be more reluctant to offer cuddles.

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