DIARY 41: January - September 1990

21 January 1990

I haven’t written a word so far this year. There doesn’t seem to have been anything to say. Events in East Europe continue apace. The USSR has retaken the top spot on the telly news with civil war about to erupt in Azerbaijan. Domestic news has been rather tame of late. The Labour Party is a number of points ahead in the opinion polls. The ambulance men dispute continues. The weather has been mild. In my garden I already see a number of buds and shoots. The mahonia alone flowers.

I have spent most of the weekend with Adam. Yesterday we went to the Heath and then lunched here with Rob, Sophie and James. This morning Adam and I met up with Raoul, Jack and Sophie at St Paul’s. With both sets of children, I saw a new Adam. For the first ten or fifteen minutes he remained shy and withdrawn, in a similar manner to that I’ve seen for some months, but after that he loosened up quickly, and before long was happily playing and interacting with the other children. He joyously raced off in any direction leading the pack, quite oblivious to me and whether or not I was even still in sight (this in the park, of course, wondering round the City this morning, he couldn’t actually get out of eyesight without me panicking). Both Sophie and James and Jack and Sophie benefit socially from having each other and therefore one would expect an ease of being together; but it surprised me how easily Adam related to all four of the children, sometimes together and sometimes individually. I watched him both take up games started by others and originate new games. Moreover he was absolutely thrilled to be playing with the children, in a way different from his enjoyment of me or Barbara. I suppose I’m saying how surprised I am to see him a normal healthy social child, but why I should be surprised I don’t know.

I get so little feedback about children that I gobble up information from these meetings, just as I do from conversations with those of my correspondents which are parents. I find James considerably more advanced at 1 year 10 months than Adam was at that age; he talks well in many sentences and walks and runs without ever falling over. Rob’s Sophie has the most delightful smile and has taken Rob’s sly facial smiles and made them more impish. James in some lights begins to look quite handsome. Just as both of Raoul’s children seem to look like Caroline, so both of Rob’s children look like him.

Adam still needs a lot of embracing; but I don’t have any doubts about giving him as many cuddles as he wants. If he were at home all day long, every day with his mother, and seeing his father every night and morning, then he probably wouldn’t need quite as much reassurance; but he is being expected to grow up very fast, to take on the world quickly, and to support circumstances which are far from ideal. If he needs a little extra security from me in terms of cuddles, I am more than happy to provide it, so long as he is developing well in all other senses and isn’t using cuddles to escape from some aspect of daily living. Yes, in fact, I do refuse to cuddle him often when we are outside. It is not the security he is wanting, but rather to be carried instead of having to walk. It is quite possible to feel, to assess when he needs reassurance. This evening, when we came back from the morning out in the City, and the afternoon at my Mum’s with Julian and Sarah, and Julian, I went upstairs with Adam to the lounge, where Rolf was sitting. Usually Adam is very happy to play in the lounge, but this time he wanted me to come downstairs with him. He said it in such a way that I realised he just wanted to spend some time with me alone, probably since we had been with people the entire day long. Before breakfast this morning, Adam managed to place all 26 of the little alphabet pieces into their place in the puzzle he has. The puzzle says for children over 3.

I must nip downstairs to do the cooking for Rolf, Caroline and I. This sunday evening it is my turn to provide the meal.

February 1990

Paul K Lyons


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