Sorry I've been a bit quiet for a few days - half term.
Normally during school holidays I can find time for the laptop or the ipad, I'm now known for sitting with it on my knee while watching the box.
This half term there was a distraction that took up most of my poor wee brain.
One of our looked-after children got the independence bug.
It was always going to arrive, of course; it did with my own children and I think I remember well the days of wandering around the house wondering where they are and are they alright.
Then when they return home steeling myself not to show my massive relief. I'd get an Oscar every time for my over-casual "Is that you home?" while pretending to be washing up.
But it seems there's a different anxiety with one's foster children, at least for me.
The day before yesterday the child had enjoyed a day out with a friend. The friend's dad had taken them to the cinema then they had something to eat. Child was gone from 10.00am until 4.00pm. They were accompanied all day. No problem, absolutely no problem.
Next day I planned a quiet day in, so I let other half use the car.
Just after lunch looked-after (who is just turned 11) came up and said there'd been a text with an invite to meet a pal in the park on the edge of town, about 1.25 miles away. I can't desert a houseful to escort child. Risk check; if child goes alone...
The walk to the park is 90% safe, you only cross side roads except one quiet main road with a Pelican.
Until you get about 400 yards short of the park where you have to cross a crossroads. One of the 4 roads is split into two with a big triangular island at the point where it meets the main road, so it's a 5 way crossroads. No traffic lights, no zebra, no bridge, no halfway obelisk. It's a main road with two busy side roads joining it in either direction at the same point. The traffic is meant to be doing 30mph, but they've been allowed 40mph until just before the junction and most of them find it hard to suddenly drop 10mph.
So, no way, that's too big a risk.
Child not happy, feels claustrophobic, wants the rush of being captain of own ship. Feels anti-my authority, worried that a friendship is at stake, and the danger of being thought of as a baby.
I try to call other half to see if I can get the car back. No luck.
Child comes back to me and offers to scoot to the park provided I waive the requirement of helmet. How child thinks scooting across the junction would be safer is not disclosed. No, again.
I send text to parent of child's friend explaining dilemma.
Child returns with another idea; how about bicycling over? On own of course, no helmet.
What next? Borrow our neighbours Harley Davidson? Throw a leg over an unbroken stallion?
Rescued by the other parent who suggested they meet at the park in the centre of town which both children can reach using pelicans.
Child goes off with a cheery 'Bye!' and a little wave. A wave that spoke of going off alone. Heading out into the big beautiful world a great big step nearer being grown up, which is exactly what fostering is about.
Did I worry until I heard the front door about three hours later?
Do bears you-know-what in the woods...