These are some of the questions I’ve had to answer since the children listened to a tape of Sandi Toksvig reading The Story of Tracy Beaker:-
Q – What’s a foster mother?
A – It’s someone who looks after children when their own parents can’t look after them
Supplementary Q – Why can’t their own parents look after them?
A – They might be too poorly, or they might have died, or they might just not be up to looking after them for a while.
Q – What’s a social worker?
A – Someone who makes sure that whoever is looking after the children whose parents can’t do it, is doing a good job.
Q – How can Tracy Beaker not have a Dad?
A – Well, Tracy Beaker’s Dad left her Mum before Tracy was born. So he’s not around any more.
Supplementary Q – (from Hannah, in an incredulous tone) Can that really happen?
Well, what can you say? How can you begin to let in a little knowledge of the wider world without your children learning just how awful it can be?
I was always very anti-Tracy Beaker when I’d just caught occasional glimpses of it on the telly, as I think my children see enough examples of rudeness and undesirable behaviour in the real world.
But then the musical came on tour and a friend offered to take them to it – for free. So we listened to the original book, and I discovered it’s actually very funny, while also being sad and touching.
It does though, give them new ammunition when they’re furious with me for saying “no” to more sweets, another hour of telly, or staying up an extra half hour.
“I wish I had a foster mother and not you!”