“Shark!” cries foster toddler, and off we go with the actions for the world’s most popular sea-based viral video.
Baby Shark is just what our 18 month old youngster loves: bright colours, smiley dancing people and all over in two minutes ready for the next distraction.
The YouTube hit from South Korea made the digital music charts over Christmas when our own children (all in their twenties) came back home in theory to see us, but actually just as much to play with their latest foster sister.
Like it or not, Baby Shark (doo doo, doo doo, doo doo) was the go-to entertainment for all concerned. Foster baby was able to teach her foster brother and sisters (and their partners) the shark hand gestures and dance moves, while her usual adult carers hid in the kitchen with a drink.
The Christmas season can be challenging for troubled youngsters, and for many older foster children it can be a very difficult time, particularly if their parents can’t see them for whatever reason.
Our baby’s mum only has a visit with her child for an hour or so every two weeks, and we can only imagine how mum’s Christmas was without her daughter. Baby’s dad is around, however, and met her several times during the holidays and furnished her with some lovely presents.
But most of baby’s Christmas was with us, and we found she coped very well with the chaos. She has a short attention span, possibly due to some of the circumstances in her early life, but she also loves other people, so initially her presents were of far less interest than the new playmates all around her.
The relationships between foster children and a foster carer’s ‘real’ children are covered extensively in the training we receive. It can be easy for one or the other to feel diminished or singled out: maybe a troubled foster child receives a lot of attention, or maybe the ‘natural’ sons or daughters are treated more favourably by grandparents.
But older foster children themselves often look back and say that this is one of the most important relationships as they grow up – a sister or brother who makes them feel part of a stable family.
And in our family, and perhaps a little to our surprise, our own grown up kids have loved and thrived on the experience of having a baby brother or sister at a time in their lives when they can be either daft or responsible in their company.
Our daughter’s fiancé was particularly helpful, as to our delight he brought along a baby shark CD as a Christmas present, which foster baby now asks to hear virtually every day.
So if you’ve had the pleasure of Baby Shark yourself, imagine how much fun it is to have doo wop and disco Baby Shark on tap. And the speeded up techno Shark too (d-doo d-doo d-doo). What a lovely gift. We’re so grateful.
For more on fostering in Sheffield see: www.sheffield.gov.uk/fostering