Friday, 4 November 2016

A touch of genius

A couple of weeks ago, something strange happened.
I changed Littlest's nappy. You may not think that should be so unusual, but the fact that I had done so at his explicit request seemed a little odd. I mean, he wasn't even 17 months old, and he HATES nappy changes. Surely I had just imagined his communicated request?

Then the next day, he asked again. 'Really, sweetie? You want Mammy to change your nappy?'
Some vehement nodding indicated that I had deciphered his intentions correctly.

Huh. What a clever kid. He'd be potty trained before he could walk!
I mean, clearly I had a genius on my hands here. I tried to get him to fill in a MENSA application, but he insisted on attempting to eat the paper. Ah. No new understanding of the laws of physics from this kid then.

Hmm. Perhaps the new liners in his nappies were causing discomfort? But his skin was as smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom and he was perfectly content in a freshly lined nappy.

That was it. I was out of ideas. Maybe he's just bossy?

It took me another day, and another clue, to work it out. (No, MENSA isn't waiting on my paperwork either!)

He pointed to his nappy, then escorted me to the changing table.
'Is it nappy changing time? Yes?'
A fresh round of nodding, and now, some clicking.
'Oh! Click-click, here doggie! Don't worry, Mammy won't forget to wake up the doggie in the cuckoo clock on the way past'
'Bwuf Bwuf!'
'That's right, the doggie will say "woof woof", you're so clever'.

And it hit me. He is so clever. Clever enough to know that getting his nappy changed means calling the doggie to come out of the cuckoo clock and barking with him. Totally worth the cold breeze and indignity of the changing table.

I love that my kids are smart enough to outsmart me. But couldn't they at least wait till age 2 to do it?!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Shout from the rooftops

All parents are proud when their child enjoys preschool.
It means they're gaining independence. It means that you've chosen a fun learning environment for your precious offspring. Little One has been visibly excited to go to preschool each and every morning so far.

But today, he was audibly excited. Today he skipped over the threshold and shouted a 'Yay!' that was one of the sweetest sounds my ears have ever witnessed. I headed home happy, today is clearly A Good Day.

When I collected him from preschool, his teacher stopped me to have a quick word. When following some directions today, another teacher had said 'Hi' to Little One, and he made a darn good attempt at repeating it back. They were just as surprised and delighted as I was!

Naturally, he was rewarded with lots of play time on the way home. Want to push an immovable old piece of farm machinery? Have at it, genius! Want to hold open the school gates for a double-decker busload of kids? Why the heck not.

We played, we walked, I chatted, we signed. Then he remembered that there was still some honey lurking in the bottom of his lunchbox. As he stopped on the path to lick the container clean, I laughed and said 'Mmmm'. And then he smiled and said 'Mmmm. Om om om. Mmmmmmmm.'

Today is an amazing day. Ours is an amazing boy. Medical technology is an amazing thing.

Monday, 12 September 2016

My least favourite things

With sincere apologies to fans of the Sound of Music...

Car-fulls of vomit
And trousers 'round ankles.
Crashing the buggy,
The fourth time it rankles.
Clothes soaked in urine
All tied up with strings
These are some of my
Least-favourite things!

Muddy, wet jean legs
And hot plastic raincoats.
Cancelled appointments
For one of these wee dotes.
A hole in my handbag
From my wedding rings
These are some of my
Least-favourite things!

When the rain pours,
When the car stinks,
When the baby's sad,
I simply sing some of my favourite swears,
And then I don't feel so bad!

Friday, 9 September 2016

A wee dose of reality for a smug Mammy

One of those mornings. 

All the little jobs seem to take a little longer. Socks need to be turned the right way out before being put on. 

It takes three tries to put three yoghurts in three lunchboxes.

But spirits are high, songs are sung and we're finally only one light jacket away from getting out the door.

'Mammy! He's standing on the chair! He's WEEING ON THE CHAIR!' 

No worries. I've got this. I swing into action, calling out directions like an ER doctor in her element.

'Little One, come with me!

Little Lady, sing songs to Littlest so he doesn't get bored while we sort this out.

Little Man, we need pants, trousers, socks and shoes. Bring them straight to the bathroom please!'

Honestly, I only just stopped myself from shouting out 'Stat!'

And in a flurry of activity we were done. A clean, dry superhero was ready for another day of preschool. 

'Great teamwork,' I told them as we trotted along to school, 'we're not even too late after all that help!'

I wished them luck with spelling tests and dispatched many kisses and hugs. Little One trotted happily in to his friends and Littlest and I headed for home.

A quick tower built, a book read, and a load of washing into the machine. And finally, time for a coffee. Content with another good morning, I savoured it. Sitting comfortably, chatting with Littlest who was practicing standing up and sitting down by my feet. 'If I were trendy,' I thought, 'I'd probably consider this a moment of hygge. Still, my cup is empty and there are other things to be getting on with.'

I stood. 

And yes, it was at that moment I realised what had happened.

I sat in the wee.

I'm pretty sure George Clooney never had to deal with this!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Meltdowns and how to deal with them

I'm going to start with the TL; DR here.
Mind your own damn business.

It is that simple. If someone else's child is having a tantrum, or a meltdown, and they are not in imminent danger from, say, an oncoming train or tsunami, then back the hell off.

I promise you that the person dealing with the meltdown has a better idea of what to do about it than you.

With the best of intentions, it is unlikely that you will be able to help.

If your intention is merely to make a funny, funny joke along the lines of 'Uh oh, uh oh! That's not good, ha ha ha!' then perhaps you should take up some sort of hobby, as it would appear you have too much time on your hands.

Forcing a parent who is dealing with an overwhelmed, panicked toddler to actually acknowledge your hilarious remarks is not just rude, but utterly stupid.

The person dealing with a scenario you'd rather not find yourself in does not owe you an explanation.

So to the 'hilarious' man who encountered us at a low point this afternoon:
I could have told you that he'd had an amazing start to preschool today.
I could have told you that just being in a noisy environment is like running a marathon for him.
I could have told you that he desperately needed sleep.
I could have told you that if I let him go, he'd have run into traffic simply because that was the direction he was facing.

But it was none of your business. Instead, your amusing little interruption, a moment's distraction, earned me a rather painful bite on the back of my neck. So thanks for that, funny man.

What's really funny is that people like you are never around to see how his body relaxed instantly after I wrestled him into the sling. You weren't around when a newly calmed little boy inspected my scratches and tooth marks half way home and said sorry. And if you're lucky, you will never truly understand what it is like to be so utterly overwhelmed by your senses that you simply cannot cope.

But understand this - it was none of your damn business.
Next time, back off.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Life after 'switch on'

So we're about a month in with Little One's cochlear implants and we're still trying to balance the swings and roundabouts of it all.

An hour's concentration on listening games might mean no energy left for the travails of wearing trousers for two days. Nine or ten hours of unprecedented auditory input requires 12 hours of deep sleep, without which there will be thrown toys or raised fists or bared teeth. An elated message to Hubby 'He turned his head, he definitely heard something' must be paid for in tears.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy though and we're slowly settling into a routine for our current version of normal. Sadly, today both the swings and roundabout in our local playground were wet, so we headed for home after the school drop-off and proceeded to play with every toy in the whole house. Upending every storage bin, throwing every ball and knocking down every tower took us almost an entire hour and soon we found ourselves at 10:03 running out of activities.

Aha! Surely it was time for a snack? Little One brought me to the press where one might reasonably expect to find crackers, peanuts or other delicious savoury treats. Alas, there were only marshmallows there so we left the press empty-handed.

Next we spent some happy minutes colouring in the envelope intended to carry Little Man's school tour fee safely to school but our hearts just weren't in it. Suddenly, Little One hit upon an idea. He ran off, and came back with his baby brother's coat and a winning smile. Of course! We should take a walk.

With Littlest and me suitably attired and Little One insistent on his t-shirt, nappy and wellies combo, we departed. What a jolly walk we had. For the first 20 feet. And then, at the side of the road, an impasse. As I tried to continue around the corner on our Going For A Walk route, Little One waited patiently to cross the road for our Going To The Playground/School/Out Of The Estate route. Oh dear.

Little One: *points across road, smiles*

Me: 'No, I'm sorry. We need to go this way now.'

Little One: *points across road, smiles, nods*

Me: 'Later. We'll go there later. Let's go this way now. I'll race you!'

Little One: *shakes head, points across road, smiles, nods*

Me: 'But the playground is all wet! It's yucky. We'll go for a walk now and play later, after school.'

Little One: *points across road, signs 'eat', smiles*

Me: 'What the- ? Oh my goodness, you are bringing me to the shops to buy peanuts, aren't you?!'

Little One: *nods, smiles*

So right now, life can be tough. Each day requires more work and patience and calm and ingenuity than we ever thought possible. Each tiny piece of progress is fought for, and earned. There are days when the battle seems lost. But that cheeky little kid? Well, he's worth fighting for.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Hello. Can you hear me?

Hail slicing down
While under a tree
I wonder how much you can hear with me.

Does that pitter patter escape you still?
The running children's shrieks, so shrill.

Your hair still smells of sand and sun,
Warmed by an hour's playground fun,
While ice falls from a sky so clear -
It bounced on your hood then, did you hear?

I know right now it seems too much,
To hear and see and smell and touch.

Your shoes hurled furiously to the floor
When you simply cannot take anymore.

Your favourite hoodie rejected with rage
Its confines now feel like a cage.

Unfamiliar anger on that beautiful face
Relearning your sling is a safe, calm place.

Of course, fun times are still ours
Building high and destroying towers

Developmental listening games,
Learning to hear your very own name.

But this won't be the last day with tears
Because of your lovely, imperfect ears.
So for now we'll stay here, under this tree,
Where I can protect you, perfectly.