Conversations with my girl – Sunday baptisms

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We’re all in the car driving out of the church car park and heading to a large conference centre for some baptisms that were planned after the service. As the baptisms were taking place in a swimming pool the church planned a family fun day at the same time so that the children could all go swimming too.

“I so excited to go swimming in the special swimming pool, Mummy.”
“I know you are, Darling. You haven’t stopped talking about it all day!” I give my husband a sideways look. We both laugh.
“Although, Sweetheart, you won’t be able to go swimming straight away.”
“Why?”
“Because there are some people that are going to be baptised…er…” I struggle to work out how to explain baptisms to a four year old so my husband interjects.
“There are some people who are going to get in the swimming pool first because they want to tell Jesus and everybody else that they love Him so much and are really thankful that He loves them too.” Gosh, I’m grateful for his straight forward way of explaining things!
“Oh.” She says. “Mummy?”
“Yes?”
“When I a grown nut I want to be bap…… er?”
“Do you mean baptised?”
“Yes.”
At this point we’re feeling so emotional that she would want to make such a public declaration like that.
“Oh Darling that’s lovely. Why do you want to be baptised?”
“Because then I get to go swimming first!”
Can’t stop laughing! 😀

Conversations with my girl – Father’s Day

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“Mummy, why it’s Father’s Day?”
“Well, do you remember that day when we went to the restaurant for lunch, then went to feed the ducks and you gave me a special card and yummy breakfast in bed?”
“Yes.”
“Well, that was Mother’s Day, or Mummy’s special day and now it’s Daddy’s turn.”
“Mummy?”
“Yes, Darling.”
She smiles and grabs my arm to bring me closer.
“You’re the best mummy the whole entire word and I love you such a lot!”
Oh! My heart is melting! :’)

Our Superhero Baby

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I have a cold cup of tea in my hand, my breakfast cereal is sat in a bowl on the kitchen counter untouched soaking up the last drops of milk and the toast is still in the toaster from yesterday morning. It can only mean one thing – we have a baby in the house.

He arrived on a lovely warm evening in Spring last year weighing a hefty 9lbs! Now ten months old I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to dedicate a post to him (or maybe I can when I consider how much sleep he doesn’t allow me!) Since arriving in our family he has been an absolute joy. His sparkly blue eyes and jet black hair give him film star qualities whilst the sleepless nights and dirty nappies bring us closer to reality.

Now, I know all parents believe their children are special. And they’re not wrong. All children are special. But we like to think our little boy is ‘extra’ special. We discovered how special he was becoming at our twenty week scan.

I was determined to enjoy this pregnancy after being pregnant with my daughter. It’s not that my daughter’s pregnancy was difficult or complicated by any stretch of the imagination. It was just being pregnant for the first time was a shock to the system, and I didn’t particularly like being ‘fat’! But this time round I knew I was capable of getting back to my pre-pregnancy figure as I did after my daughter, so I was making the most of flaunting my beautiful growing bump with tummy hugging clothes and was very excited about the forthcoming scan on 2nd January 2014.

The ultrasound department of the hospital was a familiar place to me. I’d been a few times during my daughter’s pregnancy for the standard twelve and twenty week scans, but they found some abnormalities with her kidneys so I had to have another scan at thirty-two weeks. Thankfully everything was fine and she had no problems with her kidneys after she was born. I felt they were just being extra cautious which is probably the best way to be with an unborn baby.

It was thrilling to see our wriggling, moving baby on the screen in the corner of the room. The sonologist struggled to get decent pictures because of how much the baby was moving which we took to be a good sign, “Baby’s got to have plenty of energy to keep up with it’s big sister!” my husband cooed gleefully. We could see baby’s strong heart beat moving rhythmically even before the sonologist pointed it out to us. I felt like I was on cloud nine. It hadn’t been the first time I’d lain on that bed in the ultrasound room since my daughter had been born. I’d been pregnant twice since but had unfortunately miscarried both times. So I was drinking in every moving image of this beautiful, living creature growing inside of me.

At the start of the scan the sonologist was reasonably conversational, talking us through the examination and the different parts of our baby he was checking. At one point I noticed he’d gone quiet and hadn’t moved the transducer (probe) from one part of my tummy for quite a while. I decided not to worry too much. I understood he was probably just concentrating as it is quite a complex examination, so I made small talk with my husband. Soon I realised the sonologist had called over a colleague to ask for a second opinion about something. They were speaking in hushed tones and were avoiding eye contact with me. That was when I realised that potentially something could be wrong.

After a while the sonologist turned to me and smiled. He spoke in a light-hearted way, trying to cover up any concern he may have had about the baby and told us in ‘layman’s terms’ that there was a part of baby’s brain that should be a sort of square shape but instead was more rectangular. This of course meant very little to us. I badly wanted to believe him when he said, “I’m 99.9% sure everything is fine.” But he was talking about my baby’s brain. It was hard not to be worried.

He referred us to a consultant and after a series of ultra sound scans, mri scans and meeting various different doctors and professionals across the country, on Monday 10th March 2014 our precious little unborn baby was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Lissencephaly and Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum. The prognosis wasn’t good: seizures, developmental delays, physically disabled, mentally handicapped, limited life expectancy…

Understandably the news was difficult to take. Just like all parents, we had dreams, plans and ideas for our baby’s future: mountain biking with daddy, running round and playing with his big sister, enjoying school and one day maybe leaving home and starting a family of his own. Suddenly, in just a few words all those dreams seemed to be taken away from us. A new, unexpected future lay ahead.

I remember one evening soon after we’d received the news, my husband and I were sitting in the living room in quiet. My husband broke the silence, “You do realise what you’ve got growing inside you?” He had a serious look on his face that I had learned in our ten years together was his way of hiding his laughter and he was about to say something utterly ridiculous. I responded sarcastically, “A baby?” “No.” he said, “I’m pretty certain it must be a superhero!” I laughed curiously. He carried on,“Well, he doesn’t have his corpus collosum? Pah! What superhero needs one of those?! And all those folds and crevices in the brain? Only meagre humans need those. Yes, I’m certain. You’ve got the next Superman growing inside you.” He then carried on looking at his computer with a look on his face that I knew meant he was suppressing his laughter. I smiled and began to laugh.

Yes, he was right. Our little boy is a superhero. Superheroes save lives and our little boy has saved us from a ‘life less ordinary’. He’s made us think about the world and life differently and given us a life of extraordinariness. We have no idea what the future holds, but then, who does?

I can’t say that learning our child has profound disabilities is ever something that I will come to terms with or ever fully process. However, ten months in, I’ve certainly learned to take each day at a time and take joy in WHO he is rather than what he can or can’t do.

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Our happy baby boy!

 

I recently read this by another mum of a special needs child which I found helpful:

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

 c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

Little Girl Talk: Kenniscoots

20141204_192508Splashing and playing in the bath…

Little Girl: Daddy, I need kenniscoots!

Daddy: You need what, Darling?!

Little Girl: Kenniscoots! You know…. (she thinks for a few seconds) kenniscoots!

Daddy: I have no idea what you mean, Sweetheart! Where would you find kenniscoots?

Little Girl: Erm….. in a boat!

Daddy: Do you mean a life jacket? Or a sail?

Little Girl: NO!!!! KENNISCOOTS!!!! (As if Daddy is completely stupid!)

She starts splashing her hands at her sides forward and back.

Little Girl: KENNISCOOTS!!

Daddy: Oh! Do you mean oars?!

Little Girl: Yes!!! That’s what I said! Oars!!

My husband the hero!

I came across this Thank You card today whilst I was doing some tidying up and was reminded of when we received it back in January.

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The morning began just like any other morning. My husband was up early to take the dog a walk and a few minutes later I would prise myself out of bed before getting a rude awakening of ‘MUMMY!!!!’ being yelled through the baby monitor. I was just getting myself dressed when my husband came upstairs and into the bedroom:

“Are you planning on going into the garage this morning?” he said to me.

I was a little puzzled and said,”Errrr, no! Why would I be doing that?”

“It’s just because if you were, then you should know that there’s a dead cat in one of your Pampered Chef boxes in the garage.”

“A DEAD CAT??!! Why on earth do we have a DEAD CAT in our garage???!?!” It was now looking like my daughter would be getting the rude awakening this morning rather than me after my sudden outburst!

As the story unfolded, Jonathan explained that whilst he was walking the dog he noticed a cat lying in the middle of the road. It was still trying to move and had clearly only just been run over. So he picked it up and left it on the grass verge. On his way back home he went past the cat again to see how it was doing and he realised that unfortunately it hadn’t survived, but he noticed it had a collar with a phone number on it. So he came home for a box, went and collected it and called the phone number on the tag.

I was now feeling a little ashamed about my outburst and realised what a kind thing he had done recognising the poor cat as someone’s beloved pet and not just leaving it carelessly in the side of the road.

The owner’s lived just across the road from us and, although they were clearly upset about the loss of their cat, they were very grateful to my husband for taking the time to call them and let them collect it that morning. (He’d even taken one of our dog’s blankets and covered up the cat to make it look like it was curled up and sleeping all cosy in bed! What a softie!)

A couple of days later we were upstairs bathing our daughter when there was a knock at the door. It was the cat’s owners delivering a Thank You card and some chocolates. I didn’t truly realise the importance of what my husband had done that morning until I read the card:

“Dear Jonathan and family,

We would like to thank you so very much for being there for our beloved cat Sushi in his final moments. We appreciate your kindness of going back for him and contacting us very quickly to let us know what happened.

We let him out every morning at that time and he was always back before we set off to work. We would have been very worried about him if you had not done what you did for Sushi and ourselves.

Thank you once again, 

Fiona and Nic”

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How to make a pregnant woman jealous!

We’ve just enjoyed a couple of child-free days this week while our daughter went to her grandparent’s for a little holiday. We considered going away ourselves but decided that our time and money would be better spent staying at home getting some jobs done around the house preparing for our next baby’s arrival in a few weeks.

We still managed to get some time together and enjoyed eating out both nights without feeling guilty because we weren’t paying for accommodation as well as lovely meals! The only problem I have with eating out at the moment is that strangely enough at 34 weeks pregnant I have an alcohol craving! It’s not that I’m just simply missing wine whilst being pregnant (I had that when pregnant with my daughter so I know what it feels like) but I am genuinely craving wine, beer, sherry, vodka…. anything with alcohol in it I WANT it!

So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to be sat in a restaurant surrounded by people enjoying wine or beer with their meals, and then to hear my own husband order himself an ale!! To be fair, I can’t expect him not to drink just because I can’t, but it didn’t get any easier when he ordered the ONE thing I wanted on the menu but couldn’t have – the Duck Terrine platter (I could have eaten most of the things on the platter, but the terrine had liver in so there was no point.)

So there I was ‘enjoying’ grilled sea bass washed down with a glass of orange juice sitting opposite my husband digging into a Duck Terrine Platter and local ale.

Duck platter and a local ale

Duck platter and a local ale

Orange juice and Sea Bass...mmmmm?

Orange juice and Sea Bass…mmmmm?

 

I am literally counting down the weeks and days to when I am allowed a glass of wine… of course when that day comes I’m pretty sure the craving will disappear as soon as Baby appears!