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! 😀

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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! :’)

What my four year old daughter REALLY thinks of me…

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1.What is something Mummy always says to you? – Be kind and listen and play.

  1. What makes Mummy happy? – play time, tea time and bath time
  2. What makes Mummy sad? – Not going for a bath, or tea time (eating tea) or go to bed (I think she means when she doesn’t do those things.)
  3. How does Mummy make you laugh? – Being silly
  4. What was Mummy like as a child? – a Silly Billy
  5. How old is mummy? – 35
  6. How tall is mummy? –  (Puts her hand on my head – I’m sitting down)

8.What is Mummy’s favourite thing to do? – Be pretty.

  1. What does Mummy do when you’re not here? – nothing (!!!!!) (WHAT THE…..???!!) emphasis mine
  2. If Mummy becomes famous what will it be for? – Being good.
  3. What is Mummy really good at? – computering
  4. What is Mummy not very good at? – Not playing
  5. What is Mummy’s job? – washing up
  6. What makes you proud of Mummy? – being really really happy
  7. What is Mummy’s favourite food? – Spaghetti
  8. What do you and Mummy do together? – Write together
  9. How are you and Mummy the same? – Long hair
  10. If Mummy was a cartoon character who would she be? – Kate from ‘Kate and Mimim’
  11. How are you and Mummy different? – Eyes don’t match
  12. How do you know Mummy loves you? – happy and smile and kisses
  13. What does Mummy like best about daddy? – being kind and talk to her
  14. Where is Mummy’s favourite place to go? – Church
  15. How old was mummy when she had you? – 24 (Mummy wishes as that would make her currently 28!!)

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

 

 

 

 

 

‘It can wait…’ a piece of flash fiction by Heather Scott

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Lancaster. Middle of February. Miserable winter weather. Hattie Brown at home on a Wednesday evening, slumped on a cream, sagging sofa with felt tip marks scribbled on the arm rest and what she hoped was chocolate smeared into the upholstery. She stared past her ghastly neon pink ‘Mum in a Million’ slippers towards the end of the room, towards a full-on view of the small oak sideboard covered in inch thick dust, imprinted with tiny hand prints, and placed on it, a large flat screen television, smeared in something Hattie didn’t care to think about. To one side, under the huge bay window, an oak coffee table, hidden under a mound of Play Mobil characters, CBeebies magazines, several half-finished sippy cups of milk steadily turning into cottage cheese and a styling head doll covered in slimy play make up. Below it, the floor. Now, where was it? She hadn’t seen it for weeks. It was littered with tiny sequined shoes, a pink leotard, purple fairy wings, a wand looking worse for ware and piles and piles and piles of unopened mail, magazines, notebooks and to do lists. Yes, many to do lists. The fireplace, once a source of immense pride and beauty with its dazzling granite hearth, and polished oak surround, now yet another dust collector. The hearth, no longer gleaming but dirtied by heavy rain and hailstones tumbling through the filthy chimney like tiny pebbles dancing through a rain stick. And Hattie, hand deep down in the recesses of the sofa. The remote control, buried amongst crumbs, loose change, glittery hair clips and… something else… maybe a banana skin? Hattie wasn’t sure. With a huge sigh, she pulled the remote control out of it’s burial ground, pointed it in the optimum direction and switched the television on.

 

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!!

(Little) Girl Talk (previously known as Toddler Talk!)

10422175_10152863123098628_6408966506118892040_nI’ve had to start renaming these blog posts because at four years old my daughter is most certainly no longer a toddler. Particularly if today’s conversation is anything to go by.

Somehow she had managed to get a hold of my make up bag. I’m normally pretty hot on making sure it’s out of her reach but clearly hadn’t managed today. I was busy feeding my little boy and pretty much spent about 45 minutes coaxing, asking and pleading for her to give it back to me (I’ve seen the state if her toy ‘lipsticks’ and where she applies them, and wasn’t about to let her do the same to mine!!)

Eventually the make up bag was back safely in my hands with only a minimal amount of white eye shadow applied to her forehead and nose. “I just want to make myself beautiful, Mummy.” She says to me as if I was being so unreasonable wanting the make up back. So I explained to her that she has little girl make up she can use (which as soon as she received it, the pastel coloured glossy goo was hastily scooped out and smeared onto every inch of her new doll – everywhere, that is, except where make up is actually meant to be applied. “Mummy, I put make up on her eyebrows and nose because that makes her beautiful.” Uh huh. Yes, whatever you say darling….) and Mummy has grown up make up that she uses, I quickly added so as to confirm the fact that she wasn’t to take it again.

This then lead on to a whole new conversation:

“Mummy, when I a grow nut can I borrow your make up?” (‘Grow nut’ being her word for ‘grown up’ which is a darn site better than a few months ago when ‘grown ups’ were ‘dronuts’!!)

“Of course, darling.” (Little does she know that when she becomes a grow nut, I mean grown up, she won’t want to go anywhere near her boring old mum’s make up!)

“Mummy, when I a grow nut I do lots of things.”

“Yes you will. What like?”

“Like….. I drive a car!”

“Yes, of course you will.” completely shocked at the suddenly sensible ideas that were going through her head.

“I …… could teach children like Daddy.”

“Yes.” suddenly wondering if that’s something I should start to discourage now or a little later in life?!

“I ….. sing songs on the stage at church! Like you, Mummy!”

“That’s a lovely idea, darling.”

“Mummy, what else I do when I a grow nut?”

“Erm, you could buy a house!” with a smile on my face.

“Nooooo, Mummy!” she looks at me like it was the silliest suggestion ever. “Not buy a house, silly! I buy lots of TOYS and PRESENTS!”

Of course, darling, because that’s actually what grow nuts REALLY want to buy if we would just admit it to ourselves!! 🙂