It never just rains but it stains

Do you ever have one of those days when everything keeps falling on your head? No – just me then! Today every time I opened a cupboard something dropped out and either smothered me (wardrobe – two jumpers) or broke my toe (bathroom cabinet – shampoo bottle). I dare not get the hoover out of the under-the-stairs cupboard as I get attacked by plastic bags bursting out to say “boo” like those rubbish puppets on ghost trains (I really must remember my reusable bags in the supermarket).

Do not even get me started on the kitchen cupboards where jars and tins are stacked precariously shunting themselves forward at every opportunity like auditionees in the queue for the X-factor. It is getting hazardous. I think it is time to address my slovenly ways – I can’t carry on like this.

I am not even sure if this has anything to do with having a child with additional needs or just life with children in general. But there is no TIME. And certainly no TIME for window dressing and frills (ie. cleaning). If there is ever a spare ten minutes I can’t be wiping down the skirting boards (does anyone?), as I have to manipulate a two-year rag doll body into positions it just does not want to be put in. The mopping is put on hold to fill in the mountains of paperwork that come with a boy like mine anything from equipment grants and DLA forms to repeat prescriptions and food diaries.

Then there are the times when he is ill. When Gabe is in crisis mode, life carries on around me like it is taking place under water. I see it and hear it but it is muffled. Things are done on autopilot but the important things are done. I can still read my oldest two a bedroom story even if the littlest member of the family is ten miles away in a hospital bed and my heart is breaking. I can still feign excitement about a forthcoming school trip when a clock (bomb) is ticking in my head for the latest blood results for muscular dystrophy, metabolic disease, brain disorders etc etc! I even walked a 26-mile walk for charity as my wee man lay at home vomiting/wasting away – disease related malnutrition in its worse grip.

When I come up for air after the crisis has passed, the first thing I do is look down and think “hey who ate Gabe’s mum and left this fattened fool behind” and then I survey the wreckage. Neglected friends, unpaid bills, strange foods lurking in the back of the fridge (so that’s what happens to mushrooms!)

But enough is enough. Things have been stable for a while now (sshh – I can’t say that out loud. Sod’s law might be listening). I need to get organised and pretty fast as my lovely friend is coming to stay for the weekend. After the initial euphoria of having a comrade to drink wine and gossip with, my thoughts turned to the house. The house that is still standing from the battlefield that has been life since the arrival of Gabe two years ago. But only just! There is a surface cleanliness-there has to be I have people from the NHS visiting weekly- but all I can say is don’t open a cupboard. We can give Total Wipeout a run for their money.

My friend won’t care of course, but she comes from a world of no children. Where you put down a item and it stays there until you come back and retrieve it. It doesn’t end up in a Hello Kitty bag, never to be seen again. Her house is tidy, uncluttered – she has nice things that stay nice. And there are no stains.

Stains are starting to define my life. I think, if this doesn’t sound too slutty, the stains are what make me different from “normal” mums with “normal” kids. I have too many stains in my life. Let me explain before you gag and log off:

  • I painted my toes a beautiful deep red a week or so ago and a splodge landed on my unpainted finger nail. After all the effort of doing my feet (they have to be nice as I need to take my shoes off at Gabe’s nursery), you are probably wondering why I could not go the extra yard and wipe off the nail stain. But no my brain doesn’t work that way anymore. The nail stain is still there reminding me every time I pay for something in the shop or wave hello to someone that I do not quite care about my appearance as I once did.
  • Anyone with a hypotonic child or child with feeding difficulties already knows about the stains. The smudges, smears, blobs that go everywhere – especially if said child thinks it is cute (it is to a degree!) to blow raspberries while mouth is full of food. I have them on my TV screen, floors, walls, doors – little speckles everywhere in fact. You see Gabe hates food but will dance a little with carrot and sweet potato when the moods takes him. So they are not just any old stains – they are neon orange radioactive-style stains. And I can’t see them anymore. They are my blind spot. That is until someone comes to visit (usually mother in law) and then of course all the orange stains flash before me like I have just switched on the Christmas lights.
  • It is not like I can even wash these stains away properly as Gabe has eczema and we are long-term plagued with the ineffectiveness of non-biological washing powders (I don’t care what the adverts say you might as well rinse your clothes under the cold tap for the use of it). 

    Washing our gear with his means that we all look like we love wotsits and wiping our hands on our clothes in equal measures (long-suffering husband especially looks good in his white work shirts). 

  • Gabe is also sporting a bit of a TOWIE look (a mahogany tan for the uninitiated) at the moment too as he has gone and got a bizarre condition called carotenemia (from eating too many carrots – the irony for a boy that does not eat). Therefore he is the ultimate stain. He does rock the David Dickinson look though.

End note: Lovely friend has now left and if she was appalled by the messiness of my abode she passed no remark. She did look slightly horrified when oldest son sprinted up the stairs after her on the last day and said he was just going to wipe his wee off the toilet seat for her and make it nice and clean. Chivalry is not yet dead.

Gabe says: “Just topping up my fake bake!”

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