For weeks I have been stressing about Gabe’s eating or lack thereof. I was dismayed that every time I left a room my lovely chilled out boy would shout at me, pleading with me to pick him up. He has been throwing toys and whacking me in the face. Showing his discontent. Letting himself be heard. Generally being a grand old pain in the backside. Cheerfully. Leave. On. A. Convent. Doorstep. Oh yes please!
It has been terrible. I thought this is the start. The rocky road (and alas not the cake). A glimpse of the behavioural issues ahead. But thanks to a very funny mummy, I realised what is going on here is far more commonplace. It doesn’t need to be filed in the “special needs” section of our family dossier. Gabe, it seems, is just exercising his right to be two and a half (or maybe 18 months given his delays and that he is prone to lazyarseitis).
It did get me thinking about how much harder are our lives going to be as a result of having children like this in them? Quite often we think every problem, every hiccup, is sourced to their issues. Yes, usually it is. But every now and again actually it is all part of being………well, a kid really.
Fact: all children are pains in the bums (some of the time).
It is true that life with a child with disabilities can be very difficult and emotional. But then so is life with children full stop. As a mother of three, I’ve got to say they all have had their moments in the sodding sun.
To prove the point, I’ve written a list of six annoying things that all kids do (or maybe it’s just mine):
1. You have to potty train them
Eldest son was your traditional bribe/reward with stickers and chocolate trainee (boys are easily led), but he did like to take his time with his number twos. Just got six more to go mummy, he would say as I moved the TV and deck chairs up to the landing. Eldest girl was a whole different kettle of fish. She just point blank refused to give up the pink princess pull ups and engage with a potty. We put her in posh pants and she would just hold on to her piddle for hours and hours until she actually burst out huge flood waters of wee usually all over the sofa or carpet (never the parts of the house with wooden floors). It was getting embarrassing at playgroup and nursery year was looming. Long suffering husband took matters into his own hands and spent a day facing her off. I opted for an imaginary important meeting at the office. It took him 10 hours and a lot of mopping but he cracked it. Hats off. He is a bigger man than me.
3. Moan, moan, moan
They like to moan and groan, and whinge and whine. Then moan and moan some more. Usually about food. What they liked yesterday, they don’t today. Over the TV. Around the table. Under the pink vet tent. He didn’t do this, she did that!! He said this and stole my doll, she said that and pulled my hair. Well I said be quiet and opened the wine.
4. They repeat all your secrets
You will learn the hard way not to say things around little ears. Oh yes you will *chuckling to oneself*. Never mind telling granny that you said you would rather go shopping than come to visit, or that Uncle Bill’s house smells of sprouts (to Uncle Bill; BTW your house smells gorg), they will show you up in all your petty glory. The best involved long suffering husband when eldest son announced to his group of friends one afternoon barbecue (I was hanging out by the stairs) that daddy didn’t want to play football on a Saturday anymore as no one would pass to him. He hasn’t played since (not even with eldest son who won’t pass to him either).
5. Clingy minginess
Once you have kids you will never move freely again. Every time you turn around someone will be there. Sometimes even in the dead of night a little face can loom before you scaring the crap out of you. I sniggered with my friend recently at another friend’s baptism. She was admirably trying to drink wine and have a gossip as she held her baby and had her two young sons holding on to either leg. It was very funny, until I tried to drink my wine and tuck into the buffet with two children fighting over my lap while holding my baby who was whacking me in the face.
6. They destroy things
Do you have a nice house with nice things and is your child still under one? Well enjoy the nice things while you can. Ho, ho! They are about to get systematically destroyed one by one. Bye bye colour co-ordinated kitchen accessories and wedding list dinner plates, hello plastic peppa cups and winne the poo plates. Blobs and crusty bits will become your friends and will sit beside you on the sofa. That nice shag pile rug, the one that looks lovely in the Next Directory, you know that was a mistake, right?! You pray that those squished black things that are stuck firm to the pile are squashed raisins, and you can shake and shake it (and shake it some more) and four loaves of crumbs will still fall out of it.
Don’t get me wrong. My children are ace. For every set of six annoying things, there are 66 wonderful items to be added to the list. You know that. However, all this musing and looking back to when my eldest two were small. made me realise that parenthood is tough. Whether you have a special needs tot or not.
Yes Gabe has his own unique set of challenges, but he is a good egg really (if you ignore that he has trouble with eating, speaking, and moving). For anyone starting this journey with a baby with development issues I would ask you to pause and remember that no child is easy. All are a bit of a punt and a gamble. All will, at times, make you cry with frustration and ache with fear. And their futures are not all guaranteed to be golden.
What I have learnt over the past seven years is that fortune does really favour the brave, children will teach you to start dancing in the rain, and while there is a shop nearby that stocks chocolate and wine, life will be just fine.
|Gabe says: “Pain in the bum? Moi! I think I am splendid.”|