Friday, December 21

50/52 "Helping" with the Christmas post


And so it is Christmas....

Yesterday we went to a wnderful Christmas party with Piccolo music. It did not take overly long before half way through Jingle Bells and I was fighting back tears as my daughter stared lovingly at the Gruffalo (sized suspiciously like a 4 year old boy) sat next to us. I am blaming it on a hormones, too many mince pies before 10am and the recent passing of what should have been Wriggles' second birthday if she had had the decency to arrive on time rather than three months early. I can't help it, I try, I've really tried but sometimes I just get caught unawares and it is like an enormous smack in the face remembering everything. It isn't so much a terrible way, it's more a bewilderment that all the hardship has lead us to this moment of joyful normality I never hoped to dream we could take part in.

So many times I have sat. By an incubator. By a cot. By a hospital bed. In the doctors surgery. In A&E. In an ambulance. In intensive care. In clinics, so many clinics. At the child development centre. The hospital canteen. So many tears I have cried, so many nerves I have wrung dry.

And yet.

What have I to show for it?



This beautiful face. This smile. These twinkling eyes. This full-of-beans-zest-for-life-loving this thing. And Christmas really brings it home. It is such a time of hope and joy, not to mention family and celebration. Last Christmas, Wriggles had no mobility and was not even a reliable sitter-upper at over a year old. She may still be yet to walk, talk or eat by herself but the progress she has made in a year is astonishing despite acquiring a diagnosis and tube. As this morning we sang along to our festive CD, she giggled like a lunatic and copied the actions, sometime with prompting and sometimes spontaneously. 

It is impossible to erase the past. It happened and really is a huge part of our lives. To some people it may seem like needless torturing yourself but really is it fair to forget? Especially when so many have trodden this path before, many with different outcomes, some happier, some sadder. At this time of year, as much as the celebration it is time to remember the babies who fought but were not so lucky, babies and children who were loved enough for a thousand lives but are not here now. We were so nearly them, more than once and that is why these little moments are all the more special for us.

Wednesday, December 12

49/52 Behold the festive...alpaca?


Now don't get me wrong, I like alpacas. I think. What isn't to like? A silly hair, woolly jumpers produced, not hankering taste for biting small children's fingers... the only umbrage I take with the alpaca, is that they aren't renowned for being festive. And that is where we met them, at a Victorian Christmas Fair. The only Victorian element I could possibly spot was the owner of the Punch and Judy exhibit, but nonetheless it was quite Christmassy and free and full of nice stalls. We had been to a Christmas fair the weekend before and rather excitingly met some real live reindeer. At this one, was a pen with three alpacas. Now , given it was Christmas themed, I cannot recall an alpaca in the Christmas story. Donkey? Yes. Sheep? Yes. Alpaca? Wrong part of the world I think. I wonder if they were aiming for camels but ran out of budget. However, Wriggles was rather keen on the alpacas and tried to throw herself over the fence so I will let them off. 


48/52 Momentarily angelic (ish)


Tuesday, December 11

Hard Work

Did you know, two year olds are hard work?

They are also funny, charming, smart, mischievous, sweet and affectionate*, but I would sum up our experience of being 2 so far as bloody hard work.

This might be the bleeding obvious. We've all heard of the "terrible twos" and know that choices=confusion=stamping our feet. But I've just got to write it down to remind myself. Not that I need reminding (I do own a 2 year old, with a personality so big I may as well own two), but I need reminding it IS the bleeding obvious for a good chunk of the day/week/month/year. Because sometimes it sends me barmy to the point I want to tear my hair out and reach for the Emergency Rum** as soon as 'Numtums' (9am showing) finishes, and it is very easy to forget that there are a lot of similar parents up and down the country all doing exactly the same.

It certainly isn't that I don't love my child. I do, of course I do. I love her every millisecond of the day. In some ways, I am peculiarly grateful she even throws tantrums-I nearly lost her on more than one occasion and her prognosis could be so much more severe that I feel I should celebrate every last scrap of life, foot stomping and all. However, in the rational day-to-day life, I roll my eyes along with the best of them and grit my teeth and count the seconds until bedtime and calm descends onece more. Because there is a simple truth we all know, that we have probably applied to many people throughout our life:

I love you all the time but that doesn't mean I have to like you all the time. 

But for some reason, this feels hideous when we apply it to those dearest, our children. Not like our children? Even writing it, the perfectionist in me feels aghast and I feel like squirming, not wanting to admit it. Maybe it's not that simple, it is more fragments of a phase that I don't like rather than a toddler. After all, it is actions performed by an immature boundary-pushing brain that I am perceiving with my adult and emotive-parent brain. But my goodness, it is EXHAUSTING.

hope  know Wriggles isn't on a one girl mission to send me mad. I know she isn't lying awake plotting how to press my buttons (because she is "singing" to her toy Hedgehog and is yet to multi-task). I know all toddlers do this, even the super-nice ones, so it is beyond me that I can't cope better. And then I have to think, yeah me and all the other parents. Because truth be told, even the most serene and kindest of parents with benevolence blossoming around them like a halo, even they get mad and exasperated. Either that, or I have a fabulously lax group of parent-friends. 

Not that that always helps when you are in the moment, the zone of toddler-warfare with your entire house emptied upside down around you and refused biscuits crushed into the carpet. But step back for a second (ie. put the kettle on, preferably without small person clamped to your legs) and breathe. I am finding two things helpful to think of whilst waiting for the water to boil at this point. 1. I was this tiring/irritating/incessant/repetitive/stubborn/single-minded once and 2. The only person expecting me to be Mary Poppins is myself; just getting through the day and trying not to loose my rag- that will do for today. And apparently read 5 MILLION BILLION SQUILLION stories and put the teddy in the box-but-not-the-right-box-oh-god-its-the-wrong-box-quick-where's-the-other-bloody-cardboard-box and patiently open and close and open and close and open and close the same door on the advent calendar whilst balancing an 11ish kg weight (otherwise identified as a child).

Would I have it any other way?


Probably not.

Maybe a tad less whinging (please).

Same again tomorrow then.....

*some of the time
**I haven't. Yet