It’s not quite 7am and everyone’s angry. That thing we got, that thing everyone else seemed to have but we didn’t, then we got it and it was awesome, it’s still lurking somewhere, still here, still a new part of our family, but maybe having a morning off.
It started with Izzy collecting me from my bed at 527am. We snuggled up and waited for the “wake up” light. The thing was present.
At 6am, wake up time alerted by the arrival of pink muted light, I tumbled in to the lounge to search for diamond shaped jewels. As a mum is oft to do.
At 602 I observed the thing grab it’s hat and gloves and slip silently out the door.
One glance at Freddie explained it all, the thing‘s sudden departure, the electricity in the air, the tense look on Harry’s face – we had a ticking bomb sprawled on the sofa and it was about to detonate.
Freddie has a new fixation. It’s his birthday list. People have asked him what he would like, he’s told them and now we are trying to manage his expectations. Because Freddie has those ASD traits, life is black and white for him. If you ask him what he’d like for lunch and he says pancakes with bacon and maple syrup don’t be making pikelets with butter and jam. Do you see what I mean?
So when Freddie says, in a tense voice that I didn’t immediately pick up on, “Grandma’s getting me the Camel Back and you can get me…” I cut him off with a light hearted (foolish) reply – “No, Grandma’s got you something else. I’m getting you the Camel Back.”
What the Dickens’s was I thinking? Had I lost my mind? Temporarily, yes I guess I had, but only for a split second, then my life flashed before my eyes, as the road train that is Freddie jumped in to fifth gear and prepared to run me off the road. I think there was a scream of “Take no prisoners!”, then before I knew it the road train had rattled past, a door slammed three times and I was left shaken, but still wondering where those diamond shaped jewels might be hiding.
So for us it’s about constantly being on the alert, weighing what we say and how we say it. But we’re not perfect, so far from perfect. We forget. We forget, and all hell breaks loose. We wonder why, we turn on each other, we lay blame and point fingers until eventually the knowledge resurfaces, we reset, repair and on we march.
So old Freddie has retreated to my room, to watch the Fire Safety DVD he got at school last year. He’s watched it possibly 100 times and can speak with great authority on the matter. Watching this allows him to find the black and white he craves. He’s retreated to a place where everything makes sense and nothing changes. His own place of peace where his thing lurks.
It’s now 725am and I feel calmer having got this out. Freddie feels safe in his cocoon. Miss Izzy is tucked up in bed watching Sophia the First eating her breakfast (now when I say “Miss Izzy is tucked up in bed watching Sophia the First eating her breakfast”, what I actually mean is ” Miss Izzy is tucked up in bed, watching Sofia the First, eating her breakfast”. Miss Izzy actually would be happy to watch Sofia the First eat her breakfast, she really loves Sofia the First, but that isn’t what she was doing). Harry has made a second cup of coffee and is emercing himself in my book – The Transgender Child. The thing has let itself back in and is quietly hanging it’s hat and gloves up, ready to reenter our lives.
This isn’t how I pictured family life. I would have been horrified to imagine my kids with “TV babysitters” while I tap away at my device. I’m not the mother I thought I’d be. I thought I’d be better than this. But what I’ve learnt about myself is that – I’m only human, I have flaws and fragility. I can’t be everything to everyone all the time. And that raising two, dare I use this term – special needs kids, is challenging.