For creatures that are dependant on us lowly parents for everything from milk, bum cleaning, through to the low moment of them vomiting on you (and if you’re really lucky, aiming fire with said vomit directly in your mouth), babies and toddlers are also masters of knowing things they’ve not even had explained to them. What I mean by this is that they know exactly when you’re going to be parenting by yourself and therefore take it upon themselves to morph into complete nightmares from the moment you’re flying solo until the very minute Daddy returns and they suddenly behave like little angels rendering Daddy to wonder what the fuss is all about (note that I say wonder here, because if Daddy was stupid enough to voice this opinion he’d most likely get slapped).
To be fair to my children it’s not all their fault. Josh obviously has his challenges and that is a day to day thing that I’ve come to manage as best as I can. But some days are worse than others and everything for him is heightened meaning his tolerance to things is even less than usual and someone is gonna get it in the neck, usually me. And not even in the neck – it’s usually a whack to the face if I’m being brutally honest but again, it’s something I am learning to manage and do my best to prevent. Throw into the mix Josh being almost three (and let’s face it that is a pretty vile age anyway hence the phase “threenager” and the hell they give you if you dare give them their dinner on the wrong plate) and having a 9 month old who is teething, constipated and pissed off cause she can’t master crawling beyond commando dragging herself across the floor, well it all adds up and escalates to some pretty epic tantrums, meltdowns and usually tears from all of us.
Now I can’t entirely blame every tear on the children. Let’s face it even 9 months in to round two of motherhood, hormones are still flying around and emotions are often running high. Plus, it has been a very emotional time of late with everything that is going on with Josh and I suspect this month will get more emotional still. In just three short weeks Josh will undergo an observational assessment that will ultimately determine where he is on the autistic spectrum. Some days I can think about this and boss it; I am strong for me and for Josh, I can think positive about what the future holds and know that we’re surrounded by people who will support us Other days I crumble. I have a million questions going through my head; how will he cope with school, when will he start saying Mummy, will be develop a bond with his sister, will we ever get to a place where I’ll know his frustrations and be able to nip them in the bud and prevent his meltdowns. There are a lot of unknowns, a lot of things I cannot control and a lot I need to learn still.
With any child the future can be unpredictable but with a child who is autistic it’s even more unpredictable. I am naturally a rather highly strung personality. I worry a lot, I cry at everything (dog food adverts anyone….) and my sensitive soul gets hurt more than my gob shite persona lets on. The worrying though is the worst for me. In short I am a nightmare for worrying at the best of times, so in a circumstance that involves my children it’s ten fold. I worry about Josh’s future, which I can’t predict, I worry about Holly because I fear she too will struggle and quite frankly I don’t know I’d cope with that. I worry that she might not be doing everything she “should be doing” by now – you’ve never seen someone obsessively trying to teach an 8 month old how to wave like I am. I worry about Holly and Josh bonding and forming a relationship like I see other siblings their age doing.
And then, right on cue, I feel guilt for drawing comparisons and for wasting my energy worrying. Because realistically, every ounce of my energy needs to go into my little people. They might have the impressive psychic powers that instruct them Mummy’s going to be flying solo for a couple of days and therefore they must be non napping, food throwing shit bags but this Mama doesn’t have the same impressive future seeing skills. Because in all seriousness none of us know what the future holds.
I fear I’ve digressed somewhat here but as any of you regular readers will know, I just write as I feel. I use it as therapy I suppose. It’s much like the whole solo parenting though isn’t it – you don’t always know what’s going to happen. You kind of have to adopt the fly by the seat of your pants persona!!! You have to think positive, hope for the best and if it all goes to pot then resort to the fail safes (which are Postman Pat and Pom Bears in our house)!
Some days being a Mum is all a guessing game, and that’s very much how I feel most of the time. With a child like Josh, you don’t know how things are going to be from one day to the next, you just kind of figure it out. You do get through those challenging days even if you don’t know how sometimes.
But I know how – because you’re an amazing Mum. And so am I, worry wart and all.
So if you’re reading this and losing the plot following a bout of solo parenting, rest assured you are doing a cracking job. Get yourself some cake and reward yourself with surviving the day! We got this Mamas.