Mummy and Daddy have a special cuddle… And a couple of weeks later when two bars appear in that little window, Mummy is well and truly incarcerated by guilt. In fact, so all consuming it is, I think we’ll add a capital G. Guilt. With a squirty cream topping of worry.
Suddenly, you are startingly aware that you might just not be up for this job. A pregnancy full of decisions about cheese and prawns, and whether you should drink at all, or a touch. A little tipple. Should I have kicked that wheely bin? Got stressed about that something or other (life pre babies fades into insignificance). I don’t know how long I’ve spent agonising over whether to buy a separate bathroom and kitchen cleaning spray, given that both are there to deal with the aftermath of food production. But what if one doesn’t clean enough and one child gets listeria or something? Guilt. Guilt. Worry. Worry.
It’s all a bit time consuming, doing this. You never win, common sense and logic rarely win out. I know for a fact that it’s something that bonds us as mothers. But there’s an extra layer with having a child with complex needs. Therapy.
Rufus is a good host. He accepts visitors regularly. Physiotherapy. Play therapy. Speech and Language therapy. Sensory Integration therapy. And we embrace it, given that we know Rufus has potential, it just needs a lot, and I mean, A LOT, of repetition. He’s a happy wee soul, but happiest if we all just naff off and leave him to an old biscuit tin of pound shop treasures and In The Night Garden thankyou very much. But I have to try and force him to Engage. (Trekkies, I hope you like that). He duly pushes my face out of his, and does all his best work when I’m not looking.
And Dulcie is getting in the way a bit. She cottoned on to the fact that I have
wasted invested two and a half years in trying to get Rufus mobile, and has made it her mission to achieve ‘blink and she’s licking the door of the oven’ tactics. She is more than mobile, she is relentless. And fearless. And in a room full of toys, she employs a needle in a haystack room sweep to find and stick, well probably a needle, in her mouth. Short of attaching velcro to a sleep suit and employing a bell jar large enough to stifle the yells, there’s not much I can do. Plus, I’d feel Guilty.
So therapy, well, I try. But I have to find that time between feeds, and naps, and appointments. And guess what? Will 30 seconds do? And it’s usually fought through tears, both Rufus’s and mine. Guilt. I’ve been known to sit by his hospital cotside at a loss as I just calculate how many hours of quality therapy time we’re missing out on. Given that at the time he’s either flipping out, or idly batting a flashy toy, he just needs sleep therapy. You know, a good old kip. But it’s easy to forget that. Daft right? Logic, flew out of that little double barred window too.
And you know what else? What I feel Guilty about for thinking? Therapy is Dull. Dull Dull Dull. Repetition, again. It’s not like I’m hothousing him and being rewarded by massive leaps in improvement. It’s spotting the minute moments of recognition. A flicker of understanding, and then pulling on my last shred of sanity and pulling out the pompoms and handstands of reward (I can’t actually do handstands. Hope you feel Guilty about that Mum). I’d far rather do fresh air therapy. Swing therapy. And so would the boy. It involves a lot less velcro for a start. So velcro for one child handy, for another, complete pain in the arse.
Somehow, therapy or no therapy, our days are full and yet somehow not. The balance rarely tips to let me know I’ve done right by my offspring. So I’m learning to Let Go. I mean, who’d have thought Rufus would actually start babbling? He likes to give the nearest packet of wipes or reflective surface a good “bah bah Vah Vah duh duh”. And I don’t remember them ever endlessly point at themselves and say “Ma Ma”. I wouldn’t be surprised if his first formulated word is “Wy Puh”. But by god I would cry.
You might also be asking yourself “how is she writing this mid afternoon when she’s just told us she’s so very busy?”. Well, that’s all thanks to home respite via the Lagan’s Foundation. Which I should be using to do nothing. But the Guilt won’t let me.
And just so you know I’m not alone on this, seems like there’s a lot of us thinking about the therapy guilt. Probably because it’s sunnier outside, so we’re all doing a lot more “walking to the supermarket therapy”. So delve in to some other posts here;