This weekend really has been hard-work! A brilliant day, followed by a difficult day. Let me share it with you....
What a lovely day. It’s been really hot, so we headed down the road to the seaside where we’d recently had a break with my mum and step-dad.
We didn’t tell Mini til we were almost parked; in fact, we didn’t have to tell him because he recognised where we were. We found a lovely spot, near enough to the car park and toilets, but no amusements, chip shops or ice cream vans for the kids to craze for.
Sandcastles were made, names and declarations of love were written in the sand, and seaweed was pulled off the rocks and heaped into buckets. Half the stones on our particular section of the beach were removed and heaped in piles by the groynes by Dollop. And Mini ran back and forth from the sea to various shallow holes he’d dug, so he could fill them with water. He worked out that the water drained down and probably soaked back down to the sea, so he kept running to the water’s edge to see if he could see ‘his bucketful’!
After playtime and a picnic, we headed to the touristy end of the beach for a quick ice cream. Then we headed home where we all chilled out and rested (some of us more burnt than others).
Total contrast. From the minute Mini came downstairs he was in hyper mode, completely unregulated. Nothing was right or good enough for him. He wanted every toy that Dollop had, and then discarded it the minute he got it. He disagreed with everything that was said or offered. He told little lies about all sorts of minor things. He had toddler style tantrums at every opportunity. He made demand after demand. We could tell it was just going to be one of those days.
Unfortunately, today was also the day we’d been invited to a Christening. Not just any Christening, but that of the son of our good friends, and the NC was invited to be Godfather. There was absolutely no question that the NC should and would go. Although not remotely religious, he was really chuffed to be asked. Much thought had gone into our gift too, and we had both been looking forward to it.
So we had to make the difficult decision of whether the children and I should also attend or not. Mini clearly was not in a state where he would be able to sit quietly – or at all – in a church for an hour. With little sense of danger, would he be able to make the short walk from the church to house on roads with no paths? Could he manage to avoid jumping into the deep deep, yet inviting garden pond? Could he stop himself from running down the long driveway into the road? With other children present, could he manage his feelings if he was required to share…a football? Some bubbles? Would he do what was asked of him? Would he show appropriate wariness of the many strangers who’d be in attendance? The answer to all of these is a massive NO!
With a heavy heart, the NC set off alone to see his friends, become a Godfather, and represent us all at the reception after. Our friends are busy people – he with a demanding, busy job, she with a new baby, so I’m not sure if they read this blog. We certainly haven’t been able to explain too much about Mini’s issues, because Mini is almost always there, and because well, it’s hard to explain things like this, especially to people you care about. So I don’t know if they understood our reasons for not celebrating with them, although I really hope they do.
But I do know that Mini would most definitely have struggled. To other children it might have been a great opportunity to run around and let off some steam, for Mini, letting off steam means kicking, spitting, punching and his latest trick – hair pulling, it means running around and around and around and around with no signs of slowing, it means getting worked up into another hyper state with no chance of self-regulation, it means mummy and daddy are constantly alert to every possible trigger. The mere fact that the NC’s attention would have been diverted for a few hours would have been trigger enough for Mini I think today.
So the NC went, Mini and I chatted over piles of Lego, Dollop napped. The NC returned, and the morning’s behaviour was repeated all over again. Mini is now finally in bed, only an hour late.
And now, there is gin. And a celebratory toast to the NC’s new Godson – here’s to you Baby Smiler!