He Can’t Join The Army

Agriculture starts with an A: so let’s start there. The BIL/SIL farm didn’t quite make the reserve they had set. They were attempting to sell a farm which has suffered mortally from floods and bovine TB, complete with a cottage and huge moneypit 18thC manor house in a state of moderate disrepair, in order to hopefully buy something larger, better situated, with a modern farmhouse that doesn’t burn such swingeing holes in the balance sheet. John and I felt anti-climatic afterwards; we were vaguely hoping they might buy somewhere nice near the coast where we could leave our battered caravan, reducing the linear mileage of our Towing Shame.

B is for Bar – which is where we ended up after the sale. We had arranged parental babysitters (C is for Cloud, which is what appears to be sitting over everyone’s marriages currently) for the evening, but in retrospect we should have made an early escape from the auction room to the pub. D is for diarrhoea, which I what I was obliged to scurry away from the bar to attend to an attack of, my son having kindly passed on his affliction of unknown origin.

E is for total fucking Eejit, which is an undeservedly kind label for the man that designed Warwick Hospital carpark. F is for Fit, which is what Harry promptly threw when we infringed his civil liberties by attempting to measure his height – when we finally arrived, breathless and carpark-stressed, at his appointment. G is for little Git, which is what I hissed at him under my breath, before realising the children’s clinic nurse could totally hear me.

Which brings us to H, for Harry.

Harry’s Paed appointment was… hard work. He simply didn’t seem to fully comprehend the nature of what I was describing. He clearly doesn’t see what we see (Harry walked beautifully in the clumsiest sandals I could find to put on him, damn him!) and we could discern his politely concealed scepticism. He looked less than delighted when I produced my list, but he’s essentially a cheerful chap and dutifully noted everything down. It was quite apparent to him that we were not accepting a brush-off, and the fact that Harry’s SALT had already referred him elsewhere for mobility assessment helped give our standpoint a little more gravitas. He then gave the little lad a thorough going-over.

The upshot: Harry has some hypermobility in his joints, which would clearly account for some of his wobbles and clumsiness. I can feel Shannon wincing from here, but he is thankfully unlikely to be suffering a very acute form of this condition – the Paed gave Harry’s joints a pretty intensive mauling about, and any extreme double-jointedness would hopefully have been rather more apparent.

John and I realised afterwards that we often feel his wrists and ankles click when we are rough-and-tumbling. However, I have today discovered that I can easily bend my own thumb back far enough to touch my forearm – and remembered that my pregnancy physiotherapist (obtained when my pelvic ligaments went ffffflllhhhhueeeurrrrppp [yes, it sounded just like that] at 20 weeks) called me ‘ever so bendy‘ (‘for a knocked-up total fatty’, was the end of her sentence that I heard being left unspoken) but, flexi-mother (and John was sorely disappointed to have an Officially Bendy wife who was far too complicatedly pregnant to DO BENDY STUFF with) genetics notwithstanding, there’s something more than some wobbly joints amiss here.

The Paed ordered a hip x-ray which we attended straight away – with a now-tired and uber-screamy toddler who thought being held down under the Big Scary Device was Not Nice, and signally failed to share his Mother’s amusement at seeing Daddy wear a tabard – but there was no-one around to interpret the results on the spot (hhhrumph!) so we’ll have to wait and see. We’re not expecting dreadful news; I hope we’re right. He also referred Harry for physiotherapy in order to try and work on his balance, which is the outcome I am most pleased about.

He lay flat on the floor to have a close squint and declared Harry’s feet to be flat as pancakes – I assume he meant even by the toddler-species usual flatfoot standard – and he thought some arch supports may be useful in correcting his gait. Which was missing the whole unsteadiness point by about a million miles – but we’ll give them a trial anyway.

He briskly dismissed our concerns about Harry’s height – 78.5cm – out of hand, as he is following his percentile. The 0.4th percentile. He noted his complete lack of clear speech, but didn’t linger on the topic.

I told him straightforwardly that I was absolutely convinced Harry had taken a neurological knock during pregnancy. He told me that he could see no subtle markers to suggest such a thing, although he did ask me again about Harry’s assortment of strange tic-like repetitive movements I had earlier described to him.

I can’t agree with him. I just can’t. But neither am I particularly wound up about it, because I think the question is currently of academic – and parental – interest only. We got our x-ray. We’ve obtained some physio input, which will surely identify that Harry has Issues, and help to overcome them. We have a comprehensive home assessment due this month, which will presumably be done by people who can spot Wobbles when they see them (and have Clever Solutions up their sleeves, probably called More Physiotherapy). We’re not discharged. I’m happy with those results for the time being.

Our next-door neighbour, R, dropped by today to enquire how it had gone. She is a darling neighbour, a senior anaesthetist, and her daughter is Harry’s Godmother. Hubby is a GP, which is awfully reassuring when it’s a bank holiday weekend and you have a tiny, tiny, tiny baby who coughs, coughs, coughs. As we stood in the doorway and watched Harry slowly topple forwards into a plummeting nose-dive off the caravan step – a nose-dive which we agreed any normal toddler would at least have attempted to correct – she told me that she is convinced that low muscle tone is actually where Harry’s balance problems stem from, and, having read around the subject this evening, and given myself neck-ache from nodding furiously, I am certain that she is right. Mild trunk hypotonia with a judicious sprinkling of hypermobility and a soupcon of toddler-judgement FAIL would be a diagnosis I could totally get on board with. Perhaps a small prize would be appropriate for the first medical professional to formally give it?

Harry, of course, thinks his falls are absolutely all par for the course, and has IN NO WAY (and oh, dear God, how I wish that I had more emphasis available to me here than coloured bold capital italics) learnt to exercise more care, take things slower, look where he is going, or avoid blatantly unstable surfaces. He blunders straight into, over, under and through everything in his path with blinkered, Light Brigade determination. He is not one of those children who, injured, retire cautiously into immobility. He is, it seems, his own best physician as he ceaselessly patrols his little world, searching vigilantly for virgin ascent routes to the bookcase / worktop / fridge / dining table / woodburner / desk / windowsill summits. The only direction he wants to travel in is Up, and he lets nothing short of plummeting, blood-letting disaster hold him back.

And sometimes not even then.

Toddler bloody lip

However all these issues work out, he will plough on, utterly regardless, following an agenda that is entirely his own.

I like my son.

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