Things I Keep Meaning To Say


1) Harry’s Statement of Special Educational Need has been funded to the tune of several thousand quid.

In practice, this means an extra lunchtime supervisor to keep a weather eye on his wobbles and any language-related play exclusion, and extra Teaching Assistant hours specifically to help him achieve his communication goals and assist him to access the curriculum where necessary.

Where necessary… ehhh. It’s a fairly moot point; this is certainly a level of input that he won’t be receiving for long. Harry’s Speech & Language therapist has, quietly and theoretically, mentioned service discharge. Harry’s pronunciation is still immature and hard to understand, and his sentences lack fluidity, but he is essentially – nearly – operating within the window of ‘normal’ for expressive language skills. (I occasionally almost feel sorry for parents who do not have the opportunity to watch their child do 2.5 years-worth of development in 6 months. Almost, but not quite.) There was never anything much the matter with his receptive language skills apart from some instruction-processing delay, but he was formally assessed for the first time at 3yrs & 11 mths during his last week of term, and didn’t do too badly, really.

2) The slight concern of Special-School Fabulous – who totally have been – is that Harry’s new teacher may, at present, not yet be able to see past his statement. They say that Harry, irrespective of communication status, is bright. And it really wouldn’t matter a buggery if he wasn’t academic in the slightest, but I will leave you to imagine the swellings of maternal pride, as well as the subsequent vivid dreams of Oxbridge Scholarship that their commendation has feverishly conjured up.

3) I expect by then he will recognise that wet pants = full bladder, because we’re not there yet. We have, at least, clawed our way out of the ammonia-filled Valley of Screaming Stress, and progressed from all-bad, distressed, defiant, River-in-Egypt, incontinent, appalling days – to having the occasional good day. We’re still not close to the near-complete success rate we achieved some months ago, and I’m still not quite sure why his toilet training all fell apart so completely, but I know very well where we ended up: a perfect example of the Strong-Willed-Child-In-Power-Struggle-With-Nagging-Parent case study I Googled. I had an awful epiphany of guilt, and promptly backed off altogether. Harry, Dictator General, was formally appointed ‘Wee-Wee Decider’ which went down big, and the topic is now, if not really mastered, at least a good-natured and relaxed one again.

I’ll settle for relaxed and carrying spare clothes, at any rate – but his new school sound a tiny bit thrown by Bladder Unreliability. If they only knew: it’s only in the last month or so that he has even considered tackling the indignity of wiping his own bottom, and he still has an only-comical-if-you’re-his-parent tendency to waddle out of the toilet, bend right over, and present his rear end for inspection/attention. Lookin’ good, Billy Ray!

4) He turned 4 earlier this month. It was a Pirate-themed party, at his urgent insistence, and there was, as you might imagine, a pirate ship cake. It is not my best work by any means, but I started off the night before his party at 8.30pm taking frozen chocolate fudge cake out of the freezer – and I was in bed by 1.30am. 

If you feel bad about your kitchen’s strewn mess, btw, here: this is my gift to your peace of mind.

The arse end of the boat – or, if you really prefer: ‘stern’ – rapidly began to de-coalesce from the main vessel, necessitating the tiny Playmobil pirate jumping into the shallows and wedging the whole edifice up with his hat.

Tanguerramama kindly reminds me that I also felt it necessary to sculpt a coin mould, and make fimo pirate treasure for party bags. I’ve never attempted fimo – or coin scupting – before, and it was a sharpish learning curve. I reckon I could make a considerably better go of it next time – which will likely not be soon, whereupon I will forget everything I learned this time around. Always the way.

While I was piddling about with fimo, I decided to sculpt a figurehead for the ship – as well as a few light cannon, a palm tree, and the ubiquitous treasure chest and cask of rum. She was the stuff of raw Viking nightmare for a goodly while – features are hard with an inch-long face –

but I eventually reduced her, avec colour, into a broadly acceptable Barbie lookalike.

 Harry deemed her ‘good!’, John said her boobs looked falsely pert. I explained to him that, if stuck to a ship at a 45-degree incline from the vertical, anyone’s boobs’d look pretty goddamn projectiony, actually.

I also found it entirely necessary to purchase a poster of Captain Jack Sparrow. How inexplicable.

Four. Four, damnit!

5) I have spent £70 on 3 polo shirts, 2 jumpers, a P.E t-shirt, P.E shorts, dark socks and a book bag, £28 on a pair of black shoes, and I have plimsolls still to purchase. Hot dinners, which they urge Reception children to have for the first half-term at least, as packed-lunch kids are left to their own devices significantly more, will cost £67.50 – although if he actually eats the meal, he can then have sandwiches for tea, and I will be saved from the spectre of cooking our family dinner for 5.30pm – totally worth the cash; John and I prefer to eat later, or we start heavy grazing in the kitchen again by 9.30pm. Aside from that: fucking ouch.

6) Consultant’s appointment was fraught with emotional complications, a good deal of which happened loudly in the car park directly afterwards. In short: again, with prednisolone. In place of intralipids, I am supposed to be drinking a couple of pints of full-fat milk a day, which the Professor reckons has the same effect. I have IUI meds in the fridge (now we have proved, even to my satisfaction, that IVF uterus-specific transfer confers zero benefit) but I am also in the middle of a 2WW, having recently produced hen’s teeth ovulation symptoms. Most unpleasant it was too; I think I have more cycles than actual ovulations, because on this occasion  – when everything did, unusually, point towards something Actually Happening – I felt like a bottle of shaken champagne, and was in a wretched mental and hormonal state for a few days.

7) *boomingly* Well, it can only get worse! Still, one thing drives out another, and perhaps the failure or success of the current cycle will manage to distract me from the fact that, very, very soon, I have to drive my son to his new, big, grown-up school, deliver him with faux-cheerful goodbyes into the educational system, and walk away, unseeing, from the gates, knowing that I’ve just lost a part of him that used to be mine. He’ll never be quite my own soul again, and it saddens me so. And the soul that should, that day, have been turning 24 weeks and viable… was also a boy, it transpired. A perfect, blameless, immaculate little boy. 

I find myself uttering that hoary old infertile chestnut: if I only knew what would happen, I could make plans accordingly. Try to achieve some closure. De-baby-clutter. As it stands, I’m despondent but durable, and I still have everything in my life prioritised completely towards children. Except my solitary child is growing up and away, and I will be going home to an empty house, no job, no money, and silence. Which, what with one thing and another, is likely to press heavy.


16 Responses

  1. …Feelin’ good, Louis!

    How much do I love you, for that and for everything else?

    A lot.

  2. Way to go, Harry! So glad that he’s embracing his inner Chatty Cathy. I hope the Wee Wee Decider will soon become the (by miles and miles) most benevolent dictator in history.

    I’m so, so sorry about everything on the reproductive front. I’m so sorry you lost your son. Much love, XO. May your new efforts be rewarded with healthy, full term success.

  3. I read somewhere that small children can only really do one bit of developmental neurology at a time. So while Master Harry was concentrating the power of his neurons on mastering this talking lark, the bladder development just had to go wait it out on the (soggy) back-burner. And I must come and see this talking variety of Harry. This talking FOUR YEAR OLD version of Harry. Tempus is fugiting for all it is worth. Bastard Tempus.

    The pirate ship cake is just too splendid for words.

    Two pints of milk=£1000000000’s worth of intravenous intralipids? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It had bloody well better be true. I mean, it makes sense, in a ‘we can get it for you wholesale’ way.

    I dislike ovulating. It’s painful and makes me so goddamn cross I’m unliveable with. Some months are definitely more ‘eventful’ than others, though, and yet, apparantly, I still have ovulated. Perhaps you popped two at once.

    And as for the beloved child who didn’t make it, how heartbreaking to know he was perfect. I am so sorry. Poor little mite. And you, oh dearheart. Long, long hug.

  4. Thinking of you. Admiring you. and the cake. and Harry. Do you have a suspicion on which side you ovulated-the one with the uterus of hope? Sorry that so much good news and sadness and hope are all happening at the same time. Hope the silence will also be soothing.

  5. So want to teach the twins that exchange from Trading Places.

    Your cake is fabulous (as ever). I am humbled by your greatness.

    I too struggle greatly with the transition to Big School. The twins are beside themselves, but they don’t start until next year due to our local council rules. I look at it as something unbelievably wrenching. The school did a welcoming meeting whereby they showed us photos of tiny people starting their first day of school, followed by their graduation picture at age 12. I came unglued. I can’t get my mind round them going to primary school, let’s not present evidence of leaving it on the other side.

    And oh, your loss. Oh how bright and painful. I am so, so sorry. As ever.

  6. That is a totally amazing cake! I am in awe.

  7. Ah, Ann, a boy. I am so, so sorry. How painful.

    And how exciting, how hopeful, how many are the other emotions you are feeling. So many to negotiate, so many gear changes.

    That cake is truly magnificent. One of your finest, surely.

    Milk, really? Bottoms up, eh?

  8. Lovely Mrs HFF,

    I’m not quite sure where to begin, or what to comment on first. I don’t want to miss anything out but in order of the things that strike me hardest- A boy, I am so sorry, knowing that makes it harder, doesn’t it? and- I wish I had the shape of that naked lady on the ship,



  9. I love the cake. I did similar one for Buddy, aged two. Arrrrrrrrrgh!

    Big scary school. I’m with you. Dee starts (gulp) first grade tomorrow.

    Big hug re: Lost baby boy.


  10. Excellent news about H’s speech. Very pleased about that.

  11. I don’t much know what to say.
    But I want to say this:

    Sweet dreams, Turbo. You may not be here anymore, but you will not be forgotten, sweetheart.

    Also, an empty house? I can come and make a nuisance of myself and demand cake… I can also throw remarkably polite temper tantrums if that helps, so you feel Harry is there… Although I will wear my trousers, if you don’t mind!

    Hugs, HFF. Hugs.

  12. If Harry has boobs on his birthday cake as a four year old what the hell have you got up your sleeve for his 18th?!

    Good news on the speech development and levels of brightness.

    Oh and I hate milk. Give me an arm full of mayonnaise any day.

  13. Well, I did actually high five the computer screen. Good for Harry.

    Love the cake. Love the barenekkidlady.

    And how hellish to know how close your miss with number two was. So sorry for your loss.

    Go milk and such.

  14. high five accomplished here, too. well done, harry. well done well done well done, mother of harry. well done.

    and where’s my picture of that poster, eh? even a confirmed, gold star lezzie like me entertains thoughts of crossing over for that particular one.

    i remain so sorry about turbo. he is not forgotten.

  15. I too shall be annoying you, on the days when Wombattwo cannot make it. You will be begging, begging for peace ver. soon.

    The news about Turbo is so sad my love. I am bereft for you.

  16. Happy Birthday to the Wonderful and Brilliant Harry on all of his accomplishments! And congratulations to his hardworking mum who ensures he has all of the advantages life has to offer, and then adds heaps of fabulousness on to that. Pirate cake AND bouncy gym? What a lucky boy. So were the blue waves frosting or firmo? The swirls of chocolate black in the turbulent sea look great, and I admit to blushing at the anatomical correctness of your damsel (although I don’t know why, since I tandem nurse my almost two-year old boy and 3 3/4 year old girl). In my opinion, you were spot on about the boob perkiness explanation–always works for my girls!

    I do mourn the birthdays the perfect turbo will not celebrate. A baby boy… Please be good to yourself. Your year has been a whirlwind so far and there is still a fair piece to go. (And milk, it does a body good, I’ve heard).

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