Can’t I Use My Wit As A Pitchfork?

Hello! Anyone still here?

I was last seen making a wedding cake. Happily, the cake itself was munchable, consumed at a gratifying rate, and thus I wasn’t precisely displeased with it… yet vaguely grieved that the finished article had not turned out exactly according to the picture in my head. In my aesthetic defence, not very many wedding cakes are A) constructed to withstand a 100 mile journey in the back of my car and B) made without a single structurally bracing currant/raisin/sultana.


The weight of the cakes militated against a trial-stacking of the tiers with all the icing damage risk inherent in that process, so I didn’t realise quite how zigguratty the middle tier was until I actually got there and… yeah. This is interesting to no-one except me, correct? It was edible. Everyone important seemed pleased. Call it a B-minus pass!

Harry and hotels mix badly in our imagination, so  we towed the caravan down and stopped in Wellington Country Park. I’m not much of a one for forest campsites, generally – my primeval lizard hindbrain likes to spy predators coming early – but this was a collection of In The Night Garden-like sunny glades, which was really very pleasant indeed. Our particular pitch boasted a fallen tree, which served Harry as boundary marker, climbing frame, racetrack, horse, garage, and balance beam. Entry to the adjoining park was free to campers, and Harry certainly had our money’s worth out of everything.

Highly recommended for active Smalls, but take either a packed lunch/bank loan for their cafe.

The wedding was lovely. Just lovely, lovely, lovely. I felt so privileged to be there and we had simply the nicest time. Harry was, broadly speaking, quite well-behaved –  although his single episode of screaming, spitting, kicking meltdown, during which he was escorted (‘Mind your backs, folks!’) to the quiet front garden, did manage to rather discombobulate some of the older children, one of whom asked me, wide-eyed,

‘Is he… OK? He looks like he’s about to be…’ she backed away a little, eyeing his retching, lawn-punching little body with barely-suppressed horror, ‘really sick!’

It’s fair to say that Harry’s behaviour has taken a distinct dive again recently; linked uncleverly to some unusually late and disturbed nights. I’d forgotten quite how tricky it is to subdue a small yet resourceful Ultimate Fighting Champion angry toddler into a car seat. My specs were 10ft behind me – in the road – where he’d kicked them off my nose, he had an iron grip on both the door frame and the car, his feet were drumming all over my face and chest and God help me if I strayed within reach of his teeth. I used to get this on an almost daily basis, and while I am enormously thankful that his communication skills – and hence, his temper – are so much improved of late, I was depressed to discover that he’s now 6 months more developed in strength and cleverness. I’m worried that one day soon, I may not actually win.

The school holidays are a mere week away, and I was curled into a tight ball of misery at the thought of EIGHT long weeks of NO School Fabulous. Jesus God. What to do? What to DO??

Answer: bugger off, get a job and let some other poor sap worry about it.

In answer to the prayers of both my husband and the Hairy Exchequer (synonymous), I am going back to work. In what has been termed the laziest career move ever, I am going back to my old job part-time, except it isn’t actually my old job because the original organisation went bust earlier this year (my foreseeing this inevitable event was a core reason for staying on maternity leave forever) and has now been bought by a chap with whom I always got on well. The industry playing field has shifted substantially because of this liquidation, but the goalposts in terms of my role are in the same relative position, so I am hoping it won’t be too much of a shock to my poor 3-years-off-work system.

I am being deliberately vague because A) the (tiny) industry in question is inextricably meshed into local and regional politics as well as B) being a focus of the local media – who, thanks to the MAD awards, know exactly who I am, and that I write this blog. I have no intention of writing anything defamatory about the clients – even in the unlikely event of my wanting to: I have read Dooce, thank you! – but I am a little squeamish of the thought of sitting in a meeting with a bunch of awfully professional suited chaps who have been reading eye-popping details about my undercarriage.

You know how it is.

I am officially Not Sure how the childcare thing will work out this side of September, when Harry settles into 15 hours a week at pre-school. I have pulled him out of the local daycare centre for various cogent reasons, so Mum is having him 2 days a weeks for the short-term and John’s mother is having him for at least one day a week; I can also get work done during the evening when John is home. Of course, that thing called Harvest is rapidly approaching and will trample over absolutely everything time-wise. We’ll figure it out, I expect, and New Work understand very well about Harry and are happy to be flexible.

I am still playing happily with my stationery business, and it keeps me nicely in pin money (unfortunately, I spend great-big-knitting-needle money. Harry has expensive tastes, you know.) although I will likely never set the world alight with it. I am off to a fete tomorrow and spent most of Monday in a Birmingham hotel getting quite ridiculously excited over a preview of my new Christmas stock. Don’t groan!

How does one end blog posts when one hasn’t precisely finished, but one actually wants to go to bed? Ah. A fullstop. Like this>.

Lots of Nutshells

Once I have fought my groggy way, clutching my coffee, past the agony that is Waking (a confused and prolonged event involving small Tiggers, CBeebies, and the lusty blast of a 99p descant recorder that some abject fucking fool keeps forgetting to hide from the said Tigger) I spend my mornings feeling chirpily wide-awake, inspired and bloggyfied-up. I could write reams in the morning. By 8pm, when I am free to type uninterrupted, my Get Up & Go has slunk, shame-faced, off to bed and is snoring GnARrkKily with its mouth wide open and its chins wobbling. Lookin’ good, Billy Ray!

You must also factor in the fact that Harry had an awful tummy bug this morning, and I am waiting apprehensively for the first sinister flip-flop of nausea.

 There. I have made my excuses in advance.

Thank you so kindly for your bountiful MADS nominations. I haven’t aspired to much beyond avoiding arrest (both literal and cardiac) lately, but I would be ever-so deliriously pleased were I to actually make it onto… (intake of breath)… a shortlist. I am seemingly the proud possessor of nominations for Blogger of the Year, Funniest Blog, Best Baby Blogger, Inspiring Blogger, and Best Blog Writer – the typing of all of which makes me blush rosily, because I naturally feel that I am none of those things.

This does not prevent me being repulsively greedily acquisitive over the prizes, though, and the shortlists will be a highest-number-of-nominations-type-thing, so if you feel like pasting into any of the categories… then I shall only mutter ‘Oh, please don’t give yourself any trouble!’ once, (quietly) before politely holding open the bloggy door and beaming at you.

Given that the UK have just kicked off a general election campaign (US readers please note: our election is on the 6th of May; the campaign is a single month long. One. Month. It is quite a sufficient time to slog it out. And if your news programmes become clogged up with our political frivolities – which they won’t, because why should you care? – then be consoled by my jubilant approval, in the nicest possible way, of the poetic justice. Your election, despite being an interesting one, killed me.) I shall add a word on tactical voting: the long-suffering organiser of this whole shooting match non-competitive bit of lovely bloggy fun is naturally full of angst at the nominations for baby bloggers who no longer have a baby, precisely. I feel Harry is now a tad too old for me to have a proper chance at winning that one.

Which brings me neatly onto the small man himself. His Paed’s appointment went ok. Ish. Sort of a no-score draw.

I took some notes along so I didn’t forget anything; although esoterically abbreviated, they were broadly comprehensible to all. I mention this because at the end of the appointment, the Paed asked if he could have them to refer to when writing his clinic letters. If I get copies of referrals describing Harry’s behaviour as Bloody Fucking Awful, then I’ll know he’s cribbed it verbatim.

Anyhoo. He listened. He’s always been a damn good listener, even when he wasn’t concerned because he just couldn’t see in Harry what I saw. (Neither could many people, to begin with, so I don’t hold it against the chap.) In a nutshell, I told him that Harry still has no speech (he currently has no meaningful words at all, and only a small handful of stock articulations ‘dis’, ‘dere tis’), has great difficulty with his attention & listening, is a compulsive & high-energy fidget & climber, has behavioural meltdowns of epic & violent proportions, is continuing to mobilise unsteadily, and has senses that appear to be wired up curiously – and are becoming curiouser.

In an even smaller nutshell, he took me entirely seriously – no speech at 2¾ years old does tend to get people’s attention, I’m finally finding – and said that he was no longer the right chap to be looking after Harry – which I was expecting. His colleague (whom I am hoping I have never met, coz if she’s the random Consultant Paed I had a run-in with in SCBU when Harry was 11 days old then we are already Not Friends; I have now perfected the rant that I should have delivered then and didn’t.) is the School Fabulous Paediatrician, with a specialist interest in neurodevelopment. He said he would meet with her in the next couple of weeks and relay all the information I had given him: she will then see Harry herself, probably in a classroom setting.

He did a particularly good job of not actually criticising his previous locum colleague for referring us, last appointment, to a paediatric psychology service that does not accept pre-teens. He explained that upon being made aware (by me) of the error, he had referred Harry to the child development service instead, for the multi disciplinary assessment that we were keen to have last year. I had, in fact, already heard a rumour to this effect; someone had spoken to someone who knew someone who had seen Harry’s name on the latest waiting list. Harry’s ex-Portage worker had been musing on the wisdom of referring him herself, some months ago, but had decided that an early referral would not necessarily shorten the wait.

Because that, right there, is the issue. The inevitable wait. There are hordes of kids backlogged, awaiting assessment, consequently, until they’ve turned 3, they’ve nary a hope of being seen. The multi-disciplinary assessment is the Thing To Have, you see. The various agencies have all changed their names so dizzyingly often that even the Paed was using old terminology, but essentially, a MDA is an in-depth look at a child’s quirks and capabilities, involves every appropriate professional service, be it psychology or physiotherapy, and results in an Individual Education Plan. Which is all fine and dandy, but I want it now, not in 6-12 month’s time. I asked him if a private referral was possible, but I think the sheer volume of disciplines involved makes expediting it impossible. He is asking the question for me. 

All I can do in the interim is highlight the things that Harry is not currently receiving any input for to his new Paediatrician when we see her – which had better be soon, or I will kick off sharply. Things need to be put in place: pronto. Current chap agreed with me that a epilepsy-type protective helmet for Harry would be a very useful thing to have, but I think I’m supposed to take that up with New Woman. He was very interested to hear that School Fabulous’s physiotherapist had already taken an informal look at Harry and proclaimed him to be Officially Unsteady (ummm… hooray? At last?!) and definitely needing supportive boots and possibly also a lycra suit for stability – but again, I think New Woman is going to be in charge of getting physio started, as she is already working on a daily basis with the physiotherapist in question.

I talked about an MRI. I talked about dyspraxia. I talked about ataxic cerebral palsy. I talked about Sensory Integration Disorder. There was, significantly, absolutely no squeaking of horrified accelerating chair-wheels from him this time.

In a final nutshell, he told me straight – as my medical friends have told me before – that a formal diagnosis is something that they will give only if and when they are able to do so – it is not what they are necessarily working toward having. They want to treat his function first, and worry about what label they’ve printed out for him afterwards.

I do see their point. I hate it, and I want answers for his difficulties about as badly as I want to breathe, but I do see their point: struggling to figure out the Why makes zero difference to Harry’s professional input at this stage.

I know all this, yet I’m fighting to keep down panic. I am struggling with an immense, crushing sense of urgency because I feel that we are losing time. Harry’s brain will only soak up information like a sponge for so long – anything he should naturally assimilate now, and can’t, will be so very much harder to learn later on. Study after study after keeping-me-awake-at-night-googling study has strongly (like: worry-type ‘strongly’. Worry Lots. Worry NOW.) linked language disorders to stunted academic achievement and, more importantly, psycho-social issues. I’ve already had to let go of some of the expectations I came into pregnancy with (happily including death, obvs.); I’m not ready to give up all the vicarious aspirations I have for him yet. I have a visceral urge to fight. Fight hard. And… I can’t see the foe.

Harry is developing wonderfully in some respects – his makaton signing and eye-contact is improving by gazelle-like leaps and bounds, and his understanding is demonstrably light years ahead of where he was at Christmas. He keeps remonstrating with me for saying the incorrect thing, for heaven’s sake; he’s undoubtedly smack-bang on his right age for receptive language skills. But not a word can he say, not a bloody word, and his sensory quirks are seemingly gathering momentum. He has started to taste, lick, and press his open-mouthed face against everything from tables to books. He is increasingly demanding that we – or anyone – apply firm squeezing pressure to his trunk in the shape of continual, continual, continual hugs. He is revolted by every imaginable scent. He is increasingly touchy about removing his coat and shoes, and clutches them to him desperately. He constantly chews his fingers, and rubs his gums until they bleed. He is still pressing his head into the floor and holding it there, spinning around in circles, and ‘windscreen-wipering’ his eyes back and forth.

These things are frightening me. They are the sort of spectres that the combustible bundle of beautiful gelignite that is Harry, could become extinguished by. I want these to be meaningless toddler phases, not symptoms of a disorder that could swallow him. My gut (which has yet to suffer an ignominious failure of insight) tells me to worry like almighty Buggery Fuckington and Seek More Help; utterly alarmed out of all intestinal countenance, not by any single developmental difficulty or potentially ominous quirk, but by the sheer multiplicity of them.

And now, now, I’m stupidly agitated with pounding heart and rapid breath, and my brain looks like this
Wordle: Tonight's Thoughts

and I need to remind myself that there’s a nihility of action-options open to me at 9 at night during the school holidays. I tell myself: we have a new Paed who is supposedly rather good with heads. Let’s meet her. Soon. Tell her how I feel. Learn more. Explore all the options. Keep Calm. Then panic and freak out.

Anyway. I was describing our Paed’s appointment. He gave Harry a sticker. Harry likes stickers, and beamed winningly, before recommencing Operation: Frantic Departure and swinging off the Dr’s coat hanging on the door. 

This is likely the last time I will encounter the chap, so before I left I made a point of offering my hand and thanking him, again, for being there to save my son’s life in the very small hours of that memorable August night when Harry stopped breathing.

[There were three doctors present who struggled to stabilise Harry (a particularly difficult intubation, one of the Registrars later told me) when he turned very critical indeed. One was black as the beautiful African night, the other was – I believe – Pakistani, and the third was a Sikh. And that, among other equally heartfelt reasons, is why that fuckwit Griffin can bite me.]

On a slightly more up-beat note: whilst reading all the hoo-ha about the new iPad earlier this week, I suddenly had a primordial vision regarding the exciting potentiality of touchscreen interactive devices for people with special needs. I kid you not, I felt as if I’d just birthed a new theory of relativity that even explained gravitational motion in uniformed aunts. Really keen observers might have seen an cartoon light bulb flashing above my head.

When you’ve finished pissing yourselves laughing at me – I’m always late to parties, btw – tell me if you happen to know anything pertinent about pre-schoolers using an iTouch successfully? By successfully, I don’t necessarily mean figuring it out. I left the room for a pee earlier to find on my return that Harry had rummaged out an interactive kids’ disc, opened the tray on an external hard drive he has never seen used, inserted the disc, and clicked past the welcome page. In-between vomits, this was. He also turns the TV on, selects his own DVD if permitted, opens the tray, loads it, presses play… want your new hardware installing? Harry’s your lad. I suppose I mean: successfully showing an appreciation that it is not entirely a toy. And not killing it stone-cold pricey dead by dropping it. 

School Fabulous are keen to start Harry off on PECS and the thought of lugging the folder about had been depressing me hugely; although I know he’ll pick the system up beautifully, it’s not an attractive option in practice. I’ve seen the future and I want one.

Can we come and practice on yours?

Delayed Eviction

Thank you for your lovely words and kind wishes.

I’m still here. I feel tired, wretched and poorly, and haven’t the energy to do anything after Harry-wrangling except stare listlessly at the screen before heading toward another early bed, into which I collapse like a mighty tree-trunk afflicted with Dutch elm disease, oak leaf roller moth, red band needle blight, great spruce bark beetles, AND savage axe-wounds.

I saw my lovely consultant in her lunch hour yesterday, for which I had to pay, as my pregnancy was officially Nothing To Do with her NHS clinic, which evidently has a waiting list of Horrendous. I haven’t had a bill yet, but I feel she’s worth the dollar.

‘That’s really NOT fair!’ she exclaimed, when I told her it was all over bar the shouting. I nodded vehemently.

I wasn’t really expecting to discover anything on the scan. I didn’t seem to be very far along, I’d been bleeding and cramping heavily, and my peesticks had gone awful faint. Strictly speaking, reading them within the recommended time window, I was absolutely and totally un-pregnant.

Consultant has never scanned me before, so I have to give the lady full credit for the lightning-like speed with which she oriented herself, and instantaneously announced that the pregnancy was ‘definitely, 100%’ located in my right uterus.

‘Score one to me,’ I remarked, drily, marking on an imaginary scoreboard.

(It’s doing exactly this sort of thing that earns me a reputation for being exceedingly odd.)

I have an 8.2mm sac still in residence in Cameron, albeit empty of any sign of life; the several areas of echogenicity previously flagged up as likely adenomyosis were obstinately lurking in there too. Blair has produced its usual decidual reaction and, despite the heavy bleeding to date, there’s a helluva lot more of it to come. Awesome.

Consultant thought that Cameron looked like a ‘fabulous’ uterus, especially now she is significantly increased in size post partum. I was obliged to pull a face and inform her that my son might vociferously disagree with her.

Back in the office, she announced that – and I can’t do justice to her wonderful accent and exclamatory intonation – ‘I have made my decision! I would like to put you on heparin and aspirin. Straightaway! From now!’

‘Oh! Erm. Good? It’s just… there’s this thing with my heart… I keep getting palpitationy arrythmia thingies which are probably nothing at all but they’re a bit… worrying. Is that going to be… ok?’

Cue much quizzing on what, actually, WAS the nature of the matter with my back-to-frontness – which I couldn’t answer, because I don’t know if it flows the wrong way around, is completely flipped, or just tangled and twisted around a bit. She said that a cardiology opinion was requisite, both in terms of how my heart weirdness is likely to affect – or, likely, not – my general health, but also in terms of conception, pregnancy, and my forthcoming laparoscopy. Once I’d seen a cardiologist, I should start anti-coags. I told her that my GP seemed pretty relaxed about it all, but that I was sure he would refer me if I really twisted his arm, whereupon she told me in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t possibly object, ‘he won’t even query it!’, that a cardiology workup was absolutely necessary, that I should look on the internet to find the best cardiologist locally and ensure I was referred to him, and that there would not be a problem, at all, with my GP.

I held my tongue. An appointment with my GP’s a tough gig.

I asked about our recurrent miscarriage investigations, which were done back in 2006. She scoured my records – I began to feel as if I was really getting my money’s worth around now – and elicited that my Factor 5 Leiden has never been done. My lupus has, but she arranged a repeat of the thrombophilias in any case, to be taken once the pregnancy has fully departed.

‘Lovely hormones!’ she remarked, peering closely at the screen. God only knows what ancient test results she was looking at, but my mood swings and chaotic ovulation would dearly like to call her out on that one.

She insisted, once she had seen my stubborn resident sac, on taking a beta HCG, despite my assuring her that it would be quite ridiculously low. If I had to put money on it, and judging from my intense study of the pseudo-science of peesticks, I’m guessing it’ll come back around the low teens. In any event, if it comes back below 50, I get to avoid a 62 mile round trip in order to repeat it. 

We talked about weight – again – and I explained that her scales had been pretty optimistic, to the point of actual inaccuracy, and that I actually had over two stone to lose. Bless the woman, she looked absolutely crushed with vicarious disappointment, and said lots of nice, encouraging things. I never got around to telling you that I’d had an absolutely lovely letter from her following the previous clinic appointment that had incensed me so much (upon re-reading that post, I see that I expressed myself about as badly as usual. My frustration was predominantly directed at NHS incompetence and my own sad inability to shed the pounds. I was, not very far beneath the indignation, crossly aware that I must, to my own detriment, have somehow snuck under her FAT! PATIENT! radar first time around, as opposed to falling a tragic victim of moving podgy goalposts.) emphasizing that there was now an increased anaesthesia risk (heart) and that she was absolutely confident I would be shedding the required weight in jig time. She said it all again, and was as sympathetic about the horrors of excess tonnage as a woman with a fabulous, gym-honed body can be, but let us stop this comparison woe. We agreed that Ann must diet.

So, I left, feeling rather thrown by the clinging sac and – particularly – the prospect of daily injections for rest of my child-bearing life. I’ve self-injected as much as the next addict IVF veteran, and needles hold no fear, precisely – I refused to use the cartridge-thing to depress the plunger, in any event – but I’m not precisely grinning about the prospect, either. However, I accept I’m presenting a reasonable case for pre-gestation anticoagulant therapy, what with 3 out of my 5 pregnancies being Surprise! ones – and I’m puzzled, in retrospect, why I wasn’t prescribed them during my troubled pregnancy with Harry.

Speaking of Harry, I arrived at his nursery to find that he was just as savagely grumpy and Totally-Coming-Down-With-Something as he had been during the morning, only now with an extra helping of exhaustion. He ended up a screaming thrashing heap on the floor 3 times between the school door and my car, located, due to School Fabulous’s nightmare parking, half a street away. Grappling with his struggling form in the middle of the road, in full view of about 25 waiting minibuses and taxis, I became horribly aware that the wanding of my cervi an hour before had provoked… tsunami. Convinced that I had just visibly miscarried the fluid equivalent of a entire bloodbank all over my trousers, I made a herculean effort and rammed a loudly-grieving Harry highly unceremoniously into his car seat before scurrying into cover in the driver’s seat. Surreptitious investigations revealed that I had, in fact, merely expelled a large quantity of ultrasound gel over my clothing instead.

Two hours later, I lugged a sleepy, hot, hysterically distraught and sensory-overloaded toddler down to the GP. He had some cream promptly prescribed for his eczema, which had flared horribly overnight; the school nurse had rang me to discuss the awful state of his lacerated back (Harry had attacked himself with determined nails earlier that morning) as I left the hospital, which didn’t improve my sense of self any. I then immediately presented Harry with books he hadn’t seen for a while to keep him quiet while I discussed the Heart Thing in peace.

It failed. The book ploy, the discussion, everything. Harry screamed so loudly I could barely make myself coherent, and threw himself around the room in protest. GP, as I fully expected, thought that my heart was Fine, and I was Fine, and heparin would be Fine, and my palpitations were almost certainly just Fine muscle spasms. I explained – I think I explained – that it was bugging me, and Consultant wanted it Looked At. He said he would ‘write to the heart people’ to arrange for me to be hooked up to a heart monitor for a bit – I assume, days? – and see what the machine made of my palpitty things, which are pretty frequent. He said ‘they might want to see you first’.

Gah. I know when I’m outmanoeuvered. And I probably AM merely another manifestation of GP’s ubiquitous Worried Well.  Harry was heaving on my hand with all his might, trying to remove me from the room, so I let him take me – returning only to grab a prescription for hefty amounts of codeine, which GP handed over like an obedient lamb. We came home. We both went to bed.

I picked Harry up from School Fabulous today – which he loves with all his toddlery heart – to find his little classmate lay motionless, unresponsive on the nursery floor. Some members of staff and his mother, a friend of mine, were crouched over him; she was calm, but I saw her pallor. I enquired, briefly, if I could do anything to help. She told me no, they were good, but that she wouldn’t be able to make our coffee date next week. An ambulance was on its way. The last I heard from her, 4 hours later, he was still in Resus.

I keep seeing his tiny, still form lying on the floor. His mother’s stricken face. As with so many of the things in this life that I wish I’d never seen, it reminds me that my own burden is not, comparatively, very heavy at all.

You’ll Never Know, Dear, How Much I Love You

Last night, I stayed up until nearly dawn writing a report that was 5 times longer than I’d originally envised it, detailing Harry’s… quirks… for his new nursery staff at School Fabulous (© May). I’m hoping his more adorable qualities will become self-evident to them, because I haven’t had space to talk about those. It’s… kinda long.

John and I took him to meet the staff there today (he banged his head three times in 30 minutes). There are four nursery staff, and currently only 3 other children doing afternoon sessions, one of whom we already know. It is, you will not be surprised to hear, a special school, catering for children aged 2 to 19, all of whom have special educational needs.

School Fabulous is a pretty cool place. Sensory garden, light room, soft play centre, hydrotherapy pool, huge indoor sand pit, areas for every type of play I can think of, and a playground strewn with Exciting Stuff. There are speech therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and nursing assistants, all visiting on-site.

The school is well-known throughout our county, as… THE special school. How can I put this? There’s a lot of parking for wheelchairs. There’s lots of kids wearing head protectors. When I tell friends who haven’t heard about Harry’s lack of speech that he is starting there, they all look mildly horrified and blurt out a variation on ‘Why, what’s wrong with him?’ before hastily re-modelling their faces into Kind Concern and I’mSureHe’llComeOnVeryWell fervent nodding.

What I feel about that generally depends on how much I like the friend.

What I feel about his admission, following a panel meeting, is huge, profound relief. I sat and wept writing my long, pitifully long list of the things that Harry does that, taken as a whole, make him such a challenge to parent. I’d never held the collective weight of every single one of our difficulties in my mind before then, and I’d not realised quite how many minor troubling issues I had been hoping he would grow out of.

Whih is absurd, really, because Harry is making very discernable progress, if not in his actual speech, then certainly in his communication. Either his comprehension of our speech has taken a  leap forward, or his newly-acquired skill of nodding has motivated him to integrate with us more – perhaps both.

This morning, on a whim, I asked him to say the word ‘Tesco’ (Yeah, yeah, I know. Of all the words to pick. We were outside!). And he tried! He’s never mimicked a sound on request in his entire life. I think he either hasn’t hitherto understood what ‘say’ (i.e. ‘Harry say it’) meant, or his brain just can’t retrieve and reproduce memorised speech-sounds accurately yet. Again, probably both. I’d most likely have had no luck had I asked him to mimic any sound except T or D, which letters begin most of his babble, but he definitely sat there having a go at repeating ‘Te…Te…Te’ after me. 

I floated into the shop. Which was some achievement considering the scales registered an all-time personal worst for me this morning – why, yes, that does include pregnancy OMFGlalalalaHalpHalpHalplookattheprettyweather. Looking on the bright side (I will, consequently, have to move out of the way of the GODDAMNED SUN) I have re-joined my old gym, and will shortly be gymming and swimming Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons while Harry is in his new nursery, just around the corner. My health, sadly, desperately needs these 7.5 hours a week devoted to improving its host.

I am planning to keep him at our local mainstream nursery on Friday mornings, and extend his session over lunchtime. We will be financially better off all-told, as his new nursery place is fully funded on account of his specific need, and I will be paid a mileage allowance for taking him there.

Which brings me to the only part of this that makes me really bite my lip and think about the whole Holland thing again. I don’t have to take him myself if I don’t want to: Harry is entitled to free transport there and back, as it is a needs-based placement. Although I would not even remotely consider the option at present, the school would arrange to deliver him door to door.

In their – short – Sunshine bus.

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