I’ve written before about some of the challenges faced when dealing with a condition like MS while trying to be a kick-ass mum. It sure ain’t easy! But it can bring out a lovely caring nature in children, which might otherwise be lacking or yet to develop. I’m thinking specifically about my son making sure I have a seat when we go to the library (back in the days when we could go to the library). And moments of acceptance when I’m too washed out to do an activity. They might get their doctor’s kits out to care for me, or get their favourite toy for me to cuddle. Sweet gestures like this help to balance out all the other stuff, like when they’re whacking each other over the head, or wailing about what’s on the TV, or demanding their 25th snack of the day… presented on the correctly coloured plate.
My youngest kiddiewink has just turned 3. Since Lockdown his speech has really taken off and we’re now getting proper sentences out of him, which has resulted in a few little gems. He is too young to understand MS or to even know that I have it; the following incidents offer a real insight into the wonderfully uncomplicated mind of a child.
A few weeks ago I was out in the garden enjoying a kick about with No 3. Actually, HE was enjoying a kick about, I was surplus to requirement, left simply to stand, observe and cheer. I can observe and cheer with the best of them, but standing is another matter entirely. My legs were beginning to give up, but I couldn’t expect a toddler to understand this so I said, “I need to go in now, darling – I’m too cold” (and to be fair, it was a little nippy).
Without even looking up he proceeded to dribble the ball and said, “Get a coat on”.
Bah. I couldn’t argue with that!
Having moved on to the trampoline I tried again, this time with complete honesty. “I need to go in now, honey bunny, my legs hurt”.
“Put a plaster on it…”
A couple of days ago I was holding my usual emergency cross-legged stance, which I do when my brain doesn’t quite receive the notice it needs to get to the toilet in time. On this occasion I said, to no-one in particular, “Oh man, could someone please just bring the toilet to me?”
Off scuttled child no. 3 to the cloakroom, emerging with a mischievous grin and carrying a white, plastic object almost as big as him.
“You can use my potty, Mummy…”
Finally, last night at bedtime my scrummy little dinosaur wanted to be flown up the stairs to bed – an activity he has witnessed his wannabe-fairy sister do many times before with Daddy. But he didn’t want Daddy, he was very adamant that Mummy do the carrying. I’d already had a glass or 2 of wine by this point, but even without inebriation this was not something I should attempt. However, an easy life and a relaxing evening was preferable so I agreed to give it a go. And all credit should go to me for keeping his head intact and his face unscathed as we wibbled and wobbled to the bottom of the stairs, painfully making it as far as the first step before he said, “Daddy do it” – perhaps a sign that he may be starting to understand my limitations a wee bit more.