Poorly pickle: My Sonny Jim
This week I got my first phone call from Sonny Jim’s preschool.
I was working, as ever trying to squeeze eight hours work into four, and as I hung up the phone it rang almost immediately.
I answered without even looking, to hear the voice of Sonny Jim’s key worker telling me that he was “fine, well not fine, but okay.”
It transpired that my little lad was rather out of sorts. When we’d got up that morning he had seemed slightly off colour, but I assumed it was the very last of his teeth cutting (honestly, it sometimes seems like he’ll be riding a bike before those very back ones come through!) I gave him a bit of Calpol, jollied him along and he went off to preschool in his usual fashion, “bye mummy, be back soon!”
But he’d gone rather downhill since I’d left.
And in that moment as they told me he was really not himself, that he was sad and saying “my tummy hurt, my bum hurt, my mouth hurt” that he wasn’t eating his snack and he was very hot, I got all the pangs of mummy guilt.
Family: Me with my sister-in-laws and sister
LAST Saturday my sister-in-law had her baby shower.
Her little boy is due in a couple of weeks, so her family and friends all gathered at Canvey’s Estuary Heights for a spot of afternoon tea, games and (in my case anyway!) prosecco.
It was lovely. Though these showers are an American tradition, that we’ve only recently really adopted this side of the pond, it’s a very sweet way to spend an afternoon. Three years ago, I really enjoyed mine.
But it got me thinking. We spend so much time preparing for the birth, for bringing the baby home, making sure we have all the material stuff sorted (from little vests to rocking chairs.)
But what about the bit when the baby is actually here. Postpartum. Those is-it-day-is-it-night-who-am-I-why-does-everything-hurt weeks (months. Can I say years?!)
Cuddling it better: Better than any medicine
One of Sonny Jim’s newest phrases is “mummy, lay DOWN. Poor tummy. Poor mummy.”
He’s started doing this ever since I was rushed to Southend hospital just before Christmas with suspected gallstones.
Though I managed to get him tucked up in bed before the ambulance came (and he had no idea his auntie Bear – my sister – spent most of the night on the sofa while I lay was prodded and poked and tested for hours by doctors) he has witnessed me spending a fair bit of time feeling utterly pathetic on the sofa.
And though I’m still not right (we’ve got no proper diagnosis despite the brilliant consultants and the dozens of tests) it has made me realise a few things.
Firstly, that it is possible to be sick and smile at the same time so as you don’t frighten your little one.
Secondly, that even when you feel awful (honestly, the pain at one point was worse than child birth) once you’re a mummy you are ALAWYS a mummy. Your needs still come second to making sure your child is okay. You don’t get to switch off the worry, even when people say you should.
My boy: Sonny Jim
For years and years, the only thing I wished for at Christmas was a baby.
Though I couldn’t put it on any list or casually throw it into conversation while at the office water cooler, falling pregnant was the one gift I yearned for – and the one thing I feared would never happen.
Having children for some women, some couples, just happens.
For others, it never does.
And for others, it takes time. Lots of time. And doctor’s appointments. And hospital visits. And tests. And needles. And months – years – of heartache.
I was one of the latter. And even though this Christmas will be my little boy’s third, I still have moments when I can’t quite believe it.
When my tot smiles with delight as we put on our matching festive pyjamas, then says “Sonny one, mummy one” while patting our candy-cane clad legs, I could almost cry. Continue reading
Pumpkin picking: My Sonny-Jim
Hands up if you’ve taken your child pumpkin picking this half-term?
I feel like everyone I know with a child under about 14 (and plenty without kids at all) has gone mad for this Halloween-themed past-time.
We certainly have. Sonny Jim had a blast with his little buddy Emily at Hurleys Farm Pumpkin Forest, in Battlesbridge.
We came home with three that are currently being pulled all over the house by tiny hands. And we’re likely to take another trip back before the big day on Wednesday.
But the arrival (and popularity) of pumpkin farms here (the Pumpkin Patch, in Wash Road, Basildon, is another) marks a real transition in attitudes to All Hallow’s Eve from just a generation ago.
I didn’t have my first jack o’-lantern till I was 21 (when my then-boyfriend made me one.) Admittedly, my mum is a priest, so Halloween was never really going to be a thing in our house. But I wasn’t alone in not having a childhood of carving pumpkins. Continue reading
Flourishing: Sonny Jim has come on leaps and bounds since starting preschool
I need to have a little rant.
As you may have gathered (I am aware I have chatted a fair bit about it…) Sonny Jim has started pre-school.
It’s only a couple of mornings a week. Just to get my shy two-and-a-half year old making buddies and being brave without mummy always there holding his hand.
After a few tearful drop offs, and a now much-repeated refrain of “no school day, mama, no school” he’s settling in really well and is having so much fun.
So much so, that I already know that as soon as he turns three, I’m going to add another morning, or even another two.
Why am I going to wait until he’s three? Because that’s when his free funding will kick in.
And it’s this funding situation that has really got me in state of irritation.
Pre-school is expensive. To send Sonny Jim to his lovely nursery Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm would actually cost more than I earn. When he turns three, the Government covers 30 hours a week childcare. Continue reading
Fighter mum: Shelley Legge
FROM the moment that my little boy was placed into my arms, I knew I would do anything for him.
There was literally nothing I would not be prepared to do to keep him safe and well.
He was, and is, the most precious thing in the world to me.
Which is why I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache endured by mums with poorly little ones. It must be the most horribly helpless feeling.
Leigh-on-Sea’s Shelley Legge, 38, is living that nightmare. Her 15-year-old lad has two rare types of blood cancer and is in desperate need of a transplant.
I chatted to her last Sunday at the #SwabforCharlie drive in Old Leigh, organised by Southend charity Gold Geese.
I was one of hundreds that turned up to be swabbed and added to the bone marrow register, in the hope of being the match that could save a life.