To all those of you who have had babies, you will instantly understand this feeling I am about to describe, and for those who haven’t had children yet, just wait I’m telling you, it’s one of the single most greatest pleasures In the world.
When your baby, your little tiny bundle who has practically only learnt three things, eat sleep and cry since being born, giggles! Yes that all important, from the belly giggle that is so infectious it makes you cry with joy and you have to make yourself stop laughing so you can hear it properly.
You know that feeling? Treasure that memory forever, Some of you may even have managed to film that first giggle on your camera, like I managed to with Moo ma. Its something everyone talks about, ‘remember when she giggled for the first time’ Imagine not ever having that ‘first time’ with one of your children? Not hearing them giggle from the belly, hearing that sweet sound that you could listen to forever. We tried so hard to make her giggle and in turn she tried so hard at giving us that pleasure but for some reason it just didn’t materialize. We blamed ourselves, we weren’t funny enough. Why wouldn’t my baby giggle? We pretty much exhausted ourselves trying. We tried Peek a boo, Making silly noises, I mean we were acting proper gimp at one point. What was wrong with us? I had no idea. It was completely devastating.Sometimes she gave a meek little laugh which we got so excited about and then bam she wouldn’t/couldn’t giggle properly. At the time I never realized it could be a symptom of anything I just thought we weren’t that funny. The more we tried the more upsetting it became. Especially when you have other people in your life, friends and family with children of similar ages hitting these important milestones. There were more, rolling and sitting, crawling and walking were all delayed. My best friend had a baby 9 months after I had Lola and he had caught up with her quite quickly. Looking back at pictures of them together makes you realize how behind she actually was. At 14 months she was just like a baby, she was still tiny and hadn’t walked yet, would just roll around
I’m not completely sure at what age it was that her behaviour took a turn for the worse, But I can specifically remember saying to mum once “ I'm sure she has autism you know” it was a throw away remark that I hadn’t even thought about before, and it festered and festered. I was parked outside her house and I was trying to practically wrestle my 1 year old into her car seat. She was kicking me in the head, head butting me, slapping my face and pinching me. Finally she was in and she couldn’t hurt me no more so she turned on herself. Mainly on her arms, she would rest her teeth on her arms and push pressure on the arm until she hurt herself, or she would slap her forehead really hard. You know when you see women in the car park bargaining with their children to just stop going ridged and please get into the seat, that was me. But imagine this, every single time you tried to go out in the car or for a walk in the buggy you would be beaten up, mentally and physically. It didn’t stop once the buckles were locked, oh no we would have screaming until she choked, she would take off her shoes and throw them at me whilst driving. I just got on with it, ignored her, strapped her in whilst after the 5th time of being spat on that day I cried inside. No one could see the tears while I was driving, crying silently. A sob escaping now and then. I was tired. Eventually we just stayed in. I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. It was easier to live in our own bubble, doing what we wanted when we wanted. I still take her shoes off now when we go out in the car for fear of crashing and out of habit. I couldn’t understand it. Stanley was so good, so laid back he was horizontal. Why was my precious little princess so demanding, so controlling, violent and emotional. What had I done wrong? She wasn’t ever given any chocolate or sweets, or juices, we ate healthily. It must be me. I was a bad parent. And that throwaway comment I made to my mum that was festering in the back of my mind made a re-appearance. Could she possibly be autistic? Nope. She had eye contact and was social. Definitely not!! Don’t be so stupid!!!
She only got worse. By the time she was walking, she also learned how to undo her car seat belt and buggy straps, I mean this kid was like Houdini. I swear we went through three car seats and numerous buggies and each time I would say to Kenny “don’t worry she isn’t getting out of this one, I’ve tried it and its stiff for me” Pah! Within three minutes she was out. She had no danger awareness either so would just escape whilst I was driving. I didn’t know then what I knew now about Sensory Processing Disorder. She hated being confined, hated being strapped in and hated the feel of the straps on her shoulders. It physically hurt her. By age two she wouldn’t even entertain getting in a buggy, and she wouldn’t hold my hand either. She would scream blue murder on the street I was hurting her. I had to drag her everywhere. I couldn’t let go of her hand she would just leg it. She was a runner! Eventually I just used to run with her it was easier. You see what I mean about being controlling? She controlled our lives from day dot. I walked in whichever direction she wanted me to walk in, I drove whichever way she wanted me to drive. I stayed up cuddling her all night, because even after a full on day with her she would not sleep, well she would but only in my bed in my arms with her head touching my head. I remember even then how well we used to fit together her little forehead rested perfectly just in between my eyes on the bridge of my nose, yes we were that close, all night every night. God forbid I tried to sneakily change sides with Kenny for a break and a 10 minute nap. All hell would break loose and then we would have to start all over again. It was so draining, she was slowly zapping away my strength, my patience, my joy, my happiness. It was all being sucked out of me. I was just on auto pilot at one point.
At some point in between all this we moved house, from a flat so the children had their own bedrooms. But before they could go into them we needed to decorate. I wanted lolly to feel safe in her own space, and her brother to have his own getaway, so we moved them both into our room whilst we done it. Big Mistake! She was such a light sleeper when she was asleep that just me turning over would wake her. S slept through anything. But she would wake all night and not stop screaming until I put her in with me. It was nice to snuggle at first but then it just got ridiculous. She was like a little monkey. Clinging onto me throughout the night so I couldn’t move. I tried my hardest to sleep but couldn’t.
When her bedroom was finally finished she hated it (arghhhh) we done controlled crying! It worked after a few nights but she would still wake up and get in with me. I couldn’t make her shake this habit! Eventually something changed and she started sleeping properly in her room for the first time. I was even more shattered than before, not knowing what sleep felt like, sleep tired me out! That didn’t last long anyway, But were come back to the sleeping habits soon.
To be continued..........
Love J x