So as you regular readers are no doubt aware, I’m not exactly the most child friendly of people. Kids confuse and bamboozle me. They fail to get my dry sense of humour and political satire, I fail to appreciate their love of plasticine and directness.
Recently I was asked by a friend to mind her little fella for a few hours. I thought, ok, I’m a mammy, I know stuff, I can do this.All went swimmingly for the 1st hour. We got on like a house on fire. Until he woke up from his nap that is. Cue red faced bawling on his part and much repeating of the mantra “It’s ok,hon, Mammy will be back soon” in a stupid singsong voice on my part. We tried singing, which led to louder cries on his part, bribing him with yogurt-flat out refusal, playing with his toys-kicked away. Thank God for TV and in particular cartoons, which meant for the next hour he was happy to sit on my knee and watch endless episodes of Peppa Pig, as long as I kept my face out of sight.
I reckon I’ll be much more at ease with kids, the older they get. At least then you can reason with them right? Or at the very least, have an argument. At the moment during the day in our house, it’s just me and a constant one way stream of “No, Mini” “Stop, Mini” or the ever popular “Mini,Noooo!”
After Mini’s birth, I read many things on a forum where parents of children with Down Syndrome gave advice to those whose little ones were newly diagnosed with the disorder. One mum felt that one of the advantages to her son having Down Syndrome meant that he would stay a baby for longer.
I’ve never admitted it before but this idea horrified me. I love babies, who doesn’t? I loved looking after my daughter and having her depend on me but I also love watching Mini grow and learn and become a little person.
There are times when I forget she has Down Syndrome. Then I’ll meet a friend whose baby is only a few months older than Mini but is what seems like light years ahead of her developmentally speaking. And I’ll get scared. Scared that she’ll never cut that first tooth, take those first steps, say her first proper word, talk to me, talk back to me. And I’ll wish for my little girl not to be a baby anymore, but a little person, ready to take on the world. It nearly feels as if I’m wishing her life away but I’m just wishing for things to move a little faster, so I can truly get to know this wonderful little soul who’s chosen me to care for her and guide her through this crazy world.Until then, I’ll do what other parents of kids with special needs do, celebrate the winnings, no matter how small or trivial they seem to be. And I guess it is rather sweet that we get to see Mini in those gorgeous little baby clothes for a while longer.