Keeping The Bad Away

First week of Easter school holidays have been a bit of a blur. Somedays I had flashbacks, got confused, thought we were back on home-schooling and panicked that I’d forgotten to book Bubba onto any zoom lessons!  At the moment I don’t know what day it is and neither does he!

But then he’s more concerned with the fact that he’s currently ‘GROUNDED’!

To get to this point he knows it’s serious. He knows we mean business and he’s in big trouble.  

School broke up last Thursday and by lunchtime Good Friday the decree had been announced.  It was bad.

When I was his age, the grand age of ten years of age, I remember playing out. Me and a small group of friends would hang out on the street where we lived or we’d venture further afield, exploring the local beck, making dens in the woods or speeding down hills on our bikes making ramps to do jumps on. When I look back now it’s a wonder we didn’t kill ourselves several times over.

My Mam knew that I wasn’t daft though and generally I stuck to where I was allowed to go which was usually within hearing distance of her standing on the doorstep and shouting me in for me tea! If I did want to go further, I always told her where I was going because well because that’s just what I did. I didn’t want her worrying.

Sadly, I know it’s different these days. Whether it’s because we’re more aware of the dangers now I don’t know. There must have always been ‘bad people’ about, I just don‘t think it was as talked about as it is now?

Now I’m a parent I don’t know how she did it. I worry constantly and now Bubba’s wanting to play out, ride his bike or scooter, call for a friend I want to keep him close and safe but I know that I can’t.

We want him to have independence, to make friends and to have fun, to be like a ‘normal kid’.

But he’s not is he?

He seems so much younger than his age and he’s really not streetwise. To him, everyone is a friend and everything will play out like he thinks it will in his head. I don’t know how to protect him from this.

The last time he played out around our new street it started ok but then some boys told him to ‘go away’ and he came home really upset convinced everyone hated him. That hurt.

He doesn’t understand the dynamics of friendships and he’s not robust enough for the name calling and harshness of those who don’t see his differences. I can’t keep him locked inside and, as much as I want to keep him safe, I wouldn’t want to.

So Good Friday, it was nice weather, we’d just bought him a new scooter and he wanted to play out. So we let him.

I gave him a walkie-talkie, told him where he couldn’t go, as we still live on a building site, and he trotted off to call for a friend, with the express instructions that if Alfie wasn’t in, to let us know.

Ten minutes later – no word from him and he wasn’t answering the walkie talkie.

Fifteen minutes later – still no word.

Where we live it’s not that big and Alfie lives less than two minutes away.

You don’t want to ‘cramp their style’ if they’re with their mates do you but I know my son and he see’s danger in nothing, wanders off regardless and makes poor choices.

‘The Wife’ set out for a wander to see if she could see him.

Eventually she found him.

Exactly in the spot we’d told him not to go… from Alfie’s he would have had to walk past our house to get there. But he knew he was doing something he shouldn’t. He’d been approached by a much older boy who’d said he was ‘going to see some friends’ and did Bubba want to go with him. So he did!

We don’t know this boy. Bubba didn’t know this boy.

Once we had him back home I asked him  ‘would you go with a strange man if he asked if you wanted to see some kittens?’ (ok it’s not subtle but we can’t be with him!)

His reply really scared me …… ‘well yes because I really like kittens’.

You know that point when you just want to wrap them up and keep them with you forever? That was my point, right there, right then.

I tried to talk to him about the dangers of a) going off with a stranger b) not telling us where he is and c) NOT GOING OFF WITH A STRANGER. He said I was’ being stupid as no one kill’s kids’.

So he was grounded.  It was for a week but maybe it’ll last until he’s twenty-five? Thirty? Or at least until he’s married to a nice sensible girl/boy!

It’s hard isn’t it? You want to keep them safe but you can only do that if they help and keep themselves safe.

Have we sheltered him too much? 

I know I’m always singing over ‘not nice’ things on the radio news and then switching it off. 

I’m guilty of saying ‘but it’ll be ok’ when he worries about Covid.

Maybe because of his traumatic start in life I’ve sheltered him, I’ve tried to keep the ‘bad things’ away.

Maybe it’s time to take off the kid gloves and gently start to show him what life can be like?

I’d much rather let him have a childhood for a bit longer…..

OUR DAY

Bubba announced last night that he hadn’t got me anything for Mother’s Day …..YET!  He hadn’t got me anything yet.

This was straight after he’d thrown ‘The Wife’ under the bus and revealed over Facetime ‘Ganmah, do you know your daughter hasn’t got you anything for Mother’s Day?!’

Little prince isn’t he?

I know he’s not being malicious and in many ways I admire the brutal honesty his Autism brings, it certainly came in handy when viewing houses last Summer… ‘what’s that funny smell?’ ‘Why’s that broken?’ ‘Why’s this room so small?’ He broke many an Estate Agent!

I know he’ll get me something, he always does but as he needs ‘The Wife’s’ help and her credit card and as she’s ‘not pulled her finger out yet’, he’s still waiting to get organised. 

Apparently the other night he was discussing this with her.

Jewellery was discounted –  ‘she don’t go anywhere to wear it’.

Flowers were dismissed –  ‘she’s got some’.

Chocolate – ‘ gave it up for Lent’, (even though I ate the bum from the Colin the Caterpillar cake last weekend’!)

His final suggestion to ‘The Wife’ was …. ‘well she likes me and she likes spending time with me so…..I’ll have a think….’

Hmmmm, I’m not sure where he’s going with this but I can guarantee it’ll be spun so that I end up doing something he wants to do!  I’m NOT doing any sodding science experiments or standing in the beck freezing whilst he fishes for tadpoles. Not this Sunday!

What I’d really like is something else.

Something that doesn’t cost anything.   

Something just for me.

Sunday morning I’d really like to stay in bed until I’m bored. Watching Netflix knowing I can get to the end of an episode of anything I want,  get right to the end of an episode with no interruptions and no pleas of ‘not this!’ or for ‘That Pig’.

I’d really like a day when I can go to the loo, leave the pair of them in a room together and not hear a war erupt as soon as I’ve sat down!

I’d really like to not have to yell ‘stop doing that’, ‘put your brother down’, or ‘no, his screaming means he doesn’t like that’. Just for one day.

I’d like a day where I can leave the TV remote on the table and have it stay there.

I’d really like a day where I don’t feel guilty for doing something just for me.

I’d really like a day off from nappies and poo. No washing of bedding, carpets, or cleaning of Little Princes for me.

I’d really like a day when no one bounced on the sofa and the adverts weren’t drowned out by whooping and screaming. Where toys weren’t thrown and fights weren’t started.

A day where meals were eaten without fuss and faff. Where bottoms stayed on seats and forks were used instead of fingers.

I’d love a day where when bedtime came round, I still had enough energy to read stories and be playful. To live in that moment and enjoy my boys rather than demand  they stop messing about and stay in bed for the fifty billionth time.

I know I won’t get this, any of it and if I did I’d get bored or think I’d woken up in the wrong house!

And actually, honestly, what I’ve got, even with the noise and the chaos is pretty good really,  especially when I hear that one word, whether it be whispered, screamed or hollered – ‘Mummy’! Because that’s me.

ENJOY YOUR DAY

It’s true, this morning I will be skipping away from the school gates and have a little dance in the kitchen but it’s also fair to say, I’ll be a bit sad too.

Sad because of the lost opportunities to make memories because I was so stressed out juggling them both.

Sad at their anxiety and fear that I couldn’t ease.

Sad because after all this time at home, they still can’t be in the same room without a war kicking off.

Sad because I think I should have been better.

But mostly Sad because I’ll miss them.

But then…I’m torn, it’s a pandemic. Is it safe for them to return?

But they need to be back, for all our sanities.

And then…I’m happy they’ll have some normality.

I’m happy they have an amazing school and dedicated teachers.

I’m happy they’re back with their friends and get to so all the daft stuff kids should.

Whatever you feel today, it’s ok. Enjoy YOUR day!

Bloody Bicuspids

In this latest Lockdown, in an attempt to achieve something with my day I’ve been getting up at 5am, avoiding the creaky floorboard and sneaking blurry eyed across the landing into my office for ninety minutes of child free time.

On the whole its been working although a couple of times last week Squeak woke around 5.30pm and shouted, ‘mummy we go on a waaaaalk?’ for twenty minutes!

This morning with the dawn of half term (see what I did there?) I felt I needed this time more than anything and I was happily sat at my desk, brew in hand (prepared in a flask the night before so as not to wake anyone going downstairs – can you believe I wasn’t accepted into the Brownies?) when the door slowly opened.

There he stood. Bubba with a surprise in his closed hand for me.

‘Close your eyes’ he said.

Now I’ve been caught out many times by him saying this and I’ve not properly shut them since I felt a worm plop onto my trembling outstretched palm in 2017.  This morning, I was obviously suspicious so through half slitted lids I saw him open his hand and out dropped…..

A tooth!

A shiny white nugget fresh from the gum complete with traces of blood.

That didn’t sit well with my early start and empty stomach and as my stomach churned I remembered ‘be therapeutic, be therapeutic.. be patient and playful’.

Do you know how chuffin’ hard it is to muster playfulness at 5.40am?

All I could think as I stared at this bloody bicuspid sitting there in my hand was ‘sod it I don’t think I’ve got any envelopes and I know I haven’t got any change…the tooth faerie’s going to have to deal in BACS transfers again’!