This Is How They Get You

OK, so this actually just happened.

Isla:  I love you.  And your wheelchair.  You’re my wheelchair Mummy.  I don’t want another Mummy.  Mummy, are you sad?

Me: No.

Isla:  Why you crying?

Me: Because I’m happy.

Isla: What?

Me: Because I’m happy.

Isla: What?

Me: Because I love you very much.

Isla: Yeah, I love you, too.  Can I have an ice-lolly?

 

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Sometimes, It Hurts.

And so, after painting all the pictures and doing all the puzzles, Isla and I went out.

We’ve paved around the house so we can have races and stuff, so there’s that. But we live on a hill.

‘Go over the stones and roll down the hill with me, Mummy.’

‘I can’t, baby. I wouldn’t get back up.’

‘Please, Mummy. Just try.’

Which is what we ask her to do.

So, I tried.

And my heart broke a little. Because Isla said, ‘That’s awight, Mummy. I’ll play on my own.’ And she did. And I angled away for a bit so she wouldn’t see me cry. Because she’s seen it before. Not a lot. And yet.

You can be the biggest advocate, with the filthiest sense of humour. You can shout for a living and then come home and just live.

But sometimes, CP hurts.

When strangers think Isla is my much younger sister, and she wants me to run down hills and get on the other end of a see-saw. That’s when it hurts.

Then you come in and you burst. But then you go on. Because there are trains to play with. And a nearly three year-old face to memorise.

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This is how we roll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Coffee With The Grinch

If we were having coffee, I’d introduce you to our new as yet unnamed coffee machine.

As an early Christmas present from me to us, the coffee machine Neil bought me when we first started dating has been upgraded to something from the future. Actually, I think we should call it Jetson.

What sort of um, coffee experience would you like?

My favourite so far is a mild double-shot medium-hot latte.

In my house.

What can I get you?

After you figure that out, I’d show you the Christmas tree we put up two weeks ago.

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It doesn’t look like that anymore. Isla likes to hide the decorations on us. You might be sitting on one right now.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we took Isla to see Santa last weekend. It was in the midst of shopping, everyone was in a bad mood, and Santa might have called me the Grinch.

Before we’d lined up, Isla had a tantrum in a coffee shop because they’d run out of orange juice. It was kinda my fault.

We’d been staying in a hotel the night before. It was 300 degrees in the room, so I drank our not really endless supply of OJ that we drag around where ever we go.

We arrived to the mall early. So early, most places were still closed. Except the coffee place with no OJ.

I’m sitting there sipping what just might be the best latte I’ve ever had outside of my house. And my kid is refusing perfectly good apple juice. Because it isn’t orange. I feel kinda bad. I give her my breakfast, because hers doesn’t include anything that is orange juice.

It escalates. I tell her to calm down. Once. And then I don’t say much else. I figure she’ll fizzle out soon enough. But I’m getting looks. I can tell, because if one eye is looking at you, my other eye is looking at someone in New Jersey.

It’s useful. And it doesn’t distract me unless I notice someone looking back at me. Like last weekend. Like I am a horrible mother.

So I turn my head and this woman gets both my eyes. ‘Does she look abused, though?’ I ask.

The woman says nothing.

Neil and I count to ten with Isla and then I ask if she’s done.

‘Yeah,’ Isla says. And we high-five.

And then Isla kind of launches herself at me like she does these days. Because I’m a horrible mother.

As we are leaving, the staring woman offers to help me. ‘No thanks. But Merry Christmas,’ I say.

We are in line to see a grumpy looking Santa. Isla won’t sit with him and I want to leave. Somehow, we all end up sitting for the photo.

‘Bahumbug,’ I said. Sorry, not sorry.

‘No wonder Isla’s in a bad mood. Mum’s the Grinch.’

‘Screw you, Santa,’ I mumbled. And the photo was done.

We left, and I may have cried all the way to the toy store. Because I’m a horrible mother. Obviously. Not really.

Do you want more coffee?

Abstract Sandwiches

On Tuesday, when I picked Isla up from nursery, she hugged my lap as she sometimes does.

‘I MISSED you, Mummy.’

‘Really?’ I asked.  She’s a Daddy’s girl, see.  I am obviously still questioning every bit of affection she doles out.  To me.

‘Yeah,’ she said

‘Did someone pay you to say that?’

‘Uhm.  No.’

When I’m happy, my eyes kinda crinkle up until you can’t see them.  Like Isla’s.  Because, y’know, I’m her mother.

I did a little dance in the carpark, my day made at one o’clock.

‘Mummy funny,’ she laughs.

Yeah, I s’pose I am, a bit.

Isla’s funny, too.  She has my eye crinkle and my sarcasm.

Yesterday, she was loaded with big foam puzzle pieces.  Her arms were so full she was just a stripey sweater on legs.

‘I LOVE you,’ I tell her.  ‘Where did you come from?’

She cranes her neck and looks at me sideways.  It is my own incredulous face looking back at me.

‘From my bedroom,’ she says.

True enough.

I did the pee-pee laugh with that one.  Also true.

Since Isla’s started nursery, I’ve been doing some thinking.  I’ve also been doing some Math, mostly at 4AM.  Mayhaps, more about that later. For now, I will say this: Don’t do Math at 4AM.

Anyway.  This is what I’ve been thinking.  Since Isla started doing things.  Outside the house.  Without me.

This is how life goes.  I’m proud of her.  I’m allowed to miss her.  We need to keep going. And I’m so fucking proud of her.

I’ve been thinking that getting help to do things makes me no less of a mother.  Because I’m the one who misses her when she’s at school.  And also when she’s asleep.

It doesn’t matter that sometimes, I can’t lift her onto the toilet. Because I’m the one who claps when she pees on it.

I’m (one of) the people who reads to her at night. And in the afternoon. She sits on my lap, in my chair. And I can still find that place on her neck that I’ve loved since before she was born.

And sometimes, still, she falls asleep on me.

We wake up two mornings a week, and I make her lunch. Her sandwiches have holes in them, because I have very few knife skills. I don’t care. She eats her lunch.

I might squirt mayo hearts on the bread.

I send her out and she comes home and hands me her empty lunch box. And sometimes her boogers.

She makes me a coffeeshop and a dragon out of blocks.

She goes into the fridge and gets a snack. I tell her not to ruin her dinner.

And she gives me that sideways glance. The one she gets from me.

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Kinda like this.  Isla isn’t sure about empty envelopes.

And So, To Start. Again.

I’ve decided I’m still a writer.  I need to write more, but I’m still a writer.

I have lots of notebooks.  Some are even full.

I also have a husband whose nicknames don’t stick, and a daughter who has too many.

I have CP and a sporty wheelchair which I love, even if my post-baby hips are too big for it these days.

I don’t know where I’m from.  New York, by way of Dallas and the Highlands.  And Glasgow.  And then Edinburgh.  And so, I’m from everywhere.  And nowhere.

My work (and life) background is in equalities  and social justice, with corporate writing and editing thrown in.  These days, I make a game out of cleaning up Cheerios and answering fake phones.  I miss working, but the coffee is better at home.

When I started this blog, Neil and I lived in Edinburgh, read a lot of books and drank a lot of beer.

I proposed to him and we got married in Docs.

Then I thought I had the flu, and Zerbert became Isla.

The three of us have moved to Skye and we move into our new house next month.

And so, if you want to read a blog about a married, disabled, expatish mother who should be writing, then this is that blog.  And I’ll be writing it.

Hello.  Again.

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Isla and me.  Scenery was happening.