I am that mother

Today I have the honour of hosting my first EVER guest blog in celebration of Mother’s Day. Geraldine writes on her Facebook page It’s me Ethan and on her blog Geraldine Renton.

This blog originally appeared Here. Go check her out!

imageI am her.
I am that mother that you spy out in the shopping centre dragging a child kicking and screaming.
I am that mother that follows her son while he is running around the park or the playground; yes a helicopter mother- that’s me!
I am that mother that apologies after my son has pushed, kicked or hit your child. I do try to get to my son before he hits but sometimes I am simply not fast enough.
I am that mother that catches your eye because she is singing a nursery rhyme badly and loudly to a child who is trying to hit her.
I am that mother who has dropped to the floor in the middle of a queue in good ‘ol ‘Pennys’ and rocked her son.
I am that mother who has thrown her shopping bags, pushed past you and ran off screaming “ETHAN”.
I am that mother that looks tired…ALL THE TIME.
I am that mother that smiles at your little toddler while they are showcasing their tantrums for all to see.
I am that mother that stops to speak to your child, who happens to be clapping loudly sitting while in his wheelchair.
I am that mother that holds the door for you because the damn door will slam as you try to push your child’s buggy or wheelchair out of it.
I am that mother that picks up your bags because you had to give chase unexpectedly to a toddler who saw something shiny.
I am that mother who see’s your child is having a meltdown and not a tantrum; I’m the one who moves dangerous objects away, talks to your other kids and then disappears.
I am that mother who stares right back at you when you are discussing my child’s behaviours.
I am that mother that has thanked you for all your help; which amounts to staring and pointing, let’s not forget ‘tutting’.
I am that mother who never seems to be embarrassed when their child is throwing (what may appear to be to the untrained eye) a sh!t fit over a bag.

I am that mother that asks you “Can I help?” while your child is screaming, kicking, biting and your other children are just standing still, not knowing what to do, but knowing enough to stand back and to wait.
I am that mother that smiles at you and reminds you to “hang in there”; while your toddler is asking 50 questions, your other child begging for a new toy and your newborn crying.
I am that mother that smiles at your little family as you walk past mine.
I am that mother who is just like you; only different.
I am a mother to three wonderful boys.
Ethan introduced me to the world of ‘mother’.He is my eldest son, yet in our little world he is also my youngest.
Ethan has a syndrome that takes and takes; it will eventually take his life.
Ethan has shown me how easy it is to judge other people, especially parents. He has shown me ‘all may not be what it seems’ – he has shown me a perspective which I feel a lot of us, in our daily lives forget…
This Mother’s Day, remember every single mammy you see is doing her best.
Smile at each other,
Share a look that says ‘I’ve been there too’
Hold that door open,
Pick up the damn bag,
Smile through the tantrums/meltdowns that you see…
Afterall, we are all mothers, some of us are just a little different.

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I just heard him say ‘mum’!

I’ve just had my mothers day present 4 days early. And it was priceless! My 4 and a half year old just said his first word and it was ‘mum’. Excuse me while I cry.

It’s not like it’s the first time I have heard ‘mum’ said today. His twin sister says it more times than my little ears can cope with some days. But this is the first word Isaac has said. I can not guarantee he will say it tomorrow, or next week or any time after that. But he said it tonight and that is something I will hold onto for the rest of my life. You don’t ever forget your child’s first word. And you especially don’t forget it when you have waited 4 years and 4 months to hear it. This split second will remain in my heart forever.

And the hope it gives me is incredible.

To get to this place Isaac has had learning support at home and at nursery, 14 months of weekly speech therapy, I have attended a four month course on how to communicate with my autistic child, and he has had daily one to one with countless nursery staff and other professionals. I have sang with him, read to him, played with him, prayed for him and did everything I could think of to help him. I have simplified my language and praised him for trivial things like ‘good sitting Isaac’, ‘good walking Isaac’ and ‘super waiting Isaac’. I have rolled balls to him for hours, ticked him to get a reaction, named all his favourite toys, whispered in his ears, stroked his hair and held him close. But most of all I believed in him.

Even though he has been making some slow progress recently I still wasn’t expecting tonight’s miracle outburst. Sometimes you just find yourself in a place where you continue on and wonder if any of what you have been doing is getting you anywhere. And then it happens: breakthrough!

And often when you least expect it.

Tonight was just an ordinary Wednesday night for us. The kids had been to their regular kids club for families affected by autism. Isaac went through his usual transition routine on coming home and the house was pretty calm. Dad started running a bath for the kids and I told them both it was bath time (Isaac’a favourite time of day as he just loves water!). Isaac understood the cue and began walking up the first few stairs to head to the bathroom. I followed behind and on the third step he stopped, turned, looked me in the eye and just said that magic word every mother longs to hear. “mum”. That was it. Nothing else. I could have kissed him, held him, never let him go. But that would have overwhelmed him. Instead I held his hand and we climbed together and headed for his favourite activity of the day. He was totally oblivious to the tears forming in my eyes and the faster beat of my heart. He had no comprehension of the miracle encounter that had just taken place. He was just happy to have my full attention and strip off and get in the water. That’s my boy!

Just two nights before this,when out in the car, his twin sister had asked, out of the blue, when her brother was going to get better and not have autism any more. And despite the fact she caught me unprepared (are we ever really prepared for the questions our kids ask?) I did my best to reassure her that her brother would always have autism but he could still learn to do lots of things she can do like saying words, playing with toys and going to school soon. With her usual 4 year old faith she replied “He will talk to me one day mummy. That’s what children do.” And then she went back to talking away about her favourite DVD characters once again. It wasn’t appropriate or important to correct her or break her faith. If she can believe her brother will talk, then so can mummy. So of course, she wasn’t even phased one bit by tonight’s miracle. She was expecting it so allowed her brother his moment of glory and then, like any child her age, took advantage of mum’s good mood and asked for extra toys in the bath! And the evening continued like any other.

Except something miraculous happened in my house tonight. We had a breakthrough. We reached a milestone. We shared a treasured moment. We overcame autism and neurofibromatosis type 1 and any other name you want to say my son has. He said a word…in context…with eye contact…with meaning. He touched my heart. He just called me “mum”.

Breakthroughs come when you least expect them. Never give up believing. Image