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Monday, 13 April 2015

"And Mummy?"… Man, I feel GUILTY!

Along with 'No', 'pooey' and 'Barley, where are you?'- 'and Mummy?' is my 20 month old daughter's favourite phrase right now!
The full Florrie Blossom translation of what 'and Mummy?' really means is 'and Mummy you now do this too...', to whatever task or activity she may be enjoying at that very moment in time.
Mostly 'and Mummy' is said at bath time when she wants me to blow bubbles in the water like she is taught to in her baby swimming classes, (which more often than not results in me getting completely soaking wet and needing my fourth change of clothes of the day, even though it's only about an hour before I'll crawl into bed myself!)- or when I am attempting to get her to eat the now stone cold veggies she has pushed around her plate and mixed to make the most disgusting combination of food she can possibly create and she offers it to me with an irresistible smile and a cute 'and Mummy?'
Masterchef she is not- a little more palete refining before we stick her before Greg and John me thinks!
Hard to say no though when you are trying to encourage her to eat the lovingly prepared organic veggies you know would be so good for her and will end up in the bin or the dog if you don't
embrace the game/command.

Something I'm beginning to discover lately is that my lack of mobility compared to most mummies may begin to become more of an issue than it ever has been so far, as the limitations of my ability to join in with fun physical things becomes more apparent to my little whirlwind.
Yesterday we were walking/wheeling around the field with the dog when Florrie was enjoying running in her wellies through the grass.
She was giggling away as she got faster and faster and faster- the girl can RUN!
We play a game in my vain attempt to keep my rambunctious child out of mischief or harm- we
call it the 'stop game' and it basically involves us saying 'ready, steady go' and then encouraging her to run until we shout 'stop', the game then repeats- you get the general idea!
The thinking behind this is that when we need her to stop in a dangerous situation she will embrace the command as to her it is simply part of a game.
I was doing this on our field walk and Florrie was particularly loving the running part as per usual.
As she giggled wending her way through the grass in this incredible April sunshine, she turned and said those adorable words- 'and mummy?'.
Bam! Out of nowhere I was floored.
How do you explain to a 20month old baby that you can't run with her?
My heart sank and I felt one of my first real pangs of missing out.
So far I've felt most of the things I have had to do differently with my sticks and wheelchair requirements have been practical things like pushing my pram one handed whilst driving my wheelchair one handed whilst balancing shopping basket on my knees, or finding a way to pick my baby up when I haven't been able to bend. One word- dungarees!
I've not felt deprived by having to do things differently; I don't even think of them as different, just simply what we do.

Thankfully my mobility issues haven't prevented me from experiencing the joys of breast feeding, co-sleeping and learning through play with my baby girl- but today did feel different, this wasn't just a practical problem solving task- of course I could thankfully still keep up with her thanks to my electric chair (hugely grateful for this!), but that is not what she wanted and I felt that this experience was the start of a new era of challenges; it was emotionally really tough that I couldn't do something with her that brought her so much joy, she wanted me to experience it too and I couldn't explain to her why I wasn't doing it with her.
This is by no means a 'woe-is-me post', or it is not meant to be at least, as I am so grateful to have my baby at all and enjoy the miracle of being a mummy, but this is rather a realisation of the next stage of challenges.
I'm sure she will get it in time.

She obviously thinks nothing of my wheelchair as it's all she's ever known, so in time I'm sure she will stop asking 'and mummy?' when she wants to run, climb trees and do other adventurous activities.
I think that makes me feel a bit sad, but I will just have to focus on the joy of watching her do them by herself and with her Daddy and friends like I do when I take her to the Baby Ballet classes I loved so dearly myself.

My daughter is an adrenaline junkie like her parents, Daddy is a snowboard loving, surfer who happens to fly planes for a living and Mummy used to travel the world as a Virgin Atalntic trolley dolly and used to pay her rent by prancing around on stage (sounds dodgy- a proper stage I may add, as a professionally trained dancer! Your minds- really!!)
It's probably no surprise then that Florrie has not stopped running since the day she started walking at 10months old; she regularly shouts 'ready, steady, go' and just launches herself from whatever surface she has decided to climb upon and on our recent trip to Disney when she was just 17 months old, she giggled at the rides designed for much, much bigger kids and longed to go on the ones she was too small for!
On our regular trips to the big park she yearns for the big climbing frames and slides built for big kids as my heart sinks as I have to say 'no, not with Mummy- next time when Daddy's here'.

I hope I'm not depriving my daughter. Thankfully daddy is more than willing to climb the big kids climbing frame, mostly because he is one himself!

So I'm learning that parenthood consists of a lot of guilt.
People tell you about this, but as with everything with parenthood, you can't comprehend it until you're there.
When I wrestled with the dilemma of whether it was a selfish thing for me to do to have a child, I naively never thought past the having to take opioids during pregnancy, or whether I'd be able to breast feed on said opioids or whether I'd get my baby enough fresh air as my pain may prevent me from taking her out in her pram everyday: for some unknown reason I never saw past the babyhood.
My baby is growing and with her is that guilt.

On my good days, hours, minutes I try to take her to as many groups, play dates and activities as I physically can as I'm so conscious that on my bad days, it is just her and I, the dog and the cast of that day's Cbeebies programming or as a last resort our old faithful pals of Anna, Elsa and Olav as I may just have to lay there until I can get back on top of my pain.

It appears that parenting does not infact get easier as the sleepless nights become fewer as it appears that guilt and worry disturb your sleep just as much as night feeds!

I'm going to keep doing my best to distract her from that climbing frame, slide, running game even if it does mean resorting to sugar bribery and buying her that ice cream just to distract her attention away- again, something I am really not proud of today and definitely something I feel guilty about-  but at the time when my pain was flaring, my patience waining and my heart sinking that I couldn't take her on the slide as I was at the park solo- it seemed a good idea at the time.

Onto tomorrow, I'm going to attempt to win the battle of sleep vs. pain, and realistic limitations over guilt to stand a fighting chance of keeping up with my Duracell Bunny tomorrow!
Would I have her any other way? Not on your life!
Would I swap today with all of its challenges for an all expenses fortnight in the Maldives complete with personal butler and cocktails on tap? Not on your nelly... although if anyone's offering to have both... I'll bite your bloody arm off!
And so to start dinner, bath and my long awaited bed....
Mmmmm Maldives! Zzzzzzzzzzz