Was that really me? One thing I never envisaged when I became
my mum a mum 16 years ago was the sudden loss of all common sense & rational thinking.
As soon as Ciara was placed into my arms, I literally became a woman, who slept every night, badly, anxious with one ear open, listening for any sudden change in breathing. I would regularly get up and check she was still breathing, and if I wasn’t sure I would poke her, instantly regretting it when she cried; only to repeat it all again later.
Looking back I can see how the phrase ‘helicopter parenting’ was coined, that was me morning, noon and night, unable to let go, always hovering just in case.
Every rash had me carrying out the ‘glass test’ never quite sure if it actually disappeared or not, so to be sure would head off to the Doctors. It was no different if she coughed, sneezed, had a cold that seemed prolonged, it would all have me in a state of fearing it was something more sinister. (see NEUROTIC).
Everything had to be right. I lived by the book of new motherhood, following the reams of goals, tips, checklists mainly focussing on the ‘must not do’ list such as; never re-heating bottles (especially in the microwave), never giving her dummy back without first sterilising it, never weaning before 4 months…and so on.
That was me; first time neurotic mummy wasting endless hours sterilising dummies, any toys that had hit the ground and the like, gasping in horror if another mum suggested I cut corners, fearing I would somehow, damage her in the process, all coupled with my parents telling me the stories of their survival as babies with no parenting books or sterilising kits!! (See BINNED THE BOOK, TOOK PARENTS ADVICE with second child).
However, visits to the Doctors surgery were regular. The routine baby checks were my favourite. It gave me a chance to ‘show her off’ and swell with pride at her development and seeing my shiny red book fill up nicely.
All other questions such as, is she talking – err yeah of course, can she count from 1-10 not quite but we are working on it, is she toilet trained, were plentiful… hang on, sorry scrap that bit, those were the Nursery Gate questions, wrong story!
I KNOW HOW THIS SOUNDS BUT….
On one routine visit, my Doctor asked me how much Ciara weighed at birth; it would be worth noting I was shite at maths (see NEVER LISTENED AT SCHOOL).
I proudly informed him she had weighed 350kg. Waiting for the unexpected laughter to die down, he composed himself before asking if I was sure, feeling the pressure, as clearly this figure was wrong, I hastily changed it to 35kg,
“whaaa…t why you laughing” I asked, puzzled. Showing a clear lack of any understanding surrounding weights, especially kilo’s, he suggested maybe it was 3.5kg, I went with that, after all he was the Doctor he understood kilos better than I did.
It wasn’t until I recited this account later to my brother, it become apparent what had been funny, I had given the weight off something more in line with a baby elephant! (see SECOND BABY).
IT GETS WORSE
I am fully aware of how this might look, and the following just adds to the list of ‘how stupid could someone be’ but that was me, first time mum and all that, the kind of mum who had to have everything right for my first, along with buying anything gadget based.
I remember buying a Motion Swing that would rock baby gently, saving on any un-needed arm ache and time. Walking through town with box in tow and his nibs moaning about the price, I was delighted when a woman approached us to champion how good the swings were, apparently brilliant!
Feeling smug and repeating this to his nibs several times over, the smug table turned the day we put her in it, she hated it, cried solidly.
Incidentally the swing ended up in the loft along with all the other waste of time purchases & parenting manuals, along with his nibs muttering “told you it was a waste of money”.
“No Doctor, you don’t understand she isn’t like any other baby” I would tell him as I graced his room once again with Ciara sneezing, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important” blah blah blah.
Imagine my horror, when, again, having taken leave of all normal senses, I was laying with Ciara one morning, when after feeding her, I noticed she started rolling her eyes.
Only slightly at first, but then moving on to real back of the head rolling. Watching these actions panicked me, trying to reset her eyes to the front position and their clear lack of adjusting back, I let out a mighty roar to his nibs, “quick, come here, there’s something wrong with Ciara”.
“What you on, she was perfectly fine earlier”, he said
“Well she’s not now, I think she might be blind”, mumbling something along the lines of ridiculous and stupid, I carried on, undeterred “seriously, she is rolling her eyes, it’s not right, I need to ring the Doctors”
Pressing redial calling the surgery, I was asked by the Doctors bouncer for my knicker size, what I had for breakfast, is it life threatening blah, blah, blah.
I blurted out my child was blind, “ok what makes you think that”, “well she’s rolling her eyes back in her head and they aren’t refocusing”, so with a reassuring, “ooh I’ve never heard of that before you best bring her in…”.
Throwing her in the car, not literally for any anti- throwing kid’s campaigners out there, we raced off in the mumobile, rubber screeching to the Doctors. Rushing in I couldn’t have given a stuff that I still had my slippers on, this was urgent, pretending not to notice anyone in the packed waiting room I hoped we wouldn’t be waiting long.
The wait seemed long and all scenarios were playing through my mind, what type of dog we would get, were there any braille classes locally..!
The crackle of the speaker came on, holding my breath I heard “Sharon, Room No. 4 please”, detecting a hint of ‘what now’ in his tone, I carried on regardless. It seemed we were on first name terms, I liked the personal touch!
“She’s blind” I announced opening the door and walking in. “Take a seat Sharon”, sitting down I braced myself as he took her and asked “what makes you think she’s possibly blind”, possibly!
Are you kidding, she’s rolling her eyes right into the back of head so much so I expect her to start chanting lines from the exorcist, her iris literally disappears! That’s why I think she’s blind.
“Ah right, ok I’ll have a look”. Turning his back slightly, l sat worrying he was shielding me from some impending doom, rehearsing how he was going to break the news to me.
After what seemed like a very long time, probably one minute in real time, he turned to me and said, “Sharon, have you ever thought she might have wind”?
“Wind”, I said, no I hadn’t, apparently according to him it was a common fact that some babies rolled their eyes when they had wind, well that was a first for me and something I had not read in any of my shit mummy manuals.
Looking back I have great admiration for that Doctor, he always saw me and never mocked, well not to my face.
If it wasn’t for him leaving, not long after we took to visiting him, (just coincidental) I would thank him in person for putting up with the ‘then me’.