Monday, June 27, 2005

You didn’t!

I’ve been neglectful. To date, I haven’t mentioned my second son, P. Which is odd, because he’s the one who causes me most stress (yeah, I know that must sound incredible after all I’ve said about the others!)

Being very nearly seven he has, at last, grown out of the temper tantrums and food fits he was prone to as a toddler, but unfortunately still has trouble interacting with other children.

There were a few years when I worried that his behaviour was all my fault, because originally I’d only wanted one child (HAHAHA!!!) and wasn’t sure how I felt when I discovered I was pregnant. On top of that I’d had this huge allergic reaction to penicillin before I found out and so instead of preparing for a new baby, spent most of the time fretting there’d be something wrong with him. Then he was breach (which is actually a lot less uncomfortable than engaged!), and I went into labour early and had to have an emergency c-section. Oh, and our electrician started a fire and took out our bedroom three days before he was born, so we had to move in with my mother (which really sent me off the stress scale!!).

But then something amazing happened. I got the perfect baby. He’s slept through night since the day he was born and was the quietest, most contented baby anyone could wish for.

In fact he used to be so quiet, I got all neurotic and took to standing over his cot and staring at his chest to check he was breathing. Good job too, or we might not have noticed how blue he sometimes went. It turned out he had a heart murmur, and although his body healed the problem, it gave us heaps of worry for a while.

It didn’t end there (and I doubt it ever shall with P) because at ten months we were told he had a hearing problem due to severe glue ear. Luckily again, this was not an insurmountable problem and thanks to speech therapy he’s caught up academically with his peers.

But there are other things affected when an infant can’t hear and their speech is delayed. The most noticeable being that they get fed-up and develop a temper instead. So as my sweet, adorable second son turned one, he also turned into the devil’s spawn and stayed that way until he reached five and was able to grasp the concept of compromise and bribery (that’s on his mother’s part!).

Unfortunately he began school when he turned four, and made enough enemies in that first year to carry him through all his schooling days (and I’m not just talking about his peers!), I lost count of the number of apologies I had to make for bruises, bald bits and bite marks.

So I worry about him. None of my others has the least trouble mixing, but P still has the philosophy that: if you’re not agreeing with me, then you must HATE me. And of course little boys don’t always agree…

We’ve tried all the typical things to try and help him along, but the truth is, he just doesn’t seem to like people, and very few take to him. It breaks my heart to watch him with other children getting teased or ignored, but he won’t listen when I tell him to be patient and not to get cross. All too often it ends in tears; it used to be theirs, now it’s his.

So it came as a surprise today when he got in the car and asked what day his party is going to be on. I frowned and asked why he suddenly wanted a party.

Because everybody likes me now!’ said P.

A million thoughts raced through my head, and filled-in the gaps so his words made sense.

R had been listening; ‘Oh my god, you didn’t tell your class you’re having a party?’ he sat back screeching with laughter as P nodded happily.

I told them we were going swimming, then pizza hut, then the cinema!

You didn’t!’ I damn near screamed, and the desperation must have been apparent in my voice because P stopped smiling.

When I began writing I was cross with him, but now my heart is breaking with guilt because he might have the chance to make some things right, and I can help. So I’d better get a move on and arrange this party, I’ve only got eleven days!


Blogger mm said...

Debi - what is glue ear?

My son will be 13 in October. I really worry about the kind of kids he seems to be hanging out with. The one who stayed over on the weekend was especially worrisome. First I made bacon and tomato sandwiches and he asked for ketchup! That should have tipped me off, but he became fascinated with a snapping turtle they found in the creek. A big one. "I'm going to catch it," he said.

"No you aren't", I said.

"I catch them all the time. Lot's bigger than this."

"No you don't." I said. (Big fat liar, I wanted to say.)
"They're called snapping turtles for a reason, you stupid tool." (I didn't say stupid tool, but I thought it. Doesn't your son seem wonderful in comparison?)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 2:21:00 am  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

I had this creepy feeling reading your post that your son DIDN'T get tubes for his glue ear. Please say it isn't so. I mean, if he'd gotten tubes, he'd have normal hearing and wouldn't need speech therapy, right?

Maureen: glue ear is a condition where this snot-like fluid (hard to call it fluid, really -- hence glue) builds up behind the ear drum. If it's bilateral, the hearing loss is pretty bad.

Debi: my ex-GF from high school -- with her first son, she had a horrible pregnancy. One of those pregnancies where the morning sickness lasts from the first month to the last, and it's a struggle to put on the weight. She had such a bad time of it that she had trouble bonding with him (so she told me). I suspect that was rough for the both of them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 6:50:00 am  
Blogger Jona said...

Hi Maureen, I used to imagine P might turn into one of those children who tortured animals for fun! But after moving he has become delighted with the rabbits, squirrels and pheasants that hang out in our garden (thank god!) and I can now imagine him choosing to live in a forest with just the animals for company :o)

We can only do our best and cross our fingers xxx Good luck with yours!

Hello Doug, you’re getting to know me a little too well ;o)

We WERE on the waiting list for grommets, but during the year we waited his hearing improved and after talking to other parents whose children had the same problem, we decided against the operation (though if we’d had a second choice hospital we probably would have gone ahead). It’s pretty-much cleared up now :o)

I too had difficulty bonding with my first, and that’s one of the reasons why I wasn’t sure about having more – but P changed all that, and thanks to him I have my girls too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 10:31:00 am  
Blogger mm said...

Bonding is a funny thing. My son was born after 48 hours of difficult labour, and I was just too bloody tired to give him much more than a glance. I expected to be overwhelmed with love the moment I laid eyes on him, but didn't feel much at all. But there was still something animal there that would have made me leap from the bed and tear limb from limb anyone who might hurt him.

My daughter was much easier - only 36 hours of labour, but a serious complication made me lose 2 weeks of memory (including the labour and delivery). In fact when I first woke up I didn't even remember I'd been pregnant. But when she could be brought to me I liked her. :-)

Now she's ten and pulling the teenager thing with me - you know - I know nothing, she knows everything. But I still like her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:48:00 am  
Blogger John said...

I've got glue ear and have found the following treatment very effective although it is not a cure as such.

Glue ear treatment link

Sunday, September 23, 2007 3:14:00 pm  

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