Mummy luxuries, toilet training and… child genius?

Mummy luxuries, toilet training and… child genius?

by Emma Hargan
article from Thursday 23, January, 2020

The Mummy Diaries – Week 24

I REALISED pretty quickly that as a parent, your time is very precious. I mean, everyone says the time passes so quickly. And it does. The newborn stage is a blink of an eye and before you know it, they are up and away to school.

What’s even more precious is your ‘me time’. Now I’m not talking about the B.C. (Before Children) era when your ‘me time’ consisted of nights out with your girlfriends, or a nice hot bath, a face mask and then painting your toes while enjoying a glass of wine and watching Bridget Jones. No, those are the things we took for granted. Now they would be classed as luxuries.

So what counts as a luxury?

A spa treatment? A hair appointment? A shopping trip? (One that doesn’t involve a supermarket!)

Err, no, not exactly. Mummy luxuries nowadays consist of trips to the bathroom – alone; late night shopping trips to the supermarket – alone; a bath shared with Nemo, Dory and every other Under the Sea Disney creature known to man, along with some Baby Shark bubble bath – bliss! Oh, and not forgetting, a daily shower.

This week I managed to squeeze in a couple of mummy luxuries! For the last few weeks, Lily has been asking to go ‘pee pee’. At the start, I never really paid much attention, thinking it was cute she was copying Jamie. But this last wee while we’ve noticed she tells us after she’s wet her nappy. 19 months old, I took this as a great sign and decided to give the toilet training a try. We’ll see how she gets on and if it doesn’t work, we can stop and try again later when she’s a bit older.

So, mummy luxury event number one – a 10.00pm trip to Asda – alone. Not just the usual food shopping. Oh no! This week, I had to buy new vests, pants and baby shark hand soap for Lily and the following essential items required for toilet training – Dettol wipes, floor cleaner and a bottle of wine. After the several toilet training experiences with Jamie, and even though we got there in the end, wine o’clock on a Friday night was well deserved.

Monday morning. I thought I would wait until Jamie was away at nursery before I started Lily’s training. Jamie ran into nursery as usual and I barely got a kiss and a cuddle, he was that excited to get in the door. Apparently, the song they were learning this week was, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” – and they were making kites as well. Jamie was bursting with excitement; it was lovely to see him so happy and it’s a lovely feeling for me knowing he loves going in. When Lily and I arrived back home, I didn’t have to wait long before she told me, “Mummy, pee pee”

“Okay, let’s go.” I said and took her hand to go through to the toilet. Her face was a picture. She was grinning from ear to ear and kept looking up at me as if to wonder if I was serious. I had already placed her wee seat in the toilet and put the step down so she wouldn’t find it so scary. Not a bother to Lily. Now, we spent most of the morning in and out of the toilet without a pee pee in sight, but I was happy for her to get used to going and delighted she wasn’t scared or daunted by it.

And then hey presto! Just after she had her lunch and we were about to leave to collect Jamie from nursery, she went! I made such a fuss that the wee soul was all proud of herself and started laughing at me as I was doing a stupid dance. OMG, if I could see myself now ten years ago. But the truth was, I couldn’t have been prouder.

After collecting Jamie from playschool and hearing Let’s Go Fly a Kite for the fifth run, it was nap time for the pair of them.

Mummy luxury number two – getting both kids to sleep at the same time. Enough said!

By the time James arrived home, I couldn’t wait to tell him how well Lily had done with the toilet training – but Jamie was desperate to tell his Daddy about the kite and what he had done at nursery.

“A good day all round then.” James said.

“Yeah, I just hope tomorrow will be just as good.” I replied.

The following day was an important one for Jamie. (As you all know from my previous blogs Jamie has had delayed speech, although he has come on massively since starting nursery and attending speech therapy.) He had an appointment with the nurse who would complete an assessment to make sure it was just a delay in speech and nothing else. There are other factors that can affect a child’s speech, such as autism or Asperger’s or even hearing issues. As a parent, all you care about is your child’s wellbeing and happiness. From my point of view, if there was something that was delaying Jamie’s speech then I want to know so I can help him where needed. School and growing up are hard enough at the best of times without being different. So naturally, I was very nervous about the appointment.

The following morning and it was our usual start to the day except James wasn’t going into work. He was off to watch Lily so I could collect Jamie and take him straight to the appointment myself. Jamie was scoffing his cereal totally oblivious to what was happening later on and I was on my second cup of coffee as I couldn’t stomach even a slice of toast.

After dropping Jamie off, it was the longest morning but I managed to keep myself busy with jobs and work. James was trying to reassure me that whatever the outcome, Jamie would be fine and although I agreed with him, I couldn’t help think that there was something I had or hadn’t done to help him. Did I spend enough time reading books with him? Should I have started reading to him earlier? Did I spend enough one-to-one time with Jamie when Lily was born? All these things rattling around and not helping the situation one bit. That’s motherhood though.

So, before I tortured myself anymore, it was time to collect Jamie and find out what the story was.

I was really surprised at how in depth the assessment was. I think I was expecting the nurse to give Jamie a pile of toys and observe his behaviour. Oh no! He did have toys and she did observe but she asked Jamie questions about, well, everything! What is your name? How old are you? Tell me the alphabet? Can you sing a song? Do you know what this is?  Do you know what that is? And on and on and on. Jamie took it all in his stride and answered most of the questions. I was exhausted just listening to it. The nurse worked her way through her assessment while taking notes and nodding her head. Jamie by this point was starting to get fed up and tired. He put the toys back in the basket and started to put his jacket on.

And then it happened.

“We’re nearly finished now Jamie, just a couple more questions okay?” The nurse said.

“Jamie, can you tell me what’s after 1,2,3?”

“4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13…” Jamie continued.

“Okay, thank you.” The nurse said, while cutting him off, but Jamie continued. He got to 20 and then started counting backwards.

The nurse looked up at me and said, “He can count backwards as well?”

I nodded. “Jamie knows his numbers up to 100. He’s clever with other things as well, like shapes and letters. He can spell words.” I added for good measure.

The nurse took a book out and pointed to the different shapes on the page.

“Square, circle, triangle…” Jamie said.

The nurse started making notes and then Jamie pointed to the other shapes. “Diamond, parallelogram, rhombus, trapezoid.”

The nurse looked up at me, “Does he do this at home?”

“Yes.” I replied.

The nurse finished writing and asked us to wait for a few moments while she got the paperwork together.

“Is Jamie good with geography? Does he know places and does he know where he is going when you are travelling in the car?” the nurse asked.

“Yes he is! It’s really annoying at times as he knows where the nearest burger and chips is, or toy shop!” I laughed. “So, what’s the verdict?” I asked.

“On completion of the assessment, Jamie does not show any signs of being on the Autism spectrum, nor does her have any hearing issues. He does show a lack in concentration when asked to do tasks he’s not interested in but then again, he is only three-years-old. It seems that when Jamie gets excited or anxious his brain works faster than his mouth and that’s why he speaks this baby babble at times. I think it would still be a good idea to attend the speech therapist but I think Jamie’s slowness with his speech is to do with intelligence.” The nurse said. “It’s too early to tell but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jamie is diagnosed with mild Asperger’s syndrome after he starts school. Although Jamie isn’t showing any signs of social or emotional issues, he does seem to be very bright in certain areas. If he does, it’s extremely mild and absolutely nothing to worry about. If anything, he will probably do very well at school.”

I looked at Jamie who at this point was exhausted from his morning at nursery and then this assessment and was just looking up at me with pleading eyes to leave.

“Thanks very much, I feel so much better now that this has been done. We’ll just see how he gets on then.”  I replied.

‘’Here’s Jamie’s paperwork and please give me a ring if you have any questions before we see you next time.” The nurse stated.

After we arrived home, I took Jamie straight upstairs for a nap and couldn’t wait to tell James the results.

Friday night, kids down to bed and wine o’clock arrived.  James and I then spent the next hour chatting about how well Lily was doing with her toilet training and debating whose side of the family that Jamie’s intelligence come from.

“It’s obviously mine!” James says, “My brother has a PHD.”

“Well so has my aunt and I…” I replied while being cut off by one of the kids crying.

It was Jamie.

I went upstairs to see what the fuss was and found Jamie sitting on his bed frustrated and crying at trying to put his slippers on while holding his Gruffalo book.

“You have to put the book down and use both hands to put your slippers on Jamie.” I said.

“No!” He shouted.

Aaagh! Even a mini man can’t multitask! On second thoughts, Jamie must take after James! 

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