Separation Anxiety and Why We Need More Coffee

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I can see the light…

I can still hear him. It’s almost inaudible, but there.  He’s softly humming to himself. 

I hold my breath. I can feel sweat running down my brow. I exhale slowly and try ignore it. 

I extend my foot. Very slowly I set the foot down on the floor. 

A floorboard creaks loudly and I freeze to the spot.

The humming has stopped. 

He is listening. 

I shift my weight somewhat and press my body next to the wall. If I can just move out of the room fast enough he won’t detect me. 

I take another step and there’s no sound. I exhale slowly.  I can see the light coming from the other room. Two more steps and I’ll be out of here. 

I take another step and suddenly my knees croak. It sounds like someone just broke off a branch off an old Oak tree.  Thank you Age. 

Suddenly I see a dummy flung across the room. This is not a good sign. I peek around the corner.

Night lamp

He is definitely awake. He is listening and he is NOT happy. 

I know what must be done. I don’t like it as the risk of getting spotted are extremely high. I lie down flat on the floor and army crawl over to the dummy. With the dummy safely in my hand, I crawl over to the cot and deposit the dummy inside the cot.  I look up tentatively. He’s taken the bait. 

It seems he has settled back. There is hope yet.  For now. 

I stay lying down for what seems like hours. I can’t hear a thing apart from my own heartbeat.  

I crawl back to the door and slowly get up to my knees first, then to standing. 

I decide to risk it and take another step. I’m so close, I’m in the light, I’m standing at the opening. 

The new episode of Bodyguard is lined up and ready on catch up downstairs. 

That’s when it starts. First, a kind of anxious and low key sound that progressively moves into full blown screaming… 

The baby is up and the baby wants Mama. 

Recognise the scenario? 

Separation anxiety in children is a BEAST. They never tell you that in your NCT classes do they?

SLEEP THIEF

My youngest is 11 months and have for the past month or so been going through a tough phase of separation anxiety. No one but Mum will do.

I can leave him for a few minutes with someone else, but after a while he will look around for Mum and cry. Nighttime is a real killer.

I know it’s anxiety, rather than say hunger or thirst, as he will stop crying as soon as I pick him up or soothe him.

So what do you do? You ride it out. 

There’s nothing for it. Cuddle baby, soothe and comfort baby. Soon she/he will understand that Mum (or Dad) has to go away for a little while but they always come back.  

I know the books that say “let baby cry out” and all that. If that’s how you want to approach it then by no means do so. No judgement.  But it’s not for me. I’ve found with all my kids that patience and perseverance do the trick. 

It doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride though. My brain feel like porridge. I’m tired and short tempered. I feel about 200 years old. My god, I’m so, so tired. 

How long can you actually function on zero sleep but huge quantities of tea and coffee? Has there been a study on this? If not, there should be. 

But the truth is – these days fly by so fast. Blink your eyes and they’ll be teenagers begging you to stay out of their room. 

Babies be like.

My oldest is 9 and he doesn’t need me in the same way anymore. Although I welcome the maturity and independence in him, I do also miss hearing those little feet tiptoeing into our room and snuggling up to us in bed. 

So for now, I’ll have to keep my Ninja moves nimble and ready for action and up my coffee consumption. 

Richard Madden will have to wait.

The Masters of Disguise

Our oldest son has Dyslexia. 

We didn’t realise until he started school and even then he managed to mask it for a long time.

Apart from often being wonderfully  creative they are also masters of Disguise… They are chameleons. 

They can adapt, copy and imitate. 

Genius really. Often, they have adapted to our way of reading and writing, of learning and processing data so well that their learning disability goes unnoticed for many years. 

I saw a clip recently of actress Keira Knightly, retelling the story of when her parents realised she had Dyslexia.  It was like hearing myself talking about our oldest.  

She would ask mum or dad to read the book and she would listen carefully, memorising each bit and when it was her turn to “read” she relied on her memory. Extraordinary. (And a good memory is certainly a good trait to have if you’re an actor!) 

This is how we started suspecting Jackson might be dyslexic.  The memorising bit.

Jackson never seemed interested in reading or writing and struggled with B, P, S, 5 and the other usual suspects. He could just about manage to write his name.  I wasn’t too worried initially.  I mean, he was a baby in my eyes and it could just be his age.

Still… I had that feeling in my stomach. I just knew. Jackson is different.

We voiced our concerns but the teachers kept reiterating that it was too soon to tell. 

Once he started getting reading home work he’d always ask me to read a page out loud before reading it himself.  Initially, I didn’t think so much of it.  I figured he just needed an extra boost and I was happy to oblige. One day though I was watching him read and I saw that he wasn’t actually reading the text. His eyes weren’t moving.

So the next time I changed the text from the original and that’s when I realised Jackson had memorised every word and was retelling the story from memory only.

Word for word. 

Incredibly impressive but I was heartbroken. 

I wasn’t heartbroken that he had Dyslexia.  I was so sad that he’d been so worried about being different, and not being able to read, that he’d memorised it all in order to disguise it. He wanted to hide it and not tell us.

I recently saw a thread on Twitter whether we should have home work or not. This is a whole other post in itself but let’s just say, I’m not a fan.

Home work time in this house is pure torture. 

Our son is miserable, we despair and I just don’t see the point. 

Our son is now in year 5. 

We have good days and bad days. 

His reading and writing has improved. He’s still incredibly fast at learning and memorising text. His stories are incredible; he’s so creative and imaginative. 

Often, you can play him a tune once and he’ll remember most, if not all, lyrics. 

He seems at peace with his Dyslexia and tries to keep up. His peers are so supportive and he’s never been bullied for being different. 

Our school system just isn’t set up to support children with dyslexia and we need more awareness. Keira actually briefly talks about it herself; we need to educate and support our teachers so that they can adapt their teaching plans and learning environment accordingly. 

We encourage our son to try and explore all aspects of his personality.  

Being good at reading and writing is useful, but it’s isn’t everything. 

For example, he is incredibly astute and sensitive. He’s devoted, caring and loving. He can spot patterns incredibly fast and he can see the whole picture. 

He doesn’t seem to be worried about his Dyslexia. He just says that his brain is “wired differently”. 

I’ve spoken to a few adult friends with Dyslexia. They all have different coping mechanisms and we are lucky to have technology on our side. Like spell check, and Siri/Alexa. 

Having Dyslexia won’t stop you from achieving in life. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask these following people instead: 

Albert Einstein

Richard Branson

Darcey Bussell

Keira Knightly

Steven Spielberg

Pablo Picasso

Jamie Oliver

John Lennon

Steve Jobs

Ingvar Kamprad 

Useful links:

British Dyslexia Awareness Week

The World Cup 2018 – Sweden vs England

The World Cup.

Sweden Football T-shirt

It was inevitable that England and Sweden would meet. I was kind of hoping that we’d both somehow get to go through the knock out stages. Maybe they’d draw, after penalties, and we’d both win!

But at this point the game was unavoidable; we knew this. Both teams had fought off many worthy opponents to get to this stage and now it was game day.

It’d been a massive build up all week. “How would be cope?” “What if it ends in penalties?” “Who will the kids support?! “The pressure!”

The tension was building throughout the day and come 3pm it was about to burst! You could feel it in the air. The streets were deserted. Brooks popped to the shops and there was one lady working the tills at our local Tesco.

“They all took the day off!” The lady said to the people waiting in the queue to get some last minute hummus.

UK Flags

We were ready. Flags were out and the gloves were off.

England took the lead early on and never let off from that point. Their team stronger, hungrier for the win. I was willing the Swedish team on, hoping that they’d equalise and produce some kind of miracle.

Our kids, however, soon lost interest in the game and resorted to playing with Lego in the front room.

England, very deservedly, won the game in the end.

My husband and I went outside to tell our kids that unfortunately Sweden was out of the World Cup and found them playing happily on picnic blanket, blissfully unaware of any drama.

Our kids on a picnic blanket

“Who won Daddy?” Jackson asked.

“England. 2-0”.

Jackson smiled.

“We were always going to win.” Jackson said. “Either way…”

Our beautiful Swenglish children both smiled at us briefly and then went back to their game.