Well, what a very busy few weeks we have had!
It started off with me having a massive wobble – everything just got on top of me. I felt awful having these feelings, but I do believe, after speaking to a few people, I am not alone. Some times when I look at social media and hear how everyone is having a lovely time with their families I feel I am such a bad mother for not having a lovely time with my little ones. Don’t get me wrong, I do generally have a lovely time, but I do find it hard. Having two 21 month old kids, who are both running around now (yes, Jack has gone from a few steps to being quite quick on his feet now) and who never run in the same direction, Jack is destructive and throws everything and Jessica doesn’t stop talking = exhausting days. I am very lucky that they sleep well and on the whole don’t cry a lot, but it is still hard work. I have also been getting myself wound up about Jack and when he goes to school! I know, I know that is ages away, but it worries me. I worry that he will get picked on, not by other kids really but by their parents who will tell the kids not to be friends with him because he is ‘different’. I worry that Jessica will get the same treatment as her twin. I worry that he won’t fit into mainstream school and that he won’t keep up with everyone. I worry alllll the time about him! I do worry about Jessica too, but not in the same way (and I know that every parent has these same worries, but it is just that bit more complex when you have a child who is seen as different by society and I know, as I have seen it happen. People get scared of different and shy away from it and don’t want to have it as part of their lives. Which I understand, but I don’t want Jack or Jessica hurt by it).
I shared all these fears with Lisa and she told me not to beat myself up. Having twins is bloody hard (hers are 9 now) but rewarding in equal measures. Oh, and to not forget that we were off to Benidorm in around 8 weeks time, with the girls, for 3 whole nights! Whoop Whoop!
I ventured into town that afternoon, still feeling a bit low if I am honest, but felt I needed to get the twins out and decided on a bit of soft play. First though we had to pop into Wilkos – as we were looking for something I bumped into a lady who had her 33 year old daughter with her, who has Down Syndrome. The lady stopped to admire the twins and asked if Jack has DS – I responded yes and asked how old her daughter was and we chatted. I let it slip that I was having a down day and shared my fears with her. She totally got it and gave me a huge hug and a few reassuring words of comfort, that everything will be ok. She gave me her number and said I could call her anytime and she will happily help me through, what she guaranteed would come – more down days. I felt lifted and also that it was meant to be that I would meet this lovely lady. How many reading this can honestly say that they have met a stranger in the the street, bared their soul and got a reassuring hug from them. We headed off to soft play and I let J&J loose – I got myself a cup of tea and sat down to watch them (they now head off in different directions so I just survey they activity). In came a lady with her girl twins and she did exactly the same as me and slumped down into a chair – I asked her how old her two were and pointed my two out to her. The girls are a little bit younger than my two, but still running around and in different directions! I asked how she was getting on and she expressed all the troubles I was currently having – I felt so relieved that I was not alone! We chatted whilst the kids played and I hope I helped her feel that she wasn’t alone too. She said that it had all got too much and she’s booked a weekend way with her husband – I agreed with her wholeheartedly that it was the best thing ever to get away and be yourselves for a few nights (admittedly you will probably talk about the kids and miss them like crazy, but you get to be a couple again and not just Mummy and Daddy). It was one of those days that when Richard got home from work that I just needed and anted a hug.
The next day we had our last coffee morning with the PSDS ladies and smaller children – we all gather at Sarah’s house and she is such a wonderful host. I dread it a little bit as my two just seem to destroy her house (but she never, ever complains and always reminds me that she has three kids and is used to it). It is always lovely meeting up with this group and such a shame it was our last time together in that environment – we all start Digbies in September (a group specialising in the development of speech and language skills together with occupational therapy and social skills for children with DS). We are all really looking forward to starting these sessions and I can’t wait to see how Jack will develop with this support and help. He will also start to receive Portage support too in September (Portage is a home based educational support service for children with special educational needs and their families). So it will be all go for Jack from September – just need to make sure Jessica doesn’t miss out!
A few other ‘lasts’ happened too – we had our last swimming lesson (not sure we will be able to continue in September what with everything else Jack will have going on). They love swimming and love Tracy, their swimming teacher, too. And we had our last Talking Tots for this term too (we will definitely go back to that in September, as it is on a Sunday and Daddy can get involved) – they have come on so much with attending Talking Tots and I really do think it has helped Jessica with her listening and responding skills – thanks Jeanette!
And then we had a few firsts…
On Thursday we had our fist play date and tea invitation to go to. The lovely Folan family invited us over for tea! Emily is soooo brave to invite the terrible two round! Jessica, Jack, Joe and Zoe all played really well together and then we sat down for tea… Well, it is a comfort to Emily and I that both Jack and Joe like to throw their food! And the girls sit and eat so nicely. Boys never seem to get the hang of eating nicely, even as men! They did all manage to eat all their tea and with a lot of laughter and a lot of chat from Jessica! We can’t wait for our next play date.
On Friday the twins had a ‘settling in’ session at the pre-school they will go to in January 2018 (I call it a pre-school because it is term time sessions and its not technically a nursery, although sounds weird as they are only going to be 2 when they start going!). They had a wonderful time and both enjoyed playing with the other children who will be starting there soon too. Jessica was straight in with everyone else whilst Jack hung back a bit and sussed everything out – lots of ooooing and ahhhignng from him as he figured out what he wanted to play with, he was very excited. All the team there are so lovely and asked lots of questions about Jack and his needs – as although we want him to be treated as any other child in the class, he will have additional needs to support him, of which they are more than ready to take on board. Jack is the first child they have had go to them with Down Syndrome, but I am sure he won’t be the last child they have through their doors with DS. t all their tea and with a lot of laughter and a lot of chat from Jessica! We can’t wait for our next play date.
And we had a couple of other firsts – Jessica can now sign songs! She belts out a fabulous rendition of ‘twinkle, twinkle’! And Jack, after a lot of coaxing, ate a corn on the cob – now you may think that I am being ridiculous being proud of this, but he is really, really funny about trying new food, especially when he has to bite down on it like you do a corn on the cob! So, to us it is a big win and he did so well 🙂 So after those few days of a wobble, I have had those rewarding moments Lisa told me about.