On Thursday we had one of many hospital visits. I often joke between the five of us we keep the NHS in business and there should be a bed with the patient name ‘Lewis-Quinn’ permenantly attached to it. When Darwin was very young I noticed he had what looked like discolouration on the back of his leg. I mentioned it during an appointment with our GP and we were given a dermatologist referral. It turns out he has something called Hyper and Hypo pigmentation. In Basic terms it means patches of skin that are both lighter and darker than his ‘normal’ skin colour. It doesn’t appear to be anything sinister. He is currently being monitored.
We turned up for the appointment and we had a bit of a wait, we were early (makes a change) and they were delayed. I took the children to the playroom. Darwin decided to play with a little pushchair and Zachary a big red bus. All was well. Until the doctor called us in. I had a big buggy, including bags for each of the children, my own handbag, a newspaper and a buggy board. I was trying to get the boys to leave the playroom and the toys, whilst navigating the pushchair and the things loaded on it.
Darwin bolted with the play pushchair. Down a corridor in the wrong direction, Zachary was laying on the playroom floor shouting “No Doctor, not today”. Although I was very proud at this four word sentence this was not what I needed right now. It was a split second decision. The doctor was blocking the doorway of the playroom, I dashed off after Darwin scooping both him and the mini pushchair up. He screamed. I was starting to feel flustered. The doctor kindly said the children could bring the toys from the toyroom into the office.
We went in and I took a seat the children began playing. The doctor and I were talking and the children kept getting progressively louder. I tried to get them to be a little quiter, it didn’t work. They started smashing the pushchair on the floor and ramming the bus into the door, whilst laughing pretty manically. The doctor was still talking to me and I was desperately trying to calm the kids and continue the conversation. I had to ask the doctor to stop, I couldn’t hear myself think. She said it was OK. I spoke to the children explaining if they continued to be so noisy and smashy with the toys they could not play with them. Zachary was not happy and a tantrum ensued. I apologised. Zachary was placed on the chair next to me and Darwin began to walk nicely pushing the pushchair.
I began to talk to the doctor again, Zachary got up and got a book. Peppa Pig, a new interest for Zachary. He brought the book and came and sat on the chair. The doctor wanted to examine Darwin, we began on the chair and eventually moved to the bed. All was quiet! Score! When we turned around Zachary has been ripping the pages out of the book and strewn them over the floor. I was mortified. I apologised again and tried to explain to Zachary that this isn’t his book and we don’t rip books. He skipped off to the toy box. The doctor told me not to worry and we continue to discuss Darwin. Both boys were now playing together with Zachary sat in the play pushchair and Darwin pushing him. It was the cutest thing and I had to resist the urge to get my phone out to get a photo.
I told Zachary he was too big. They carried on and I watched them from the corner of my eye, trying to encourage them with gestures and the odd, “stop it”. When Zachary got out of the pushchair, Darwin threw it at the door CRASH , SMASH, the wheel came flying off. It had snapped and it was broken. I took and deep breath and apologised again. The doctor said not to worry, she asked me about Darwin’s behaviour and how he played etc. Zachary decided it was time to leave and got the bus stood on it to open the door. I had to get up and get him, the doctor waited patiently, Zachary did this multiple times a few times making into the corridor. I ended up scoping him up and restraining on my lap so I could finish my conversation with the doctor. We spoke about my family and the fact that I have Oliver too, she smiled.
After we finished and it was time to go. Guess what. Zachary didn’t want to leave, so started screaming throwing himself on the floor shouting “No.No.No”. I said goodbye to the doctor thanked her for her help and promised I would get Darwin’s specialist photographs taken. I did this whilst trying to soothe Zachary and explain what was happening now and what was happening next. After a few minutes Zachary was on board. Now it was Darwin, trying to get this boy into the pushchair was a task and a half. He was kicking, hitting, headbutting and screaming. When I finally got Darwin into the pushchair. The doctor stopped me.
By this point I was mentally and physically exhausted and mentally trying to prepare my for the double bus journey home. I took a deep breath and the doctor said
“YOU ARE A GOOD MUM”
Huh, Did she just see the chaos that ensued in her office? The noise, the destruction, the mayhem. Did she not she how out of control I was? How overwhelmed I felt? How tired I was? How I had no idea what I was doing? She had thrown me with that comment. I think I mumbled a thank you. She went on to say that she had two children and she thought I coped really well with my two boys. She commented that it’s difficult having two, that having a child with additional needs and everything that was going on with Darwin must be really difficult and exhausting. For those of you that are wondering Yes, Yes it is!
She said that she was going to get Datwin seen by one paediatrician so I wouldn’t continue to have various appointments with lots of different specialists who only look at the problem in their field of expertise, she said she felt he needed someone to take a more holistic approach and to look at Darwin as a whole. She asked me if I had any medical training, was I a nurse? I laughed and said No and asked why. She said that I knew exactly what I was looking out for with my boys and that many of the things I noticed get over looked and sometimes either missed completely or not picked up till the children were much older. Then she said it again.
“YOU ARE A GOOD MUM”
I thanked her, left the office and made our way to the lift. Once inside I promptly burst into tears. The whole time I had been sat in that room. I was thinking that she was judging me and she was. But she didn’t see my short comings, she didn’t see that I was flustered, distracted, over tired or out of control. Instead she saw how much I was trying. Now don’t get me wrong my friends and family tell me all the time I am a good Mum, but somehow this felt different. That Doctor probably doesn’t know how much I needed to hear that. But I did. Parenting is hard and I often doubt myself but it’s nice to get encouragement every now and again.
I challenge you to write a note, send a text or tell a friend or stranger that they too are a good Mum. Don’t do it for the sake of it. Do it because you mean it. Maybe they inspire you? Maybe they are honest and truthful and make you feel less of a failure? Maybe they are organised and encourage you, for whatever reason, let’s build up some Mums out there.
Thanks for reading