The Element of Surprise

Happy Easter Sunday! My little Easter Egg developed a pretty nasty, oozy ear infection yesterday and is on antibiotics so we are home alone. Alex has taken Louis and Zeke to his parents house for a family Easter Egg Hunt. I don’t like missing out on stuff, but such is life, Thurston couldn’t help getting poorly and I don’t like to share vomit so we will stay at home and try to find the silver lining! Well…..Thurston is allergic to dairy and I’m on a diet so I guess staying away from the chocolate overload won’t do either of us any harm! Annoyingly, Alex appears to have taken my debit card with him so I can’t even occupy myself with a little treat from Urban Outfitters like I’d hoped, so I’ve taken control of the laptop instead!

We took Thurston to see the out of hours GP yesterday, he had been so so poorly during the day at home. His temperature was peaking at 39.9 and he was getting more and more lethargic and couldn’t keep any fluids down, so I knew he was going to need antibiotics. We waited around all day for the doctor to call us back and he gave us an appointment of 7.30pm because it was so busy up there. Of course this is no problem, but when we got there we were the only patients and there were 3 doctors! Before we left the house, Thurston had been very difficult to rouse and I was starting to be really quite worried about him. As soon as we were called in to see the doctor, he turned into a completely different child. We introduced him and obviously pointed out that he is Autistic and doesn’t have much speech, only it turns out that when Thurston is poorly or worried, you can’t shut him up! We’ve been to the out of hours doctor many times in the past and they are often fairly grumpy and who can blame them? Thurston had this guy in fits of laughter to the point that he couldn’t actually listen to his chest. There was no stopping him! “U ok doctor? is my ear doctor? u sad doctor? u like toy story doctor? i watch cars doctor. whatsa matter hanj? i go daddy car doctor. my name thurston doctor. bye doctor. have nice day doctor. see soon doctor!!”. He certainly knows how to lighten the mood. If it hadn’t been for the raging temperature and oozy ear, you wouldn’t have known there was anything wrong with him! Once we were home, he instantly became clingy and whingy again and is still not his normal self today. He often takes us by surprise and we never know what to expect from him anymore.

It feels as though Thurston has had a bit of a growth spurt this week not in his size, but in his confidence and risk-taking. He also looks different because he has had his hair cut short (thanks to me sitting with him, alex holding the iPod for him and a very talented and patient sister-in-law doing the hair cut in record, super-quick time). As well as this, he is now sleeping (as much as he does sleep) in a bed and sitting up at the table in his booster seat, so it seems very much as if our little boy has fully graduated to toddler, if a little late by the usual standards. After months of trying to get Thurston away from his baby cups, I spent a gift card that had come free with a catalogue on a Brother Max Trainer Cup. I had literally 0% hope that he would touch it other than to slap it off the table, but I filled it with water and left it out on the coffee table for him. I came back into the room to find him happily slurping away as if there had never been any problem with cups and the other 50 + toddler cups I had tried simply weren’t the ones he wanted. In the past, giving him a new cup would have been like trying to poison him. It completely breaks the trust between us and he thinks I am trying to trick him into drinking something new and will often not drink anything else I give him until the next day! You can imagine my surprise that he finished his entire drink of water, wiped his chin and said “thank you Hanj” as if it was the most normal thing in the world! (anyone who has children with low muscle tone or difficulty with traditional spouts on cups should take a look at, they have really different baby & toddler products to the normal ranges which are really innovative and easy to use).

Since it is the Easter holidays, we have been out and about this week. We had a trip to Canterbury and I spent some time with the boys whilst Alex shopped for my (hopefully many, many) birthday presents. Louis had a bit of birthday money leftover so he asked to go to Build a Bear. My kids go nuts for Build a Bear, they would have every outfit, lightsabre, wig, tent and buggy for their bears (Bear Lightyear and Woody the Cowbear) if they could afford it. Thurston on the other hand, is not a shop lover so I was ready to be speedy and get in and out with as little screaming and slapping the general public as I could get away with. Louis was having Woody the Cowbear stuffed to the fluffiness of his liking when it dawned on me that there wasn’t any screaming. I looked round to see Thurston completely hypnotised by the “stuff station”! This is a gigantic tombola which permanently tumbles fluffy bear-stuffing around, it was like he was in a trance. Louis and Zeke deliberated over their bears and settled on a Spiderman outfit, rollerskates and sofa-bed for their bears before printing off birth certificates and having the bear dressed. They managed all this without a peep from their little brother as he was in a cotton wool dream world! Build a Bear is one of those places that before I went there would have made me cringe with its sickly sweet customer service and OTT sentiment. In fact, I still found it hard to watch as the bear-stuffing executive was asking the kids to kiss the heart (that would be stuffed into the bear) so it was loved, rubbed it on their muscles so it was strong and close their eyes to make a wish, and I probably did roll my eyes and mumble ‘oh god’ whilst I watched them completely fall for this tripe! However, there is something almost relaxing about the place. All the kids that are in there are hyper and noisy, so you don’t feel as noticeable as in other shops. It is also one of the few places that encourages children to accept that everyone’s different. You can buy spectacles for your bear or even a wheelchair. Nonetheless, I’m hoping I don’t have to go back there for a good few months as it was all just a bit too lovey-dovey for me!! (I would have much rather spent that hour in H&M but the lift was broken!).

Somewhere I will be going back to sooner rather than later is Wagamamas! Whilst in Canterbury, we took the kids for lunch to Wagamamas as we had a voucher from Christmas that we still hadn’t spent. I’ve talked on here before about Thurston’s love of the mini Chicken Katsu so I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble getting him to eat but I was surprised at how he went about it. The minute the dish was placed in front of him, he picked up his chopsticks and started shovelling it in. Surprise! Thurston is a chopstick pro! Alex and I are regular chopstick eaters and Louis and Zeke can use the kiddie version without any problems, but Thurston skipped that whole step and went for the full on grown-up chopsticks. Alex and I just stared at him in disbelief, laughing while he devoured his whole Katsu and then moved onto our Ebi Katsu (breaded King Prawn) as he was still hungry. I didn’t even recognise him anymore. This is a child who was referred to Occupational Therapy again last week because he cannot use pencils and here he is chopsticking his way through lunch! There is nothing better than when Thurston surprises me, it feels like Christmas every time!

For Good Friday, we decided to spend the day in Margate doing traditional seasidey things. Lunch had to come first as Zeke’s tummy was starting to sound angry, so we took them to the Greedy Cow Deli in the old town. Alex and I had been there while the kids were at school a couple of weeks ago and noticed that they had kids burgers and nutella sarnies on the menu so knew we’d be fine for the older boys. Out of habit as a mum of a kid with allergies going somewhere new, I packed Thurston his own lunch of Organix crisps and marmite sandwich. We sat outside despite the fact it was pretty damn cold because we couldn’t get the buggy up the winding staircase and I started feeding Thurston his crisps. When our food arrived, he started to cry and shout so I gave him my iPhone assuming this was what he wanted. He wouldn’t stop crying and started reaching across the table shouting at us all. I was just about to give up and take him off for a walk so the others could eat in peace when he grabbed the doorstep sized chunk of toast and rapeseed oil from the side of my salad. He scoffed the lot, and the next piece. Then he ate half of Zeke’s beefburger. I was so surprised but I felt so guilty that it hadn’t even occurred to me that he might want his own plate of food like everyone else! Next time we go there, I will order him his own burger. I’m so proud that he is starting to do things with us as a family, and he is really becoming ‘one of the boys’ rather than ‘the boys and the baby’. It’s a lovely feeling.

After lunch, we went to the beach. Louis and Zeke went for a ride on the mini train and Thurston went for a long walk on the sand to walk off his greedy-guts lunch. Even though his feet were turning in and his left leg was going wonky from being so tired, that kid walked for at least 20 minutes, almost the entire length of the Margate sands. I was so impressed with him, I was even struggling to keep up. At the other end of the beach there was a big bouncy-castle type of maze/obstacle course. It was fairly empty so I couldn’t see any reason why all 3 boys shouldn’t have a go in it. So we took off Thurston’s shoes, picked him up, threw him in the bouncy house with the others and hoped for the best. We followed him alongside the house, watching through the mesh and the joy on his face was so adorable. He bounced and crawled and had a blast. The bouncy castle started to fill up and the boys’ time ran out. It soon became obvious that Thurston wasn’t interested in coming out. No amount of offers of iPhones or daddy’s car were helping. Alex had a word with the owner and I was nominated to head in and retrieve him. So with my shoes off and a benchful of parents staring at my arse, I crawled through the bouncy castle and fought my way back out with a happy boy under my arm. Thanks Thurston.

Another surprising thing happened this week. After telling our miserable key worker Marge (see Hiring & Firing entry) that we would only contact her if she was needed (which she hasn’t been), she came to our house this week to inform us that she is officially closing Thurston’s key working case file! How unexpected! I am so pleased we are now competely key worker free, interfering nosy busy-body free. What a relief! We can handle all of Thurston’s appointments and forms by ourselves so I am very happy that there is now no chance of her just turning up to the house or any of his appointments.

So much of our day to day lives are spent doing the same things over and over. Watching the same movies, playing with the same toys, singing the same songs. When Thurston does something new out of the blue and takes us by surprise, it is refreshing and exciting for everyone. When someone develops so slowly, it really gives you chance to enjoy all the little things that you otherwise might skim over or try to rush along. Any little thing Thurston does is a massive achievement to me because I know how much determination and bravery it takes for him to try something new. I hope he never stops taking me by surprise.

Thanks for reading and keeping me company!

Hanj x


2 thoughts on “The Element of Surprise

  1. Happy day after Easter Monday Hanj! Fantastic blog, great news about Marge and the chopsticks. I can’t believe how different Thurston looks with his new short hair, he has aged about a year!

    On a separate note can i suggest that you set up an email subscription form to the blog. This is what i did when i had my blog in India. It seems more complicated to set up than it is but it’s worth it as then no one will miss an entry. Here’s the instructions:

    Love you!

    Richie-ender xx

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