Being gentle with Mummy

In the last 48 hours, I’ve fallen over twice. I don’t fall much, but when I do, I do it spectacularly and more often than not, give myself some degree of whiplash which makes it hard to use one of my arms because of the pain in my shoulder.

Yesterday, stood in the hallway coming in from my driving lesson, I kicked the box that contained our new blinds. I hadn’t moved them since taking them from the postman the day before. I went sprawling, sobbing even before I hit the floor I think. Pain coursed through me, shock making the tears come thick and fast.

What’s funny (not haha funny!) is that I always have a half-second where I’m very aware that I’m falling and try my best to protect myself on impact. In the next half second, I’m always so angry, like I can be surprised that my body has let me down again. So angry, pummeling the floor as I sob in pain and fear (of the pain, what a hideous cycle this is!)

Normally, I get up onto all fours and just get up. But my knee is throbbing (it’s now four different colours of gross) and I can’t. So Kev has to help me as gently as he can. I don’t move much for the rest of the day, it’s OK. Sit in a coffee shop writing notes for my next essay. A few twinges in my shoulder (I didn’t drive because I couldn’t turn my head all the way to do blindspot checks) but hey the pain is a lot less than I’d reckoned on.

Today though…

I have piles of clothes on the floor and we have many rounds of Squidge’s clothes in soak because she’s had some loose nappies recently and we never know if her sheets are going to be baby-poo free each morning (three mornings now, not so much… ah the joys of parenting) so I decide I must get some washing on.

I try and lift the tub with the clothes in soak down to the floor so I can put them in the washing machine. But my shoulder doesn’t quite make it and so I drop the tub, sending a river across our tiled floor and I know I’m going down too. I really struggle to get up even with Kev’s help because it’s so damn slippery I can’t plant my feet. Being me, I don’t have many options with how I’m able to do things like that.

I sob for an age. Kev has to go and get me dry clothes and I can’t even bend down to put them on because my shoulder hurts and my balance is rubbish. Cry harder about how I just want “to be able to do something… have clean clothes and lift my baby… not be a useless lump.”

Kev helps me dress. I feel so incapable but he tells me I mustn’t waste my energy, or be surprised it was hard to lift something heavy when my shoulder’s already hurt. I know he’s right. He is. But it still takes a long time to stop crying.

Kev goes and gets Squidgelet from her nap. She clambers over me on the sofa because Kev has his phone in his hand and of course, she wants to play. She normally struggles to pull her legs up behind her on to the sofa.

“Kev…” I start. “I can’t… I can’t lift her.”

But before either of us have to make moves to try and help her… she’s done it. She’s put her hand on my bruised knee and I wince.

Kev says: “Watch Mummy’s knee.”

Squidge is learning that if she has anything to say sorry for, she must stroke the person softly to apologise. We (all) call it “Awwww!”

My beautiful girl looks at me as I tell her “I know it looks strange at the minute baby, that’s because it hurts” and then she gently strokes around the shape of the big ugly bruise on my knee with her finger, saying “Awwww!”

I love her so much. She is such a kind little soul.

She brings me her shoes when I ask for “Immy’s shoes?” and even puts her arms up against my neck so I don’t need to put my back (or more importantly, neck) into lifting her on to my lap to put them on.

Kev’s taking her to Nanny & Granddad’s so I can finish my essay notes in peace. But Squidge takes my hand and leads me to the door to the hallway. She looks back at my feet, carefully watching what they do, as if she’s checking I won’t fall. She gives me a kiss goodbye when I ask and then carefully walks herself down the front step with Daddy, shouting “Bye-bye!” back to me with a wave. I love that in my rubbishy days, when all I want is a different body, this little girl reminds me why it is OK to keep being me.

Her nan said to me the other day, having watched Squidge bring me her shoes on request: “She’s learning you’re a little different isn’t she?”

“Yes,” I said with a smile. “She’s so helpful.”

And so thoughtful too. She is beginning to know when I need her to be gentle. And that might be a lot to expect of a 15 month old, but she’s taking it in both our strides. She knows what it is she needs to know with me as her mum

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