Watching my children is a favourite thing of mine.
Not in a creepy way. In a Mum way. Watching them deep in concentration, or playing so intently in a world of make believe. Or lost in comfort and thought when they are drifting off to sleep or have just woken up.
When Meisha draws or writes, she concentrates so hard. Her tongue sneaks out and sits on the corner of her lips, somehow aiding in the concentration. Her hair falls softly at the side of her face and she absent-mindedly brushes it away, lost in the world of fantasy coming to life on her paper.
When Jaxon has just woken up in the morning, he comes sleepily out to the lounge and plonks himself on the couch with his teddy. He has slept with that teddy since he was 8 months old, and it is no different now at 10 years old. He clutches his teddy close to his chest. He knows his favourite parts and they each serve a different purpose. He gently rubs teddys ears on his lips, feeling the soft worn fur. He knows which arm is missing some of it's stuffing and he holds that arm differently to the other one. He hold's teddy close to his face so he can smell his familiar smell.
Olive loves to play cars. She will sit for hours, building a city in her mind. She knows exactly where the supermarket is in the game, and the school and the homes. She always adopts an American accent which makes me smile. Her cars have conversations. They have fights. They go to school. They get married. They go to school and get married on the same day. She gets so absorbed in her game, her world she has created, that I can stand at the door watching and she won't notice me. And I do this. It intrigues me what goes through children's minds as they play. She becomes each and every character, and knows instinctively what and who they are and how they are behaving.
Watching my children is a favourite thing of mine.
Olive has a good friend. Her name is "A" and she is an adorable wee girl who can be shy, but when she is comfortable with you, she is hilariously funny. She has an infectious laugh, and her and Olive are always giggling about something together. They get along so well, and they play their little hearts out together.
Last night Olive went for her first sleepover at A's house. This mama was a bit nervous to be honest, which is silly because A's mum has become a really good friend of mine and I know Olive feels comfortable with her so there was nothing to worry about! I guess just because Olive still wakes at night (but she didn't at A's house!) and the fact she's my baby is why I worry. But she had a great night and Meisha went too, so she had her big sister had she gotten homesick.
Lately we have spent a bit of time with A's family and I have really enjoyed watching my kids getting on so great with another family. As I said, watching my children is a favourite thing of mine. I've been watching Olive and A playing. And I see two gorgeous young girls, laughing and being silly with abandon. I see two little blondies, dancing around in princess dresses and high heels, sparkly hand bags slung on their shoulders, baby dolls in prams in front of them. I see two friends, each with a love for the other that happens so easily with young children. I see happiness and fun. I see imaginations running wild and inhibitions running free.
Most of the time, this is what I see. I try hard not to think too far into the future with Olive, but being a Pisces with an imagination that takes over often, this isn't always an easy feat.
The other day I was watching the two girls play, and I smiled as I thought of them soon starting school together. My mind raced ahead to them being the same age as Meisha and her friends now, and just as quickly raced ahead to teenage years and high school. As swiftly as I thought fondly of the bond these girls might be forming now that would take them through school together, I had a sudden thought of Olive herself as a teenager.
I realised that although Eddie and I strive to encourage her self-confidence and to raise her and the other two kids as self-accepting and self-loving, it ultimately isn't up to us.
What if people ARE mean? What if, as with other children with CMN, Olive gets picked on and called names like gorilla or ape? Can you imagine being a young girl/woman and having to deal with that? In my teenage years, I was so self conscious and lost - I didn't know how to process emotions or situations. I didn't know WHO I was, I didn't know what I wanted, what I stood for and what I would not stand for. I didn't know how to be me.
The thought that my girl might be like me, and struggle like I did makes my heart skip. And not in a good way. In an anxiety inducing way. The thought that she might be like that AND have to deal with shit from others struggling in a similar way, and not yet having realised the detrimental effect they might be having on the person they are being nasty to, makes me want to cry.
I fear for all of my kids getting bullied. It is one of those things that makes me feel sick, and to think that maybe one day my child/ren might be on the receiving end actually makes me want to pack them up and home school them. Except I'd lose my shit homeschooling, and wouldn't be any good at it. Plus, I believe there are many valuable social lessons to be learnt from being in a mainstream schooling environment.
So Eddie got home late the other night from band practise. Olive was asleep in the centre of our bed, and Eddie and I lay on either side of her. Just before we turned out the light, I kissed her soft cheeks and stroked her wild hair out of her face. These worries had been playing on my mind all day so I told Eddie about them.
We ended up staying up late into the night, talking about it and about how sometimes we don't know if we have made the right decision to not remove. I think in my heart of hearts I truly feel we have, but part of me wonders if Olive will turn around one day when she is older and ask why we did nothing about it. I know I will be able to tell her that we believed we were doing the right thing, but that still wont determine her reaction or her feeling towards it.
When Oli was born, we pondered the idea of removing big satellite on her left arm (for those who haven't seen it, its about 4-5 cm's in diameter and very hairy). It is very big and is in full sun exposure if Olive is in a short sleeved top. The topic hasn't come up for discussion again until the other night. We discussed the pro's and con's, and our reasons for and against. We really talked it out and still came to the conclusion that no matter how we feel about it, it is still Olive's decision. And at four years old, we don't feel she has the logistical mind yet to make such a decision.
It is still on the cards. It is something I will discuss at our next check up appointment with her dermatologist. This journey is such a process. You think you have reached a Rest Point, and then something new comes along and opens the way for more discussion. It must always be like this. Changing stages and phases.
In the meantime, I'll keep on watching my children - it's a favourite thing of mine.