Sophia’s 2nd Christmas

Bad colds and flu-like bugs all round – but obviously not the real ’flu as we’ve had our jabs. Poor Poppa spent the whole of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and more in bed he was so bad. He didn’t actually physically see Sophia for 10 days and missed her terribly, bless him, although James stood in the doorway and shouted ‘I love you Poppa’ a few times to cheer him up a little he felt so miserable. Immediately after Christmas Aidan and James were ill which continued through New Year and then Granny finally succumbed, followed by Sophia again. I, however was well – at last.

I’m sure living in a 17th Century cottage isn’t conducive to good health. The walls are probably full of spores from goodness knows what fungal mould, damp patches lurk around every corner, the dehumidifier runs incessantly and if we’re away for a night, when you walk in, you can feel the water vapour in the air. Therefore that, coupled with my absolute lack of house-hold cleanliness could possibly have had a massive impact on our health and that’s why we are permanently cold infested. It’s one strain of thought, anyway, but I had a moment of – oh dear, I really do need to get an element of orderly tidiness going – when, 3 days before Christmas, Fiona and Katherine, Sophia’s Physio & OT, arrived for a home visit and I carried a tray into the lounge with drinks on and there wasn’t one surface clear on which to place the tray and, as they were working with her on the floor, I couldn’t put the drinks there either. (And this was before the Christmas munificence.)

I am not proud of this saturated state, but what to get rid of, that’s the problem. James might have a zillion toys but he does play with most of them and Sophia’s areas positively ooze with stimulatory items of every conceivable nature as well as the massive crawl track, a standing frame, special seat and multitude of borrowed sensory kits, but again, I can’t throw anything out in case I want it at a later date.

I relented a little, however, and tidied. For 8 hours straight whilst Mum looked after James and Sophia, I cleaned, scrubbed, tidied and disinfected. Nightmare! I then proceeded to keep everywhere orderly for 6 days – tidying and clearing up and vacuuming at the slightest spec, putting the washing away immediately, making sure everything had a place and everything was in its place. And it was absolutely impossible to do anything with the children as I spent so long doing chores, or preparing food, eating and clearing away that there was no time for anything else – how rubbish is that. Cleanliness shmemliness, I know where my priorities lie…

It was a good job I chose a time when the children were under the weather and therefore they didn’t miss my not being able to do anything with them. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to prioritise cleaning etc. over Sophia’s development and James’s fun!

Sophia enjoyed the attention she received over the Christmas period and so long as I introduced her to each new and very thoughtful gift that people had given her, very slowly, one at a time, she really appreciated them and showed great interest. If she was given two new things together, she switched off immediately. And of course the thing she liked most was the sparkly wrapping paper, just like any child of her age, it was a ‘typically developing moment’ and lovely to see! And we had another ‘typically developing moment’ with her chocolate milk a couple of days before Christmas. She held her own moo cow cup as I gave her her bedtime drink, and raised it to her mouth and took a sip. She actually raised her arms up, lifted the cup to her mouth and sipped. It’s the first time I have ever seen her do that. And she giggled after she’d done it. She giggled and for a moment appeared as though a fully functioning child. And then she dropped it and needed my help for all subsequent sips but for a moment, for a moment the connection was made and if the connection can be made for a moment, it can be made for a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. She just needs us to keep tapping away at those synapse connections for her. (I appreciate we’re still working on the rolling over connection almost a year after the initial event, but it WILL happen!)

And we had an incredibly heart-warming moment at Church on New Year’s Day. During the service Sophia had been on my knees bobbing up and down and then standing on me as I jiggled her. After mass ended I bumped into a nurse from the Children’s Ward at our local hospital. This nurse was the one who was manning the desk when we had our very first appointment with Dr Morris and had witnessed our shocked distress; she had also nursed Sophia on the ward when she’d been critically ill; and had been present again when I received the extensiveness of the brain damage news and therefore knows the prognosis and journey we’ve been on. As the two of us spoke she literally welled up with tears of joy hearing and seeing just how incredibly well Sophia is developing. I pray to God that this development continues throughout the whole of 2012 and that this time next year we’ll be as amazed with Sophia’s development as we have been this past year.

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