It’s an accepted part of life I think that once we have kids we, as parents, are fighting that incoming tide of very-very-important-to-me-mummy stuff. The lovely wooden toys we had anticipated in our heady pregnancy days are, in actuality, cheap plastic rockets, horses… actually-I-don’t-know-what-that-is? that our children adore and make us promise (Promise!) not to throw them away.
With Big this started with plastic tat and has now graduated to larger items of must-have pieces of kit – scooter, bike, rollerboots – that clutter my hallway and under stairs cupboard. But this is how she rolls, and I see how much pleasure they give her. Small… well, Small has brought other kit into the house, not so much for enjoyment, more to ease life. These fall into different categories. Some I will eulogise about at great length for the change they have made. His highchair is one of these:
Where once he used to slump and be uncomfortable now he is upright, at the table and joining in.
His pushchair is enormous, and makes some shops impenetrable, but we love it. He loves it. It’s straight-backed. It’s comfy and easy to push which means it’s possible to get him out of the house and joining in with everyone else. He so loves being outside that it’s invaluable.
Lastly, hurrah for his Seat 2 go. I never ever thought I’d say this as, when we first got it, it was useless. He’d slump so easily that he couldn’t sit up at the table and we avoided any meals out of the house. But the pommel changed everything. Small likes to kick and wriggle, but even the might of his little body cannot shift the pommel and upright and at the table he stays. We have eaten out. At restaurants. And felt like a real family.
But then there is the stuff that I don’t like to champion. Equipment that is supposed to help, but does not. I give you the standing frame. It’s behind this door:
We all hate it. Small hates it the most. He hates going in it and shouts at me, so I’ve stopped using it. We did use it as somewhere for the post for a while, but it made for a big shelf 🙂 A friend has finally given me the strength to ask to give it back. I am liberated.
This time, it was totally impractical. We took one look at it and stored it. it’s big and bulky, would have to stay in the bathroom at all times and I have two children to bathe, not just one. We are finally going to look at a smaller, more portable one, next week.
And then there’s the bed. Good God, the bed:
This arrived on Friday and I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Without wishing to offend anyone, this is a bed of convenience. It’s not the kind of bed a small, jolly little boy of 3 sleeps in. It has wheels for moving down corridors. It smells of plastic, of hospital, and this smell has permeated my house. I cried like I haven’t cried when it arrived for all it represented and for all I didn’t want it to represent me, us. It has to go back. I called the delivery people in desperation to get it returned the same day.
‘Sorry, why did you want to send it back?’
‘Because it’s horrible, and I don’t want it in my house.’ Pause. ‘There’s not a tick box for that is there?’
Just because he is disabled does not mean he should have unpleasant looking equipment in his life. In many ways, surely that’s all the more reason to work on the aesthetics? To make a condition, a situation, a little more bearable? Not so grim you can’t look at it? Won’t use it? Would rather go without?
So this week we go hunting for a high bed, onto which we can attach side bars because I want my boy to have a boy’s room, a child’s room, not a quick answer to a problem from our support team. There has to be a more holistic approach to aid and equipment, not just, does it do the job? but is it pleasing to look at, does it have form as well as function? Because this equipment – unlike the bike, the scooter, the roller boots – was not anticipated, was not wanted, so the least it could do when it comes knocking is have a friendly smile on it’s face.