A person, a family, are far more than a collection of things, ailments, personalities, looks, interests and abilities. What I notice more than anything about having a large family, is how we all alter with each other; each little change brings about something new. With the exiting of Amelie from every day home ed, Maddy and Josie have developed a closeness that I had hardly imagined happening. Bene has elevated Fran even more into the role of almost adult, not because we put him upon her but because his relationship with her has a noticeably different quality; there is something in his trust of her, the way he looks at her and reaches for her which defines her as a little different to how he treats the other girls. Losing Freddie changed us all, learning to live without him hardened some edges between the girls and softened other. It changed me the most, he altered me and Max enormously, though entirely for the better. Josie growing up has completed a cycle among the girls too – she might still play the baby but a subtle shift in her treatment from them has occurred and she responds accordingly.
But there are things which are tangible and which make us who we are. Sometimes I write about them and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes because I’ve never made time, sometimes out of protection, sometimes because I don’t like to think of it much any more. I thought the next ten weeks might be a good time to touch on them, record them, open them out a little.
1. I was bullied as a child by someone who is now a lawyer. It affected my whole childhood and I didn’t even behind to shake off the legacy until I had Fran. I didn’t really get over it until the last few years when the really bad stuff started to happen. It’s a lot easier to not care what others think of you when you no longer much care about anything.
2. Fran has a cleft lip and palate. Having been bullied, I was petrified she would experience the same fate. It played a large part in choosing to home educate though it was not the main factor. Her journey is well documented in places on the internet but is due an update. We set out to parent her in a way that would give her tools to manage anything anyone might think of her face/speech and person; I was determined she would be better able to cope than I was. She has never been bullied, is not remotely held back by her cleft and I think we succeeded. Indeed, I suspect I suffered far more emotional trauma than she did over it!
3. I have pretty much no toes. I’ve recently almost certainly discovered why, which is very exciting and definitely deserves a post, particularly as it related so much to 1 & 2.
4. Maddy was diagnosed with Aspergers when she was 4. I’ve almost never spoken of this on the blog and in fact we only recently told her about the dx, for various reasons which weren’t intended to ever go on that long.
5. I’ve suffered with depression my entire life, from actual memories of being critically sad when I was just 7, to PND and general chemical depression at times for no obvious reason.
6. Amelie has achieved asthma, eczema, allergies to pistachios, cashews and mango and even nearly dying of chicken pox in her 10 years. She doesn’t mess about.
7. I started my first business when I was 14 and I’m practically incapable of making or doing anything without trying to work out if I can make it into a business. Seriously. It’s an affliction.
8. Maddy was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism due to an autoimmune complaint called Hashimotos and now takes thyroxine, probably for life.
9. Since Bene is allergic to penicillin and erythromicin and has significant asthma, Josie is currently our only child without a significant medical history. Long may it continue, oh normal child 😉
10. None of us can count. If anyone asks everyone in the family how many people there are in the family, they will get a lot of different answers.
We aren’t very average, are we? But despite all of that…
A person, a family, are far more than a collection of things, ailments, personalities, looks, interests and abilities.
And that’s why I’ve tried never to make this a cleft blog, or an aspergers blog, or a grief blog or a baby blog or a home ed blog. All these little pieces make up who we are, the story of the Puddles. Bumbling by, writing it down, not that interesting or controversial. Just us.