Friday, June 23, 2017


I took you shoe shopping this week. Between you and all the others I've spent plenty of money in that small Clarks store over the years. In fact we visit so often that the shop assistants recognise us and always comment on how much you've grown. We are what you might call 'regulars'.

Somehow, I remember your shoes. The first pair of Crocs wellies, with handles, that we've had to replace with identical versions every winter since. The gorgeously cute red Converse that I just couldn't leave in the shop. You loved them, and so did I, but I soon got tired of tying and re-tying the laces.

The blue trainers with the planes on and the red trainers with the dinosaurs. The rubber sandals in varying sizes that you wear when we visit Mamy and Papy so you don't slip at the side of the pool. The sensible walking sandals that you insist on wearing with socks.

I remember the awful day when you first hit a size 10 and the Clarks assistant told me the array of cute shoes I was fixated by were no longer available to us. She showed us a shelf of boring school shoes. You were three years old. She rummaged around and we managed to find a pair of blue suede boots with lime green laces. They were so expensive but I wouldn't have you in black lace-ups at that age for anything.

Then there was the time when the shop assistant struggled up the stairs with a pile of boxes, only to tell me that the shoes in the first box were in the sale and were only £10. I told her to put the other boxes away figuring that even if I didn't really like the bargain pair, we'd need new ones in three months anyway.

Your first shoes were special. First shoes always are. We arranged to go for your first shoes on your first mum's birthday, making a day of it at the shopping centre. You were just turning 11 months old and had taken your first steps a couple of weeks previously. Your mum was proud, holding you on her knee while the shop assistants fussed and the support worker and I looked on. I remember those shoes - little navy blue crawlers with two velcro straps. You toddled about the shop while we all oohed and aahed. Then they took your 'first shoes' polaroid while you sat on your first mum's lap.

Just a few weeks later you went to live with your first mum again, everyone hoping for a happy ever after. When it all fell apart, you came back to me wearing red slippers. I don't know what happened to those little blue shoes.

This week we had a new first - your first football boots. And for the first time, the number stopped steadily rising, going instead from 13 to 1. You're getting a big boy now. I can see black lace-ups in our future.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Music Therapy

We have had three sessions of Music Therapy.

Our therapist, a little, sweet lady, arrives at our door each time loaded down with musical instruments of all sorts. The first week, OB pronounced the selection "baby instruments" and would barely touch them. A couple were tossed disdainfully to the floor. I had quite a few internal kittens because I know how much they cost.

The second week, undeterred, our sweet therapist arrived at the door with two djembes and a guitar. OB declared that drums are boring and he hates them. This despite the fact that he's had a drum kit since he was two and still enjoys a good thrash about on the junior kit I got him for his 5th birthday. He then proceeded to spend the first 10 minutes demanding sweets as he was starving. We managed to get on to a couple of games, mainly competitive, but some fun was had. The therapist called it a day after half an hour.

The third week, djembes again. More complaints of "Boring!" Also, lots of 'poo poo' talk. Also, a sly kick to my leg as he walked past, which the therapist saw. There was some talk of 'kind hands' and an assertion from her that it's never ok to hurt mummy. The backup is always welcome to be honest.

At some point, OB made a mean comment about me and the therapist responded by asking him to name things that I was good at. Let's just say that what followed was not a great self-esteem moment for me! I was asked to contribute some things that OB was good at (which was easy - there are loads of things) and eventually the therapist did get OB to grudgingly admit that I was good at cooking. This is patently untrue. I am a horrible cook. Not sure whether OB is deluded or was just making something up to get it over with!

Having said all of that though, we did play some games - making sounds of different animals on our djembes - the therapist sang silly songs and made us both laugh, and OB, despite insisting that he wasn't doing any of it, actually did all of it. We made it to 47 minutes.

As I helped her load the djembes into her tiny car, I felt compelled to apologise to the therapist for OB's rudeness. She didn't seem to know what I meant. "He's six!" she exclaimed. Now I wonder whether expecting my six-year-old not to say "It's boring" and "I'm not doing it" throughout the session means I'm setting unrealistic standards.

However, she also said that she is really impressed by OB, that he's doing really well and she thinks we have, and I quote, "a fantastic connection". It does make me wonder what her sessions with other children are like!

We have had three sessions of Music Therapy. We have nine more to go. When we started, I said I wanted to deepen the connection between me and OB, and bring a bit more fun and playfulness into our lives. Despite it all, I think we're doing that, and even if the effect only lasts for the length of the sessions, it's 12 hours (give or take) more than we would have had otherwise.