true tales from the gates of the underworld

An Open Letter to my Second-Born Child
May 1, 2016, 8:06 pm
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Dear Second-Born,

I am sorry.


I am sorry for every time you have been overlooked – when you were born, each birthday, christmas, when you started school – by people because you are not my First-Born.
When instead of a visit and presence, you received a card in the post with money to buy yourself a present.
When instead of a visit and a card, your first day of school went unmentioned.
When your siblings received their ideal gifts at christmas, and yours was clearly an afterthought, as you grew out of that interest over 2 years ago. They would have known this, if they had come to see you, or asked about you.
I am sorry that they still don’t know how to spell your name.
I am sorry if you have ever noticed these things.
I am sorry if you have ever felt like you don’t matter. You matter.

I am sorry for every suggestion that we don’t care as much about you as we do about the First-Born, or the Youngest. I am sorry that people believe you suffer from Middle-Child syndrome, because they don’t understand Sensory Processing Disorder, or Autism, and all they see is some of your behaviour, separated from who you are.
I am sorry that people do not realise how awesome you really are because they would rather hold on to their stereotypes about middle-children.

I am sorry for every time I asked you to go back to your bed at night, because there is not enough room for 4 of us in our bed.
I am sorry for every time I couldn’t play Minecraft with you because I was dealing with the Youngest.
I am sorry that sometimes even I expect you to act like a neurotypical child, just because my patience is running thin.

I wish you knew how fiercely protective we feel of you.
I wish you knew that we love all three of you more than you will ever be able to comprehend, in your own different ways.
I hope you remember the times I have sat up with you at night, massaging your legs because your joints hurt, holding you because you had a bad dream, watching you breathe because you were ill.
I hope you remember that we always came to you when you called for us, the same as we always came for your siblings, because to us, you all matter the same.

I hope you may one day realise that the love we feel for your siblings does not subtract from the love we feel for you, but rather that it multiplies, as seeing you all together is just the best thing in the world.


Happy Birthday
August 2, 2011, 10:32 am
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Raptor turned 2. I still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday, but at the same time it feels like he has been here with us forever, a part of the inventory.
Nothing could have prepared me for the ups and down of motherhood. No book can tell you how proud you can feel when your child says his first words, or works out how to take his own shoes off. You get excited about birthdays and christmas because you want to see your children happy. They give your life new meaning, add value to everything you do.
Yes, they are demanding, and noisy, smell and break things, but they are little people, and your task is to help them grow, learn and find their independence. They are so full of life and innocence.
With Raptor’s birthday came the sudden realisation for Raptor-Daddy that he isn’t always going to be small, that he isn’t always going to be god in his son’s eyes, and that he needs to treasure every moment.
We had a wonderful long weekend, spending much-needed time together. Raptor was thoroughly spoiled and showered in presents and sweets.
I did my part by making one masterpiece of a cake.
After dinner, we watched Raptor’s favourite movie for the thousandth time, and he fell asleep on daddy’s lap, staring in his eyes.

Biscuit Box Drama
July 13, 2009, 8:50 pm
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Ever since I moved into this house about four years ago, there has been a biscuit box. Naturally, it never used to stay full for long. Now the parents-in-law have moved out, and left us with all the contents of the house, including their children, I have started taking over the rule of the house. The biscuit box was filled today. Little M, who doesn’t really live with us, isn’t supposed to eat any of the food we buy, as per agreement with his mother. He has his own food, but, of course, being only nine years old, he has no concept of things like that. The biscuits are there, so he believes he has a right to them (and everything else that he WANTS). M stuck his nose into our cupboard today, picked up the biscuit box and remarked that it had gotten heavier. Yes, we went shopping earlier. He declares that he WANTS biscuits, because he is hungry. Remembering what his mother told us (she enforces the rule quite strictly), I offer him some of the food that she has bought for him. But he doesn’t like any of that, he wants biscuits. F tells him he can’t have biscuits, or we’ll get in trouble with his mother. Truthfully, I don’t believe that a child should be given everything he demands, just for the sake of it, so I had to agree with F.
Promptly, M changes strategies. His mother had supposedly told him that he could have the biscuit box, and everything that is in it. For his fruit. This, two minutes after telling us how much he hated fruit.
Queue an argument, ended by little M declaring how much he hates me, how evil I am, and that our house “sucks”. He leaves the room, screaching, slamming the door.

I pat my 35-week pregnant belly, sigh and sit down on the sofa next to F. “Love, can we please never have kids?”.
All this drama over a box and a couple of biscuits. In hindsight, it would have probably been easier to let him have a biscuit and face the mother-in-law’s wrath.