This weekend just gone, us Stovs have been away with a bunch of my school friends to a massive house in Moffat. This is the second year we have all been away for a weekend together, but this year we were outnumbered by children. 12 adults and 13 children to be exact. It could have gone either way, but it was brilliant.
Our friendships go back 20 years to when we were all at high school together. We’ve all been to various places and done different things but our friendships still stand the test of time. When we’re all together it’s like the years have vanished. Admittedly four of the six girls (myself included), have found our way back to our home town and so see each other fairly regularly again.
I’m sure all parents worry about their children making friends, but it is something I have spent a lot of time thinking about for Daisy and Huxley. I have different concerns for each of them.
Developmentally, Daisy is miles behind her peers. She doesn’t talk (we hope one day she might) and she can’t walk so she can’t run around and play with them. She relies on children coming to her. While she doesn’t talk, she certainly communicates in her own way. When she is excited it shows in her hands and feet, they bounce and wiggle around. She loves other children and will happily sit and watch them and laugh and giggle. But because she can’t interact with them in the same way as other children, I find myself wondering if she will have friends. When we have been in the company of other kids in the past, she has tended to be on the sidelines watching on. Now that she likes to sit and play, she can be a bit more involved. I love when I go into nursery and see her sitting around the table with all the others taking part in exactly the same activity.
This weekend my friend’s children were absolutely fantastic with Daisy. They would all come and go and play all around the house, but at different points each of them came to where Daisy was and sat and played with her and made her laugh. I didn’t have to worry that she would be left out, she was thoroughly entertained all weekend. I am very thankful to all my friends’ children (not just the ones on this trip) for making time for Daisy, as I think they will be her best chance at friendship. They will grow up with her and not see her disabilities, she will just be Daisy to them. The same goes for Huxley.
I had a conversation with Glamorous Grammy about Daisy and Huxley and their friendships. She pointed out that Daisy, in some way, will be protected from any nastiness and name calling as it is more than likely that she will attend a special needs school and be in the company of an adult nearly all the time. So far, Huxley is meeting his milestones and while it is still very early, we are hopeful that he will make mainstream school. If he does we will have to look at ways to build resilience in him. Children can be very cruel to anyone who is a bit different. When I think about the future, I wonder if it would be good to talk to children in his class about some of the challenges he faces, but then I fear this would make things worse by highlighting them and making him stand out more. Thankfully I have a fair few years to learn how best to deal with it.
In the meantime I have a lot of very good friends, who are hugely supportive and whose children welcome Daisy and Huxley into their fold. There is nothing I love more than watching my children be included. Big shout out to Luke, Caitlin, Finn, Zac, Eilidh, Abigail, Cameron, Ailsa, Iona, Toby and Alanna who made my bambinos part of their fun this weekend. Especially Caitlin, who was awesome with all the younger kids which made for a brilliant weekend for the parents, although perhaps our livers wouldn’t agree!