Under the age of 2 and a half James loved lots of things. He adored being outside. He loved working in the garden in St George with us, washing the car, pruning and planting. He loved “Thomas the Tank Engine” and anything to do with vehicles. This was the Fireman Sam, Thomas, Finley the Fire Engine and Mighty Machines phase. We had his trains in one container which we would bring down for him to play with and then put away again because he was obsessive with them. He loved watching the wheels spin and could often be found lying on the floor watching the wheels turn at eye level. When he was doing this, he was in his own little world and I didn’t like to encourage this too much. We found that allowing him to become too immersed in repetitive or obsessional behaviour for long periods of time meant that he would retreat into his own little world and resulted in an increase in challenging behaviour.
James also loved technology. He was able to use the computer from the age of 2 and can still operate my iPhone and iPad with more proficiency than I can. He loved to do anything I was doing – cleaning windows, cooking, gardening, mopping, playing the piano, he enjoyed it all! Until about the age of 4, if he visited your home, the first thing he would have to do would be to investigate and locate your laundry in order to appraise the whitegoods he found there. Of particular interest was the clothes drier. When we bought the house we currently live in, two things were important to him. Firstly, any street number already attributed to someone else we knew was unacceptable! Due to the fact he has an extraordinary memory – this ruled out a lot of numbers!! And secondly, the laundry! We would have to immediately locate the laundry and he would give it the thumbs up or not! Thankfully, the house we ended up buying fulfilled his stringent criteria!
James could not (and still doesn’t) see any point to the whole waving bit – but he does it to please others anyway! He is very literal, tending to focus on the wrong part on sentences for example – as a 3 year old he was quite ill with a vomiting bug. After many visits into his room to strip him and his bed, I was explaining to him that he should let me know if he needed me – this isn’t a natural instinct for him. I said, “If you need mummy, just call out and I’ll come and help you.” Chris and I were most amused to hear a slightly agonised sounding ‘Out, out’ coming from his room a few hours later. Imagine how many times that poor little boy loses track of what’s being said to him because of this?
When you say good night to him at the end of the day, he doesn’t relate to my large Irish Catholic family way of making good night last for some period of time – he just says ‘Goodnight Mum! I love you! You can go now Mum!” Why say more than needs to be said?
I have always found it really hard that he would save his most challenging behaviour for me! If we had visitors, he would hold it together (most times) until they left and then he would be beside himself for hours! It was only really family who understood as they would stay with us and watch him all day over a number of days.
Once James was toddling about, I would often watch Chris and James doing things together and I would think that he needed a partner in crime, a little mate to get about with. He had a little girl in St George that he used to play with almost every day and he adored her, they were great little friends. So Chris and I decided I’d go back to see the doctor and see where we needed to start from with fertility treatment … again! Basically, we had to start from the very beginning! The lowest medication dosage! I was so angry and frustrated.
Chris and I agreed that we’d start treatment a little earlier than we had initially planned, thinking it might take months, even years for it to result in a pregnancy. I began on my lowest dosage and felt dreadful. James was challenging at that time and I just couldn’t cope with being unwell and managing him. So after one cycle, we temporarily abandoned the treatment as the doctor confirmed that we had failed that cycle.
Some months later, my pregnant sister and her family came out to St George for a visit. After noting my comments about particular smells and feeling nauseous, she suggested that I do a pregnancy test. I said that this was a complete waste of time as we all knew I’d never achieve a pregnancy without treatment. She persisted, so I purchased a pregnancy test. Much to my surprise, I actually was pregnant! Chris and I were dumbfounded! We then started to wonder, if I was pregnant, could it be possible that there was an error with the results from the last cycle on treatment some months previous? And if so, my sister and I would actually be due in the same month just five months later! A few tests confirmed that this was the case. We were just delighted and everything looked great! I think we were so fortunate to experience the surprise and joy of discovering a pregnancy like this!