We use this expression frequently, mainly when we achieve that all-too-rare sense of calm, the astounding realisation that actually we seem to be on an even keel (with any or all of the children) and "wiggling the wires" is the one thing you don't want to do. It's geek speak, but let's face it, coming from our family that's really not surprising. The circuit works, so don't. touch. anything.
But sometimes, the very formulation of that thought, the recognition that there is such a thing as a status quo can be enough to rock the boat. You sit in a review appointment and utter those fateful words:-
"It does seem that things are quite stable at the moment..."and it all falls apart. Spectacularly.
Having just done exactly that at Gt Ormond St. Hospital on Monday when discussing A's funky gut and all its issues I am sitting here waiting for the bomb to go off. Or the predictable meteor strike. I'm trying really, really hard not to be a pessimist, and hang on to the hugely exciting news we were then given, but inside I feel not a little jumpy.
Surprisingly, since his weight's not great, eating not brilliant, nutrition not good, we are about to lose A's feeding tube. We haven't used it for nearly six months (apart from giving liquid medication) and he's grown upwards. Definitely a great sign.
Bizarrely though he's not impressed. It's been part of him for almost six years, since he was two. It's a security blanket I think, once for us when we felt so powerless to help him as we watched him fade and fail to thrive, but now for him. He knows he can ignore my cajoling and pleading to eat his meals (unless it is rice, ketchup and free-from sausages but I absolutely refuse to serve this twice a day, every day!) because he knows there is back up. But it's a psychological thing though, because we haven't used it as back up in a long time. So we about to really "wiggle the wires" when things are pretty stable, and go for it!
Despite it clearly not being a living part of his own body, this tube is (as far as he's concerned) a very real part of him. Part of his identity. In an attempt to understand his point of view (and odd lack of excitement) I asked him what concerned him most. And he's worried how others will think of him without it.
So I tried to consider parallels in my own life to try and relate to this surprising response-
- Wearing my glasses for the first time - looking different and wondering what people might think. That was up there with leaving home in your slippers in terms of feeling on view.
- Dyeing my hair - in fact this sums it up well because I'm *always* too nervous to do anything dramatic/irreversible to myself.
- Buying a new car - particularly if it's really different from before.
It's all those things which make you YOU and if changed might influence how others think about you. Deep stuff for a not-quite-eight-year-old. A (mostly) serious nearly eight year old, with a wicked sense of humour. It's at times like this we totally exploit that, turning the stressful into the humorous. If he can laugh about it, it's often acceptable, if the joke is his own, you know you've won him over.
So I was pretty relieved when he announced this morning that he was looking forward to his new tummy button scar. Apparently not many superheroes have a second and it's a badge of honour.
"I won't have a Harry Potter scar, but I will have a Tummy of Awesomeness. Two tummy buttons, the second to turn my super powers on and off!"
Not quite the joke I was hoping for I guess, but it's progress. Progress on so many levels for a little boy of whom we are so very, very proud.
This week (9th-14th Feb) is once again Feeding Tube Awareness Week. Last year I posted this and appropriately, for this year's awareness week we say goodbye to his tube.