I haven’t really written much about Crackernut so far.
He’s seven now and really coming out of himself. He’s a fairly straightforward child. He can express his emotions, laugh himself out of a bad mood and is fairly independent.
He loves a Mummy cuddle but is not especially clingy in that respect, and even walks away at the school gates without so much as a glance in my direction.
Crackernut has adapted really well to the new life we have now. Last year, his biggest sister collapsed and died in the next room to him. He didn’t witness the collapse, but he did witness the sheer panic and stress of us all, and simply asked, ‘Is she going to die, Mum?’ while I wailed in despair and we tried to deal with the paramedics. He has had child bereavement therapy and because he understood what happened and was able to express his sad feelings, we feel fairly confident that her death, while of course being an everlasting loss, hasn’t affected him too greatly. We’re well aware that over the years this may change as he grows up, but we hope our consistency will help him through the hard times.
He loved his sister so much and she loved him. He misses her very much too. He looks a lot like Abi, he has the same mannerisms and facial expressions, it’s very moving at times but a joy too.
Then this year I had a baby boy, an upheaval at the best of times let alone so soon after a bereavement. He was the most anxious about the new arrival. Worried I wouldn’t love him as much anymore. But the fact he could express that so clearly helped reassure me that we could work through it.
He loves Grubbalo so much and has from the start. He was asleep in bed when I gave birth, in our lounge, and didn’t wake up until morning, then came downstairs and was in awe of the tiny bundle – calling him ‘cute’.
He’s sometimes a bit rough with the baby. Pulling him about and wrestling him! But it’s inevitable that he feels a little envious that Mummy is holding the baby ‘all the time’.
Having once been the youngest, adored by his oldest sister and the only boy in the family, Crackernut is kind of stuck in the middle now.
Then of course Grubbalo is physically demanding. Three-hour breastfeeds day and night, the extra washing from reflux and general clinginess make for one tired mum.
But he’s a sweet boy, and very patient and fair… headstrong and boisterous at times, lazy and shy too. He’s never happier unless he’s playing Minecraft or a game on the iPad, or watching endless episodes of his favourite cartoons, Horrid Henry, Regular Show and Adventure Time.
He zones out into his own world quite easily. When he’s playing Lego he comes up with such imaginative games – we’re always amazed what he can make a game with. Even if we were in a restaurant and had not brought any toys with us, he’d be making the salt do battle with the pepper!
But I feel always conscious he’s been missing out. My hubby tends to do fun stuff with him most, football and games, while I tend to be the one getting his clothes, sorting out his homework and generally picking up after him (aka being Mum).
He’d always been very shy of joining clubs but he seems to have grown up so much in the past year and he’s now in our village club football team.
He has also recently joined karate (a huge leap in confidence believe me!). But usually he’s in the company of one or both of his siblings, taking Ponymad Girl to and from riding lessons or shopping with me and the baby. We read to both children for about half an hour every night which is our one to one time, but my hubby usually reads with Crackernut, while Ponymad Girl prefers me.
Last week, he was baptized along with the other two and, despite being nervous, he was and still is immensely proud of the fact. It was lovely to see him say the vows himself and hold his candle with a big smile on his face.
As half term came to a close, I realised he’d not been to see the new Ninja Turtles movie, and I knew most of his friends had. I didn’t want him to go to school and not be able to talk about it. So I let my hubby hold fort while I took him to the cinema.
Hubby was a bit put out; I could tell almost wanted to say, ‘but I do the fun stuff’. But no, I needed time away from the other two and quality time with my boy.
We had a great time! I bought him a huge bag of popcorn and let him munch the lot while we watched the film. We cuddled most of it, as it was quite tense in places (I think more for my benefit than his!) and we both really enjoyed it.
It’s so hard to single out a child when you are torn all ways, and I wish I could do it more, but these little moments all help him I hope to feel that Mummy still loves him and wants to spend time with him just as much as ever.