I am that unapologetic mum.

Yes, that is me.

Ethan has taught me many, many things…

(Below is just the tip of the list!)

1. Know when to say sorry and know when to smile.

We were walking along a busy path, Ethan suddenly stopped. 

He had just spent the previous eight hours on a children’s ward being poked and prodded. 

He was not allowed any food. 

He was hungry. 

Our car was parked across the road from the hospital; a five minute walk away but that to Ethan may as well have been a hour's hike away.

FUG OFF”  he wriggled, trying to loosen my grip. 

He bite at my hand. 

Kicked my legs, his face contoured with rage “FUG OFF”. 

He was drawing an audience.

A woman, who was passing us on the path at the time of Ethan's little performance, tutted. 

Ethan's leg made a connection with hers as she tried to brush past me. 

“FUG OFF” he spat as I tried in vain to calm him. 

“Manners!” she stopped, just out of Ethan's reach.

I didn’t take my eyes off Ethan. 

She repeated herself as our audience grew. 

“We go get food” I signed to Ethan. 

“Ethan hungry” Ethan signed back. 

I rubbed his back as I loosened my grip on his hand. 

“Lets go” we walked away.

I looked ahead of me and saw a young mother with her double buggy, she smiled at me as I passed with a calmer Ethan. 

“Sorry about that” my eyes stung as she let us pass. 

“No problem at all. He seems happier now” she smiled. 

I smiled back.

2. Helicopter moms rock!

Ethan has shown me how important this skill actually is. 

If I were not a helicopter mom, not only would both my other boys have more regular visits to A&E; but yours would too, especially when Ethan sees a slide he can actually climb up, unaided. – local parents, you are welcome.

3. Communication

Ethan used to speak, then he used sign language, then he used Lámh (actions with a few signs, think Mr Tumbles!), then he used pic broads, then he used two words sentences, now he points and uses the odd word to communicate his wants, demands and ransoms…

Communication is a beautiful thing-

I was once 'outed' as a bad mum at a bus stop. 

The usual crowds and opinions were being thrown at me; Ethan was only diagnosed with a hearing impairment at the time,  I had not grown my thicker skin by then and was certainly not used to being outed in public by strangers -- so I signed ‘Mind your own business you a**holes’, they just looked blankly at me while we got on the bus.

4. Other children can be little gems

I had a morning from hell at a few appointments in the lead up to Ethan's diagnosis. 

We were left waiting, Ethan has never been good at waiting. 

My patience wasn't as tolerant as it can be now! 

I approached the secretary and enquired as to the length of time we had left to wait to see this ENT specialist (ENT: Eyes, Nose, Throat).

“Ammmm, there's a boy before you so maybe 15-20 minutes” she smiled. 

I will not lie; I wanted to scream ‘hurry the F on, can you not see my tornado running wild’. 

“He is a bit..” she paused and leaned closer to me, “Hyper” she nodded at Ethan. 

No shit Sherlock. 

I smiled and gave chase while saying “oops Ethan that's not yours now, be nice, kind hands…”

Another boy's name was called while I was sweating and probably in the process of losing about half a stone. 

The boy tapped my arm, he was roughly 10 or 11 years old, “he can go in first, if you want” he nodded at Ethan who was now throwing the contents of my handbag on the floor squealing with delight. 

“Oh wow” I may have been over enthusiastic as the room suddenly quietened. 

“Wow. Are you sure?” I lowered my voice. 

He nodded.

“You're a credit to yourself kiddo and your parents”  

I nodded at the woman glowing with pride in the corner.

“Thank you” I shook his hand.

5. Effective IEPs (Individual Education Plan)

Over the years attending these meetings in various schools, I used to spend at least 40 minutes explaining Ethan's behaviour. 

It was so long winded, no matter how many times I insisted Ethan cannot help but lash out, they never really understood until I narrowed it down for them:

Ethan does not discriminate – he will hit anyone.

They have agreed after spending time with Ethan that this sentence is very very factual.

6. Sleep really is important

Despite Ethan's best efforts, I believe sleep is that important. 

How to get a full nights sleeps is still a work in progress.

7. Time is finite

Do nothing…do something…if it's time spent enjoying your favourite TV show, then it's time well spent.

No-one has limitless minutes - time is not mobile phone credit, you can't buy it.

8. Laughter is the music of the soul

Ethan laughs.

Ethan laughs at cartoons. 

He laughs at me when I stub my toe. 

He laughs when I sing (he has good reason to).

Ethan laughs when you tickle him. 

He laughs when you chase him. 

He laughs when you make funny faces. 

Ethan laughs when I gobble him (basically kiss and cuddle him all at once)

Ethan's laugh is pure. 

It comes right up from his belly and out through the tips of his curled tiny fingers. 

His laugh is contagious. 

His laugh is innocent and is my favourite sound of all time.

Live, love and laugh…the three ‘L’s …

Yes, I am that unapologetic mom.

Thank you son.

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