…you have more medical appointments in a week than hot meals.
…the guy who runs the hospital car park occasionally lets you park for free because he is worried about your bank balance.
…you can direct lost visitors to parts of the hospital people on reception have never even heard of.
…you are pleased your favourite syringe made it into the steriliser and is ready for use.
…you have a favourite syringe.
…you don’t just know how many mls of each medicine your child has daily but can convert it to mgs without thinking.
…you can say things like periventricular leukomalacia without tripping over a syllable or breaking into a sweat.
…you are mistaken for a paediatric consultant (this has happened to me: three times in two different hospitals).
…you can speak almost entirely in acronyms (PVL, IS, GDD, IVH, PDA, NEC, CLD, SEN, IEP).
…you use the term inchstones rather than milestones.
…you stop using the word normal (even with air quotes) entirely and say typical.
…6 hours sleep feels like winning the lottery.
…you can parrot huge chunks of ‘Welcome to Holland’.
…you don’t see a child with disabilities and think what’s wrong with them but notice their amazing smile or beautiful face or how funny they are.
…you see what a child can do and not what they can’t.
…you are pleased when dressing or undressing your child becomes a wrestling match because it shows they have the muscular and mental strength to fend you off (see Exhibit A below and I hope he’s not intentionally flipping me the V, by the way).
…the smallest thing (the opening of a hand, the mouthing of a word, an act of mimicry) can make you happier than you ever imagined possible.
…you are utterly floored when your child tries to wave at you for the first time in their life and nonchalantly transfers an object from one hand to another as if they’d being doing it all their lives. Both of these things happened today, and yes, I am writing this post with tears of joy in my eyes.
…despite all the heartache and anxiety you feel lucky and grateful every damn day.