Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Fighting with Mummy, Again…

A scream of ‘just go away’ coming from Ruby followed by a ‘no you go away’ from Fred has reached me upstairs. Now should I go down and see what’s up or leave them sort it out for themselves? Fred is in great form this morning but that great form doesn’t translate into funny for Ruby when she’s just out of bed. Lisa, Fred and I were up earlier than Ruby, my teenage daughter needed to catch up on her sleep; she was at a party on Friday night and has been jaded since coming home yesterday. It’s gone quiet, it sounds like a full outbreak hasn’t occurred, maybe it will be safe to go down for lunch.

Over breakfast Fred was full of his fun. He was telling us about ‘Jaws the Girl’, his name for the first Jaws movie and re-enacting the funny bits when the three stars are drunk on the boat at sea. I’m not sure if it’s the contagious laughter of the three men he finds so funny or the actual jokes. You never know with Fred, he has a great sense of humour. Before sitting down at the table he’d been doing a silly dance to some music on the radio, making his parents laugh at his nonsense. He calls the movie ‘Jaws the Girl’ as a young girl gets eaten in the famous opening scene of the film, also I think it’s because a still from that scene is on the cover of the DVD case. One may question a ten year old watching Jaws but he loves it and knows it off by heart at this stage. At a pub quiz one time there was a question to which I knew the answer was Jaws because Fred watches it so often. A fairly obtuse one too. A woman, who knows me and Fred, asked for a hint to the answer. The usual carry on at a good natured pub quiz. I said ‘it’s to do with the sea and it’s my Fred’s favourite movie.’ That team wrote down ‘Finding Nemo’ and were a bit surprised at the answer being Jaws. Always one for a surprise is ‘my Fred.’

Last night he sounded like he was going into a seizure. It was in the middle of the night, he made that horrible sound I can’t describe and his body stiffened. It was over in seconds, I wasn’t even sure what was happening when Fred called my name...

“Dad, I had a nightmare,” he said through a sleepy mouth as he cuddled quickly into me.

So that was what the noise was.

“What happened?” I asked.

“There was a scary fox, with scary eyes and he was chasing me,” was the reply, “he was running very fast.”

As I cuddled him he dropped off to sleep, leaving me awake, I still hadn’t recovered from thinking he was having a seizure. A scary fox was fairly removed from a thirty foot shark, wherever he got that image from. Freud and Jung could spend a lifetime at Fred’s dreams without being any the wiser.

Yet another thing we all love about the little man.

Ruby wasn’t the only female Fred has been fighting with this week. On Friday I took over from Lisa for the second shift of waiting outside of the school. Now that he does a half-day it can be too long for one person alone to sit on duty. Someday we’ll get brave enough to skip home while he’s inside. Lisa told me how a row had erupted just as they were heading to school. Fred, for all his wonderfulness, can be frustrating when you’re trying to get him out the door in the morning. If he’s not looking for something to take with him or just doing anything except getting dressed he can push you to the limit when in a hurry. On Friday I think it was the fact he’d spilled toothpaste on his school jumper when washing his teeth. This time instead of taking the reprimand he’d gone for the row and two had a right old ding-dong. So much so that Lisa had forgotten to make his lunch. After dropping Fred she’d had to rush home again to get it; no matter how big the row the love of the mother still triumphs.

Lisa went off home and I stayed on duty. At lunchtime when Fred’s head came around the corner, I got out to meet him. Denise, as always walked him to the gate and when saw me he took off, running with arms outstretched.

“My Daddy,” he exclaimed, as if I’d been away at sea for the last ten years. Such a man for the exaggerations but it is lovely all the same.

Into my arms he ran, we thanked Denise and got into the car.

As he strapped himself in Fred said:

“Dad, there’s a problem.”

“What’s that?” I asked. Sometimes it can be that he had confusion, other times he’s just reporting Jayden being bold, you never do know.

“Mum and me were fighting, again,” he said, as if it was a continuing domestic problem, his arms out for the dramatic effect, “she shouted at me and I shouted at her, the she shouted at me again and I shouted at her.”

Back home Lisa was standing in the kitchen. Fred stood beside her, head down but looking up at her from time to time. Lisa holding her stance, looking down at him, not saying a word.

“What do you say to Mummy?” I asked, trying to move on the process.

“Sorry Mum,” Fred said, rubbing his fingers together in contrition.

“I’m sorry too Fred, but you know I expect better,” Lisa replied.

“I know Mum,” was the answer as he wrapped his arms around his mother, not giving her a chance to continue. Lisa did the inevitable and melted into his embrace like a starlet would with Clark Gable in any movie worth its salt.

That boy, he puts us through it.

On Monday afternoon, I was having lunch and Fred was beside me, watching a movie. He was bit jerky, it was day fourteen so this was to be expected. Outside on the back wall a pair of magpies were eating the crumbs I’d put out earlier. Two for joy, I said to myself and pointed out their beautiful colouring to Lisa. She agreed and I headed off upstairs to my office leaving the happy two to relax before doing homework.

Upstairs I was checking my emails, one arrived telling me I hadn’t got the funding for a project I was planning, at least my name wasn’t on the list. As I looked over the list, over and over again, I thought so much for the two for joy theory when it comes to magpies...

Then that horrible noise came from downstairs.

I rushed down.

Fred was coming out of the seizure just as I got into the front room.  ‘No sixteen day break this time’, I remarked as I helped Lisa get Freddie comfortable, not that fourteen days isn’t great. Apparently he had asked Lisa if he could go to sleep and as he was making his way across the couch the seizure struck. She’d noticed his eyes flickering but it had hit very quickly. The poor little man probably had been caught unawares but at least he was in his mother’s arms.

All afternoon the epilepsy took a go at Fred. Lisa nursed him, kept him safe and made as little fuss of the episode as only she can do. At about six o’clock Fred had number five, the number we agreed to step in at, and so Lisa gave him the shot of Diazepam to try call a halt to it all.

It worked. The seizures stopped and Fred slept soundly. He woke about 8 O’clock and moved over to cuddle up to me. So much for the mother giving him all her care for the day. She’d sat there all afternoon, for nearly seven hours, with just cups of tea and the odd digestive to keep her going. There was no way I could take over, it wouldn’t be even contemplated while Fred was in seizure. Now Lisa could get a break, she could relax and catch up on her day.

Fred woke up after a bit a bit and though dazed, was doing fine considering the day he’d just put down.

“Dad,” he said in a weak voice, his mouth dry from all the activity.

“Yes,” I said smiling down at him.

“I can’t get the fainting out of me. I try and try but it’s still in me,” he was getting tearful, as if it was all his fault.

“We will, the doctors will.”

“But when Dad?” the sadness of his face would break your heart.

“Soon, my little man,” was the only answer I had.


With that he cuddled back into me and fell off to sleep again, leaving me in tears.

Oh that boy.


Posted by John Verling

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