Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Jayden and the Pharaohs

Yesterday morning was the first Saturday of the back to school era. As we’ve suddenly being getting up at 7am again, maybe 7.15am for our Fred, yesterday’s lie-in till 8am was nice. This morning it was nearer 9am which was even nicer.  The really great thing about Saturday morning was the chance to have a lazy breakfast and catch up on some reading. So there I was, on my second cup of coffee, Lisa off doing Lisa things and Fred finishing his breakfast. My head was in my magazine, I was reading a review of a book on modern democracy when Fred asked...

“What are you reading about Dad?”

Now, as I was still trying to get my head around what I was reading, I wasn’t sure how I could explain it to my little man, so I answered...

“Oh, about different countries like Russia, China, America and how people live there,” was my best effort.

“And the triangles?” asked Fred.

“The triangles?”

“You know,” he looked at me, the brown eyes wide open, expecting  me to be on the same thought wave as him, “there are triangles there and sand desert.”

“You mean the Pyramids, Egypt?” as it happens a lot of the article was about Egypt so it was in my head.

“Mum!” went up the cry, “get me some paper and my markers please.”

Lisa got him a drawing pad and the markers from his school bag.

“I’ll show you,” he said to me, sliding his chair over beside mine and pushing me down the table.

Fred began to draw and, as I’m not allowed look when he’s drawing, I went back to my magazine. After a few minutes the little man beside me said...


So I looked over.

On the pad Fred had drawn a pyramid, two statues with staffs, a sphinx, a desert, a body floating down a river on raft and a tablet with some small symbols on it.

I was amazed.

“What’s happening here?” I asked.

Fred launched into how the story of what was happening was on the tablet...

“The boy goes down the river and the statues bring him to the pyramid,” he said.

“The boy has to play the harp as a key to the pyramid” at this he hummed a tune, “then the doors open and the boy is brought in.”

All the while Fred is pointing to symbols he’d drawn on the golden tablet.

“Then the statues close the door and the boy stays inside and the Sphinx stays outside to mind him.”

I was blown away.

“How do you know all this?” I asked.

“Oh, I remember it from the Little Einstein’s,” he said as if it was the most normal thing he’d ever done, the Little Einstein’s being a program he used to watch as a kid.

The marvellous way my boy’s brain works never ceases to amaze me.

On Monday, day sixteen, Fred was anxious to have Jayden over. As Jayden’s Mum was busy Lisa and Fred went over to collect him. From my office I saw them arrive and could see how happy Fred was to have his friend over. They went inside and when I came down at lunchtime, the two were digging into chicken sandwiches and watching Mr Bean. They were both laughing at the same things and I could see how happy Freddie was to have someone to share it with. Much as I try not to, I still find Mr Bean annoying, so for Fred to be able to share his jokes with someone was great to see.

Later they went playing outside and were having great fun doing boy things.  After a while they came in and the two went upstairs to get some tools, Fred had decided to go digging for dinosaur bones. The rocks over the other side of the estate are an ideal place for an archaeological dig. So the two set off with screwdrivers, brushes, a hammer and various other tools.

When I looked over they were getting an audience. The other kids on the estate were getting interested in the dig and were gathering around. This was great for Fred, they are all younger than him and as they are running around doing their own thing he doesn’t play with them. Now for once they were following his lead, getting interested in what Fred was doing. Lisa went over to the dig to keep an eye on things.

After a few minutes Jayden came running back...

“We need more tools,” he said and ran upstairs to the spare room, this was going to be a big job.

While Jayden was upstairs I looked out at the other kids getting tools from their houses. Freddie really had them all going, little Billy across the way was struggling down the footpath with a garden shovel. Then one of the other mothers came running towards our house.

I knew what that meant.

Lisa was holding him in her arms, Fred had been kneeling so hadn’t fallen, just collapsed into her arms. That maternal instinct of hers just knew not to be too far away from her man. The other kids were standing around, confused more than shocked, Billy leaning against his shovel. We got Fred into the car and brought him home.

As we lay Fred on the couch Jayden came downstairs with a box of tools. I asked him to go get the tools they had brought over earlier and he ran off. When he came back with the full box, Ruby packed up his bags and I put him in the car. As I drove him out of the estate he asked...

“What happened?”

In all the rush, the military style manoeuvre to get Fred safe, nobody had told Jayden what had happened. All the poor boy knew was that one minute he was getting tools upstairs and the next Fred was unconscious on the couch and he was being whisked back home.

I explained as best I could, he seemed to understand.

Oddly enough what happened was a good way of breaking new ground. Fred had interested the kids in his things, Jayden too, and the seizure, which had been expected, was handled well by Lisa and little fuss was made of it. If there was a good way of showing Fred’s epilepsy to the estate and to Jayden, Monday’s event was probably the best we could have hoped for, with little fuss and minimum drama.

Not Fred’s usual way of doing things, mind you.

The night went ok. Fred didn’t have any more big seizures but he had a few small ones. About 8 O’clock he woke and ate two small bowls of risotto. We went to bed about 10.30pm and after a book he went off to sleep. An hour later he had a couple more small ones, and I expected a night of big ones to follow, but he slept well.

About 5.50am, a big one hit. Lisa gave the medicines as usual at 6am and another seizure hit about 6.30am. Fred slept soundly for the rest of the morning, Lisa lying beside him keeping guard.

Later on when he came downstairs, a dazed but somewhat ok little boy, he announced...

“There’s a problem.”

“What’s that?” asked his Mum.

“I can’t go back to school!” he exclaimed.

“Why so?”

“Because I had a faint!” he exclaimed again.

Anything to get out of that dreaded day.

On Thursday Fred went back to school, uniform on, bag on his back and he was actually looking forward to the first day. It was great for us that he was doing this, just like all the other kids.

Afterwards his SNA Denise told Lisa that she had asked Fred if he was feeling ok and that he had answered fine...Jayden though had a different opinion.

“Really Freddie?” he had said, “sometimes you say you are when you’re not.”

Jayden obviously hadn’t forgotten Monday’s events and was fast learning Freddie’s ways, but it looks like he cares about Freddie.

Fred chose well there.






Posted by John Verling

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