Yesterday we woke up to discover that Big had a very swollen, very infected, very sore looking lump under her arm.
I have no idea how long it had been there for. She hadn’t mentioned anything and I only happened to see it by accident. It must have been incredibly painful and yet at no point did she ask for help, at no point did she say it was hurting, she didn’t come to us at all.
Trying to have a look under her arm proved near impossible. I was kicked, bitten and scratched and had a sweat on by the time I’d finished. My husband and I decided that we needed to phone out of hours as it was clearly infected and we had no idea how much it had spread.
Big wouldn’t let the doctor see it either so he hedged his bets, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and said ‘let’s just hope it doesn’t get any worse.’
When something like this happens I realise just how near the start of the journey we are. My daughter must have been in considerable pain and yet she couldn’t come to me. She couldn’t trust me to help her. She’s lived with me for two years but she couldn’t tell me that she was hurting.
The guilt I felt yesterday was unbelievable. Telling the doctor that I had no idea how long it had been there was awful. I could see him thinking ‘how could you not know about this?’ but I didn’t. Because my daughter isn’t able to trust me enough to help her.
As we were leaving the doctors, Big screamed, ‘This is all YOUR fault!’ She has an amazing ability to tap into the emotion I’m feeling and make me feel terrible. Later I tried to have a conversation about the fact that if she’d felt able to tell me earlier, it might have meant that she didn’t need medicine and that we wouldn’t have had to go to the doctors but the response was ‘It’s YOUR fault.’ I’m not sure if this is what she genuinely feels (possibly about everything?) or if she knew it was hurting me when she said it so it deflected the hard stuff away from her. There is always a voice in my head that wonders if it is my fault. What am I not doing to help this child feel safe. What can I do differently to make her feel that she can trust me.
I certainly did not feel good about my ability to look after her yesterday. How can I have been a mum to Big for two years and not realised? I wonder how much pain she could be in and not tell me? Is there a point where pain overrides trust? Do we reach a point where she can trust me? Or do I check her every night for bumps and bruises? I remember when the girls first came, Little fell (she was 17 months at the time) and landed on her face. I ran to help her and she was pushing me away, she couldn’t cope with me helping her. It broke my heart as I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to help her. If Little falls now ‘mummy!’ is the first word out of her mouth and she runs to me. I can only hope that one day Big feels that she can trust me in the same way.
The best bits
I did a wee triathlon this week ( I was the sole competitor so I got a personal best and I came first!) The girls were my support team, they went out in the canoe with my husband during my swim, held water out for me when I was cycling and were cheering me on outside the house when I made it home. It was nice to do it and for them to be a part of it.
We’ve had another active week with the girls. They’re getting so much more confident on their bikes. We go up to the doctors surgery on a weekend as it’s empty and they were both doing wee figure of eight loops and riding down the ‘big’ hill. They both shout ‘wheeeee’ as they go and I love hearing it.