Perhaps it was a good thing that none of knew what was in store when Tom was delivered to us that morning…
True to their word, Tristan and Blaine arrived at our house about 9am on Monday 28th August with Tom and all his gear. Blaine, being the very organised Mum that she is, had already cooked and delivered to us some little frozen portions of Tom’s favourite meals. So they arrived with his pyjamas (jungle style), dark blue dressing gown ( a tiny version of Tristan’s), lots of changes of clothes, fresh food such as the fruit he loves, and a big bag of changes of clothes for Tristan. While we (Tristan, Elwyn and I) sat in the back garden under those trees that have grown with all our children, Blaine spent some very precious quiet time with her little boy, not knowing when she would have the chance to do this again.
Then, at 10am, Tristan and Blaine left, with Tom sobbing in my arms as we waved goodbye. It seemed as if Tom sensed the tension of both his parents. They were both very pale, facing up to the caesarean section and arrival of Alythea, and we felt for them.
Tom soon quietened as we put him in his pram and wheeled him around to the playground. It has changed a lot since we first took Jeanette there many years ago. The whirly gig, big metal swings and high metal slide have been slowly replaced by safer plastic and more interesting items. However Tom had slipped on the higher playgym the previous day, so there were still bits to watch out for. With watchful hands around him he made his circuit: around the lower tube slide, turn the big balls on poles like an abacus, play “I see Tom” through the gaps and perspex inlays, climb the steps to then slide down the open lower slide, then off the say “Ducks” to the ducks. A very brief turn on the higher slide, which was good because he curved round as he slid. By now his usual wide grin and accompanying chuckle was well and truly back!
Elwyn put him on her shoulders for a walk right around the lake. After watching the ducks for a while he relaxed and nestled forward into Elwyn’s hair, just as one of her finches had done when we kept a flock of them in an aviary in our back yard. It seemed that he was letting Tristan and Blaine go and do what needed to be done.
It was back to our place for lunch. He did that bit really well, tucking in to everything we gave him. Then he settled down without a peep for a long nap in his cot with his favourite monkey soft toy. While Elwyn and I recovered over our own lunch, Tristan sms’d us that their daughter Alythea had been born:-) And he sent a photo (see “Welcome to the World, Alythea”).
By late in the day, around 5:30, Tom knew that Tristan and Blaine would not be coming. He steeled himself to be brave. I sensed his effort and gave him a big hug. After dinner he had a good play in the bath. Jeanette and Christopher turned up and put him to bed. He was a bit sad but settled OK.
Elwyn and Tiger moved into the library for the week, so Tom had his own room and only woke them once during the night when he had crawled out from his covers.
While Rob and I went for our walk Elwyn put Tom into his dark blue dressing gown that’s just like Tristan’s and fed him. “He looks like Yoda” was her delighted comment. By the time they had got through toast and vegemite, Tom helping to put vegemite on the toast, then lots of baby cereal with his formula milk, Tom, Elwyn, the high chair, the vegemite jar and the floor were a mess! We cleaned it up later…
Tristan turned up around 8:30 and of course Tom was overjoyed! They had a good play, and Tristan had some brekkie. Then Tom was very brave and had a big hug from me when Tristan left to return to hospital; Blaine was in pain after her caesarean and needed his help with handling Alythea. After Tom’s nap we all bundled into 2 cars (with Jeanette and Christopher) and drove to the hospital to meet Alythea. We were allowed into the room 2 at a time, so spread ourselves between the visitor’s room and Blaine’s room. Alythea was sleepy, yet aware of us. Very like Tom but finer featured. I was allowed a hold – she’s a gentle energy.
Tristan came down to the car with us and said good-bye to Tom. Tom was very brave, until we got home and had dinner. Then, when we came to undress him for his bath he just lost it. So it was time to show Jeanette and Elwyn how I used to handle them when they got distraught. We let him sob until he’d finished, with lots of cuddles and soothing pats. A warm bath with more soothing strokes, cuddles and a bottle, and he settled for the night quite peacefully. And slept all night, to Elwyn’s delight!
The next few days were a routine of breakfast with Elwyn, and Jeanette a couple of times. Jeanette added to the “Yoda” story with bouncing in “Can I have breakfast with Yoda?”. After cleaning him up and dressing him, he would play for a bit then Tristan turned up. He would either stay at our place or take Tom out. Tom would have his mid-day nap at our place, then go to the hospital to see his family. Most afternoons we popped in to see Blaine and Alythea. Both the ladies were recovering well, although Blaine’s wound troubled her. Tristan and Tom would arrive at our place for an early dinner, then Tristan would bath Tom, both making LOTS of bubbles, before helping to settle him in his cot. Tristan spent every night at the hospital.
By Friday Tom was much more flexible. He was happy to hug all of us, and accepted any of us taking care of him. Since he had been so upset on Tuesday evening he was calmer about his world changing, and went with the flow much better. On Saturday Tristan took him to his swimming lesson, which he loved!
And on Sunday, Father’s Day, Tristan took his growing family home.
It was very quiet at our place the next morning.
We missed Tom.
The cats were very happy though…