Early days 1 – battle of the sexes

I had two girls. I knew I could do girls, but as a raging feminist, I was doubtful whether I could manage boys. After a few months of my pregnancy, I suspected that rather than being 'with child' I was 'with boy.' I found that my favourite staple food, bananas, had turned to poison. I started to seriously consider what I would do if the bump was born a boy?

I would teach him to cook and darn socks. I would ensure that he was in touch with his inner child and his feminine side. I would make him into the perfect mate. What were you supposed to do with boys? Everyone, just everyone always said how different boys were. I was worried.

When the first boy arrived I liked him a great deal. He was cuddly and quiet, a peaceful adorable baby, except if you put him down. He had been installed with a motion detector in his bottom. As long as he was vertical and attached, life was bliss. So the difference between boys and girls wasn't that great, possibly even preferable. It looked as if I was going to be able to do boys after all!

By the time the next boy came along I discovered another difference between girls and boys. Boys did not like push chairs. [translation = strollers] That was o.k. too. I put the little guy in one of those modern contraptions that straps the baby to your chest and carried the bigger one, both vertical, both quiet.

Of course they talked late, but boys do, don't they, everyone knows that. It was only much much later that I began to understand something called deep proprioceptive input. [translation – squishing a child helps them become more grounded. It is calming and reassuring which helps them feel safer too] It was later still that the connection between autism and sensory integration began to make sense.

In the meantime, whilst I may look like a stick insect, I have the upper body strength of a building contractor, but that's what happens if you carry two small people until they reach 45 and 59 lbs respectively.

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