Never Give An Inch.

I stand watching my middle child with a mixture of admiration and exasperation. She’s hopping up a flight of stairs at school, making little grunts as she swings on her crutches.
There’s a line of parents and children waiting behind her patiently, they shoot me curious looks.
“Oh no, what happened”?
Her right leg is heavily bandaged.
I want to say ”nothing’s wrong, she’s a diva, and this is a battle of wills”, but she’ll hear me and probably lash out with one of those damn crutches.

She gets an Oscar award for her performance.
She’s been refusing to weight bare for nearly a week after an incident on the trampoline. Crying and howling when encouraged to put her foot on the floor. I reckon she genuinely hurt herself at the time, but this kid has taken it to extreme levels, and I’ve let her.


I know fully well she can walk. I saw her land deftly after performing a daring swinging manoeuvre on the gymnastic rings at her cousins birthday party, a mere two days after the tramp incident.
She quickly covered up her mistake by falling on her butt, but I saw the full second she stood on both legs, pain-free.

I know she’s not broken anything, cause I’ve seen the Xrays and spent 3 hours of my precious time in A&E with her. I even saw a sneaky smile cross her face when the kind nurse bought out the crutches. It crossed my mind then that she looked too happy to be in pain, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt and thought the panadol had finally kicked in.

Now I’m curious to see how far she’ll take it, there’s also this voice in my head telling me it’s my fault, she’s doing this because she got shunted out of babyhood.

She was only 7 months old when I fell pregnant with my youngest.
I tried to keep breastfeeding her, but the physical demands of pregnancy, looking after a baby, and 3 other preschoolers were too much for my body. Possibly my brain too,.. no almost certainly my brain, it’s never recovered. She was forced onto a bottle and out of her rightful place as the baby of the family too soon.

I felt like she got a rough deal. And have felt guilty ever since.

What a stupid way to think.

My middle child is no dummy, she’s smart, stubborn and challenging. Her moods are extreme, and she looks like butter wouldn’t melt.
Let me tell you, butter would freeze.
Not the oldest, not a twin, and not the baby, but boy does she know how to make her presence felt. Especially now she’s on crutches. I can hear her coming down the hallway like some creature from a Steven King Horror film. Clunk drag, clunk, drag, clunk drag. I could hear her coming for me when I was on the loo…..couldnt get away. Scary.

There was this one time she was sat next to me at Christmas mass, she looked deep in thought, so I asked her,
‘What’s on your mind, Pearl”?
‘Well, I want to stand up where that man is, (priest at the altar), and say THERE’S A FIRE! GET OUT’!
To say I was surprised and horrified is an understatement. I had to snake my hand around her head and over her sweet little mouth.

Underneath her moodiness is sensitivity coupled with intelligence. She won’t necessarily talk openly about what is upsetting her.
Two weeks ago, she saw a news segment about the war in Syria. She was a right troll for days until it finally came out that she felt disturbed and sad.

You gotta hand it to her for a tenacious spirit tho. It takes a lot of energy to pull off a stunt this big.

This week I’ve seen other kids carry her, open doors for her, pick up her school books for her.
I’ve watched her sit, legs up, like madame muck, while I supervised 20 other little ballerinas at the ballet production rehearsal that she’s supposed to be in. I’d volunteered, and I hate letting people down, so we turned up to do our bit, crutches and all. I thought she might get FOMO and want to try on the beautiful tutus like her mates, and have a little spin around. But no, there she sat, half-smiling at me while I made sure every sequin was in place, and every loose wisp of hair tucked into buns neatly.


I could’ve killed her.

She reminds me of that dude off there’s something about Mary, you know the one, he pretends he’s a cripple just to get her attention. I might start calling her Tucker instead of Pearl.

She made a miraculous recovery (not through prayer as I’ve been too embarrassed to go back to church) just in time for Halloween.
Husband got tired of the charade and told her that she couldn’t walk the streets as a mummy on crutches as she’d planned. No walking, no trick or treat.
We negotiated for her to try 10 steps an hour to ‘build up her muscle’ in time for Thursday evening. What do you know 3 hours later she was running.



Bets are if we let her keep going, I would’ve ended up as an usher at a Ballet production my child wasn’t even a part of.

I guess this is a tale for those of you who experience parental guilt. It’s real, it comes from wanting to be a good parent. I bet you you’re already a good parent because it bothers you if you think you’re not. Most of us are doing our best with the energy levels and resources we have avaliable to us.

Hold your heads up, support eachother and always remember if you give an inch, those little suckers will take a mile.