I suppose to other people, Oscar is just an average boy. His physical development is about average and to a stranger his mental development probably seems about average. With us of course he is much more vocal and expressive and he is always showing us the new things he can do. The cry of "look at me Mama" is often met with a heart stopping moment because he is a bit of a dare-devil. We think he is advanced for his age, and not average at all, quite special in fact. But don't all parents think that about their children? Well, no actually, they don't. I was reminded of that this week when I had an awkward telephone call with my health visitor.
A little while ago Oscar started having a small problem with his eyes, nothing major but all the same I wanted it checked. I telephoned my HV and left a message asking her to contact me. The HV called back and I explained the problem and she made a referral to the eye clinic for us. In passing, I mentioned we had never seen our HV, the lady I was talking to was a stand in. I had to call again last week with our change of address and another HV called back this week to confirm it. A rather tense call then followed, asking if everything was alright with Oscar. This HV had seen a note on the file saying NEVER seen a HV since coming to this practise when Oscar was 4 months old. Oscar's immunisations were done by the nurse practitioner. The HV laughed nervously and said "well you are obviously the type of mum to pick up the phone when there is a problem". I could pick up on her tension very easily and I know why. Last year a man was sentenced for 10 years for the death of a 23 month old toddler. They were living just around the corner from where I was living for 2 years and had not seen a HV. I actually became a little bit mad after the call. They don't know me at all, what if I wasn't a good mother, what if Oscar was at risk of danger from me or his Dad. What if Oscar wasnt an 'average' little boy at all, what if he was suffering in our hands, or was not developing normally and was being neglected. The call ended with a high pitched "if there are any problems or anything you need to talk to us about, please call right away". What if I wasn't able to identify a possible problem, lots of parents don't know what they are meant to be looking for. Oscar has only just started playgroup, before this we were fairly insular, who would notice if things were going wrong.
My heart goes out to baby Brandon Muir, I hope that no other children are in danger the way he was. ( FULL STORY)
My average boy