Another corker of a Laughing Boy tale from the MyDaftLife archives posted by Dr. Ryan to Twitter today. LB’s commitment to putting reality (as he saw it) out there into the world is fabulous, and his dedication to dressing to suit himself is equally delectable.
No less impressive is his mother’s determination to let him be himself, in all circumstances. Yesterday, at Connor’s inquest, she even corrected her own barrister’s clumsy use of language:
Barrister: From an early age you knew something wasn’t quite right with Connor?
Dr. Ryan: Not ‘wasn’t right’. He was different.
Salute you, ma’am. There speaks a mother who is definitely good enough, plus a whole lot better than that.
I’d like to think Grenouille has been similarly encouraged to be an individual. If the reactions of the respite carers are anything to go by, I think we’re getting there. The carers were in at the weekend, a long-time worker and a new one who was on only her second training shift.
The senior carer was grinning broadly as she did the handover, but didn’t say anything to explain her amusement. I raised my eyebrows at her, but she gave me the tiniest shake of her head. At the front door, she said, “See you soon! Always a pleasure!”
I said, “I’m coming out now. I need to put our car in the garage once the drive’s clear.”
Both the carers got into their cars and started their engines, then the senior turned her engine off, got out and began wiping the windscreen.
“So come on, what gives?”
“Oh, I know I keep repeating myself, but that kid of yours cracks me up.” The senior carer began to giggle as the new carer drove towards the gates.
“What happened this time?”
“Well, I was helping Grenouille with something and we were joshing around like we usually do, you know, having a bit of a leg-pull.”
I do know. This particular carer has teenage children only a little older than mine, and talks to G and Eldest in the same matey way that she talks to her own offspring. It’s always perfectly judged, and G is developing a nice line in repartee.
“So..” The carer’s voice was splitting with mirth as she remembered, “…G gave me the stink-eye and a telling off, as usual, and New Carer said, ‘Is she teasing you, G?’ and I said…” the carer snorted with laughter “…you know, pretending to be all innocent, I said, ‘Would I do a thing like that, G?’ But G just gave me another of those looks, didn’t answer, so I said, ‘Go on, you not got anything to say?’ and…”
The carer was now gasping with laughter, “…and there was this other pause and then G said, – ahahahahah! – G said, totally straight-faced, ‘My Mum always says, if you can’t say something nice…’ “
The carer doubled up over the bonnet, roaring, then straightened, wiping her eyes. “And that was it. Didn’t even bother to finish off the phrase. It was like, that’s all you’re getting, deal with it. Oh, I was in stitches, properly put in my place, but New Carer didn’t see the funny side at all. I think she thinks it’s inappropriate to kid around with a disabled child. Unkind, she thinks. But you know, I know G is more than capable of dishing it back out. Sharp as a tack, that kid, as well as hilarious. I think it would be patronising not to treat G like any other teenager.”
She gave a final hiccup of laughter, heaved in a big breath and looked up the drive to where the tail-lights of the other carer’s car were disappearing down the road. “She’ll learn. I’ll make sure she does.”