Half way up the ladder, and the red, stripy wallpaper grasped in one hand, and a toddler haranguing her ankle at the bottom, Poppy attempted to climb the rungs. The front room needed decorating, and it had to be done now, or it would remain half done.
”Mummy’s will just be a minute, why don’t you play with your dinosaurs for a little while and I will be there in a minute,” she said softly, as the ladder toppled slightly.
”I’m thirsty,’ James said, and sat on the carpet.
Why had she started this in the first place? She had been staring at the half blue paint, half wallpaper and enough was enough. Just one room finished was all she asked. Tom would be annoyed, he said he would finish the job today, but she couldn’t wait, and James was playing.
Lining up his toys neatly in a row, and making sure nobody moved them, he was talking to his dinosaurs. He knew every name, and every fact about them, and Poppy loved his unique nature, but interested in what she was doing, he left his toys to help.
Autism, she never heard of it up until a few years ago, but now she saw it every day. Not that she would change her little boy, there was something about his nature, which made people smile. Or stare and make remarks about her parenting. Yesterday, she screamed at the woman concerned, ”he’s autistic, he can’t help it.” Being told it was hereditary made sense of everything, not that she would mention that fact to her husband.
Hanging the wallpaper, and keeping an eye on her son, she managed to finish the job without falling off the ladder. It didn’t look half bad, if she didn’t say so herself. She climbed down, and placed her feet on solid ground.
”Mummy, bit upside down,” James remarked.
Poppy smiled, honesty was something she would have to get used to. Also, things out of place always caught his attention. He didn’t mean to be rude, just said it how it was. Brutal honesty, with a smile.
”It is, but it will be okay,’ Poppy said, holding his hand. ”Now, what do you want to drink sweetheart?”
”Juice Mummy,’ James said.
”I told you I would do it,’ Josh said, suddenly appearing in the front room.
”It’s done now, I’m making James a juice. Do you want a cup of tea?’
Josh nodded, his head slanted to one side. ”Do you know one of them is upside down . . .”