Hux, His Spoon, And Why I Will Never Label My Children

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IMG_1098Hux is turning into a real character. At the grand old age of 1 year and 9 months he’s proving to be quite the cheeky little thing, always a smile and a wave for everyone. He’s been walking for about six weeks now and is still ever so proud of his little legs; staggering around like an old man who’s spent the day sinking whisky (but not smelling the same), taking off in pursuit of anything more exciting than his mum is his new favourite activity. You name it, he’s chased it.

He can talk now, no more than one and a half garbled words at once but hearing him make sense of the world around him is pretty awesome. His favourite words are: “CAKE!” (always shouted), “loola” (lolly), “Mama” (heart melt), “RaaRaa”, “‘poon” (spoon), “UP!” (cuddle time), “baby” and “pay” (boy loves his ca$h). He also does a great line in vehicles: tractor, bus, car, plane. And he can count to three! Boy’s obviously a borderline genius. I’m on the phone to Mensa as we speak.

IMG_1105One of Hux’s favourite games is to spend time with me in my bedroom when I get ready for the day. He’s a real magpie, loves adorning himself with my big blingy necklaces and bracelets and staggering about the bedroom with a handbag. He enjoys slinging things around his neck (supervised, obviously) and ‘getting dressed’ by wearing my bra as a necklace. He also has a real thing for hats and is never happier than when removing his socks to wear on his hands.

He’s also a real tomboy. Always banging into things, throwing himself around and enjoying as much rough and tumble as possible. He’s currently sporting two face bruises (door accidents) and a knee scrape (unknown origin). I love that he’s so fearless and enjoys being so physical: future rugby star in the making for sure.

IMG_1106He gets these little obsessions, too. He once carried my toothbrush around for two days straight, using it to clean the carpet, gag. Thanks Hux. He adores his RaaRaa book and we must read it at least six times a day. And most recently we’ve been obsessed with a spoon (or a ‘POON!).

It’s not a real spoon, but please don’t tell Hux that. It’s actually some kind of mirrored implement that came with the doctor’s kit I bought Elfie for Christmas this year. Huxley seems to have adopted this ‘poon as his dearest friend, his closest confidante, his security blanket. It’s with him from morning through to night; he uses it to eat his meals, it splashes water in the bath and is clutched in his tight little fists while he drifts off to sleep. 3df34e308be911e3ae7e124fce6320e0_8One of the reasons I love my children so much is for these wonderful little idiosyncrasies. I mean, I would love to know what Hux was thinking when he chose his spoon as his new best friend, or when he spent those couple of days with my toothbrush. I don’t remember Elfie going in for obsessions with such aplomb but how wonderful is it to see the differences between my two as they grow up? Like my mum said as I sent her the photograph of Hux sleeping with his ‘poon: these two, they’re like chalk and cheese. Yes I said, Hux is the chalk and Elfie’s the cheese :)

I posted one of many photographs of Hux and his spoon on Facebook this weekend. I was really sad when a friend of mine who has a son who is a year younger than Elfie messaged me: she said she was pleased to see me show Hux and his ‘POON because her son has shown similar traits when it comes to these little obsessions. What got to me was that she said because of this some friends have been questioning her about her son, asking her if she thinks there’s something wrong with him. Maybe he has Autism? they’ve said. My friend says that when she tells one of her son’s quirky stories she gets ‘that look’ from other mums (come on, we all know how it goes when you get ‘that look’) and questions about him being assessed.

I was like, WTF? People have actually said that to you?

2c6bc2468b7111e390c0125d7a642baf_8I was outraged on her behalf. Firstly, I will never understand why other mothers think that just because they had a child extracted from their body it gives them the right to pass judgement on others’ parenting. I’m tarring a large group with the same brush here but it’s something we’ve all experienced and such judgement is one reason I can be a little wary of forming friendships with other mothers. Secondly, what should it matter? Unless there is something developmentally wrong with my son I see nothing wrong with he fact he spends his days clutching a big ‘poon.  He likes it, OK? As long as he’s happy, loved and healthy that should be all that matters. If he’s autistic, artistic or green in colour I don’t really care. All I care about is that he enjoys being a toddler and gets to do what makes him smile, and if that is walking around with a spoon in hand that is fine with me.

I tell you, if anyone dared to suggest that I should take my son to be assessed because of a couple of little quirks then they’d know about it (although they probably wouldn’t, what with me being British and having a stiff upper lip and all). Hey, you know what else? Maybe he’ll be gay because I let him dress up in my jewellery and clothes? That’s another label for you, society.

119dd2948b8311e3aa7612f19fca3f6f_8In all seriousness though, it seems to be a must in this modern life for us to label the world around us and the people in it. Stay at home mum, work at home mum, single mum (raises hand). It’s sad that we can’t just get on with life without these labels; it’s as if putting us all in different boxes brings comfort to others. It’s sad to me that we can’t be more accepting of others and the way they want to live their lives without having to define what they are. We’re all humans, that should be enough definition for anyone.

Hux could grow up to BE a spoon for all it matters to me. I don’t want him to ever think I’m defining who or what he is because of the pressure from society: his and Elflie’s happiness, that’s really all that matters.  And ‘My Son The Spoon’? That’d make a great blog post.

 

74 Comments
  1. People are so quick to judge or try and categorise, I could be here all day with my girls quirks.

    Your little family looks awesome and blogging about his spoon will certainly give him something to read and laugh about when he is older …… or when he is 18 and you want to embarrass him in front of a girlfriend!

  2. I can’t believe people said that. I would’ve laughed at them. It’s like these people have never met children. Aren’t all kids a bit weird and isn’t this one of the things we love about them. I adore that they don’t care what people think and just do their thing, however unusual it may seem to us. Perhaps these people are so controlling and uptight that their children aren’t allowed to express themselves and so end up a little, dare I say, dull.
    I’m assuming they would have whipped Hux’s ‘spoon’ away when he tried to eat with it and then rolled their eyes at his subsequent, understandable tantrum and hidden the spoon. How sad. I’m ranting incoherently now, but I do wish people would just let kids be KIDS. It’s what they’re supposed to be doing.

    1. I completely agree with all you’ve said: these odd lovely quirks are born from the innocence of childhood and we should be enjoying them, not telling our children there’s something wrong with them! Lovely little oddballs, I can’t get enough :)

  3. I really do hate how judgemental people are in general. If your child doesn’t fit in with the norm, then they are labelled and judged by small minded people. Aren’t our quirks what makes us ourselves, rather than the same as everyone else. Like you, I couldn’t care less what Sophie is or does as long as she is happy. Your children are incredibly lucky to have such an amazing mummy x

  4. Hear hear! and hear hear some more!

    Toddlers are wonderfully androgynous, and that what is so charming and sweet about them, they just take everything as it comes and deal with it and have fun doing so. They don’t know about the labels society loves to dole out and neither do they give a shit. Elliot loves nothing more than to dress up as a princess and wear his “neckiss” (necklace). He has an older sister who also loves to dress up as a ballerina, so they will often run about like that. He also has a knight costume, which he loves in equal measure.

    I’ve had the “maybe you should test for autism” crap about Roo… In fact, I’ve had it more than once. In truth I have wondered if she might lean towards having mild aspergers tendencies, (she’s insanely bright – rainman bright, and very focussed, but can’t deal with people, new situations, things out of routine, and she has very little social awareness. She has no concept of just being a kid) but I don’t give a fuck, and I don’t think there is any point in making her go through tests which may or may not lead to a shitty label she doesn’t need. Instead, we support her when she needs it, and nurture the hell out of her brightness. I’ll be the one fucking laughing when she wins a Nobel Prize!

    Hooray for kids with beautiful little quirks – how dull our lives would be without them!

    xx

    1. How much more fun would life be if grownups were a bit more like kids? I think both Elliot and Roo are effing awesome, as are Elfie and Hux. I say let’s all wear necklaces and carry some spoons around.

  5. I cannot put into words the absurdity of someone suggesting a “condition” on the basis of a child towing a random implement everywhere with them.

    I would be grateful if Dimples’ thing were small: from 16 months until 3 and half she towed a Baby Annabel with her everywhere. It weighs a ton and for a long time was almost as big as her. People used to stop me and tell me that I hadn’t put enough clothes on my ‘baby’ and one old woman (*ahem* bag) suggested she would call social services because I left my ‘baby’ on the floor.

    These days, Dimples’ thing is her blankie. She chews it, literally stuffing her mouth with it in order to fall asleep: it is always wet, often times smelly and in no way as portable- or presentable- as ‘poon. People should focus on the cute factor and judge less.

    1. Grr, people make me so mad! It’s crazy they think it’s OK to comment on the way you are parenting your kid. Actually, they’re crazy.

      Hux has a blankie too (muslin) and he totters around with it in his mouth (?). It’s weird but there’s something so cute about a massive muslin hanging from his mouth!

  6. I love this! Magpie kids are ace, I once found a bird house that I won in a raffle stashed in my daughters wardrobe the morning after I won it, after searching the house wondering where I’d put it in my wine induced state! She obviously liked it more than I did. Quirks are good, who wants our kids growing up to be the same as every other child anyway…. Hux sounds ace!
    x

  7. As the mother of a teenager with autism, this post really resonates with me. I’ve seen it all, over the years; the judging, the snidey remarks, the ignorance – people can be very hurtful without realising it. My daughter was quite definitely “different” when she was a toddler and this was picked up at nursery when she was aged 2. Eighteen months of assessments, meetings, tests, you name its later, she was finally diagnosed with autism.

    But something people need to be aware of, and something I am so not ashamed of, is that a label doesn’t change who your child is. Without my daughter’s label, she wouldn’t be able to access the wonderful support she’s had over the years, nor would she now be doing extremely well in a special school, working towards GCSEs and BTECs. I am immensely proud of her but she has only managed to achieve what she has because she was given a “label” and was therefore able to receive the support she so desperately needed. So please don’t put labels down, they aren’t always a bad thing as I, and many, many other parents, can prove.

    In so far as your child being able to have little quirks, doesn’t every child have little quirks? You know your own child better than all these judgemental parents so my advice, for what it’s worth, is simply to ignore them.

    CJ x

    1. Thank you so much for your balanced view… I agree with what you’re saying, too! Elfie has her different health needs and you’re absolutely right, without the labels she’d have a much tougher time. She has her emergency processes at pre-school, she must be careful taking part in activities and needs to wear a medical bracelet. I’m trying to make sure she knows this is nothing unusual, I don’t want her feeling different to her friends when she gets to school. But like your daughter her label is definitely required and makes life a lot easier. I think it’s how quickly that people judge others that gets on my wick, the swiftness that people jump to labelling others.

      Great to hear your experiences, thank you so much xx

  8. I could not agree more – I despite the way children are labelled so easily and the implications of what that means for them in the future. One of my friends has a son who seems to have slightly different needs to other kids of his age and she (despite him being without diagnosis) regularly refers to herself as an ‘Aspie Mum’, as though labelling her son with Aspergers gives her some sort of bragging rights. The whole thing makes me nauseous.

    Aside from all of this, it’s perfectly normal to fixate on things. There’s quite a big age gap between my sister and I and I remember clearly her refusal to leave the house as a toddler unless she was dressed in the raincoat and wellingtons from her large Paddington Bear teddy (which went on for about a year). She’s grown into a bit of a weirdo, in terms of her horrible choice of tattoos and insistence on painting herself a killer ‘Scouse Brow’, but if that’s all you’ve got to worry about in Hux’s future, I’d say you’re fine.

    1. I totally agree with you, sometimes people are their own worst enemies when it comes to labels. Loving hearing all these stories about everyone’s weird childhood obsessions though!

    2. Hi, please try to give your friend the benefit of the doubt. There is a lot to Asperger’s that only a family would see at home and many kids never get a diagnosis even if they really need one. Neither my dad nor our GP believed my mum when she voiced her worry that my brother had Aspergers but she was right. And not being listened to when he was a child had severe consequences for our family. So, painful though it may be, please bear with her.

  9. WOW!!! how ignorant are some people, my daughter had attachments at that age but I would never have thought her to have a disability, my son on the hand we knew he had something from the day we brought him home, no-one ever commented until after his diagnosis at the age of 4, even our GP kept putting it off hoping we were both wrong, encourage him its helps their imaginative play which in turn will help in the future x

  10. I have been enjoying the adventures of Hux and his spoon and it wouldn’t have crossed my mind that carrying it was a sign of anything. After all if a child decides to carry a favourite teddy or a blanket everywhere no one would think twice about it. Hux obviously likes to be ready for food at any time. It reminds me of that episode of Friends where Chandler and Rachel are eating cheesecake off the floor and Joey rocks up, produces a spoon out of his pocket and asks ‘what are we having?’.

    1. Hahahah he does indeed like to be ready for food at any time and is eating a yoghurt with his spoon as I type! Love that it reminded you of that episode of friends ;) x

  11. I have been in the same situation…I am pretty OCDish and anal and generally a neat freak (and also an ex-nursery nurse)….and so I like order and organisation (and its the butt of many a joke amongst my friends) everything has a box, and every box has a label and every toy/ornament/book has a ‘home’….and it amuses me that my kids (Iris 5 & Oscar 2) are following suit….but a few years ago I was casually telling my chiropractor about some of my daughter’s (then 3) funny little habits….like the day at nursery she spent 20minutes sorting all the felt pens because the wrong colour lids were on the wrong colour pens…and how everytime she goes into Boots she spends ages tidying the Vaseline pots/ Dove deodorants if the different coloured ones have been mixed up…. harmless little anecdotes or so i thought….At this point my chiropractor (who i no longer see!),who for the record has NO children, suggested to me that it might be worth having Iris assessed for Autism as she was displaying some characteristic traits, I came away from that appointment totally paranoid and upset…as if someone who has no experience of kids whatsoever is qualified to suggest that my daughter had a ‘condition’ when in actual fact she is just a bit bonkers like her mum…and her nana…and her great nana! Lol And also my little boy LOVES my jewellery,and my bra,and his sisters dress up shoes,and my lip gloss and regularly expects his nails painted when his sister has hers done! I reckon the boys that get to play with their mum/sisters beads/hats/shoes whatever will most likely grow up to be the most well adjusted and ‘normal’ (*whatever normal is??*)

    1. I LOVE the sound of your boxes. There’s nothing nicer than lovely organized and labelled toys and natural that would rub off on your kids. Elfie used to love lining up the blueberries I gave her for pudding!!

  12. I completely agree with you, too many labels and not enough acceptance. My son used to spend hours and hours lining up his cars in neat rows, now he’s 16 and not autistic, never for a moment did I think he was but back then I did have a few people suggest it to me. x

  13. I felt compelled to comment on this because 1. those photos of your kids are so darned cute and 2. because the line ‘Hux could grow up to BE a spoon for all it matters to me’ made me laugh out loud. Your blog is such a wonderful, fascinating, honest insight into motherhood and I thank you for it!

  14. That’s just absurd for so many reasons. It’s inappropriate to say to someone, and for god sakes, HES A TODDLER. They are obsessive about things. I wish everyone wouldn’t jump to that conclusion all of the time.

  15. Yes, yes, YES!!! As far as I’m concerned one of the most exciting things about watching babies become toddlers is seeing their idiosyncrasies and unique personality traits flourish. It’s a joy, how can anyone not see that?!!
    My sister was a slightly (VERY) highly strung toddler who refused to have zips, buckles or belts done up on her clothes or wear socks or tights even in the dead of winter. And she used to snaffle random household items and hide them in her pillowcase. I distinctly remember a phase where we had to sneak into her bedroom to retrieve the cutlery from her pillowcase before dinner time. It raised a few eyebrows at the time, but none of us cared, it was just her ‘thing’. She’s now about to go travelling before starting her law degree. We all have a giggle looking back, especially her!
    Freedom of expression and freedom from social expectations is so, so important during these toddler years.
    Hux sounds so wonderful, and it’s brilliant that you foster his little character with such passion xx

    1. Your sister sounds AWESOME! I agree, freedom of expression is so important, even at our age! Mum dancing at midnight after 4 glasses of wine can count as freedom of expression, right? xx

  16. We definitely need to cart Mads off to see someone then because she has some serious traits going on. She sleeps with balls of tin foil under her pillow as treasure, has to wear two hairbands on her legs, and has to have each of her friends in order. I can’t believe anyone would even say that. And pictures of Hux with the spoon? Absolutely adorable! It actually makes me go a bit teary eyed, I love their little funny things that make them who they are! x

  17. I’m so saddened someone would say that?! Why are some so insistent on taking the magic out of childhood and labelling it as wrong?! That spoon might be magic to Hux. Or a comfort blanket. Or he might just love it. I had a class when I was younger. Not just an imaginery pal but 30 of them. I was teacher and dragged them about all over the place – holding doors open at nursery etc while they all piled in. My mum just rolled her eyes. Life without imagination is so dull – even in adulthood. Why would we ever want to remove it from our children?!

    Wouldn’t the world be so much nicer, kinder, if we all loved things as much as Hux?

    1. Oh Emma, what a great story! And I agree, the world would be a much better place if we all kept some of the inhibitions and innocence of childhood x

  18. Cannot or rather don’t want to believe that. I am often getting those looks with two lil odd balls! We women are hard on ourselves and harder on each other so sad.
    Hux is starting to look like elfie it’s very cute.
    P.s. I referred my very good friend to your blog for PND posts they helped so much – thank you. X

  19. After reading this I’m beginning to wonder if it is a boy thing. My son has his quirks, things that he absolutely must keep hold of at all times but if he is happy what is the harm. I think we are all too quick to want to label children and in many cases it is just their little personalities taking shape.

  20. What great post! Hux sounds to be like a great little boy! And i love his cheeky little face!
    Like you i hate how people label others. So what if he is caring a spoon? My eldest loves her”Bear bear” and it’s her obsession – she can’t sleep without it and she still sucks her thumb before sleep although she is almost 5. I know i know it will damage her teeth and so on…and probably she should not cary her bears everywhere…but…it’s her comfort and i am not about to take that away from her. She takes them after her less and less at the moment so she is growing out of it. It was her comfort when she started nursery at only 9 months old as her parents had to work.
    Now With my youngest is not the same. although 14 months she is not attached to anything in particular…although she loves her big sister and cuddles.
    Kids are different and labelling never helped anybody.

    1. I sucked my thumb for years and years and years, it didn’t do me any harm and I grew out of it when I was about 10 :) I agree, all kids are different, just like all grownups are! x

  21. I can’t believe someone said that to your friend or people think like that. When I saw your son and his ‘poon’ I thought it was lovely and made me smile. Kids and their obsessions is normal and it’s better than being a awful adult with an obsession on judging others for every little thing that May or may not be ‘different’. At the moment my daughters obsession is collecting stones and sucking them; really, I think I would prefer a ‘poon’. Xxx

  22. That’s such a horrible thing to say about another person’s child. I know for a fact however that some parents can be really quite nasty when it comes to comparing their children as I’ve experienced it first hand. My eldest son was born with some congenital birth defects which although not visible on the outside, caused him to lag behind in his development physically and I used to get ‘the look’ so much and felt so shunned at mother-baby groups that I actually stopped going. Thankfully he’s caught up but it used to make me feel like I had failed in some way. It’s such a shame that this happens.

    1. It’s these sorts of stories that made me stay away from mother and baby groups when I first had children. I found them a real chore: making small talk with women, feeling like they were always judging and comparing their children to mine. Bleurgh. I wouldn’t go through the experience of having to find my feet in a new social group with a new baby again for anything. x

  23. I have never commented on a blog before but I just had to say how much I love what you’ve written, both as a teacher and a soon-to-be-mother. Your children are lucky to have you as their mum :)

    1. Thank you so much – coming from a teacher that means so much! I always question my parenting decisions (like most mums do I expect!) but if you say that I must be doing something right :)

  24. What a great post, and it means that children who do need to access help there just isn’t the funding there because all these other children have been assessed. Hey but talking of labels I’m a bit of a pushy parent (I push my kids to where they should be not beyond btw) and wanted to say that I do think maybe you could use that genius label – counting to 3 at that age is very impressive :)

  25. We have that same ‘poon from a doctors kit (although ours is now minus the mirror bit as it wasn’t stuck on very well!) Master C (16 months) loves it too although it’s his toy cars that he takes to bed. I do recall when LMC was a similar age she one night got rather attached to the plastic spoon she was eating her tea with. She wouldn’t let go and it went in the bath with her, had a story read to it and then slept with her before being used for breakfast the next morning too!

    Certainly all kids have stages like this and I’m quite shocked that people would think it something worth of comment other than to say how sweet a stage it is!

  26. He is too gorgeous! And sounds like a real hoot. I wish we could all hold onto that self confidence that allows kids to have quirks without worrying what people think about them.

    Also, be very grateful that so far all his friends have been small and portable… T spent an entire 3 week holiday in the States once cuddled up to a saucepan. It had to come out on every trip with us, despite the fact that it barely fitted in his pram!

  27. *raises hand* My name is Alex, and I have a daughter who develops little obsessions.

    Jeez, do we need to make it a support group now? Cos what I see that all our kids have in common is that they’re awesome and themselves. That’s all we can ask of anyone.

    1. We should definitely make a support group! We’d sit around, drink wine and eat crisps and would then probably get judged for sitting around, drinking wine and eating crisps ;)

  28. How utterly gorgeous. He’s just adorable and seriously, some people should just get a grip. Children explore every day and every new discovery is something completely magical to them: Spoons, bubble wrap or little tin foil balls under their pillow – who cares what they are getting attached to as long as they enjoy it and show the most important skill in life: being able to bond and love unconditionally – no matter, if their family, friends or a “dead object”.

  29. Amelie has a spoon thing too, no idea what it’s about. I’m not a fan of labels of any kind, such a shame there’s so bloody many of them. Once you’re a mother they’re everywhere!

  30. Ridiculous suggestions from people who clearly don’t understand kids. Sorry your friend had to endure such madness, Hux is an amazing, happy little boy. Let them be kids I say. Hope your friend’s ‘friends’ read this post!

  31. I can not believe how this post changed, I was happily reading about a very awesome little boy being well a boy and then bang, I am so sick of how people throw Autism around, I have a 2 cousins and a brother who are all high functioning, I then have a severely disabled son who is a non functioning autistic, what is with people. All my children are likely to be on the spectrum due to genetic problems, would I want them to, no, but it doesn’t mean anything but they maybe a little different, my daughter is just like your little boy (but now older and even quirkier) she has little quips about things and I love them, do I think it is autism – nah – and she is more likely, do I think she is bloody awesome all be it a madam – yep, until she was 2 she had to have a minimum of 6 spoons when she was eating and all different colours, I have no idea why, she still thinks it is brilliant to walk around at all times with Hello Kitty earmuffs and dinos and pirate ships are the coolest toys.

    Sorry I have rambled, I just say why can’t we let kids be kids, I spend my life trying to explain judgemental people, that my son is disabled because of something I did, that it will effect his brother and sister and that having a gay brother is not something you should publicly air, screw em, the most interesting people in my lives are those just there x

  32. Well said Alice! This is really interesting and something I’m becoming familiar with from the outside looking in as my friends start to have babies (we’re not there just yet). It does amaze me how everyone compares their offspring’s as if it’s a competition and how some become parenting experts, so quick to make others feel inadequate.

    Love hearing stories about your gorgeous babies…you always make me excited to have my own little family and I can’t wait to share our journeys and experiences on my blog.

    Katie x
    http://www.missenchanting.co.uk/

  33. I know I’m late but just came across your post via the Britmums monthly roundup and had to give my two cents and say bravo for not putting labels on your oh so adorable little boy! All kids go through phases of being attached to things and being somewhat quirky. My daughter is five and constantly does things which may make other parents and non parents alike raise an eyebrow and question her and my own sanity. Long may it continue I say! I love my tree climbing, tutu wearing, pasta obsessed girl!
    One of the nicest blog posts I’ve read in an age xx

    Tin
    http://circusmums.com

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