Turning Two After Cancer

A birthday is pretty special for your kids; they’re getting bigger, growing older, and becoming their own people.

A birthday for a kid who has survived childhood cancer is…something else.

Instead of just thinking about how much they’ve grown, developed, and milestones they’ve hit, you start looking at your entire life. Now and then. Trying to spot symptoms that explained last years kids compared to this years kid.

A couple of weeks ago, Beany turned two.

We spent much of the day talking about last year. We spend a lot of time looking back-not just over the last nine months but we examine Beany’s entire life. Looking for clues we missed, symptoms that were dismissed, and anything that looked like cancer could’ve caused it.

This is probably typical for cancer parents and patients. People talk about catching stuff early but we didn’t. Her tumour was the size of her liver by the time it was discovered.

There is a stark difference between this year compared to last year. Not just in Beany but in our whole life. We were struggling, floundering without realising it really. And a lot has changed for the better, mostly, even though Benny had cancer. We moved, got away from crappy homophobic neighbours and everyone is healthier (mentally, my knee is…. old).

As for Beany, she was miserable. She didn’t sleep, she was grumpy more than she was happy. She wouldn’t wean, she was clingy and she was behind in her development milestones.

This year she’s a different kid. Mostly because she’s a happy kid.

So she doesn’t always sleep as much as we want. Or when we want but she does sleep. She’s lying ahead with her speech. She’s still on formula but she’s eating lots of solid food compared to last year.

And she’s happy. The tantrums are pretty standard for a two-year-old and most of the time she’s smiling or laughing or just being her.

All About The Bean

She really likes cats, dogs, sleep, pigs, well all animals She loves our cats. A lot so than you would think for a toddler. Especially as she’s so damn strong and so dam stubborn she needs naps. She won’t take naps. We had a ewe and her lamb in the held behind our house all through spring. On leaving ta hospital she would talk about Rebby and the Lammy. The lamb was quite tame and friendly from living behind us and we could stroke its nose. Beany couldn’t as she’s at a greater risk of infections due to the transplant.

She also really loves ducks. Before she was diagnosed, she went with my wife to feed the ducks every day. She loves those ducks. Those ducks have names. We’re invested. Luckily, there are also ducks living at Cardiff hospital. They have a pond and a fountain with a few ducks and some moorhens. They all had chicks. Beany spent a lot of time chasing the ducks there and we also discovered that moorhen chicks are born with those giant feet and look hilarious.

She loves dinosaurs. For a while all animals roared, dinosaurs went raw, dogs went rawr, dolphins went rawr… She likes how stompy dinosaurs are. I’m glad people make Jurassic Park toys for little kids but also? This is not a film for kids? Both kids love dinosaurs but heather will be watching Jurassic Park anytime soon. Mores the pity. It’s one of my favourite films.

She also loves bubbles and for her birthday I bought her a bubble machine. Not the ones you can get for a tenner at The Works, I got one I could probably rent out for parties. And 5L of bubble solution. It comes out whenever the sun does. I’m not going to lie, it benefits me too because now I don’t have to sit and blow bubbles for her. I can just set the machine up. Also, there are two settings, fast and omg so many bubbles send help.

She had a great day. And that’s all I ever wanted, even before she was diagnosed with cancer.

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