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I’m not, as a rule, a nervous parent. In actual fact I think our attitude towards health and safety is probably at the more permissive end of the scale. Last night, for instance, Keith and his friend Bill were discussing whether Alfie is ready for his own rod next time he goes fishing and not once did it occur to me to be concerned about hooks Vs soft squishy body parts.

Some things do scare the bejesus out me though, and a recent Alfie development is one such, coming as it did completely out of the blue.

My son has suddenly developed a very marked stutter.

I know that’s not even on the scale of what a lot of parents have to contend with – it’s not life threatening or even likely to lead to mild bruising – but in a less physical way, it is important.

It’s important because Alfie is just starting to blossom into an articulate intelligent little boy.

It’s important because we were just moving away from him lashing out in frustration and into the realms of reasoned response.

And it’s especially important because I am hesitant enough to consider mainstream education for someone of his personality, let alone if he is carrying the child equivalent of a big neon arrow saying “victimise me”: God could you even imagine the bloodshed? … on both sides!?!

Alfie’s stutter seems to have coincided with a time in his life when he is perpetually tired and growing like a weed both physically and mentally. There is nothing that seems to make him more or less likely to stutter, it just seems to engulf him every now and then and he will spend seconds stuck in a loop of the first syllable of his word.

Most of the time his speech is perfect.

Luckily in a world of easy access information my troubled mamma bear soul has been soothed by scores of other mothers experiencing the same: The upshot is, it’s normal, he’s just developing so fast his brain is doing the linguistic equivalent of tripping over its own shoelaces, and he’ll grow out of it. Oh and PS, that’s what you get for having a boy, you should have stuck to girls, they're less faulty.

Well why didn't you just tell me that in the first place?!

Worried? Who was worried?

Me. I was.

And not because I thought his life was over but because as a parent it is my duty to hate anything that stands in the way of my child having an easy life. For a little while, all I could see around me was evidence of how thin the line is between ‘perfect’ and ‘damaged’ and marvel at how fragile is the human condition where some small accident of misfiring synapses can have the potential to change how you are perceived.

I don’t let myself get fearful about the things that could happen to my children, as Baz Luhrmann once said “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”.

I do stand humbled, however, at the power of the universe to throw curve balls Sandy Koufax would slow clap in awe. It never hurts to be reminded, adjust your perspective and breathe out …

This too shall pass.

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