Everything at Once: Notes to My Son

Very much enjoyed reading this insight into the life changing transformation a child brings

Jonathan Hiskes

Originally published in River Teeth, Spring 2015. (Subscribe here; River Teeth is great, and it’s named after an excellent David James Duncan essay.)

Puget Sound from San Juan Island


We returned from the hospital, our family, and immediately I shrugged the bags off my shoulder and set to work unpacking dirty clothes. I’ve always had this compulsion to unpack right away, always in a hurry to restore order. Then I turned to watch your mother. Unshowered, still exhausted from labor, she lifted you from the car seat into her arms. “This is our couch,” she whispered, walking softly. “This is our kitchen.”

You won’t comprehend any of this for months, you shriveled, squinting creature. You haven’t even learned to hold your eyes open. Yet Hannah paced the house, letting the familiar squeaks in the floor comfort herself, if not you. I stopped to watch–the laundry could wait. She showed you the nursery…

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7 thoughts on “Everything at Once: Notes to My Son

  1. Helen says:

    My beautiful daughter Liz who shared a house with Tom from colabro in Ealing is now 25 years old and suffers with dyslexia and perceptual motor disfunction, she has experienced many struggles through her schooling, she has spent the last two years in London teaching at an infant school in Hayes. She has used her learned skills to empower children and parents. You sound very proud of your son and It is a lovely thing he has done sharing his voice to other who having learning difficulties. These children of ours have become amazing adults. I am heading over in August to bring Liz back to Australia cant wait to see her again. Wishing you all the best Helen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew dyspraxia existed but honestly had no clue. How amazing that he has used what he is most gifted with in the best possible way, they all have such beautiful voices both together and separately. Like you, I am a proud mum to two daughters, the youngest is about to break into the world of the West End and/or theatre (ever hopeful) as she is gifted in dance, mainly ballroom and Latin. I am so pleased to have read your blog and learnt so much from it. Thank you for sharing, long may Jamie be the absolute success he is. Xx


  3. Teresa says:

    Thanks so much for this, I have a 9 year old son who has Dyspraxia and do worry about the future, the prospect of him being bullied, etc. I wondered if I could ask how you told your son about his Dyspraxia, as I haven’t discussed it with mine yet, and if it made things a bit easier for him knowing why he had problems with certain things? Thanks so much x


    • Hi there

      We just didn’t make it an issue or a label. We discussed it in terms of learning to overcome things he struggled with by thinking about how to do them best. We always set the context that there are always some things that people are not as good as other people at doing and many things that a person can do better than others .When he was assessed as dyspraxic the term minimal brain injury (linked to his premature birth) was used in the paperwork but we never used that term because it sounds frightened though it wasn’t really. It was just a technical clinical clinical term.

      We always focussed on what Jamie could do and never made dyspraxia an excuse for not doing or not trying, because we wanted it to just be a normal part of who he is and indeed that’s what it became and he learned many ways to overcome some of the frustrating aspects of dyspraxia by this approach

      Hope that helps – good luck !



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