Sunday, 16 March 2014

Things I don't Understand - Part 2

4.  Why I Can't Just Sit Down and Write

Almost everything in the world is more appealing than sitting and writing in the evening. I have no idea why. I meant to sit down and write this the day after I posted the last one. A month on it would appear I didn't quite hit my target.

5. February half term plagues

Every year the first half term is a total germ fest. This year was no exception. Ted began proceedings by turning totally white and demanding to sleep upon his return from swimming on the first Sunday. He seemed to have recovered slightly once we got to Mum's later that day but that was short lived and he spent most of the following week being incredibly ill. I enjoyed three visits to the doctors with varying waiting times and only one course of antibiotics to show for my troubles. I became ill on the Wednesday as did Bea and Cybil soon followed. Only G bucked the trend by staying decidedly well for the entire duration. I managed to venture out for three expeditions during the nine day break, other than to the doctors - once for an afternoon in to town so that Bea and George could spend some vouchers, once to the park and once to see the fabulous Lego Movie (I really didn't think I would enjoy it but it was a genius film and I highly recommend it). G was happy as Larry that he could spend almost the entire time in his pyjamas which is his idea of the perfect holiday. The Lazy Gene is strong in that one and the very idea of staying in your pyjamas for nine days is like a bespoke luxury holiday for him.  He was largely unaffected by the swathes of groaning people who occupied sofas and required almost constant medication. I took a tray of medicine bottles and syringes (the ones you give babies medicine with, not the needle ones) to bed every night - it looked like a calpol crack den on my bedside table. It was hard to find any joy in the half term really and Bea and I felt exceedingly cheated by the whole thing. We returned home and felt like we hadn't had a break at all. Me in particular.

6. Gendering Animals

This is odd. Cats are 'female', Horses tend to be 'female', Dinosaurs are 'male'  Crocodiles, foxes, monkeys etc are all male and happily adorn male t-shirts along with dogs, lizards and spiders etc but I have never seen a boy's top with a cat or a horse on it. WHY?  If you try to buy a cat outfit for a small boy it is quite hard to find one that doesn't have pink or sparkles or some reference to it being for a girl. I know because I tried for Ted last year. It bugged me then but I didn't think about it until Ted refused to call Charlie The Spider a 'he' because 'she' was small and cute and a kitten. He got quite angry when I insisted that he was wrong and that kittens come in both boy and girl categories and boy kittens are just as cute as girl kittens. This reminded me of the female cat outfit and I am now mystified as to why popular Animals are assigned to a particular gender.  Dog outfits are quite boyish and you rarely find them with pink sequins adorning the collar. Horsey toys are almost exclusively aimed at girls with potentially the exception of the hobby horse and rocking horse although even the rocking horse seems to be more for 'girls'. And obviously Dinosaurs belong in the 'male' category (although I have no idea why as I know a lot of girls who love them but you would never find any in the 'girl' aisle or pictured on 'girl' tops). Now, I don't want to jump on the bandwagon and the current zeitgeist for demanding non pink, gender neutral toy stuff - I 'get' that there are some over-the-top-crappy girl toys which are laughable and I understand that sometimes manufacturers take it too far (Early Learning Centre take note - a Till does not need to be produced in both a primary colours version and a pink version - girls will 'cope' with the primary colour version...) but on the whole I think girls prefer to pet and preen and mother their toys and boys are more physical and enjoy building and destroying and fighting and setting up 'battles' with their toys. On the WHOLE. Obviously having two of each I am well aware that Bea enjoyed playing Ben 10 with G as much as G enjoyed playing 'mums and dads' with her and they all like science and chemistry sets etc BUT animals? They all play vets, they all like/have liked dressing up as animals so why are cats only for girls and dogs mainly for boys? It doesn't make sense. Both animals come in both the female and male form or the species would clearly die out. Potentially the 'fe' in feline and the 'fe' in female are matches and therefore as a society we have dictated that cats, much like cupcakes, are female and dogs who are the messier, muddier, more simple species, are male. But I am not happy about it and I don't fully understand it. Ted shows a great deal of solidarity with my misunderstanding and proudly wears his cat pyjamas which were kindly handed down from a family with three daughters. And he still occasionally dresses up in the cat outfit I did find. With a purple collar.

7. How I can Be so Stupid

I am not entirely without sense or intelligence so sometimes I am entirely baffled by my own stupidity. On a recent shopping trip G decided he wanted a knitted weasel toy which was sadly not for sale so, instead I had to purchase the pattern and wool to knit it for him. I began in earnest after the worst of the half term illness had abated. I was excitedly about to cast off the main bulk of the knitting which had taken about five days to complete (fitted in and around the children during the day and in the evenings) only to realise that I had in fact, knitted the entire thing in the wrong colour wool. I had assumed, exceedingly wrongly, that I was knitting the underbody of the blasted weasel when in actual fact I was knitting the 'body back' as it CLEARLY STATES above all the instructions I had begun. So, I managed to correctly follow all the casting on, increasing, knitting, decreasing, alternative row this, that and other crap and yet I couldn't read the word 'beige'. Baffling.

Before half term I took Ted to a party at the wrong venue. Even though I absolutely knew it wasn't at the venue I took him to. I knew because the invite had been on the noticeboard for a month with the logo in large writing of the correct venue all across the invite - a place we had been for previous parties.  The invite had been on the notice board for around a month and discussions had taken place to ensure Ted's best friend would also be attending and whether we would make it in time for the party which followed not long after. And yet I managed to walk him down to entirely the wrong venue, much to the bemusement of the university hockey players who were trying to use the venue as it was intended and must have thought a woman pushing around a baby with an excited four year old in tow was a peculiar sight for a Sunday. There was then a mad dash for K to come down in the car and whisk poor Ted off to the actual venue which I knew was in Dulwich at exactly the same place as the last party with exactly the same invitation. I felt irrationally guilty that Ted missed half of the party and almost cried at my spectacularly stupidity.

I say very stupid things. A lot. A lot more than you would think. And then I worry about what I have said to people for weeks on end and sometimes even apologise to them and sometimes they have no idea what I am talking about. Or at least they pretend not to know.  For example, last week, when a lovely friend of mine said that her son really enjoyed babysitting for us (potentially this was the shock that put me in to such a silly frame of mind), she said that one of the reasons was because he felt like it was just like being at home, and for some reason I then GROANED and said 'Oh No - is it because it's so messy!'  WHY on earth would I say that. WHY? It is so rude and she was being so nice. There have been others but this was my worst of recent weeks. It haunts me. I have only ever been to her house when it was extremely tidy so it is mind boggling as to why I would say that.We were sadly cut off by the school spewing out children so I was left unable to rectify my mistake and don't want to bring it up again in case she is reminded of my rudeness. I also spent a good few drunken minutes at a party earlier in the month telling a heavily pregnant and therefore sober woman, how it made me feel sick just looking at her bump. NICE. I meant, because I am very over being pregnant and having babies and now the very idea of me ever having another one turns my stomach. I felt so bad about that one I did find her in the playground and apologise. I mean honestly, what the hell is wrong with me. Although my feelings on pregnancy are understandable because of Cybs. Which leads me on to number eight.

8. How I was cheated of an easy fourth

I was told that the fourth 'just fitted in' because they had to, that they were 'no trouble', that they practically 'raised themselves'. Somehow I have been cheated and given Cybs. As delightful as she can be at times, she is constant hard work from the minute she wakes up. If she is not having a horrible tantrum about something, then she is quietly emptying cupboards, bins, bags or bookshelves, packets of porridge oats ALL OVER THE FLOOR, the fridge of its contents or putting dirty things in the dishwasher full of clean things, or tearing up precious pieces of paper or eating tea bags and spitting the leaves EVERYWHERE  or various other many, many incredibly messy and irritating things. She makes the most amazing mess. And the tantrums are spectacular. She hates to get dressed in to her pyjamas at night. I usually have to hold her down with my elbow as she screams and struggles and fights to flee my grip. Ditto with tooth brushing. On any given day she can flip out about one or all of the following: waking up, going to sleep, getting in to the buggy, getting out of the buggy, having her nappy taken off, having a nappy put on, putting on clothes, taking off clothes, putting on shoes, taking off shoes, eating, not being given food, brushing her teeth (actually this happens every single day regardless), me going to the loo, me walking upstairs, me not allowing her to walk on a main road, me not letting her eat butter with a spoon etc etc.  Before half term I was quite keen to get rid of her and find someone else to bear the brunt. Post half term I only felt marginally less like that. Luckily last week I finally decided to take her for her inoculations which were long overdue and included the all important MMR. I have no idea what it does to other children but after a sleep on the way home from the doctors Cybs woke up and has been remarkably improved ever since. It is magic. She is finally bearable and has periods of being quite nice and vaguely charming in between the major tantrums. If you have a tricky toddler I thoroughly recommend overloading them with vaccines to major viruses. It works a treat.

9. How Bea is Coeliac

This is a total doozy. At 9 years old we have finally got the answer as to why Bea has suffered from tummy troubles for the last few years and why she has always had quite a pronounced tummy even though she is quite slim. It turns out that she is totally unable to tolerate Gluten and is now part of a very exclusive club. It has a society and everything and you can only join it once you are officially diagnosed which does make it feel quite elite.  Bea started suffering before Cybs was born but the problem became unbearable about a year ago when we went to our local Doctor and he prescribed some medicine which Bea has duly been taking daily ever since. The meds helped but without them the problem returned immediately. Every time we returned to see the Doctor, he just gave us a repeat prescription and told us to keep on going and watch her diet. So, after half term I decided that a year was long enough to be on a daily dose of medicine and to take advantage of the lovely private medical insurance we are lucky enough to benefit from courtesy of the late, great Mr T (my dad). Within a week we had seen a very nice Doctor in Blackheath and had the results to her blood test and it showed that she was most likely Coeliac. For confirmation we had to go through the drama of an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy under General Anaesthetic.

Luckily for Bea we got to do it at the Portland which was total luxury. We were showed to her room by a Concierge. A flipping Concierge. Imagine. There were touch screen TVs and nurses in abundance - we were vaguely excited, although Bea was also quite scared. Within an hour of our arrival I was crying and Bea was under (via the gas from a mask and not an injection which was also a blessing). Four hours after we arrived I got to half carry (she is surprisingly heavy considering she hasn't been fully absorbing her food) and half limp my first baby back to the car and take her home. She was sore and tired and desperate to see her daddy but surprisingly brave and brilliant. I was less so and found it so hard to see her in distress when she came round after the procedure. It took an hour for her to calm down properly and relax - mainly due to the cannula in her hand and the pain from her wrist where they had taken bloods (in her wrist? so odd) although there was some stomach pain from where they had taken two biopsies. I know that this made the lining of her stomach bleed because bizarrely enough - along with the lovely decor, ensuite bathroom, smart TVs, amazing cleanliness, abundance of attentive and friendly staff and unrivalled service all round - the private hospital experience also provides you with a DVD to take home. AND A PICTURE. We now have a lovely snap shot of Bea's insides as well as a film showing us the journey from her mouth to her stomach and what a biopsy looks like. The boys loved it. Poor Bea had to leave the room. K never entered the room. Still, it will make an interesting souvenir for her when she is older.

Bea is recovering well and even attempted her Street Dance exam the following day which was above and beyond - particularly as we didn't get home until 10pm. She managed to complete the rehearsals and the exam but came out and cried from the pain in her wrist which was upsetting, but I was immensely proud of her for going along and trying. She is an amazing dancer which is another thing I don't understand - I have no idea how I produced a person with rhythm and the ability to follow dance steps. I couldn't even manage to follow the short steps in Zumba. She is an anomaly. And now, to add to her long list of physical quirks - long sighted, glue ear, dyslexia and the alopecia she suffered at five, she now has confirmed Coeliac to boot.  She will no doubt be entirely fine with it all, as she has been with all her odd quirks, but it means that I have to be far more fastidious and not my usual laid back self in regards to food buying and preparation which is a total pain. It is just so not like me. Still, at least I can still eat every type of cake available which poor Bea can't so I shall put up and shut up and try to be anally retentive. I wonder if there is a course you can go on?

So there it is, the end of another one. I will leave you with this from my physically flawed daughter - as we half hobbled, half carried our way back to the car down the dark London Street, I remarked about something being magic and she asked me if 'Magic was just science we don't understand yet'.  9.15pm and groggy from a GA and in pain, even if she was just repeating something from one of her crappy American TV programmes, I thought it was just brilliant.