Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A BIG Thank You

It looks like my party dilemma is sorted! And my son, P, isn’t just happy – he’s delirious!! And it’s all thanks to Mark for suggesting laser tag. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself because no child I know has had a Quasar party -- which makes it twice as special to P!!

In fact he’s so excited at the thought of such a cool party (his big brother’s words!), he’s decided most of the class don’t deserve to go (HaHa we have a budget I can afford again – which makes me happy).

Apparently they don’t usually allow children under twelve into the game (which is why I don’t know anyone who’s had a Quasar party!) but I begged and flirted (hey, it’s for my baby boy!) and the manager was a sweetheart who couldn’t resist my charms (or more likely, the takings ;o)).

I only have two slight concerns. Firstly, they want me to sign a waiver because the children are below the recommended age – but I’ll call each set of parents and explain this, and I’m hoping it won’t be an issue (before or AFTER the fact!). And secondly, P originally thought the guns were real and would be loaded, and was quite happy about this! Anyhow it’s just about sorted, so I’ll not to allow errant thoughts about my baby boys blood thirsty tendencies to dwell for long…

Thank you, Mark, you’re a *STAR*

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Good grief, it’d be easier to arrange a trip to Everest than organise a child’s birthday party around here!

Can’t have the party on the 9th ‘coz it’s the girls sports day at nursery, can’t do the 10th ‘coz we’ve got a family commitment and J’s at a party and it would mean me left to supervise the monsters on my own (not bloody likely!) so I’m trying for after school on the 8th . But that’s easier said than done…

I called the cinema and there are no new PG movies out till Madagascar on the 15th (a week too late!), we can’t take the entire class swimming ‘coz half of them can’t swim, and the cost! What about the cost?! I thought about having it here, but the carpets only went down four weeks ago and the house isn’t really finished, and the gardens a bloody mess anyway, and it’s too big to get spic-and-span in the one weekend I have left! And then there’s the weather, we’re close enough to the UK to inherit the changeable conditions Britain is known for!

Begged P not to say a word to his classmates today (what d’ya recon the odds are?!), and have tried to explain that twenty-four children is just too many for me to deal with, and to think about which boys he can play with nicely. Also tried to persuade him to put it off till the summer holidays so there’ll be some movies for him to see ~ but oh no, he wants it next week.

Am debating a playzone, but some of the boys are nearly eight, and the last thing I want to do is have the party condemned as babyish!!

Arrrggghhh, with any luck my head will explode and then I won’t care any more!

Any ideas gratefully received…

On top of that, the little sod came to me at eight-thirty last night and announced he had to go to school as a pirate today (slipped his mind as he was busy thinking about his party!). Luckily I am super-mom (well, I’m not, but he hasn’t figured that out yet!) and improvised by cutting up some jeans, a bit of eye liner (think Captain Jack) and wrapping a scarf around his head. What d’ya think?

Monday, June 27, 2005

You didn’t!

I’ve been neglectful. To date, I haven’t mentioned my second son, P. Which is odd, because he’s the one who causes me most stress (yeah, I know that must sound incredible after all I’ve said about the others!)

Being very nearly seven he has, at last, grown out of the temper tantrums and food fits he was prone to as a toddler, but unfortunately still has trouble interacting with other children.

There were a few years when I worried that his behaviour was all my fault, because originally I’d only wanted one child (HAHAHA!!!) and wasn’t sure how I felt when I discovered I was pregnant. On top of that I’d had this huge allergic reaction to penicillin before I found out and so instead of preparing for a new baby, spent most of the time fretting there’d be something wrong with him. Then he was breach (which is actually a lot less uncomfortable than engaged!), and I went into labour early and had to have an emergency c-section. Oh, and our electrician started a fire and took out our bedroom three days before he was born, so we had to move in with my mother (which really sent me off the stress scale!!).

But then something amazing happened. I got the perfect baby. He’s slept through night since the day he was born and was the quietest, most contented baby anyone could wish for.

In fact he used to be so quiet, I got all neurotic and took to standing over his cot and staring at his chest to check he was breathing. Good job too, or we might not have noticed how blue he sometimes went. It turned out he had a heart murmur, and although his body healed the problem, it gave us heaps of worry for a while.

It didn’t end there (and I doubt it ever shall with P) because at ten months we were told he had a hearing problem due to severe glue ear. Luckily again, this was not an insurmountable problem and thanks to speech therapy he’s caught up academically with his peers.

But there are other things affected when an infant can’t hear and their speech is delayed. The most noticeable being that they get fed-up and develop a temper instead. So as my sweet, adorable second son turned one, he also turned into the devil’s spawn and stayed that way until he reached five and was able to grasp the concept of compromise and bribery (that’s on his mother’s part!).

Unfortunately he began school when he turned four, and made enough enemies in that first year to carry him through all his schooling days (and I’m not just talking about his peers!), I lost count of the number of apologies I had to make for bruises, bald bits and bite marks.

So I worry about him. None of my others has the least trouble mixing, but P still has the philosophy that: if you’re not agreeing with me, then you must HATE me. And of course little boys don’t always agree…

We’ve tried all the typical things to try and help him along, but the truth is, he just doesn’t seem to like people, and very few take to him. It breaks my heart to watch him with other children getting teased or ignored, but he won’t listen when I tell him to be patient and not to get cross. All too often it ends in tears; it used to be theirs, now it’s his.

So it came as a surprise today when he got in the car and asked what day his party is going to be on. I frowned and asked why he suddenly wanted a party.

Because everybody likes me now!’ said P.

A million thoughts raced through my head, and filled-in the gaps so his words made sense.

R had been listening; ‘Oh my god, you didn’t tell your class you’re having a party?’ he sat back screeching with laughter as P nodded happily.

I told them we were going swimming, then pizza hut, then the cinema!

You didn’t!’ I damn near screamed, and the desperation must have been apparent in my voice because P stopped smiling.

When I began writing I was cross with him, but now my heart is breaking with guilt because he might have the chance to make some things right, and I can help. So I’d better get a move on and arrange this party, I’ve only got eleven days!

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Three cheers for me! I managed to get J to party on time today! I did have a moment of panic as I was driving there because I couldn’t find the invitation and began to doubt our destination. But I did it! I got it right and have removed myself from the top spot as ‘The mom who NEVER gets anywhere on time’.

In fact, we were the second to arrive (which added to my destination doubts, and I had to ask at the desk to make sure it was Catherine’s party). Once shoes were removed and my first born princess was hairing around the playzone, I sat down and smiled at the other mothers as they arrived. Over the following ten minutes I began to feel very uneasy. I only knew one person there (and not very well).

This is not something I’m used to, and I wasn’t expecting it. J’s in her second year at nursery, and I’m in my sixth. I always know a few parents, if not from nursery then simply because we live in a small place.

The one woman I did recognise I’ve never chatted to before (largely because I’ve conversed with her husband, and don’t like him. This is extremely unusual in itself, as I can count the people I don’t like on one hand). She was very polite, but I got the distinct impression her husband may have told her about the abruptly ended conversation he had with J’s mom.

The woman on my left was all for a natter whilst our girls played together (in a padded environment!), but this was a problem as I wasn’t sure if she was a nursery mom, and didn’t want to ask. I know that sounds daft. But there are only twenty places at nursery, and although some are shared, it doesn’t sound very polite to point out you’ve never noticed them. And what if her child’s been there the entire time J has? J’s never mentioned a Rachel, and on the mornings I’ve help out, I’ve never noticed them either. So I kept stum, and smiled at everything she said.

Then the food arrived and the party girl demanded J sat next to her. This confused me more as there was a clamour of little voices begging for the spot, and J has never mentioned this girl before two weeks ago! She behaved impeccably (I can always count on J!), right up until the ice cream arrived. And I don’t blame J for stirring it into a liquid and splattering it across the table; no, I blame the father of girl next to her who showed her how to do it!

The party finished well, with three of the parents complimenting me on my daughter and asking what school she goes to. With my biggest smile yet, I explained J’s only four and isn’t starting school until September.

It should have ended there. On a high note. But then one of the mothers asked which nursery she attends. Turns out they’re all BB nursery parents, and have never noticed us. Ho-hum.

Friday, June 24, 2005

We have a Guardian Angel

We have one chest of drawers in our house. Just the one. When we moved in we used to have things like a dresser, a tall corner unit, and wardrobes. Now, everything except this chest of drawers (and the kitchen table) is built in or screwed to a wall. This was not a design decision, it was a decision made from necessity. You see my eldest daughter, J, is accident prone. If something can fall over, it will. And even things that theoretically cannot fall over, do.

It started with the pine corner unit that used to stand in our hall, displaying a pot plant, a pot of paint (which shouldn’t have been there, but I was glossing down that end of the house and was too much of a lazy mare to put it away) and storing board games. It stood innocently, minding its own business and being decorative, until J came along and attempted her Jack and beanstalk act. The pot of paint got squashed (literally, and all over the hall carpet) and the pot plant lost its life, but J walked away without even a bruise. My brother inherited the corner unit within the week. We considered this a learning experience, teaching us that each and every child is different, and although neither of our boys had taken to climbing furniture for no apparent reason, some kids do.

Next came the fridge incident. My four door American style dream fridge that I begged my husband for, and eventually after many favours given, had shipped over from England. How can a three year old child pull a fridge over? I was standing four feet away and am still not certain. The manufacturer says it simply cannot happen, but it did. I was so grateful and amazed J survived, I didn’t look back as the fridge was carted away. From this experience we learnt that no object should have handles children can swing from – even if said object looks as sturdy as a mountain.

Then we had the wardrobe door episode. The doors each had three hinges, three screw per hinge, so how a door fell off and onto her as she ran past is a mystery. The screws still hung from the hinges and she swears she didn’t knock or touch it. My brother was able to sort his spare room storage that weekend. At this point I started to wonder if we have a poltergeist.

By now you can probably guess what happened yesterday evening. Yep, the chest of drawers went over. But it wasn’t J, now S is getting in on the act! The chest sat in the kitchen and housed the children’s pens and paper. As I was in the next room reading with P, I have to take R and J’s word for what happened, but it seems S opened the drawers and climbed them like stairs. I knew from the sound what had happened before I even reached the room. The only surprise was, it wasn’t J! Luckily it is medium weight piece of furniture and as I lifted, S was able to scramble out. Whereupon I began screaming at her, which with hindsight, was a horrid thing to do. But I’ve become a nervous wreak and been scared too many times to be rational in a crises!

What am I supposed to do? If I heard about someone else’s children having this many accidents, I would imagine they were letting their kids run wild without supervision. But no-one else I know is as overprotective as me (except for one mother, whose son is allergic to everything and so she hovers three feet away, epi-pen at the ready). Our house is a fortress of child-proof gadgets, and other people can trust their children out of their sight for more than thirty seconds. Some even dare to allow their offspring to go into the back garden without them; when I did that J ate a plant!!

It’s bad enough in our own home, but you should see me when we visit other peoples. It’s incredibly rude the way I go around pulling on furniture to check the stability and close off rooms I deem too risky. Up until now, J has been the one you have to watch like a hawk, and I'm really not sure I have the energy for two like this!

Our latest rule is that the girls now have to be in my sight all of the time (not that that guarantees anything) which is testing us all (especially when I made them accompany me into the office to check my email and J flicked a little switch on the back of my husband's monitor ~ it gave us quite a start when it went bang!).

S thankfully has just one bruise to show for her escapade, and the chest of drawers now stands empty and awaits removal.

My brother says his house is full, so it’s off to the tip.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Talk less

As my sense of humour seems to be causing some confusion at the moment (in RL as well as on the net!), I’m not writing a post toady. Instead I’ll shut-up and just share this morning’s dog walk on the beach…

This is a Martello tower, about two miles out and only accessible at unusually low tides. I want to walk out and see it up close, but (in this case) am aware of how dim I am, and the likelihood of needing to be rescued puts me off…

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Is it me?

It started as a moan about how bloody useless the boys are with their homework. Tonight they have to find six facts about Midsummer, and as soon as R and his friend O got in the car they started saying they needed to use my computer. I said no. I told R I was sick of him saying he had to use the internet to do homework; he doesn’t, he’s just too damn lazy to look the stuff up. An hour later, being completely sick of their whining I printed three pages of information and told them to read it and note down six facts.

O promptly put the pages in his bag and said his dad would look and tell him what to write later. Grrr, I grumbled silently on R’s behalf because I made him sit at the table and do it immediately.

Then O’s father showed up. He sat down as usual, supped his tea, and looked through O’s bag. He asked what the pages were about. So I explained, and finished by commenting how irritated I was that they always demanded instant access to the net. He asked what else they were expected to use.

I looked at O’s dad in disbelief, ‘What did we use?’

He looked at me blankly.


He snorted, ‘Can’t be doing with that, just tell them what they want to know.’

R’s pen stopped writing and he watched, pretending he wasn’t.

‘You think I have time to do all my children’s* homework for them?’ O’s dad didn’t answer. ‘I’m sorry, but considering that their homework gets harder each year, I don’t think it’d be doing them, or me, any favours in the long run.’

‘Well what books are they supposed to use?’ O’s dad said.

‘Well there’s The Atlas, The Planets series stacked in the corner of R’s bedroom, and we have an encyclopaedia Britannica series downstairs.’

‘R might have books like that, but O doesn’t!’

‘So go to the library!’

‘Yeah, right, O wouldn’t know where to start,’ he mumbled and supped some more tea.

At this point I had actually shut up, remembering the time I told O we were going to the library and he refused, because it wasn’t cool. He did accompany us, and I even picked up a library application for him because he enjoyed it so much..

‘Don’t know what the big deal is,’ O’s dad continued, ‘just let them use your computer.’

Grinding my teeth I explained, ‘The big deal is: they had a laptop to use, which they broke**. My computer is not set up for the kids to use***.’

‘Well, I don’t have time to be taking him into town,’

‘But you’re taking him into town tonight,’ I pointed out.

He got up with a sigh, ‘Well there wasn’t a library here when I was a kid, and parents just told kids the answers then.’

‘Rubbish!’ it slipped out, ‘My mother used to drop me off there for the afternoon.’

‘Where? They only built it ten years ago.’

‘In the Royal Square, building on the right, the old library had three floors.’

‘O?’ he called out, ‘Debi’s picking on me, and we’re leaving NOW!’

O came into the kitchen and put his shoes on.

‘Jeeze,’ O’s dad said to O, ‘Imagine having to live here!’

I blinked and bit my tongue.

* His child’s too, as O is with me three nights a week.

** By broke I mean literally – they (R & O) were fighting and wrenched on the power cable, screwing up the connection.

*** This man is not up on computers and I couldn’t be bothered explaining about cookies and eBay/forum/blog accounts, and please note: the children are NOT as ignorant.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's sooooo mean!

Four years ago my better-half and I made the worst decision of our lives (to date) and bought the house-from-hell. It wasn’t like we didn’t know the house was a money pit, we just didn’t imagine it would swallow all our money before we had enough bedrooms and put a roof on. But I’m not going to gripe about the house because I made peace with my horrid home last summer, accepting what it is, and what it shall never be.

For four years I have dug, plastered, sanded and painted, all the time living without luxuries, memories and my books, and now the end is in sight and I would like to be happy about it.

But my mean, better-half is ruining it all!

We’re opposites. He’s likes clean lines and no clutter. I just like my things! He says 'if you’ve lived without them for four years, you can live without them'. He made me give away the old baby clothes today. Five bags of tiny t-shirts and cute socks, (but he doesn’t know I sneaked a pink A-line dress into the baby memory box – HA!) He’s put one bookcase in the hall and told me that’s where my books are going. ONE BLOODY BOOKCASE!! Are you kidding?(Just because he doesn’t like to read books over!). And he doesn’t want my favourite painting up, recons it looks like an old man smoking a joint (it’s a PIPE okay?). He prefers the floor without my big rug (although if I allow the kids to eat chocolate on the new carpet…), and now he says the room looks bigger without the third sofa (fair enough it does, but there aren’t enough seats without it and they all match – you can’t get rid of one!).

I can’t deny I like clean lines (less dusting!!) but we have a big garage, and some spare larder units, and if we boxed up all his stuff…(well actually, that wouldn't make much difference -- but the kids' have lots!!)


Wasn’t I paying attention?

On TV last night I saw a movie trailer for The Descent ~ it looks horrid, with plenty of screaming and not enough lighting. But I’m confused because I read the book a couple of years ago, and although it did scare me, it didn’t strike me as horror.

Lying in bed last night, I thought back to the story and I have to admit the author (Jeff Long) must have done a fair job, because I really do remember a lot (which is unusual ‘coz I used to read an awful lot and I’ve forgotten more stories than I remember!). In the book the premise is that, if there was a historical character like Jesus, then why not Satan? And if you’ve got Satan, there ought to be Hell somewhere down there. But the bits I recall weren’t blood and gore (although the creatures coming out of Hell weren’t pretty, and you wouldn’t want to be inviting them to tea!), what I remember most clearly was the beauty and scale of the underground kingdom and ocean. The story is a bit of a who-done-it as you try and guess which character is Satan, but there’s a tragic love story woven in and of course a hero (though he gets beaten up plenty, unlike most heros), and I seem to remember thinking idiot, idiot, idiot when I read the last page – but I won’t say why in case they do manage to do this tale justice on the big screen!

After I read it I didn’t rush out and read anything else by this author because it did leave me uneasy, and totally trashed my previous ambition of attempting pot-holing at some future point of my life!

As a rule I’m not a fan of horror so I doubt I’ll have the nerve to go to the cinema to see this movie and will have to wait till it’s released on DVD. If any of you see it first, please let me know if there’s a story left to see, and whether they’ve managed to capture the wonder and majesty of the underworld vista.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

One day I'll catch up

My relaxing Saturday

8:40 am I tell R to collect his inhaler and French doctors notes and get in the car.
8:55 am Finally leave, having torn the house apart trying to find inhaler (that’s he’s supposed to keep with him at all times!)
9:05 am Arrive at doctors open-surgery, and find that we’re fifth in line (could’ve been worse!)
9:15 am Has the doctor even arrived at the surgery?!
9:55 am See doctor. R put on anti-histamines for the summer and told to attend asthma clinic (held this morning, till midday at hospital).
10.10 am Having driven into town, got a parking space am now on search for fathers day card I forgot to buy in week.
10.15 am Ist shop – cards too frumpy.
10.18 am 2nd shop – cards too cutesy.
10.22 am 3rd shop – it’ll do.
10.23 am Have discovered my pen is not in my bag. Grrr, am blaming kids!
10.25 am Bright idea! Go into bank and use their pens. Smile at tellers.
10.30 am Have to pop into iPod shop for list of prices my husband wants checking. Why is there always a queue when you’re in a hurry?
10.39 am Get prices, but am ready to scream because R is whining he wants a mini iPod for birthday. Tell him he stands a snowballs chance in hell.
10.43 am Finally get to coffee shop to meet my father for coffee (‘coz I’m not seeing him tomorrow). Kisses, chaos and coffee all round.
10:50 am Oh look there’s SS, my ex-best friend’s ex-husband and their kids. More kisses and a quick grope (I swear he told me to! He’s very proud of his body and is in bodybuilding competition tonight – it’s even on the telly!!)
11:05 am Oh look there’s SM, the girls’ god-mother. Just think of all the germs I’m getting with all this kissing! And there’s way too many of us sitting around a tiny table.
11:17 am Explain we have to dash to hospital, bye everyone – yep! Even more kisses.
11.23 am Find a parking space in front of Hospital reception (the fates are smiling)
11:25 am Standing in queue to ask where’s the asthma clinic. The guy at the front appears to be chatting the receptionist up – not asking a bloody question and moving on!
11:27 am Yippee! We know where we’re going.
11:28 am Why are the doors to the second corridor locked?
11:30 am Please god, where the hell is everybody? And why is half this hospital locked up?
11:35 am Back at reception.
11:38 am Okay, up two flights of stairs, along a corridor and down two flights of stairs to get around locked corridor on ground floor. This cannot be right! What if there’s a fire? What if R has an asthma attack because of dashing up and down stairs? Hey, I’m the pipe piper! An old couple and a girl have joined me ‘coz they’re lost and wandering around on the wrong floor!! (They think I know where I’m going, HA!)
11:42 am Dropped of oldies at path lab, girl has figured where an exit is and we’ve found little signs pointing the way (up another two fucking flights of stairs, who designed this place?)
11:46 am Who’d have thought – no queue!! Nurse looks pissed off that anyone has the nerve to show up when she’s about to finish for the day.
12:17 pm Getting out the hospital might have been exhausting, but we did it without getting lost.
12.29 pm Home at last. Better check my diary and see where we’re going next.
12.30 pm Can this be right? A party starting at 1:30 and ending at 1:30? BUGGER!! It started an hour ago.
12:31 pm Scream at J to get ready NOW! Phone party mom and ask where I’m going, after apologising for being an air-head.
12:47 pm Arrive. Park in neighbour’s driveway, and hope they have understanding nature.
12:48 pm Much apologising and kisses all around. On the up-side I’ve cheered up all the moms who thought they were late.
12:50 pm Little F, J’s best friend, comes up and tells me I’m taking her home.
12:53 pm Party mom confirms F’s mother said she’d hoped I wouldn’t mind.
01:52 pm We’re the last to leave because J burst into tears and refused as she’d only just arrived.
01:53 pm Party mom blanches when she sees where I’ve parked. Oppps.
02:07 pm Arrive at F’s to drop her off. J runs in. I follow. Nice house, nice garden, nice pool. Try to leave because I was due at my brothers at 2.
02.10 pm Blimey, F’s mom is pouring her heart out. Her husband’s left.
03.15 pm Pull up outside my brother’s house. He’s not happy and has mattresses stacked in doorway.
03.17 pm Brother and I wrestle said mattresses into back of my car. You’d imagine drivers would show some compassion and slow, not a bit, they toot irritably and make charming hand signals.
03.25 pm Make it home and unload mattresses. Husband not happy ‘coz I’d said I’d be home an hour ago.
03.30 pm Many apologies later and it’s time to start the chores. Where's my bag? I need to get to the supermarket!

Lazy Sunday Mornings

09:37 am Husband allows me a lie-in ‘coz I had a bad night. Oh shit, is that the time?P’s due at a party in twenty-three minutes!!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Good bras are hard to find!

This morning started with a debate on which bra I should wear. I knew I was having manipulation, and I knew the doctor would want my top off to do it, and so I went through my underwear drawer discarding the too sexy, too worn, too frumpy, wrong colour bras. There wasn’t a lot left and I now regret my choice.

I like to think I know my doctor very well, because although before this week I hadn’t seen him for three years, he’s been my doctor since I was fourteen and many years ago I was very ill for long time and we saw an awful lot of each other. We have a good relationship, if anything a little too good.

With me lying half naked on Dr B’s new all-singing-all-dancing massage table he brought out some very big needles and asked if I’d ever had acupuncture before. Not being a fan of needles (who in their right mind is?) I wouldn’t have willingly entered the room if I’d known! But hey, who wants to look a wimp in front of a dishy doctor?

And so, for the first time and hopefully the last, I experienced life as a pin cushion. And it probably wouldn’t have been painful if we hadn’t got the giggles, but after I made the comment that I didn’t think real doctors did this sort of thing, he explained how he was ‘earthing’ my muscles to release the energy (or something like that) and I started giggling. To get his own back, he told me I’d make a crap doctor and started laughing at my self diagnosis that I’d had a chest infection.

Mirth aside, he thought my back muscles responded really well and once the needles were removed, began the manipulation.

He likes my joints. Recons they’re spongy. In fact he asked if I’d consider volunteering as a guinea-pig when he shows other doctors how it’s done. ‘Oh yes,’ I said with sarcastic sincerity, ‘Lying around in my bra in front of a room full of doctors whilst you try to break my neck? That’s just what I want to do with my spare time!’ He told he hadn’t tried to break my neck. Yet.

Anyway, whilst he’s pulling my leg and popping my shoulder he chattered away constantly, asking about the kids, the better-half, the house and whether I’ll ever get a real job (yes, he is that cheeky!). So I thought it only polite to ask about his kids. The eldest is now twenty-something and I all but screamed as I realised how old we’ve become. Of course I didn’t include myself, when I pointed out he's getting on a bit!

But dishy Dr B doesn’t like to outdone, and his next comment was to ask if I was cold. I answered no before wondering why he’d asked. (Do I need to explain? I think not.) Seeing the horrified look on my face (not to mention the colour) he roared with laughter and winked at me!

He may have won this round, but I’ll have a better bra next time!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Phew! R is out of hospital.

R’s been given an inhaler he has to puff on six times a day, but he’s alright!! Poor little thing sound beaten and tired when I spoke to him and we’re all glad he’s back tomorrow night. He also has to see a doctor over here first thing on Saturday morning (which means, with the cost of doctors fees this week alone, there won’t be and treats in the cupboard for several weeks! Also dreading French hospital bill! Arrgghh!! But I don’t mind because my baby’s alright).

I don't need days like this

Felt bloody awful when I woke up but couldn’t even have a cup of tea or a handful of painkillers. Number 2 son, P, felt under the weather too and I promptly grabbed my chance and told him he could stay off school (this means I don’t have a school run this afternoon, although I am a mean mommy because J will miss her ballet class). Daddy took the girls to nursery and the dog crossed his legs while giving me pitiful looks. Made it to the doctors on time and even found a parking space immediately.

Now you might think that apart from the crashing headache I was getting off easy, and I was.

Dr B was on fine form and looking more handsome than ever, but his good looks don’t help him extract my blood. And he needed a hell of a lot! I’m now covered in sore spots and tiny plasters. And then he sent me down the hospital to collect bottles to pee in. Two huge ones. Do other people really pee that much in twenty-four hours?

Once I’ve managed the peeing quest, we have to wait a month for the results and then I’ll have an ECG. This is all starting to sound very expensive, which is bloody typical as we gave up the health insurance last year ‘coz we couldn’t afford it.

Back with Dr B, I mention how unwell I’ve been feeling this past week. I told him I think I have a chest infection and detailed my aliments whereupon he started laughing, and asked how they related to a chest infection. As much as I enjoy making people happy I was not in the mood to be laughed at and didn’t chuckle along.

Stifling his laughter he told me to go back tomorrow to his manipulation clinic ‘coz he thinks I’ve got a neck injury (if I didn’t feel so poorly I’d be complaining about the cost). So hopefully tomorrow he’ll bend me and release some errant nerve, although the question remains: wouldn’t I have notice getting the injury?

Regardless of these irritations, the day was bearable until the phone rang an hour ago. It was R’s teacher and the first thing he said was “Don’t panic.”

Why do people say this? The simple fact that the teacher is calling in the middle of the day, whilst in another country with my son, is enough to tell me they have a problem, and his words really mean, things haven’t yet got as bad as they might.

The teacher explained they were riding in a forest, and R was having some sort of allergic reaction to the horses. At this point I assumed things really aren’t so bad because R does sometimes have mild reactions to things and I suggested washing R’s hands and eyes and giving him some Piritin.

Then they put R on the phone.

I thought he was crying and told him to take a deep breath and tell me what’s happening. Several gasps later he says he can’t breathe and hands the phone back to his teacher. As calmly as I could, I explained that this is not a normal reaction for R and suggested they get him out of the forest and away from the horses as quickly as possible.

They’ve just called back. An ambulance is taking R to hospital as I write this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Something nice to say about a Doctor

That lovely, sweet, young, dashing doctor who came to my house a few weeks ago (the one I ranted about) sent me note today saying he’s reduced the bill ‘coz he realises he must have left at six pm (cheaper rate) to arrive home by quarter-past. I’m bothering to mention this ‘coz I thought it only fair after ranting about it!

And talking about doctors, I’m enjoying my final cup of tea of the evening ‘coz I’m having blood tests tomorrow and I’m not supposed to have anything to eat or drink (other than water) after 8pm. Why is that? I get that they don’t want anything in your system when they do the tests, but why 8pm? The doctor didn’t know what time my appointment would be when he told me this, and doesn’t know what time I go to bed; so how can the time be so accurate?

But I am glad I’m seeing the doc tomorrow. If I wasn’t then I’d be making an appointment because I’ve been poorly of late. Notice I don’t say ill. Ill insinuates vomiting/fever/something horrid, and what I have is seems to be in slow motion and has crept up with headaches and aches. I’m not good at being poorly and have reached the point of fury with my body. But not to worry, can almost guarantee I’ll be feeling chipper tomorrow morning (right up to half an hour after I leave his surgery!)

The up-side of an occasional physically enforced slow day is I spend extra time here wandering through other peoples blogs. I think I’ve become obsessed (Doug, I am blaming you for this one!).

As I’ve yet to discover a directory that lists all possible blogs in a coherent fashion, I find myself following links off links and comments, and the routes they follow truly fascinate me. I watch clusters of like-minded people follow each other in loops and then suddenly branch in diversity and content. Sometimes I come across lives I feel no right to read about and I hurry away almost embarrassed at my nosiness. And then there’s comments; I never know whether I should leave them. Will this person really want to know I’ve read their blog? I’m rarely sure, and so, mostly leave quietly feeling like a voyeur.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


As I fell asleep last night, I realised it was a year ago today (well tomorrow going by dates, but it was Tuesday and so feels like today) that I discovered bad things could happen to a child of mine.

A fridge fell on J. It almost sounds amusing. But it wasn’t.

What is strange is I told a mom at school about the incident today, and she announced she has a friend whose husband has a broken arm and a dislocated hip due to the same thing happening to him! Both cases were extraordinarily lucky. For the man, the fridge was a regular two door fridge/freezer, and thankfully not a big American one that might surely have finished him. And in J’s case, the fridge being a huge American style is what saved her (she was small enough so that she was sort of swallowed).

I’m stunned. I live on a little island, with a population of less than one hundred thousand, and this happens TWICE in one year. What the odds on that?

Monday, June 13, 2005

And the most neurotic mother award goes to…

This morning my first born waved cheerfully as he said goodbye. I managed a weak smile, told him I loved him, and swallowed back my tears. This amused the majority of the other mothers, and one even asked why I was upset when I have three others still at home. I stood there feeling totally lost as my girls reminded me they were late for nursery and tried to drag me out the terminal. I was the last parent there.

As the final group of boys approached customs R’s teacher (who’s a friend of a friend, and a total *STAR*) came over and asked if I was alright. Of course being asked made me feel a tad foolish, and I tried to laugh my teary expression away.

He took pity and leaned in close. “Look, don’t mention it to the other moms, but would you like me to give you a ring tonight, and let you know how he’s doing?”

I could’ve kissed him! Of course I can’t speak to R ‘coz then the other boys would find out, but I’m feeling better.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

All packed and raring to go…

Early tomorrow morning R, my eldest lad, is off to France with his year-group. You can imagine how much anticipated excitement a ten-year-old would feel, out of his parents’ sight and in the company of forty-seven school friends for five days.

He’s been counting down the days for weeks, he’s tried to pack his entire wardrobe (exempting anything practical), he’s made us sit through endless hand-shadows acts (final night performance compulsory), he made me buy him Linx deodorant (the coolest don’t ya’ know), he’s taking his MP3 (we argued, I caved – but I won on his new trainers!), and there’s no room for teddy. Oh, and he tried to pack a knife.

Not a real one, he’s not quite that stupid, but it looks real from a couple of feet away. When I asked why he was trying to get himself arrested, he explained that he’s helping some friends with their final night play. It’s a murder enactment and R’s having his throat cut in the opening scene. Apart from thinking what else I could be spending his school fees on, I explained if he encounters a customs officer having a bad day, he could well find himself on the next boat home.

So out came the craft box, and half an hour later, hey presto I’ve made a dashing, blood soaked pirates’ dagger. R’s verdict on my cardboard masterpiece: ‘It’s wonky!’ From him, that’s high praise! (He’s at that stage).

So what will the next five days bring? For him: markets, sailing, castles, pony trekking, bike riding, swimming and a final night variety performance. For me: his chores, a spring clean of his room, less fights between the kids, a lonely little brother, and plenty of nail biting as I worry whether my baby will be okay; ‘coz if truth be told, I’m a nervous wreck. I’ve met with the teachers, asked all the questions, and still I can’t shift this bolder of worry. Bloody hell, I hate them growing up.

I’ll read this next week and laugh at my fretfulness. I hope.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Today’s the day the teddy-bears have their picnic…

I had a lovely day today, one that memories are made of and come along all too infrequently.

It started with tears before nursery for S, as J spent long minutes deciding which teddy deserved the honour of accompanying her to the annual teddy-bears picnic at their nursery. In an effort to comfort her, J even offered to take S’s teddy as it doesn’t have chicken pox; unsurprisingly, this didn’t cheer S.

But I did! I promised her sandcastles on the beach, followed by cake baking and a teddy picnic of our own. In fact I did such a good sales pitch the other three went off to school with long faces; unsurprisingly, this added to S’s cheer.

I can’t remember the last time I dedicated an entire day to just one child, and it was a revelation. I had forgotten how easy and rewarding being a parent can be when you’re not constantly being asked to play referee between the endless, pointless squabbles that normally smothers my time with the children.

Of course the house looks like a bomb hit it, and the family ended up with pizza for dinner, but everyone was impressed with S’s left-over cookies.


and cake baking galore!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I got propositioned (or very nearly)

Each morning after I’ve dropped the boys at school and the girls at nursery, I head to the beach. It is my sanctuary. My slice of heaven. It’s where I remember who I am (and yes, there are times I forget).

This morning my bad tempered, pox ridden two-year-old joined me; or rather didn’t because she refused to get out of the car. This wasn’t a problem ‘coz the car park overlooks the beach, and we had a clear view of each other. Having locked her in, Ryker (my yellow labrador) and I headed off, determined to relax. Before we even reached the steps we had company in the form of a very excitable black lab, whose owner was sitting in his van nattering on his phone.

Ten minutes and quarter of a mile later, I was still walking his dog. And I wouldn’t have minded, except for the fact it attacked a spaniel and the owner had a go at me!

Just as I was explaining that the black dog was nothing to do with me, its owner sauntered up, grinning from ear to ear and started explaining she was a rescue dog and had yet to learn her social graces. The spaniel’s owner and I exchanged glances and I have no doubt that she was thinking the same and me, then she shouldn’t be out on her own!

I started walking back to the car, and didn’t think too much about having Ryker, the black dog, and her owner in tow. But when I diverted to the shoreline to throw some stones for Ryker to swim to, it became obvious this man and his dog weren’t going anywhere.

He told me all about his dog. She’s three. She was rescued two years ago. She’s come second at Crufts. She doesn’t like to swim. She doesn’t attack other dogs unless challenged (he shouted this over his shoulder as he raced to separate her from an irate alsatian). She has a long pedigree.

It’s at this point I remembered who I am. I’m the woman who attracts lonely souls and weirdos. Seriously, this is a problem. People come up to me in the supermarket and start talking as though they know me. One woman was convinced her tongue was getting larger by the second and she would choke any minute (it didn’t and I handed her over to the manager). A stranger I passed in the street screamed obscenities at me, because I didn’t say hello; his girlfriend looked surprised at his outburst too. There’s also a drunk I now know quite well, as he likes to accompany me around the shops.

Anyway, back to the dog walker. As I assured myself he seemed to be of the lonely souls brigade, he asked if I’d ever considered mating.

It took me a full three seconds to collect my wits and explain that Ryker’s been done.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Yesterday, I moaned about doctor’s fees, and what happens? Well today, no.2 son has AGAIN got the vomiting bug, and no.2 daughter comes down with chicken pox! Wonder if it’s a doctors hex ‘coz I haven’t paid that bill yet?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'll start with a rant!

I don’t really want this blog. I had to create it ‘coz I wanted to leave a comment on someone else’s blog, but they had their setting to only accept comments from other bloggers. Even having created this blog, I wasn’t going to bother writing anything, but hey, I want a moan, and there’s no one about to listen to me; so why not?

Not that I actually have a lot to moan about in my life, on the whole I’m extremely lucky. But, (and this is something you men should take heed of) a woman feels better about things she wants to gripe about, if it is said out loud and I’m going to see if this works on paper (so to speak).

The irritation of the day is doctors*, or rather their fees. Last week, a Saturday to be precise, my two daughters were invited to a party. What made this party special, was it was the first my youngest had ever been invited to (which in itself deserves a gripe, as she attends the same nursery as her sister, has the same friends, and yet is consistently ignored by other mothers planning parties). S was delighted and counted the days as though it was her own party she was going to (she’s never had one).

It was wonderful, the sun was shining, there was a bouncy castle, face painting, and bubble machines. Unfortunately, one hour into the party my eldest daughter, J, complained of a headache. Usually I would have brought her home immediately, but S was next in line for the face painting and J was happy to sit quietly with me. But within half an hour her temperature was rocketing and she was looking decidedly shaky, and indeed just as I explained to S that we had to leave, J began chucking up (which is a delightful way to become the centre of attention!).

Once home J quickly got worse despite the calpol, ibuprofen, and sponging down. When her temperature went over 102 I began to panic and telephoned the doctor to come out (something I luckily, have never had to do for any of my four children before). Quickly reassured it wasn’t anything life threatening, she went on antibiotics and I thought little more about the visit. Though it did turn out to be a rather vicious virus, which duly worked its way through the entire family.

Then yesterday happened. For seven years (I’ll gripe about this another time) I have had various minor aliments that I occasionally mention when I see my doctor, he’s never very impressed and mutters about growing older, exercising more, etc,etc. However, I had to have a blood test ‘coz I’m taking part in a breast cancer research thing, and as I was paying £25 for the appointment I thought I would again mention my aliments (only this time, all at once). Suddenly it seems, there could well be something amiss and having asked further questions, he announced we should start with some blood tests. Trouble is I’d had toast for breakfast and apparently this won’t do – so I have to go back (and pay again) next week.

As I was leaving, and paying my £25 consultation fee, I asked about J’s bill. Well bloody hell, they want £90 for a ten minute visit that only took the doctor three minutes to drive to!! I managed to stutter a question as to why it was so dear, and was told it was after six in the evening. Umm, not really I explained; you see the doctor was making some notes as he was leaving and asked me the time. I sent my eldest lad into the kitchen and he came back and said ten-past-six, except it wasn’t because I keep my kitchen clock seven minutes fast so that I can get out the house on time in the mornings. The receptionist smiled knowingly, but wasn’t impressed.

So here I am stuck with the bill. I mean for crying out loud, this is a child we’re talking about and it’s not like it was two in the morning! I’ve even called other surgeries in the area and asked about their call out fees, and guess what? No-one else charges that! (alright, some are close)

This really pisses me off, that’s a weeks food shopping to me (and yes I live on a budget) this must put people off calling the doctor out, and what if, next time it isn’t so benign, but I’m broke? It’s no bloody wonder our A&E department is over run with aliments that should be seen by a GP – that’s where we’ll be next time! I thought being a doctor was supposed to be a calling, not a get rich quick scheme. It’s down-right greedy and verges on the immoral. Although I will say, he was a very nice doctor – BUT NOT NINETY BLOODY QUID NICE!

Debi (who’s feeling better already!)

* Apologies to my Aunt and Uncle (who are both doctors, though unfortunately several hundred miles away) and Doug (who’s even further away) and all other hard working, dedicated doctors not making a mint off me to pay for their summer holidays (which incidentally, I haven’t be able to afford for six years!).

Me and my girls