Our phone rang at lunchtime today; I picked it up in the kitchen which was, at that moment, thickly populated with chatting women, half-dressed toddlers (more on this in a moment) and tiny babies. After some urgent shushing, I was able to discern that the chap on the other end of the phone was from University Hospital in Coventry - our mammoth regional super-hospital: location of my infertility treatment and Harry’s NICU stay - and was ringing to tell me that they have received a referral from Warwick to give Harry an EEG – could he come to the Neurophysiology department first week in May?
I had a fleeting prescient flash of dread vis à vis attempting to glue electrodes to Harry’s unsedated head, but assured him we would be there. I was a trifle taken aback to be hearing about this course of action from another hospital department as opposed to Harry’s Paediatricians - but only a trifle. I have spoken to enough local parents in our boat lately to realise that the parent is generally not top of not near the top of bottom of just not on the information dissemination chart when tests are ordered, because that’s the way it works. A friend of mine actually discovered that a working diagnosis – a fairly serious one – had been reached about her child this way. In fact, if you wanted to picture NHS bureaucratic procedure as, say, some ridiculously overinflated Lovecraftian dribbling blob, with spiny limbs too feeble to shift its own shuddering bulk, then that’s absolutely fine by me. The core competency of the individuals involved in delivering our healthcare is high, and yet the delivery structure itself falls so aggravatingly short. Bah. Stop me before I get going, people!
Teh Positive: New Woman is obviously Briefed, Making Decisions and Doing Something about Harry. This is Good, and makes up for my disappointment on Tuesday when I learnt that New Woman never actually visits the nursery section at School Fabulous at all, and under 4s are all seen in clinic. I had immediately foreseen a months-long wait to see her, and was juuuussst puffing myself up to launch my usual NHS hurricane mixture of righteous indignation, charm, hectoring and pleading at the Paediatric department. I expect there’s a letter to me & the GP about all this lurking on a dictaphone, somewhere.
Anyhoo. Harry has spent the day at home with a hacking cough and a streaming nose - there are kids at nursery to whom a virus can mean Heap Big Serious Fucking Trouble - and minus a nappy. The young chap in question has begun potty training in earnest today; he has accordingly flashed both his new underwear and his tackle around our visitors very thoroughly indeed, and the sight of nomnomnomable Twinkling Buttock is becoming part of the scenery.
This is something that he has initiated himself (I would very happily have left it until warm weather and nakey-bottom-runny-round-outside time) and performed so well with (particularly in the turd department: we have a near-100% strike-rate at home now. Outside the home… ummm. Trickier.) over the last 2 or 3 weeks
that I thought it was worth getting tooled up with proper wobbly-weeble-proofed toilet equipment
and having a go at putting him into Big Boy Pants.
The artwork - the captions of which made me snort a little – endeared them to the wearer immensely: Harry is a quintessentially chap-like young chap and can reliably tell a styracosaurus from a stegosaurus, although he has been awfully diva-like in his firm stipulation of a regular rotation of dinosaur throughout the day, quite aside from the ones that copped the odd leak. They went off and on like (insert your favourite un-PC joke here) all day, as he is bewitched by the novelty of it all. I also have a pack of Shaun the Sheep pants – somewhere – which would go down an absolute storm if only I could find the perishing articles, but he was optimistically given them for his 1st birthday, and… yeah. They’ll be layers deep by now.
We had about a 70% success rate today, which we’re delighted with. He had 3 accidents, 6 or 7 wees in the toilet with its new-fangled and fascinating step arrangement, and one in the potty. As with most things, I suspect his problems with attention may make this process more difficult for him: the accidents came when he was thinking of, or busy about, other things – and I had forgotten to remind him he was in pants. I am heartily, painfully sick of the sound of my own voice today. I have enquired about his toilet needs, on average, every ten minutes. Because Harry doesn’t necessarily tune in right away, I have to repeat the question, interspersed with ‘Listening, Please!’ Grenfell-like expostulations,
several times before he either shakes his head, briefly and impatiently (‘Nrr!’), or grabs, Eureka!-like, at his tiny todger before toddling off at top speed, bow-legged and tottery, to the toilet.
At 32 months he is, in the scheme of things, not a particularly early entrant into toilet training, so I’m hoping he’ll have the wherewithal to build on today’s sterling performance. However, I have heard so very many woeful tales of both urinary and faecal backtracking and blips from friends near and far, that I’m not really expecting consistency. Hoping, yes (coz my laundry pile now hums a bit and I shall have to bestir myself about that shortly). Expecting, no.
On a last, different note, I have been trying to expand my library and track down some of the books I remember reading as a child. I was going to do lots of tricksy googling about this particular one which has been bugging me for years, but it’s occurred to me to try the power of the interwebs first, especially the US contingent. When I was a slip of a girl, I read a book (or a series?) from my junior school library that is awful foggy now, but a couple of little things still tug at me. I have the strong impression that it was American child’s fiction, set in a rural location, possibly a farm. At least one of the children – I think, a girl – used to leave her bedroom via the tree that grew just outside the window. In a memory that seems associative with the same character but could easily be borrowed from elsewhere: there was a sentence or two to about the fact that the child wanted to cry about being unable to peel an apple in one long strand the way her uncle could, before telling herself not to be so bloody daft. Or words to that effect.
Ring any bells, people? I know it’s horribly vague, but you must remember that I was less than 10 when I last set eyes on this book, so that’s 25 years plus. God, I’m old.