We’ve Been Better

 

I carted Harry and his new welt down the GP’s this afternoon, banged my head on his desk, tore my hair and wailed incoherencies about Can’t Get A Formal Diagnosis and Seriously I’m Not Making This Up He Really Does Have Significant Mobility Problems and What If Social Services Ask Questions and What If They Don’t Believe Me When I Say He Falls All The Time and Where’s His Fucking Brain Scan Got To; none of which he can help with, but he wrote stuff down and I felt a little better.

Just for shits and giggles, I reviewed the previous 12 months of Harry’s collision injuries. I couldn’t go back any further; I was too sad and frustrated. 

I should emphasize that, except where noted, these were all separately sustained; I have omitted photos of the sometimes-awful mouth and tongue sores he is depressingly prone to, possibly because he bites them during more minor impacts. Of which there are dozens a day.

 

What’s a mother to do, for crying out loud?

?

Baaaaaaa

The delightful Liz at Womb for Improvement has posted today about her appointment to discuss the possible move to IVF, her IUIs having sadly not been successful.

Her post is here.

When I first read it I shook my head in sympathy, because I’ve totally had that appointment. And then I got really bloody annoyed, because no-one should have that appointment.

I found out early and the hard way that I had lost a tight rein on my fertility treatment. An acute piece of miscommunication between my consultant (an excellent one, despite being a 20-minute egg) and the nursing staff during my first IUI procedure led to him replacing the sperm into the wrong uterus.

I knew I only had an egg on my right side… the nursing staff knew I only ovulated from my right ovary… and I thought I could feel him turning left… but I was too intimidated to speak up mid-procedure and ask him if he was heading through the correct cervix. If he had been about to perform an invasive procedure on any other part of my body… I feel I would probably have spoken out. I’m not altogether certain, but I think it was my own feelings of inadequacy associated with my failure to reproduce unassisted, that ultimately rendered me silent.

Of course, it wasn’t the only reason. I didn’t need to actively draw on sales training to identify that my flat-on-back-and-angled-10-degrees-head-down-with-legs-splayed-and-strapped-in-with-BIG-FUCKING-STRAPS-to-the-stirrups lowly vantage point was not one in which I was likely to gain mental control of the discussion.

There was, in fact, never much discussion. Chatty exchanges to nurses during the scans, yes; I’m always talkative with my knickers off. Lots of wondering why the hell my cleverly different internal arrangements seemed to be responding so contrarily. But during the actual appointments, my function seemed largely to be that of a listener.

And that’s… fine. As far as it goes. I am not a doctor, still less a fertility expert with years of experience. I was there for advice, for treatment, for the love of God, please give me a baby, because we’ve tried and tried and tried and I’m desperate now. Anything. I’ll do anything you say.

In the aftermath of the IUI-error, my consultant telephoned me to apologise for his mistake. (He did, incidentally, immediately accept complete personal responsibility and never even mentioned the fact that his staff had, without a doubt, propelled him into theatre with his didelphic-uteried patient without mentioning that only one uterus was actually good to go.) He asked me why had I not spoken to him of my worries during the procedure, rather than to the nursing staff afterwards? The medical staff, he stated, were a team – and the patient was a key member of the team.

I couldn’t formulate an answer for him at the time, other than to say that I really wasn’t certain which cervix he’d used, and my doubts had grown afterwards – which was true, as far as it went. I left quiet the fact that I found him silent, scientific, unapproachable, intimidatingly senior, cerebral – and that I always entered his presence in an unhelpful mixture of quiet awe, cognitive lock-up and near-total flustered aphasia. The fact that I had either waited long impatient weeks or paid out huge dollops of cash to gain a seat in his presence did nothing to diminish his aura, either. I would no sooner challenge his opinion than I could picture him on the toilet.

My counsellor (for whom I have an adoration little short of outright worship after her years of kind and clever responses to my dribble) challenged me on this theme, I seem to remember. The reproductive-inadequacy that was a constantly recurring topic, but also, for instance, when I was cheerfully submitting to tests, the purpose of which I was foggy about.

Relating all this to you now makes me wonder quite how I got myself painted into such a mental corner, because my polite exterior is underpinned by such an imperious bossy-boots that you really wouldn’t credit me with such passivity; yet when I am faced by someone with a decent degree, a white coat and a confident manner, I surrender my autonomy like a shot. Weird.

Now, not every fertility patient turns into quite such a bunny-in-the-headlights as I did (and after notching up two more IUIs, two IVFs and three miscarriages, I became noticeably better. I even grew to understand and interact with my 20-minute egg rather more effectively. Now, I am probably even operating at everyone else’s level of Normal, with a leaning toward Pushy.) but it’s a common enough phenomenon in the well-documented maelstrom of psychological stresses, traumas and spiky-dildocam-lined emotional bearpits that are so strongly associated with the journey an infertile couple make. 

It’s difficult enough getting to grips with the astonishing degree of bureaucratic incompetence that exists, despite the extra billions, within our health service, without being let down face to face at the actual sharp end. There’s not a doctor that doesn’t pay lip service to the notion of mutually agreeing the road forward with an informed, empowered patient (particularly given the pronounced deep-axe-wounds-to-psyche nature of the treatment) yet all too often the patient encounters a dismissive, supercilious, terse, chivvying, insensitive scientist. I read post after post about them.

Probably not all those traits in the same doctor, mind. That would make them Assisted Reproduction’s very own Basil Fawlty and their IVF stats would have to be awfully appealing to stay in business.

It’s… not good enough. This isn’t about a GP having an off day and being snippy with the 5th antibiotics-for-a-blatant-virus request he’s had since lunchtime. This is desperate fucking stuff, no pun intended. The course of people’s entire lives gets mapped out in these appointments. Discussing why your body is not doing what is expected of it is acknowledged to be a terribly difficult conversation to have, and yet during it, solutions are still being prescribed, not explored.

All this railroading happens to a person who has already lost all control of something so screamingly fundamental as their own body’s ability to naturally procreate.

Your own fertility treatment is a difficult ship to steer.

It’s 1am. I’m still annoyed.

Harry has woken himself coughing; after half a failed hour of rocking-chair cuddles I have decanted him into the parental bed, looking delighted with himself – John, rather less pleased. He is now attempting to re-bottle him, and there is Screaming. My tonsils are still the size of walnuts, my eardrums are bulging and my neck has grown a fine assortment of swellings and lumps. I have a long day tomorrow.

Rahrahrahrahrahraaaaaaaaah. Bloody, bloody everything.

Croak

I am, contrary to all online appearances, still alive. Where were we?

The Centre Parcs tropical waterworld was the crowning delight of Harry’s young heart. Never has ‘more’ been signed so enthusiastically than by a beaming toddler who has just zoomed gleefully down a long water flume that, in his mother’s AaaAAaarRGhhhH! startled opinion, was rather too scary and fast for small people. Rendered unfeasibly buoyant in his float-incorporated swimsuit and little water wings, he morphed into a confident water-baby, happily doggy-paddling several feet between crowing parents.

My two closest friends came to stay with us there for a couple of days and I cruised to great glory and triumph in the resulting Monopoly contest. I would not have bothered to mention this, were it not that the slightest reference to my victory makes my insanely competitive husband break down and cry inside.

It took me a week to tackle the holiday washing. Boo. Hiss. Etc.

I had a 1st of February laparoscopy date through, the day after I actually bestirred myself to obtain and send a copy of my New Cardiac Strangeness report to my consultant.

The aorta and IVC were noted to be transposed, so that the aorta lay to the right of the IVC. This arrangement is a congenital variant and appeared to continue throughout the abdomen, unlike the more commonly seen variation where the IVC crosses the aorta. Occasionally variations in IVC position may be related to abdominal pain, and certainly it would be necessary to make a surgeon aware of it, should the patient require abdominal surgery at any future date. A full assessment on ultrasound is limited and CT would probably be the best method of full assessment. You may also wish to consider a chest x-ray to see whether there is any cardiac anomaly present.
 

My consultant is on leave until the 1st, so as a direct result of my fannying about and not getting on with things, her secretary and I have been obliged to postpone my surgery until she is back. I’m pretty confident that my abdominal aorta has not managed to migrate the whole unlikely half-foot or so to the front of my uteri, so I don’t expect it’ll hold her scalpel off for long, unless she decides to bung me through a CT scanner first.

I am divided equally between nerves, avid curiosity and an impending sense of Doom. The sedation worries me not one jot, as does the thought of hosting uteri-cam, but I’m squeamish about my belly button, and the whole inflating-of-abdomen thing makes me mentally scuttle under a rock. I do not want post-operative shoulder pain, either. The prospect of abdominal pain I can deal with happily enough – I have a great number of metaphorical t-shirts formally proclaiming me a Big Girl in that respect – but I am a little nervous of making new friends. And, while I am admittedly ON FIRE to find out what my peculiar duo of uteri look like in, literally, the flesh – they’ve been hurting a fat lot more than usual lately. I am consequently darkly suspicious of quite how much adenomyosis I have managed to grow in the last couple of years, and feel even more broodingly about this deforming-uterine-walls-synechium thing I have also acquired.

In a clever bid to cheer myself up, although I was professedly supposed to be cheering her up, I hopped on the train to see May on Friday. It was a day out alloyed only by current circumstances for May, which could hardly be more miserable, and by my stupid, stuuuuuuupid attempt to leave London on a Friday afternoon, on a tight schedule, to get home for Harry’s bedtime. I should have consigned him from the outset to the sans-maternal bedtime experience he happily underwent in any case when I was inevitably delayed, and stayed stolidly and unashamedly where I was for several more hours; I was warm, comfy, nattering blissfully, oh-so-spectacularly very well-fed, having a truly lovely time – and H would have been home for dinner, had I stayed a little longer! Going early was the poorest decision I’ve made so far this year and I’ve kicked myself ever since. Bah, bollocks and bugger.

I also walked away the proud new owner of a simply beeeeoooooouuutiful scarf that May crocheted for me, for our crafty Pay It Forward. My wonky lavender sachet – which is all I have to show for the whole intervening 12 months since actually, you know, announcing it – wilted sadly in comparison to May’s fabulous and elegant woolly warmer. I will post photos tomorrow, as the camera is currently out of sight under the desk-compost. Robyn and Pam, you’re next on my construction list. Don’t hold your breath when your letter-box clatters.

I will tell you of another poor decision I have made, in the hope that you may avoid it yourself. Back in August, I asked you for your literary Top Male Totty: I had been sighing over the same well-thumbed characters for far too long. You responded joyously in spades (any more, anyone?); I purchased a number of new authors as a result and I have, so far, found your collective judgement absolutely impeccable. My mistake centred in delaying a proper tackle of QoB’s suggestion of Brust & Bull’s Freedom and Necessity for so long. I had to hastily scramble off the train back from May’s at Warwick, in comically undignified fashion, completely caught up in this beautifully written little historically-set gem. I could pick the odd hole in it if I had to, but I’m not sat in a classroom, and really, who the fuck cares because, Ladies? 

James Cobham is a guaranteed knicker-dropper.

My top five is scattered into total disarray – again. A good job I hadn’t laminated it yet, eh? This new lad’s going in somewhere high. Fnarr.

Do yourself a favour and beg, borrow or steal a copy. Sadly, there is no sequel to enjoy; it stands proudly – snigger – alone. It has also managed to largely distract me from the fact that I woke up Saturday morning with my tonsils resembling red golf balls and my chest, in addition to feeling sat-on by, say, a hefty-arsed pony, producing things I would prefer not to look at.

I am heading back to my pit of tangled duvet and throat sweets, clutching my copy protectively to my quivering bosom. I may be some time.

To Infinity and Beyond

I had the shittiest dream last night. I dreamt I was pregnant in the same uterus Harry was in – the uterus I now think of very firmly as the blood-deprived, factory-of-doom, Wrong One To Use. It has been cramping and spotting again lately in its usual will-I-won’t-I-wait-until-you-get-into-the-swimming-pool fashion, plus I have a vague viral thing that has settled joyously upon my weakened form and issued orders for Dizzyness and Mild Nausea: stat, so there was a reasonable physiological subtext for my brain to have Bad Fun with.

I remember feeling frozen cold in fear and so absolutely convinced that the pregnancy would be another oxygen-deprived how-much-brain-damage? nightmare –  that I was actually considering an early termination rather than play another months-long game of Russian Roulette: Choking the Fetus.

(When I woke up, I realised that that part was actually true. That’s how much I distrust Cameron, my right uterus. She is never to be given another child of mine to house. I awoke in an actual waking panic, having dream-connected the Nausea and Twanging Cameron and shot out of bed towards my peestick stash like a wild-eyed, snaggle-haired, ungainly cannonball.

I never thought I’d see a time where I was truly glad to get a single line. Life: you are bloody strange.)

My dreams are no more logical than anyone else’s: despite being panicked and horrified about the location, I was also aware that I had a scan and blood test tomorrow to see if the baby was still alive – and I was desperately hoping that it would all be ok. Contradictory much, yeah yeah yeah. The fear was gut-wrenching and miserably upsetting: I was trying not to cry whilst I was frantically wrenching the correct pee-stick from its bag, dancing from foot to foot because A) snow-cold, unheated bathroom and B) large mug of tea just before bedtime.  

My brain hasn’t thrown these sort of night-time bricks at me for years – they stopped right about the time they changed to NICU-horrors, oddly enough. I’d forgotten the exact nature of the torment, the excruciating uncertainty of waiting for the next appointment. I’ve remembered now, this weekend, because my darling, deserving friend May is sat squarely, again, in that Place of Fetal Uncertainty. It is a spiky, needle-strewn chair, with a ground glass cushion.

Tomorrow morning, she and H will collapse Zombryo’s wave function and see if and where there is life, death, or further zombryonicity in Schrodinger’s uterus. 

Either way: she will need much in the way of virtual cuddling and I shall be away on holiday, so I am handing y’all (What? What? I have American family. I have American friends. I read American blogs. I’m Entitled. If she won’t use proper English then neither shall I, so there.) the banners reading ‘Cautious Rejoicing & Temporary Exhaling!’ and ‘Stop All The Clocks’ for you to take over there and display as appropriate while I am gone.

 Her blog is considerably better-written than mine: you will like it.

My preparations for tomorrow’s departure consist of packing a basket full of illicit sugary consumables – partly with the intention of indulging ourselves, and partly in the hope of shamelessly bribing Harry into good behaviour –  and sorting Mount Laundry

into its respective drawers. It’s 9pm. I should now go and pack, or something.

It’s been nearly a year (caravan excepted) since we last took Harry away, and I’m hoping he’ll settle better at night than he did last February. He is (this week, at any rate. It will All Change with his next cold virus) sleeping through for 12 hours, no bother. He learnt to jettison his Grobag so has spent the last week sleeping successfully with a toddler duvet. John and I are currently chewing tensely on the issue of moving him into a toddler bed, as he is perfectly capable of vaulting out of his cotbed – greedy boards notwithstanding – now his legs are free. 

He swiftly gets bored with the books we plant in the hope of delaying him and generally briskly completely disrobes on waking. If we don’t get in there sharp-ish in the morning, there is not only a giggling na.ked tod.dler (the google searchers who necessitate my fullstops will burn a long time downstairs, I hope) bouncing gleefully up and down, but a large puddle on the mattress to boot. The potty, incidentally, is going… badly. Not ready.

There’s not a cat in hell’s chance of him staying meekly in any bed without bars yet: he’s simply not old, placid or mature enough and I have the devil of a job getting him to stay on the sofa to nap every day. There’s several weeks/months of shitty-awful sleep involved in moving a toddler of Harry’s disposition to a open bed – and once it’s attempted, we can’t go back. Harry has Views on withdrawal of privileges: if he’s had or done something new once, then case precedent has been firmly set and he will throw heaven and earth about in a rage until he is allowed to do it again. So in summary: it’s a damn shame he’s in proper danger of hurting himself by falling out, because the bugger really needs to sleep in there for the foreseeable.

Of course, we could better the odds by providing something like these

   

to render Staying The Fuck Put a little more alluring, but there’s a wee problem with that, to wit: I blew well over a grand – our entire baby budget – just on nursery furniture for Harry’s room.

I bludgeoned John into making this purchase of QUALITY, SOLID ELEGANT OAK  (Fer the love o’God, don’t tell him they’ve just reduced it by 10%. I keep having to reassure him about the resale value) by telling him that it would totally last until Harry is 5 and then we could have another 8 children who would all use it too and it’d be a heirloom for all of them and then I would use it as a day bed and if we have the cot bed then we really have to have the beautiful changing unit as well or it’ll look odd on its own and oh look the changer top comes off so it can be our chest of drawers afterwards and I really really love the gently flared design it’s so stylish and we’re only going to ever have one child so it needs to be absolutely perfect because I deserve it after all the shit we’ve had and OMG look the blanket box has got little teddies sat on it and there’s squeee more inside we have to have one of those as well it’s the most gorgeous thing ever and OW the baby just kicked I think he really likes it I think I’ll just sit down on this glider chair here that I really love as well and rub my bump obviously in a pleading fashion whilst you peer in foaming disbelief at the price tags and mutter.

He bought the furniture. My Nan bought the glider. My parents bought the pushchair/carseat. I am a spoilt middle-class cow. If I suggest buying another bed he’ll want to murder me… but the man does like to sleep…

It’s bloody cold in this office and I’ve had no supper yet, but I have to log that Harry has continued to do New Stuff this week, or later, I won’t have the foggiest clue when it happened, and it’s important to me that I remember the When for some reason.

He has built on last week’s Nodding triumph (it is now in hourly, useful, exciting use) and used it to facilitate Abstract Questions. Formerly, Harry has only been able indicate a Yes/No to specific ‘do you want to: do [this]/eat [this]/go to [here]’ questions. He has been utterly bemused by any other question apart from ‘where is [actual object]’ to which he will point in response. Ask Harry if he wants food: you get a yes. Ask him if he likes his food/has eaten his food/has dropped his food/his food is hot and you get a blank, uncomprehending stare. It’s a communication wall of iron.

Yesterday morning, I asked him if he had done a poo in his nappy? 

And he nodded.

Now, I knew it was there: I have a nose. I know he knew it was there – if I’d asked him (as I often do) to point to the poo, he will cheerfully point to his own rump before leading me in a Benny Hill chase around the furniture, as he hates nappy changes. He has never responded like that before, and my streaming eyes were not purely down to what he had to declare in the turd department.

Yesterday afternoon, John accidently caught Harry’s nose on the zip of his jumper: because Harry was tired and crotchety he cried. I knelt down and asked, as I have for many many fruitless months (often several times a day, too) where his hurt was? and shook my hand in the ‘hurt’ makaton sign. This time – he pointed sadly to his nose.

Yesterday evening, John and I were pratting about and chasing each other around the kitchen island – over the last bottle of Heineken lager, in fact. Harry was gurgling with laughter and joining in, when he slipped over and banged his head on the kitchen cupboard. I cuddled him, and asked him where his hurt was? He pointed to the exact bit of head I’d seen him bash. The iron wall is definitely beginning to crumble a little. Knowing which bit of your child is causing the pain is pretty key. Not having a clue where to look has hitherto caused me much grief.

I asked him later on if he had been tobogganing with Daddy, and he nodded. (He had). I asked him if he liked tobogganing, and he nodded. I’m not completely sold on how much he understood the completed action/active liking element to my words because he was giving at least 50% of his attention to Timmy Time at that exact moment, but it was certainly progress from tuning me out completely. The current professional opinion on Harry is that he has a listening and attention disorder with sensory oddities. Some noises upset him. Some noises he completely zones out. Some noises he is absurdly sensitive to. Paraphrasing his SALT report: he has difficulty following adult-led activity unless it is very high-interest or active, and prefers to follow his own play agenda. The challenge is to attract his focus for longer periods: when he pays more attention and listens to others better, then his speech should follow.

I can see him taking longer and longer steps away from his babyhood: I am pleased and pained. His babble sounds seem to me to be growing in scope and range. Shortly before Christmas he began to join in with me when I sang him carols in the car (a fine way to explore which carols you don’t actually know the second verses to, although you thought you did. I got mightily confused and started singing cut & shut hybrid carols instead; I fear the resulting lyrics gave a reasonably heretical impression.), making sounds that remarkably resembled his father’s two-note repertoire.

He won’t let anyone except John’s mother touch his hair. He has fallen deeply in love with Playdoh. He has possibly the biggest fleet of toy tractors outside of a retail environment and copies perfectly what he sees his father do with the real thing. He copies everything that he sees other children do: usually things I would prefer him not to notice. His proficiency at jigsaw puzzles is impressive and markedly in advance of his peers. He still loves feeding his toy animals, often from his own plate. He is a clambery, ants-in-his-pants, unco-operative arsehead when he is tired. He gives absolutely the best lap snuggles – with extra kisses – in Christendom. God, I love him. So, so much.

The Proud HFF Motto: Nunquam Paratus. II

 We are crap at snow. The UK is currently cowering under a fair covering of the stuff; schools are closed, roads are blocked, cars are stranded and people are assessing their fridge contents nervously. The thermometer is dropping like a stone, the foreseeable forecast is not encouraging, and I am mildly nervous about my holiday plans next week.

It’s a long-held tenet of mine that the western world is only two meals away from total barbarianism. When I eventually get round to completing Aphra’s meme, I will be obliged to mention the entire works of John Wyndham – best known for his Triffids, but also author of some very fine endings of the civilised world indeed. As a consequence, I am the type of person who actually sits and plans for the apocalypse, wherever it finds me. I read the SAS survival handbook conscientiously, and I watch Ray Mears with adoring, attentive eyes.

When we built our house foundations, I was keen to dig a nuclear bunker into the hill – or at the very least, wall off secret emergency supplies from looters somehow. My in-laws and the architect weren’t quite on board with me over this, alas, but I have nevertheless identified my – ahem! – secret place

Regarding sustenance: I like to keep tinned food in stock, despite not liking it at all. Owning it, hunting it, skinning it, gutting it, butchering it, cooking it and eating it is not a problem as such. (She says, peering out from behind her husband, who is her Chosen One for steps 3 and 4, as knowing which smelly bits not to slice into is important.) I approve the fact that John can actually hit what he aims at, incidentally, as my skills with a shotgun veer erratically from Annie Oakley to Elmer Fudd. We have – if John hasn’t sold it all yet – enough wheat in the barns to make an awfully large loaf.

I am mightily reassured by the fact that our marvellous neighbours – the only inhabitants of our hill, besides ourselves – are not only true outdoors-types, but handily enough, are both doctors to boot. The aforementioned hill dwelling is very satisfactory because it can be fortified – against, you know, the ravening brutish hordes of city-dwellers who have all heard about my hoard of tins. I occasionally review John’s barbed wire stocks with a critical eye. When the sea-levels rise, unless they go above 60 metres – we’re good.  

The farm – a five minute walk – has tractors, Land Rovers, chainsaws, log-splitters, a generator, ample fuel, and a solid-fuel rayburn oven.  Our living room has a woodburner that I think might melt iron. I would miss the internet like a limb, but I have a decent-ish library, lots of board games, and a family – all eminently practical, hard-headed and useful types – who like to play cards.

More importantly, I am the sort of girl who can drive a lorry, fashion an impromptu aerial out of coathangers and paperclips, mix cement, organise a team, read a map, keep a positive mental attitude, build a shelter, and, if it comes to it, reluctantly club small fluffy things hard on the head. I have no intention of being packed off to Golgafrincham.

But… it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a tiny bit conflicted on the issue, too. Despite being ridiculously anxious about emergency supplies, whenever I hear about supermarkets being inundated with panic-buyers before bad weather or public holidays, I scoff loudly at their alarmist urban mindset and amuse myself fondly by comparing their scurrying rodent dread to my own carefully laid plans. This isolationist smugness lasts for a day or so, until I actually take an inventory and realise that my cupboards are Mother-Hubbard-level depleted of tins because I checked the sell-by dates a while ago and never replaced them; I have no yeast, because ditto; and that I have only 10 matches left in the house. I immediately struggle out to join the throng of bulging-eyed, sightless, stampeding shoppers who are also 2 days late, grabbing 10-year supplies of indecipherable Polish-brand groceries, elbowing old ladies violently aside and Shopping for Armageddon. I then rest on my laurels until the next Public Worry. 

Today was entirely taken up by a toboganning session, followed by several hours of hosting friends who, to cut a long story short, became stranded here due to the state of our snowy, steep drive. Said friend was distressed by her involuntary trespass on our hospitality (most of our guests admittedly turn longing eyes towards the main road and freedom) but her mortification was nothing to mine when I realised that A) I had no nappies suitable for her 6 month old – and, during my investigations, that Harry’s stocks of pull-ups were alarmingly low, B) although I had sufficient pasta twists to feed the 5,000 I only had one – one! – jar of pasta sauce and C) I had no – you’ve guessed it – useful tins, yeast, or matches. We were also running low on milk.

Today, we tobogganed.

*rolls up sleeves and flexes the HFF Wifey Elbow*

Tomorrow, I shop.

Taxi! The Cococabana!

Reasons to be happy:

  • Carry On Cleo is on TV. Infamy!
  • Harry has learnt to nod! We have actual nodding! Nodding to go alongside the shaking he learnt last (pause to peruse own archives) September. At the grand old age of 29 months he can now give a silent no AND yes – when he responds at all; his continuing speech delay, it turns out, is part of a wider listening and attention disorder. But… back to happy! Nodding! It’s a… strange nod, admittedly; it looks more like a slooooooow motion yoga move than a gesture, but it’s clear to see and he enjoys doing it.
  • Christmas has been put back in its box. It’s hard to say which experience I enjoy more: the festooning-with-holly-and-twinkly-lights festive gearing-up, or the get-back-in-your-bloody-box-coz-I-want-my-house-back-now winding down.
  • I tackled the heaps of near-sentient washing in our bedroom on Christmas Eve, so I am no longer obliged to groan and feel depressed by the morass that previously concealed 90% of the actual carpet. It was actually all clean – at least, it was, before it spent weeks on the floor – it just never made it as far as being folded and placed in the wardrobe. 50% of my share of the clothing  mountain was also too small for me; I would grab it, hold it to the light, scrutinise the label, and cast it impatiently back onto the tangled skeins of sleeves and legs. Annnnd I have sharply deviated away from subjects that please me. Clear floor! I have a clear floor! I can see my Laura Ashley rug again! The only one I own! Harry now has his brio train track all laid out on said floor – John and I spent a happy half-hour elbowing him imperiously out of the way while we re-visited our respective childhoods – and Brrrrrrmmms his trains around in the morning for 20 precious minutes or so, before remembering that he likes to bounce up and down on Mummy’s sleeping head.
  • I have booked a little holiday. On Monday 11th I am heading for Center Parcs for 4 nights, where I plan to ensconce myself with a good book on a deckchair in the 29.5 degree tropical dome, sipping something cool, while Harry & John splash about in the pool. Disconcertingly though, it seems John is planning on making me actually cycle places, and has just bought a bike carrier for the car. Sigh. But… 29 degrees! Wave machines! Flumes! Lagoon Bar!

Happy New Year

At this rate I’ll forget my WordPress password.

You last saw me standing on the ledge with my tattered anonymity clutched tight to my bosom, muttering hopefully about Having Time To Blog over Christmas.

I never learn.

To be scrupulously honest, I did have a reasonably unprecented amount of time to myself, but solely because I was obliged to spend it in a variety of assorted huddled heaps, swallowing as many opiates as I could lay my hands on. Cleverly, I had asked my GP for a course of progesterone to knock my interminably lengthy and tiresome on/off period on the head over Christmas; I took a grand total of two, completely forgot about the rest and voila! festive-red tsunami.

Judging by the fact that I was finally reduced to raiding the hoarded co-codamol and codeine prescribed after one or other of my miscarriages – the packets expired August 07 – I think this has been the worst pain that the deadly duo comprising my reproductive system have ever battered me with; apart from the times the pair of them have expelled, you know, actual human beings.

Christmas was… nice, in between the groaning. Harry has enjoyed the whole festive thing mightily, despite having had a hacking, vomit-inducing cough since November and looking like this

Injury by hairyfarmerfamily.

after one of his nursery Christmas parties. No matter how many times I pin people to the wall and minutely extole Harry’s spectacularly accident-prone propensities, everyone always looks surprised when they scrape him up pouring with blood. Harry wasn’t impressed with his visit to A & E; he resisted having his – deep – cut glued or stitched with admirable ferocity and had to make do with steri-strips doing a half-arsed job. Consequently, I think he’s now acquired his first life-long scar. Yippee.

What with that AND the latest lop-sided haircut I’ve given him in his sleep (scissors are hysterical item non-grata as far as he is concerned): Barnardos’d snatch him up for their next ad campaign like a shot.

Still, he had other Christmas parties to go to. I took him to one where he ran about so much and so happily that he inevitably began to cough – before vomiting copiously all over another child’s ride-on car. The shame was awful, despite the child’s poor mother heroically putting the revolting, dripping ride-on in the boot of her car and breezily assuring me that it’d hose off fine. I took him home in his vest and soaking trousers, lining the car seat – inadequately, as it turned out – with borrowed plastic bags. A quick sponge-bath for the pair of us, a change of clothes, and we were back at the village hall so that Harry could have the party tea he had been loudly mortified at leaving behind. He chewed everything, swallowed very little – and then promptly coughed again and deposited what he had eaten in the doorway.

At this point, he was down to his vest with vomit thickly populating his hair and we were running out of cleaning and swabbing materials to borrow, but he had just figured out how to use a tri-wheel scooter and was scooting delightedly around the village hall. Attempts to gently prise his vomity hands off this (yet another child’s) toy took a fair while and ended in tears.

The cough still wakes him up every morning and sometimes during the night – wretched fucking thing – but he hasn’t actually lost a meal since Sunday. Hooray.

 I was vaguely planning to do the obligatory year’s review, but it’s five to midnight, so I think I’ve missed the boat a bit. I dislike new year celebrations and have successfully infected John with my annual redatt-ivity regarding this particular over-rated celebration over the years, so the only thing keeping us from an early bed is the bloody fireworks that the local villagers insist on letting off every year. Paolo Nutini is on the Hootenanny, however, so it’s not all meh.

John is fast asleep on the sofa and I am watching the countdown with a jaundiced and weary eye.

5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Happy New Year, all.

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