Bits from pieces

1) 10dpo. The innernet 10mIU cheapies say no. Tesco wundersticks say no. There is a distinct absence of any cramping, which is completely diagnostic in its own right with me. I feel cheated and depressed.

2) Harry, while no longer the voiceless enigma of his toddlerhood, is still an almighty puzzle to me. He is the most perplexing mix of the confident and the fearful, and while I realise that the spectrum of anxiety to brazen is a contextual moveable feast for all of us, I really am mystified. There’s the odd book he doesn’t like, but TV is the primary source of his panic, in that he is unable to tolerate the slightest suggestion of dramatised peril. He is becoming gradually worse, only able to cope with the most anodyne of preschooler programming. He turned against his former favourite, Come Outside, 18 months ago, suddenly citing the ‘bad dog’ – this, from a child who calmly and regularly faces down an erupting, boiling tide of 3 chunky labradors next door, one of whom generally approaches at chest height – my chest height, and who also loudly bosses our own two hounds around. He was sanguine over the rest of cBeebies’ output until the last few months, when he began to run away at the merest hint of jeopardy, and couldn’t be jollied out of it. He can’t even put up with ‘Grandpa In My Pocket’ anymore, for God’s sake. Neither can I, as it happens, but for entirely different reasons.

I deliberately kept him away from Toy Story 3, knowing full-well that the initial train-wreck scene, containing suspense, a scary pig and the tide of monkeys would send him bolting from the room. He ended up watching it in a children’s play area recently, with predictable upset-fleeing results. He saw a little of Cars at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and liked the look of it, although expressing some anxiety about a brief glimpse of a scary harvester chase scene. I bought it, but wasn’t confident. We sat together to watch it after school yesterday, and he lasted until Lightning is ejected, asleep, from Mack (what, 10 minutes in?) and disappeared into the dining room at high velocity, where a sad little voice could be heard complaining about the ‘bad bits’.

Last week, he began a cheerful sentence ‘When we killed the sheep yesterday…’ (last month, in fact, and he only saw the sheep after it was dead) and proceeded to chat merrily about eating up all the yummy lamb in the freezer himself; he has taken to school and new friends with great gusto; he is physically adventurous to the point of outright risk; he seems, in fact, fairly well adjusted to life. Except for this. I don’t know what to think: either that he has an unusually maturely-developed concept of menace, coupled to no ameliorating cognitive context of the likelihood of it actually occuring, or that we’ve simply bred a child who has led such a sheltered existence that he can’t cope with the level of threat contained in pre-schooler TV programming. Neither of which seem likely: I think his upbringing with us has been fairly normal, albeit mired in rural clartiness; and even if John and I were toting odd ideas about infant exposure to The Scary – which I don’t think we are – Harry has spent the last 18 months spending 3 hours a day in a nursery setting, which would presumably right any skewed mental balance. I’m stymied. Perhaps he just can’t stand bad acting…?

3) My hens, which I have more time to actually be cluckily among since Harry has started full days, have stopped laying, the blighters. I have 12 at present – 3 lovely French Marans, 3 Old English Game Birds (a feisty cockerel and 2 hens, one of which is a mightily determined house-invader, despite me booting her unceremoniously outside on several occasions) and 6… well, it’s probably best to call them wee brown laying hens. I assume they are ex-batts, poor ladies, and I have nothing intelligent to suggest regarding their provenance or age, except to say that I greatly suspect it varies widely, despite being recently auctioned as a group at our local poultry sale. (I took Harry twice to the poultry auctions and gave up: he spent the entire time sticking his fingers up his nose and uttering loud protests about the ‘SMELL, Mummy! Bad SMELL! There was a faint fragrance of chicken shit, admittedly, but the child spends a significant amount of time rolling around cow & sheep shit with nary a complaint, and our house is, furthermore, regularly odiferously blasted by the prevailing wind from the pig farm, 5 miles or so away. Which, let me fervently assure you, is no distance at all where pig slurry is concerned.) I went up with a bucket of grain this morning to give them a severe talking-to about the lack of eggs, but after a while, I noticed that one hen has gone lame, and nearly all the Browns are sporting grotty, nodule-ly legs. Google told me I have a classic case of scaly leg mite, so I have promptly bought remedial spray, and am awaiting lunch time and John’s assistance to tackle the problem.

There’s nothing like a little chicken shit around the trousers to endear you to fellow parents at the school-gate, after all.

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