A holiday is what you take when you can’t take what you’ve been taking any longer

They say that a change is as good as a rest.

You do hear a lot of unmitigated bollocks*. It is emphatically not a rest. It is not remotely close to a rest. It is, pardon my vulgarity, exactly the same shit in a different toilet.

(Apropos, Harry, bless his 2nd percentile soul, generally shits like a Great Dane. His progress towards potty training consists of sporadically attempting to remove his nappy concurrent with urination or shrapnelling defecation, resulting stickily in catastrophic overflow.)

Harry slept in our caravan exactly as well as I expected him to: reasonably badly. Answering, as ever, to the name of Lucky, he rapidly acquired a sleep-annihilating cough, probably due to the spectacular pea-souper that thickly wreathed the so-called English Riviera for our first 2 days. (Not unusual. During a previous trip to the Minack

Minack

 I had marked difficulty in discerning the actors, and at no point saw the sea.) Harry was also difficult about his naps – too much new stuff to look at, mainly – so this, paired with poor night-time rest, resulted in a particularly prickly young pear.

Even though it is always Harry behaving like a monumental and complete arse, John and I, without fail, manage to blame one another for whatever family crisis of overwrought nerves Harry’s relentless, single-minded pursuit of trouble has landed us in. We are clever like that. Our bitter mutual castigation harmonises nicely with Harry’s ululating screams of inarticulate rage, and the juddering blows/protesting squeaks/sickening thuds from whatever unfortunate surroundings are currently suffering the full force of his directed fury.

I’m honestly not sure how much of Harry’s behaviour is a result of our joint genetic legacy, or his individual… lets call them… issues. I waver daily between fearing his behaviour is a pint-size, highly concentrated sample of our worst character flaws – or believing him to be simply a toddler with an iron will, an iron fist, an iron skull, a steely glare and sadly limited communication.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Thwart this child at your bodily, mental and marital peril.

It is, I fear, only a matter of time before Harry breaks my nose with his furiously lunging skull; I never expected to receive my first Glasgow kiss from my son.

He still has no speech. Proto-words are emerging, sporadically, unreliably and slowly. He knows dozens of signs, but simply does not understand how to use them to communicate. I see 10 month old babies communicate more effectively than Harry, and my sadness for him – and for myself, truth be told – is profound. We will never be here again. I can’t redeem the time – too much time – that I spend exasperated, grappling, struggling, coaxing, crying, furious, swearing, persuading, embarrassed, manhandling, dejected, out of breath, really fucking annoyed… and beaten.

The beauteous Amy phrases it perfectly: ‘a meltdown at a playground is different for us, that it’s not the kind of meltdown *your kid* has, no it’s just NOT, that it’s like someone set our child on FIRE, that there’s no redirecting or soothing, there is only FLEEING.’

Come 6pm, I would rather face down a hungry bear** than cross my ferocious – fabulous – flailing little bundle of determination. I am sometimes asked if I think he might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum – to which I used to reply No. Lately, I say… I’m not sure. He is a social, smiling child (when things go well; by which I mean: his way) who seems to be growing away from some of his odder quirks (fear/anger at certain noises/frequencies, some texture aversion) but he remains, in ways, a strange child, and a challenging one. Until we break his communication log-jam, I – glumly – expect no improvement. 

He was not feeling or behaving his best this week, and we were fairly strained in consequence, but I didn’t set out to moan quite as much as I actually have here. I am, when you get right down to it – and not very far down, either – wholeheartedly and emotively thankful for every last one of my bruises. The sound of his giggles lifts me. I beam when he beams. The comical little ‘uuUMM!’ noise of interest, pleasure and surprise he makes when confronted with something new and deeply intriguing makes me radiate happiness. I would slowly disembowel myself with a spoon – a rusty one – if it saved him from pain.

Mind you, after about the 45th minute of doleful howling from the back seat in protest at his Wrongful Carseat Incarceration, muttering from the front seat, and with over 100 miles of motorway still to go – disembowelling myself sans anaesthesia began to seem like a comparatively attractive distraction.

But we did have fun, in between the squalls. Look! Smiles, and everything!

sea wall

sea wall 2 

slide

But not at the waves, which Harry is highly nervous of, possibly due to witnessing the severity of our disgusted recoil from the filthy foam topping the waves at Weston Super Mare a few weeks ago.

waves

John taught Harry a fascinating new game: putting large handfuls of cold, wet shingle down the ample Mummy-cleavage.

pebble cleavage pebble cleavage 2

Hubby seemed oddly vexed when we fed pebbles down into his jeans in reciprocation. Apparently they got wedged in his underwear.

Harry shot through most of Plymouth Aquarium like a bored torpedo, but he particularly liked the sharks, and is consequently now the proud owner of a foot-long cuddly specimen.

 Shark

 shark2

I did actually manage to get one of the five books I took read, although I had run my fingers through my hair so much (as a result of wall-to-tiny-fucking-wall Peppa sodding Pig. Now there’s a porcine family that needs sausagizing, stat.) that it began to look like an Old English Sheepdog crossed with Spinal Tap; I did well to make out the words at all.

Fiery cross

And now we are home: the laundry mountain is visible with Google Earth and Harry is sleeping beautifully again in his own cotbed.

He starts nursery on Tuesday.

We can’t actually afford to send him to nursery. Not even the two measly mornings that he is booked in for – but I can’t afford not to send him, either. He needs to be surrounded by more speech than ours, he needs to learn to share toys, he needs to learn not to hit, and he needs to become accustomed to the school site in which he will be educated until he is 11 years old. He will begin a hefty 5-half-days-a-week-all-or-nothing preschool there in a year’s time; the year after that… he will begin school proper, a whole year earlier than his conception date entitled him to expect.

And I need him to go, so, so badly. I need a kitchen that isn’t a continual heap of clutter, and a bedroom floor that isn’t a swirling morass of toppled laundry heaps interspersed with ankle-crippling lurking toys. I have a young business that I need to spend time growing – which reminds me in turn that I have a sadly neglected garden. My to-do list is, in fact, impossibly long for the 6 hours a week that I am consigning him to daycare for – but no matter.

I need to draw breath.

*often on this site

 **I have incidentally, faced down a bear, albeit a really rather titchy one. I was walking across a Lake Louise car park; I had yummy-smelling food and the bear was obviously keen to partake. But so was I: stony broke and hungry, I convulsively clutched my bag of goodies defensively and glared with all the venom I could muster. The bear, recognising a stiff fight when he saw it, obligingly buggered off. I heart food THAT MUCH.

How to Talk to Children

OK, so Friday evening at 6pm I loaded a Hubby, a baby, a decorated cake, a victoria pancake sandwich, a pot of plum toffee jam and 6 photographs into the car, and we drove 23 miles, in the rain, to Moreton-in-Marsh, where a cheery chap who was stood in the showground gateway getting torrentially pissed on informed us chirpily that the show was not happening. Cancelled. Mudbathed. Rained off. Except for cakes! Cakes were still happening! Moreton town hall had been co-opted at short notice. So we trundled off to the town hall, which was ever so shut. So then we went to the show office, which was chaos. Yes, cakes and jam were still happening, but could only be delivered  in the morning. No, there wasn’t space for photographs. Oh.

So we drove 23 miles home, in the rain, glumly, with a bored, tired and screaming baby.

And the next morning we got up and drove 23 miles, in the rain, back to Moreton. I delivered the two cakes – making sure that no-one actually saw me and my less-than-appealing victoria sandwich together – and then I had a bad attack of OMG-it-will-poison-the-judge-paranoia, and didn’t enter my pot of alleged jam after all. I really couldn’t see the point. 

We then carried on to Oxford and had a wander about, in the rain, until lunchtime. I have been hankering to visit Christ Church college for ages, but I still didn’t get further than the entrance,

 

as the place is apparently liberally strewn with steep steps and supposedly swallows pushchairs whole. Harry would have been delighted to jettison the hated vehicle – in which he writhed and struggled and grizzled for most of the day – and continue scurrying forward on his hands and knees, but the bulldog in the bowler hat didn’t look too keen. So we carted Harry off to a distinctly inferior cafe where he insisted upon cruising noisily among the chairs, patting either the empty seats or the occupants’ bottoms. He instantly adopted his accustomed strychnined-starfish stance

 

(with added helping of aggrieved roars) when attempts were made either to limit the scope of his marauding, or sit him on our laps. Our bill, unsurprisingly, appeared promptly, without us having to summon it.

After another 30 minutes of strolling, in intermittent rain, among the shops, Harry’s crescendo of tired howls and wriggles were becoming aggravating, so we bunged him into the car (Immediate snores! But why? They’re both moving chairs with a view!) and headed back, in heavy rain, to Moreton.

Now, I had, admittedly, rather been pinning my rosette hopes on the decorated cake. I usually do fairly well in the photography, and have won the odd edible class before, but the cake decorating was a brand new class this year and therefore I had vaguely thought that I’d be the only one to make an effort with it.

Now, although it’s pretty enough, because I know what this cake was supposed to turn out like, I can see plenty of things wrong with it. The thing was, you see… so could the judge. Because I didn’t win. I didn’t come second, either. Or third. Oh… erm… bugger. That’s disappointing, then.

This came first. There’s a lot of work here – and an awful lot of plasticine, too. I think there is an actual cake under there somewhere. But I’m not sure.

This came second – and I really do like this cake. I don’t actually mind losing to this one. The waves were rather cool.

And this came third.

I was a bit miffed about this one. I mean, yes, it has a extremely nicely-done foliage spray, very seasonal, yes, because summer’s well and truly fucked right off for this year now, and the ribbon matched, and the icing was nice and smooth, yes… but… but… mine took longer! and… and… and… I didn’t win! ANYTHING! They took my trusty photo classes away! I had to win this class just to win anything at all! And I didn’t! And… but… and… but…

We edged past the throngs of elderly battleaxes bastions of the WI, toward the Victoria sponges. I was expecting no accolades here, which was useful, because there weren’t any. Hubby amused himself by by picking mine out whilst still at a distance simply from my description – dark and flat. Meh.

Anyhoo, after a few minutes of moping and a jutting lower lip, I totally got a life, and went for a wander around the children’s exhibits on the ground floor. We liked this particular dude

and this chap deserved his first place, I felt.

We had 40 minutes to go before we could take my abject failures home and Harry was getting totally fed up of being carried in Hubby’s arms, so we scuttled across the – rainy – road to an adjacent hotel. The lounge to this place was a oasis of peace and tranquility – until we fetched up in it. The couple who had been blissfully ensconced in two squashy wells of leather comfort huddled deeper into their newspapers, and attempted to blot us out. I felt for them, as that once was me. But now, I am the inflicter of a litany of Child. Oh yes.

Harry sweetheart, don’t pull on the newspaper stand, it’ll… oh. Oh dear. Never mind, sit on Mummy’s lap and Mummy kiss it better. You want to get down now? Ouch. You really don’t have to hit Mummy in the boob, Harry. Pull that chair around, John, so he can cruise about in a circle. Oh, he can pull it about himself! Strong baby! Yes, it doesmake a good scrapey noise, doesn’t it? No, it won’t go any further, darling, you’ve pushed it nearly up against that gentleman’s… NO, Harry! I do apologise, has he spilt it? Come here, Harry. That’s right, stand by Daddy’s chair. Yes, those are Daddy’s laces, you like undoing those, don’t you? No, don’t let him crawl under… oh, he’s gone already. Give him my handbag to play with, but can you just pull that zip closed… oh God, he’s got my tampons out. Stop him, John, before he rips the paper off. He can have the car keys instead… yes they make a nice noise, don’t they, sweetie? Maybe you could play a little quieter with them, though? Careful now, don’t… oh crap, has he bent the ignition key? Oh, coffee, lovely, thank you. Yes, he’s into everything, isn’t he? He’s just at that age! Oh, biscuits too, fabulous. John, look out for your plate, he’s after your… ah. Yes, you’ve lost that. It’s a bit chobbly for him, maybe he’d better have a baby rusk instead… give it back, Harry, Mummy has a yummy rusk here for you… no, no… give it back… no… swopsies, Harry, look… nice rusk… no… Ouch! Fine, keep the biscuit then. Get off, you bugger, those are mine, you shouldn’t have let the boy steal yours. Oh, don’t drop it, you silly boy. Look, it’s rolled over here. No, no, Mummy doesn’t want it back now, it’s all wet and stic… can you pass the napkin, please? Thanks. What’s he found under that chair? Has he put it in his mouth? Harry! Harry! Quick, if you stand by the armchair I’ll corner him by the fireplace. Has he bit you? Again? Yes, but has he spat anything out? Oh. Well, he’s swallowed it then. Look, he’s sat still now, maybe he’d sit on your lap for a little bit… No, Harry, you can’t have Daddy’s coffee. Hot, burn, bad! Grrrr! Play with Daddy’s biscuit wrapper, look. What’s the matter? Oh. Really?  Umm. That’s why he sat still to concentrate, then. It can’t smell that bad, surely? Well, put him back down, then, I’ll find somewhere to change him as soon as I’ve drunk my… is that a new biscuit he’s got, or the one that went on the floor? Oh, actually, it doesn’t matter, he’s just rubbing it into the floorboards. Yes, Harry, that’s some very good babbling. Quite loud babbling, too. Don’t pull at your nappy, sweetie, it only makes things worse. Mummy knows you’re excited about your biscuit crumbs, yes. Don’t squeak quite so loud, darling. God, it does smell, doesn’t it? Maybe I’d better…Oh! You’ve brought our bill over. Thanks, that’s very kind…

Saturation

The very talented Helen at Everyday Stranger expressed the definitive opinion to have about Summer 2008. ‘Our English summer this year – like last year – has sucked a clown’s balls.’ 

And it has. It really, really has.

The combine and grain trailers keep getting stuck in the sodding mud.

We can’t even attempt some fields because, although not precipitous in themselves, they are too steep to negotiate on slippy ground. Combines are not excessively stable machines.

 

Hubby cheerfully announced last night that at one point he’d been sliding, sideways, toward the brook, in the dark. Arrghhh.

The grain itself is partially buggered where it has begun to chit where it stands. It is most unlikely that many of you will be munching bread or biscuits from Hairy Farmer flour this year. We have hundreds of tons of wet wheat backlogging up and the dryer takes about two hours to dry nine tons. Keeping wet and dry separate has meant we are essentially out of grainshed space. The dryer is a thirsty beast and has consumed thousands of pounds worth of fuel in short order.

Every time I stick my nose out of doors, in hopeful expectation of a baking evening walk through the golden straw stubble, the wintry blast sends me rapidly back inside. The leaves started falling off the bloody trees a week ago, FFS. It’s never been so damn soggy! This is the second year I have been deprived of my beloved harvest summer walks, and I’m properly pissed off about it.

I should point out that the above photos are courtesy of the thinly populated Farmers Weekly ‘Wreckers Yard’. No actual Hairy Farmer disasters have ever been caught on film, aside from the barn fire that I was able to surreptitiously snap from the safety of the house. 

You see, it is Not Done in agriculture to immortalise your little wee accidents. Publicity is shunned. For instance, Hairy Hubby has torched at least one combine and one loadall that I can think of – although most farmers have toasted something at some point, as oil and straw and electrics are a tricky combination. He has also reversed a combine into a landrover, mightily wounding its cosmetic appearance. Now, I’m pretty sure this is not actually his full charge sheet, yet my polite enquiries for more details have just been met with inarticulate grunts and whingey tired sounds. He does not sound keen to share with you, I’m afraid. After all – there may be (gulp) another farmer reading.

Perhaps this would make more sense if I tell you that farmers take a jubilant, elated, prurient pleasure in each other’s little disasters. They will travel miles – miles – to look at another farmer’s calamity. It’s often the highlight of their year.

The hedge margins of the field by my parents’ house were once sprayed for weeds, but the chap accidentally had the nozzles along the whole sprayer boom open, instead of just the very tip. Consequently, a decorative ten-metre strip of dying yellow wheat was shortly to be seen around the entire field. I’m telling you, they came from three counties away to laugh. They parked up on the verge in their dozens. They virtually blocked Mum and Dad’s drive. And dear God, they looked happy. Farming doesn’t get sweeter than when you’re leaning over a gateway, gazing enchantedly at someone else’s mistake.

Burning machinery is slightly less of an embarrassment, consisting as it does of a hefty helping of bad luck rather than ineptitude, but nevertheless, it is still indubitably farmer-porn. We are privileged in our view here at Hairy Farmer House, and Hubby is occasionally able to spy an interesting inferno or a curious column of smoke and pile hurriedly into his car in time to be in at the actual death. He has also been known to drive randomly round the countryside late into the evening on the strength of a rumour coming through on the jungle drums that somewhere, a piece of machinery is meeting its fiery end.

Even a motionless tractor minus its operator in the middle of a field is sufficient cause to anchor up, and back up to the gateway for a closer look. ‘He’s stopped right in the middle of the row, look! He’s broken down! God, you’d think he’d have tried to make it back to the headland at least.’

So: you do not precisely broadcastyour little debâcles. Not that it matters: truth will out, and the word of your adversity will hit the village sooner or later. So if you are, say, a HFF Wifey who is pretty out of practice at driving tractors, there’s plenty of pressure not to balls it up. I avoided grain carting last year (childbirth) and this year (small appendage to look after) yet I feel that over the coming month there will be polite pressure to park the youngster with my mother and get on a tractor for a few hours. I haven’t driven one for two years, so with that and the mud, it could be compelling viewing for spectators. If I fuck up in high style, I will endeavour to quietly capture it on film. Even if Hubby shakes me down for proper cameras, he can’t confiscate my mobile phone: I shall inevitably need it to call for help when I get stuck in the sticky stuff.

If you are out there basking in record sunshine, please don’t tell me about it. I am obliged to remain here, sodden. I cannot transmigrate to where you are instead. I must learn to like our global warming.

[shivers]

Blind Baking

My chaps are both loaded with cold and acutely miserable. They have both demanded, in their distinctly individual ways, Extra Boob as a comfort. Harry’s snot is flowing so unstoppably that I have been reminded of a greenly mucosal magic porridge pot; right up until he lies down to sleep, whereupon it promptly mutates into superglue and chokes him. The poor lad is so hoarse he cannot cry loudly enough to make himself heard in the next room; whilst I can feel the first ominous tightening of my own throat. Arghh.

John has managed to combine a few acres today, although it’s now pissing stair rods, so that’s him done for the week. I pounced on his wrist with a loud cry of triumph yesterday, ripping back the sleeve despite his yammering protests, to reveal the first unmistakable blotches of the harvest-stress eczema he repeatedly attempts to deny he suffers from. Hah!

I must scuttle off to tend and succour, but I will leave you firstly with a photo of the cake I made for my friend’s 30th on Saturday, which I was not entirely displeased with. Cough. Dunno why I don’t just come straight out with it and jump up and down clamouring Praise me! Praise me! Praise me more!

I also want to share with anyone who has had a cake Gone Bad (and do post some links if you have immortalised your special culinary moment) this wonderful site. I have had my baking disasters (aesthetic and poisonous) in the past, but these… these are truly awesome.

Hairy Hubby Hardships

The Hairy Hubby has been an anxious chap of late. Unless you knew him particularly well, you’d never notice much of a change, but the fact that his teeth have been grinding noisily in his sleep again is a sure sign A) of worry and B) of an imminent bruised shin.

He has spoken undeniably harsh, defamatory words about his straw chopper, although he had the decency to keep it within the family. I usually take the piss mercilessly about failing machinery, but I keep quiet in August. I slide cool cans of beer into his lunch box, make him sandwiches – nice sandwiches, with proper layers and everything – and drive out to the field with the munchables, where I warmly commend his superb progress if the combine is moving (even at a crawl), and silently hand him spanners if it has ground to a halt in disgrace, whilst radiating meek helpfulness. I do not, uncharacteristically, offer advice. I sometimes even pat his hand. Nevertheless, soon he will acquire the harvest eczema that he stoutly refuses to admit is stress-related, and yet appears every August and lasts until October. The spot price of wheat has become a daily talking-point.

This all tends to happen every year, even when it isn’t pissing down with rain. Last year he had to contend with both a baby in NICU and unbelievably soggy weather – ridiculously, the combine was losing traction and wheelspinning in the bloody mud – so naturally, his immune system decided to really play silly buggers and promptly sent along a truly horrific dose of Vincent’s Disease. The hubby-gums had never previously ailed a thing: drunken dentists and two smashed-out-by-hockey-ball teeth notwithstanding. So, it was a surprise to their conscientiously brushing owner when they suddenly developed trench mouth, rendering him completely unable to eat and almost unable to drink. He struggled on manfully for 10 days or so, losing a stone in weight, and getting bugger-all spare sympathy from me, as Harry was not doing so well in special care at that point. Combining all finished, he even got as far as attending a family funeral one afternoon, although the stoic effect was spoiled slightly when he passed out with a thump from dehydration during the final hymn.

So: last year was a right sod. This year, by default, is likely to be a significant improvement.

However.

It has rained for… well, just about forever. The combine is sinking into the wretched mud again, when the ground should be iron-hard. The weather forecast for the next five days is biblical. Hubby will be sheltering disconsolately in his workshop from the rain, staring wistfully at his combine and empty grain stores. And even if he does eventually manage to rev his way out into the paddy fields – around September, the way things are going – the price of grain is sinking lower and lower, and the price of fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides, fuel (in fact, everything you need to run a farm) have all gone astrofuckingnomic. And the wife just won’t stop spending money! 

In fact, I think the only thing that would cheer him up currently is either lots of sex, or finding a prominent anoraked-up member of the local rambler’s association with one boot fractionally off the footpath, fully entitling Hubby to deliver both barrels of his 12 bore into said rambler’s arse with complete impunity. Or so he says.

I may go and move some signs.

The Big One

They came. They went. The house survived. So did our marriage, although it hit an all-time low about an hour before kick-off. My mother, who had done sterling, above-call-of-duty work all day with Harry (who opened his eyes yesterday in an absolute turd of a mood), successfully mediated a reconciliation by nervously proffering coronation chicken sandwiches. Bless her.

Even across three large rooms, we were a bit crowded, as despite the eventual sunshine (FFS!), the breeze on Hairy Farmer Hill was rather too brisk for outdoor partying. Harry spent most of the party alone on his new favourite toy: The Stairs. He has unfortunately sussed the downstairs geography now, and on Monday I will be buying another baby gate. Like a tiny yet intrepid mountaineer, he clambers industriously from step to step, patting each stair as he reaches it, stopping frequently to grasp and shake the bannisters whilst peering delightedly at how far he has come. The attractions of an inflatable castle and lots of little friends paled in comparison to the opportunity for mighty climbing conquests.

Where is the cake? I hear you cry. Weeell, not my finest hour.

The carriages look ok, but for some reason I panicked and decided that they were too dry without a filling, so I added a chocolate sponge layered embankment at the last minute, and rather spoilt it. Everyone took a carriage home, so I will make him another for tomorrow afternoon. One with, like, his name on. Yep… managed to forget that element first time around! I bought a funky sparkler ‘1’ candle, but I’ve lost it. It’ll turn up in time for his tenth, I expect.

In all, we had a lovely day. I am doing the same again with older friends and family tomorrow, although far lower key.

It is nearly 10.30pm, and a year ago today I was probably just about getting my chops around some lovely gas and air. I’d arrived on the labour ward at 7pm in increasing pain, but with a uterus that disobligingly stayed soft at the top during my contractions, fooling Drs and sensor pads alike. There had been muttering about appendicitis and paracetamol, but when John eventually fetched the staff out of the shift-change meeting at 10pm to tell them I had now taken up moaning residence on the floor, someone put a glove on and had a look the old-fashioned way.

Harry was born blue, with the cord wrapped twice around his neck at 1.18am on the 3rd August. The labour was joyful, in a strange way. My body performed. There was pain, a very short period of agony, then a culmination, and then a great sense of wonder; that was all how childbirth is supposed to be. And then my baby disappeared.

This was taken in his first hour of life, by a nurse with an under-performing camera. The smudging is where I later spilt water on the polaroid whilst trying to juggle a breast pump, the photos, and a glass of water. God alone knows why I was looking at these whilst pumping, they only ever made me freeze in fear and sob endlessly. His eye is open a tiny bit, and I was so mortally upset and afraid that he was in pain.

One year on, and I cannot say that I am over the appalling trauma of his birth and first few days of life. The distress still floats to the surface extremely easily, along with stomach-twisting flashbacks. I actually feel that I will never fully recover from his arrival.

But dear God, it’s worth it. And I shouldn’t complain. I would have died for my wonderful, precious son then, and I would a million times over now.

Happy Birthday, Harry!

Mummy loves you.

Woe!

I am going to tell you about the things that are pissing me off. I intend to enumerate all my anguished trivialities, so feel free to skip this one and come back another day when I’m chirpier.

I have been immovably stuck on 14st4 for nearly two weeks, despite being very restrained, and really had my heart very much set on being 13st-something for Harry’s birthday. I felt as if the psychological boost might make me more inclined to actually be photographed with my son, and I would love a nice photo of the two of us together. I think there’s only about 6 photos of us both in existence. There are no photos at all of the three of us together, because that would mean ceding power of image-capture to a fourth person.

This last week I’ve tried so hard. I’ve been so good. I’ve skipped my main meal three times in favour of bloody weetabix; in fact, I’ve cut my food intake quite ridiculously low. On Saturday and Sunday I sweated like a navvy, wielding a blunt spade on unyielding clay. I got on the scales last night to find I was a pound heavier. I’ve got on them again several times today, just in case there was some dreadful mistake, but no. I haven’t been this savagely angry with my body since it was persistently refusing to either downregulate, ovulate, conceive, or stop killing babies. I have cried about my weight 3 times today, and might not be finished yet.

Not only has cutting down on my food intake failed miserably to shift a single ounce, it became apparent this morning that my boobs were sagging limply like a pair of empty sacks: I’d been so intent on eating less that I forgot to consider my milk supply. Poor Harry was thirsty, and sucking so hard that he had hollow cheeks. This is not my intended weaning strategy, and the thought of my only-barely-on-his-growth-chart-line son not getting his vital milk because I’ve been a stupid twat, is upsetting me. I am now awash with the copious liquid and rather more substantial spag bol I have eaten.

The current Met Office forecast over our house for Friday:

Date Time Weather  Temp  Wind Visibility
Fri
1
Aug
Day Heavy Rain Shower 23°C SSW 13 mph   Poor
Night Heavy Rain Shower 15°C SW 12 mph   Poor

Only their symbol for tropical storms has more raindrops. The garden party is obviously a washout, so I will therefore have invited 20 babies and 18 mothers into my lounge. Imagine how pleased I am with myself.

The EWCM that I mentioned a few posts back? What a waste of some perfectly good soul-searching. I started spotting a day or so later, and things are now working – very slowly – up into a proper period. The length of intro is highly suggestive that here is another 70-day humdinger of a bleed.

Whilst finishing the black-out blind for Harry’s room – he will move to his nursery soon – late on Saturday night, I managed to get about a dozen glass fibre splinters into my fingers, and both my thumbs. Seriously, who was the moron who decided to make the rods for roman blinds out of glass fibre? Bring me his freshly-severed head. I wish to stick pins in it.

My ezcema has flared up wildly since the weekend, and I have a particularly irritating rash developed under my (aforementioned sacklike and sagging) boobs. I look so classy when I scratch it. 

I have to haul Harry and myself into town early tomorrow, along with the appalling rush-hour traffic, in order for the optician to peer at my left eye. I appear to have some sort of bacterial nasty living in there, as my monthly-wear contacts are becoming fogged with immovable cloudy deposit shortly after insertion. I suspect he will send me on to our GP, who will do nothing.

It is the kind of day that would, in times gone past, have sent me to bed in disgust with a good book and a plate piled high with nice things, in search of some perspective. Except it’s hotter than Hades here tonight and the bedroom is absurdly stuffy. The plate of nice things A) would not solve my misery, rather the reverse, and B) are non-fucking-existent because I purged the cupboards weeks ago of anything illicit. (I did, however, eye up the cooking chocolate I have bought for Harry’s birthday cake.) And there’s still a baby sleeping in our room who has the hearing of a sodding spaniel if you open that tasty pack of crisps I haven’t bloody got.

Quite a few people love me and, to the best of my belief, no-one hates me, but I am still going down the garden to eat some worms. I hear they’re low on fat.

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