Yawn

It’s 3am and I have been driven from my bed by my usual demons: a tormenting mixture of insomnia and recurrent waking nightmare-type things, in which I invariably end up cradling my dead son. It appears that my years of infertility, miscarriages, eventual knife-edge pregnancy, NICU and possession of an over-developed imagination have left me a tad prone to anxiety and disproportionate existential dread. Quelle surprise.

Between 1am and 2.30am I tried, although not concurrently, sex and sobbing; both were entirely satisfactory in their way but ultimately not helpful, so I’ve left Hubby in peace and sought solace downstairs in a large mug of sweet tea, twinkly fairy lights, and eBay retail therapy. If I look like I feel, then be really, really thankful I don’t have a webcam to scare you with.

Harry was curled peacefully in his cot when I came downstairs, undisputed King of the jumbled heap of soft toys he has carefully amassed before falling asleep over the top of them. I am so happy to say that his tantrums have markedly reduced this month – (fortuitously, as I elicited this week that the paediatric psychology service A) lost his referral and B) said he was too young to be referred there in any case. I have left his Paediatrician’s secretary chewing on that particular problem. I also have days when I think know that if I didn’t, de facto, administrate his medical paperwork myself, we’d never even have made it out of the blasted maternity unit.)

Harry has started to (potentous intake of breath) play with other children. I first noticed this about 4 weeks ago when I saw him chase, giggling, after some older girls at the soft-play barn. I smiled. Then he began playing alongside other toddlers at playgroups without always resorting to his usual unpredictable wild aggression if they so much as looked at his toy or stood too close – although I’ve been careful not to take him out tired or peckish. Yesterday afternoon we hosted 8 children aged 7 years to 7 weeks for a playdate and I was fully expecting the usual toddler rodeo. Mind you, I always quietly sympathise with his indignation: if someone who I only vaguely recognised walked into my house and promptly started rifling through my stuff, there would be kicked arses ere long.

Harry was… angelic. Simply and wonderfully angelic. He took the hands of the other children and led them toward his toys. He gave them enthusiastic bear hugs. When I saw him take toys from other children, he handed them back obediently when I asked him to. By 5pm I was sat in a bemused heap on the floor, staring in wonder at my son – who admittedly was just beginning to turn a little tired and tetchy over his toys, but entirely within normal parameters for 28 months – while behind me, two of his peers squabbled loudly over a tractor. It felt wonderful to be able to tell John when he got home that Harry had been so fabulously good; I simply couldn’t praise him enough. He had even shared his absolute favourite toy: perching as a contented, albeit wobbly, passenger, whilst F (a month older and 50th centile for height, to give you some scale…) piloted him jerkily around the dining room.

It’s now 4am: the cheeky fucking laptop has just shut itself down without consulting me in order to install updates. I went to the kitchen in a huff, made another cup of tea, took a couple of paracetamol, and bid on a jumper. This insight into my insomnia will probably cure yours.

John’s snores are audible from here  – and likely in the next village along, too. The man deserves his rest; he will doubtless end up picking up the slack in the morning when it’s nearly time get Harry in the car and I am once again too wiped out by my own insomnia to have actually successfully dressed or fed our child. John managed to rip a muscle playing hockey yesterday – he is also the possessor of several flesh-wound scars and the conspicuous non-possessor of a number of teeth due to playing this sport for Stratford with entirely too much gusto and a fair dollop of accident-prone-ness. Instead of tearing down into his groin it has, more unusually, torn up into his abdomen. He can hobble about ok, but only has limited use of one leg. Our wonderful and kind GP neighbour, a sports injury specialist, has told him to take it bloody easy for 10 days and then start Pilates. If that doesn’t mend it: it’s a surgical job. Which is a bit of a shit, really, because John will be utterly incapable of taking it easy at work; at home I can barely shift the bugger off the sofa, but his farming ethic is fairly demented.

I am first in the queue for abdominal surgery, at any rate. He’ll just have to wait his bloody turn.

The last two months have inexorably reduced me (alas! not in literal size) to a limp, slack-jawed slattern with a monumental headache. Today was the last day I’m working before Christmas; I now merely have a house in acute domestic disarray to sort out while maintaining Harry’s weekly schedule of nursery and play groups: now with an extra sprinkling of Christmas parties to add to the chaos.

Apropos: the adage about never working with children or animals? True.

Last year’s outfit… no longer appears to be a fitting option for this year.

Wiping his nose with a Christmas Pudding hat. Really.

Ran off to play peepo.

Having a crisis of confidence regarding his motivation for playing this reindeer.

I rest my case!

5.20am and the main road outside is starting to get busy.

Will try another go at this sleeping business.

Today’s The Day The Teddy Bears Have Their Black Mass

*taps microphone uncertainly*

Is this thing on?

*shades eyes and peers out into the dark*

Umm… Hi.

This… blogging thing. It goes like – how?

I left you with rather odd anatomical news (from me! What a … a non surprise!) a fortnight ago and promptly vanished.

Well, I can tell you where I disappeared to, at least. Up my own arse.

Selling – as I do – cards, the run-up to Christmas is the year’s main opportunity to push a hapless fiscal peasant off the Hairy sledge as a temporary sop to the ravening taxman; consequently I have been farming Harry off nearly every day to… whoever puts up least sales resistance to acquiring him, really –  and lugging self and stock around all sorts of Christmas fairs/fayres/markets/bazaars/whatever. In fact, if it has stood still in my vicinity during the month of November, I have attempted to sell it an advent calendar.

Then I had an order for a birthday cake for a friend’s son, which I knew very well would mean giving the midnight oil a bit of stick. And then I had another order, for a baptism cake – which I said Yes to without finding out when they wanted it, and… yeah. The same day. Arsefeck.

Well, everything got done – including my back. The order book looks ok and so did the cakes, despite being created mainly between 10pm and 2am over a number of days.

I did have a pure and priceless double-take at the moment I realised I had unwittingly sat the silver baptism teddy bear smack in the middle of a pentagram.

I think ungluing the top offending white dot in question – they were perfectly aligned – and spinning the bear around 180 to face a less satanic direction was when I eventually decided wine just wasn’t cutting it and went in search of the good whisky to settle nerves/tummy/hysterical giggling.

So… I have been reading – mainly whilst bolting a hastily prepared sandwich at (entirely unwise) speed – but you’ve been tragically deprived of my scintillating pearls of commentation wisdom. waffle. Sorry ’bout that.

Which brings me obliquely to my tummy issues. My GP got so distracted by my different heart that he rather lost sight of the, well, you know, the pain, so I bent the ear of the Delightful GP Next Door instead when he made the grave social mistake of walking to our house, in the dark, through a howling storm, in order to make us a present of a pair of tickets to see Worcester Warriors at home. Because when you are an extremely nice chap and the senior partner with a large practice as well as having an entire rugby team to doctor, you thoroughly enjoy having your leisure time taken up with your neighbour’s health problems.

Anyhow, cutting to the chase, I trialled upping my dose of proton pump inhibitors to Industrial for a fortnight before stopping them completely, working on the hypothesis that the pain is either oesophageal spasms or a flourishing ulcer. I haven’t had a crawl-about-the-floor episode for three weeks, although I have been nauseous, sharply stomach-achey after food, diarrhoeay and generally Not Right. I had cut out my beloved diet coke but succumbed to a can yesterday teatime and this morning, sure enough, I faintly felt That Pain waiting in the wings. I am now suspecting Acid as te culprit.

I had thought that we might kill two birds with one stone there, as the military base guide had recommended a trunk CT scan to see what the hell else isn’t where it should be, but my GP opined that that was a hefty old dose of radiation to subject me to when everything actually appears to be working ok (although I think he and I are working on rather different given values of ‘OK’ currently), and sent me for a chest x-ray yesterday instead. Which I… kind of agree with. If it was someone else, I’d be nodding sagely and concurring that a body CT was overkill. As it’s me, I’ve taken to lying awake and Wondering. I’m pretty fucking hopeless at seeing a string and not giving it a tiiiny wee tug; I don’t know what the blithering hell is abnormal in there and it’s bugging me.

The x-ray – when the NHS gets around to interpreting it – will nail down what form of cardiac weirdness I have, but I’ve taken to thinking that the strange arrangement of veins and arteries might explain why my right uterus seemingly has such a poor blood supply. I am keen to see how my reproductive consultant takes the news that my uterine artery is probably fed from somewhere anatomically peculiar. My counsellor cannily described her as ‘from London. They do things differently there…’ And so they do: she is evidently the active-management type (we like that) and likely to order pre-laparoscopy abdominal investigations on her own account. We shall see.

This little lot’s playing on my mind, people.

And… Harry’s had a miserable cold; I’ve spent the last two nights mostly on the downstairs sofa trying to prop up and placate the poorly little sufferer, and listening to his TB-like cough, although it’s subsided today and I’m desperately hoping for a uninterrupted night. I always know when Harry is feeling horribly unwell: he’s so tetchy and miserable he swats the Calpol spoon out of the air and refuses to entertain the notion of that bloody pink stuff coming anywhere near him. When he’s feeling better – and thus, in no need of it – he swallows it like a lamb.

Yep, that’s another black eye, right enough – acquired at nursery, this time. And note that my tiny potentate has managed, despite his discomfort, to retain a vice-like grip on the remote.

He’s such a total chap.

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