A Bargain Assortment of Bads and Goods

I’m sat here deciding whether to compare myself to a busy bee, an army ant or a blue-arsed fly. Whatever. You get the picture: me, insect, scary hybrid, yes?

My exoskeleton bum has not touched the ground much. I have actually got going properly with my cards since returning from that thing I loosely termed a holiday, and have finally turned over my first thousand quid. This is money I can keep all to myself!  must share with the Inland Revenue  must give to John, who pays my credit card  must use to pay Harry’s nursery fees will never actually see, but it’s highly satisfying to have my own funds in my wallet, nevertheless. John keeps asking hopefully when he can retire.

Tomorrow afternoon we are off to hear how desperate – or not – my FSH levels and all my other assorted bloodwork gubbins are. I am taking my ultrasound report: the bad one. I think it’ll either be cameras or knives next. Bring ’em on.

Harry has passed his exams, bought a car, left home and got married since I last posted. Or… something very much approximating to it, anyway.

I have explained here before that Harry, in addition to a walloping great speech delay, has a further communication block with the concept of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. He can’t say the words, does not understand what nodding means, and has only recently begun to shake his head occasionally, when he wants to emphatically and imperiously reject something actually being physically held out towards him.

Over the last couple of weeks John and I both felt that his understanding had moved up a gear; that, in subtle and indefinable ways, he was much more au courant with our conversations and activities. On a hunch, I crouched in front of him last Sunday evening, gained his eye contact and spoke up clearly:

‘Harry! Yes or No? Would you like an ice cream?’

‘DJESS!’

Cue much, much jollity. I wasn’t sure he’d do it again, but he has, he has, he totally bloody well has, every day since, although not quite yet every time. Sometimes the word isn’t recognisably a ‘yes’ – it can default to ‘dat!’ or ‘giss!’ but that’s not so important in the scheme of things. Even more encouragingly, a day or so afterwards he began to shake his head in response to spoken concept choices. Predictably, the first instance of his demonstrating this was our asking him if he would like to go to bed; there was an icy, considering stare, followed by a determined shake. He promptly slithered off the sofa and beetled off at high speed to hide in the kitchen. John and I laughed like a pair of blocked drains, and he did, in fact, buy himself another 20 minutes of play time with that shake.

This is, obviously, several different and fetching shades of Complete Awesomeness.

He is still dribbling buckets and has his fingers permanently jammed in his mouth. I was convinced the dribble must be low muscle tone until I peered inside his mouth during naptime earlier today and found that 2 of his secondary molars were erupted – and obviously have been for quite a while – and the two remaining baby teeth are bulging at bright red and white gums. That’d be a Maternal Observation for Dummies: Module One FAIL, then. 

I also spotted that this peculiarly yellow, calciferous-looking tooth

Harry tooth

harry tooth 2

has not improved any since the last time I had a squint at it. The rest are all pearly white and smooth, but this one popped out of the gum bright yellow and obviously has something strange going on. I know enamel irregularities are rather more common amongst premature children, but I don’t like the look of it  – or the sides of his rear tongue – much. I don’t expect it’s significant, but I’ll show it his Paed in any event.

What else? Ah, yes, physio. I wrote a stinking email to the head of Paediatric Physiotherapy, challenging their refusal to treat Harry if I supplemented his treatment with private care; I mentioned in passing his other professional care input. She rang me back to apologise for the ‘miscommunication’ and freely admitted she had not prioritised Harry: his Paediatrician’s referral had made no mention of the fact he also recieved Speech Therapy and Portage from the multi-disciplinary team, merely that his parents had concerns regarding his mobility. I knew this to be perfectly true – I have a copy of the referral – but I rather thought the fact that they do all work for the Integrated Disability Service was significant. She explained that the involvement of other professionals generally rang warning bells for them, and that Harry would now be seen within a fortnight. Result. Of course, if I had listened to John and asked Harry’s Portage key worker to hurry the physio referral along on our behalf, he’d have been seen a month or more ago. My bad.

In an entirely different Not Listening to Hubby (My Bad) episode: my friend had a old summerhouse she wanted rid of, which was the precise size and dimensions that I have been hankering after and scouring Ebay unsuccessfully for. We agreed on giving her £20 for it, and I booked Hubby + trailer + strong right arm to come and dismantle it from her garden last Wednesday.

John was dubious about the whole idea, and said so. He was excessively mentally scarred during a dilapidated greenhouse dismantle-and-reassemble project that his Mother talked him into, a decade or so back. John’s unprecedentedly savage response to the absolute piglet job she had landed him with (some of his muttering was, apparently and unusually, actually audible and decipherable) has remained the talk of the family ever since, and he has entered a firm nolle prosequi to assorted proposals of garden buildings removal ever since. I have, however, been banging on relentlessly about wanting a summerhouse for a couple of years, and we haven’t been able to afford so much as a dog kennel, so he cautiously agreed.

Readers, he was nasty to me when he saw it. Admittedly, it was rather more rotten than I realised and the roof was larger than the estimations I had given him by a factor of roughly 350%. He attacked it brutally with a crowbar, ignoring my yammering protests when aesthetic or vital bits splintered and ricocheted off in all directions. I kept a low profile for the rest of the day. I have no idea where it currently is: John drove down to the farm with an expression that indicated the only place he was considering parking the trailer was by the burning heap. I haven’t asked after its fate.

The day after that, John and I managed to miscommunicate badly, with the net result that he thought I was aware he had left Harry downstairs watching TV, and I was in the shower thinking Harry had gone with John to the farm. After 30 minutes of blissful leg-shaving-hair-drying-toenail-painting-me-time, during which I had been strangely puzzled by the odd thumps and bangs from (I presumed) our tortoise, given that we were supposedly alone together, I arrived downstairs to encounter – horrified – a totally naked small boy, a puddle of wee (these first two items are common encounters) a torn £50 note, a wallet emptied, plastic and coinage contents scattered to the winds, and a number of ‘don’t touch that, please, Harry!’ items where they shouldn’t have been. Our bad.

I have made jam.

The great jam massacre

Lots and lots and lots of jam, nearly all of it either under-or-over boiled. Damn you, £6 Lakeland jam-thermometer. Bloody thing. It tastes fine – I didn’t burn any of it this year, at least – but most of it needs bringing out of the jar with either a chisel or a spoon. I have 2kg of preserving sugar left, and probably ought to go and relieve the groaning trees of their plums – fnarr, fnarr – but I’m not sure I can face the inevitable jam carnage again.

I was going to do a post about dozens of things this week, and had time for none of them, but I want to write a little about about our local ploughing match, despite the fact that I was flustered (due to downstairs-alone-toddler) and took no camera – without which I can’t do the event justice. A shame, as it was held this year in fields perched high above the River Arrow valley with simply glorious views. There are proper, old-fashioned Bilbo-Baggins eleventy-first-party white marquees, built with huge centre poles and hemp-type guy ropes; men with ancient tractors roaring away industriously at their rich, dark, straw-scattered furrows 10 feet outside the marquees; the hedgelaying competitors turning a straggling, leggy length of centuries-old hedge into – well, I never quite understand how they judge hedgelaying sections, but it certainly looks neater when they’ve finished; the Shire horse pairs with their gleaming flanks, braided manes and tails, fluttering head plumes and polished show harness; the 100-year-old traction engine and threshing drum making an almighty racket as wiry old men feed armfuls of wheat into its maw, and honest-to-God agricultural types who turn up in tractors and battered 4x4s wearing a green-to-dun spectrum assortment of boiler suits, cotton checked shirts, boots, wellies, flat caps, waxed hats and Barbours, complete with a thick scattering of farmers’ wives, who bring splashes of pastels and bright pinks to the golden straw-stubbled field. There was a light breeze, scattered clouds, bright sun, a fresh smell of straw, liberally mixed with horse shit and tractor oil – and I was unusually and fabulously happy. I do love this event, even when it’s pissing down with rain. As I was, for the first time, working as opposed to visiting, I was inside a marquee selling cards with tractors on for most of the day, but I was by the door and could see over the main field and valley beyond. My Mum bought Harry along in the afternoon and he went potty with excitement over… just about everything. A good day. A really, really good day.

Speaking of which, Harry had a good time at nursery last week. I stayed with him for the Tuesday session, but he flew the nest alone on Thursday with barely a wobble when he saw I wasn’t staying. I bawled all the way home; he had a marvellous time. They are still getting used to his wobbles, and he came home with an – unmentioned – small red welt under his eye which later turned into a shiner, but that is unfortunately almost a bi-weekly event for Harry in any case. I’m not surprised they didn’t mention it, they won’t have noticed him do it. On Tuesday, I was asked by one of the junior staff if Harry’s tolerance to pain was ‘like, insanely high’?

Sigh. Oh, he feels it, all right, luv. He’s just used to it.

He’s off again tomorrow morning, and I have the unaccustomed luxury of deciding what particular household or business activity I want to apply myself to. Last Thursday I had an order for a birthday cake to keep me (very) busily employed (fun to do if you can spare the time, but hugely unprofitable unless you charge a small fortune – and absolute murder on your back) (the first person to tell me that the Union Jack is missing some bits gets a poke in the bloggy eye. It was late, I was tired, I was aching, and John is still blinking);

Suitcase cake 1

Suitcase cake 2

but tomorrow I am free to choose what I do in my toddler-free slot. 

Reading with your feet up is a household activity, surely?

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Idiosyncracies

  • There have been NO MORE LIP-SPLITTING ACCIDENTS SINCE MONDAY.
  • That sound you hear? Me touching lots and lots and lots of wood. Do not giggle.
  • Yesterday, I saw my counsellor. We discussed Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry and the Very Bad and Worrisome whole Wanting To Hurt My Own Preshus Self thing. Felt, as always, calmed and soothed afterwards. I am going back a little sooner than usual to explore ways of mentally embarking upon a journey towards a second (actually fifth, but you get my drift) pregnancy that does not leave me feeling guilt-racked – before we’ve even got going – about sentencing a fetus to an worryingly indeterminate stay inside my now proven Not-Exactly-Grade-A uteri.
  • Ethics of deliberately creating a life when you know very well that your faulty internal housing might choke it half to death and expel it early. Like, umm, last time. Dodging of bullets, etc. Discuss!
  • It came as a slight shock when she began to talk about which obstetrician I might usefully be referred to this time around, and mentioned that the Professor of Obstetrics at my regional hospital is a Riskiest-of-High-Risk-Pregnancies specialist. I am so used to being the only specialist on my idiosyncratic anatomy that I tend to think that I’m on my own with it. Which in many ways, I am, but I can’t deny that the prospect of buttonholing an eminent chap (I’ve googled the shit out of him already) who might manage me a little more aggressively this time around was… pleasant. If there is a next time, of course.
  • In related news, my period started Tuesday, exactly 2 hours after I wasted a pregnancy stick. This did not surprise me; not only did I have an unco-operative internal pH thing going on during my LH surge, we also missed the boat on the whole introduce-sperm-to-egg process. On the crucial evening John visited the pub with a mate and although he returned, as ever, keen as mustard to perform, this did not actually prevent him from rapidly falling unconscious asleep without having given of his all, so to speak. Given that I am far too fat to be even half-way comfortably pregnant currently, this was not a disappointment to me, but Hubby seemed displeased about it. I am currently having crampybastardshittyfuckcramps; they are obviously fighting for money in there again.
  • Hubby had, incidentally, got tipsy at the pub with an-embarking-on-divorce-proceedings pal, who is now sporting a brand new pierced ear, his first tattoo and a chunky studded belt. He has also just bought a motorbike, and is stoicly propping up the local pub bars chatting up the beer flossies. Bless the man.
  • I went to bed earlyish last night, exhausted and with racking period pain. I woke up at 2am having bled all over the sheet. Nice.
  • Apropos of the too-fat-for-pregnancy thing, I got on the scales last night, got into bed and promptly burst into tears. I have lost exactly nothing after more than a month of conscientious 3-times-a-week gym attendance. I am, admittedly, aware that I have not been eating at all healthily – a long succession of cakes and sinfully buttery-creamy meals I have cooked for friends – and that my thrice-weekly torture has actually prevented me from gaining the stone+ that I thoroughly deserved to, but still… depressing. I am eating up assisting John with the the last of his birthday cake

cake

and then The Diet begins. I am only 4lbs off my heaviest-ever-including-pregnancy weight.  This is dreadful.

  • Harry’s Speech and Language Therapist came on Tuesday, had some useful suggestions for us, and seemed pleased that Harry has acquired – intermittently – a second word last week: ‘Out!’ He uses it to demand release from his highchair, although often also reverts simply to his generic ‘Iss! Dis!’ while struggling frantically with the straps. (We are still getting plenty of excited ‘Gis!’ despite the fact that they totally made him cry when they honked and ran at him this week.) She is chasing the Integrated Disability Service – that’s how it looks in my head, by the way – again to come and assess him. 
  • I have a boil-type thing in my ear, and it’s making my life miserable, particularly when I’m trying to sleep on it. I can’t see what’s happening – although feeling plenty – so I asked John to take a peer inside, with a view to lancing anything that presented itself. He recoiled backwards, emitting loud ‘urrgggghs!’ Useless.
  • I have still not bought John the whisky he requested as a birthday present, because I can’t be bothered to drive, park, visit the big off-licence, and pay for it with his money whilst toting a grabby-mine-giveitme-wantit toddler. Bad Wifey.
  • Harry has had a waily evening so far, which is a good indicator that he is going to go on to have a disturbed and screamy night. I’m guessing he’s under the weather, possibly with a gripy belly. I am upset by the fact that he is statistically likely to be experiencing pain, nightmares or is scared of something and cannot communicate these things to us at all. It hurts to know he has a comfort need I can’t fill properly.
  • Why, why are there no hexagonal/octagonal used summer houses on Ebay, within 30 miles of here, that no-one apart from me is interested in bidding on? I want one NOW. TODAY. Kthx.
  • The tortoise desperately needs cleaning out; the chicks are also getting off-puttingly smelly and need shifting into bigger quarters in the garage. These are tomorrow’s tasks. I will also have the insanely-heavy-periods-sufferer perk of putting Harry into the creche at the gym for an hour in the morning as usual – and sitting downstairs with coffee and a book.
  • Small Yay! for menorrhagia.

Deep Sorriness Atonement Song

I am in what is colloquially known as Deep Domestic Wifey Shit.

Yesterday I tackled a DIY project. I had bought a rough-as-shit-but-looked-ok-in-the-photo dresser off Ebay, and decided that the only way forward with it – aside from firewood – was to paint it.

I borrowed Hubby’s beloved Leatherman to tackle some piddling little screws on the cupboard doors, and then for some reason known only to God, I placed said Leatherman on the nearby bonnet of my car when I had finished. It sat there quite happily, alongside the kitchen knife I had used to open the tin of paint – the correct designated tool for this type of job.

It sat there overnight, and all the next morning. It sat there when I leaped blithely into the driver’s seat and tooled off down the steep drive, although at that point the kitchen knife waved it a fond farewell. It sat there for nearly half a mile along the road, right up until the point where I had a crisis of confidence about the location of Harry’s stroller, and pulled quickly onto the roadside. As I braked, a sharp thump from underneath the car did make me pause for thought – I even had a glance round my tyres after I’d been to check in the back for the stroller.

But not until Hubby politely enquired où est? this afternoon did I start to have a nagging suspicion about what I might have done. I ‘fessed up the possibility, uneasily. He does love that Leatherman. We trailed outside, where the kitchen knife lying on the edge of the drive was a gleaming finger of accusation. I watched as he trudged all the way down the hill, peering hopefully into the long grass. Oh, it was sad. Only then did I remember the thump, and he drove grumpily off down the road on a search and retrieve.

Well, he found it.

  

Only two of the blades have snapped off completely.  I think it’s still operational, myself.

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