John the Weasel

At 2am this morning, m’lud, the defendant, on entirely his own initiative, did remove a screaming, howling, protesting toddler from the nursery, and introduce him into the parental bed. The young man in question, true to 9-times-out-of-10 form, did not go back to sleep, but proceeded to turn the night into a surrealist dozing twilight zone of frantic cuddles, kicks to the head, and intermittent outbreaks of deafening babble.

After a mere few minutes of this behaviour, m’lud, the defendant, taking blatant advantage of his partner’s semi-comatose state of pronounced tiredness, did sneakily quit the main bedroom, and conceal himself in the spare room for the remainder of the night. His defence, when interrogated in daylight by police incensed spouse, was that he felt ‘really quite sleepy’.

Said spouse endured above two semi-conscious hours of toddler torment, your honour, before snapping like a dry twig and ruthlessly inserting toddler back into the nursery, to the accompaniment of loud remonstration. She was very much hoping, m’lud, that her partner would, upon hearing the yammering and yowling, make an effort to return to the marital bed, as the young lad had, over the course of the night, managed to upset his entire sippy cup contents into his father’s side of the mattress.

The lady in question was unable to immediately return to sleep, even after the cessation of the ululation from the nursery, m’lud, because of a telling combination of profound irritation, moisture wicking, and what is colloquially known as ‘that fucking cockerel’ – which animal commenced its morning proceedings at 4.45am.

********

John has spent an appreciable proportion of today building Harry’s new climbing frame, and getting, intermittently, thoroughly pissed on.

Do not waste your sympathy on him, O people, for he has sinned.

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Death Of A Thousand Cuts

I was looking down the menu in the Italian restaurant last night, searching for a pasta dish. All I could see was pizza upon pizza; absolutely dozens of the buggers.

‘Not much fucking variety!’ I moped to myself, before vaguely looking around and noticing that there were a fair few Pizza Express signs. Above the door, for instance, and on the top of the menu.

I had a pizza.

Towards the end of the night the cramping ramped up, and I was unsurprised to find significantly increased amounts of bloodloss – God alone knows where from – when I got home shortly before midnight, to find John vicariously suffering from the pregnancy sleepies; he had to be prodded awake to hear my Pain! Blood! news – and duly provided me with warm feet and a cuddle, which was pretty much all I was after at that stage of the day.

Because most of my body definitely reckons it’s pregnant: my boobs ache, I can barely keep my eyes open, and I’m vaguely frisky. Very vaguely, John. Yesterday morning’s peestick – I am a neurotic and compulsive peesticker – was significantly darker than the one I photographed. This morning’s was somewhere between the previous two, but I’d downed an unaccustomed amount of fluid the night before.

I was absolutely horrible to Harry this morning. The poor little lad did nothing wrong except try to get my attention when I was half-awake and unhappy, and I was totally fucking rotten to him and pushed him away from me and called him a Name he doesn’t understand.

God help me. I sobbed and sobbed in shame. 

I have to do better than this. In fact, I hope I never sink so low again.

John came home at breakfast and enquired how I was. I don’t think the Pain! Blood! conversation sank in properly last night and he was quite sad when I explained it was going tits. He’s always had a better opinion of Cameron than I have, and he really rather wants another child.

I took Harry into town after breakfast to buy him a new book – an airport and aeroplanes one – and have his passport photos taken in a studio, after I wasted £4 in a booth yesterday trying to persuade a tray of snakes overtired toddler to stand still on the stool, don’t touch the curtain and look at the blank wall while Mummy kneels on the floor preventing topples.

Harry and I have no passports currently, a fact that disconcerted me enormously when my mother fell ill abroad recently. Running away somewhere is my stock reaction to miscarriage, and while we cannot afford a holiday in the slightest, I expect we might end up somewhere once John has finished lambing. This is assuming the cost of the preparations themselves do not bankrupt me. £8 in the photobooth. £7 for Harry’s studio shots. £77.50 to renew my passport. £49 for Harry’s first passport. £8 to have the Post Office check the documents. £3 to have them sent back on special delivery. Plus whatever it’ll cost to send the fat bastard envelope containing Harry’s birth certificate, our marriage certificate, photos, completed forms, and Uncle Tom Cobbley to them by special delivery in the first place.

Bah.

This evening, the pain has died down to a grumble and the blood loss has tailed off to a brown trickle again. My second, IVF  pregnancy stretched on for weeks, bleeding and cramping from very shortly after transfer, even growing as far as a normal 7 week-sized fetus, but without ever developing a heartbeat. I was off work for nearly 8 weeks with that one. I was a mess.

Do. Not. Want.

I know what I want. I want to be warm, magically 5 stone lighter, sat with a good book and a nice snack, on a balcony, looking down a Mediterranean hillside, watching the sea twinkle in the morning sunlight. There are fishing boats. John & Harry – who behaved impeccably on the plane – are somewhere stage left doing Fun Stuff, and laughter can be heard floating up the hill.

Freeze frame.

Silence of the Lamb

7.00pm         Mildly cold-ridden and utterly Exhausted Toddler goes to bed.

7.05pm         Exhausted Toddler rattles doorgate in token protest.

7.10pm         Exhausted Toddler sleeps

11.00pm        Ann goes to bed.

11.45pm        Ann sleeps

12.15am        John goes to bed. Wakes wife with gratuitous bottom-groping.

12.16am        John kicked by wife.

12.20am        Prevailing somnolence.

1.28am         Vixen arrives and takes up well-chosen acoustic position below the

                        bedroom windows. Cue yowling, shrieking, screaming, Unearthly Din.

1.29am        Theory that Ann’s thoughts are, in fact, unable to actually kill, is proved.

1.30am        Toddler Klaxon sounds loudly. Frightens away Unearthly Din vixen.

1.32am        John visits Klaxoning Toddler.

1.40am        John reads Aliens in Underpants to Clingy Toddler.

1.50am        John reads The Emperor’s New Clothes to Relaxed Toddler

2.00am        John reads The Gingerbread Man to Chatty Toddler

2.10am        John reads Paddington Takes A Bath to Bouncy Toddler

2.20am        John comes back to bed.

2.21am        Klaxoning Toddler.

2.55am        John icily invites Ann to visit Klaxoning Toddler.

3.00am        Ann visits Klaxoning Toddler.

3.10am        Ann unwinds Subsided Toddler from around her neck.

3.20am        Ann decants Protesting Toddler back into bed.

3.21am        Ann reads Aliens In Underpants to Clingy Toddler.

3.30am        Ann reads Brambly Hedge Spring Story to Suspicious Toddler.

3.40am        Ann reads Brambly Hedge Summer Story to Beady-Eyed Toddler.

3.50am        Ann reads Brambly Hedge Autumn Story to Relaxed Toddler.

4.05am        Ann kisses Spaced Toddler and leaves room unhindered.

4.10am        House resonates to Crooning Toddler and Snoring Husband.

4.20am        Silence suggests Sleeping Toddler.

4.21am        Lost lamb takes up position vacated by vixen.

                      Proceeds to blart loudly and continuously for its mother.

4.22am        Demented Cockerel responds with fusillade of rasping Cock a Doodles.

4.25am        Ann darkly contemplates Roast Cockerel and Lamb Chops.

4.30am        Ann realises she is indubitably coming down with Toddler’s cold.

4.40am        Mother of lost lamb lays reluctant claim to insistently bleating

                      offspring.

4.50am        Chronologically challenged Cockerel continues with hopeful racket.

5.00am        Ann issues ‘stop snoring/spare room/die’ ultimatum to Husband.

5.15am        Lack of memory suggests Ann sleeps.

6.00am        John gets up. Departs to lambing sheds. Wakes wife.

6.15am        Lack of memory suggests Ann sleeps.

7.45am        Cheerful exclamations and loud thumping from Happy Toddler.

7.50am        Ann capitulates and unleashes Tigger Toddler from bedroom and

                      toward breakfast.

Rumbled

I knew I’d have my cover blown eventually.

It’s just… that I was so sure I’d be the drunken architect of my own undoing. I could picture the scene quite vividly: me, pub, injudicious quantities of wine, blurtyblurtystumbleblurty. Consequently, I’d imagined it would be my internet-savvy friends that found me, and I was … reasonably ok about that. Braced for the possibility. I had a vague notion of standing bravely by every gynaecological and paranoical quirk I’d pegged to the public bloggy washing line, despite feelg that there are some things, particularly of the intimate mucus variety, that really do not need to be burning into your family retinas.

But lately, I couldn’t quite rid myself of a naggy feeling that the Bliss Just Giving page might come back to bite me in the bum somehow. I had stupidly given my dear old Dad instructions to crank open his wallet via the site in order to let Bliss reclaim the tax – why I simply didn’t go and print out a bloody Gift Aid form for him, I really don’t know; I was tired, I expect. And sure enough, one or other of my lovely ancestors (Hi, folks!) has (with impressive internet detective skills that I freely admit I had thought rather beyond their technological reach) tracked me down – if the fact that I spotted this blog in Favourites on their laptop earlier this week is any kind of clue.

But hey, at least I’m in their Favourites! They like me! Me, their only child! Who knew!

And I still left the posts up, unpassworded, because there’s nothing here that they aren’t aware of in any case, bar the eye-watering gynae detail, albeit I’m too grumpy and busy sitting on my bum and eating their food to deliver information clearly or concisely half the time. 

You see where this is going, don’t you?

I dropped Harry off at the nursery I am now calling Abacus on Monday, and explained that I’d been unable to get through on the phone regarding the last two sessions, which we had missed. I had lost their original details under the compost of paper, lego and coffee cups that forms our filing system, and had been obliged to google their telephone number – an old one, as it turned out; they enquired where I’d seen it.

‘Oh, just Google it!’ I breezily advised.

So they very conscientiously did, today. And came straight here, because I’m now the 14th bloody search result for the place. Harry attended this nursery in the first place because it was a family friend who co-ran it. More specifically, a friend of John’s mother’s.

The three great communication mediums: telephone, television, and tell family.

Cue knee-jerk passwording. And… I don’t know what to do now. At all.

I can keep blogging, and password the stuff I’m reluctant to broadcast, but I’ve used a password for the odd post here and there already and it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do, personally, although it would tick a lot of the boxes. (Incidentally, on the subject of protected blogs, does anyone have Akeeyu’s email address? Typepad hates my guts and refuses to let me beg her password.) Or I could not talk about things pertaining to family, friends or the aberrant sack of lard I affectionately term my body – but you hear virtually bugger-all from me these days in any case; if I start editing out the subject matter: I got nowt.

I think I’ve either got to publicise the damn thing and square up to the fact that everyone knows what my morning pee-stick said or disappear somewhere under a flickrless, twitterless pseudonym and stamp hard on the virtual fingers of anyone who links to me.

Of course, there’s a billion infertile bloggers with two uteri and a back-to-front heart out there for me to just blend straight in with.

I’m sat here slugging away at the whisky – because WordPress has been a proper arse about all this – and telling myself that two of my favourite bloggers, Amy and Antonia, both of whom have children, seem to manage this identity-known-to-all business just fine, so why am I making difficulties and getting in my own narcissistic way and being interminably precious about it?

I’ll… figure it out. Somehow. I’m (doubtless, naively) hoping to have some quality laptop, tea-drinking and cogitation time over Christmas.

Speaking of which festivity: Harry has now encountered Santa twice. Predictably, he has twice taken immediate refuge either in my arms or the far side of the room – although once the penny dropped that the dude was actually handing out gifts, he let me edge him close enough to snatch Father Christmas’s offering with the speed of a striking cobra, before rapidly backing off again, clutching his present close to his chest. Bless the child.

The hubby’s abdomen-to-groin ripped muscle is finally starting to bruise, and it has sent virtually his entire… package… black. This has been the subject of much domestic hilarity, but as I’m feeling a bit draughty in the gaping open door of my blog just at present, I’ll spare you the details. Although, come to think of it, if I wanted to solve my current blog problems, perhaps… I should just… post a photo?

That’d stop ’em dead all right.

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.

Hi-ho!

I was going to kick this off by comparing us all to a different dwarf  – à la Snow White – but as soon as I really began to think about it, I realised that we are actually all Grumpy and Sleepy. I leave you to apply a judgement re: Dopey, yourselves.

John is grumpy because it has been raining on his grass, and some of his tractors are poorly sick. I feel I don’t blog often enough about farming: perhaps I should bring you up to date. His current excuse for not fencing the garden or digging out the steps is haymaking and silaging. This involves, firstly, praying for dry weather, secondly, mowing dry grass (if you are pollen-sensitive, cue: Sneezy), thirdly, tedding it about while praying really hard and meaning it for more dry weather, and lastly, dashing out with your baler mere minutes ahead of the towering black cloud and driving at breakneck speed around your field. Naturally, this injudicious speed results in a bunged-up baler, so you must repeatedly crawl underneath and perform grass midwifery. Off you go again, only to hear a sinister thunk followed by a symphony of tearingly unpleasant machinery noises. The rain begins to fall faster.

If you are the wife of the owner of said machine, this is where you quietly disappear.

The core priority is to remove your stricken object back to the yard as soon as possible; you must, if you value your reputation, conceal the affliction at all costs from your farming neighbours. Apple, let me assure you, has nothing to teach UK agriculture. 

These type of mishaps can presage a lengthy spell parked in front of the workshop. Panels are removed. Exploratory surgeries are undertaken. Hands blacken further in filthy oil. The mechanised equivalent of femoral head pinning is discussed. Dog-eared parts manuals are consulted. Phone calls are made. Wives are dispatched to collect the Vital Transplant Organ.

Of course, if your yard is already populated with agricultural engineers who are repairing the tractors that you don’t actually have time to tackle yourself, then your chances of keeping the latest twist in your machinery misfortunes quiet are pretty much nil. Hubby has, I believe, one key tractor due to be broken open into two halves in order to fix an oil leak, and another yard tractor parked up sans steering ability, awaiting fettling. He came home Friday lunchtime to find that I had given Harry a toy tractor to play with that was a scale replica of a rather swish new model – a distinct improvement on any of John’s current collection. I caught him looking wistfully at the New Holland website a few minutes later (he is a diehard blue-tractor man. Speak not to him of green ones, even if they are the only company servicing the farm-mad toddler market) and sure enough, he has now announced that he wants a new one. These things can cost £50,000+ for a used one. And the farm profit is currently our only income. Yikes.

I am grumpy because I have a gynae hospital appointment tomorrow afternoon with a Mr Sorinola, as opposed to Mr Steven Olah, the other consultant gynae, or Mr Savonarola, the 15thC Dominican monk I initially confused him with. There was a time when I used to whip my undercarriage out for medical inspection with nary a qualm, but this will be the first time someone has looked – I am discounting my GP’s vain attempts  – at my cervi since about 2 hours before Harry emerged from one of them, and I have gone a bit Bashful. I’m also rather nervous about what he will be telling me.

I will be obliged to schedule a lengthy and awkward session with the the razor around my sadly uncared-for pubic area later this evening – lengthy because of the sheer level of neglect, and awkward because, despite 2 weeks of dieting savagely and exercising like a demented thing, I have only shed a measly 4lbs. Hence, I still cannot see what I’m actually doing down there.

Harry is grumpy because he has had intermittent diarrhoea for a couple of weeks which is worsening; he is being carted to the drs tomorrow. We have gone 22 months with hardly a day of nappy rash, but over the course of today his poor beleaguered bottom has gone, yet again, from delivering a turd the consistency of a housebrick, to shooting out spoonfuls of watery squits; his skin has gone from palest pink to abraded and ever so sore. He is a tough little shoot when it comes to bumps, cuts and bruises, but he’s coping badly with this.

I didn’t know my heart could wring itself into such a sad little shape until I saw him waddle towards me, knees bent, clutching his sore little bottom in waily distress. His skin has deteriorated astonishingly quickly: he was left in a dirty nappy while we were at my parents’ house early this evening – possibly for the best part of an hour, because the contents were weirdly undetectable by nose – and that has unfortunately been responsible for his skin breaking open. I have kept his nappy off since and slathered him in Bepanthen once his skin was dry- despite his violent, heart-rending struggles and hoarse shrieks – but the poor little lad kept pooing every 20 minutes and undoing my good work. Sigh.

Hopefully he will have a quiet, crap-free night and I will attempt to sneak a dry nappy onto him when I go to bed, too. Which may not be late, as the little bugger decided that 4.30 was the new 7am this morning, hence we are all Sleepy. And probably Dopey.

PS. John wants me to tell you that he is actually a Brand New dwarf called Frisky. And I am not the only one with a neglected undercarriage, hint-hint.

That is all.

That’s SO not a wolf

I thought John had got his middle-aged crisis out of his system some years ago: it’s thirsty, British Racing Green, the same age as him, requires arms like a fucking gorilla to steer, and does about 400 miles a year.

thin patch

(I can see the thin patch. His mother can see the thin patch. I know YOU can see the thin patch. John REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE the thin patch, so if we could not dwell on it anymore that’d be… um… diplomatic. Kthx.)

It seems I was being optimistic. A pal came round last night to show us both the finishing touches to his new tattoo and his latest love;

 motorbike middle age crisis

Hubby displayed distinct signs of (I pray: transient) acquisitive fervour (“I think I want one”).

name that beastie! 

We spent a fair old time hotly debating the actual species depicted: ‘feline’ and ‘canine’ both had their staunch adherents and we were eventually obliged to compromise on ‘mythical’.

dog or cat 

If he does get a motorbike (which, incidentally, he would have to ride over my bloody twitching corpse before he got onto an actual road with) then I’m not sure quite where it will fit. The household already contains a sports car, one telescope that is literally bigger than I am, plus a behemothic tripod and accoutrements, three rucksacks and dozens of cardboard boxes containing his camera equipment, an enormous hi-fi complete with floor-standing speakers that he is – seemingly – emotionally attached to, and several squillion back copies of The Sky At Night and Practical Photography magazines.

If he moves a motorbike in, then something will certainly have to leave. John has accused me plaintively of orchestrating a subtle campaign to move him – and all of his possessions – out of the house and into a shed somewhere in the garden. Apparently, the under-stairs cupboard, the garage and the spare bedrooms are only the thin end of my gradual-spousal-eviction wedge. These wild and bitter insinations are a vile… vile… um… accuracy.

Speaking of garden, some of you may remember my wails of woe when we had no lawn suitable to host Harry’s first birthday party on. The whole topic of ‘garden’ is a contentious one currently – it hovers somewhere on the marital stress chart between ‘divorce proceedings’ and ‘frosty’, and any mention of the word ‘summerhouse’ generally triggers tears in one or other of us – but John has undoubtedly provided… green.

lawn-ish

I, personally, would be reluctant to term it lawn just yet.

sparse grass

In response to my frantic yammering, John keeps giving assurances that it will ’tiller out’, but I think my chances of having a lush playing surface for the beginning of August are non-existent. Once again, I am seeing… thin patches. 

If the lawn doesn’t break us apart, the steps leading up to it just might. This is the product of over 2 years of collective masterly non-activity:

steps 

and I am thinking of holding a pickaxe party in the desperate hope of getting it finished before ummm… summer.

That thing that’s already, like… here.

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