Sunday, 31 January 2016

Waging War

I have had enough. I fed up of the battles. I am waging war.

We am already at the stage where if a member of my family raises a hand to their head I leap across the room like a woman possessed.

My front line are relatively sorted although they can be a little unreliable. My second in command takes instruction pretty well. He can be ordered to check for signs of occupation provided I let him sit down and bring him a cup of tea. Although I don't feel I can totally trust him.

I do my fair share of checking for enemies too. In fact you could say I look for them with a fine tooth comb. No stone, I mean hair, is left unturned.

When intel is accurate we swoop like a crack team of commandos. Chemical warfare is in the cupboard waiting along with the best removal system available. It's messy and unpleasant. As is the state of the head of hair in question the morning after. I need to bulk buy shampoo and conditioner.

But you know what parents, your country needs you. Well the sanity of my family does at any rate.

Because I can have all the weapons of mass destruction possible but if you, yes I'm talking to you, don't check your flipping child's hair for nits every week... well there is just no point. They hop back on to my child's head and start another party. I may as well just accept occupation and start giving them names.

Just check them. Please. And regularly, not just when school sends you a reminder.

In the meantime I will carry on with my war on nits. I'll be spending the next few hours watching tight plaiting styles on Youtube and boiling my hairbrushes.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

More day to day

I feel like a terrible parent. Phoebe has had a weird red painful toe problem for quite a few weeks and apart from a brief period of me applying nearly out of date fungal cream for few days with no discernible result I have done nothing about it. She mentioned the pain quite a bit. I put it off and shouldn't have.

Today I finally took her to the nurse. She looked at Phoebe feet and looked puzzled. She pressed her toes and checked between them. She even got a second opinion from a  doctor.

They were in agreement. Phoebe has chilblains. Prescription? Warm socks. I mean really.

I got home. Phoebe put some socks on and I went outside to find the rabbit. I've been worried about both rabbits since the parsnip Tilly used for her snowman's nose went missing. Can rabbits eat parsnips? Who knows.

She's in the shed. I can't get her out without risking life and limb, or at the very least being knocked out by a bicycle pump and spraining my ankle tripping over a bale of hay. She can come out in her own good time. Which may be never.

Back in the house we are seeking the other slipper which is probably buried under the massive pile of chaos that comes from redecorating bedrooms. Oh well at least we are treating one foot. Half way there.


Talk about making you think. I went to see Third Angel's Partus last night at the Studio. I came out having laughed, sniffled and thrown my hands over my face in half remembered horror. I also emerged equally determined, to champion the cause of midwives in the NHS, and to never have another baby.

Partus is about births. Funny ones (and it really was funny in places), scary ones, multiple ones, sad ones, young ones, and exhausting ones but all of them real ones. It was born out of a research project and included real life experiences of mums, dads, doulas and midwives. I have no idea how you would begin to decide which stories to highlight out of the hundreds they heard but Third Angel chose well, I think, setting the balance of humour and emotion.

It's been a while since I gave birth. Nearly 8 years in fact. It's safe to say my brain had pushed to the back some of the more painful and frightening bits. Which of course is the same for everyone otherwise no-one would ever have more than one baby. Last night reminded me how bloody marvellous women are. It's the most natural thing in the world but also the toughest. I mean, answer a child's question about how a baby comes out and the look on their face tells it all. It shouldn't be possible.

Partus tackles some gritty stuff which goes with the subject matter, and is ably, humorously and passionately presented by an all female cast who form part of the audience. It's a theatrical experience rather than a play and even includes biscuits.

The trouble is I'm not great at writing reviews due to my general fear of accidentally providing spoilers. Inevitably the best bits are the bits I want to write about, and therefore can't because then you'd know the best bits. You see my problem?

What I will say is this, if you are interested in births you should go. There are even performances where mums take their babies along. If only theatre had happened like that in 2006 when I had mine I'd have been at every event like a shot.

I am not sure however if I would have gone before I'd had a baby. For the same reason that I only read a small amount, didn't watch any birthing videos and tried to pretend everything would be painless and quick and I'd be home by tea time. Of course if you like to be more prepared than that it could be ideal.

I came out feeling it's an important piece. My friend and I decided all teenagers should have to see it as part of the curriculum. And probably all men.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


You'd be surprised how inconvenient cheese grating the end of your index finger can be.

So far I've discovered that it renders me useless for chopping vegetables, washing up, painting and in fact doing any kind of cleaning or DIY. (One or two benefits then I guess)

My typing is definitely somewhat hampered. It's five days later and I'm still stretching the capacity of spellcheck somewhat. As evidenced by the fact that the word 'muleteer' just appeared in the middle of my sentence.

I also look weirder than usual. I've been walking around randomly pointing at people like some kind of middle aged ET.

On Monday night I went swimming. The chlorine smarted somewhat but my main problem was the cramp I suffered from holding my breast stroke fingers in a pincer like grip. Which was necessary to avoid the plaster floating off into the deep end.

My dreams are disturbed (or ddstrubed) and involve me frantically trying to protect the end of my fingers from meeting nylon material. I lurch about like I'm being tortured.

Then to top it all off I tried to put Tilly's hair up in a pony tail. Oh the agony. This is way worse than a paper cut. And I got one of those today too.

Clearly I am a long way from being cured. Being 40 seems to slow down the healing process for grater related injuries. At this rate it could take weeks. But the worst thing of all is that now I've removed the plaster it doesn't even look that bad. How the hell am I going to garner further sympathy?

That's it. I'm never grating cheese again.

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Questions I have been asked once we tucked them in and turned out the light this week:

Are computer networks wireless?
Is the World Wide Web really world wide?
Who invented words?
Why are some parts of some countries not as developed as other countries?
Do you like Russia?
What's Putin like?
What is a typhoon?
If we went to New Zealand on holiday which way would the aeroplane go?
Would we take our kindle fires?

That's without even touching on the worries which include death, growing up, cuddly toys, which order the pillows need to go in and incomplete homework.

Then this classic:

"I'm worried"
"Because I'm not worrying about anything."
"What? You are worried because you aren't worrying?"
"Yeah you know what I mean."

Bedtime. Not exactly like in the movies.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

40 and Healthy?

The first question I asked the nurse tonight is why my husband hasn't been invited to see if he's healthy. Surely the fact that we share our birthday should mean he'll be invited to an over 40 health check soon? Or maybe I'm a more deserving case for help. Frankly he needs to suffer the excruciating experience of mildly underestimating the amount he drinks just as much as I did.

So I'm 40. 40 and 4 months actually. When I was 39 it wasn't a problem apparently, but 40. Well, you can't be too careful. I got a text message inviting me in for a health check but since I needed a repeat prescription on Thursday I went in to pick it up and thought I'd raise the subject then.

"Hi, I've come to pick up my prescription that you said you would sort out for me on when I rang?"

"Ah. No you can't have the prescription until you have a check with the nurse practitioner. She will need to check your blood pressure. I can book you an appointment on Tuesday."

"Ok, well I've had a text about needing a health check, is that the same?"

"Oh no, it's a different nurse but we can get you two appointments, one after the other."

"Just out of interest is the second nurse also going to check my blood pressure?"

"Oh yes. And your weight and BMI."

"Just like the first one?"

"Yes. But it's different".

Audible sigh.

So I turned up at the doctors with only a mild sense of trepidation. I was pretty much expecting the health review to yield the following results:

1. I drink a bit too much
2. I'm a bit overweight/my BMI is a bit high
3. I don't do enough exercise
4. My cholesterol is slightly high (I like cheese).

I went into my first appointment this evening and the nurse checked my blood pressure and weighed me.

Then she checked my height.

I pointed out that I didn't think the tablets I'm on would have made me shorter than the last time I came in. She laughed, then measured me anyway. She took my blood pressure (fine) and weighed me. Staggeringly I'm a bit overweight/my BMI is a bit high. Neither of us seemed particularly concerned.

I went back into the waiting room before being called upstairs.

Unsurprisingly my blood pressure in the second room was also fine, and I was the same amount overweight. The new nurse asked if she could measure my height. I said if I hadn't put on weight since walking upstairs it was unlikely I had grown.

Then she pricked my finger and deduced that my cholesterol is a bit high. I also should do a bit more exercise and drink less prosecco.

The whole thing was perfectly fine apart from the blatant waste of time in me being checked for exactly the same things within ten minutes. Apparently my risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years is 0.56%. It sounded quite good but largely because I think having a 0 at the front sounds like it's probably ok.

I managed to come home and not crack open a bottle of Pinot Grigio, but I did open the biscuits my friend had just given me. I'll make it to the gym again tomorrow...

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I hope it's happy and healthy for you all.

New Year's Day 2016 has pretty much happened in a hum drum kind of a way:

I didn't have a hangover which is a miracle as we seemed to be trying to use up cocktail ingredients last night. I am however flipping shattered and no-one will let me have a nap.

A fox ran through our garden at 9.30am and now I daren't let the rabbits out to play.

Paul spent half an hour combing head lice medication through my hair only to find that I don't have nits. This is a miracle really since Tilly had them on Wednesday and my head itches like mad. Must be psychosomatic.

I washed my hair four times to try and stop it being greasy. It didn't work.

We spent five minutes trying to get a decent photo of all of us - I will probably remember that experience for ages since it included quite a lot of shouting. Not the idyllic family moment I was trying to capture.

We did lots of washing and lots of washing up. We need a new washing machine.

The Christmas tree came down and the living room felt a decent size again. The hall stairs and landing are however much smaller. We probably ought to put the boxes back in the loft.

We took the girls roller skating/blading to the car park round the corner. No-one fell over and all was quite chirpy.

I made burgers.

The girls did most of their homework. I am already livid at seven year olds having WW2 as a topic. Who flipping makes this curriculum up?

I have so far today avoided the remainder of yesterday's trifle and all the mini Terry's chocolate orange segments. Go me.

Of course now I've started to panic about what comes next. Going back to school and work loom and non of us are thrilled at the prospect. New year is supposed to be a fresh start but at the moment I just feel sad that the holidays are over, and anxious about what is to come.

Fortunately tonight includes cuddles with two very tired but fantastic girls whilst watching Billionaire Boy followed by Sherlock with Paul. But without wine. No wine for a little while I think. And Paul is going to have to eat all the trifle...