Daily Archives: April 26, 2006

A conversation I’d really rather have missed out on

You’ll be pleased to know (though not as pleased as I am) that a friend of Dad’s has agreed to come and daddy-sit and make lunch for him on Friday. This is a good thing. It means I can go for my consultation with a clear mind and concentrate on the matter in hand. Hmm… is that a good thing?

I was in the doctor’s waiting room – the real one, not the one here with Doctor-2B-Yay – waiting for Dad to come out from his three-monthly visit to the nurse and I got talking with a lovely old lady who was telling me rather racy tales of her childhood! Suddenly she said “You know, I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for St Mary’s”. I was impressed and told her how rare it was to hear people sing the praises of our local hospital. She disillusioned me very fast. “No, I mean I wouldn’t be here at the doctor’s today, getting treatment for an injury they caused during a routine small investigative operation”. She went on to describe in eye-watering detail the mistake the hospital had made and the ensuing pain and discomfort that simply wasn’t going away.

Suffice to say it was more eye-watering for me than for the other patients in the waiting room. Did I mention I was going to the hospital on Friday for the consultation prior to a small investigative op?

Dad update

He’s not well. But it’s impossible to tie down (as is he!). This is possibly the worst, where he is neither consistently ill nor consistently well. Both relatively speaking, of course. A colleague today who lost her child to cancer said how the illness creates a new level of language which means different things to its everyday usage and puts you in a slightly separate world, and she was so right.

It’s been so up and down with dad for a few days, varying from really quite ill to really quite bright and perky in the space of moments so that you never know what to expect and can take nothing for granted. Pain, confusion, intense sleepiness, sickness, loss of appetite, all coming and going in waves through the day, alternating with times when he’s completely on the ball and totally active – I came off the phone from asking my sister’s advice because I was so worried about him, went round to see him and found him doing a load of washing and hanging it out. This morning I stayed off work for an hour to help him get ready for the hospice, went round to get him up and found him already up and dressed and having his wash. I left him to it, calling round at intervals to check on progress, and once I had been lulled sufficiently into a false sense of security to go and get myself bathed and dressed and ready for work everything came to a resounding stop and he fell asleep in his breakfast, nearly falling off the chair as he felt suddenly weak and wobbly and confused. I went round to see him into hospice transport and discovered him only half dressed and without having eaten or drunk anything at all, including about thirteen tablets!

It’s hard. My sisters weren’t planning to come this weekend – one is exhausted after a trip away and the other has a special weekend away planned with her husband – though both are more than willing to make the journey if they’re needed. But are they needed? When he’s at his worst they are, when he’s at his best or nearly so I can manage just fine alone. Biggest problem is that I have an appointment at the hospital for myself on Friday afternoon, one I don’t want to discuss with him, and yet if he’s unwell I won’t want to leave him alone all day and getting his own lunch. And when he’s so up and down, it’s difficult to explain at school about things – one minute I’m in tears having left him in the morning on hands and knees being sick into a bucket and the next they see me walking him up the street, admiring the spring flowers. One minute I’m asking for time off without pay to see him through his final weeks, the next we’re up on the Downs enjoying the spring sunshine and making plans for the summer.

Cancer clinic tomorrow, though. I have a feeling the news will not be too good.

Snuggle time

It was rather nice this evening.

Smudgelet does not really need to go to bed as early as Tiddles (despite being the younger) and Tiddles has asked that his brother be allowed to stay up a bit longer so that he, Tiddles, has chance to get to sleep before Mr Chatty comes in the room. This has become more imperative seeing as they are having to sleep in the one end of the room together while the other half is full of all the clutter moved while we were doing all the DIY. One day I shall have to do something about it all!

So this evening I gave it a try. I tucked Tiddles in, then took Smudgelet off into the lounge for an extra half hour. It was delightful. I fetched him “Diary of a Killer Cat” by Anne Fine, a lovely and very funny book, and he and I curled up together on the sofa, reading side by side. I finally found myself engrossed in a book once more – half an hour of peace to read before I’m actually too tired to do it, but no interruptions from quarrelling or playful boys because Smudgelet, a budding reader, was engrossed in a story of his own. I am currently, therefore, rediscovering a teenage favourite, Rosemary Sutcliffe and reliving the adventures of the Eagle of The Ninth. Bliss!

To continue a wasted post

I didn’t do very well with my response to Unordered’s question about the age of Tiddles, did I? I managed to cut and paste the actual comment, but my reponse quite quickly went for a Burton, whatever a Burton is, as soon as I clicked on “Edit”.

You are right, of course, that it is very much in the nature of mothers to experience their children as a variety of ages. I mean, I am sure that my father was around when I was born and does actually know that it was… cough… er… twenty-one-and-a-bit years ago (the “bit” is open to non-too-literal interpretation) but he still has difficulty sometimes remembering that I’m more than fourteen.

Actually, it is a key feature of the emotional damage that my children have experienced that their age does actually vary from day to day, sometimes from minute to minute. It’s as though they are trapped in the part of their lives which they didn’t quite get to live out properly, if that makes sense, and sometimes that little child just has to come out, especially at times of stress or anxiety or tiredness or simply things being out of normal routine. Thus life with Tiddles can be a case of mothering a toddler; it can be a case of mothering a chattering eight-year-old; it can be a case of dealing with a truculent teenager; it can occasionally even be the delightful situation of being in the company of a very normal thirteen year old boy with flashes of intense maturity. Trouble is, you’re never quite sure which you’re going to get at any given moment. It’s the combination of truculent teenager with the terrible twos that is somewhat daunting. That and the thought of him reverting to a little boy with the anxiety of changing schools in September – the child I took with me to visit the schools on the open evenings was wide open for bullying as his nerves lowered his emotional age by about eight years and he called me “Mummy”, held my hand and wanted to sit on my lap for reassurance in the crowded assembly hall.

The attachment disorder is interesting in the way it plays out so differently in each of them. On first meeting them it isn’t always apparent and some people are shocked at how strict I am with them, how I tackle relationship issues there and then (sometimes to the embarrassment of the adult as the boys can be overly tactile and I have to act immediately to reinforce the correct code of conduct with visitors!), how I give them responsibility rather than mummy them all the time, how they are expected to look to me for permission for certain things which other children might just take for granted.

Smudgelet is fairly consistently eight (nearly nine – my word, where do the years go?). His difficulties are more in the area of control, and of acknowledging that people exist outside his immediate sphere of interest. My sister had to explain to my brother-in-law that Smudgelet was not ignoring him or snubbing him, it was just that while buttering himself a piece of toast, the presence of another person in the room first thing in the morning was beyond his personal priorities. Hee hee! It can be really irritating, though. He has to be in control, subtly, all the time and has no grasp of the right and wrong moments for whatever is pressing to him at the time. So last week the two boys had been asked to keep themselves out of the way while my brother and I worked on the final day’s work on the doors. I was outside, painting a 4 foot strip of wood with quick-dry primer, manoevring it to try to paint it upright without getting covered in paint or putting it down on the ground. Not easy.

Mummy, mummy, you must come in the lounge now.
Why, Smudgelet? Is it important? I asked you not to interrupt me.
Yes, it’s very important.
Why, what is the matter?
I can’t tell you.
Will it wait until I’m finished?
No, you must come now. It’s very important.
Smudgelet, I am covered with paint. This paint dries very quickly and I’d like to finish what I’m doing first.
But you must come straight away, Mummy.
I will have to put the lid on the paint, wrap the brush in cling film, wash my hands. Are you sure it won’t wait?
Mummy, please. It’s essential that you come right now. I can’t tell you why.

Slightly impatiently I pack away, balance the strip of wood on the paint can, try to ignore the primer coating my hands, and make my way to the lounge. The dire emergency? Well…… on my computer desk was a basket with a note: “To a speashal mummy from the Easter Bunny”, complete with half of Smudgelet’s Easter eggs (quite something in itself as he’s not one for seeing any importance to sharing unless it’s someone else sharing with him) and a present he’d made for me while he was away. 😀 Extremely essential 😀

Woohoo, it worked

Flushed with the success of that little enterprise, how are these for some pictures of my drive home from work. It is also, coincidentally, my drive to work but somehow that aspect of it is less pleasant.

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Before and after 009

New , new, new

That last blog fell foul of the editing problem on the wibsite at the moment. I shall repost it shortly.
First, though, I have to do a bit of fiddle-faddling about in order to brag and show off to you all the newnesses the last few days have brought.

The following photos (if they work) are brought to you courtesy of Flickr and….. drum roll please… my new digital diddycam. It’s a rather nice piece of work, purchased from a friend who suddenly found herself rather over-cameraed and wanted to sell it cheaply to a good home. Unable to find a good home, she sold it to me 😀 It was a bit of an indulgence really, but I deserve it 😉

So here goes with linking in some photos of my new hall – doors, front door, decorating and carpet. The mess, on the other hand, is still the same old mess, just mostly relocated or recycled.

Before and after 007 Because I still don’t have a lounge door you can see what it looked like before… however, it did not have my brother’s doodles all over it before!

Before and after 008 Down the hall to the kitchen. The glass door has made it all so much lighter. However, I can no longer close the door to the mess.

Before and after 006

The new front door looks far better without a covering of cardboard, although for the Wightmeet it did prove a good display board!

Before and after 005

And from the inside. Note the rather tasteful laminate flooring – the leftovers from my friend’s kitchen.

And looking the other way towards the bedrooms:

Before and after 002

Of course, if all this doesn’t work I won’t be able to delete or edit it…… Fingers crossed………