Grey, grey, silver, grey….

My parents have returned to visit and a couple of days ago we took a train expedition together with all of the kids. Which reminded me of an embarrassing moment.

Around five years ago we took the same train journey. As it’s around a three-hour round trip, and as several kids were present, a huge picnic served as an asset. But once all the food was all eaten, we were forced to turn our attention to playing games. Inevitably leading to the well-used favourite, I Spy.

It started off well. I spy something black… That handbag… Yes… Good… Something brown? Mummy’s shoes? Yes. Good! Well done!

Then Joni had another turn.

Something grey? Nana’s trousers? No… The metal part on the chair? No… The bit on the window frame? No… Really, we have two colours here grey and silver, as in this game both are classed as the same. The buckle on the bag? No… The buckle on my belt? No… No, I don’t give up! Mmm…. I know, is it that screw over there? No… We search through and ask on. Could she be colour blind? Are you sure it’s grey? Yes… She’s looking pleased with herself. You’re never gonna get it!!! Mmm… Is it the tiny grey specks on the wall? NO!!! Ok, Ok, we all agree, you’ve beat us. We give up. What is it?

Loud and proud, with pointed finger: ” That woman’s grey moustache!!!”


Waiting time

I’m in the hospital waiting room writing this blog, which is where I seem to spend half of my life these days. In fact, I would argue that I spend more of my life in the company of doctors than I do with my own husband. No, actually, that’s not true. Because, in all honesty, most of my time is spent in waiting rooms. With complete strangers.

So here we are once again sitting and waiting. Waiting and sitting. It has been known for this situation to occur six times in one week. As a constant, I find myself waiting minimally once a week, either at the hospital or at the doctors.

It’s not that we’re a really sick family or something. We’ve had our problems, don’t get me wrong. And I certainly wouldn’t describe us as the fittest family in the world. Additionally, there are a lot of us. But at times I have to say, I feel ridiculous. And sometimes I’m just plain annoyed. But my general feeling is one of despair. I mean, it’s not how you want your life to be, is it? Just sitting there. Waiting. In a room full of strangers. No one communicating with one another. The odd courteous “Good morning” is of course uttered and the odd pleasant “Goodbye”. But essentially we all sit there in silence, thinking our own thoughts. Which in my case is generally, “Get me the bloody hell out of here!”.

Today, in an attempt to spend quality time with my family, I’ve brought my husband along. Well, actually, he also has an appointment. At the dentist. Every time I think of the dentist, (after my initial panic attack and then realisation I’m not the one with the appointment), I calmly remember Lori, and her brief encounter with a desire to be a dentist. It had always been a burning question in me (every time I had to go to the dentist, actually). What kind of person decides to be a dentist? For sure some kind of sadist! At this point, I should actually say that our dentist is really nice, especially when I don’t have to see her. Then my own little daughter comes to me and tells me of her new career choice. Wide eyed: I could finally ask the desired question. Why? She answered without a moment’s hesitation: “Well, I wouldn’t have to study as much as another type of doctor and I could pull peoples teeth out!” I’m a little intimidated by my daughter.

My husband, whose consultation was an hour after Aden’s, has subsequently been through his whole appointment. Including a forty minute round trip, as well as being drilled, and is now back with us for our ‘date’. We are of course still waiting. We have, seen two doctors actually, and are now waiting to see the professor. Should we be nervous? Flattered? Intrigued? I’m none of these. We met him last week and I thought he was an idiot.

At this point I should probably divulge that Aden had an infection, with a very high temperature, some weeks ago. Following that, he apparently started to bleed underneath the skin. One evening he came into the lounge and after no actual injury, had several strange bruises and swellings around his feet and lower legs. The follow-up then being a strange ‘rash’. However, due to the fact that these swellings and bleeds took a new form on a daily basis, he ended up in hospital for a week. They were testing him for a million different causes including TB and heart malfunctions. Since his stay in hospital, he’s attended outpatients at least once a week. He had visited the GP at times as frequently as every second day. Then, we met ‘the professor’ who exclaimed, “Eczema”…The junior doctor looked baffled. She was left, though, with no choice, due to his high standing, but to write-up eczema as a diagnosis. She informed me repeatedly, that on my return to the children’s ward, I should tell the pediatrician to call her. I did so. Our pediatrician phoned and expressed her annoyance at the diagnosis. I too was annoyed, as even I, with my minimal medical knowledge knew that that’s not eczema.

This time, however it’s different. The idiot is overruled.

We’ve been moved now. To a ‘waiting corridor’. Strange new experience for me. All the doctors squeeze between us and the stairs directly in front of us. At one point a doctor stops to talk to another patient causing a traffic jam. Continuing her conversation, a second doctor almost becomes a contortionist, forcing herself through, the tiny gap. I am curious. Why are we sitting here?

We’re taken by a nurse into a small cubicle. Aden has to put disposable slippers on. We wait for a little while and then the nurse returns and tells us we are not to talk. She says everyone can hear us. I have no idea why that’s a problem and feel a little agitated. We wait as quietly as possible.

We’re taken into a room. There’s a seat at the front and rows curved around in a semi-circle. Like an amphitheater. Aden is to take centre stage. Our doctor comes forward and I’m given a seat in the first row. There must be at least fifteen white-coated doctors in the room. I’m baffled. Our doctor describes Aden’s previous symptoms and diagnosis’ (omitting the eczema). We’re asked questions. All the doctors circle Aden, pressing a piece of glass randomly against his skin. He looks quite nervous. We’re removed as they discuss his case.

We have a short wait in the main waiting area. Then things start to happen. Apparently, the most inquisitive doctor was the ‘big cheese’. Her influence initiates photos to be taken, more blood tests and the junior doctor finally gaining permission to have a sample operated out of his foot. The request which had been denied last week due to the ill-conceived eczema diagnosis.

Busy, but pleased, the junior doctor contacts the children’s ward. Authority now given to her requests of steroids and further antibiotics. We’re shipped over to the ward on the other side of town.

We wait in a new waiting room. In the meantime my husband has relinquished his date and headed off to the other children, picking up and dropping off. He returns now and we see our pediatrician, who has news for us. Her professor has decided against the expertise of the panel, and, without seeing Aden has alloted a prescription of exactly nothing. No medicine. No more appointments. Just like that.

Gobsmacked. We leave the ward. Six hours after our initial entrance at the dermatology department. Above average time for us. But not a record.

I inform Reini: I am not taking the children to any hospitals anymore. Furthermore, I am going to learn to be a doctor online. He responds evenly, that that won’t be the case in the next few days, when something happens to one of the kids. That I’ll cart them off to the hospital. Quick as a flash. I reluctantly agree…

After all, as I recently informed my mother, (who constantly tells me that you worry about your kids even when they’re adults): A child is for life and not just for Christmas…

Dinner for Six

Is it just me or is the general attitude of staff one of dread when we enter a restaurant of reasonable standard, with our four kids at the end of our arms? Being a foodie, and an optimist, I embark with a spring in my step. Smiling. Fully intent on relishing the meal ahead.
The waitress greets us with a half-smile-half-scowl and leads us to our awkward table tucked away nicely in the corner.
I try to sit quietly. Open the menu inconspicuously. Kashi starts. Pointing randomly at the menu, “I want that one!”, she shrieks.
Sniggers from the table in the corner. “Beer. I don’t think so.” Mistake.
“Beer! I want beer!”, a new addition to her vocabulary.
Gentle “Shhh’s” follow and Aden approaches. Testing the ground for cola based drinks. As if we’d forgotten last time:

In our attempt at being kind, supportive parents, we not only took him to his mini marathon but also gave him cola as an encouragement to ‘keep going’ the full course. Problem being, he kept going. Even two hours after the race had ended. All around the shops. Right through the town. Weaving in and out. Up and down. Bouncing more enthusiastically than the Easter Bunny.
He’s brought down to a grape juice, after attempting to sneak a cola mix from the waitress. Telling her in menu code. But we spot his cheekiness. Do our research. Stop him in his tracks. Empowered.

We turn our attentions to Lori. She is still sitting with tears in her eyes. Distressed that shark soup is openly available on the menu. Unaware of our up-and-coming discussion about joining Greenpeace, we greet her brightly.
We have no problem with her becoming vegetarian at this very moment. We do laugh a little. She doesn’t like any vegetables. She’ll eat them anyway, even if she doesn’t like any of them. Remember this moment, I say to myself.
What’s that? “Why don’t we pray for chickens?”

The restaurant busies. There are even some childless people at tables near to us now.

“You’re welcome to pray for chickens…”

“Not all sharks are on the verge of extinction. Tuna…?”

“Greenpeace? Oh… ask your father…”

“I need to go to the toilet.” It’s the third time and the waitress has only just brought the drinks. It requires meandering through the whole restaurant. Three year old and attendee. And the craze catches on. One after the other taking little trips. Then returning. And topping themselves up with little sips.

“So you’re sure you want the beef noodle dish? You wouldn’t like the kid’s meal? It’s really quite a lot of food. Maybe the beef is too chewy for you. What about the chicken? Would you like to try a mix of different little starters? You could share them with your sister. No, I shouldn’t choose, you’re the one who has to eat it. You want the beef? Even though it’s chewy? It’s really a lot, you’re sure you can eat it all? You’re really hungry? Ok.”

“You want vegetable soup? But it contains vegetables. You’ll eat it even if you don’t like it? Ok.”


“No, no beer. “

“Sit properly on the chair.”

“You can’t possibly need to go on the toilet again!”

” No, not all sharks are on the verge of extinction. No, I don’t know which ones are not. No, I’d have to look that up.”

“Can you please sit properly? Get your shoes off the chair.”

” Just take your shoes off. That way you won’t damage the chair.”

“Did she actually manage to pee again?”

“You could have put her shoes back on. No wonder she has cold feet. Taking her to the toilet like that.”

“Can’t you just use your pull-up?”

Shortly before the arrival of her food, Lori contemplates her new-found vegetarianism. She will try to “keep it up” for as long as possible, but doesn’t know how long that will be really, as she loves the taste of meat.


Aden’s beef noodles arrive. Of course he doesn’t like them. Too chewy. He tries to ingratiate himself with Joni. Eye on her chicken. She’s possessive over her meal. But only at first. By the end she’s keen on his assistance.
Lori finishes her soup, with no single complaint. Even the wobbly mushroom.
I have a chicken dish. Delicious. Beautifully presented in a basket made from dough. The dough is the only thing Kashi really likes. Though she’s sampled her way through. Mostly with an “Urr” or a “Yuck”, followed by removal of the despised article and disposal in some unlucky corner. I try to be on the ball and clear up as she goes along. More dough is requested and as it’s dry, I carefully place a few strands on her skirt. Her plate is full of undesirables. And to be honest, I’m just pleased that she’s eating something.

She chooses to enlighten me,”Mama, my skirt is all dirty now and it’s all your own fault.”

But Lori has the last word. Tired and cuddly, she snuggles up to me like a cat. I go in for head to head contact, lapping up my daughters affections and stroking her soft hair. “Mum, let’s just hope that neither of us has head lice.”

Dear Husband, an answer…..

Ecstatic, this morning about my new-found ability to unleash the wave of thoughts slamming around in my head. My husband, pragmatic as ever informs me I should have a topic. As most blogs he knows are centred around a particular theme. I have to admit to not having any particular subject in mind. Moreover a forum, to allow my emotions and creativity to run wild, to help me find humour in my existence, and to fulfil me with a sense of purpose.
I confess at this point, after my initial excitement, I am quite nervous. Unlike writing in my diary, people may actually choose to read this. A little scary. Opening my heart to such scrutiny.
But where there’s a will, there’s also a way.

Dinosaur or not….

Ok so now I really feel like a dinosaur. What am I to do here? Am I even typing in the correct box? Perhaps I should feel proud that I’m able to type anything at all, considering how confused I feel at the moment. I guess I should look for some kind of tutorial. There seem to be so many things to click on!
Apart from confused, I feel kind of excited. Contact with the outside world. Therapy. A focus. Hello world!

Quest for humour in my existence

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