Tag Archives: ADHD

Life is full of surprises and not always where you’d expect them


tango face surprise

It’s nice to know, that even at 44 years old, life still has the opportunity to surprise me.

I mean, there are some things which remain pretty much the same. Like the fact that we rent a new car each year through my husband’s company. And the fact that, it takes me the whole year to get used to that new car. The whole year to learn to recognise it in the car park without pressing the central locking button on my key, to make the lights flash. Without that button I would never, ever find my car, let alone get into it.

To be fair, I do try really hard. I have stopped relying on the kids (who are nowadays, no longer always accompanying me on my journeys) to ‘know’ where I last left my vehicle,  and  I do my very best to focus in on car park letters and numbers and street names and notable landmarks and try to memorise them. Some times it works well, I’ve discovered, other times not quite so well.
But however well it works I always need my secret weapon central locking button.

Take last year’s new car as an example. I drove it to my local supermarket, carefully selected a space, in the very same row I always try to park in (that way I have a much better chance of finding my car). It’s a less popular row, as it’s a bit further away from the supermarket, but it still has a trolley park in it. I don’t mind the walk. It’s direct. If I have to wander round and round the car park, all the while sneakily pressing my ‘locate vehicle’ button in my pocket, it turns out that I have to walk much, much further, which is a horrible experience with a wayward trolley and besides, if I press my button too much, I end up needing a new key battery which means taking my key to the local car dealership and watching the salesman scratch his head while saying, “The battery doesn’t normally run out within a year, that is very strange…” OK, technically, I never did take my key back, I always made my husband do it: I was far too embarrassed.
So, as I said, last year, I parked my then new car in my favourite row, and then, on completion of my shopping, I strode back across the car park towards my new Mercedes. The row was almost empty so I confidently withdrew my key from my pocket, pointed it unwaveringly at my car and I pressed and I pressed but strangely, the lights remained unlit. I wondered, what on earth was wrong with the damned car then, in good faith, I opted for the ‘open boot’ button instead. I pressed and I pressed the button. Then I shook the key a little bit, as you do when today’s gadgets don’t seem to be performing properly, but that didn’t help one bit. The thought did flash across my mind that I’d potentially already worn out the battery in the key with all my pressing, but really? The car was only a couple of weeks old… It was at that moment that I spotted a woman standing, staring at me, mouth gaping… Apparently she was standing next to my car I mean, her car. By the time I’d actually noticed her, I was almost at her boot, which I thought was my boot, ready to unload my overflowing trolley. She stood there, protectively, as I glanced fervently around, that’s when I noticed, two spaces further along, another car with its boot wide open and its lights flashing like a full on disco.

You could think that was one of the surprises I’m talking about. And you’d be partly right. To be honest, I am quite used to attempting to gain entrée to a vehicle that is not my own. It all started when I was a kid. I was shoving an extremely heavy, headstrong trolley towards my parent’s car all by myself. I rammed the key in the boot’s lock and I could not understand, for the life of me, why it would not turn. My parents marched on past without more than a mere  glance in my direction. I did my best to twist the stubborn key in the lock. Then I started to notice odd things in the boot as I peered through the window. Like a blanket which wasn’t ours… Something wasn’t quite right… So I looked deeper into the car and I’m sure you can imagine my absolute shock when I noticed a couple, sitting in the two front seats, glaring at me through their rear window.

But the thing is: the car was exactly the same colour as ours, an unusual kind of rusty orange brown colour, and it was exactly the same model.

So really, I could be excused, after all, it was an easy mistake to make.

But last year, when I’d almost pressed my vehicle finder to death, and started rumours of a disco at the supermarket car park, I realised, as I saw the two cars parked practically side by side,  that they looked completely different. Mines was a Mercedes. Hers was a Ford. And to top it all, hers was a completely different colour.

That threw me a bit. I must admit.

And, to be honest, I suspect the stranger thought I was a proper loony.

Slightly more than a year has passed since that little incident and yet, again, we’ve swapped cars. The thing is, they’ve adapted the model. So it looks a bit different and it has new features.

I’m not so good with new features. Don’t get me wrong. I like them. I even get quite excited about them when my husband describes them or better still shows me them. But within ten minutes I’ve forgotten how to use them. I am starting to suspect that I am not really a very technical person.

Each car, each year has new features. As a matter of fact, last year’s car had an App that you could put on your phone to help you find it. I guess there are more people burning out the key battery than that head scratcher cared to admit!! My husband kindly put the App on my phone and taught me how to use it. To be fair, I have managed to check out whether my car is locked or not. It wasn’t. My husband thought this to be a silly feature, but I actually proved him wrong! Still, the main reason for using the App, car location, is something I haven’t managed to conquer. So I’ve stuck by my tried and tested method and kept my nickname: Battery Depletor.

But this year’s car is truly confusing incredible. It can even park all by itself if you can remember how to let it.

I was really surprised because you don’t use a key to start it: instead you press a button. And there is no hand brake. At all.

So, my mornings now go something like this: make sure the kids are ready for school. Run around looking for my car key (which is now just a set of buttons: one for car location unlocking the central locking, one for locking the central locking and one for opening and closing the boot). Yell at Tell all the kids necessary to get into the car. Press the unlock central locking button (which by the way, to my confusion, also on one occasion opened all of the windows?!?). Stand next to the car, trying to figure out what I should actually do with the key once I am in the car? Should I put it in my pocket? Because then I might, yet again, forget to lock the car… Once I’ve come to a decision about the key and I’m sitting in the car,  I then have an exhaustive search for the hand brake… Eventually it dawns on me that there is no longer a hand brake. Then I get excited that the lovely people at Mercedes decided to bless me with a camera at the back so I reverse the car out of the driveway without knocking over my or my neighbours bins and I drive off up the hill. On my return home I have to exit my vehicle. This means: press P for Park. Press the start/stop button to switch the car off. Locate the key. Leave the vehicle. Remember to lock the car and then carry on about my business. This may sound simple. But I have noticed that I’m pretty fixated on the key location aspect of the task, so much so, that I keep forgetting to switch off my car. To which my car responds by screaming at me “You bloody idiot!!” flashing red lights and beeping loudly.  Which sets me off with a little adrenalin rush for the start of my day.

Who needs coffee?

My son has surprised me a lot this year. He’s reached the grand old age of 16. This was not absolutely clear as he’s the semi-autistic/extreme ADHDer who is mostly driven by impulse. He has become extremely tall and even more gangly than before. He has grown a full head and shoulders above his eldest sister which he sees as his greatest achievement of the year, because way back at the start of 2016, his head was still bobbing along below hers.

We have been trying to encourage him towards other productive – not just growing – activities. He needs to find direction and no, not the astronaut one. The European Space Agency will not let an extreme ADHDer loose with their space rockets. It seems even the German military won’t let an extreme ADHDer loose with their tanks. Which, having watched my son grow up, I can kind of understand.

Last week I thought I’d encourage him in the kitchen. He has a natural cooking ability although he doesn’t seem to like to use it too much. I told him to dislodge himself from his tablet and he entered the kitchen and I warmly explained to him that I would make him my  masterchef in the kitchen. I said that Papa wants him to be his prodigy on the computer. But I nabbed him first. He didn’t look too impressed but I soldiered on. I informed him matter-of-factly that today, we’d be making pastry. I asked him if he knew how to make pastry and he said yes, I’d already taught him. But I carried on. I had yet again another mammoth headache but life goes on and I stipulated how much flour and how much butter A.D. should measure out. He did so, accurately. I’m more of a  ‘throw it together’, ‘that’ll do’ and a ‘bit extra for good luck’ kind of chef, in all honesty. I looked at the amount of flour and through my strange haze I thought something isn’t quite right here. Then I realised that actually, I exchanged the flour and the butter quantities. Aden corrected my mistake by himself and then I double checked his work and decided, through my fog, it was wrong again, so he re-fixed it. Once he was ready to continue, I noticed that he’d actually been right with his own correction and I had fluffed it up yet again. He painstakingly weighed out the grams as I profusely apologised and blamed my head.

Flour met butter in the processor and I relaxed a little bit as Aden pulsed away and produced perfect ‘breadcrumbs’. Then I told him, that the secret of making good pastry in the food processor lay in adding splashes of water slowly and pulsing the mix until the dough starts to come together, then removing it and doing the rest by hand.

Our pastry started to come together, I instructed  Aden to stop pulsing  and I turned my back for the briefest of moments.

Suddenly, I heard quite rigorous pulsing behind me. I span around and saw the arm of the food processor, no longer in the bowl but in the air, freely spinning with dough swinging from it.

Frankly, I yelled. Then I exclaimed how the dough needed to be used for cooking and not for spraying the walls.

In all fairness, it did seem like Aden was having the time of his life before the yelling.

I recovered my dough, took it to my floured work surface and prepared it to be chilled.

In the meantime we made toppings for the mini quiches we were creating.

Once the dough had chilled I talked Aden into buttering the creme brulee dishes while I rolled out the pastry.

Then I said, “Now we are going to bake the pastry blind. What does that mean?”

He bounced excitedly up and down, not something he’ll be able to do in our kitchen much longer if he continues to grow at such a rate, and squealed, “I know! I know!”

“Is it that you throw loads of ingredients in without looking and then you don’t know what you’ll be eating?”

“What??? No!!!”

He paused for the tiniest moment.

Then he started leaping around again. “I know. Is it that you poke the pastry with a stick like a blind person?”

“What??????????????? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He looked slightly deflated.

I handed him a fork and told him to prick the pastry then we’d place baking paper between the pastry and the ceramic baking beans. He pricked rather enthusiastically at first, all in all there were more holes than there was pastry. So I showed him how to do it properly and then returned the fork to him. Then he got the baking beans from the cupboard and asked if he could try one…

At least he asked. Which is more than the crazy dog did. When I accidentally rolled some off the tabletop onto the floor. She stole one. Ran off. Then spat it back out on to her blanket.

No wonder there always seem to be fewer ceramic baking beans in the tub with every use…

We did manage to finish the quiches and I have to say, they were delicious. But by the end I was thinking of offering Papa Aden as his prodigy…

Life rolls on. The end of the year is nigh and the kids only have a couple of days left at school. Aden rolled off to the bus stop this morning on his scooter. A few minutes later the phone rang. He was extremely upset. He’d started to feel rather squeamish on the bus then had suddenly vomited. Everywhere. Including on three fellow passengers.

He’d got off the bus. At some random bus stop and had no clue where he was. Bless. I had to look his whereabouts up on the internet and go and rescue him. He was covered from head to toe in sick. I am still not sure how I didn’t puke in the car because of the smell.

Yes, the new car.

I got him home, heaved as I put the sick filled clothes into the washing machine and then ran out to thoroughly disinfect the car. I have so learned since the Norovirus.

My husband pointed out that at least we don’t have to put up with that new car smell anymore…

My son may not be the next astronaut or the next tank driver. He may never decide to be a chef. But at least I know that when he projectile vomits, he does it properly.

I wanted to finish there. But my daughter arrived home from school. Calm but I could sense she had something on her mind.

It wasn’t that she’d had yet another nosebleed (she had, but that’s beside the point). She’s a first aider at her school and had to deal with an emergency. A boy had been pushed, and had hit his head against the edge of a table. He had an actual hole in his head. She said that she’s never seen so much blood. At one point she even saw clots that she momentarily thought might be bits of brain on the child’s neck. She remained calm and collected and helped patch the quite young boy up and sat with him, keeping him calm, until a relative could be on the scene to take him to a doctor. I am in awe. I would have fainted. Or have thrown up. Or both.

My kids never cease to amaze me.

Happy Christmas!!!

 

 

 

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Days


There are days
I feel like yelling
“I am absolutely not ok!!”
There are days
I could start telling
My problems right from breakfast,
Right through midday,
They’d keep on spilling
Out all afternoon
And by evening
I’d take a breath and say
“I’m still not done yet –
But I need a break!”

There are days
I don’t know where to start
A smile sits on my face
Hiding worry
Anguish
And concern
With all the good grace
I can possibly muster.

There are days
I sit on the floor
Feel the pressure
Feel the support
Somewhere to be
Where I can no longer fall
And I beg of myself,
“Please, oh please, no more…”

There are days
When I laugh and I sing
I might even dance
Those days I am funny
Those days I am cool
Those days I have everything under control
But those days,
Those days at the moment
Are far too few.

Some days I am weak
All broken
And ruined
Used and abused
All spat out
After being chewed.

Other days I am strong
I carry great heavy weights
In my head
In my heart
And in my arms
And I never drop a single one.

 

The Tale of Two Breakfasts


You know how I recently told you all about my new, all-empowering catchphrase, “Dinner’s prepared itself”? You know how I ended up with flowers, and notebooks and my children were shocked into action by the sudden realisation, that all my dragging them as sous chefs into the kitchen means that they actually can cook. Well, if push comes to shove.

I know that you are probably suspecting that the novelty has lost its shine. That the giving has wavered. That it’s all just a distant memory. But you’d be wrong.

Although, I do put my hands up to keeping the now very deceased tulips in a vase on the unit as a little memento. Seriously, it was not a hint to the children that I am in constant need of being showered with affection. When we discussed it, I told them that I just thought that the tulips looked kind of interesting dead and I couldn’t bear to throw them away while I was still able to get such pleasure from them.

Yes, I am sad. But no, I do not have a morbid fascination with dead flowers.

I am not only celebrating past successes.

The giving keeps on coming.

I am telling you, I am on a roll.

My campaign has actually been so successful that my thinking now is, that I should copyright it and sit back making millions.

I’m not greedy or anything.

It just takes a lot of the paper stuff to produce ballet dancers and singers and artists and pianists and climbers and drama queens and ninjas.

It takes a fair bit of diesel too.

And some backbone.

Along with many reliable clocks dotted all around the house and in the car.

But before I bedazzle you with my fantastic organisational skills, let me continue with my story of how I guilt tripped cleverly nurtured my children into running after me becoming upstanding individuals.

I have a little habit of surprising people of both the small and the large variety, every once in a while, with breakfast on a plastic tray. Otherwise known as breakfast in bed.

It is not quite as altruistic as it sounds. I no doubt gain more pleasure from their happy big and little faces than they can possibly do from a few soggy cornflakes. Besides, three of my four children are now in puberty. Which means suddenly, I am generally the first to rise and shine of a morning. And quite frankly, I often find myself feeling bored as I have no one to play with.

Now, as my story continues, please don’t think that no one has ever made me breakfast in bed. Breakfast has been served to me in my boudoir on a few occasions. Mainly those occasions tend to coincide with Mother’s Day or my birthday. Though never Christmas. I am regularly the one begging the children to wake up at Christmas.

On one of those precious tray days, I clearly remember being mightily impressed by Joni as she carried in, what looked to me, like a perfectly fried egg on a piece of toast. I then noticed little flakes all over the egg. I hadn’t yet rubbed my eyes enough so I assumed the flakes were pepper. Being afraid I would never get breakfast in bed again a good mother I didn’t mention that I can’t stand pepper and I bit, completely uncautiously, into her offerings.

I chewed and I swallowed and I dug deep and faked a smile. Then I asked what those interesting little flakes were.

Proud as punch she answered, “Dried oregano”

Quickly followed by; “Do you like it?”

Now, for those of you who have not yet tried fried egg on toast with a heavy sprinkling of oregano, take advice from one who knows: DON’T.

I admit it. The whole thing must have been my own fault. She saw me constantly adapting recipes and changing ingredients to suit myself.

So I felt it was my duty at the time, as one of those experimental mother types, to say, “Oh, well done darling for trying out new ideas. It’s lovely!”

I’d hoped she would scuttle off to stuff her face with her own breakfast, and I could, you know, dispose of the evidence, but instead she insisted on watching me force down every last morsel before she left the room triumphantly.

Now if I’m honest, I was quite chuffed with myself for lying to her so convincingly. But you know what they say about pride coming before a fall…

A few weeks later (when it wasn’t even Mothering Sunday or my birthday) she excitedly entered the room with a tray full of, you guessed it: toast, egg and oregano.

If my memory serves me correctly, I think she’d added a few other dried green herbs as well. I think I’ve been forced to block out which ones due to something called Post Traumatic Taste Disorder.

For the life of me, I couldn’t raise a fake smile. I did manage to eat it. And I did manage to retain it. Which really was an achievement. And I also broke the news that that experiment did not work out quite so well as she’d probably hoped.

Luckily for me she still seemed to like me, but reverted to an only-on-special-occasions tray delivery service. I’d burst the poor girl’s bubble.

So you can imagine my surprise when last weekend I heard a strange bump at my bedroom door. Bleary eyed I tried to make some sense of what was going on. I smacked around my bedside table and discovered my glasses, shoved them on my face only to reveal a dressing-gowned blond-haired beauty standing at the foot of my bed. Armed with a smile and a green plastic tray.

I wrestled the quilt off my body and propped myself up with my pillow and I grinned.

Cornflakes (unsoggy, with sugar in an accompanying bowl and a small jug of milk), fruit juice and a nice cup of tea.

Had I not  been propped up by my pillow and restrained by my quilt, I would have for sure been bowled right over.

Joni sat on the edge of the bed and watched me eat.

I realised that my husband must have also risen and shone before me, but she hadn’t seen him she informed me. So we guessed he must have been in the bathroom.

I was in the middle of my tea when, lo and behold, the door opened again and in strode my man with an espresso.

He saw the tray and the cup in my hand and he boomed that big booming laugh of his.

Now, I like a bit of caffeine. Really I do. But even for me (I’m the one who once realised I’d drunk about seven espressos in just a few hours) a tea and an espresso at the same time before I’ve even managed to surface, is quite a lot.

As you can imagine, with it being first thing in the morning and having drunk all of those liquids (I’m polite and I don’t like to waste stuff, so I’d also emptied the contents of the milk jug into my bladder), I really needed to pee. When, once again I heard some kind of kerfuffle against the bedroom door.

Joni and I looked at each other curiously. Then the door burst open and in walked little eight year old Akasha with  a tray!!!!! I mean, what are the odds of that happening??????

She looked at me, at Joni, at the espresso cup in my hand and at the tray of empties on the bed and shock radiated across her face.

I looked at her tray. It held a bowl of Frosties with plenty of milk, a glass of water and an espresso.

Joni and I started to laugh hysterically which really was quite strenuous for my overfilled bladder.

Akasha started to cry. Also hysterically.

She frustratedly blamed Joni, “That’s where the sugar was! That’s where the milk jug was!”

She wanted to be the one who had thought of mummy and was really quite ticked off that two people had had the audacity to get there before her.

All I could do was to attempt to stop laughing, ignore my bladder and force down more liquids, caffeine and sugar.

Oh and twitch slightly and feel rather nauseous.

You may think that that’s the end of the story. It isn’t.

Come to think of it, you may think that I wet the bed. I didn’t. Apparently, I have a very expandable bladder.

That was last week. Yesterday Akasha entered my room determined to be the ‘first person to think of mummy’, so she woke me up a whole hour before my alarm was set to ring bearing gifts of: Frosties and espressos. One apparently for daddy, who she’d also thought of (but who had no alarm clock set at all). She also pointed out that she had brought me the sugar bowl and the milk jug.

You thought that was the end end of the story?

No, no, no, no!

I have four children. And when you have four children they tend to be really quite competitive.

This morning I awoke to the sound of shattering and shrieking.

Despite my low blood pressure rule of ‘first sit up, stay like that for a minute, then slowly get out of bed’ I shot out of bed, yelling, “I’m coming!!”

In my race downstairs I imagined a scalded child, broken crockery, four scolded children, blood and a fire. Probably because the shrieking was rather continuous and insistent.

I threw the living room door open and then saw the kitchen.

Broken glass littered the floor and my ADHD/autistic son who had not yet taken his tablets was balancing on one foot, meanwhile his barefoot little sister attempted to calm him down, whilst holding up his injured leg, and persuading the dog (who desperately wanted to lick the wailing one better) to “stay out of the kitchen!”

Luckily, my son was only very lightly injured. His distress was more about the broken jam jar and the glass that he’d broken right before that.

Not knowing that, I pulled all my muscles together and carried my fourteen year old boy out of the kitchen. That makes me sound  a lot stronger than I am. He’s very thin and doesn’t weigh much. Besides, it’s not far from the kitchen to the chair that I slumped him on to.

More impressive actually, is that I managed not to stand on any broken glass with my bare feet because it was everywhere and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a right klutz.

I cleaned up some of the glass so I could get to the plasters. Then wrestled the dog away from my son’s bloody leg.

The poor dog was quite traumatised that she wasn’t allowed to be of assistance: licking up blood and tears.

Aden bawled about the hot chocolate he’d been making me as a surprise for breakfast and asked if it would have to be thrown away because it might have glass in it.

I glanced around and there were our two only trays. Already laid with bowls of Frosties and spoons. A generous two litre Tupperware jug was filled with milk ready to be carried up so we could decide for ourselves just how much we’d like on our cereal.

I poured away the hot chocolates as the boy child whimpered. I handed him the dog. I’m not sure which one of them was more pleased. I hoovered up any last remnants of glass and then went and sat on my bed and breathed.

The door opened and in clattered Akasha and Aden with the two trays and the enormous jug.

Reini and I ate our cereal and  a few minutes later I nipped to the loo.

I looked up as the door was pushed open. Lori stood there unaware, grinning, arms outstretched presenting a plate filled with toast, cheese and a stunning looking fried egg.

Luckily for me there was no oregano on it!

 

 

 

 

 

Four reasons to be a fully proud Mum


Some days I feel kind of sad.

It hurts me that other children laugh at my children. At their mispronunciation. At her dyslexia. That they mistake their quietness for weakness and use it to knock down their confidence and reduce their self-esteem.

I feel tearful when I think of a whole family that has rejected them and I wonder if, I alone, representing my side am actually enough.

My heart weighs heavy in my chest as I watch him struggle through one overwhelming situation after another and as I watch her drag her exhausted body out of bed and into another difficult day.

Life can be so tough.

◊◊◊

Some days I feel screamingly angry.

Why do we collect illnesses and disorders like others collect fine art, postage stamps or old coins?

Why is so much expected of us, even though it’s clear that we cannot deliver?

Why do we always have to wait so long, in waiting rooms, for diagnoses, and for support?

Why oh why can’t I be: stronger, fitter, less tired, more patient, more flexible, calmer, more at peace, more confident, better at German, tidier, less stubborn, more stubborn, more understanding and less angry?

Why, sometimes, could I just not give a damn?

Life can be a fucking challenge.

◊◊◊

Other days, like today, I feel heart-swellingly proud.

You see, today is the last school day and today each one of my four children brought home their report card and looked at me with eyes filled with anticipation.

The autistic/ADHD/OCD one, (that’s the one that yesterday, had a meltdown at his sister’s school festival – because there was too much noise and too many people – and, the day before, had a meltdown – because I went to town and I only got home as the storm was starting, thus I might have been injured – and on Saturday, took a meltdown in the wine shop – because it could be that he would knock over a glass bottle and break it and also because there was just far too much glass all around) waved at me not only a card but also a certificate. The certificate clearly certifies that this, named young man, the one with all those difficulties, achieved the highest grades in the whole class.

We drove together to pick up his little sister. Him beaming and waving his award under my nose, me congratulating and attempting to look for endangering traffic.

The little one has just completed first grade. It’s not been the easiest year. She can’t understand her brother’s meltdowns. And there are times when having two impulsive ADHD siblings is a somewhat hair-raising adventure.
Being bullied by a couple of girls from her class hasn’t helped matters at all. Plus despite her making me espressos on a regular basis, the sensitive little soul notices that I am still tired.
To top it all she added asthma to her medical records. And like us all, lived through a recent family member’s suicide.

That little one, won’t be graded until next year, but her report rang in songs of praise. Praise in English. Praise in Maths. Praise in Music, in Sport, in politeness, in orderliness (which must be mentioned because it is an absolute first on any report card ever crossing this threshold) and in general behaviour; the only real criticism was her being a little shy.

Hallelujah! Praise the (fast growing) number four!

Now. I’ll be honest and tell you, the other two weren’t the best reports I’ve ever seen. But I expected that.

And I was still proud.

Because my eldest daughter, she’s still at school, but she’s 19. And she’s got one further year to go. It’s a different system, you see. She’s restless and yes, in this coming final year, she needs to buckle down. But she knows that. And I can see just how capable she is. She sings stunningly, in her school choir, at all the concerts, at events, even in old people’s homes and a few weeks ago she stood up and sang at that family funeral to comfort all of us. All alone. Just her and her voice. No music. Nothing. She was nervous, but she did it and I cried a pocketful of proud tears.
She’s in the school drama group and a few weeks ago she performed her socks off for her audience. Which, naturally, included me. And she has two jobs. You read correctly. Two jobs. I know a few high school kids who have one job. But if I’m honest, not many. But my biggest little girl reliably works two.

Actually, she’s not my biggest little girl. She’s my eldest little girl. The biggest is my second eldest… It might be a genetic thing. My second toe is longer than my ‘big’ toe. Perhaps it has something to do with that…

So my tallest child looked somewhat forlorn as she handed me her report card. She’s the one who’s a perfectionist but also has really bad dyslexia, and ADHD, with a hefty dose of depression thrown in.

Her year has been spent trying to find rays of sunshine on mainly overcast and rainy days.

I am incredibly proud of her because I know that she has torn herself out of bed each and every day. That, despite feeling lost and lonely, she entered her classroom and gave all that she could give at that time. I am ferociously proud because she relentlessly climbed on a bus and trudged through therapy every single week.

And I’m impressed because on top of all that she continued as a school first aider and voluntary fire-girl (along with her brother, though obviously, he’s a fire-boy) and she learned lines and acted her socks off with her sister in the aforementioned school play.

I’m in awe that she not only managed to pass every single subject, but in some she even managed to get good grades.

To each and every one of my children:

I can see you
I can hear you
I love you
And you make me so proud!
Thank you!

Life can be bloody emotional!

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I was a Duracell Bunny with a lithium battery between my bum cheeks


The thing that I have already learned this morning (I know, already at this early hour on a Saturday) is: the way to wake up energised is to fall asleep the night before in your dinner.

That’s what our seven year old Akasha did last night while we were all chatting the evening away and putting the world to rights, as you do.

Now, I know that she had saved energy by being carried up the winding stairs to her bed, and therefore not having had to haul her small body from step to step. But I never could have guessed that that little iota of conservation could have resulted in the energetic outpourings that would, well, pour out of her this morning.

Before I even had chance to wake my sleepy head she’d got up and dressed, admittedly in yesterday’s dirty clothes, gulped down a bowl of Honey Loops and answered an incoming call.

Which is what woke me, incidentally.

I entered the living room to find her chirpily tormenting brain training the dog. For those of you who don’t have a dog and thus have no idea what on earth I am talking about: you can buy intelligence toys for your dog, whereby you hide treats under cups and in drawers and beneath sliders. There are holes in each of the plastic pieces so that the dog can smell the goodies inside/underneath and is therefore motivated to figure out whether he or she should slide or pull or tip or push the object to obtain to the treat. Akasha had decided, in her wisdom, that the dog should not receive her treats but instead her dried breakfast in the toy which meant several rounds of ‘earn your brekkie dog’ one after another.

She then proceeded on to brush her hair and her teeth all the while talking her into submission.

I saw Lexi’s tail wag happily for a brief moment when Akasha revealed the flexi lead and she sat very nicely while it was being attached to her collar, I must say.

I, on the other hand was quite surprised, after all, being only seven Akasha is not permitted to take Lexi out on her own. But all was soon to be revealed: Akasha was hell bent on walking Lexi on the flexi through the house.

After repeated instalments of ‘stop, sit, stay and heel’ and more constant chatter in her floppy ear Lexi was finally released from her flexi and sloped, I interpreted: somewhat disappointed at not actually going outside, off to her cushion.

Akasha, in an effort to finally bring mummy into the land of the fully awake made me two espressos.

Well, that’s not technically true. She prepared me one ‘rinse clean the machine water’ with added sugar but I refused, point blank, to fall for that trick again. It might contain a sugar hit, but there’s not a single hint of caffeine in the mix.

So she zoomed off again and returned with the proper black stuff.

Simultaneously she informed me that she’d discovered why women have two boobs. “It’s for if they have twins and both babies are thirsty at the same time.”

I declared that despite already being dressed she’d have to get undressed again and have a shower. And wash that hair! It was still full of the sunblock she’d liberally covered herself in the day before (and quite probably half of her dinner too).

We entered the bathroom, which just so happens to be right next to the bedroom where poor Papa was still attempting to catch up on some sleep, despite all of the commotion.

She stepped under the running water and insisted, yet again, that she was quite capable of washing her hair, all by herself.

She was apparently also quite capable of waking up exhausted Papa with her entertaining and rather loud ‘shower song’.

Just to give you a little insight into my life: Akasha may be the youngest of my four children but she is not one of the two who have ADHD. They were both off with the youth fire service this morning at some ungodly hour. Erecting and decorating the village May tree. Quite incredible really when you consider that they’re both teenagers and that one of them recently broke two bones in his arm. I’m not quite sure how he’s managing to haul around a tree and branches when he’s wearing a once pristine white, now mostly black and grey plaster cast from his shoulder to his wrist.

I probably shouldn’t worry though. Last weekend he managed to raise quite a lot of money for the same fire service, packing bags for customers at the local supermarket for ten hours!

And on Tuesday he had no problem at all building up that camp fire.

Anyway, I couldn’t say no. He once told me that fire service is his life.

That and climbing and abseiling and potholing and archery and gardening and as soon as his arm is better he’s about to branch out into canoeing.

I’m still in shock that he managed to break his arm by nipping out to the shop for me and falling off his bike.

Although to be fair, he has conceded that he was driving down the hill at a zillion miles an hour.

Though really, he shouldn’t have been injured at all apart from that scrape on his right shoulder…

After all, he was wearing his helmet and he did instinctively do a ninjutsu roll off the bike as he flew over the handlebars.

Supposedly, it’s just that, he ‘made a slight mistake in how he landed…’

 

 

 

Where I’m at right now


So, firstly, I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments. Every one of them touched my heart. Thank you.

It’s been tough, but I am getting there. However, I’ve realized that the only way I’m going to avoid this situation happening again is to make some changes in my life.

And that’s the tough bit.

Because it’s like I have to reassess the whole way I run my life.

The decision I have made is to do so slowly. Which, I think, is a good one. You see that’s already a change in me (I have the tendency to act like someone shoved a rocket up my jacksy).

I’ve racked my brains (and other people’s for that matter) trying to figure out where I can find support. I am ready to admit that I can’t carry on dealing with our families health issues by myself. We need respite. We need support. But although I’ve asked (OK begged) we still aren’t receiving any.

Support is the key to our future because neither my husband nor I have any reserves left.

My slow and deliberated thinking is starting to make me understand, where it is though, that I’ve been going wrong.

Yesterday, after only four hours of being awake my poor exhausted husband lay on the sofa sound asleep.

I told the children to be quiet and worried sadly to myself that he too is not too far from burning out. And then I realized. I realized the difference between the two of us:

There was ‘stuff’ to do but he felt exhausted and so he lay down and had a sleep.

My natural reaction would have been to pour espresso down my throat and march onwards and upwards.

It’s those ‘click’ moments that I’m presently waiting for. Once the penny’s dropped and I know what I’m actually doing wrong, I might be able to stop and take stock and then actually change myself.

My blogging over the last few months has been sporadic to say the least! I think what’s best for me is to make a clear break because I put myself under pressure there too.

I will be back. And I am still plodding through (some of) my 101 challenges. I just need some time out to deal with my past and my present and to try to persuade my future to go in the right direction.

People ask me how I manage it, but evidently, I don’t…


Yesterday, I sat at the table and I cried through lunch.

Not one of those snotty, bellowing, heart-wrenching cries. No. Silent tears dribbled down my face and plopped into my lap – I was tissue-less.

Yesterday, one child after another tried to console me at the dinner table and one child after another faced me with a just a little despair in their eyes. When is Mama finally going to get better?

I recognized their despair – had they have been able to see through my water-logged eyes it would have been mirrored right back at them.

Five weeks ago today, I awoke, as usual,  but it took me 45 whole minutes to be able to force my body from the bed.

I had run into a wall.

Again.

This is my third burnout in five years.

It took me every drop of willpower I’ve ever owned to throw off my quilt, push myself up and place my feet, slowly and continuously, one in front of the other and whisper, “It’s time to get up…” to an unsuspecting six-year-old who was due to go to Kindergarten.

Time was running past me and if I couldn’t motivate myself enough, she’d have to stay at home, and that would mean that I’d have to look after her.

If I could just get her out of the door, drive the short distance in the car, then I could return to my bed and sleep…

She was so good. So obedient. She dressed herself without much fuss and got her shoes on.

Which was more than I could do.

I managed to drag a scruffy pair of joggers over my nightie and shove my arms inside my winter jacket. Looking back, I think I tramped through the snow in my slippers.

No one gave my shamed, exhausted face a second look as I accompanied her from the car to the door. And I was truly grateful for that.

I have spent the last five weeks sleeping and crying and struggling to chew the food my husband cooked for me because, quite simply, it felt like so much effort. I’ve almost drowned in daytime telly. I’ve battled headaches and dizzy turns and stuffed myself with caffeine so I could keep a bleary eye on where an ADHD child and a six-year-old were bouncing to.

I’ve complained.

I’ve scolded.

And I’ve felt very, very sorry for myself.

I’ve dodged dentists. Avoided the drip, drip, drip of the anaesthetists drugs because I feared that if they put me chemically to sleep for my yearly procedure, my body might not actually bother to wake up. I’ve bypassed blood tests. And just generally avoided my usual multiple monthly visits to doctors’ waiting rooms because I couldn’t get there and anyway,  I had no intention of adding various other ailments to my wrecked body.

Except, that is, when my youngest succumbed to gastroenteritis and couldn’t even keep a splash of water down, leading to “blurry vision”. My husband raced home and I rallied myself for a brief moment, as he drove and I held a blue bucket under her nose.

Luckily, she was classed as ‘probably infectious’; so we sneakily side-stepped the germy waiting room.

I’m not a patient ill person. I hate lazing around. I am a person who constantly needs to do something.

It is starting to dawn on me that that is probably one of the reasons I landed in this situation in the first place.

It’s been five weeks, but today, at last, I felt a little different. A little less tired than yesterday. It was a little bit easier to climb out of bed this morning. I laughed instead of cried. I hope, I really, really hope that I’ve finally reached a turning point. That when the children head back to school next week and it’s all ‘action stations’ once again, I’m still laughing, still getting out of bed and not going to the Kindergarten in my bloody nightie and slippers.

Things aren’t going swimmingly at the moment…


Things aren’t going swimmingly at the moment.

The house looks like a bomb went off in it.

Yesterday, I was away the whole day. Doctors in the morning. Pick up the littlest kid from Kindergarten and then take said kid, as promised, for a bit of one-to-one-time back into town for lunch and then a trip to a local museum, that apparently, has been there for four years, but we had yet to discover. I couldn’t believe that I’d missed it. Being a museum lover and all that.

And to top it all, the best bit of it is: it’s a children’s museum. So having four of the things, I found that rather disturbing – that I’d managed to miss it.

In my defence, I was probably too busy being confused by the one way system in that part of town to notice a great big building with Museum written on it, beside me.

We returned home after a long and tiring day (it started very early, Joni having to catch a bus at 6.45 for a school trip to Strasbourg and, of course, she required a mammoth packed lunch for the journey, as you do when you’re sitting there, not using up any calories) followed by chucking a couple of kids out of the door and wishing them a nice day at school.

I have no idea how Akasha (who’s presently in her last year at Kindergarten) will ever get ready for school on time. She starts in September. I’m dreading September. It’s not so much that she goes along at a snails pace in the mornings. No. It’s more that she’s ‘busy’ doing more important things than eating breakfast or getting dressed or brushing her teeth. Like singing or drawing or putting yellow (her favourite colour at the moment) nail polish on the table her nails. I admit, I have indulged her. Taking her to feed the ducks before Kindergarten or reading her a story. The pattern has stuck and I have no idea how we will shake ourselves out of it.

As I said, we had an early start, but we were still running late for my doctors appointment. So much so that I had to drive to Kindergarten and abandon the car there – then race to the bus stop. I’m sure that confirmed, for many of the parents, that I am, as they suspected: a right loony.

I abandoned the car and ran for the bus and just made it by the skin of my teeth (that’s an odd saying isn’t it, enamel could have been more appropriate?) but there is method in my madness. Parking is expensive in town and so it’s much cheaper for me to buy a day ticket and go from one bus to another and, of course, it’s environmentally friendly too.

But yesterday it was freezing. And freezing at bus stop after bus stop is not really my idea of great fun.

I completed all of my patiently duties in town, missed the bus and went for a nice warm coffee and a bun. I decided that I had earned it. Having walked past several empty bus stops along the way in an effort to keep warm. Besides, as I’m the only person I know who actually lost weight over Christmas (thanks there to the delightful Mr Crohn) I can absolutely shovel a bun or two into my rashed face (yep, also a Crohn gift) and I headed into a nearby warm and welcoming looking coffee shop.

I ordered myself a Latte Macchiato, yum, and a piece of ‘homemade’ banana loaf. As I was admiring the loaf through the glass though, I noticed it contained nuts. They looked like walnuts, which I also put in my own banana loaf, but I knew I had to check, because of my peanut allergy.

“There could be peanuts in it, ” the assistant answered, aloof.

Bitterly disappointed I eyed up the other cakes on display. The fruit tarts. The doughnuts. The cheesecakes. The brownies. The muffins.

She watched me, then injected, “There could be peanuts in any of them. You should have something savoury. A bagel. You could have one of these bagels.”

She waved her arm at the bagels menu behind her as if she was on commission.

I almost fell into her trap. But right then, as I was about to take the plunge, I held myself back. I wanted something sweet. Not savoury. Without peanuts. Why would there be peanuts in doughnuts? Did they have such a sloppy kitchen? Why did she have no idea what her ‘homemade’ banana loaf contained? Did she just fire in any old ingredients?

I rejected her sales pitch and opted for ‘just coffee’ and stretched into my bag to pull out a tissue to wipe away my little tear of sadness. Except, when I looked down I noticed some-bloody-body had already been there and had only left me the snotty ones.

I arrived back at Kindergarten ten minutes before the door would open. I stood there, shivering. Chilled to my very core. I knew I didn’t have time to drive the car home and then walk back to the Kindergarten, get my child ready and sit us both on the 12:15 bus which, I’d arranged, as an extra treat, to meet my husband on. We’d agreed to lunch together with the small one.

Yep. The weather page read at that moment ‘feels like -10°C’ and we’d agreed to do the clever thing, and take our daughter for her favourite food: sushi.

Few people had the same idea, it has to be said. There were only three full tables in the restaurant including ours but we managed to keep them busy. Akasha dropped and smashed an almost full glass of apple juice mixed with lemonade upon their once un-sticky floor.

I think they noticed my shattered nerves, or perhaps it was actually my frostbitten body that did it, whatever, they came over – bearing free coffee.

We apologized with intensity and left a large tip along with the shards of glass behind us.

We waited around for a few minutes then waved the man of the house off as he boarded his bus.

Upward and onward to the museum.

I thought it would be small and over briefly but I had to drag a six year old out at closing time. She could only be persuaded to leave the building by promises of returning soon and being smacked by the realization that the workers had themselves homes to go to and children to see. Although, I suspect in all honesty, that most of their children would have already left home by now. But the children thing still works for Akasha, so I still use it. She hasn’t progressed much in the guessing age abilities yet. I know this because I played a game with her recently in which I asked her if she thought the OAP along our street was older or younger than Mummy she clearly and excitedly yelled out “younger”. I know my rash has taken over my face, but please?!?

As the museum trip had taken longer than expected I had taken a slight panic attack about the older children, who had late school, and so I called my husband to take responsibility on that front. The charge on my mobile was yet again running out and so I couldn’t phone backwards and forwards. He also had to get home to prepare himself for the one-in-Strasbourg’s parent evening.

Sitting on the bus on the way home finally, my mobile rang, but refused to let me answer since I didn’t have enough juice. I could see my husband had called. That he had left a message. But I couldn’t get into it or call him back.

I felt nervous as my daughter quizzed me about her future school days, “What should I do Mummy, if someone accidentally punches me in the eye at school?”

To be clear, I wasn’t worrying about someone accidentally punching her in the eye. As I told her, I don’t think, statistically, that that is very likely to happen. But if it should, she could just go and tell the teacher. (Although, Lori did once get a crutch in the mouth when she was just walking along, minding her own business, down the school corridor. She did require medical treatment. I didn’t have the car as my husband had needed it for work, and because I live approximately 2km from school, the poor teacher had to take her to the doctor. I say poor because when they finally arrived at my door, Lori stood there, face covered in blood and with a thick lip and the teacher stood there, chalk white repeating the words, “She can scream really loudly…” over and over in some kind of shocked trance.) I was worried why my husband had called. Had something happened? Was he at home? Were the children home alone? Had he missed the bus?

We descended from the bus and shivered all the way to Kindergarten, where Akasha had a sudden burst of energy and started racing towards the car.

That’s when I heard the screams. And wails.

“The car’s been stolen!”

I ran after her and panic engulfed me.

Why had I abandoned the car at Kindergarten?

Had I locked the car?

How would we manage without the car?

How do I get in touch with the insurance?

Why do I always forget to charge my mobile phone?

How would Reini get to the parent evening?

Then my brain clicked a little.

I took the hand of the despairing one and dragged her in the direction of home. “Perhaps Daddy’s taken the car,” I proposed, “Perhaps he’s already off to the parent evening. I told him where I left the car at lunch, do you remember? And that would explain his call.”

I chatted as she whined most of the way home. We approached the house. The lights blazed but no car could be seen outside.

We entered the house to two cheery children. Papa had just left the building and the merry ones were about to set off to Fire Service Training.

Importantly: he had the car.

I’d forgotten about Fire Service. More one-to-one-time spotted an ever-enthusiastic-fourth-child.

I abandoned the idea of a bone-warming-bath and settled down next to her on the sofa to watch house programmes. (I’ve carefully nurtured the nosey instinct in her, so much so, she actually once opened the cupboards in someone’s house we were invited to – for a birthday party – needless to say, we weren’t invited back.)

◊◊◊

Things aren’t going swimmingly at the moment.

I think, perhaps, I spend too much time in the company of children.

I looked at the bomb site and told the young ones that there would be no lunch unless they cleared the mess from the table. (Joni being in Strasbourg and Lori being at her drama class.)

Their tummies rumblingly persuaded them and we finally sat down to lunch.

The conversation went something like this:

“Would you like to try some of this, Akasha?” I pointed to a pot of fig mustard on the table.

“OK… Yuck it’s too spicy!!”

“Of course it is, it’s mustard. You don’t like mustard. Ooh it’s really spicy, I think I just got a bit of chili!” responded her brother.

My head was slightly furrowed at that point, “It’s fig mustard. There’s not any chili in it.”

“Have I tried mustard before?” wondered the smallest person in the house.

I changed the subject slightly, “Can you guess which country this mustard was made in?”

Aden blurted, “Germany?”

Me, “No…”

“Afghanistan???” Keenly.

“No. Could you sit properly on your chair please.”

Aden was swinging his chair to the side, thus hovering diagonally across from his plate.

Unsurprisingly, the ADHD one was incredibly surprised to learn that the mustard was made in our neighbouring country: Switzerland.

The cheese, the butter, the drinks were all analyzed to see where they originated. Then he turned to his full glass.

I had a little flashback to yesterday’s lunch and stretched out my hand quickly.

“Yesterday Akasha smashed a glass, didn’t you Akasha?”

“I smashed a light bulb at Fire Service. It was really cool. It exploded (inclusive exploding noises). It wasn’t a good idea to wash the fire engine outside though. The water froze up and we had to scrape it off (accompanied by noises and rigorous scraping gestures).” Aden revealed with much excitement.

“Could you sit nicely on your chair please, Aden?” The chair was swinging quite vigorously and I could see him landing, quite possibly with half the table contents, on the floor.

“What’s a cubic millimetre?” Aden suddenly quizzed.

“It’s a three dimensional measurement.”

???

“A one dimensional measurement would be…” I glanced around the table, then picked up a tub of soya margarine (made in Germany), “this side of the carton. A two dimensional measurement, like centimetre squared would be this side times this side to calculate how big this area is. And a three dimensional measurement, like cubic millimetre would be this side times this side times this side and that calculation would tell you the space in the whole carton.”

“Like the size of a room?”

“Yes!” I enthused.

“Can I go to bed? I feel tired now.”

“Yes.” I knock back another swig of cola, my last attempt at staying awake. I know he’s off to his room to do something. But I’m genuinely too tired to ask what.

He leaves the room.

“Why don’t you whistle?” demands a sweet, but, well, demanding Akasha.

I should have said:

I’m too busy.

I’m too busy dragging children from museums and being friendly to the environment.

I’m too busy sitting on the loo and telling people to do their homework and to sit on their chair properly and thinking up cool ideas for English lessons.

I’m too busy listening to the storyteller in my head.

I’m too busy being refused buns in coffee shops and washing mud splattered fire suits and driving back and forth to ballet classes and applauding completed puzzles and baking homemade banana loaf and avoiding mirrors revealing face rashes and it may just be, that lately, I got a little bit too stressed to whistle.

I’m sorry baby.

But I was always crap at whistling, how about I try singing a little more instead?

Let’s start the year with a little bedroom talk


Apparently my son’s remote control is broken.

Joni decided, in her loveliness and wisdom that this morning, as she is doing work experience at Aden’s school this week, she would take on the responsibility of getting her younger brother up and ready for class and leave both of her parents luxuriating in bed.

I did, of course, need to get up in order to find that out but then I returned to my bedroom with a skip and a hop rather than a shuffle and a slouch.

I lay on the bed and my head sank into the pillow for a brief moment.

The following thirty minutes were spent trying to bury it under the  said pillow as the boy child raced from to room to room singing, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds…” at full volume. (And he only sang that same line over and over again because, quite evidently, he had forgotten the rest of the words.)

My son’s remote control is broken.

I know this because one finger has quite clearly jammed the fast forward control so that he can only race from one room to another and one thumb has obviously frozen the volume level at ‘high’.

And the the mute button never worked.

I’ve made the decision, now it’s just the sticking to it


Friday, really was a truly hilarious day.

One of those days in fact, when you just think: It doesn’t get better than this.

It went along something like this:

I thought I had it covered. I had a list and everything.

Really. I started off in a nice relaxed mood this morning, as my husband took my son to the clinic for me, in order to have him weighed and pick up his new prescription. He’s not a baby. He’s 12. But apparently he needs to be popped on the scales so we can be given the drugs that stop him climbing out of windows and unhanging doors and unscrewing toilet seats and stashing empty, moulding milk cartons in his wardrobe and hiding homework in random bushes. My son has severe ADHD, you see.

It wasn’t enough to be popped on the scales in 19 days at his next actual appointment. The receptionist said that he needs to come in today.

I have a deep fondness for receptionists.

Anyway, I felt confident this morning. And very excited. Though somewhat nervous. Especially given that I have four children and I regularly spend oodles of time with receptionists.

You see, I have finally come to my decision, I have signed up to NaNoWriMo.

The whole signing up caused me so much giddiness this morning that I began the day by pouring milk into the sugar bowl, instead of onto my cereal.

No matter. I rinsed it out and giggled gleefully.

I checked off my updated list ‘rinse milk out of sugar bowl’ and called the eye doctor.

You guessed right. I wanted to grab an earful have a chat with another receptionist. I’ve been collecting styes again. Thanks to my immune suppressants.

Unfortunately, she refused to reply so I had to settle with ‘attempt to buy shoes for two children’.

I bundled an array of legs and elbows into the car and proceeded to drive right past the shoe shop. Toward the eye doctor, in fact.

I turned the car around and chuckled to alarmed used-to-it legs and elbow owners (I did try to blame it on the book) and managed to buy gym shoes for one child.

My list had included a plan to purchase ingredients for and prepare in advance a few healthy meals, to ease my duties in November.

On tasting I discovered, however, that I’d forgotten to put the beans in the minestrone and I’d left the carrot and orange soup stockless.

Then my helpful teenager chopped the tomatoes but left them on the tabletop instead of popping them into the pasta sauce with the rest of the ingredients.

It bubbled away for its full 45 minutes before I actually managed to notice.

But still, determined, I ploughed on making a lovely tomato tart except the pastry refused to be separated from the buttered flan dish so I found myself forced into chilling it for tomorrow instead of freezing it for next month.

Meanwhile my generous five-year old shovelled out the chilli.

I attempted again to call the eye doctor but as it turns out he’s off on holiday for just over a week. Not enamoured at the thought of yet another pusy eye I decided to contact my GP. Well you know what I mean. His receptionist.

I got through but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of my stye prescription so she insisted I call the chemist where I regularly pick up my eye drops.

Naturally, I called the wrong chemist who had no idea whatsoever what I was blabbering on about.

But at least she kindly gave me the number for my actual pharmacist.

As it turns out I still don’t know my German letters properly (even though I have lived here for a full eight years) so I had to ask a couple of times, then wrote down z’s and f’s and y’s where there were absolutely none.

I tried to call the receptionist back, but she’d intermittently had the cheek to take another call, so the line, naturally was engaged. I hung around, with all the time in the world, recooking sauces and burning my tongue off in the chilli comparison test.

A few minutes later she answered my call and I listed out z’s and f’s and y’s where there absolutely were none and she refused to give me any medicine. With hindsight I’m pleased. What if it had been the name of a real medication for vaginal warts or something and I’d have glooped it into my eye?

I apologised profoundly for being an idiot foreigner and I called the chemist all over again.

I explained, you know, that I’m an idiot foreigner and that although this is now my home country I can’t even get the alphabet right and she took mercy on me and offered to spell out the name again.

Cleverly I had intercepted my own stupidity and I had asked the internet what possible medications could be offered to me by my friendly chemist.

The internet had given me a multiple choice of answers but with the help of the lovely lady and one non-pusy eye I managed to work out which medication I should take.

I called the engaged receptionist.

Finally, I spoke to her. I thanked her for her patience and lack of dispensation of vaginal wart cream and she sympathetically offered to have the prescription ready in half an hour.

I told her that although I couldn’t wait for our next meeting, I actually could because I needed to find beans for the minestrone and pick up my sons ADHD medication.

When I finally returned home, I opened my sons pills to see they had only given us enough to last us for 12.5 days. Even though our next appointment isn’t for 19 days.

Better still, we must order the tablets four whole days before we need them.

I started to clean and prepare for tomorrow’s lesson with my new student. I looked forward to making ‘novel notes’.

Then the phone rang.

Head lice alert.

I spent the following two hours dragging a bloody nit comb through conditioned hair.

I’m happy to report those two wasted hours that thorough search revealed not a single louse in the house.

I live the high life, I tell you.