Tag Archives: Daily life

Post Traumatic Nipple Stress


So, last night, I sneezed so violently that my whole body wrenched forward and my nipple got caught in between my wrist and my watch strap.

#truefact #notalternativefact #youcouldn’tmakeitup

I yelped slightly, partly because of the shock, partly because of the sheer intensity of the sneeze, not so much because of the pain – it strangely didn’t hurt that much, and quite a bit because of that traumatic memory of when I accidentally whisked my boob.

My yelping interrupted the film we were watching and my husband, who luckily is used to my violent sneezes, glanced across and I exclaimed to him, “My nipple got caught in my watch strap!!!”

He winced appropriately and turned his face back in the direction of the TV screen.  After all, whisk flashbacks are mine and mine alone.

To be honest, I did feel the need to re-discuss that old event, but then, for some reason, I thought better of it.

Now, at this point, you may be forgiven for wondering why my watch strap is far too big or if I have an exceptionally small nipple? I can ease your concerns on both counts. Well, I think I can. I mean, I haven’t actually compared my nipple to other ladies nipples as it’s not really polite to do so and I am, after all, British. But my suspicion is, that in terms of size, my nipple is completely normal. And my watch strap is not too big either, rather, I have to wear it slightly loose because it says to do so in the instructions. It’s one of those Fitbit things. You know, one of those watches that measure not only time, but also your pulse as well as the amount of steps that you take in a day. What that actually means is: that it’s a watch that controls your mood – if you achieve more than the 10,000 steps that it expects of you in your day, then you feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD and if you don’t, like yesterday, you fall into a deep black hole of depression – and from then on in you just wander back and forth to the fridge scouring for sugar. I really thought my Fitbit might have cut me some slack and given me a point step for each violent sneeze, after all I’m sure they must use up more calories than a simple step. In fact, they are so whole-body-consuming that each sneeze should really be classed as exercise.  But no, my Fitbit not only discounted my activity, but it also ensnared my nipple.

Shortly after my ‘event’ interrupted our viewing pleasure, we heard a little knock on the living room door. We thought about it for a brief moment and then we shouted unanimously, “Come in!” And a  no-longer-so-tiny daughter shuffled into the room. Crying.

My husband paused the film.

We asked her what was wrong. But she was so absorbed with her own tears that she couldn’t tell us anything. So I started the guessing game:

Are you ill? Did you have a bad dream? Have you forgotten about some piece of homework? Have you lost something? Are you dreading going back to school? Did your brother annoy you?

She couldn’t speak, only sob and shake her head.

So, I thought I’d try the cheer-her-up approach. “Do you know what just happened to mummy?” I asked, excitedly.

She shook her pretty little head again.

“I just sneezed so violently my nipple got caught in my watch strap!!!!”

She screwed up her face.

But the sobs seemed less….

So I continued, “Do you remember the time mummy whisked her nipple…?”

Kids. You gotta love ’em. They have their uses…

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!

 

 

 

 

 

The undeserved distress of being a hairy damsel


I just brushed my teeth and my hair, not with the same brush, of course, with completely different brushes, as you do, before you go to bed.

I had a little mishap. Well, a couple of little mishaps, if I’m honest. First, I placed the capsule inside my inhaler (which I have to take right before brushing my teeth, making it thus a part of this story) and as I put it in my mouth to suck on it, I simultaneously, accidentally twisted it and whacked my tooth. Not my already so-often-bashed-tooth-that-it-is-now-a-somewhat-yellow-tooth, I hasten to add, no, it was a completely, undamaged, sparkly white one. I oohed and I aahed somewhat. OK, that is a downright  lie. I cursed and I blasphemed somewhat. Then I brushed my tingling teeth (pain spreads, you know) and then turned to my other brush. My hairbrush.

Now, I should perhaps mention at this point that I was naked. For reason unknown to any man, child or woman. And that included me. It wasn’t that I was expecting any late night hanky panky or anything. I can assure you of that. Because the man of the house had already hit the sack and was snoring blissfully and boomingly. I was ever so slightly ticked off about that, actually. After all, he’d just sent me, moments before, out into the street to put the bucket out for tomorrow’s bin men. And all I’d been wearing was a towelling robe. I’d thrown open the door and had a slight panic attack for a moment, then embraced the cold air and ran out into the dark night tugging on a dustbin. I’d been nostalgically reminded of those luxurious winter moments at the local sauna; leaving the heated cabin and entering the cold winter air wearing nowt but but a pretty robe. Except that I wasn’t sweating but I was dragging a wheelie bin. And my spa experience had been for free.

I’d returned the short distance from the curb to my home like a cross between a clearly amateur ballet dancer and a scrutinising spy, looking for potential serial killers or an unsuspecting, about-to-become-disturbed neighbour.

So I stood, naked, in front of the mirror, and lifted the brush to address the issue of a great big clumpy knot that had inconveniently appeared in my long, russet hair.  I started to tear the hard, wooden brush down through those mischievous strands.

I brushed firmly downwards and then I felt it.

I’d brushed my nipple.

Now, it wasn’t up there with the torture I had put myself through that day I accidentally whisked my nipple. I am still reeling from that experience. I still shudder every time I pick up an electric whisk with my right hand. I shudder but I soldier on. I like to bake. Mainly because I like to eat cake.

But I do suspect naked hair brushing may have gone out of the window. At least, until I have dramatically cut my hair.

But the whole episode made me think. We, damsels, with very long hair, must go through many disturbing experiences that those with short hair absolutely cannot.

Like:

  • Brushing our nipple(s?)
  • Accidentally ‘dropping it’ on a candle flame and igniting it.
  • Our hairdresser insisting that we need to urgently go to the doctor as we’re losing far, far too much hair and then the doctor doing hair removal tests a.k.a. pulling hair from our heads with their bare hands and then telling us “No, your hair’s just long and looks like a lot in the hairdresser’s sink,  but I have to really pull it to get it out, it doesn’t come out at all easily.” At which point we are mouthing the words, “I know!” and wincing back the tears.
  • Accidentally dropping it in our dinner.
  • Finding dried out egg yolk in it.
  • Accidentally dropping it in someone else’s dinner.
  • Getting it stuck under our partner’s or our own body part, yelping, and then having to make a little pause, alter position and refocus during sex.
  • Having a shower before bed, then getting up in the morning to discover that it’s still wet and it’s -10°C outside! As we drop the kids off at school we can feel little ice crystals forming…
  • Getting bored while using a hairdryer thus wandering off to do something else (which, of course, leads on to the point above).
  • Accidentally getting it stuck under a stranger’s shoulder on the bus and going through that embarrassing moment of explaining to them that that comfy cushion they’re enjoying leaning on, is actually our hair.
  • And then, there’s the classic: having it completely blindfold us on a windy day, causing us a near death experience like walking in front of a car or under a ladder.

But the very best, OK, worst long hair experience I know to date is the one of my own daughter, Joni. As you may have gathered it was all my fault and as soon as I can muster up the strength to talk about it, I will let you know. Every. Single. Detail.

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…’

 

 

 

They bloody lied to me, life does not begin at forty!


So this is my present state of play. Just in case you should want to know it.

Starting from my scalp:

My scalp is somewhat tight because in an effort to keep my hair away from my neck (you’ll learn more about that later), I have bundled my crows nest fake auburn tresses upon the top of my head. My saving grace, in that department, is that I have a bright, shiny, new scrunchy, which really is something to get excited about when you have four kids and are a little more than forty years old.

I look a little like a scarecrow.

With extra straw.

Following downwards my brain is stuffed. Not with the lovely brains and wisdom of my fully spent youth. But with good old fashioned snot. Lots of it. I’ve tried blowing it out. I’ve tested setting it free with a nasal spray. I’ve attempted to shower it out with a nasal irrigation device, but at best, I only dripped. I’ve even done my utmost to pump it into oblivion with a special sinus attachment for my nebuliser; but to no avail.

So my head? It hurts. Somewhat.

My eyes are actually fine. Well, with the exception that I need to take my glasses off in order to see something that’s right there in front of my face.

I’ve discovered, on kissing my husband goodnight, that he is indeed quite a handsome fellow.

My nose is very dry. And bright red.

I have recently heard the name Rudolph being brandished about…

My skin is peeling, especially on my face. It seems to be some kind of wicked side effect to my immune suppressants. I’ve plateaued at a kind of flaky-old-lady with a chaffed look niveau.

I have attempted to replenish the skin with various lotions and potions but my now immune suppressed body reacts with a fiery, burning wrath rash when I do so. So, I’ve resolved to stay flaky and remember back to yesteryear when it seemed, somehow, like being called flaky was some kind of compliment.

My neck. Ah yes my neck.

Yesterday, it was fine. Although my shoulder was attempting to be a little troublesome…

Then this morning, it complained (a lot) that I had slept wrongly in my bed.

I gently turned it this way and that. I told it, that we were finally out of bed and that, really, it doth protest too much. I promised it a nice warm scarf and a massage.

Then I sneezed.

One almighty sneeze.

And ever since that moment, I have looked like someone shoved a plank up my back as I can now only manoeuver with my whole body when turning to my right.

Hence then my crows nest; it’s the only possible way to stand a chance of the heat patch glue actually staying glued to my neck. That and the quadruple insulation scarf I have wrapped seventeen times around it.

My shoulders are now okay. Ish.

But my lungs? Well, er, let’s keep it short and just say they are competing on the whole mucus front thing.

Glad tidings from my throat though, considering how much I’ve been coughing, my throat is feeling fine. I suspect that’s down to the incredible volume of onion juice and honey I’ve been knocking back.

A little point of interest: my boobs are south facing. South facing!! How did that happen?

Fuck!

Anyway, my hips, ah yes, my left hip twinges. You got it: Twinges.

And my stomach, well, it feels a little nauseous, but, to be honest I’m putting that down to the incredible volume of onion juice and honey I’ve been knocking back.

My lovely Crohn’s bowel? It loves immune suppressants (in stark contrast to every other body part I own) so it’s absolutely fine and dandy.

Though, (and this information I only normally give out on a need to know basis), my bottom cheeks are continuously clenched together, nowadays, in an attempt to maintain a grip on my bloody grapevine otherwise known as my piles.

My left knee is trying to convince doctors that I was some kind of heroic sportswoman, with a pretty array of meniscus tears. But I’ve told them, quite emphatically, I generally stuck to gentle walking. Albeit I did tend to cover large distances, seeing as I am a woman and not a feminist one at that. Therefore, I can freely admit that I cannot park. Not to save myself. Which in turn means that I have always had to abandon my vehicle in the largest possible space I could find. Of course, that then has always happened to be the space that is furthest away from my desired destination. And I also have a tendency to forget where I parked my car, in that good old flaky spirit of mine, so that has, on many occasions led to some gentle strolling too. Not gentle on the nerves, mind you. There was, at times, quite a lot of shouting. And some swearing too. But I doubt that either of those things would have affected my left knee.

And while I’m bearing my soul; my right knee is sympathizing.

Which I don’t need.

I’m quite capable of feeling sorry for my left knee all by myself.

Don’t be thinking that I’m body-sidist, but what on earth is going on with my left foot?

It has some strange lump on it that doctors insist on poking, with an unnecessary fury and injecting concoctions into which has not improved matters in the least.

But the good news is: we live in modern times.

I joked with my daughter, the other day, “By the time you bury me I’ll be half plastic.”

My husband, who apparently still loves me, despite my decrepit frame, retorted, “Titanium, you’ll be made of titanium, it lasts longer.”

After I recovered from his unusual interlude of romanticism, my first thought was, “Wow, I’ll be the one setting off all the alarms at the airport!”

Then I had a little premonition. I realised, long before my own death, exactly what song will play out at my funeral:

Titanium!

“I am titanium……”

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?

A couple of recent corkers


My husband and I attempted to usher Akasha, our six year old, off to bed. She, as usual, came up with several excuses as to why she should stay up but we didn’t give in and insisted that we, as husband and wife needed to spend time together and as it was Valentines Day we wanted to do something on our own.

She responded, “You do do something on your own – you sleep together!”

A few days previous my eldest daughter (Joni) and I were approaching the car and she explained to me:

“Sometimes I see a car parked so crappily and I think ‘What the Hell????’ and then I look closer and I realise that it’s our car and my mother was the one who parked it.”

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.

Pigeon English


Let me tell you, it’s hard growing up as a bilingual when you are only five years old. You have double the amount of words to remember and the grown ups need to suspect expect that there will be mix ups.

The other day is a good example.

I asked Mama what pigeons eat. I was a little worried. They come quite close when we’re walking through the town, hand in hand, and they sometimes have that I-would-like-to-bite-you look in their eyes.

Mama researched it on the internet for me. She told me they like worms (yuck) and insects (yuck yuck) and fruit (yum) and grains (what?).

I felt a little sick as Mama questioned me on what pigeons eat. It seems, I had good reason, not only do they eat worms. They also eat BRAINS!!

I responded, “Worms and insects and brains.”

I forgot about the fruit. To be honest, I was too busy thinking about how close to the ground my head is. It was alright for Mama, sat there, laughing. She’s tall. The pigeons would have to fly quite high to reach her…

Grains not brains. GGGGrains.”

“What’s grains?”

I noticed then the difference in the sound of the words and I can tell you I was rather relieved.

She babbled on about what grains are and really, I’m not sure what she was talking about, but I didn’t want to make that horrifying mistake again, so I said out loud to myself:

“Akasha, Akasha, Grains not brains. Grains not brains.”

Mummy laughed again. But she seemed to be crying too. How could she be happy and sad at the same time?

Today, on the way to Kindergarten nursery Mama asked me if I’d told my teacher what pigeons eat. I hadn’t. So she asked me if I remembered what pigeons eat.

I told her, “Worms and cranes.”

I realized my mistake straight away. I shook my head from side to side and corrected myself, “No, no, that’s the building thing. Grains not cranes.”

I think my Mama is quite a happy person. She laughs a lot of the time…

Beware of the bath


Last night, after a hard day of tapping the keys fantastic and dropping a child at a birthday party and stuffing my face with pizza, I decided to plough on with my film challenge and snuggled into my husbands shoulder and settled down to watch a movie.

Except, it seems, he’s just too darn snuggly, and after only 25 minutes, he noticed I’d already nodded off.

That’s funny in itself, he exasperated, I started snoring precisely 25 minutes in last time we tried to watch exactly the same movie.

He gave up on me and decided he’d watch a film he knows I wouldn’t like. I didn’t feel like going to bed. The children had only just gone quiet so I lay my head against his shoulder and tried to block out the sci-fi sounds blasting out of the TV.

It didn’t work. I suddenly felt half awake. And cold. So I decided I’d have a bath with some relaxing bath salts. Mmmm

I climbed into the tub before it had even finished running. So alluring was the water.

I felt the heat and I lay and I thought. And it soothed.

No wonder I was so tired! The five-year old had woken me at 7am (after I’d been writing until 2am) to remind me: today was the day of the birthday party.

One of the things you can guarantee in life, is that young children will always wake you up early at weekends and in the holidays, even though you have to raise them from the dead on a school or nursery morning.

And if you’re an optimist like me, you’ll convince yourself every Friday and Saturday night, that it’s the weekend, and that that means a long lie.

Tired, I arose from my bath, swathed myself in a soft towel and opened the window slightly to aid the room to return to its former bathroom look. Rather than remain as the steam room it had become.

I thought I’d just sit on the bed for a minute, but I felt dozy, so I tossed the quilt over me even though I was still in my towel…

“Mum, Mum! You left the bathroom light on and the window open!” A teenager awoke me.

You’re waking me up from my lovely and much-needed sleep to tell me that, I thought, but I couldn’t say as sleepiness engulfed me…

“Sarah, Sarah, wake up! You left the light on in the bathroom and the window open. Are you alright?” My teenager, worried, had disturbed her father from his film.

You, too, are waking me up from this lovely and much-needed sleep to tell me that, I thought, but I couldn’t say as sleepiness engulfed me…

I awoke this morning with a cheery five-year old in my face wishing me a “Good morning!” And I thought: what was all that about? OK, I left the window ajar, but the heating isn’t on and the mosquitoes aren’t here yet. And, actually, the normal bulb in the bathroom has blown, so I probably just switched the wrong switch off. The bulb over the mirror, is one I rarely use, being a person who generally avoids mirrors…

I trudged off to the bathroom for my morning pee, opened the door and saw…

… Trousers and socks and underwear and shoes thrown around the bathroom like a mini tornado had briefly entered the room and had a field day with cloth stuff.

What the hell happened here? I wondered.

I have an image of myself in my head now.

Undressing and swirling individual clothing garments around my head and then flinging them off into the yonder.

It’s not a pretty image.

It’s not a true image.

But I have no other idea as to how my clothes and shoes scattered themselves so freely.

On the bright side, at least I’m not the only one wondering: what’s going on? 😉