Sunday, 29 April 2012

Curse and neglect

Hello one and all. I am all alone. Well, all alone except for the staff and patients of Seattle Grace Hospital keeping me company. What would I do without them. They must keep making Grey's Anatomy forever more or a little part of me will die inside. I have already had to cope with the end of Brothers and Sisters and it wasn't pretty.

I am all alone aside from fictional TV characters because I have made K take the children to his mother's house as I am no longer fit to parent them. I am failing spectacularly on all counts so I thought it was best for all if we were temporarily separated. I feel terrifically guilty about sending them away on yet another rainy day so that someone else has to find a way to amuse them in a small, confined space. In the same way that when the weather is warm for a number of days in a row (to any foreign readers, this is known as a heatwave in the UK and can sometimes last as long as a week) and you look at your winter coats and boots and can't imagine a time when you will ever wear them again, the same has happened with the rain. I have now decided that it will continue to rain forever, two weeks of almost persistent rain has completely obliterated any memory I might have once had of those days when it was possible to leave the house without socks, wellies, coats etc for me and all of the children or why you would ever buy an ice cream from an ice cream van. I feel that I am never going to see the sun again. Foreign holidays are never going to happen for us so this is it now. A lifetime of rain and misery awaits me. Gone are the days when I could prance around wearing my Sainsbury's Maxi dresses, instead I have used some of my valuable last income to invest in yet more maternity jeans. Although having moaned - the persistent cold and rain could all work out to my advantage - there is nothing worse than being boiling hot and heavily pregnant and sweating so much from a short walk you have to change your clothes. When I was heavily pregnant with Bea and working I used to be so hot by the time I got home I would stand in a paddling pool and get K to hose me down outside with all my clothes on. Actually we can't do that even if we do have a sudden and unexpected heatwave in June (apparently May is going to be very rainy too) as there is still going to be a hose pipe ban even if we have to spend the next six weeks swimming to school.

Anyway, that is enough on the weather. Back to my hideous parenting which is far more interesting. I will admit that there are times when I feel like I am doing a rather good job on this whole parenting malarkey. I have content moments when I think all the children are happy and well and it is all down to me and my brilliance. For example the Friday morning before the last half term, when we had a text book, good school run, arriving in plenty of time without having had to rush, with joyful children full of happiness and excitement at the imminent half term, with all their appropriate bits and pieces - books, signed pieces of paper, skipping ropes, packed lunches, water bottles, footwear, attire and show and tell toy. I also had in my hands, the home made, joint-project-with-the-children cakes, ready to be deposited in the library for the school cake sale. (I put our surname in very big letters on the top of the cake box so people knew that the pregnant mother of three with an exceptionally part time job had found time and energy to bake for the good of the school.)  However, smug moments aside, this week has descended into an annihilation of any feelings that I might have even a modicum of talent at parenting. It is like the rain and the sun - the metaphorical rain has set in to my parenting and I cannot imagine a time where the sun will shine again.  

Firstly, I have told them all they are annoying, and in particular annoying me, more times than is healthy for a child's self esteem. I have no idea if they are being far more annoying than usual or if I have developed an inability to cope but whatever it is, that is where we are. I think it all started when I had to shatter everyone's dreams and put Mr Croc out to meet his maker. So sad. Mr Croc was the three metre cardboard crocodile we made over the Easter holidays. (I was having a good parenting time then). We collected egg boxes and cardboard boxes for weeks from friends and neighbours and spent an afternoon sticking and painting to create the below:

However, after the initial excitement and pride at what we had created, along with the obligatory photographs, I was left with a three metre obstacle to clean and move around in the kitchen. Also, after one night in situ, it turns out that painting sellotape is not a long term solution as it chips and flakes everywhere. So, since the first Wednesday of the holidays I have been in a very difficult situation. My children were in love with Mr Croc and also convinced it was worth money and should be sold online, K was keen to have it thrown away quickly (after being suitably impressed and complimentary of our considerable skill) and I was left moving it in to various different positions so that it could be cleaned under only for the movement to leave large areas of chipped green paint in its wake. So, finally this week I took various parts of Mr Croc and squished them down in to the recycling bin (I took ages deciding if it was regular rubbish or recycling) but the main part of the body was too big so had to be left on top of the bin and then the rain began again and the paint started coming off and running away in little sad, green rivers. It was a sad sight and Ted was particularly affected by witnessing the slow and miserable death of his friend. (They had played together many times over the last three weeks). Since he was crushed unceremoniously in the back of a recycling van, nothing has been the same. After a brief period of excitement that Bea's new glasses might actually have made a significant difference to her ability to read music and therefore make recorder practise more enjoyable, it turns out that she still doesn't know the difference between a 'B' and a 'C' and her wearing glasses has had absolutely no affect on my patience level whilst she tries to work it out. In fact the glasses just remind me of my shortcomings as a parent because she should have been diagnosed long sighted at least four months ago (if not more) and perhaps she would have found things a lot easier if I wasn't so lazy/suffering from pregnancy symptoms.

I have also had to acknowledge that the letter they sent from school which I received at a particularly low moment, is something I have to deal with. It turns out that after the recent weighing and height  measuring as part of the National Child Measurement Programme, my beloved G is far too heavy for his little bones. Now, I was expecting him to be in the over weight section, I sort of found it funny. He is a 'solid' boy who looks as if he was born to play rugby. However, he is no prop forward. He doesn't have a stomach that hangs over his waist band or have to wear clothing three sizes too big, or become short of breath and red in the cheeks after climbing the stairs. He is, and always has been, very solidly built. He came out at 8lbs 8oz and amazed the midwife by being 10lbs 4 oz when she weighed him again after ten days. He is now a big lover of milk and mashed potato, both in large quantities. I have always found his hearty appetite a rather endearing quality - there is something lovely about feeding a child who really appreciates their food and regularly clears his plate and then licks it clean for good measure. Although it is not as if he eats bars of chocolate for breakfast and haribo before bed so I was more than a little shocked to find his weight puts him in the 99th percentile for his height and therefore makes him (obese). (I have to put it in brackets so you don't say it out loud - it feels so horrid to label him). He is still wearing age 5 trousers so unless uniform and clothing manufacturers are making clothes that only cater for the obese market, I was totally blindsided by the whole thing. I have therefore been making a huge effort to cut his calorie intake without him knowing or getting upset. It is exhausting making endless decisions on what he can and can't have and trying to gauge regular portions. As you all know my portions are more supersize than superskinny so Cupcake Sister has had to become my portion moral compass. Apparently small children only need one sausage per sitting. That is weird. I have always given two. Also this means an end to the mash mountain and a downsizing to mash small hills which doesn't have quite the same ring to it. I have included a photo so we might also mourn the loss of my culinary genius (I am on a roll with pics today - the ketchup is lava as the mountain is also a volcano).

Every time I look at G now I keep trying to be objective and work out if he looks obese to the untrained eye and if I am just not seeing it because he is mine. Every time he pulls on his skinny jeans I feel vindicated. Although added to my guilt over his weight (which is my fault whether he is predisposed to weight gain or not - ultimately the buck stops with me), I am slightly concerned he may have some tooth decay as well. I am petrified of going to the dentist to find out for sure. It is yet another urgent thing I have to put on my to do list which isn't being done, not because I am so ultra, ultra busy that I can't fit it in, but because I am too chicken shit scared to do anything about it. Before I write again I am going to HAVE to take them to seek urgent dental attention. Bea's teeth are growing in all wonky too so she needs to go and see him. Oh and she needs to go to the doctors for her hearing. I haven't done anything about that either. Let's face it, things are not looking good for my motley crew of children. Let's hope they have great personalities.

Ted has been his usual still-in-nappies, evil-genius self, until yesterday when he became badly wounded due again, to my crappy parenting and utter neglect. I had left him downstairs with his father and siblings watching Alvin and the Sodding Chipmunks (I added the sodding btw although the makers of the film really should have thought of it) and gone for a sneaky lie down upstairs. After half an hour Ted came and found me. I tried ignoring him which worked and he went away, but then came back saying he had a hurt. I didn't look up and told him to come to me and I would kiss him better. He became quite insistent and didn't move. I looked up and saw a lot of blood on his finger. I also noticed the smell which was obviously why he had come up to see me (K says it is Ted who insists on me changing him but I secretly suspect K tells him to come and find me after he's filled his nappy). So, upon inspection of the fingers I saw more and more blood, but Ted was telling me not to touch it or clean it and was becoming quite upset about it all so I couldn't see the source or work out what had happened. To cut a long story short, after a lot of trying to find out what on earth had happened and not being able to change his nappy he took me in to the bathroom where I found a scary bloody smear on the bath and the razor Ted had been trying to describe to me for quite a while. THE GUILT. I had left the razor on the side of the bath. After many months of moving the sodding razor from the sink (where K had left it) to the cupboard so that Ted couldn't use it against anyone/himself it was finally me that left it so that it was easily within his grasp. He kept trying to show me how he had wiped his finger on it during the whole crying/bleeding/charades minutes before we got to the bathroom and I had totally not understood. Poor thing must have thought I was very lazy and very stupid. After he eventually let me deal with the gushing blood, even with three plasters over the finger the blood kept seeping through and I felt sick. I am not good with blood and gore - particularly when it is my fault that the blood is there in the first place. He also kept holding it out ET style which just made me feel even worse.

Coupled with this, since the curse of Mr Croc, things have once again become strained with K. Mr Croc's demise happened to coincide with the first of my now weekly visits from the cleaner (the final nail in Mr Croc's green and plastic coffin). At the last minute (or so I thought, I may have had it wrong for weeks), the cleaner told me she was coming 24 hours early and the house was in no fit state for someone not in our family to witness or indeed attempt to clean, so I spent two and a half hours running around trying to tidy ahead of her coming in behind to clean. In total nearly six hours went in to the transformation of our house from 'disgusting' to 'acceptable' and I was justifiably proud. I even made quite an effort to maintain the new state of the house in the face of a friend and three small children spending the afternoon here, as well as the usual boisterous after school play from the four children in my care, so, it was with some considerable anger that I greeted K's 'innocent' comment as he ascended the stairs that evening with the immortal line 'I thought the cleaner was meant to have come today'. THERE ARE NO MORE WORDS. And there were none between us, aside from the terse vital words regarding practical or parenting matters. That remained the case until very recently actually. The wound went ridiculously deep. He bought me a new broom yesterday - I have no idea if this is to rub salt in the wound or is meant as a peace offering. For the sake of us remaining in the land of the talking I have not asked.

In other, entirely unrelated news it is going to be impossible for me to ever go to America. It will totally shatter my illusions of God-like-Doctors who not only look good enough to eat but are able to save even the most hopeless of cases just by thinking a bit harder about how to perform the operation, but I would be entirely disappointed to learn that high school wasn't full of people running around falling in and out of love and singing about it up and down the halls. Yes, I have moved on to Glee. I am catching up with all the programmes I have missed for the last month. Although this happy scenario (complete with a tub of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food) may well come to a very premature end as K has just texted saying that he will be probably leave soon as the children are uncontrollable. DAMN. I was just beginning to like the idea of children again but now I know they might return I am very keen that he should try harder and keep them away for a bit longer. I feel guilty that I am doing a crap job when they are here, I feel guilty for sending them away because I can no longer stand them and their annoying whining and fighting and bleeding from razors, then I feel guilty that I enjoy my time away from them and now I feel guilty that I want them to stay away for as long as possible so I only have to watch them whilst they sleep (children are at their VERY VERY best when fast asleep) and then look forward to dropping them off at school tomorrow so that Ted and I might concentrate on our 'loafing', which we have really perfected in recent weeks. (The third trimester has also coincided with a very obvious bottom sized dent in our sofa).

So to summarise, Mr Croc is dead and his curse means I am no longer coping. I even realised the other day that no one had had their hair washed for as long as I can remember. It grossed me out significantly. I mean, they have definitely rinsed it in the bath and it inevitably gets wet in all this rain we have had, but as for a proper shampoo and rinse - I was totally at a loss to remember when that had last happened. I did then immediately properly wash all of their heads in the bath, with shampoo and everything and aside from the dubious colour of the bath water reinforcing my guilt and neglect, it has turned out well as I have realised that Ted smells fabulous when I am cuddling and kissing him, as do the other two. It turns out that unwashed hair does not smell as sweet as recently washed hair. Regular hair washing is also going on my urgent to do list. There are still nearly three months to go of the pregnancy so I am slightly fearful of how much further my parenting standards can slip. The only way to find out is to keep going. I shall keep you posted. Let's hope they all live to tell the tale. I have definitely learnt my lesson over razor blades so that's one less thing to worry about. I am going to have to be far more careful over the knives I leave out in the kitchen.

Right, seeing as I may not have long left (on my own - hopefully not on the planet), I shall heave myself out of the bottom sized hole on the sofa and start tidying and hiding knives and scissors etc. Glee hasn't quite finished yet so I shall start by finishing the rest of the ice cream so I can throw away the tub - one has to start somewhere.

Seeya. x



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