Enough.

Another night of coughing, just phlegmy horrible coughing, enough to keep me awake until 4am when I admitted defeat. Glugging what I could from the cupboards to knock me out for just two and a half more hours sleep so I could get some rest, even though today is the last day.

It really is the last day. Last day of work – though I used two days holiday up so I’ve had the last two days off – not that I’ve rested, mind. Last day of school. H has made it through the whole term without a day off sick and should be rewarded for this. Shaun still has some normal days to use before his last day but we’re getting there.

At 6.30  Shaun woke H up to see if she wanted to lie with me and cuddle for an hour – she did, so we did, getting up at 7.30. What a difference a later wake up does. She seemed less tired, she did school work before school and we got loads of little things done before we had to leave for drop off. What I’d give to have one morning a week I could do that, every week. The clubs and activities have all finished until the new year, we can all rest. Our bank account, possibly not. That never rests.

By 9am I was in the gym, my new regime for 2015 getting into place – cycling machines, running (walking) machines, cross trainers, back weights. I’m ready to tackle my problems in other ways, plus I can go to the gym with a cough.

By 1.30 I’ll be at school, the last time this year. By 2pm I fully intend to be in my pyjamas watching a selection of films with H and just resting, another year done. I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my little girl. Two whole weeks.

We’re all ready for a rest now. Oh, and a panto or two in between, of course. I have stollen, I have far too much chocolate (which might also include some of H’s easter eggs which were tucked away in the back of the cupboard – oops), I have snacks, and most of all we have time. That’s something I’ll never get enough of.

Leaving Your Child at a Party (for the first time)

On Saturday H was left at a party for the first time – a big step. She loves her mummy so much, too much sometimes, so this was a big step to go it alone.

To be honest, I had a fear. I’ve only experienced one other time when one of her friends was left, with me as one of the adults to keep an eye on her while her parents went home, and the moment her dad left she cried and said how much she wanted her daddy for about five or ten minutes. Then insisted I took her to the toilet, then cried again.

So I was a bit fearful of how H would be.

Ends up she was fine. She missed me (of course!) but her friend was also being left for the first time so they paired up and got on with it together. Phew.

So of course, I did what any sensible parent does when leaving their child on their own at a party, when having some time alone at home and cleared the unread emails from my inbox. Shamefully, the oldest one was from January this year. Whoops.

I was also the last parent to turn up, probably due to the amount of time it took to de-ice the car, but when I got there she was giggling and having a wonderful time, her nails all sparkly, her face painted, and with an Olaf glitter tattoo.

I think it’s safe to say she had a great time – although apparently chose not to play some of the party games, the old grump!

Pamper Party

Christmas

Last night I was able to sit for a while at the table, so we got all the Christmas presents out which need to be wrapped and hidden. Two arrived yesterday, and with little thought about it I popped them under the tree, much to Shaun’s annoyance. But a tree looks good with presents under it – even though they were both for H.

BUT.

I used the red wrapping paper. This is now the paper which I have to use when a present is from us to anyone, which cannot be used for Santa under any circumstances whatsoever.

Why?

Because five year olds are too smart and spot things like which paper Santa has used. Too smart.

Because five year olds say things like “I really hope Santa gets me a chocolate lolly maker” (damn you tv adverts) “then I can make him one next year!” hmmmm…..

To which I answered “well we’ll see what we can do” before realising I almost let the cat out of the bag. She still believes, so we’re okay, it went over her head. Relief.

As usual, Shaun said “we have too much!” and I dare not tell him about the other things I need to get. Like a Chocolate Lolly Maker.  I just need to remember to use the Santa wrapping paper which will hopefully be well hidden away.

Then there’s the Wii U I bought for all of us. What colour should that be? Will I actually just run out of the stuff and it won’t matter any more, lovingly draped in Elsa and Anna wrapping paper?

The logistics of Christmas and continuing to trick the believers is a massive task you know.

Then there’s the Elves. Edith and Edward are their names. Emily is upstairs somewhere from last year too and will make an appearance. Being ill and trying to think of hi-lar-i-ous things for them to do failed me, so it was left to Shaun who did admirably. So much so I’m going to retire and make it his creative outlet once a year instead. This morning they were playing Mario Kart on the Wii. As you do…

How long before she catches us out?

Wishing it was Easy

My back has gone again. In what must be a record year with the amount I’m spending on Osteopaths, I coughed on Friday at work and the pain started.

The sensible thing to do here is call the Osteopath, but I didn’t, not recognising the signs.

H is five. She is a constant energy, a singing, dancing, drawing, writing little energy. When my back hurts I can’t deal with noise, things overload. I had to cuddle her many times this weekend and say “it’s me, not you” as the pain came and went.

I’ve been ashamed of having it, but I have Private Health Cover through work. Today I called the 24 hour nurse for the first time. I told her about my additional L6 vertebra and got an “ooooohh!” as it is quite rare. My cover doesn’t allow me anything disc-related to my back, but this L6 problem isn’t that. I may be covered. The nurse was so nice I pretty much cried down the phone to her.

After that it’s putting on a brave face for H. Who had decided to read ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ on my half of my bed which I desperately needed to lie down on. She got out the loom bands after that and it was more of the TOO MUCH overload – I needed cuddles and quiet. She drew me some pictures telling me she loves me. I apologised for being rubbish and not much fun.

She went downstairs to create more chaos while I buried my head in Shaun’s shoulder and had a proper cry. It didn’t help.

Shaun did everything today while I got onto the computer, finding an Osteo open until 6pm on a Sunday. Result! Except she’s in New York. Till Tuesday. Arse.

I got an appointment with new Osteo tomorrow. I must be pain free tomorrow. I need to go to my GP and get referred to a specialist. Everything I’m doing, everything I’m paying for is the right thing. There are just blips. Three in six months in this case.

In the back of my head lives the fact Polystyrene died from cancer in her back. Add my family history and I’m worried, probably needlessly so. Regardless, I went to hospital to talk to the bowel cancer doctors and am now almost top of the list to have a colonoscopy. Onwards. Bloody terrifying. Better call and make that appointment too.

But if I get answers and I’m just badly built, I can live with that. I just need to get stronger (week 3 of no sense of smell has commenced) and better.

Right now though, I just feel so tired. If I time the codeine linctus right I can get three hours sleep before waking around 2am to get comfy. After that I get another three hours which helps.

Then I’m woken by my bundle of energy for cuddles and to be told she loves me. That’s the best medicine of all, so I cuddle her. Lying on my back sets the coughing off again and I sob into my Olbas Oil pillow which means nothing to me as I can’t smell it anyway.

This cold is completely crap.

Snot.

I’m getting a bit tired of all this snot. We’re currently in Week 3, well, I am. Shaun has just left Week 5 and is well again, whereas I’m mid-way. I’m just tired.

H hasn’t actually featured in the year of snot yet, and with two weeks to go until end of term (woo! Two weeks today I’ve finished for the year!!) I’m hoping she’ll keep up her 100% attendance record which we’ve somehow fluked this year. She did advise me she felt a bit sick yesterday, but so far there has been no call from school today so I’m sure it isn’t an issue.

THEN I realise I’ve turned into my mum. At the age of thirteen or fourteen my sister had chicken pox. Two weeks later exactly, my first spot came out. My mum was having none of it, and pretty much said words to that effect, bundling me off to school, via the bus.

I was sent home around midday, my chicken pox spots making a spectacular appearance.

But you have to do it – sending H into school when you’re not 100% sure isn’t about an attendance record (it’s just a nice bonus), it’s about having to take the time off work, in addition to any time I’ve already had to take for myself. I’ve had an awful year illness-wise, two of those occasions being back related, but the rest being sickness or cold related. What kind of a message am I sending to my child? The sickly mum who stays off work more than she does off school because I make sure she goes.

Of course, if she was genuinely unwell she wouldn’t be going – she had one day off sick last year with an ear infection, and fortunately I can work remotely. I’m relieved she hasn’t inherited my rubbish immune system and seems to be the healthiest one of us all.

Having said that, she’s tired. We’re all tired. We started the year doing stuff, and now we crave our after school sitting on chairs talking kind of days. Where she’d be getting out of her school uniform straight away in the evening, these days it stays on as we’re too tired to think about it.

But! Two weeks today it all finishes for the year and I have two weeks off, as does H. I had plans on the Friday but I’m cancelling them – we’re going to get into our pyjamas and order pizza, eat fruit and vegetables, and watch a film of some kind – I’m not sure which one yet, mind. We are going to stop.

At the start of this term the only After School Club I wanted H to do was recorder. We’d chatted with her teacher in Reception who does the classes and had expressed an interest, and H was really keen. While she’s not one for choir or drama club kind of things, playing an instrument does appeal to her and she has really enjoyed it. She’ll be playing Jingle Bells on the recorder at their school play next week too. (better find time to practice)

Next term I’m guessing we won’t get to do recorder any more which makes me a bit sad, but I’m hoping that other opportunities will come along. Actually, what I hope is that they’re all ones we can’t do, and that we just have the one club so we can get a bit of time to stop.

All these activities are tiring, and I’m surprised she hasn’t caught anything – it’s just the rest of us that seem to be.

Talk Talk

I like to talk, I do. I find myself talking less and less these days, from the passing the time of day idle chit chat to just waffling on about obscure eighties indie bands at work. But I’m not actually talking. You know, growing? Learning? Someone’s interested in what you have to say.

Actually, maybe that’s it. We all talk but are we all interested in what we say?

I seem to have a default mode when talking to kids to just be really stupid. I can’t switch that part off and I will say something silly each and every day. Recently, more often than not H hides behind me, embarrassed. Yep, I am that parent.

I can live with that. But I like to talk.

Way back in time when H was a newborn, a group of us were thrown together, our collective pennies paying for a service to meet other parents due at the same time – better known as NCT. For the first year we were each others support network until gradually one by one we all went back to work again. The conversation stopped then. We’d email each other from time to time, but it doesn’t happen these days. None of us have time. Some of them have more kids. Life caught up. We lose.

Shaun and I are tired every day after work and dealing with the post-school stuff you have to deal with, or just are still ill (I feel like I’ve been ill for about two months now, run down into the ground where I can’t get any lower, desperate for sleep) – so conversation is at a minimum there too. We don’t talk any more. We talk when we need to, but my attention span right now (read : nine days getting by on 1 hour to 4 hours of sleep a night) is pretty much non-existent.

I have a new Osteopath. She’s great. We chat. A lot. I’ve had two appointments so far and I can chat about anything and everything to her – it’s like someone has flicked a switch and the old me, the one who had things to say, comes spilling out. She’s fixing me. I know what’s wrong with my back, which is for another post, but I’ve found more often than not that if I talk about anything and everything with her, she listens. It’s brilliant. I don’t feel like she’s wishing I’d shut up. She told me I was quite funny yesterday. Possibly as I couldn’t breathe when she had to pop and click something so I just made strange whimpering noises (blame the cold). But for the first time in a long time I’m having nice, normal, regular conversations.

I tell you, for £40 for a 45 minute appointment, I come out of it feeling like things are getting better. I CAN be sociable. I might not have friends who have social lives (or at least, friends who include me in their social lives) but I can still exist. You kind of forget how it is when you become a parent and the little ball with legs and a screamy head takes over your life for a bit. She’s still my number one topic of conversation, but you know what? I’ll chat with my Osteo about ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ and have a laugh. I’ll chat with another school mum on the train about life and how it’s going. I will chat to whoever is in the queue next to me about whatever crops up in this random head of mine.

Even better, I can chat with my little lady about all kinds of things. Our conversations are changing – she’s asking more about the world. We talked a lot about my dad, and I explained my conflict about things being tested on animals – that I think cosmetics being tested is bad, but things like Cancer Research are okay, because they lead to better changes. Giving her the information so she can make her own mind up. She’s already been looking at bottles in the bath to see if they say that. I had to explain what little time we had with my dad once he was diagnosed, but that my mum has had it three times and they were able to operate, and that maybe by the time she’s older most cancers will be operable, curable.

I guess I maybe just need to work on how I speak to other kids, be a bit less of an embarrassing parent (to H). Just a teeny bit, mind.

Back Pain

Back pain, old friend. You returned. Most unwelcome. All I did was cough and you clicked out, and that was it. I could just about walk, just about stand, just about lie down, though my head was telling me it needed sleep. This was after two nights of no sleep due to the aforementioned cough.

Stupid cough.

I knew it needed help as I was hobbling. Then the panic sets in; will I get to work this week? Will everyone at work be rolling their eyes in a ‘here we go again’ fashion? (I can’t blame them) will I have to take the train this week? Will it go again while I’m on the train?

Phone the Osteopath. Tried a new one. Answerphone. Panic. Call the old one and get offered a 4pm appointment. But I have to pick up H from school then. Oh yes, even with a sore back life goes on (slighly modified). Manage to get a 4.30 one.

Tell work. Panic. Start shaking. The shaking doesn’t stop until I’m overheating in bed. Wondering if it’s back related or the cough. Google everything and decide to read up on Gall Stones even though there is no reason why. Lie down.

Clock watch. Shaking. Panicking. But I’m at home. Wanting Shaun to be home but he’s busy at work. Cry for a bit. Post on Facebook (a big no no when you’re off sick for obvious reasons) and get some support and brilliant suggestions to help. We need a dehumidifier. Too tired to browse Amazon.

Eventually 4pm comes and I hobble out of the house to school. H’s after school club is late and I realise I need to keep moving. Slight loss of dignity practising pilates stretches to stay sane. She appears and we go home, then straight back out to he Osteo. She’s as good as gold and looks embarrassed when she sees me in my bra.

As feared, my troublesome left side is too tough to crack and takes two people. A cough, I tell you.

But I’m sore. Get home and prep frozen veg and pasta. Shsun arrives home and the other Osteo phones.

They offer acupuncture. I’ll try anything. They also offer three monthly check ups, body MOT’s, something I’d been wondering about. They’re also only open Monday to Friday and have an early morning slot this Friday. I need it. They try to find answers. I need answers. I take the booking and email work. Then panic, shake and am frozen.

Bed is the only thing with extra duvets – and eventually I settle for sleep with Shaun steaming me with the iron (didn’t work) and getting a bowl of hot water (did work) to stop the coughs. I fall asleep but a beep wakes me up with a jump five seconds later.

In fact, I sleep badly again all night, dropping off until I needed to cough, repeat to fade. With each cough came back pain and the panic. If your back goes at night you’re doomed.

Wake up, no longer shaking, angry H who also wants cuddles, this afftects her too. Stiff lower back but feeling okay, not 100% but coping. Repeat to fade until you start to forget about it and normal life recommences. Hope you can deal with this pain until Friday. Dream about going back to work. Keep the painkiller businesses in business, repeat to fade.

Blogfest

Yesterday was Blogfest, the Mumsnet Blogging conference. I really enjoyed it last year and was really looking forward to this years – and it didn’t disappoint.

I won’t go into who I saw and what I gained too much as I’m sure it’ll be done everywhere by everyone who went, but the overwhelming message which came out of it was about inner confidence, and a real “you can do it” attitude – and if you can’t do it but want to do it, pretend you can.

It was a really positive experience – and it has made me feel like I can do better – sometimes I need to take my time. I’m not a naturally funny person but I have a good sense of humour, and it’s getting those funny things down. If they don’t feel right, come back to it a day or so later.

When situations in life come up (and there was a fairly big one recently which I turned down and haven’t even spoken to Shaun about), why not give it a go? I didn’t because it didn’t feel right and I didn’t feel worthy – but actually, maybe I should have. That opportunity may never happen again, and that’s okay – my decision may have been the right one. I can’t change the past, but I can help change my future, and our future.

When I sit saying that I know I’m no good at exams (and I really am not) I need to stop believing it – I’m about to sit the YouTube exam I failed twice last year in the next week or so, and I will pass it this time. I will do it this time and I won’t get nervous and worked up and forget everything.

This wasn’t really exactly what Blogfest said, but there were some incredibly inspiring people who have made me think. The Think Bombs section was amazing – Camilla Batmanghelidjh was so warm and inspiring, asking us to take a step back and think of everyone. Francesca Martinez made me nearly cry with her talk. Suzanne Moore just got on with it.

There is no point having this downer on yourself. Life is out there to be lived and made the most of. I’ve felt like I’ve walked around with a big grey cloud over my head – I’m constantly spoken over or ignored in many situations to the point I’m so incredibly sensitive about it I’d rather remove myself from situations than go through them again – understandably. It even happened yesterday!

But that’s not my fault, it’s the other people’s failings (or maybe they just think I’m boring, that’s fine, just don’t be so obvious, okay? I am very good at leaving people alone). I’m sensitive to it as it has happened many times. But it’s time to be strong and stick two fingers up at it. Surround yourself with people who DO care.

How does this then transfer to blogging? That’s tricky. I’m conscious I could sound ‘braggy’ with things I say or do, but this is my space, and if I didn’t say something I would forget – life moves so fast. I’m not apologising for it – that’s just how it is.

I came out of Blogfest, much like last year, knowing where I need to change – I am who I am, and this is my style of blogging – I’ve tried to be factual but just slip into this style, so this is my way. If you like it, subscribe to it, read it, comment, share or whatever, then thank you. This is all for me, a record of our lives, especially as H gets older and will get more sensitive about things being on the internet about her, the focus of the blog will change. It might not go on forever, then again it might.

Oh, and the other big thing from Blogfest – my back survived! I don’t think anyone will realise how big a deal that was for me. I met people and was happy – I wasn’t zonked out on painkillers wondering where I was. I met so many lovely people. Special mentions go to Sonya, Joanne and Clare – and a very happy special mention to Lou Kuenzler who was there – H loves her Shrinking Violet books, and it was so nice to meet her.

I’ll definitely be back next year.

It Really Could Be a Wobbly Tooth

We skipped the wobbly tooth stage for H’s first extraction. She had an infection in her gum which resulted in an extraction in hospital by injection. For the last year and a half we’ve lived with the front tooth missing – it’s fine, we’re all used to it.

In the back of my mind I’ve known that the rest will start to want to vacate her mouth when they’re good and ready. Had we not had this first extraction I’m pretty sure we’d have a full mouth of strong milk teeth – but that is exactly what we don’t have. We’re only missing the one tooth, mind.

Every night after tea she’ll take some fruit upstairs to read a book with – the current book is Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ which she’s enjoying, she’ll settle on my bed all propped up and read and eat.

Until tonight. There was a painful cry from upstairs. My little girl took up a plum. Took a big bite of the plum, her bottom tooth bumping into the stone. Very painful.

It’s calming down, but I checked her teeth just in case – make sure we know which one hurted. The tooth did a wobble. A proper wobble. H found it painful, so I checked all the other teeth around it just to be on the safe side, and they were all fine – just the one.

She looked sort of heartbroken, a wobbly tooth. Slightly scared. I had to give her a big smile, a huge cuddle and a pep talk about how it’s absolutely fine for this to happen and just to be careful eating – maybe eat using her side teeth a bit more for a day or two.

I did suggest getting in touch with the tooth fairy, and saying how we don’t want the money and would like to keep the tooth as we want to make a necklace. I think she liked the idea…. it made her laugh anyway.

So yes, this may be the start of our first wobbly tooth. Cheers plum.

That Was The Week

We’ve had achievements this week. H said her Rainbows promise on Monday, which she was really nervous about, but did marvellously well with.

rainbow

On Wednesday she got her Stage 2 in swimming and can move into the yellow hat group – except our local centre has no space in those classes. Our pool is currently shared with Cheam, and they do have space, so I’m wondering if we should switch for now and move back to ours when they’re set to move back. It’s the same pool, after all.

Then we had parents evening tonight. I think I suffer from the same self-esteem issues with my child’s abilities as I do with myself. This is not a good thing. H is doing SO well. She’s already hit two targets as far as to the end of Year 1 goes which is amazing – I keep thinking maybe they’ve got the wrong child! But she does enjoy learning, and that’s half of the battle. I couldn’t quite believe my girl was doing so well, yet I was so proud of her at the same time. She’s going to be assessed next term to see whether she’s ready to be a free reader – which to me is huge – she’s the youngest in the year and I had no idea how much she would enjoy reading.  Then it’s about answering questions and expressing an opinion on the characters which will be good – to see how much she is taking in from the story.

Given she loves her ‘Shrinking Violet Absolutely Loves Ancient Egypt’ book and has already read it three times cover to cover (it’s a paperback suitable for 8+) and tells me things that happen in the story, I can’t see that being a major issue.

It does make me feel like we need an overhaul of her bookshelves though, the younger reader books bagged up and dished out to friends who would use them more than we do now.

Tomorrow I’m taking her to the new Smiggle store near work to buy something nice to celebrate a good week. She’s pretty excited about it too – we went to one of their stores in Australia over the summer.

I’ve booked Christmas at Kew tickets for us all, which looks wonderful – I’m really looking forward to it. Now to get some Disney on Ice tickets for next April which are proving really difficult to get. Uuuh.