Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Perils of the five year old reader

i've just brought p home from holiday club. she went to sit at the table to do some colouring while I sorted out dinner.

She appears in the kitchen.

"what are we going to call it, mummy?"

"what are we going to call what?"

"The baby we're having on November 6th."

Shit. She then asked me "where the other babies were."

I'm a couple of months pregnant - much too early to tell P because I'm not very good at staying pregnant. It was my first appointment with the midwife today. I hadn't noticed that she'd left all my notes open on the table. Pol read the number of pregnancies I've had. She wanted to know if she "could come with me for a scan on May 7th at 1.30pm."

I didn't know what to say. I had to change the subject and ask if she wanted to go on the nintendo.

Monday, March 09, 2009

So, a week today I'm set to start my new job. People seem lovely. It's right on my doorstep. I'll be able to take P to school nearly every day.

I just found out i'm pregnant. ever so very slightly pregnant. for the fourth time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

other people.

if your five year old daughter went to stay with her aunt for the weekend, would you expect that aunt to put your child first for the duration she was in her care? would you expect that aunt (a single woman of 41 with no children of her own) to respect your views on your childs safety and appropriate environment?

so if the aunt somehow loses the childs bike helmet. but insists that said child go out and cycle along a road and then round a lake without the helmet. even though the child knows knows knows that she is not allowed to so much as look at the bike without her helmet. and then later you get a call from your daughter, and she's really upset because her helmet is lost and because auntie said she still had to come out for a ride and did I want to talk to James?


can i speak to auntie?

auntie's in the bath, but james is right here, do you want to talk to him?

who's james?

he came for a sleepover in auntie's bed.

There is more to this story. she had a new boyfriend, had planned to stroll round lake with him. she'd also accepted an invitation to go to a large gathering of his family for sunday lunch. people she'd never met. an event that went on all afternoon. when we'd said we wanted to fetch her at 2pm because the drive home was long, she'd had 2 late nights and was still adjusting to full time big school.

she told us she'd bring P when the event was over.

my child is not a social prop.

we were livid. S said was should never have left P with her.

we went to the venue of unknown man's unknown family's gathering. we took our child. we did not make a scene. the aunt freaked.

S freaked. he's always been really intimidated by her. so he lied to me. twice. told me the following day he hadn't been in touch with her but in fact had already texted her and apologised. told her taking p home was "out of order"

when i caught him in his lie he packed his bags and made to leave. it was 1am. asked me what his sister had done that was so wrong and accused me of putting words in his mouth.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blast from the past, or, i really miss my meds, or, what's the point of staying off meds to try and get pregnant if you then a)don't get pregnant, and, b) revert to being such a crazy that you're not fit to care for the child you already have?

when s and i first started going out, the thing my brain was particularly doing was to do with my flat. i couldn't have anybody in it. for a while before that it had been that i couldn't answer the door or the phone without first knowing who it was. this was not really a problem because my friends knew and would call first - i had caller display on both phones. (unless someone unexpected knocked, like the time my neighbour found my wallet ont he front doorstep because i'd been so drink the night before i hadn't noticed i'd dropped it. they knocked and knocked. i hid first under the bed, then in the bathroom so i'd have something to throw up into.) my landline would not even accept calls from numbers i hadn't told it about. When Maj had a horrid break up she had to stand crying in the rain outside while I got dressed to come out and meet her to go and buy ginger biscuits.

From the day he and i became a couple, we spent nearly every night together but it was about three months before i could invite him to my place.
then i got pregnant and then i moved into his flat. the one he'd rented up the road from me. I still couln't answer the door unless i knew who it was, but i could have friends over. believe it or not i really love having friends over, especially for lunch or dinner. I love cooking for our friends.

It's five years later and my brain has moved on from domestic gatekeeping to other juicy parts of the circus that is the minatie of my daily life.
but this week it has become nostalgic for the days of impenatrable fortress.
S has invited a work colleague and her husband and (for some reason I don't quite understand) her 15 year old sister, and their two puppies (one black lab, one collie, apparently) for lunch on saturday.

I seem to have been crying or breaking things ever since he confirmed they were coming. i've been going over and over what i might cook. how i'll set the table. got rid of soem of our furniture. scrubbed and scrubbed the kitchen tiles which we inherited when we moved in here and i've never liked because they never look clean. last night i made him break off all the horrid peach coloured tiles fromt he wall in our downstairs bathroom and paint the wall. that was after we spent over an hour int he home store becaue i had become fixated on a particular lampshade which , of course turned out to be from a discontinued line but they wouldn't sell me the display model. managers were summoned. we ended up going to a different store and completely rethinking the colour scheme. i went through all the cupboards throwing out plates and bowls and packets of stuff. P is in holiday club tomorrow so i can try to get my shit together.

I failed my driving test for the third time today, even though i've been getting perfect scores on my practice sessions in the past couple of weeks. i can' think about anything else but this lunch. and these people. and their being in the house.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

you know how sometimes the ties between you and old friends can start to slacken. a job change. a baby. geography. and how, when you do finally see them, its like there was no gap. like you're still 17 or 25 or 30. and all the times they've crossed your mind since the last meeting feel like an unbroken thread of mutual conversation. And the gaps between emails and phone calls and meetings stretch from months to years.

I've been wondering for a while now why I couldn't find a profile for D on facebook. or, previously, on myspace. I reasoned that maybe he would want to at least flaunt his latest boyfriend photos to the world, regardless of the fact that he was a shameless shameless networker. Writing and producing for TV meant a lot of schmoozing. Even in our mid teens I marvelled at his audacity.

Something on the front page of our local newspaper, about media graduates, really made me think of him today. and over coffee this morning i rang him. the phone number was no good. an email bounced back. his website no longer there. i googled him. pages and pages of credits and work references, but all from older shows.

There was a small obituary in his local paper. Dead from cancer within 6 weeks of diagnosis. His mum was quoted as saying how he carried on working on TV ideas, even in the hospice.

It was four years ago.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Check-in at Ben <span class=

Staff at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel have found a three-year-old girl alone in a duty-free shop after her parents accidentally took a plane without her.

The parents boarded the flight to Paris with four of their five children.

The parents did not realise their mistake until the captain of the plane informed them after take-off, according to police.

"It is usual that travellers in a rush forget their luggage but not a child. This never happens," AFP news agency quoted a police official by as saying.

Never ? I'll confess i've been tempted - although, thankfully for all concerned, not in an airport situation, since P loves the business of travel. THis weekend we were in a big DIY/Gardening store, looking for a little table and a couple of chairs for the patio at the back of our house. She's normally a big fan of shopping. trying stuff, comparing this and that. Not this saturday. whining. wanting to be picked up. not content to hold hands but clinging to my leg or round my waist. each time i briefly sat to audition a chair, she was lying across my lap. continually making that noise, that special noise that only your own child can make that is heard uniquely by your ears in order that you reach for the closest metal spike and jam it repeatedly into your temple. that noise.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

do you know what should be in the olympics? (and i'm not, incidentally, mentioned in last weeks Time magazines list of top 100 copmpetitors to look out for. although. since 99% of those athletes were representing the US, my chances were slim to none. because. obviously. there's only one quarter of one continent of the world about which the rest of us revolve.) (where did that come from? i'm usually such a huge amerophile . . .) anyway. what should be in the olympics is extreme vacuuming. you know, using that long, thin attachment that's designed for nooks and crannies? except you use it for zipping around the multitude of discarded toys on your wooden floors. points aarded for various sizes of dust bunny, dog hair, cheerio, coughed up cat hair balls, clumps of what used to be woollen carpet but which the cats claws find irresistable, bit of leaf, twigs retrieved by retriever - the regular roll call of crud. Advanced precision training in this field allows for the swift removal of these items with no fear for the safety of the tiny lego pieces, polly pocket hairbrush, silver sparkly pipe cleaner, pen lid, wobbly penguin from the annoying iceberg game that always turns itself on in the box and makes that dreadful droney sound that you alwys forget is from the penguin game and spend hours trying to discover the grinding source and the batteries never fucking wear out. safe are the tiny wooden beads, the even tinier plastic beads that stick to clothes with wierd static, hair clips you've never seen before and assume belong to a fellow preschooler, the little yellow feathers that unglu themselves from art projects, the shiney discs that unglue them selves from art projects, the bits of ribbon that unglue themselves from art projects. . . . .. BREATHE, WOMAN, BREATHE . . . .

it was P's last day at preschool today, and yesterday she and I spent ages making cupcakes and icing them pretty colours and she proudly took them in a giant box this morning.

when i went to collect her this afternoon, her teacher takes me to one side

"i'm afraid we weren't able to let P share the cupcakes with her friends. we have a policy of only givnig the children store-bought cakes with a full list of ingredients,"

the same place which, last year (albeit with a different member of staff) repeatedly put in front of my child foods which she should avoid because they exacerbate her asthma, foods which she picked up from the table in front of her and returned to the teacher sating that she can't eat the yummy fromage frais or traingle of cheese - this institution now has a policy which says its ok to give them artificial colours and flavours and lord knows what made who knows where. highly processed sugars and preserving agents are now infinitely preferable to ORGANIC wholewheat flour, ORGANIC butter, ORGANIC locally produced eggs, UNREFINED brown sugar and ORGANIC semi skimmed milk, all decorated with all NATURAL frosting.

What was I thinking??


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