Thursday, 29 November 2007

Whose Kids Are These?!

I think someone switched my kids in the night. They looked the same, they sounded the same but all day yesterday they were total buggers and couldn’t possibly have been the adorable darlings I have been raising for almost 7 years. I suppose it didn’t help that I was in the throes of a migraine and really just wanted to hide in my bed in a darkened room. Normally when Mummy is ill they are really sweet, bringing me teddy bears and blankets and tiptoe-ing about. And in fact they did that on Tuesday night when I arrived back early from my Jujitsu class which is where the migraine started. I’ve only ever had about half a dozen migraines before and only since Pickle was born. I get the ‘visual disturbance’ variety which mess about with my peripheral vision and which frankly, if they weren’t so frightening, would be rather comical. There I was, in my kimono, facing a young chap who was about to try and hit me with the blunt end of a rubber dagger so I could subsequently throw him over my shoulder and get him in a head-lock, when suddenly I couldn’t see his nose. All his other features were intact but when I looked directly at his face his nose was missing. Then I realised I couldn’t see the mats to my right or indeed half of the rest of the class so I grabbed my bilingual friend and asked him to translate that I had to go and I scampered home to grab an Imigran and a dark bedroom.

Poppet and Pickle were still up when I arrived and brought me a few toys and made some effort to keep their voices down while I got some rest. But by the next day they had completely forgotten about it and I was literally the bear with a sore head all day. Oh well, I suppose you can’t see a headache, there’s no coughing or nose-blowing so it’s easy to forget to stay quiet and to build a cushion mountain on the new coffee table and shriek at the top of your voice instead. Why did it have to happen when they had no school?! They’ve been pretty painful on and off recently anyway, especially Pickle’s habit of teasing the dog into a frenzy and jumping about on the sofa. I have lost track of how many times I’ve told him off about it but he’s so thick skinned I reckon he’s developed rhino hide. Nothing gets through. At least the dog will fight back, although very gently as she’s such a sweetheart, except it hasn’t stopped him yet, even when she’s nipped him pretty hard. One day he’ll drive her too far and since she’s unlikely to get her mouth round ‘would you just f**k off and leave me alone!’ I reckon he might lose an arm. Perhaps that will teach him? Hmm, I doubt it. Dog-baiting is much more fun than getting your shoes on and your teeth cleaned for school. I asked him once how he would feel if someone was teasing him to distraction like that, hoping he might put himself in her place for a second. He replied ‘I’d lash out at them’. Not quite the ‘I’d feel cross and want them to stop’ that I was fishing for but slightly more sophisticated than ‘I’d whack them’ I suppose.

Oh well, they are both out today so it’s just me and the dog… and a bunch of gardeners 3 doors down buzzing away with hedge clippers and sounding like a swarm of enormous angry bees. What a day for my neighbour to choose to get her bush trimmed… Anyway, at least I can whang in some earplugs and update my Blog as it has been about 3 weeks since my last entry. I was thinking about writing it the other day whilst I was doing the ironing. The what? Yes, well I couldn’t find any drying paint that needed watching so I knuckled down and did some. I saved the shirts for my cleaner though; she is fantastic at them and can whip through 10 in under an hour. To help speed the job up I was listening to Nobby’s i-pod on shuffle, which was a strange experience. His taste is slightly different to mine anyway and at least he doesn’t get Disney songs every other tune like mine. But he’s recently added on a French course, which I can just picture him muttering along to on the train in the morning. But the I-pod treats it as any other track so you can go straight from ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ to ‘Working With French Pronouns’. Bizarre.

Anyway, I’d like to write more, especially about my recent trip to the UK to surprise my brother at his 40th birthday party, but this monitor is getting rather too bright for my fuddled head and I would like a little rest before the kids come home for lunch. (I’d also one day like to meet the mad French person who decided that 2 hour lunch breaks in the middle of the day were a good idea, so I can shake them warmly by the throat.)

I’ll be back.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Coming round

Its eight thirty in the evening and what will you find me doing? Catching up on my emails and updating my Blog perhaps? Clearing away the evening meal and tidying the kitchen? Marching round the block on a nice energetic walk with the dog? Nope, I am falling asleep on the couch, while the dinner things fester on the table, the computer hums away to itself in the corner, nothing more than a very expensive clock and the dog sits hopefully by the back door with her lead in her mouth. Yes, having laughed like a drain at my Mum and Dad for taking a little kip once dinner is over, now it’s me settling down to unwind in front of Mastermind and slowly slipping into a coma. I’ll just rest my eyes for 2 minutes, thinks I; the next thing I know I’m jerking awake with a string of drool down my chin just in time to see the winner being announced. What’s that all about? Is old age creeping up on me? Surely not. It’s my brother who is about the hit 40 after all (tee hee!).

But, hey, I wouldn’t mind being my parents at the moment, seeing as how they have just been on a 2 week cruise to the Caribbean – rafting down the river in Jamaica, shopping in Cuba, rounding off in Barbados - nice. And yet here I am instead, trying to find a way to get Pickle to stop jumping on the sofa and teasing the dog, desperately searching for something else that Poppet will eat besides chicken nuggets, and trying to train the dog to stop gnawing the table legs and running around the house when she’s just been rolling in puddles in the forest.

Meanwhile the conspiracy theorist in me is convinced that I have become part of a clandestine scientific experiment to see how many virtual balls the average housewife can keep juggling in the air, including a girl with a broken leg and a boy with asthma, while other objects are thrown in from all angles. Let’s see how she copes with a broken down car in the middle open farmland, with a user manual in French and no clue what the error message on the dashboard means. Or how about we turn that traffic light orange as she goes past it and have the police pull her over for a ticking off? OK, now here’s an oven that fuses the whole house halfway through cooking a Sunday roast and remains out of action for the next 3 weeks. And show that dog where the food scraps are on the compost heap so she can vomit teabags all over the carpet.

The men in white coats have been having a field day with me. Will she drop the lot and reach for the bottle? Or perhaps go for a relaxing diversion that the whole family can share? Ah, yes, she’s going for a trip to the cinema, looking up the nearest one with a family film in English and driving for 40 minutes to get there. Buying the popcorn, settling down, preparing to forget all about the list of tasks back at the house. The film is starting… and it’s in French. Bugger. Those beastly scientists doctored the web site and sneaked in another curveball - that particular cinema never shows films in English! Arrgh.

Hand me the bottle someone. No, tell you what, just re-open that school, pronto. Who cares that the school runs are murder; the half term holiday is way too long.

But before I become a total moaning Minnie, Poppet has turned everything around today and wiped out all the stress with one simple act - she walked without her crutches! She limped into her classroom with them under her arm instead, much to the delight of her teacher, and her Mum. I am not sure what gave her the proverbial kick up the bum she so desperately needed. Maybe it was the threat of going back to the hospital if she didn’t get walking, or maybe it was the promise of a trip to Disney if she did. Either way, I am overjoyed to see such progress and I am bursting with pride.
They can chuck what they like at me now; I have my little girl back.