My eldest daughter, nearly 6, came across a book sitting on our kitchen table. I’ve got no idea why it was there but the question she asked was so beautiful I just had to share.
“Mummy, why is there two young girls and two adult girls?”
For the past five and a half years I’ve craved sleep like a mad man and yet can never get enough. This is probably because I’m such a push over. My kids and I have the worst sleeping habits.
I’ve allowed this.
They know how to play me.
They know if they do something cute, new, intelligent or loving that it will let them get away with keeping me up.
Cuddles in bed? No problem. New words? Absolutely. Booby filled virus-fighting immune-boosting fiesta? Normally not a problem. Want to practice walking? I suppose so.
I’m weak. I love them and I revel in their adventures and I want them to know I’m always here for them. I just want to be able to whinge about being tired while I’m at it.
I know it’s my fault although they certainly don’t make it easy to ignore them.
Somehow at 3:30 this morning, my youngest found a book. It’s only five pages but she’s 19 months old so it’s taken us twenty minutes of flipping backwards and forwards as she reads it to me. She’s building her vocabulary, we are bonding and she pokes me when I fall asleep.
“The Wiggles learn about colours.”
“Uggguh.” “Yes wiggle.” *turn page*.
“Hat.” “Very good.” “Ugguh.” “Yes there’s a wiggle on this page too.” *turn page*.
“Ibbid.” “Yes a froggy. Ribbit ribbit.” “Ball”. “That’s an apple.” “Ball.” “Yes an apple looks like a ball.” *turn page*
“Hat.” “Yay.” “Ugguh.” *awkward silence and a poke….* “oh yeah wiggle.” *turn page*
“CAR!!!!!” *turn page*
“Roar!” “Dorothy the dinosaur.” “Ball” “Apple.” *hope turns page from green page to red page and points at apple*, “ball!”
“CAR!!!!!!!!” *turn back to blue page*
Repeat for twenty minutes.
Did I mention it’s only five pages?
Who’s teaching who?
I’ve been plagued by tinnitus on and off for many years. I honestly can’t remember when it started. It has always driven me crazy but lately it’s shifted up a gear and I don’t know how I’m going to get through it..
My daughter is approaching the end of her third term of organised schooling. She’s exhausted. At three o’clock when I pick her up she’s a bundle of energy zapping off to the playground but by three thirty she’s a zombie. A very loud, very shrill, shrieking, screeching zombie. She wants her own way, she wants everyone to be her slave, and when we won’t give in (of course we won’t) she punishes me in the way she knows hurts the most: the assault on the ears. It is so intense it makes me want to vomit.
I’m looking forward to the holidays. Mostly. The break will do her good. I’m just slightly tentative about having all three of them home all day long for two weeks. They play so well together when they want to but oh my goodness when one of them is cranky and the other two pick up on it, the shouting is so bad I consider cutting off my ears and posting them. Weird, that sounds vaguely familiar.
So I’m practicing with them. When they get all worked up and my ears are ringing and I just can’t stand the noise, we are doing “silent time outs.” It is like a timeout in their own rooms except I know that would just make them kick up even more of a stink and I don’t have the energy to deal with it. So we stay where we are and they keep playing with what their playing but they don’t get to whine. For five minutes. Or the timer starts again. Hope is obviously exempt. Unfortunately. For now. If they won’t respect the silent time out then it’s off to their room to be cranky somewhere else.
My kid is in pain and I hate it.
My happy girl, usually so full of joy, is sad. My compassionate girl, so helpful and kind and generous and loving, can barely see beyond herself. My bottomless pit who can out-eat her father, is passing up bribes of “eat this banana and we’ll make daddy watch Dora the Explora.”
She is trying so hard to be strong and she so earnestly yearns to be brave, but her weakness betrays her. It’s clear that she’s terrified. Quite frankly so am I.
This is not something I am comfortable with. This is new to me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to respond. I would sit and cuddle her all day long if I could but I cannot. I would do the ‘tough love’ well if she didn’t catch my hiding in the cupboard hiding the secret tears when it all gets too much.
My daughter is in pain and it’s because of me.
I signed the forms. I led her into theatre. I held her hand while they knocked her out. This is probably why my husband wanted to do it. To save me the inevitable, “did I do the right thing?”
She needed it done. We’ve seen such massive improvements in her speech and sleep and her ability to breathe. There’s no doubt it was something we could not avoid. We absolutely did the right thing and I’m so glad it was me.
I’m thankful I was there because I saw the theatre, I saw the surgeons, nurses, the support staff, the cool young volunteer and the strawberry scented mask. There was even a balloon. I know how much fun it was for her. I experienced first-hand how they transfoemed something so traumatic into a mysterious adventure.
Yet I don’t think they prepared her for the pain. All the preparation was on getting to the operation. Now what? Keep up the pain relief, they say. Yeah, at the expense of her digestive system, when it’s barely functioning as it is coz it’s so hard to get her to eat.
To be honest she’s doing incredibly well and all five of us are coping much better than expected. But it’s not without its challenges.
I just have to remind myself and remind my lovely daughter, that this will be over before we know it. Then we can start preparing for the Middle child’s turn. He’ll love the attention. He loves soft food. He’ll be much easier to deal with. Oh no he won’t. We’ll have to stop him jumping off things. Unless we don’t give him the meds we should so he remembers to slow down. But then he’ll be in pain. I’ll hate it then too.