I knew it was going to be a long day when I had 2 minxes wriggling in bed at 5am; I knew it had been a long day when I sneezed and produced more glitter than snot.
As you know, I’ve been struggling a bit with sleep deprivation, lately: Midi Minx has had a terrible cough that’s keeping her awake, Mini’s catching Midi’s germs and Maxi is over-excited about Santa. I thought I was coping ok, just on go-slow, until I felted a brand new expensive cashmere jumper. I had been unloading a wool wash, got distracted by Mini reaching for the oven/hob/grill/sharp knives, then completely forgot to finish unloading. And whanged on the next cotton wash. But it still had my lovely jumper in it. I nearly cried.
So yeah, that was a sign that the old Trout Brain was beginning to disintegrate. Time to step away from the keyboard, put sharpthings away, and hide the car keys. And get an early night.
That’s all well and good, but The Boss woke me up when he came up for a shower. Then again when he came to bed. But he couldn’t sleep, so he put on the telly. I think he dozed off around 1am. Then Midi was in at 5am because she couldn’t sleep or breathe with her cough (now chesty and wet sounding: oh-oh). At 5.10am Mini started yelling, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” so I cuddled her, changed her nappy, settled her. No chance! She was wide awake and not happy about it. I decided to take her into our bed…
After draining what little milk I have left totally dry, after poking her little fists in my windpipe and peeling my eyelids open, she started trying to play with her sister. They both wanted to lie on top of me, but having lost 2 stone since the summer, there’s only room for one. Toss, turn, toss, turn. Mini finally went back to bed at 6.30am. When the alarm went off at 7, I bounced out of bed and headed for the coffee and frying pan: fried potato scones, fried garlic and rosemary roast potatoes left over from the night before last, fried sausages and fried eggs. The minxes thought Christmas had come early.
The lucky fairy was smiling on me, because I got through to the doctor’s within an hour of trying (only 6 mins wait – a new record!) and even got 2 back-to-back appointments in the morning. So after a few wobbles getting everyone dressed (“Maxi, I couldn’t care less if your red socks look silly with your entirely purple ensemble – I can barely see”), we went on a Family Exped To The Docs.
The girls were ok in the 15 min wait, playing happily with the manky and grubby wooden toy maze thing in the waiting room (?? So, all these sick kids cough and drool their germs and viruses and rub their possibly unwashed poo-y hands all over this toy, which is never cleaned, because the grime is patently years old. All the other kids get to play with it and lick it and wipe their snot on it too, and share the existing germs while they’re at it. WTF?!)
The locum doctor called Midi in. Well, what a special little ray of sunshine she was! She looked at us flatly, then waddled off down the long corridor, stopping at intersections long enough to make sure I’d looked up to see her in the distance, before she disappeared along another piece of maze. We got to her consulting room. No need to lead us there – she could have told us just to follow the smell, as it enveloped us in a damp clatty ming about 4 rooms away. She must have been chainsmoking in there, because at only 9.30am that smell of fags sure doesn’t develop just from someone’s clothes and breath. Having said that, I guessed it had been around a month since her last hair wash, so it’s possible…
I suppose I expect everyone to be able to speak to small children, and I forget that it’s a learned skill. So I did inwardly giggle when she asked 3 year old Midi to ‘If you wouldn’t mind now removing your top or raising it somewhat higher..?’ I did translate, but poor Midi looked at me like she was speaking Swahili.
I treated Midi’s tickly cough all week with cough mix, 2 pillows and a wee piece of chocolate to coat and soothe her throat (shhhhh! Don’t tell her dentist!). But as I thought at about 6am, she now has a chest infection. So she’s on antibiotics. Mini was also marched in front of the doctor because she has a sore throat, is noisy when she breathes and her thick green snot occasionally has dribbles of blood in it. The doc professed her absolutely fine and clear of anything (I’ve not done 6 years at medical school, it’s true, but I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’ll maintain a very watchful eye). This was lucky, because Mini can have amoxicillin, but Midi is allergic to it. If 2 minxes are on antibiotics, as they usually are, I need to write their names in enormous black marker on the bottles to avoid mix-up. I’m so tired right now, I don’t think I could write their names large enough…
So. glitter. Well, I pretty much intended to just let the kids have an entire day of CBeebies (ooooooo shoot me! Tell Social Services! I don’t care!), but it stopped raining for an hour or so. So we nipped out to post Christmas cards to neighbours and drop off last night’s batch of mince pies as bribes to the poor neighbours we disturb most. I also got the opportunity to glower at the half-wit roofers repairing the ridge tiles of most of the street. Again. (Actually, can anyone tell me if dry-cutting is allowed on roof slates? I’ve a feeling it’s completely against HSE regs. I don’t really care (ok, yes I do) if one of the divvies goes and gives himself a terminal lung illness, but I care if it causes damage to mine or other children.)
I digress. Anyway, a long jaunt down into the village to pick up antibiotics (and emergency chocolate) left me feeling quite awake and euphoric. “Of course you can play with your craft stuff, darlings!” I trilled, foolishly and fondly imagining myself to be A Good Mother. I left them round the kitchen table while I made myself a coffee and typed on Facebook a true transcript of what they were saying as I typed:
Maxi: “Get off, that’s mine! I want that sticker! I want the same book as Beverley! Li-leeeeee! Drop it! Aieeeeeeee!!!! You pulled my hair!”
Midi: “No! It’s for Upsy Daisy. You’re not getting it; I got it first. Mine!”
Mini: “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Waaaaaaah!”
I left them to it while it was just bickering, but had to step in when Midi unleashed the felt tips…
After Mini went down for her nap (! 2 hrs late. And she’s skipped half of them this week – please God don’t let her be dropping her nap yet: I need her to sleep!) I let them play with glitter. What the hell? I’d just mopped the floor. The ominous “gish” sound on the floor and a muttered, “Oops” told me all I needed to know – Mini would be pooing green glitter for weeks. Like last time. I tried my normal deep-clean, barrier nursing, just-short-of-donning-a-spacesuit particle control methods. I hoovered, swept and remopped; I wet-wiped hands, faces and bare feet; I hoovered feet; I flung socks in the washing. All to no avail. My entire house is covered in a film of green sparkling glitter.
If germs spread like glitter we’d all be dead.