Kiddie CrackPol

Nov 8th, 2013

Mini Minx is snoring and wheezing on the sofa, and both Killer and Foster Cats are stretched out on the other chairs. I’m just waiting on school pick-up time / GP appointment for my croup-ridden youngest.

I don’t know what possessed me, but earlier this week I saw the Sound of Music DVD for £3 in the supermarket and bought it on a whim. Last night the minxes sat down to watch it. It’s got Julie Andrews in it, so what harm could come? It’s innocent, right? Ummmm….

Well, for a start, I hadn’t realised that the girls have had no exposure to nuns or Nazis, yet. We had some interesting questions to field, I can tell you!

“Ah, right, ok, so nuns are like uber-Christians, then?” summarised Maxi.
“And Nazis are very, very, very, very, very bad men?” tried Midi. A bit sexist, but I let it slide.

And it wasn’t just that – when Captain von Trapp and Maria lean in for their first kiss, Midi wrinkled up her delicate little nose: “Ewwwwwwww!” she said. “That is yuck! It’s deee-sgustin’! I’m never, ever, ever gonnae kiss a man ever. EVER!” she spat. Then snuggling closer into The Boss and giving him her best innocent smile,”Except for my Daddy”. The Boss smirked. Bless… he really thinks that he’s trained her well. He’s so blissfully innocent of the coming hormonal turmoil in about 6 years or so. I’m preparing for it much like some panicky survivalists stockpile and build for a threatened nuclear holocaust.

The kids safely in bed later, me and The Boss settled down for a proper geek-fest on the TV – lots of great Open University programmes, like the one on explosives. Brilliant! Alas, our youngest’s cold turned into croup, and she woke up screaming and coughing and barking like a seal.

Maxi had croup as a toddler once and we panicked. Midi’s had croup 4 or 5 times and we were watchful and concerned. Mini has croup, and after checking for stridor at rest (nope), any signs of cyanosis (no) or breathing difficulties (not at all), we self-diagnosed mild croup, filled her up with painkillers (calpol and ibuprofen), sat her upright and comforted her on our laps. After 10 minutes, the calpol worked its magic and sent her absolutely loopy.

First her little eyes grew into saucers. It was nothing to do with the fire and bangs and very impressive explosions: it was the drugs. The presenter of the programme went through a revolving door. “Ooooo, spinning door!” Mini cooed. “I love spinny doors. I wanna spinny door. I want one at [name of farmhouse]. I want it now. Spin. SPIN!! Spinny-spin!! Yippee!” The Boss and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. He passed her a little bottle of water. “Ha! It’s got butterflies!” Mini cackled, looking at the bottle. “Butterflies. Butter. Flies. Butter. Butt. Hehe”, she crowed. “Look, Daddy, butterflies in your face! Whoosh! Miaow!” and waved the bottle at The Boss’s chin. He stifled a snigger.

Within another 10 minutes, she’d passed out on the sofa between us. “Mfffl, hmmmm, cat fart, ffffffffl”, she muttered.

I wonder what colour the sky was on her planet last night?!

I parked her between me and The Boss all night so I could be nearby if she needed me. Sure enough, at 5am she woke up screaming in terror at the pain in her stomach from all the coughing. For all that I grumble about being woken in the night, every night, by the kids, it’s no hardship getting up when they’re ill, is it? It took about 15 minutes to medicate and cuddle away the hysteria and most of the pain.

Today she’s been very pale, wheezy, barking, and cycling between painful feverishness and calpol hallucinations. I was on the blower to get an emergency appointment the second the phone line opened at the GP’s surgery. Hopefully a wee dose of steroids will sort her out. Crikey, I might even get some kip myself!

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Update 13 Nov: the prednisolone helped, but Mini still has a squeaky, weak voice and coughs continuously at any exertion. She was probably classed as ‘better’ yesterday. Finally! Poor wee thing.

Snap, Crackle and Ouch!

So what’s been going on since that last post on 3 Feb? Tons!

Boasty bit first: I published a little pattern that some people on Ravelry had asked for. I wrote it up on the sort-of, kiddy-on blog on my business website for free because the pattern wasn’t up to my usual standard. Well, I’m not really a crocheter, and the pattern was just me pockling something together to make a line of hearts for Maxi’s blanket. Well, it just went mental. It’s been all over Pinterest and Ravelry, the crochet pages of Facebook, my website bandwidth was wiped out, and (if I’m reading Awstats correctly), it’s had 3000 downloads. Cool!

I finished my part of an art collaboration between a group of WAHMs. I’ve worked on my knitted bit all winter, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s been frustrating and scary and wonderful and challenging. And I’m glad it’s done! I have to wait for the Head Chief Boss Lady to announce it, and then I can write all about it. For now, though, just know that little Mini Minx has spent many hours dressing up in my knitted garment and some other collaboration pieces for photos! Gosh, that child is such a poser… She loved striking every pose I suggested, and revelled in my praise as she came up with some groovy moves herself.

Actually, Mini is the only one who’s only been mildly ill. Midi’s croup stopped after that dose of prednisolone, but by the Monday morning she was breathing far too quickly and shallowly.  So she was straight to the GP getting checked for a chest infection. He started asking about how many puffs of her blue inhaler she was on. I managed a very intelligent “Uh..?!” He stopped chattering, blinked, and stated, “I think she’s an undiagnosed asthmatic”. Oh. Oh! My wee baby! So she was sent home with a puffer and spacer that I had a lot of fun shuttling between school and home for a week or so. However, although Midi used it for a few days at first, she didn’t seem to benefit from it, or feel it made any difference, so I’ve no idea… She wasn’t given a breath-test. It’s been left out as a permanent fixture of the kitchen clutter where I can grab it if need be, but I don’t think she actually does need it. God, I hope I’m not jinxing the wee thing, now!

Midi was off school the Mon, Tues, Wed. I drove Maxi to school every day so that Midi and Mini could sit and cough in the car while I ushered their sister in. Late on Wednesday I realised that Midi was actually well enough to go back to school (clue: she was running around pestering the cats and Mini, and generally re-enacting the beginning of Where The Wild Things Are), so I sent her back on Thursday. I managed to get out to a tot group with Mini, then went to the big Tesco to do the week’s shop. I breezed towards the main door with an excited Mini when my mobile rang. I could see it was the school. I did an immediate smart about-turn and started walking back to the car just as I answered it. Midi was too tired and needed to go home: could I collect her now? Poor lamb! (And poor us – dinner was whatever was salvaged from the freezer for the rest of the week).

Anyway, I got Midi home, tucked her up in a little nest of pillows and fleece blankets in front of CBeebies. She cried at missing her school lunch (macaroni and cheese) and pouted at me not being able to rustle up a replacement for her. Well, if I’d got the phonecall 20 mins later, I might have been able to grab some cheese! Imagine running out of cheese: gimme (another) bar on my Bad Mother medal. Immediately after lunch, I got another phonecall – Maxi needed to come home because she had a sore tummy and felt dizzy. Mothering Fail: sent both kids in to school and was summonsed to retrieve both kids from school. Doh…

Nice bowl of cold sores for you, with lashings of ice-cold milk. Mmmmm!

Nice bowl of cold sores for you, with lashings of ice-cold milk. Mmmmm!

Friday I didn’t chance it and just kept the girls at home. I’d planned a fun day of home-schooling and catching up on missed homework in between big rests on the sofa, but alas my cold was worsening… And kept getting worse. On Saturday my throat hurt. On Sunday I felt weak and bunged-up and lost my voice. By Monday I was relying on the car to get anywhere. The minxes were fine but I was a mess. And I’d started coughing… By Thursday, The Boss had to take a day off work on unpaid parental leave to look after the kids. I’d had so little sleep from coughing all night every night for a week that I was in tatters. I’d tried sleeping on the sofa, propped upright. I’d tried cough medicines. I’d tried Midi’s inhaler, even. Nothing eased it, and the colours and edges in my world became very dull and blurry. On Friday I developed 3 cold-sores. So come the next week again, when the local newspaper photographer was touting for people to be photographed to illustrate articles about us potentially losing our sole classroom assistant, and then losing our library, I really wasn’t in the mood. I’m not a self-conscious person normally (evidence: my bright hair colours), but that week I just wanted to hide in a brown paper bag. It didn’t help when Mini pulled a cold-sore off during a furious tantrum. God, it hurt! And it bled a lot.

The following week, The Boss was informed at work that because he’d been off sick 3 times in one year, he had to attend a Disciplinary Hearing. Now, the unpaid parental leave had nothing to do with it – this was 3 times that he’d been off sick. Actually sick. Proper in-bed-unable-to-fend-for-self ill. At the hearing, although the HR person and his supervisor agreed that he had indeed been ill on each occasion (and in fact sent home one of the times), that because he’d been ill so often (!), he’d get a Verbal Warning if he was off once more before the end of March. Following the company’s disciplinary procedures, then, once you’ve had a Verbal Warning for being ill too often, it doesn’t actually take that long before you’re on a Final Warning and then sacked.

Call me old-fashioned, but when you have little kids that mix with other little kids, they get ill a lot. And because we kiss our kids (told you: old-fashioned), me and The Boss get those bugs often, too. So to me it’s a fair bet that if you have small kids, you’re going to get ill a lot, and have to take some time off work. But knowing that you could get formal warnings for it, to my mind, just encourages a culture where people drag themselves into work and remain in work when they really should be recovering at home. Yeah, great: go into work and share your germs with the entire office! Mrs A who’s newly-pregnant after umpty-ump miscarriages and could really do without being ill; Mr B who’s just come back after a gruelling chemotherapy run; Miss C whose bout with your flu will cause her more long-term damage than it will you, and take away the last vestiges of quality of life that she had. But that’s ok: you smugly showed off how stoic you were by coming into work. So that’s all worth it, isn’t it? They were just collateral damage of your machismo. And don’t even start me on the woman at The Boss’s company who allegedly has frequent bouts of diarrhoea, but boasts about how ‘hardy’ she is that she’s never off work. She doesn’t physically handle the food made there, but what if everyone has that attitude? It beggars belief! Why don’t we have a culture where people actually trust each other that we’re not swinging the lead, and are phoning in sick because we’re genuinely ill and really shouldn’t be passing on our germs? In my last job I tried to change things in my tiny corner of the world and sent ill staff home. It didn’t change things: I suspect it just added grist to their “The Boss is bonkers” mill 🙂

That Was Confusing…

Sorry – I wrote this on 3 Feb, but must have hit ‘save’ instead of ‘publish’. Oops.

I didn’t sleep much on Friday night (1st Feb): poor Midi Minx has croup (yet again) so she coughed all night into my lug-hole, deafening me with those sharp seal-barks.  I didn’t mind her cuddling in beside me too much – her breathing sounded so awful that I wanted to be right next to her to keep a check on it.  And yes, I did check more than once for lip- or nail-bed cyanosis…

On Saturday morning, I had one of Those Moments as I woke up.  You know, when it’s only a split second, but it feels like minutes.  Anyway, I woke up feeling hot and wet.  Oh God, my cold has turned into something worse – it’s a fever!, I thought at first.  Nope, forehead is fine.  Then it’s a hot flush!  Nope, cheeks aren’t hot.  Then it’s little Midi, she must be running a terrible fever!, I panicked.  No, her forehead felt normal.

Just at that moment, I heard Maxi wailing in from the bedroom: “Mu-uuuuu-um! [Mini]’s just wet herself in bed!”

Nope, she can’t have, she’s not in here.  Hang on, she’s in there.  And Midi’s in here.  And that wet feeling… it’s not sweat, it’s clinging kind of one-sided… in fact, it feels a lot like a puddle… it feels awfully like pee…

Aw, pants!  Midi had coughed so hard that her sipping-water-all-night full bladder had cut loose.  Right at the same time as Mini had been bouncing on her bed and lost control of hers.  I think me and The Boss levitated out of bed yelling at the exact same time, for different reasons.  He dealt with Midi and our bed, I got the smaller girl and her bed.  Maxi helpfully ew-ed and yuck-ed and moaned about how the whole house smelled of pee.  And then we discovered that our waterproof undersheet on our bed isn’t waterproof.  Great.  Just wonderful.  The washing machine saw a lot of action that day…!

I took Maxi to her art class at another village and instead of knitting, I treated myself to a trip to the local shop, planning to buy a newspaper, magazine and croissant, and settle back for a whole hour in the silence of the car to read them.  There was a young boy serving at the counter.  I’ve no idea how old – 14? 16?  He mooned about the shop for a bit while I waited to pay, then he shuffled behind the counter.  He faffed with a plastic bag of change before an older man grumpily took it off him and nudged him in my direction.  Struggling, he managed to lift the big heavy barcode scanner (needed to eat more porridge, the wee lamb) and scanned my purchases.  I don’t know if he was shaking in his shoes at my bright red hair or my scary ‘tired’ face, but he

Grumpy Old Trout of a standard Saturday morning

Grumpy Old Trout of a standard Saturday morning

managed to add 2 things to the bill that I hadn’t bought.  He tried to take them off, but messed it up.  Now, I might have only had a few hours sleep, but I can happily add 85p, £1.60 and 55p in my sleep-addled head.  And it doesn’t add up to £3.32!  I asked him if he was sure it was £3.32.  He gulped and looked like he was about to cry.  £3.32? I asked again, incredulously.  I think he realised his mistake, but didn’t know what to do.  He looked at the queue building up behind me, glanced at the grumpy man, and let out a tiny whimper.  I surprised myself by taking enormous pity on him, paid silently, and mentally hoped that it was worth paying an extra 32p to avoid getting him into trouble.

When we got home, I’d time to have another coffee before it was time to shuttle Midi to A&E to see the out-of-hours GP.  He was lovely with her and sent us on our way with some prednisolone.  Although he warned that she’d probably not get better immediately, last night was better – just coughing.  And tonight so far her fever’s back (needing calpol + nurofen + no clothes and she’s *still* too hot) but the coughing’s a little better.