Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Blog Trilogy: The Last Weekend

I'm back...

Temporarily at least...

Or until I have to feed, burp, change, jiggle or rock the baby. Or, maybe I will have to stop blogging so I can just sit statuesque, holding my new addition perfectly still, monitoring my own breathing to ensure it doesn't interfere with the perfect peaceful aura needed to surround him..

But I do have some stories to tell, (or blogs to write) and I would like to get them published before lack of sleep and malnutrition (who will feed me?) erodes my remaining short term memory.

Therefore I have three blogs to write, or  one blog split into three parts; a trilogy of sorts:

The Last Weekend

The Baby

His First Christmas

Here I go with part one...

The Last Weekend.

So time rewinds to the weekend before my section date. the last weekend of life as we knew it, the weekend before someone else joined our family and everything tipped on its head again and the dynamics of three children would be juggled and dropped, picked back up and juggled again.. We were excited, slightly nervous, but most of all glad that the pregnancy was finally over. We planned to celebrate our last weekend of pregnancy; we were going to eat nothing but takeaways, wear nothing but pyjamas and ensure we had a huge stockpile of treats and DVD's. Well this was the last time I could use pregnancy as an excuse for such debauchery, so as a pregnant woman, I was going to go out with a bang!

Thursday arrived. I think it would be fair to say, as it was my last week of pregnancy, I was emotional. Emotional to the point that losing an eyelash would have bought on a blubbering, incoherent soliloquy. In addition, I was so forgetful that I had misplaced my glasses 3 times in a ten minute window.On this fine evening The Future Husband arrived home only to be sent straight down to the supermarket. Even though I was very pleased with myself for having done the weekly shop that afternoon, I appeared to have forgotten to pick up a couple of things needed for dinner. On the menu was sausage mash and onion gravy, so The FH was sent out to buy some sausages, potatoes and onions. He set off with eldest child in tow, and returned 15 minutes later empty handed and looking slightly pissed off.
"Where's my cash card Fran? It's not in my wallet!" (he had discovered this at the checkout).
"Shit! I must have put it back in my purse" I said fumbling in my handbag, then my coat pocket, then the pushchair, then the sides of the sofa... only to return empty handed. "I can't find my purse!"

I checked my parent's car. which I had temporarily kidnapped to get me and bump from A to B, the interior light was as much use as a flagging firefly but after some swearing and kicking of car upholstery I decided I'd lost my purse. I re-entered the house tearful, frantic and irrational. How could I have lost my purse, with his cash card in, the weekend before I was to have a baby? How would we get money? How would we cope? How would we LIVE?

Inside the house, things had got worse. I found The FH holding an ashen Fearless and both of them, and the Leather Arm Chair (the one worthy of a second trip to Ikea), were all covered in Fearless's vomit.

In clearing up the sick we found my purse under the chair, but like the rest of the living room, it had not escaped  the amazing range of the projectile vomit, but alas, the cash card still worked and The FH set off to retrieve the shopping from the kind supermarket cashier, who had stashed it behind her desk, hoping the dramas had not taken us into a shift change.

27 hours later...

Fearless slept soundly in my bed, after 12 hours of vomiting and diarrhoea, he was exhausted. Little O had been asleep an hour and for us adults there had not been a whisper of a takeaway, a snippet of a DVD or a sweet wrapper in sight... We had been far too busy cleaning up shit and spew to bother.

28 hours later Little O covered his bed with vomit, thus ensuring his bedroom and its contents were infused with the most pungent spewy aroma imaginable. Little O and a red bucket joined me in my bedroom and The FH had declared the boys' bedroom a no go area and pulled the spare mattress onto the landing and was going to sleep there as the smell alone could reduce a grown man to tears.

29 hours later and the red bucket was being well and truly made of use of as me and little O practised the technique of synchronised spewing.

30 hours later and I stepped over The FH's head for the 15th time as I made my way to the bathroom, trying to decide en route which end to stick down the loo first.

31 hours later and all 3 of us were elbowing each other out the way to reach the bog first and I actually lost the plot and became hysterical. As I sat on the loo, The FH groaning and griping on the landing floor and Little O booting the red bucket every time he wretched, I lost myself control somewhere between laughter and crying. The FH said he would have got up and given me a slap but he was too busy on concentrating on staying alive.

48 hours later and I found myself in the A and E.waiting room.

Now I wasn't there because of the bout of gastroenteritis.  Even though it had been bloody awful and there had been points I thought I was on the brink of death. It had been the fact I was unable to get out of bed the all day and when I did I couldn't bear weight on my right leg, where I noticed a protruding vein , an unusual bruise and some swelling. A quick call to the midwife and I was told to go to A&E because I could have DVT.

That morning I had already called in my parents to look after Fearless, who by the way now was as bright as a button, my dad had come to collect him and retrieve his car, which by the way wouldn't start as it had a dead battery because someone had left the interior light on all night. (In my defence it's hard to tell whether it's on or off because as far as giving off light goes it's fucking useless). So we dropped older, almost recovered, child off there and headed to sample the delights of A & E on a Saturday evening.

I sat in A&E holding a cardboard tub and praying I wouldn't have to do the whole throwing-up-in-public whilst heavily pregnant and surrounded by half battered, pissed teenage no-marks and a range of very sick elderly patients. One of whom was an Alzheimer's sufferer and every minute repeated the same three sentences: 1)We haven't been here before 2) What are we waiting for? AND 3) I want to home. It took my last ounce of energy to kick the FH whenever he started to hum Michael BublĂ©'s 'Home' into my ear.

When being "seen" by a doctor I started to have contractions, so I was quickly shipped off to Maternity, where the contractions stopped, and they decided I probably didn't have DVT but they discovered due to the stomach bug, my pulse, temperature and blood pressure were all sky high so I needed to be kept in overnight.

On the upside, being disgustingly ill and contagious I got my own room - en suite! And a TV ll to myself, no Beebies in sight, with some on-demand films too. So I finally got to lie down, wearing pyjamas (we'd taken the hospital bag so we were prepared), whilst watching Mamma Mia (well it was quite a poor choice of films), unfortunately there wasn't any calorific delights, but I had an IV drip to top up my fluids, so I guess my needs were being met!

And the moral of the story is... be careful what you wish for, because some twisted bastard might actually be listening!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Organised? Me? In December?

The background. (Christmases from The Past ... in bullets)
  • Trees are very important - in our house they were always real and always a Spruce, we always had two (a big one and a small one) and we would spend hours scouring Garden centres to get the perfect tree. Height, shape and bushiness all had to be considered.
  • Our trees notoriously spend longer outside the house than they do inside the house and have been known to go up on Christmas Eve.
  • We don't make deadlines - we hit them! Hit them right at the very last second. As the post office, on the very last day for parcel postage, starts to dim the lights and loosen the shutters our parcels for relatives are being boxed, sealed and labelled.
  • I didn't know this country had a second class post till I left home.
  • Last year my Sister posted my Mum's Cards, in the snow, at 8pm on Christmas Eve. She was still writing them at 7.45pm
  • We have had French dinner guests for Christmas Dinner, that none of us have met before.
  • One Year my Mum put her Christmas Cards up on boxing day.
  • One Christmas Day My Mum rang her friend Margaret and asked if she had a spare orange she could borrow for the stuffing as she had forgotten to buy any. The phone call was brief and she looked puzzled, "I don't who that was" she said as she hung up "but I'm pretty sure I didn't ring Margaret". We made do with a lemon.
  • Every single year I receive a present on boxing day, not as tradition, just someone usually finds one they forgot to wrap/give
  • The table decoration is very important, and changes each year. One year it was a huge bowl of floating candles and poinsettia flower heads, which cracked mid meal, flooding the table and washing away the spouts and parsnips.
  • The Christmas pudding wouldn't light one year because the brandy had been watered down so drastically by teenagers raiding the drinks cabinet
  • One year my Mum invited her brother and his family to have Christmas with us. She, unfortunately, developed Flu on Christmas Eve and him and his wife cooked the Christmas dinner for the rest of us. They never came for Christmas again.
  •  One year, we sent parcels to my Mum's family with dodgy labels she'd bought at the market - they all fell off. They had to open them and guess who they were for.
This Year...

Obviously, if you're having a c-section on the 14th of December your Christmas Eve (the cut off point) is moved to the 13th of December. So that means, without  question, no matter what, I will be organised this year.

But there are drawbacks to organising those who live in chaos, like trying to tame unruly hair, the chaos has its own ideas.

Example 1 - Cards

They were bought in October, Written the last week of November and posted a couple of days ago (didn't want to be the Christmas geek whose Card arrives first). "Well done Me" I thought, but then when lay in bed last night, letting my mind wander, had a flashback that I had wrote in most of them "Hope we can catch up in 2011" and "Hope 2011 rocks" and other new year good will gestures for the passing year! Duh!

Example 2 - Tree

Last weekend we bought it early, just so we were both involved in the decision making, as The FH didn't want to have to the burden of my disapproving glare haunting him over the holidays if he were forced to buy it on its own. "We'll just keep it out side for a week" I said, as there was no way a tree would be put up in my house any earlier than the 11th of December, especially not a Spruce.

"Have you put it in water?" My Mum asked the following Monday. Then I was quickly sent home, carrying a manky blue bucket, retrieved from the depths of her yard, to fill and put tree in. The next morning, after a blowy night, I opened the patio curtains to discover the back gate open and the tree missing "Fucking Hell someone's nicked my tree!" I gasped running barefoot outside, to discover it had merely been the wind that had blown the gate over and blown the tree of the decking.Every morning since then, I find the tree in a new part of the yard, fallen over, a little more bashed, a little less green, water bucket empty. By Sunday I am sure it will still be the the same shape, they we spent 45 minutes debating on in the nursery.

Example 3 - The Children's Cards

So last year I didn't factor in that I would have to give Christmas Cards to my child's nursery class. But it worked out quite well, as I waited till that last day of term so I could just them to the kids he got a card from. This year trying to be organised, there are 60 kids in reception and I have a four year old who isn't great with surnames - how do I differentiate between the four Rubys, 3 Graces and 6 Harrys? Guess who will be stalking the school name pegs on Monday morning?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Death of a Doorbell.

Any of you remember the post about the Comedy Doorbell the FH ordered?

Well it's died. No longer will Chopsticks trickle through house, no more will Yankee Doodle Dandy announce a caller and no more will a cuckoo's crow scare delivery men. We are left again, with the old fashioned, abrupt and monotonous, hard-fisted knock.

After eight months of cringing when "Oh Me Darling" echoed up the stairs and eight months of apologising to salesmen, and postmen, as they had wait for Tchaikovsky's Ssymphony no. 6 to finish before they could begin their spiel, I'm slightly disappointed.

At first I was all I felt was relief as The FH fiddled with the batteries, unplugged and replugged the blasted contraption, pressed the bell for the umpteenth time then declared it was "knackered" and pointed at his two sons innocently playing in the playroom and mouthed "SWINES!". But then, disappointment set in; it was the last week of November and I had been secretly looking forward to ensuring the setting stayed on Jingle Bells and Silent Night through all of Decemeber. I was going to embrace the novelty, and the Christmas Spirit, answer the door with a beaming smile and blurting greetings of merriment, joke about mistletoe and  wear nothing but red and green, Alas, the doorbell had other ideas, or my children did... and sabotaged it.

So I reluctantly turn back to Mrs Scrooge, complaining about people putting their trees up in November, cursing hearing the same CD in the supermarket for eight weeks, turning down offers of mince pies EVERYWHERE I go and begrudgingly recording the Christmas Specials on CBeebies in the first week of December.

Doorbell, it seems you have missed your Christmas moment, and  so may have I.