Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blasted Haloscan

Blasted Haloscan - although I thought I'd fixed the commenting thing, looks like I haven't. Which is incredibly annoying, because although people have commented, and we've published them, they STILL aren't showing up....

So I'm going to resort to publishing comments as posts. How annoying.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

'Q&A' - Who wants to be a billionaire??

One of my presents was the novel 'Q&A', which is an Indian story about the fictional quiz show 'Who wants to be a billionaire?' and an 18yr old slum dweller who wins, quite by chance. The story was inspired by the UK Colonel who cheated on 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'

The story starts with the hero being arrested for cheating. After a while, his lawyer arrives, and he starts to explain to her why he knew all the answers. It starts out as quite a dark story, as the stories he tells her are about abuse, incest, rape, and all kinds of horrible events that are commonplace in the slums. Yet, if you stick with it, the story brightens and has a lovely, typical Bollywood ending.

The ending of the story got me thinking though, about how I would spend a million Rands, or a billion rupees, if I were to win it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my answer has changed over the past few months. The last time I really played around with this fantasy, I was focused on fixing life for myself. This time around, I only had 2 personal ambitions (to pay off the bond and to buy a new people carrier, which would be just over a quarter of the money). I found myself wanting to spend the rest of the money on people and organisations around me that really need it.

I've been touched by the plight of local schools and churches (just on the other side of the railway line, which will only really mean something to those who know how Cape Town is laid out), and other voluntary organisations that really play a vital role in society. Examples are the NSRI and the Mountain Rescue team. These two teams are entirely privately funded, and need at least R10 million a year to continue to offer the basic service they do. Fortunately, I've never had need of either.

Until my uncle died a few months back, the Mountain Rescue team had never, in its entire history, lost a patient on the mountain. Table Mountain, being so easily accessible to the untrained public, and having such inclement weather patterns, regularly sees unsuspecting hikers getting trapped and injured. No matter what the weather, you ALWAYS take a cell phone, water, food, and a jersey with you on the mountain, because YOU NEVER KNOW what may happen. Even if you're only going for a quick walk. You stay on marked paths, and you don't venture off into areas you are unfamiliar with unless you have either a guide or a map, or both.

The NSRI is kept busy throughout the year by people who don't take proper precautions in the water. The Cape is not called the 'Cape of Storms' for no reason. Every year, there are boats that get into trouble because they run out of fuel, or are struck by lightning, or get swamped by freak waves, or simply don't check the radio and other equipment properly. Alternatively, they run aground. Scarily, many of these people do not wear life jackets, and many of them do not hold a pilot's licence. Those who go out on catamarans get into trouble because the wind gets so strong they get blown off track and can't tack back.

Interestingly, most deaths that take place on or near beaches on the west coast are heart attacks caused by people who stand half in and half out of the water. The water is extremely cold, so people don't get in and swim. However, standing half in half out puts the heart under tremendous strain, and often results in heart attacks. The person falls down, into the water, and drowns. Here, the Lifesavers Association comes into their own. And when they're not dealing with that, they need to keep an eye out for sharks, and deal with lost children or blue bottle stings.

There are lots of these organisations who save lives every year, and rely totally on voluntary organisations. They work hardest over the Christmas period (and other festive periods) when idiot drunkards put themselves and others at risk.

There are also a few churches I've come across recently for whom even R10,000 would mean they could achieve some of the projects they really need to - like a new roof, or updating their electrical cabling. Why would I need to hang onto a million when there are groups like these that could REALLY use the money to bless hundreds and thousands of others?

There's a great advert on TV at the moment (for MTN, I think) in which someone receives this HUGE present. Upon opening it, there are two smaller, wrapped presents inside. He keeps one, and gives the other away. The new recipient opens his present, to discover two smaller, wrapped presents inside, and repeats the process. This continues several times, until the tag line of 'get your share of R8 million' comes onto the screen. Although I disagree with the ad's intended purpose, I like the image of passing on or sharing the gift you have received. '

Freely you have received, freely give.' 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' I think I'm finally starting to learn this lesson.

So what would you do with a million?

B says: I would invest it. That way the money would keep bringing in interest that could be used for worthy causes indefinately and the interest on a million is a lot of money!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birthday disaster

For someone who is usually incredibly good at being romantic and creative, my husband managed to forget my birthday. No breakfast in bed. No card from my husband. No card from my daughter. Not even a 'happy birthday, darling!' in the morning. Nope.

(In his defense, he did have a wonderfully romantic evening planned, but as I have flu, earlier in the week we agreed to postpone it. However, that does not mean postpone the WHOLE birthday...)

Oupa popped over to wish me, which was lovely. Except that Nellie thought he was coming to spend the morning with her at home (she has NOT wanted to go to nursery AT ALL this week, and every morning has included a traumatic farewell to Mommy that has gutted me) and play until Mommy came home. Upon discovering that this was not the case, her world fell apart.

She refused to get into the car, so Mommy had to carry a kicking and screaming child to the car and strap her in. Then she cried all the way to nursery, and refused to get out. So Mommy had to carry her in to the nursery. Then she refused to let go, so the teachers there had to help me physically pull her from me. And all the way back to the car I could hear her screaming at the TOP of her lungs for me. It was so awful, I sat and cried in the car. I came close to going back in to fetch her, take her home and ring the school to say I was too sick to come in. I did ring the nursery school when I got to work, which I've never done before, to check whether she was ok. She was settling down, I was told, which made me feel even more ill. (She's never taken that long to settle down after I've left her.)

Then, (a very small thing, but in the light of how my day had gone, it became a big thing), my birthday was not announced in the staffroom. And those who did know it was my birthday, did not stand up and say anything as the meeting ended either.

I did start to receive lots of lovely text messages, but because my phone was broken, I couldn't reply. So I sat there thinking that all those who sms'd me would now be thinking how rude I was.

Finally, the work I had thought would only take an hour, took me about 4. So instead of being able to fetch Nellie early and spend lots of time with her in the afternoon to make up for the horrible morning we'd both had, I could only fetch her at about 4pm... which made me feel even worse - a failure as a mother.

But once we did get home, things improved dramatically. My guilt-ridden husband had bought me a bunch of beautiful red roses and Lindt chocolates. My baby girl and I played together on the trampoline and had a lot of fun. When we then dropped Nellie off at my in-laws, they had a lovely present waiting for me (a worm farm!! Yay!) When we got home, a friend I hadn't seen in WEEKS popped over for a lovely visit. And then we got to go to the movies AND I GOT TO PICK THE FILM! (99% of the time Graeme chooses the movie, and his choices are always good, which is why I let him, but it's nice being able to choose from time to time.)

It was a great film - Body of Lies. Very violent in parts, and the ending wasn't quite as dramatic as I would have liked, but all round a very good film that raises a lot of questions about how we see the world.

And this morning, when we went to Nellie's concert, she and Grandma had made me a wonderful card! Even better than a shop bought one!

So all in all, it was a good birthday, even though it started disastrously.

Oh! How I laughed

This morning was Nellie's school concert. She was a 'twinkle star' and had a solo. Unfortunately, as predicted, she got horrible stage fright. But shortly thereafter, once the big moment had passed, she really got into the concert and started singing.

It was a long event, but sweet. And well worth it to see my little angel up there being SO SERIOUS about her singing and the actions. She made me laugh so much I cried. She was just adorable in her seriousness, but I did have to wonder whether she was enjoying any of it.

We really do need to teach her Rule #6. I guess the best way to do that is to teach it to myself first. (In case you're not a Ben Zander follower... Rule #6 says 'Don't take yourself too seriously.') I had thought we were doing well, but maybe we're not doing as well as I think... Sigh! This parenting thing is hard. No rule books, no guide books, just a whole lot of flying by the seat of your pants.

It's the best adventure ever!

(Oh yes, I'll put a video clip up on her site shortly.)

Stories from afar (part 2)

Following my post about the Afro-Caribbean boys, my brother-in-law sent me an email with several articles about the institutional racism in British schools (with particular reference to racism towards Afro-Caribbean boys). I've been mulling over how to respond.

Was I aware of institutional racism in the British school system towards Afro-Caribbean boys? Yes. That is rather old hat for teachers in the UK, I'm afraid. At our school, regular meetings were held to discuss the issue, and how best to negate the effects for the boys in the school. And we did our best to put into practice the strategies that were suggested as the best remedial way forward.

Did I need to mention that the boys in that story were Afro-Caribbean? The story itself would probably have lost little if I hadn't.

So why did I? Because, unfortunately, my perception is that most violent crime in London is committed by Afro-Caribbean boys. My point in telling the story was not just to relate the story. It was that I had anticipated some criminal act in these boys, specifically because of their race, and had therefore tried to do something about it, to try and help them plot a different path and future for themselves. I was trying to help them avoid the very statistic they became. And I failed. Horribly, miserably, tragically. That was the point. I doubt I could have made that point without mentioning the boys' race.

Does that make me racist? We're all racist. It's only the extent and direction that varies. If you favour one race over another, for whatever reason, whether for good intentions (like affirmative action is in SA) or bad (like Apartheid was in SA), you are still racist. You might be racist towards Germans, or Chinese. You might love all things American (or hate them) and hate all things Cuban. The fact that you differentiate at all makes you racist.

A better question to ask would be, how do I act on my prejudices (both good and bad)? My answer to that is that I endeavour to help every person I meet in whatever way I can, to enable them to reach their potential. Of course, I don't succeed. I fail dismally in fact, because in South Africa the need is overwhelming, and if I were to truly try and help every person I met, I would be burnt out and broke. But I try when and how I can. And that has to count for something.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Over my shoulder

Why is it that our culture says the past is behind us? Surely, since 'hindsight' is 20/20, and you can't see behind yourself, our past should actually be in front of us, with us walking blindly backwards into the future??

Whatever the reason, with tomorrow being my birthday, I thought it appropriate to reflect on the past.

We've been home now for nearly 1.5 years. In that time, we have both settled into our respective jobs, and Nellie has settled into nursery. We still aren't living in THE house, but we're getting there. We have accumulated all the various bits of junk from various storage places, and assimilated it into a household. We have acquired pets. We are expecting another child. We are close to settling into a church. I have just about finished my part-time business management course, and LL is taking off.

It all feels... well, I'm not sure how it feels. It just is. But it 'is' in a good way. (It is rather hard to think positively about anything, I admit, when you feel this constant need/ desire to vomit.)

Looking back over the past year in management, I think I've grown a lot. For one thing, I've learnt to relax a bit more, and not to let things stress me out so much. (A good lesson in anyone's books.) I've also learnt a bit more about delegation. Change is always hard, and I take my hat off to my department. My goals are quite different to my predecessor, and they didn't have a voice in appointing me, so they've had rather a lot of change thrown at them. Not to mention having to put up with my inexperience and mistakes along the way. But we've come through it, and I think we're going to be much better off next year.

This year, there were 7 teachers in the department, and we've had 3 different technicians. It has made communication harder, and it has made the work load more difficult, because most people have been working in 3 departments, with 3 different sets of goals. One of the things I've specifically requested for next year is to try and get people to only work in 2 departments at most. We have been able to do this, which means that we are losing several people as they move over completely to another department. I think this will be a good thing, but of course, that remains to be seen.

Doing the business course has been hard work. It has meant one night of lectures per week, plus a study group meeting every Sat afternoon, plus time to complete homework. It's been good, but I will be very pleased when it is over and I can get that time back to myself (or back to my family, actually). I think there are a few things I will take from the course - that leaders must be godly in all they do (in every interaction); a vague understanding of how business finances work; and a strengthened determination not to let my business fail. I'm also hoping that I will have an investor to boot, but I'm not holding my breath - not counting my chickens, and all that.

It struck me that I have been pregnant for 3 out of my last 4 birthdays: 2005, 2006 and 2008. Therefore, it is not surprising that I seem to have got into a habit of not really celebrating in a massive way. It just feels like more effort than I have energy for (which if you know me, and how much I love presents and fuss, you will understand is a pretty big deal). I am determined that this will be the last pregnancy, and therefore the last birthday that goes un-properly celebrated. (Is there such a word??)

Speaking of which, I was thrilled to receive the news last night that Discovery will cover the full costs of my medication for the duration of the pregnancy. Thank God. Really. Once again, I am convinced that God's plans for this child include a live birth and a long life, and that fills me with great hope and joy. It also fills me with great paranoia - because I believed exactly the same thing with Zoe... and fat lot of use it did me then! But somehow, contrary to any logic, I believe that this time will be different. I hope it. I pray it.

Over the past year, Nellie has grown into a lovely little girl, who loves cuddles and tickles, reading stories and watching TV. The terrible twos seem set to continue though, as recent additions to family life include slamming doors and growling at you when she's really, really mad with you. But underneath it all, I see a loving, generous little girl developing. I just hope and pray that we can encourage that side of her nature, rather than the sometimes selfish toddler behaviour we see. She continues to be curious about everyone and everything around her, and can get quite indignant if you aren't able to answer her questions. I see now why parents resort to the 'because I said so' refrain! But she's at the stage of learning that asking 'Why?' can actually be a game, and she's starting to tease us - and it is so incredible to see this new side of her develop. Having children really is a privilege and a joy!

And finally, looking back over the past year with my darling husband, I see many things I wish I could do differently. In the midst of all the change, he has continued to be my rock. His self-less giving has enabled me to focus on the business, my studies and my first year as HoS. How does one put into words the gratitude that goes with such sacrifice? If I have one goal for the coming year, it is to try and give back to him all the time we missed out on together. This year, I want to make him my priority. I couldn't have done and achieved all that I did without his love and support. He truly has been a model of Christ to me this past year.

There have been low points during the past year, but I don't want to dwell on those. There is more than enough negativity in the world. Equally, this year has not been easy - far from it! Apart from grieving Zoe, this has been the toughest year of my life to date. Rather than groan about it though, I want to celebrate, because this past year has also been an incredible one - full of new things to learn, new people to meet, new experiences to have. Coming home has definitely been good for me, and I look forward to another good year, God willing.

So thank you, Lord, for all your blessings this past year. Thank you for everything you have taught me and shown me. Thank you for all the ways you have encouraged me, and challenged me. Thank you for all the ways in which you have brought me incredible joy.

Proudly Bok

The good 'ol Bok stays! Yes, SARU and the government have reached agreement that the Springbok can stay - as long as it moves over to make way for the Protea. So from some undetermined time in the future, SA rugby shirts will have two equally sized emblems on them - on the breast pocket the official protea emblem, and on the other side the Bok.

I have to say that I am really pleased at how the two sides managed to reach agreement. I do understand that for tha majority of South Africans the Bok is an apartheid emblem, and thus is a symbol of hatred, oppression and racism. However, the Bok has been the rugby emblem since the year dot, and to lose it now would seem to me to be a tragedy. I know my brother-in-law will vehemently disagree with me, but I must be true to what I love. And I love the Bok. Proudly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lessons in life

Some of you may be aware that we've been having a real issue with the tenant in the flat on our property. (The house we're renting has a little flat attached to it which is rented out separately.) It all started about a month ago, when the tenant asked us not to play in the back in the early mornings on weekends because it woke her up. We duly complied.

However, about a fortnight later, she then sent my mother (who is our landlord) a text to say that she is moving out ASAP because we are the rudest, least respectful, most insensitive, noisy neighbours she has ever had to live with; that Nellie's screaming and slamming doors at all hours of the morning is more than she can take. Needless to say, that came as rather a shock to us, because apart from asking us not to use the back garden, she has never before spoken to us about noise.

What I find particularly frustrating, is that before she applied for the lease, we did specifically ask her if she'd ever lived near small children, and was aware that they can make a lot of noise. She said she had, and it was fine.

In a series of emails, I tried to point out to her how we had either considered her needs, or had changed our lifestyle to try and stop making noise. e.g. She complained that we ran our washing machine at 5am and this woke her up. I pointed out that for the past 2 months we have employed a maid to do our washing so that it does not have to be done in the early morning. I also pointed out that as we both work full time, before we got the maid, the only time we got to do laundry was first thing in the morning, when we could hang it to dry during the day. It wasn't that we were deliberately trying to be nasty to her.

Since then, the tenant has made every effort to make my mother's life, and ours, a misery. She has continued to call us disrespectful and rude. She has sworn at my mother and has made a point of being as noisy as possible whenever she is in the flat. At one point, she refused to communicate with us directly, saying that she would only communicate with my mother. When my mother told her to grow up and act like an adult (way to go, Mom!), she replied by saying that my mother's comment on her acting abilities would be disregarded. (I kid you not!)

It has become obvious to me that this woman is one who likes to hold a grudge. She has got it into her head that we are the devil incarnate, and will not be persuaded from her point of view. We have tried to put things right and seek her forgiveness. There is nothing more we can do, so we have stopped letting it upset us or worry us. The only person being harmed by the situation now is her - she refuses to forgive us, insists on holding a grudge, and as a result her life is miserable.

In the meantime, we have had a problem with our neighbour, whose pond pump was making a racket. As the pump is right next to our window, when I've got up to go to the loo in the middle night, the noise has meant it has taken me AGES to fall asleep again. Rather than wait several months to complain (as our tenant did), after a few nights of this, I wrote a polite note to the neighbour which I popped in his box this morning. The pump was fixed during the day, and the neighbour left us his cell number, saying that we are to ring him at any time of the night if the pump is noisy again.

What lessons can be learnt here? Firstly, when there is a problem, do not let it stew. Do not bury your head in the sand because the problem will not go away. You will become increasingly angry about the problem, and it will eventually result in the break-down of relationships. DO talk to the person concerned: if they are aware of the problem, they can try to fix it. Secondly, do not hold grudges. The only person who will be harmed by it is you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stories from afar

This past weekend saw not one, but two, visitors from the UK popping in. Independently, they were both in the Mother City, and it was wonderful seeing them!

The first was from our old church back in London. Of course, being the gossip monger that I am, I loved catching up on all the news about who is doing what/ going where/ etc, etc. While I miss the people there, I have to confess that it's not enough to make me want to be back in London! (I suppose that's a good thing, all in all.)

The other was from my old job. Meeting with Annie was fantastic, because she is such a positive person and puts such a positive spin on everything. It was fantastic to hear about the various promotions that people had had, and also to hear about how the naughty kids are still naughty (just proves that it wasn't me!!)

However, she did relate a very tragic story. The school is a Church of England school. That doesn't mean that all the kids at it are Christian - in fact, far from it. What it does mean though is that a large percentage are supposed to come from families who are involved in local churches. Thus, it was with great shock that I learnt about an attempted gang rape of the sweetest, most wonderful, Christian girl by a group of Afro-Caribbean boys the school has had nothing but trouble with from the moment they started at the school.

What was even more sad, in my estimation, is that the victim did not return to the school because these boys' (Afro-Caribbean) female friends blamed her for it, saying that she obviously 'wanted' it, and just did it to get their friends expelled. In the light of her trauma, to have to come back and face that kind of intimidation was more than she felt she could cope with.

The boys were expelled (or permanently excluded), and they were charged. They are currently serving sentences in juvenile detention centres. This must surely be the lowest point in the life of the school. Thinking back to my time there, what really saddens me is that I predicted many of these boys would have a criminal record before they left school. In fact, at one time I had a conversation with one of the boys in which I warned him that his current path was leading in that direction, and urged him to consider his future seriously, and change his life if he wanted to avoid that. It just seems so sad that many of the staff felt and saw the same potential as I did, and yet we were collectively unable to help these children avoid the dangers we saw. You can lead a horse to water, and all that. But I still find it so tragic that these boys refused our help, and now they will have a sexual offenders criminal record that will follow them around for the rest of their lives.

As for the victim, my heart bleeds for her. She is the most sensible, lovely, sweet-natured, intelligent, friendly girl around, and a Christian to boot. I can only pray that this horrible event draws her to Christ, rather than from him. I long to contact her and tell her how sorry am I, but I won't because I don't want to bring up painful memories for her. I just entrust her to God's care, and hope that she is able to move on from this event.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Graeme will kill me for posting this, but...

Today, during lunch, Nellie let off a WHOPPER of a fart. I glanced at her sideways, with my 'What are you doing, Madam?' face. She grinned and said to me, "I'm being like my Daddy!"


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blood matters

I went to my first scan today. I know: it's early, but I need to start the Clexane as early as I can. I'm officially 5 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I didn't realise that I would be scanned today, because I've always thought 6 weeks was too early to see anything. I thought that today's appointment was just to confirm that I was pregnant, get a blood test, write the Clexane scrip, that kind of thing. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that there was a scan.

Having said that, it was a vaginal scan. I've had one before, so I knew what to expect, but it still came as a bit of a shock. You can't see anything on the scan (or nothing recognisable as human), so I won't put the scan up here. (If you really want to see it, let me know and I'll email it to you.) However, just about the only thing you CAN see is the heart beating! How amazing is that?!?! It's a much slower heartbeat than the 180 beats per minute of most fetuses, but that's normal at this stage, because the heart isn't properly formed yet. (It doesn't even have the two pumps/ 4 chambers yet.) I got tears in my eyes listening to it... knowing just what a miracle it is that there is a baby in the making. If I'd known there was going to be a scan, I would have had Graeme come along to share that moment. To see that little heart beating, even at 5 weeks, suddenly makes you realise that this little blob of cells is a little person. How amazing is that?!?!

Anyway, then we had a discussion about how we're going to get our medical aid to pay and what help the gynae can give us to achieve that aim. This was followed by a discussion about starting the Clexane TONIGHT. Somehow, I wasn't prepared for that. I have to inject myself every day until 6 weeks after the birth. I'm not sure how one gets over the mental hurdle, but I guess I'm about to figure that out.

Then it was off to the clinic downstairs to have my blood taken. The nurse on duty knew nothing of my condition, so it was with some amusement that I watched her reaction to my blood. Within seconds of the vials being taken, she was squinting at them and shaking them. I could see she was alarmed, but didn't want to unnecessarily alarm me. After a short while, I put her out of her misery and commented that I hoped the samples didn't clot before they'd got to the lab for testing (which is just across the corridor). I then told her I have APS, and I could see the relief on her face as she realised that I was aware there was something very wrong with my blood. After chatting about it a bit, she did comment that for only 5 weeks gestation, my blood was already pretty thick.

I guess it was good for me to hear that, because I was already thinking that unless taking the Clexane is ABSOLUTELY necessary, I would really rather forego. I really don't like the idea of injecting myself, plus it's hellishly expensive stuff and we still don't know whether the medical aid will pay for it, blah, blah. But seeing my blood today, and hearing her comment, made me realise that this little one is already at a disadvantage, because my blood just isn't doing what it's supposed to - it's already getting less oxygen and nutrients than it should. As a parent I have a responsibility to do whatever it takes to give this little one the best possible chance of survival... so if we have to scrap the building works and use the bond money to pay for this treatment instead, then I guess that's what we'll have to do. After all, what price do you put on a life?

On another level it was good to see my blood and hear the nurse's comment, because it's been so long since I was diagnosed (and I've been pretty much symptom free since then) that I've begun to doubt the diagnosis. I was contemplating going to a specialist haematologist and getting a repeat blood test done, just to check. I mean, who knows - maybe I've been miraculously healed???? Seeing those vials today though, it was so obvious, even to my untrained eye, that my blood was gloopy rather than runny, and gloopy ain't normal (unless you're talking about Bar-One sauce on ice cream...mmmm). A repeat blood test therefore is no longer necessary. If my blood is that thick even WITH the Ecotrin I've been taking, then imagine what it would be like without it. That freaks me out slightly. It's one thing having a diagnosis, or cause of stillbirth, written on a piece of paper. It's quite something else seeing the physical evidence in front of you when it's literally just come out of your arm. It's not like my blood had been sitting around for a while - 5 seconds at most!

It kind of puts things into perspective for me. It makes me more willing to haggle and fight with the medical aid. It makes me a little more desperate, a little more paranoid, a little more determined to win this 'fight'. Now that I KNOW what I'm up against, and what my baby is up against, I really am going to do everything in my power short of killing someone to make sure I can get these drugs.

It turns out that my gynae's patients have this unwritten code between them - anyone who no longer needs their Clexane donates it to her. While with her today, she gave me about a week's supply of injections - free of charge (that's about a quarter of my salary's worth). The only condition is that if I have any left over at the end of the 9 months, I donate it back in return. Seems fair to me. It means that while we haggle with the medical aid, I can get started on the drugs, rather than having to wait a week (or more) for approval (of course they're going to approve the drugs! I have faith.) Later tonight then, I'm heading back to the hospital to meet with the matron on duty who will show me how to do it. Tomorrow and the next day I will have to inject myself, but still at the hospital in front of her, so she can check I'm doing it right. Then I'm on my own.

Guess what song's playing my head now?? 'The things we do for love... the things we do for love.'

I have to admit that I'm a bit scared of this injecting business. I'm not scared of needles per se, but I have been injected by out-of-practice GPs before, and by very experienced nurses. With the nurses, it never hurts. With the GPs it ALWAYS hurts. I'm a lot less experienced than a GP. You figure it out.

Another incredible thing is that I already have ALL of my antenatal appointments booked, right up until the week we're planning to induce (which will be around the 10th June). That is so different to the UK, where you can only book the subsequent appointment at the time of the current one. Of course, as my gynae said, if the baby doesn't grow right (also a consequence of my APS), then we'll induce as early as we have to to give it the best shot at life, so we're taking this one week at a time.

My nausea has been in evidence for the past week or so. Horrible, yucky, all-day kind of nausea. I've come close to throwing up about twice so far, but fortunately nothing more. I've just discovered ginger sweets, which work a treat at keeping the nausea at bay, but of course, being so spicy, I can only have a limited amount every day.

But this too shall pass. In the mean time, I'm thrilled that everything is going well with the baby. In that I rejoice.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A mother's work is never done

I hate feeling like I have nothing new or interesting to say, but I'm afraid that's the state of my life at present. I feel sick all the time - whether or not I eat. Practically the only time I don't feel ill is when I'm sleeping. I also feel tired all the time.

And yet life carries on regardless.

Take today, for example. In the space of about 15 minutes I found out that the Bio paper the kids write tomorrow was missing (we found it in the end), and that Nellie was not only running a temperature, but hadn't eaten all day, and was complaining of ear ache. So - Mommy to the rescue! In between trying to drop off patterns with my CMT, dealing with telephonic queries about the nappies (I'm starting to get lots of calls - which is great), keep the dogs from freaking out (they still panic when we leave without them - I eventually resorted to putting them in the car and taking them with me), and collecting Nellie from nursery, my nausea and tiredness don't really have time to feature. I'm not sure whether to be grateful for that or not.

Then, sitting in the doctor's waiting room, Nellie promptly threw up all over me (got very little on herself and just about all of it on me). So rather than sit in an icky shirt, I went into the bathroom and washed it. I figured that sitting in a cold, wet shirt was better than sitting in a warm, wet, smelly and sticky one. Plus, I'm not sure that the smell wouldn't have triggered my own bout of vomiting, and dealing with one person throwing up is bad enough - two in one family is more than I can deal with right now.

Then, home again (jiggedy-jig) to discover that Graeme's brother is ill, and so would rather go for supper at his mother's house than come to us (we were all getting together for supper to say farewell to the other brother who's jetting off East for a few weeks of holiday). Rather than stay and help me, my husband went off to join them... leaving me to clean up the dog's diarrhoea and my daughter's poo in her pants (not that he was aware of this when he left, give him his dues).

So let's just see... to sum up, today I have been vomited on, cleaned up poo pants, and had to clean up diarrhoea, all while trying hard to keep my own bile down and being so tired I feel I could sleep a week, and all on my own. Oh yes, it's definitely been a 'mommy' day.

Which leaves me with only one question (and it's not the one you're thinking... I know why I want another one!) ... how the hell do single parents do this day in and day out????

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sucker for punishment?

Our dogs arrived last night. Baggins is 4 months, and Alyssa is 1.5 yrs. We had a rough time initially - they were extremely restless and nervous. Baggins kept having whining and shaking fits. Heartbreaking, really.

But then, at around 9pm they started to play with each other, and that made ALL the difference. Suddenly they realised that neither of them was alone, and that maybe this new life would be a good one. Incredibly, they went to sleep in the kitchen with barely a fuss. Alyssa whined for all of about 3 minutes, and then neither said a word until we got up this morning (and discovered their little presents on the kitchen mat).

Baggins appears to be house trained to a large extent already (thank God!). He was filthy when I fetched him - covered in fleas and (probably pig) poo. We had to leave the car windows open overnight to get the smell out. Needless to say, he went straight into the bath when we got home. He's a sweet little thing - quite calm when he's not playing with Alyssa. He's already trying to assert dominance over Alyssa, but I think she'll soon stop taking his nonsense. I took him to the vet this morning to get his innoculations (meant to get him micro-chipped, but forgot). The vet seems to think he may also have mange. Great. But we'll soon get him sorted. He's also rather undernourished - his little ribs really do stick out. Other than that though, he's perfectly healthy and very cute. (Not so cute when he refuses his chew toys and chews Nellie's dolls instead!) Good thing he won't be in the house unsupervised.

Alyssa is very nervous. Given her history of abandonment, I'm not surprised. She's also EXTREMELY jealous of Baggins. It has been very tiring trying to manage her while we've been trying to de-flea Baggins. But she is very sweet. The way that she and Baggins play together is also very cute - they are bound to keep each other occupied during the day while we're out.

Anyway, all this running around getting them and handling them in the first few hours, and handling Nellie who doesn't understand why they don't want to play with her (and is VERY upset about that - after all, these are HER dogs!) is exhausting.


But we start half days at school on Monday, so things are getting easier already.