*Please note, these events actually took place last weekend two weeks ago*
Sunday was supposed to be quite nice, high of 21, sunny intervals. We thought we’d try the jousting again. I was looking forward to being able to stand up to watch the show and cheer on all the cheesy ham-acting.
It was beautiful, but the sunny interval was the entire time the jousting was on and it was hot. So I still ended up sitting most of the time, trying to hide ZuZu behind someone’s camp chair.
I was happy that Doodle got to join in on the kids parade at the beginning even if he didn’t really seem to get what there was to be excited about.
Oh yeah, did I mention? We shaved Doodle’s head. I did intend to buzz it, but not quite so short. I have to say I almost cried. But only a little. He’s still completely adorable.
Okay, so she’s not really, but I figure with how long it takes me to finish posts I should start this one now.
I mean really! It’s ridiculous. I have a draft that’s been under construction for two weeks now and it has two paragraphs and a picture. Ridiculous.
So what’s been happening that’s kept me so busy? Honestly? I can’t exactly remember. No really. I had a friend over for lunch on Monday (Monday, mind you) and she asked me how our weekend went. I just stared at her and blinked. Could. not. remember. It’s not like we just pottered around the house. We had guests! Friends from back in Canada that we hadn’t seen in, like, 6 years. And we took no pictures. It’s like ZuZu came along and we completely forgot we had a camera. She’s going to think she’s adopted.
So what has been happening? Let me think. After the hellfire caves we went back for more jousting (that’s the post under construction and there are actually pictures). Then I got food poisoning on Tuesday and spent the rest of the week looking suspiciously in food’s direction and then doing something else instead. Let me say this, when you don’t eat but you keep producing sustenance for a growing baby, you get a little shaky. Poor Doodle had another week of indoor activities. Fortunately he has rediscovered his train tracks so there was something for him to do, but it was rough going.
Then of course was the weekend of guests which was very fun. (I promise! I don’t know why I didn’t remember!) We took them into town and got caught in a torrential downpour. We had YO!sushi and got them lost in a Saxon Hedge Maze and wished they could have stayed with us longer. I never realized there was such a distinct Albertan accent, especially for men. It was like having my family in the living room with me chatting away. Very comforting. Hard to put into words.
Then this past week was my birthday. I am 35. Yeah. Still processing how I feel about that. It’s honestly not as bad as I expected. Life is pretty cool right now. And of course having a mini holiday in the middle of the week for your birthday helps to soften the blow. My wonderful husband took us to Cardiff. We have wanted to go there since we moved here. We stayed a short walk from the Doctor Who exhibit and the site of the Torchwood HQ (can I just say how unimpressed I am that they’re moving the series to LA? Really. REALLY. Unimpressed.).
But I don’t really want to tell you all about it because I really do want to give these things their own individual posts. I also want to write out ZuZu’s birth story and some of the things that happened during my long silence. Lot’s of good stuff happened. My mom came over for 3 weeks at Christmas, we spent two weeks in South Africa, Doodle turned two, Jeff’s parents came over for a month. And it’s not just because I think you’re all out there dying to know all about our various comings and goings. It’s because I want to remember. Or if not remember, be able to read about all the things I don’t remember. When I was moving this blog over from blogspot, I went through my old posts to make sure everything was working right (I know there are glitches I’m just not entirely sure what to do about them yet), I read about all kinds of stuff that I don’t remember. Like the fact that Doodle wasn’t sleeping through the night until after his first birthday. How does one forget something like that? I find myself wishing I’d written more about it because I don’t remember what we did, what worked, what didn’t. What if it happens that way again? It’ll be like starting all over. All our experience will be lost. That’ll suck!
So, yeah, I need to write all this stuff down just so I don’t forget, or so that I can remind myself.
Or at least believe myself even if I don’t exactly remember it.
And so that ZuZu won’t think she’s adopted.
Saturday mornings, the Rocket Scientist lets me sleep in and takes Doodle grocery shopping. This Saturday, they got an especially early start and were home by 10, which meant we still had a whole day to do whatever we wanted. We never know what we want to do, so we turned to the internets in search of a family outing. And came across the Hellfire Caves. Ooooh. The website made it look terribly exciting, there was even an underground river (which they had named Styx of course). The caves had been around for who knows how long, but made into a kind of headquarters and meeting place for this Hellfire Club back in the 1700’s. It sounded like a bit of adventure.
I love the whole idea of caves. But I’m a bit claustrophobic. It shows up at the weirdest times. I took up swimming for exercise back in Chicago for a while, had serious issues having my face underwater. I once had to leave a class in University because I was in the corner farthest away from the door (in a fairly small classroom) and someone got up and closed it partway through the class because people were talking just outside. Instant panic attack. Yet I have no trouble with elevators. Unless they’re crammed full of people and I’m in the back corner. I love having my pushchair now because it greatly reduces the number of people who can fit in an elevator with me.
Where were we? Right. Caves. I would totally love to go spelunking if the entire concept didn’t terrify the life out of me. So I was quite excited at the idea of some ‘safe’ caves that involved no crawling and getting stuck and possibly eaten by something that we could explore as a family.
I thought Doodle especially would find the caves a great adventure. In fact, the Rocket Scientist and I thought we would teach him a new word on the car ride. Adventure. Which apparently sounds like ‘Out F#&%ing’ when a 2-year-old is trying to say it for the first time. We of course, as good parents, laughed every time he said it patiently taught him how to say it correctly.
The entrance was cool. A little café to the right, and then you just walk straight into the hillside:
Unfortunately that’s where the cool ended (except for the fact that it was freezing in there). It was a bit cheesy and a bit dingy and there wasn’t really anything to do except walk in and walk out. There were a few wax scenes that seemed a little worse for wear.
But it was a cheap day out as a family and something we don’t do every day. What I was most disappointed in was that Doodle was not excited about it all. The deeper we went, the more anxious he got. There were very few lights so he often couldn’t see where he was putting his feet, only the path farther down. By the time we got halfway through, he was in Daddy’s arms.
We hoped he’d get excited about looking at the underground river until we realized the stalactites and stalagmites were actually fake. On our way out there was even a sign telling us they hoped we’d enjoyed learning about the caves and the Hellfire Club and their ‘simulated’ stalactites and stalagmites. Ugh.
It wasn’t until we got to the large cave in the middle on our way out that Doodle found something he could really enjoy. Girls. There were a group of girls dancing around the cave and he got right in on the action.
He was even so bold as to go hang out beside them when they stopped to chat. I know it’s a fuzzy picture, but I just had to show. I seriously don’t know how I created such an extroverted little man. Must be his father’s doing.
After that he had a much better time, even playing peekaboo around corners with us.
I’m just glad these things didn’t drop down from the ceiling at any point.
I’d be dealing with the nightmares until he was 20.
All in all, it was a fun family day out.
Which ZuZu completely slept through.
Doodle had been looking forward to Friday all week. He didn’t exactly know it was Friday, but it was the day on his calendar with a stick figure Mamma drew picture of his friend JoM0. Despite the chance of a drizzly day we decided to take the kids to our local palace (that’s right, we have a local palace y’all!) for a day of jousting. There were falconry demonstrations and knights on horseback and sword fights.
We ended up huddled under the umbrella eating Jaffa Cakes blueberries. At least I remembered Doodle’s Jumper and the brolly or it would have been a truly miserable day. With the hot, dry July we had I think I forgot that I was actually living in England. I have been living in flip flops all summer and this was the first time I wished I’d worn proper shoes.
ZuZu was snug as a bug and quite enjoyed her afternoon in the fresh air.
I’m a little disturbed at how much I loved this outfit given the violently pink trousers. But I digress.
Of course as soon as the tournament was over, it stopped raining.
Unfortunately by that time we had to rush home for ZuZu’s first round of vaccines. They call them jabs here. Great word. There’s no way I’m going to be able to convince Doodle they don’t hurt when it’s time for his next rounds. The cool thing about ZuZu’s is that we’re taking part in a study with her to see if children can get the same amount of antibodies with fewer vaccinations. I’m very glad she’s in the group that does with less jabs but not really looking forward to the blood draws they have to do to actually check the antibodies.
Have I mentioned my daughter screams? Like we’re lighting her on fire. Now, I generally think I’m pretty bright, but it seems that when it comes to catching on to the fact that ZuZu is not her brother I seem to be a little slow on the uptake. Doodle never had any reactions to his jabs shots and didn’t even seem to notice anything was happening until he was 6 months. ZuZu on the other hand started complaining the moment the doctor touched her leg. By the time we’d gotten through both shots, Doodle was covering his ears and the doctor was throwing things into his bag and running for the hills. Apparently he forgot that he’d told me just a few minutes prior that they usually stick around for 15 minutes to make sure there’s no anaphylactic reaction to the vaccines. She didn’t stop for half an hour. And then that night, she thought she’d revisit how upset she was that I allowed her leg to be skewered by a quack to be given life-saving vaccinations. Next time I’ll be prepared. I’ll make sure a dear friend is celebrating a birthday. In London. For the whole day.
As some of you know, a little over a month ago, Doodle had a fall while at our cousins house. There was quite a lot of blood and we spent 3 hours in the Milton Keynes A&E. The upshot of that was that he had chipped a bit of tooth (a tooth he had already chipped a bit out of a couple of weeks after we first moved here incidentally), cut his gums, frenem, and lip. Fortunately nothing needed stitches and all was likely to heal on his own. A couple of weeks later, just as things were healing up nicely except for a bit of gum still swollen, a lovely child at playgroup hit him in the face with a chair. Not quite as much blood this time, and it turned out to only be coming from his lip but it made me a bit concerned about that still swollen bit of gum. It looked suspiciously like the shape of a tooth, but I was sure I was being paranoid and thought perhaps we should just get it looked at again by the dentist.
I wasn’t being paranoid. Not really what I wanted to hear. It mostly likely is in the shape of a tooth because it most likely is a tooth. His adult tooth appeared to have been dislodged just a bit from that fall. The dentist said it wasn’t really worth the drama of taking x-rays because there’s not much they could do for it anyway. It would either be fine and come down in a few years as it’s meant to, or it would die and they’d take it out once his baby tooth fell out. Only time would tell.
So I’d come to terms with his little tooth-shaped bump when Wednesday happened.
ZuZu and I had been suffering from a cold all week and so my poor little man had been stuck playing around the house and was going a bit stircrazy. So I let him play outside. By himself. I know everyone insists that I not beat myself up over this, that it could have happened even if I’d been right beside him, but I really don’t buy it. Not now anyway. I was on the couch, the backdoor open, I could see most of the patio and yard. But not enough. I heard the fall (which sounded awful on its own) and then the screaming. I wedged ZuZu on the couch and ran out to find my beautiful little boy with blood gushing out of his mouth. Again. His ride on motorbike topple beside him half on and half off the patio steps. He’d tried to ride it down and had bashed his teeth on a brick at the bottom. I got him inside and tried to put a cold wet cloth on his teeth to stop the bleeding but as I realize now that must have been excruciating for him. He had not only pushed his four top front teeth up into his gums but also back into his palate. I called friends to come and stay with ZuZu and the Rocket Scientist to come home from work and take us to the hospital. All the while, sitting on the kitchen floor with my poor son screaming and writhing in pain and bleeding all over the both of us.
Another 4 hour stretch in the A&E. This time we actually were seen by a Maxillary Facial Specialist. Only to tell us we’ll just have to wait and see. Again. If he’d been younger, they could have put him under a general anesthetic and pulled the teeth down and out again, but at this age, his adult teeth are pretty well-formed behind his baby teeth and moving them might cause more damage than just leaving it alone. So all we can do is give him soft food for a couple of weeks while the swelling goes down and the pain subsides, keep his mouth clean and see if anything falls out. The dentist is seeing him every couple of weeks for the next few months to watch for any signs that the teeth are dying. They’ll have to come out right away if that’s the case so they don’t cause any infection in the permanent teeth. They’re going to try to do x-rays next visit to make sure there’s no damage to the bone. I have no idea how that’s going to work.
I think I could have handled a broken arm or something. Sure, painful, traumatic even, but you put a cast on it and it’s protected, in a few weeks it’s over and done with. As it stands, I’m terrified of him falling again while they’re so fragile and finishing them off. Heck, even if he waits until it’s all healed and falls on the again, I don’t know how much more trauma his teeth can take without just giving up and falling out just from the sheer stress of it all!
And I of course, like any good mother, have made this all about me:
If I hadn’t been so lazy I would have been out giving him proper supervision for a 2-year old.
What a horrible mother I am because all I can think is that his beautiful smile is completely munked.
What if I give him a complex and he never smiles in photos again?
When really I should just be thankful that he didn’t crack his head open or take an eye out or that I have a son in the first place and he’s active and adventurous enough to want to be out and playing and pushing his boundaries all the time.
See, I know all that, and I can even type it here with all confidence, but I’m still completely gutted. That it happened. That we won’t really know how bad it is for years yet. That my beautiful child is damaged. That I care that my beautiful child is damaged. That I’m now terrified of him falling again and my heart is in my throat all the time that he’s not sitting quietly (which is of course, all. the. time.). That I may pass on that concern over his looks or that fear and make him less than who he is.
How can I not be cheered by the mere sight of him.