Monday, 28 September 2009

corporal punishment

The week started badly.

On Monday I pulled a muscle in my calf chasing Snooks across the fields. My embarrassment was doubled by the fact that it was in the company of two other mums who are both currently, serenely pregnant with their seconds.

Their firsts were girls. They don’t know…yet. So my sprint to reach Snooks before he reached the path where the commuter cyclists belt along regardless was comically and very suddenly halted and replaced with an agonising hop as I continued the race against disaster.

And it has continued like that ever since.

The injury was actually a recurrence of a recurrence. The original tear was made years ago playing tennis, only in those days, the friend drove me home, found an ice pack to put on my leg, elevated on a cushion and brought me dinner.

The first recurrence happened in the privacy of our own hallway where, in the guise of the Cuddle Monster I took off in pursuit of Snooks rather too suddenly for my old calves to cope.

Having hopped around for a couple of days at home the leg was sort of on the mend when the second incident happened, this time at my mortification in front of an audience.

On neither occasion was I driven anywhere or given any cushions of any sort. I just did the usual stuff, only on one leg.

Tuesday morning was worse. Snooks had been referred by a kind but rather zealous GP to an ENT consultant after having a couple of nasty ear infections. I had learned that my family does a strong line in very narrow ear canals, which can cause complications resulting in slight but temporary loss of hearing. This revelation had helped with a number of unanswered questions about my own childhood, not least why I, and both my brothers spent time in hospital in our pre school years. It also means we all have quite cute ears.

We had already paid the consultant one visit, scorched into my brain with the memory of Snooks throwing up in the back of the car just as we swung into the hospital entrance, causing me to swerve and almost take out a woman just leaving the hospital grounds who glared at me with the understandable fury of someone who has just been given a clean bill of health only to be totalled by some idiot careering about in the car park.

He had suggested a ‘wait and see’ policy, and this was the ‘see’ bit. Whether Snooks remembered the previous visit or was simply demonstrating a family loathing of all things medical (his birth is the only good thing I have ever known happen in a hospital) he took against the whole plan the minute he spotted the place and had to be cajoled, ordered and finally bribed with chocolate buttons into the building.

Now I don’t know about you, but I would have expected that any medic who has ever treated any child before for any condition would have some idea that they may be a) frightened and b) not keen on having things poked in their ears.

But unfortunately both the technician who attempted to carry out the pressure test on Snooks’ ears and the consultant who wanted to look in them were aghast to find Snooks howling like a banshee.

Nevertheless I reluctantly went along with the plan to hold him firmly while things were poked in his ears, right up to the point that the specialist (not a doctor actually; he was a Mr therefore a surgeon. Not the same thing at all) suggested that his frantic behaviour was caused by frustration due to a loss of hearing and therefore was evidence that he needed an operation to cure it.

For the record, Snooks’ hearing is fine. His language is excellent for his age and he has lately been heard to hum Ally Bally Bee reasonably accurately.

Fuelled with tear-filled indignation that Snooks’ distress should be interpreted as a special need and horrified that a doctor should recommend surgery on such flimsy evidence I rejected the advice and left.

By Thursday I had discovered that if I wore high heels I could walk on both legs, which was good because it meant I could finally leave the house (hopping will only get you so far), but bad as it made for some unorthodox wardrobe choices for my weekly Pilates class. However I simply had to go as by now I was in desperate need of realignment, in more ways than one.

Things could have got very complicated at this point as a friend who suddenly needed someone to look after her daughter asked if I could help. Through a rather impressive mums-jungle-telegraph, her little girl was delivered to us that afternoon, fed, changed and tired which meant, mercifully, she fell asleep almost instantly, leaving me to entertain Snooks for two hours without letting him know that someone was sleeping in baby bear’s bed.

By Friday, Fortune seemed at last to be smiling as I was fit enough to take Snooks out to a playgroup where we met up by chance with the same little girl now in the care of another jungle mum and her son whom we joined for lunch.

It did not last. Snooks began to drool ominously, developed a lovely crop of ulcers around his mouth and embarked on a coughing and gagging campaign, which continued pretty much unbroken for the rest of the day.

Many spoons of Calpol and not many hours of sleep later I can confirm that his canines are well on the way. As I write, both he and the Engineer have come in and fallen asleep on the bed where I am holed up with my laptop. I’ll keep you posted.

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