The guilt propeller

It’s funny how a seemingly small thing can propel you into a state of guilt for an entire day. And please don’t offer me any big-girl-panties-psychobabble after reading this, I’m feeling vulnerable enough as it is.

Quite serendipitously I am going out tonight to see Michael Buble. When the tickets went on sale it was just not Etienne’s thing and life got in the way of making alternative plans with friends, so I didn’t pursue it. I’m so very happy to be going with a bunch of cool gals, but anxious about all the things OCD people like myself get anxious about such as parking, driving at night by myself (see psychobabble comment above), not seeing the kids tonight, hoping Daniel does well in his Xhosa test today and so on and so forth.

This morning the kids were up and about earlier than usual, so they were almost ready by the time I was ready and rushing to leave the house, already running a few minutes late. Mignon asked me to do her hair, so I said, sorry darling, Mommy has to go to work now, but Daddy or Norma will help you in just a minute. I also knew that, if I did her hair I would end up doing Isabel’s hair and then another 15 minutes would have gone by and I would be really, really late.

So I said, not today my darling. And, in the mirror, I could see something on my child’s face that was akin to disappointment. I didn’t click right that very second as my mind was already wandering to all the urgent things waiting at the office, but when it hit me I almost turned the car right around to go straight back and apologise and do the best hair ever. For her and her sister, work be damned.

Instead, I have spent a large part of my emotional energy today berating myself and wishing that I made a different choice this morning. Wishing I could take that crushed and disappointed look off my child’s face. An exercise in complete futililty, but still.

Then this popped up in my timeline this morning:

I think our kids need a Yes-day, almost like a Love-Bombing day, but probably something that would be more practical for us as a family. It feels like we live in a world of NO, a world of pushing them to do everything they *need* to do and don’t indulge them often enough or make them feel as important as they should know they are.

For now though, I’ll re-learn the lesson about being in the moment and continuously re-evaluating priorities and moving on. Thinking on my feet at 06h45am is clearly just not my strongest point.

Let’s talk about yesterday

If you follow me on FB or twitter you know by now that yesterday was not a particularly lovely day.

In fact, yesterday was pretty shit.

On Tuesday Isabel had a bit of a runny tummy and Mignon had a bit of a runny nose.  By yesterday morning Isabel was puking and Mignon was breathing from her stomach.  I seriously thought we were going to end up in hospital, I had nee-naa-nee-naa sounds in my head.

So, we did The Big Schedule Juggle and kept the girls home and I managed to get an early appointment with our GP for Mignon so I could quickly take her and still get to work at a reasonable hour, we could leave them with our domestic lady for a couple of hours and Etienne would do the afternoon shift.

As I’m standing in the chemist waiting for the truckload of medicine my phone rings.  Our domestic lady at home, the power is out.  Whilst I’m watching Mignon take random things off the shelves, wanting to know what they are for and ask tell me to buy them (I really didn’t need any vaginal creams at that point) I try and figure out what could be wrong.  The conversation went something like this:

  • Me: Is the electricity completely off
  • Domestic Worker: Yes
  • Me: When did it go off?
  • DW: Just now
  • Me: What were you doing when it went off?
  • DW: When the toaster was on.
  • Me: Did it go off when you switched the toaster on or when it was already on?
  • DW: (thinks a while) Yes
  • Me:  (sigh) Don’t worry, I’m on my way.

I finally make it home, sort Mignon’s vast collection of drugs out, check on Isabel, sort out the electricity (Turns out the plug of the toaster made the plugs in the house trip, everything else was working), jump in the car and pull away with screaming tyres.

I made it halfway to work, only to realise that in my haste I had left my laptop at home.  I may or may not have said fuck several times whilst doubling back home.

Eventually I make it to work and play catch-up until I get a call from Etienne.  One of those “Now please don’t panic” calls.  Daniel had fallen off the jungle gym at school and they are “a little” worried, so he will have a look.

Eventually he calls back, he is rather taking him for x-rays.  By this stage I had of course already called the GP’s offices again to find out what the procedure would be for in case he does need a xray.  I had absolutely no idea whether he would need a referral letter.  As it turns out the Emergency room wasn’t too busy and they could help Etienne pretty quickly whilst I was mentally wringing my hands at work, doing the usual guilt schpiel in my head about not being there when my child needs me, even though his Dad is perfectly capable of dealing with it.  But still. My poor baby.

Our very unhappy boy.

He has broken both bones in his right arm, just before his wrist, but luckily they are greenstick fractures.  He is in a half-cast with bandages until Tuesday to check for swelling and then they will put the real cast on.  He was in a lot of pain last night, the poor thing.  We felt very helpless on his behalf.

Thank goodness the girls are on the mend and Daniel is having fun being dressed, bathed, his food cut, his bum wiped and his teeth brushed for him.

Pass the wine please.

ps: any suggestions of things I can put on his skin to avoid at least some of the itching when they put the cast on?  Do people still use baby powder for that?



Sticker Mania

You know, kids can be pretty ungrateful sometimes.  I know that we shouldn’t expect them to understand sacrifice and compromise in the same way us grownups do, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish they would take a moment and think.  Think about the intent of an action of a parent.  When ‘they’ said parenting was a thankless job they really meant it.

Point in case:

I thought it would be a sweet thing to do to put a different sticker on each child’s wrapped snack every day inside their lunch box.  It embodies the amount of guilt I feel for working and missing so much.  It’s that little gesture that says “Hey! Mom and Dad are thinking of you!”

To this end I bought Isabel little Mini Mouse, Mignon butterfly and Daniel beautiful, bright smiley face and heart stickers as those are the things they love.  The plan was to stick them on when they aren’t looking so they know how special they are as individuals and that we treasure them.

How did it turn out? Not so well. Road to hell and all that.

They have of course twigged on to the fact that there are stickers and this morning there was a barmy of note.  Daniel opened his lunch box to find the (biggest on the sheet) happy face sticker on his snack and immediately proclaimed that he didn’t want the sticker.  In my mind I went What the fuck? and I mentally rolled into a little ball of self-pity.  We then had the whole conversation of why there are stickers, that they are simply something nice for them so they know we love them and so on, but Mister was having none of it, the sticker had to go.  So, the sticker went.

2 minutes later he is back: he wants a butterfly sticker.  No, sorry, no sticker for you today mister and we have thrown the other one away at your instruction.

Another 2 minutes later he comes back, big crocodile tears and demands to have original sticker back.

At which point I had a choice (besides feeling very manipulated).  I could either cave in and give the butterfly sticker or stick to my guns and not let him have any sticker.

So I dug out the original sticker out of the bin.

As you do.