Friday, 17 April 2015

Defying expectations

What a terrible, terrible night.

I was tearfully exhausted last night. I gazed at my friend's photographs on Facebook of their trip around the south-west USA and wondered where my life had gone wrong. Am I ever again going to have the chance to travel like that? What am I talking about? I never had the guts, chutzpah, confidence, spirit, you name it, to travel like that. I used to get anxious going to a new town in my own country, let alone my trips to other countries. I always wanted to be the person who went on a holiday like that. I never was then, and now that LittleBear is here, it feels as though I never will be. Ever. I'm not going to suddenly magic up the assurance that would let me go exploring with just BigBear and LittleBear. I cannot imagine how much more I would worry if I had my LittleBear to protect, feed, and love while travelling than I already worried without him.

Anyway, it was in that mood of existential despair at the state I and my life are in that I decided I really needed an early night, so it was 9:30 when I stuck my head into LittleBear's room to see how he was. A smell met me as I opened the door. Not a good smell. I crept in, trying to work out if it was the lingering aroma of a sweaty small boy who was sick a few hours ago and didn't want a bath, or a rather fresher arrival. Then I put my hand in the pool of sick. Ah. That would be it then. My poor baby was fast asleep, having clearly managed to lean over enough to be sick mostly over the edge of the bed and onto the carpet. Not completely mind you, so the duvet, sheet, mattress, pillow and carpet had all caught flak.

So we had to wake out poor little boy up and try and get him and his surroundings cleaned up. BigBear stepped into the breach awesomely. I dragged LittleBear onto my lap and just gently held and rocked him while BigBear did... well... basically everything else. Then LittleBear was sick on my arm and into the washing up bowl we had ready. He was whimpering and shaking poor little soul, but still managing to be so brave and strong. I'm pretty certain I cry more than he does when I'm sick.

So... sleeping arrangements needed changing. If LittleBear could be sick in his bed and we didn't hear it over the monitor, he couldn't be left alone for the rest of the night. BigBear was banished to the spare room, LittleBear's mattress was dragged into our room, and I stroked his sad sweaty head while his heavy lids drifted down. The rest of the night then passed in approximately two hour cycles of LittleBear desperately retching with nothing left in his stomach, then begging for water while I tried to persuade him to just have a little at a time so as not to be sick again straight away. By 6am he was awake for the rest of the day, wan, drawn, thin, tired and pathetic.

Somewhat to my surprise therefore, the rest of the day was actual quite good. LittleBear was subdued, but not sick again. I broke many of my self-imposed parenting rules and allowed him to watch quite a lot of television. Two episodes of David Attenborough's Blue Planet and two episodes of Chris Packham's The Wonder of Animals. Unusual viewing choices for a three-year old perhaps, but he really does love wildlife documentaries, with current favourite themes being sharks, whales, crocodiles and snakes. And they were spread out through the day (says she, desperately trying to justify nearly three hours of television for a toddler who had no screen time allowed before the age of two...)

But... we also played with lots of Lego, mostly to make a house for his sharks, who apparently needed upstairs doors and windows as well as a flight of stairs. Talented sharks these ones. And we played with Play-doh, making sharks, killer whales and seals, naturally. And we did some painting. Painting crocodiles. Or perhaps alligators. And we did lots of reading, especially about sharks and whales. And dolphins.

And LittleBear ate about 5 slices of toast all told, and a rich tea biscuit and two "emergency" biscuits, spread over something like 7 mini-meals, and I didn't see any of them again. (They're called emergency biscuits because when I get one with a cup of coffee, I tend to put it in my handbag, and when LittleBear asked why I said it was "for emergencies". Come on, you know the ones - there are many occasions when what you really need is a biscuit and wish you had a handy, individually wrapped biscuit about your person. Don't you? It's not just me is it?)

So a day that I was dreading even before LittleBear was sick, and went into with next-to-no-sleep, turned out to be actually OK really. In fact, quite lovely in many ways. LittleBear was lovely, not at all whingy, fun to play with, spectacularly imaginative and better at listening than he usually is. Sod going on a road trip round the US, there are many blessings to my life as it is now, and if I can get this far, then I will find it in myself to explore the world. Just not today.

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