Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Influenza childcare

The past weekend I've been rather ill. Too ill to drink wine and too ill to row - usually the sure signs that something is actually wrong. I suspect I just had man flu, but it resulted in a stinking cough, a nose that could run marathons, an annoyingly persistent fever and reacquainting myself with everything I ate. All in all not much fun.

On Saturday the Boy was sublimely helpful in staying home from rowing to look after Eve while I pathetically lay down, threw up and generally made sad and self-pitying noises at him.

Sunday was a different matter because he had to race and, well, unless I was really ill (and bear in mind he still went rowing when I was stricken with pneumonia last year) he was heading off to spend half the day at the river. After lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself, during which he did offer to take Eve with him and see if someone could look after her while he raced, I decided it was mind over matter and of course I could look after my child, however awful I felt. Single mothers have to do it, people without live in nannies manage. Somewhat confused, I had after all been throwing up an hour earlier, the Boy took the window of opportunity and fled.

It started rather well. I needed to bring my fever down and what better than lolling around the pool for an hour. We had fun, I only had to drag Eve out of the pool to the loo so I could dry retch once, and thankfully we were the only people there so my hacking cough wasn't within earshot of anyone who might mutter something about avian flu at me. Then we came home, I switched on Cbeebies for a quick 10 minute fix of the Fimbles while I rinsed the swim stuff. I sat on the sofa for no more than a split second, but the next thing I know it's an hour later and we're watching Mr Maker.

Horrified at having let Eve watch an hour of TV, I got out the farm and vets set and we started playing with the toy animals. Except after an hour I felt rather wiped out again, so became ever more horizontal on the play mat. The next thing I know is that I woke up with two small pigs and a cow on my chest. By this time Eve had clearly got used to me dropping fast asleep every so often and happily continued to play as if I was still awake.

The pattern continued for a few more hours, during which I seemed to manage to help care for her baby dolly and clean and tidy the dolls house. Not that I have a huge recollection of either.

At lunchtime the Boy came home. I cooked the family lunch, whereafter I promptly fell asleep and spent most of the rest of the day in a similar state.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Morning wake up calls

Eve wakes up before 7am every day. This is lovely on a school day (hers and mine) when I get to spend lots of time with her before school. It's not so good on weekends. It's especially not so good on weekends when I've had the rowing girls and a case of wine round the previous night and got to bed late, and drunk.

At 2.30, mindful that the Boy was going to be up at 5.30am to go rowing and I had no desire to be woken up, I crawled into bed with Eve. The next thing I know, it is 7.55am and Eve is only just waking up.

Rarely, very rarely, in the course of parenthood do children take account of your own moods, circumstances or needs. Quite the opposite, usually when I've got a hangover Eve wakes up at 5am. This morning, however, was a rare moment of wonder and bliss. It doesn't quite make up for the sleepless nights breastfeeding, but it's a start.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Downhill from here

Firstly, apologies to LCM. I WILL get round to doing it, but since I got a proper job and can't blog all day I just don't have time.

Now on for the proper post.

Tomorrow Eve starts pre-school. After friends' tales of tears at the school gate and three months of daily tears, I have tried to handle it the right way. Eve came with me when we looked around schools. I went with her last week and she picked her school bag (Thomas the tank engine, an awful Chinese knock off bought for less than 50 of your princely Hong Kong dollars in a market). Lots of her little friends are a bit older and already go to school. She is really keen to go. She already knows her alphabet, can count to 20 and never more has a child needed to go to school.

Then why do I feel so awful??

I have been in a state of semi panic whenever the "S" word is mentioned. I have been asking her daily whether she wants me to take her or get the school bus, and each time her decision is resolutely in favour of the bus. I can't quite figure out why I feel so awful. Eve has been looked after by a nanny for most of the day since she was 3 months old. I clearly don't have an issue about letting someone else look after my child. So why do I feel like this?

I think it is because I am petrified about how much of what I love about her will get knocked out of her at school. She has a delightful imagination, which I adore, in seeing ideas and people and thoughts out of ordinary things. School will bring a harsh reality into her life that I think she is too young for. I also have a huge desire to protect her from any pain. Whenever a child is mean to her (or she is mean to another child) there is someone to remind her that she is loved. I think part of my fear of school is that from the age of 9 until 14 I was bullied horribly at school and I am petrified that she might have to go through this too.

I also had some teachers who marginalised me and made me feel stupid and inferior. They were, mercifully, a minority, but it still hurts to this day.

So, looking at it in the cold light of day, Eve starting school tomorrow has brought galloping back all the insecurities and hurt I associate with school. I just want to protect her from all of that. Of course I can no more protect her from that than I can from shit boyfriends or job rejections. It doesn't stop me wanting to try though.