The boys are on holidays and I am not, but we are dealing with it. I did flex off from work today so I could take Eric and his cousin Emma to a “Softie” workshop at Threads and More. It was really Emma’s 8th birthday present but we sent Eric along for company. I know children should learn to make their own fun and be able to amuse themselves in the holidays. But I think it is good to have some structured activity in there especially if it involves learning something new and producing something you are really proud of.
As for the rest of the holidays we’re farming out the boys to various different places and dh will have some time off. But to keep our sanity we will still be going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, trying to eat regular meals, trying to keep up with the laundry and the house. Because we didn’t have sporting commitments last weekend I took the boys and two friends to work so that they could experience the event that I’ve been working so hard on and that took up most of Saturday. It was just marvelous to be able to stroll around after them and interact with all the different elements that I had been working on. As it is a “Great Train Robbery” Daniel spent a total of two hours (in two different sessions) in the police station going through evidence and was thoroughly absorbed. I’m going to have to make sure I keep his investigation sheet which was filled with wonderful Daniel hieroglyphics probably known only to him. Eric was just as enthusiastic but was also keen to do the Blacksmiths tours and a few other things so I think I could safely take them up there during a non-event period and they would still be well occupied.
I’m planning another trip to the city museum on the weekend but we’ll have to fit it in with Eric’s sleepover plans. I’d also like to see a movie or two with the boys. I’m just getting used to the fact that we don’t have to do everything during the day and that they can handle some late nights if necessary. Our holidays are going to be very different from now on but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.
We’ve been enjoying a TV show tonight about the Sydney Olympics which were held in 2000. While remembering the Olympics we’ve also been remembering our own big challenge of the time. On August 28, 2000 week 24 of my pregnancy with Eric I started bleeding and cramping. I drove myself into Wickham Tce to see our dr where dh joined me to hear that “work was finished”. I knew what he meant straight away but it took the dr two more tries to get through to dh. No, I wasn’t going back to work next week. No I wasn’t going back to work after the holidays. I wasn’t going back to work. Instead it was straight to the Mater Mothers Private for bedrest and medications to keep me from delivering Eric before he was meant to be here. By the time the Olympics started on September 15 I was installed in my little room, allowed out of bed to use the bathroom and take a shower and only allowed to leave the room in a wheelchair. The midwives counted the days with me as we all worked on keeping this very precious child exactly where he was for as long as possible. Dh laughed at my constant trembling due to the liquid ventolin. I laughed as I tried to choose paint colours for the baby’s room while not actually being in the house. I saw the opening ceremony from the hospital but a few days later I was allowed out for “good behaviour”. Unfortunately the Men’s 4 x 100 Freestyle a few nights later put an end to that. In my defense, I was watching from the sofa bed in the living room but the excitement was too much and I ended up heading back to the hospital with more contractions.
And there I stayed for ten long weeks in all, having contractions every 2-3 days due to an irritable uterus. Thinking back now, I think we were a bit protected from the enormity of what we were facing because we were first time parents. Our baby did not arrive at 24 weeks. He hung in there till 34 weeks and was born at a quite respectable 5lb 3oz. After 4 weeks in the Special Care Nursery gaining the energy to feed we brought our little man home on December 12 and despite all that could have been he has never had a major health problem in the ten years that have followed. The day after I arrived in hospital we were both taken on a tour of the Special Care Nursery and Intensive Care Nursery. Sure we were in awe of what we saw there and knew we didn’t want to have our baby fighting for his life like these little scraps but if I went through those nurseries now I would probably be fighting back the tears knowing exactly what those parents were going through.
When we went down for a scan once a week every week for ten weeks and told the technician we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby just that it was still healthy, we didn’t know the things that could be discovered in such scans. When he was delivered by c-section at 34 weeks I will always remember asking, “What is it? What is it?’
and the dr saying, “It’s a baby!” before lifting tiny Eric over the curtain, revealing him in all his “boyhood” and plonking him down on my face.
When the cabin fever got too much dh would hijack a wheelchair from somewhere in the hospital and take me out for “coffee”. I don’t think the midwives knew that meant a trip right through the other adults hospital and across an entire car park then down in a lift to the Mater Private Coffee Shop. We’d drink a cappuccino and try to pretend for a while that everything was normal.
In the almost ten years that have passed I’ve met a few children born in the same year that were not as fortunate as our boy. One of my best friend’s went through the ordeal of delivering at 23 weeks. A little boy in one of the families at school was about the same age as Eric but fell ill at a very early age and became severely disabled. Whenever I see these kids I think, “that could have been us.” and I remind myself just how blessed we have been with our two bundles.
We laugh about the wheelchair hijackings, the daily Metamucil and the night that a very tiny Eric was so tired in the Special Care Nursery that he slept right through his Thursday night bath. I laugh and dh grimaces when we recall the famous incident of the “projectile poo” – an evening when dh lifted up the little backside to slide under a fresh nappy and the crib, sheets, his shirt and a fair portion of the nursery floor were, um, splattered with the loudest bowel movement I’ve heard from someone so tiny. A lady who was across from us actually ran to get out of the way. But I will always remember how lucky we are to be able to laugh about it all 10 years on.
I’ve got a rather nasty cold/upper respiratory tract infection – sore throat, coughing like one thing, head full of gunk, constant headache, aches and pains – in fact I think even my fingernails are hurting. The trouble is, there is never really a good time to get sick. There is a lot on at work getting ready for an event that starts next week and of course the demands of this household are never ending.
But this morning I had to bite the bullet, call in sick and retreat to the bed/recliner for the day. It felt bad doing it because I already had the mental list of things I wanted to get done today and no doubt my memory would have been jogged when I opened up my e-mail and saw even more reminders. But today I needed to let it all go and I asked myself what I would tell one of my best mates to do and then I did it. I slept a lot, watched TV, did a bit of knitting and spent a bit of time on line. I did tidy some things up and empty the dishwasher but I didn’t do washing or heavy cleaning. I kept up with my fluid intake and the salt water spray for my nose. I didn’t wonder if I might need the asthma inhaler – I went and got it out and used it.