Sleeping with Darth Vader and Emmet. It’s Wrong.

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I am writing while sandwiched between two sleeping children, two Lego alarm clocks and a glass of Weak Lemon Squash that I can’t reach. On a Saturday night. The rock and roll lifestyle is to be envied across the world. I am hoping that I don’t need to take a pee anytime soon as the process of clambering over them fills me with dread as my back is not in a great shape today.

We have been watching the Lego Movie in bed. To celebrate their new Lego Alarm Clocks – Winter Boy has Emmet and Summer Girl has Darth Vader. The purchase of said alarm clocks was to install a sense of time in them and not wake me by pretending to be invisible, crawling through the slightly open door and along the bedroom floor, while almost silently giggling. At 6am. On a Saturday.  The message was clear. The alarm clocks will go off at 7:30am tomorrow. They are not to leave their room apart from to use the loo, if they really absolutely have to. They are not to play music, musical instruments, whistles, sing, laugh loudly, go into the kitchen and try to make me breakfast, put the tv on. They can play with their Lego, tidy their bedroom up (they actually laughed at that one), read to themselves, read to each other. And most importantly, in the ‘not to leave the room’ bit they absolutely must not Wake Me Up.

The irony is not lost on me. They have carried these alarm clocks everywhere today. Winter Boy in particular has not let his out of his mitts. Except now, as they snore (not so) gently next to me, their alarms are still set for 7:30am but by my head, one on each side. And I can’t move the sleeping babes as I can barely stand straight. I forgot R was away tonight, so his usual putting of them to bed when he comes home is not happening. They are staying put until 6am. Instead of in their own beds, until 7:30am with me in my kingsized bed All On My Own.

Bollocks.

I might sleep on the sofa.

Vacuuming Increases Back Pain. Fact.

Yes. Vacuuming your home increases back pain significantly. You would think I knew this by now wouldn’t you, having suffered from chronic lower back pain and leg pain for such a long time. But it appears I didn’t quite grasp the fact as well as I did this afternoon when I used the new Hetty Numatic Vacuum Cleaner for the first time.

I will give this Vacuum Cleaner it’s due, it has a powerful suction. So powerful that I couldn’t actually push and pull it as it seared pain down my leg and caused serious back pain right across my lumbar spine. And so powerful it rucked up the carpet. It did get most of the cat hair up, that our last vacuum cleaner struggled to do, even after vacuuming the same spot for 10 minutes. But, as well as the great suction it is clunky, heavy to move around, and very heavy to empty.

Don’t even ask me why I tried to empty it. Foolishness is the most realistic answer, but let’s pretend I have a brain for a moment and give a different reason – I wanted to see if I could do the whole shebang, you know vacuum, empty, put away…

…the answer is, I don’t have a brain. No, I can’t do the whole shebang. I now have severe acute back pain and leg pain and my whole leg is on fire, my foot is burning and tingling and numb at the same time and my back muscles have started spasming.

I have a feeling Hetty is going back to the shops as being completely crap. Summer Girl is going to be devastated. She chose the colour, which is pink, (because there is no gender stereotyping by the Numatic company is there?) and thinks that R should do the vacuuming so that I don’t make my back pain worse, and so we can keep our Female Pink Hetty Vacuum Cleaner. That’s probably as good a reason to take it back to the shop and buy a more back pain friendly model as the real reason of me having just screwed up my back by trying to do some housework with it.

So now I know. For absolute certainty, that even if I spot crumbs and whatnot on the floor. I cannot vaccum it up. Whether the Hetty Machine stays or goes, I suspect I am going to forever be the Nagging Wife following her husband behind reminding him to use the crevice tool and get the edges not just the middle of the floor. I suspect also that soon enough R is going to prefer me with acute back pain.

Back From a Blog Break

I needed some time out. I have had a really hard few weeks. In many ways, but not least due to a major relapse. And yes I know the whole point of my blog is to moan and whine (wine) about my back problems, but it has been so all encompassing I needed to step back from it a little. As it happened, I didn’t do that, but was thrown full force into my back problems swallowing me whole and eating the identity that was once Me.

But that must change. So this blog may take a new direction. I don’t know how, but, I cannot just be, as my daughter stated last week when I put some make-up on for the first time in a while, as I was so sick of being asked how I was, people commenting on how bad I look, how much weight I had lost etc etc, I wanted to be seen as someone who looked well again – that I was ‘wearing make-up to show that I have beauty and not just a bad back.

I have bought some new clothes (I really have lost a lot of weight – my new ‘butt-lift’ jeans have nothing to lift up, so just hangs there baggy), some new make-up (got some free with No.7 voucher and a little spend, just my colour, sparkly black eye shadow!), had a child-free day today. Rock and Roll me!

My Letter to Father Christmas

Dear Father Christmas.

I have not kept my room tidy and have not always taken my medicine when I should, and have not always done what I have been told – sometimes I have carried heavy things, including my children, and last week I went down some water slides – and sometimes I have been angry and not controlled my emotions well.

But, mostly I have Been Good. I have been a Loving Mother, even if I have not done my share of the School Run. I have been a Loving Wife, even if I have not always shown it as well as I should have. Ok, I have been an appalling employee but I have tried my hardest to get there.

In fact, I have tried hard this year to be as good as I can be at everything I do and I have tried really hard to find a way to manage my back problems.

So, I only have one thing I would like this Christmas, please, if you can find it in that massive warehouse of yours:

Can I please have some respite from this back pain that means I cannot walk, or play, or help with anything, for Christmas Day? Just that one day would be fabulous. Right until Boxing Day Morning.

Many Thanks

Wine.

Why My Winter Boy Can’t Hug Me Right Now

My back has ‘gone’ for the millionth time. I am moving, but it is painful. R has just gone to do the rest of the Christmas shopping. My Summer Girl is happily colouring.

My Just 3 Winter Boy is in a happy, lovely, cuddly mood. But, he is not in a still, quiet, calm, cuddly mood, but the type that has him climbing all over me being a cat – he is twisting over my back, hanging off my neck and laying across me – normally it would be wonderful. But, right now I am having to keep asking him to stop and be still, and as he can’t, to sit next to me. He simply won’t stop.

I remind myself that this will not affect him negatively in the long term, but how can it not? How can he possibly understand that sometimes mummy loves snuggles and a little rough and tumble love, but sometimes not? It’s inconsistent. And yes I tell him it is because my back is feeling poorly, but he just does not understand that, or rather, yes he understands I have a painful back, but does not make the connection between that and jumping on me.

And it hurts me so much.

“They Fuck You Up, Your Mum and Dad…”

“…they may not mean to, but they do.”  This Be The Verse – Larkin.

I worry a lot about how my chronic pain is affecting the children and how it will in the future. R and I try to keep the day to day stuff discrete – I don’t advertise taking my medicine and R and I discuss serious stuff, complication, future plans, possible surgery/not surgery and my fears in private, I try not to show when I am very upset. But this pain is all-encompassing. It is ever-present no matter what ‘phase’ I am in. At best, I am cautious in what I do, how and when in case I relapse, at worst I can’t do anything because I have relapsed and am in pain. And there is no way of hiding this from my babies.

It breaks my heart when I cannot get up off the floor due to a back spasm and Summer Girl helps scoop me up. When she strokes my hair after I have been sick and asks me what I need. Admittedly she has always been a compassionate and empathic girl. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum with both my pregnancies, and more so with my Winter Boy. My Summer Girl was just 3 years old, and would be rubbing my back as I hurled into the Great White Telephone. I would be unable to stop her as I was ‘busy’ and she was soothing and reassuring even then. But then it was different, it was always going to pass, there was always going to be an end to that difficult patch (and it ended literally the moment the placenta was ‘born’ I almost immediately asked for coffee and toast having not really eaten for 9 months) and I could explain that to her with certainty. I can’t do that now, although I lie and tell her it will most definitely get better, just in a little while.

I am less concerned about Winter Boy. I mean yes it does affect him, he can’t always have cuddles and sometimes I get cross when he jumps on me from the top of the sofa, or bounces on my stomach and I have to stop him. He understands that if he kisses my back it will make it all better, and tells me he is going to look after me. But in time, should this situation ever resolve, it will hopefully leave his memories for better times.

But Summer Girl, she is 6. She understands so much more. She as memories already and this is forming a huge chunk of them right now. Last week she went to school in tears on several mornings, in particular on Wednesday, my Dark Day when I had to crawl to the toilet and cried from pain and vomiting. She did not want to go because she was scared to leave me. And this evening, having again witnessed me vomiting she was hushed away from me by R while crying hysterically ‘mama! mama! I want mama!’ and crying that she does not want me to be sick and have a bad back any more, and even as I threw up I cried at not being able to stop it coming up, so that I could go and hug her and tell her it will be ok.

I cannot make this go away for her. And It might not go away at all, if surgery is not viable this could remain for a long time. Years. And what memories will they have? of a sick mummy, who they had to be careful around, who had mood swings and who did not do what other mummies do? I cannot bear that their childhood is being clouded by this. It dominates everything at the moment. It was never meant to be like this for them. This is not their future. No. I am not going to let that happen. I have to change it.

So, having been torn in many directions regarding medication, and pressure from my GP to take it, I am not going to take the Pregabalin prescribed today, the nerve blocker that is just as likely to send me into a zombie like state and struggle to function any day of the week as the other never blockers. I am not willing to put my children through another 4-6 weeks of me trying adjusting to it, and for the side effects to mess us up even more than we are now, and I am going to find a way to accept some level of pain, manage the ups and downs differently and Get The Fuck Over It. Somehow. I will resolve myself to adjust to this properly, emotionally. For the sake of my children. I will still have good days and bad days, but if I am not high on medication every single waking hour, then I stand a chance of the good days being really good.

And then maybe the children will have memories of their mummy sometimes not being well but always happy and smiling, determined and fun, memories of their mummy being who she should be, not this shell of a woman who is here right now. And maybe I won’t fuck them up too much.

The Eden Project Monsters Ball/Halloween was Fantastic Tonight…

…and all I can do is leave it to good ol’ Dr Seuss to say it for me –

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 

Good Night.

Simply. My Daughter.

I was going to write down boring thoughts about my first day into my second week back at work, about my new £800 orthopaedic chair that arrived with a little blood pressure type thing at the back to adjust my lumbar pressure, about how spun out I was on my medication that I struggled to focus on conversations with colleagues and just hope they did not notice thanks to my fab think rimmed glasses (I knew there was a reason for this style of glasses).

I did not feel particularly inspired about it all. So I asked my 6 year old daughter what I should write about. ‘ME!’ she gushed and then bounced over to sit with me so she could see what magical words I was going to type. ‘what shall I say about you?’ ‘you can tell them I am beautiful and clever!’ she grinned. Well, I can, and I will. She is both beautiful and clever.

So this post is for Bella. She is the most adorable girl in the world.  She oozes fun and character. She beams her smile everywhere she goes, her hearty wild laughter and bold confident character reels people in and they fall in love with her. She is not big on tantrums although we have seen more of those in her 6th year than in any other year so far, she is great at arguing her point, questions and knows almost everything, but not as much as her teachers.

She loves fairies and all things princess, she loves pink things and fluffy things, angel wings and sparkles. Sometimes she loves nothing better than quiet time on her own with some of her small dollies and her dolls house, making up stories. She loves dancing and ballet. She also loves gold and silver which are her favourite colours, loves climbing up slides the wrong way, climbing trees in her favourite dress, riding her bike down hills as fast as she can go, even though she is still learning. Her favourite ‘celebrities’ are Tom Daley as she wants to be an Olympic diver, and Moe Farah because she thinks he is handsome.

She is a risk-taker – she broke her arm aged 5 trying to climb ‘big boy’ monkey bars, snapped both bones in her wrist, luckily straightforward to fix without surgery. Admittedly she shed some rare tears then, but not for very long. After the initial shock of the fall,  being brave when they pushed the bone back in place, only using gas & air to help with the pain, she was more upset about not getting a pink cast and not going to sleep for an operation and it did not slow her down. She loves adrenalin rushes, fast things, high things, crazy things. She gets very excited very easily and sometimes has to be asked to slow down as she wants it done now. not tomorrow. not next week. now.

Bella is a bookworm. We have read to her from the moment she was born. R loves books too and reading bedtime stories was something he was able to do during the first few months of newborn breastfeeding and Mummy Hogging The Baby. She reads everything now ‘the switch has clicked’ she reads signs, graffiti, magazines, books and I now have to hide newspapers from her, so she does not see the whole “JS” business, or guns,or photos and stories stories of death and violence. Although I am not sure how much longer I can keep things in the news from her as she pays a whole lot of attention to things around her and takes more in that I realise.

Today was the first day of her half term and while I spent it at work checking out my new fancy gadgets on the Expensive Chair, she went horse-riding, with one of her best friends, her best friend’s daddy, R and Roo. Her best friend’s nanny lives on a farm and owns two horses and she gave them both a ‘lesson’. She got soaked and muddy and had the ‘best day ever’. This evening she had the biggest bubbliest bath that even I envied, although it was short lived because her two-almost-three year old brother shared it with her and inevitably ended in tears. After her bath she snuggled with her mama for a story , a lovely story about a mermaid from a beautifully illustrated book – ‘Magical Fairy Tales’.

But not before she brushed my hair and massaged my head for much longer than she wanted. That was The Deal. I write about her and she massages my hair. Not a Bad Way to end my day.

Good Night from Me and Goodnight From Dr Seuss

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? 

 –  Dr Seuss

Tonight My Husband and I Are Sleeping in Position No.2

There is no noise. It is hushed as my children settle down to sleep. After getting up several times as they often do when their daddy goes out for the evening. Playing Up  – isn’t that how the Behavioural Books scientifically refer to it?

Then I hear the tiny ‘th-th-th’ of gentle creeping footsteps on the deep soft carpet that leads to the loft room which is Mummy and Daddy’s Bedroom. The bright pink door (used to be Summer Girl’s Room) swings open and there in the dark of the doorway, silhouetted by the hallway light stands my two-almost-three-year old Winter Boy, one hand rubbing his eyes. He casually walks over to me at the computer desk and announces ‘I can’t get myself to sleepees, I tried an I jus can’t do it’. ‘do you want me to tuck you back in?’ ‘noo. I really can’t get to sleepees. I wan to sleep witchuw’ he says in his sing-song, Cant-Be-Resisted voice. I never let him sleep in my bed first thing at night. Not unless he is ill or R is away, then sometimes I do and then he stays there all night. Usually though I tuck him back in to his own bed and stroke his hair. And Repeat.

This evening, I look at him and my heart melts. How can I resist that little coy smile and angelic voice?  I say ‘quickly, get into bed and go straight to sleep, I don’t want to hear a peep ok?’. Before I even finish my sentence he has scampered across the bedroom, onto MY side of the bed I note, jumps into bed, tucks himself up neatly in the duvet and smiles sweetly at me. I walk over to kiss him goodnight. He does not fuss or fidget, but unusually lies completely still. By the time I return from popping down to turn Winter Girl’s light off, he has both arms spread eagle, one hanging over the side of the bed and is gently snoring, in a deep, happy sleep. It has taken him less than 2 minutes to go from standing by me to fast asleep in exactly the same position as when he climbed in. Why does he look far more content there than he ever looks in his own bed? And did I say it was My Side?

R is going to be less impressed than I was, when he returns home later. He will need to make a decision whether to wake a sleeping boy and somehow get him into bed without him waking and realising what crime is being committed against him, adopt The Position Number Two, or accept that through the course of the night Winter Boy will likely assume most of The Positions. Unless he finds himself in Position Number Two that is.

Maybe I should make up the spare bed now…