It’s five minutes to bedtime. Today the stars were in allignment: nobody currently has chicken-pox, the weather has been sunny; we had picnic food in.
We have only needed Frozen once today. And they ate all their veg at dinner. What’s more, they are now chomping apples while Mummy loads the dishwasher, singing ‘For the first time in Forever…..’ because she’s awarded herself a Golden Mummy Star.
A full evening’s writing beckons. What could possibly go wrong?
* * *
I think I might be at the laid-back end of risk-assessment the spectrum.
Yes I did let my kids play on the stairs / swing / grown-up swing / slide / climbing frame as soon as they felt ready. Yes they did feed the animals at the farm / look a little too closely at the cow-pats / let Canada geese take bread straight from their hands. Yes I do let them walk on the ice without holding on / eat out-of-date food / eat things that have touched the floor (within reason) / climb on chairs. I even feed them my own cooking.
So I never go a month without somebody forecasting some terrible accident for them:
– that kid’s going to hit the deck.
– you’ll be in A & E with both his legs broken
– I can already hear the sound of his skull hitting the table.
Now. I am not so stupid as to maintain that it will never happen to my children. But I am also averse to teaching my children to be afraid. Let’s just say there’s a balance point and that if you place any two parents in a room together, there will always be two different ideas of exactly where the balance falls. There will always be someone in your life more paranoid – and someone shockingly less paranoid – than you.
It still makes me chuckle that Naomi was stopped in a department store by someone ‘not wanting to criticise her parenting style’ but just wanting to point out that she was exposing her daughter to the risk of being kidnapped by standing too far away from the pram.
Anyway. I don’t think even Naomi’s concerned woman in John-Lewis would have found fault with my letting the children eat apples while i filled the dishwasher.
But I’m sure you realise there is an A&E trip coming. It went like this:
‘Mummy. I’ve got something up my nose.’
‘What sort of something?’
‘A bit of apple.’
‘How did that get up there?’
‘I poked it up!’ The word ‘poked’ was given animated, high-pitched emphasis.
‘Let’s have a look.’
Actually, I have pulled something out of my daughter’s nose before: a furry red pom-pom about the size of a small conker when unsquished. For that I used a headtorch and a pair of forceps (I wouldn’t have got a gold Mummy star that day). Anyway, here we go again.
I can see the apple. I banned those pom-poms after that (can you imagine one in a small intestine? Shudder!) but at that moment I was regretting it: bits of apple are harder to grab. I don’t try too hard because she keeps wriggling, and because I know it’s badness to push it further in or damage the mucous membranes.
*sigh* What I ought to be doing is getting an educated opinion on the matter.
‘Mummy,’ says Toddler, looking over my shoulder at the letters on the screen. ‘Is that word ‘Google?’ ‘
Anyway, the NHS website suggested A & E.
What a gruelling place. Tiny babies look limp or fight for breath; toddlers cuddle up to their parents. A happy, bigger child plays in the soft-play bit, completely oblivious to the grotesque-looking eye / wound / head-lump that is worrying the rest of us.
My two just look excited. It’s past their bedtime and there’s soft-play! A girl accompanying her toddler sister is soon chasing them around, pretending to be a shark.
I want the ground to swallow me up.
‘Scream quietly, Toddler!’ I hiss, as she leaps over a pile of foamy blocks and bounces, giggling, off the wall. ‘Calm down! Look ill, can’t you!’
‘Why?’ says Toddler
‘Because we’re in hospital.’
‘I like hospital.’
(Sometimes I think we give kids the wrong idea. They also think that ‘medicine’ means ‘special treat’, ‘Mummy’s Medicine’ being wine gums and their medicine being Calpol).
Anyway, the triage nurse was fab. What I should have done when my kid got something smooth and round lodged in her nose: blocked off the opposite nostril with a finger, made a seal round her mouth as though doing mouth-to-mouth on an adult, and blown.
Fine. We could go home. Which was just as well as the risk of my children being strangled by some other parents was probably rising.
‘Oh no! You ddin’t venture into A & E!’ says another parent the next day. ‘They’ll probably come down with viruses now.’
And 48 hours afterwards of course, they did.