Dear Dave

Wednesday 2 July 2008

There's nothing left to mix cakes in

Dear Dave,

Greetings from The House of Ill. When I said we would be spending the first week of the holidays lying around in our pyjamas I hadn't really envisaged that we'd all have sick bowls by our sides...

I knew something was up on Friday when Marie started demanding to play computer games and complaining that she didn't want to leave the house. That's not like her. She didn't eat her lunch. Then she didn't want to go to her swimming lesson, despite loving swimming.

In an ironic twist, the boys were desperate to go because it was the last one of term and a chance to play about with giant floats while being squirted with a hose. They normally hate swimming lessons. We struggled to the pool but Marie sat mournfully on my lap and refused to go into the water. The instructor looked at me like I was being a soft touch. Still, I knew something was up. When we got home, Marie didn't eat her tea. She decided she wanted to go to bed two hours early.

An hour later, she got up and demanded breakfast.

This turned into rather a long argument but she seemed a good deal perkier. She had some milk, bounced on the trampoline and went back to bed at her normal time. In retrospect, maybe the bouncing wasn't such a great plan...

I woke at half-past three in the morning to a plaintive cry of 'Daddy! There are crumbs in my bed!'. Considering the kids never eat in bed, I was pretty certain there wasn't a good explanation to be had for this turn of events. I went through to Marie's room. Sure enough, there were crumbs in her bed. Dry crumbs. I didn't want to turn on the light, for fear of waking Lewis who was in the cabin bed above her, so I led her to the bathroom for an examination. Someone appeared to have crumbled a bowl of Shreddies in her hair

She'd thrown up several hours previously, not woken, rolled around in the product and then stayed asleep long enough for it all to go hard.


I ran her a bath, plonked her in, changed her sheets and then gave her a good scrub. She went back to bed and I did some laundry. It was almost five before I was tucked up again myself. I'm out of practice with having disturbed sleep, so I was somewhat dazed by the whole experience. My main consolation was that she wasn't sick again...

Not that night, anyway...

She wasn't sick Saturday night either but she was very restless and kept waking up needing a cuddle or a drink or a beachball or whatever else sprang to mind. Sunday night she was sick again. Saturday, I felt sick. Sunday, Fraser was sick. Sarah hasn't been feeling too great. Lewis is fine... so far.

We're all keeping a sick bowl close. Except there aren't quite enough. We have three between five of us, which has turned life into a constant logic puzzle as we manoeuvre ourselves round the house in suitable combinations of people and vomit containment devices. (Marie always needs an adult present; three children together is asking for bickering; Fraser and Marie are liable to set each other off; Fraser's constant complaining is too much for any adult to bear for long; everyone needs to go to the toilet on a regular basis but to be close to a bowl at all times. It's a logistical nightmare.)

I'm tired. This is leading to me being short with the kids. Turns out they can all hold their own now, though:

I nipped out to buy some groceries at the weekend. When I got back, Marie was sitting at the kitchen table and she said, "Can you get me some water?"

"OK," I said, putting my bags down and sticking a loaf of bread in the cupboard.

She looked pleased. "Are you back from shopping now?" she asked.

"No, I'm still there," I said sarcastically. "I'm still working out what to buy." I got her a cup and started filling it with water.

"Can you get me some water?" she said again as she watched me get her some water.

"What do you think I'm doing?" I said, exasperated.

She grinned. "Still shopping."

I was defeated.

Things are looking up, however. We briefly ventured outside this morning into the sunshine. It was just about t-shirt weather.

"It's too bright," moaned Fraser.

"It's too hot," complained Lewis.

"I don't like it," whined Marie.

Fraser started walking along the road with his hands over his eyes and Lewis instantly tripped over. Marie wanted carried.

On this evidence, I think they're mostly back to normal...

Yours in a woman's world,


PS Rob popped round for a quick visit, wearing a face-mask and rubber gloves. He'd heard about my child-induced forgetfulness and my issues with leaving vegetables in the microwave, so he'd run this sign off for me at work:

Green beans warning pinned to a microwave.

He even laminated it. Bless him...

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