Friday, 10 October 2008

Heaven and Hell

Today I acquired that rarest of all things English—a sunburn. The weather was ridiculously gorgeous. The boys ran around the back yard with their shirts off and I timed them. Timed them running.

We had our usual lunch you see—hummus and avocado sandwiches. Actually, Caid’s ‘usual’ is peanut butter on one piece of bread and hummus on the other with avocado in between. He loves it. Asks me every day, “Can I have mine the way I like it?” Far be it from me to question the culinary tastes of a four year old who eats as diversely as that one!

Today I added tomato and ‘rocket’—the Brit’s word for arugula I believe. So of course after lunch I had to go into the back yard and time them. They were practicing the conventional wisdom of ‘you are what you eat’ and it needed to be tested. Tons of fun!

You might ask why we were all home during the day when we ought to have been at school. We were sick. Well, at least everyone thought they were when they woke up this morning. After the last week of insanity I can see why. A week ago we had our first NHS (National Health Service) experience. If that’s not enough to suck the life out of a healthy person I don’t know what is. It only took me about 10 minutes of the 3 ½ hours we were there to long for Partners in Pediatrics and The Life Center. My oh my.

I’ll make a long story short. Caid was sick with that type of cough that often turns to croupe in his little body. I asked the mom’s at school about a local ‘gp’ (General Practitioner) to ‘register’ with. We went to a gorgeous office with a beautiful mural on the wall and a Thomas the Train table and a garden out back. We were told we had to go somewhere else because we didn’t live close enough. Sigh…Frustration…asked around some more. Went to the one that lots of folks recommended. Walked in and had a horrible flash-back memory of the Ponca City, Oklahoma, emergency waiting room circa 1982. I had swallowed a penny and my mother panicked.

It was horrific. The NHS waiting room that is. Sick people everywhere. The phone never stopped ringing. Folks were angry because they got skipped when it should have been their turn. Old folks. Young folks. Pregnant folks. Plus my own personal favorite: The mom with her three little girls—Skye, Mercedes, and Summer. Mercedes spent the 1 ½ hours we waited across from her mother running around, climbing all over other people, and using up the entire industrial sized bottle of hand sanitizer. To which her mother continued to scream (yes, I DO mean scream. LOUD.), “SADIE!!! MER-CE-DES!!!! I SAID STOP!! NO MORE HAND SANITIZER!!! STOP! I SAID STOP!” Mercedes angelic response to this was simply, “No.” Every time. With nary a consequence. Poor Bridger buried his head in the crook of my arm and asked about every 5 minutes if we could PLEASE go home. I wish.

Anyway…that kicked off the last week. We eventually saw a doc who spent about 1.5 minutes with us and sent us on our way with two free prescriptions to be filled and the world’s worst migraine.

Plenty of lessons, thrills, hard news, more bread and jam then any sane person ought to eat and the like in between led up to last night. The weather. It was gorgeous again. So we went to the playground and were soon joined by every other 4-8 year old in a 2 mile radius. Which is a lot of children in the southern suburbs of London. Two little pixies made Bridger cry by making fun of him and then slugged Caid in the back. I ended up having a little run-in with a mom after I reminded the little girl that it’s not nice to hit other children. Apparently I ‘must have misjudged’ because ‘she would NEVER have done that’ and I am a ‘horrible stranger’ who is mean and inappropriate to little children.

The worst part of situations like that are all the things you desperately wish you would have said. I must be growing up somewhat though since I don’t also have a list of things I wish I wouldn’t have said. Sigh…the poise. The grace. The dignity to have remained calm and executed some of my best Love & Logic retorts. Ah well.

All three of us rushed to the bus stop, where the mother quickly marched her little girl behind us and leveled several more hateful remarks at my back. We all cried, fumed, processed, tried at forgiveness and then came home and made a fort. There’s nothing like a blankets-and-bunk-beds fort filled with pillows, good books, and the people you love best. It cures what ails you. I highly recommend it to anyone. Don’t have bunk beds? Any old table will do. I defy you to curl up in a fort and NOT feel better.

Anyway, we all woke up ‘sick.’ I have no doubt both Bridger and Caid were feeling unwell when they woke up. Both slept nearly 45 minutes past the regular time. I felt bad too. All of us had bad tummy aches. I have a pretty good idea why—our old friend Master Gluten. We threw caution to the wind and it didn’t work out. Some cuddling, a few dragon books and a package in the mail from Grammie later and we were all rarin’ to go again. So we made chocolate chip cookies with the booty from Gram and sat outside and got sunburned. Not a one of us every got out of our jammies.

Weather is a funny thing. Fantastic stuff, sunshine. Does one’s spirit good. A lack of sunshine can be well…ask Bridger. A post The Horse and His Boy discussion had us exploring the realities of heaven and hell a couple weeks ago. Bridger said, “It’s dark where Satan is, and it rains ALL the time. But in heaven it’s always sunny.” Apparently we have moved from heaven to hell. It does feel that way sometimes. Then we make a fort. We read some good books. We make ourselves sick on chocolate chip cookies. The sun comes out. And suddenly there is hope on the horizon…


Rose Starr said...

Oh, how fun to find your blog! I am so sorry for your troubles...but you had the right solution it sounds like :) Forts are the best...I agree. We use our large dining room table and old it.

Anyhow, I'm going to help set up the train tracks for my boys and then stop by here again to read up on the rest of your posts.

Praying for health for you all!

Sarah said...

Oh my gosh - poor Bridger, I can just picture him squirming in his skin wondering why those kids would not listen to their parents. Just torture!

And then to experience a parent who is in denial about their child's behavior and hurls insults at you... no wonder it called for a day of building forts! :) What a fantastic way to release all that tension!

Love you guys!