Monday, 16 January 2012
"What do you think R is doing right now?" I asked, trying to jolly him out of his gloom.
He sighed and thought for a while. "Probably just sitting in the corner looking sad," he said sorrowfully. "That's what I'd be doing if I was at school and he wasn't there."
On day three, round about six in the evening, he suddenly and unaccountably burst into tears. "I miss him so much!" he wailed, great wracking sobs causing his little chest to heave. We reached for the telephone and called R, catching him just as he was being put to bed. I withdrew to a tactful distance to listen to J's half of the conversation, which went something like this;
"I miss you R [pause]. I can't come to school tomorrow [pause]. I really miss you too [pause]. I love you."
He put down the phone with a great sigh, but with his tears dried up and his brow unfurrowed.
The next day we ignored all risks of contagion and brought the boys together to play, where they happily slipped into silliness.
I'm awed by the intensity of their relationship at such a young age, and intrigued to watch it develop. I wonder if they'll still be the best of friends in five years' time, or whether they'll have moved onto other friendships. For the time being I'm simply glad my son has found someone whose company he loves, who is kind and gentle and whose parents I like. Long may it last.
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
I spoke to a cashier and explained that I had some drugs to dispose of.
"Are there any controlled drugs in there?" she asked.
And that is where the misunderstanding arose. Perhaps I wasn't listening properly, perhaps I'm simply rather dense, but for whatever reason I thought she meant prescription drugs.
"Oh yes," I confirmed, "lots. In fact almost all of them are."
Her expression changed. "Are they all yours?" she asked, head cocked and one eyebrow raised.
I wondered if this was on a par with airport staff verifying that you've packed your bags yourself, so I nodded firmly. "Absolutely. All mine. Every last one."
"I see," she said, looking me up and down. "Would you just wait here a moment?"
She retreated to the other side of the store to consult with a man in a white coat I took to be the pharmacist. They eyed me with quizzical expressions and whispered furtively to each other, while I waited politely with my carrier bag of drugs.
It was then that I realised I'd made a bit of a mistake. My bag was full of prescription drugs, generously dished out by GPs to anyone presenting with a bit of an ache. Controlled drugs are something else entirely. Controlled drugs are those designated as such under the Misuse of Drugs act. The heroin substitute Methadone, for example.How foolish of me to have misunderstood. No wonder they were looking at me with interest. I was quite sure I didn't look like a smack-head, but head-to-toe Boden is fitting camouflage for a barbiturates habit.
No big problem, of course. A minor misunderstanding which, whilst demonstrating my lack of intelligence, would be easily rectified. A few strides over to where the pharmacist and cashier were talking, a swift smile and a "gosh how silly of me - of course I meant these are merely prescription drugs. See?"
So of course that's what I did, isn't it?
I ran away.
Even as I write this I'm at a loss to explain what on earth was going through my head, as I legged it down the personal hygiene aisle, sashayed past the nappy section and burst out through the automatic doors, my carrier bag of perfectly legal drugs banging against my legs. I can only tell you that what I felt standing there in the store with my bag of drugs was akin to the way I feel when I spot a police car in my rear-view mirror. Instantly and irrationally guilty.
I have no idea what the pharmacist thought and I am unlikely to find out, as my chances of ever setting foot in Boots again without a heavy disguise are extremely slim.
I sloped home with my heart pounding, in need of a Valium. Fortunately, I had several at hand.
Sunday, 1 January 2012
Yesterday I opened a satisfyingly fat card from America, quivering in anticipation (me, not the card) of the annual round robin letter from Bill and Jenny, and their exceptionally talented children Ned, Ashley and Brianna. The Spackmans have been writing to us - sorry, I mean to the previous owners of our house - for five years and there's no question about it, they're going from strength to strength. What with Bill's promotion ("it's a shame he's on the road so much, but we sure love that paycheck!") and Jenny's graduation as a Naturopath ("the energy passing through my hands is just awesome" blimey, lucky old Bill...) it's as though nothing can go wrong for them. Granted, poor Ned missed out on his grades last year, but he's made the soccer team this year and certainly seems happy in the obligatory cheesy photo, which shows poor Ashley (or it might be Brianna) with an unfortunate eighties-inspired hairdo she'd do well to move on from. Still, bad hair or not, the Spackman daughters are finding their way in the world ("both girls have the guys running around after them..." really, with that hair? "...and of course come home each weekend to see Mom. We're truly blessed with perfect kids" Vomit).
Tempted though I am to take the Spackman's up on their apparently unqualified offer to "drop in if you're ever in Texas," I'm not sure I could compete with such paragons of perfection. My own round robin newsletter - were I to produce one - would look something like this. Happy New Year.
Dear person I met once and regret exchanging addresses with,
2011 was a blast.
The Husband is well, I think. Married for nearly eight years and never a cross word - in fact, we hardly talk to each other at all nowadays.
J is now five, can you believe it?! He played a shepherd in the school nativity and he was absolutely shit.
The twins will be four next month and are still as badly behaved as ever. G has decided she wants to be a boy and keeps asking me to shave her head. She wears J's clothes and wants to grow a willy by planting a seed in her vagina. I knew I'd regret giving the sex talk so early. E's tantrums have reached epic proportions. The local police have an ASBO in draft form; the neighbours have only got to give the nod, especially since that incident with the cat.
I left work in the summer of 2011 to work from home and take on the childcare full-time. It's been hugely rewarding and really just one long party. At least, that's how I justify the litre of gin I get through each week. Obviously the three months of stress-related cystitis and the temporary alopecia was a challenge, but the doctors say the accompanying amnesia is really a blessing. I live for the holidays, when I get to be with the children every second of every single day. Such fun. Next week I'm being committed to a lunatic asylum for assessment. I'll miss the family but I'm looking forward to the break.
Yours till next year,