Archive for September, 2007

First trip to the Surgery
We went back to the doctor this week about E1’s allergic reaction and — thank goodness — this second doctor was sympathetic. I had carried a secret hope that he would be — he’s one of best and nicest doctors I’ve ever known. I explained about what the locum doctor said last time, and he said, “Oh!… No, you do need to know what it is she’s allergic to. You must have that pinpointed!” And then said he’d arrange for us to see the paediatricians for her to be allergy tested.

Cue wave of relief. That’s all I wanted. I didn’t want lots of fuss or alarm, or her to be jabbed with needles, or poked and prodded. I just wanted this allergy to be taken seriously enough to be diagnosed properly, so we know what we are dealing with and know what to avoid. I am hopeful that that is what will now happen.

I am guessing, based on last time, that the appointment will come through for sometime early-to-mid November.

Second trip to the Surgery
We were back at the surgery the next day, for E1’s 2-year check with the Health Visitor. The way these work is simply that the HV has a little chat with me to discuss how E1 is progressing, any concerns I might have, etc. While she’s doing that, she observes E1 playing with the toys to see if she performs as she should for her age: stacking blocks, recognising and naming familiar objects, etc. But, right at the beginning, I made a fatal error that nearly ruined the whole thing.

The Health Visitors’ clinic is on the upper level of the doctors’ surgery. I decided to take the lift, because I thought that it might be a bit dangerous trying to help E1 up the stairs whilst carrying E2’s very cumbersome carseat. E1’s never been in a lift before …and she FREAKED. As soon as the door closed behind us, she completely panicked and begged me to pick her up, which of course I couldn’t do as I was also carrying the carseat. When the door opened again, she all but refused to walk through it, and I had to pretty much drag her by her wrist.

Needless to say, she was not much in the mood to demonstrate her lovely vocabulary or nice block-stacking skills when we met the Health Visitor. Still shell-shocked from her ordeal in the lift, she just looked up with wide eyes and pursed lips and hid behind my skirts. I tried to tell the HV all the wonderful things she usually does, but it didn’t seem very convincing.

Slowly… slowly… she came out of herself, and began to play with the toys on the table. She did eventually stack a tower of blocks, and answered the HV’s questions — though every one in a whisper. She named the objects the HV presented to her, even pointing out that the doll’s shoe was a left shoe (very proud Mummy moment, there!). We had another slight meltdown when the time came to stand on the scales and to have her height measured, but that was it. She was, at last, given a clean developmental bill of health.

And we took the stairs back down.

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Gotta think positive… Gotta think positive… Gotta think positive…

Ok. Here, in no particular order, is a starter list of things I am looking forward to about living in the States:

  • closets
  • garbage disposals
  • thunderstorms!!!!
  • July 4th fireworks
  • fireflies
  • big front and back porches
  • acres of real wilderness
  • Thanksgiving
  • storage space
  • basements
  • walks in the woods
  • Mexican food
  • cardinals in the snow
  • a more lively regional arts scene
  • a 5 bedroom house for $65,000!!! That’s right, we just looked at the local real estate agents website and found a brand new, 5-bed, 2-bath house, way out on a country road, about 60 minutes from my parents’ house, for $65k. Genuine. Ok, it’s not the most swanky area, but it’s not bad — it’s just on a country road outside an old coal-mining town. But that’s fine by us. Honestly, we couldn’t get a derelict, roofless, dirt-floor, falling down barn around here for that. Yeah, so now that’s something to get excited about!

Ok, that’s a good start. I’m starting to feel a bit better about this… It helps to think positive, and I need to keep it going. Come on, folks, give me a push-start… what else can I look forward to?

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OK, the flights have been booked and the interviews have been lined up back-to-back. M’s interview week in the US is really happening!

And when I say back-to-back, I really mean it. My mother has organised nine interviews for him during the week, as well as a meeting with a Union rep and the director of the county Health Department (to discuss the transferability of M’s qualifications). I can’t believe how hard she’s been working. I can’t believe how exhausted M is going to be. Nine interviews! In five days.

I am still feeling completely mixed up about this. I still don’t know if I want it or not — we don’t know if we want it or not. But this freight train is rollin’ and picking up speed, so we need to jump on board or get run over, I guess. My plan of action for dealing with it is to focus on all the positives about moving to the US (more on those later). But… just to cover all the bases… M is going to apply for that job in the paper, and I am going to speak to a financial adviser here to see if there are any tricks we’ve missed that would allow us to stay in the UK.

Hey…  I’m just covering the bases.

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Yesterday saw a true milestone: E1 organised her first tea-party. I have never even so much as thought of playing tea-party with her, so it was entirely her own idea. I was busy in the kitchen and came in the room to find she’d put a cloth on the little table, pulled the beanbags up round it, and sat everyone down for tea. She was so excited as she showed me, a huge beaming smile across her face. She served tea to her guests, and some sort of food — I don’t know what, but she gave some to me as well as everyone else.

I was stunned. I mean, it’s a stereotypically little-girl thing to do, but I never really expected her to actually do it, to hold tea-party with her toys. It just seemed… too cliche to be real. And yet, there she was, asking everyone if they wanted more tea, straightening the tablecloth, presiding over everything. She was actually being prim and proper — honestly, she was. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was surprised to find myself feeling overwhelmed with pride and joy.

I’m not the sort of mother who indulges my child in a lot a needless toy-buying, but this is a little girl who should have a tea-set. I will go out and find one, pronto!

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Delicious Together!

E1’s dinner last night was so delicious that I will be making a bigger portion for all of us very soon. It was a complete experiment and I’m so pleased with the way it turned out!

I put half-an-inch of water in a pan and brought it to a gentle boil. Then I chucked in some chopped tomatoes and let them start to mush down. Then I added some chopped green pepper and chopped mango pieces. These were all in roughly equal proportions — perhaps a little less of the mango. I let the three cook down until the mango and tomatoes still had their overall shape, but were starting to melt into a sauce. I added a good bit of cinnamon and basil and let it all cook a wee bit longer. I poured it over a mixed bowl of whole-wheat pasta spirals and quinoa. Then I grated a bit of strong cheddar on top.

I had no idea how these flavours would work, so I grabbed a spoon and had a quick taste… Turns out, they’re delicious together!

Post-script: Tonight was pizza. I made the dough.

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Last night we decided to have homemade pizza for dinner.  We do a particularly nice pizza, if I do say so myself.  I make the base in the bread machine, and add a ton of garlic, basil, and oregano right into the dough.  It’s lovely, fresh, tasty, and very very healthy.

I couldn’t load up the bread machine because I was stuck on the couch feeding the baby, so M had to do it.  I carefully explained that when using a bread machine, you have to put all the ingredients in in the exact order they are listed in the recipe, and you have be very precise about the measurements.  It was all a bit OTT for him and if I hadn’t been completely stuck and he completely hungry, I know he would have much rather just left the job to me.

But, I coaxed him into doing it, with me shouting instructions and answering his questions from the couch in the other room.  Really, it should have been much easier than it was.  It’s a bread machine!  You read the ingredients on the list, measure them out, dump them in, turn it on.  Easy!

Ninety minutes later, we opened the lid.  It was Not Right.  I stuck my finger into the gooey mess and tasted it.  Very salty.

“How much salt did you put in?”

“I measured exactly what it said!  A tablespoon!”

I checked: a teaspoon.

He went off to the chippy.  It’s a job he’s much more comfortable with.

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Every night, before I get into bed, I go and look at my daughters, peaceful in their sleep and rhythmic breathing. And every time, I am struck by their complete vulnerability, their incredible fragility in this world. My prayer is the same each night: Lord, please watch over them as they sleep tonight, and grant them uneventful lives, and peaceful deaths.

When I look at it clearly, in the dark night, that is all I want.

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