Ground Hog Day

Honestly I do not make this stuff up.

This morning was an almost perfect repeat of yesterday.  I was standing in the kitchen with Isabelle on my hip asking myself “Where the hell is Pepe?”

Redo the call.

After looking around the house, calling her name and knocking on her door – the similiarities to yesterday were alarming.   Again, I find out that she is again on her way to Home Affairs!  For fek sake!!  I mean seriously where is our communication break down?

When I saw her last night I explained how traumatic yesterday was, and that she really needs to give me a 2 – 3 day reminder, because I really cannot actually take Isabelle to work with me – it’s not a viable solution.  And, and and ….  I felt I explained the problem of her going MIA very clearly – there was no grey area in my woeful tale.

And this morning, same shit, and Isabelle is back at work with me.

I did however scream and swear at Pepe on the phone this morning.  I also tried to slam the phone down – it is very difficult to do that with a cell phone when you have to press a “virtual button” on a screen.

I hope it still sounded like I was slamming the phone down, because I was effing and blinding like a drunken herpses-infested sailor at the time!

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Come out, come out, where ever you are ….

This morning I woke myself up at 2:05am and proceeded to lie there staring at the ceiling.

I did eventually put the light on and start to read.  It was clear I was not going to be falling asleep.  My book is so appallingly boring it has put me to sleep every night for the last week.  But there I was zooming through a few hundred pages, and no sleep in sight.

I took a long bath at about 6:30 and then realized I was dead tired.  The idea of closing my eyes and lolling off to sleep in the bath felt like such a divine idea.  Unobtainable, but a divine idea none the less.  My eyes were doing slow, lazy blinks,  I felt like I was nursing a three-bottles-of-wine hangover.

I got myself ready, and sat on the bed drinking my tea, while Isabelle drank her bottle – its pretty much the oasis in the chaos of our usual morning.  Our little quiet moment together.

I did realize that our “quiet moment” was REALLY quiet.  The kids weren’t there,  Kennith had left for work, but it was just TOO QUIET.

There was a distinct absence of the sound of Pepe in the house.  Trying not to be too concerned, I got myself ready and went down the passage with Isabelle on my hip.   It felt reminscent of those horror movies where the pretty, but not so bright lead character walks around the scary house going “is anyone there, is anyone there?’ and you know that she is going to get her head hacked off by some diranged ice skater in a very unattractive mask.  It felt alarming similiar.

So there I was looking around and no Pepe – hmm, this was all a bit worrisome.

So I call a little – not too loudly …. as you do when the fear starts to creep up your spine. (Any mom with kids who is facing a morning and is suddenly a domestic MIA knows how this feels.)

So I call out in a little trembling voice getting louder now: “Pepe? Pepe?”

Nothing …. only me and the eerie silence.

I go to her room and knock on her door.  Expecting her to come limping out with a lost left foot, and covered in leprosy sores, because this would be the only forgivable reason for her tardiness.

Still nothing – now I am starting to get a  bit more worried – more about me than her you understand.  I have that look of confusion on my face.  You know the one where the furrow on your forehead (the ones between your eyes) are so deep, that you realize that even Botox can’t save you.

I’m thinking alien abduction? I seldom go with the logical obvious explanations in these situations.

I go back into the house and stand there – baby still on hip – and go “WTF?”

I am all out of ideas, barring one.  I call her on the cell phone.  Expecting to find that she is maybe on the crapper and just could not answer the door when I knocked – that must be the reason.

Pepe does answer her phone I hear a helluva lot of traffic around her and again go “WTF?”  What is street traffic doing in her room?  Sometimes the brain he does not always catch up on the small signs to give you the bigger picture.

She goes: “Don’t you remember that it is Home Affairs today?”  Which I loosely translate to mean that she told me about an appointment/arrangement at Home Affairs at some point, and clearly I had forgotten.  She had not deemed it necessary to repeat it to me in the last two weeks, or even the last two days, to draw my attention to this rather vital piece of information.

“So, no actually I did not remember Home Affairs else I would not have looked behind the dog’s kennel for you as I did.  Because I thought that you were playing a rather juvenile version of hide-and-seek-when-madam-has-baby-on-hip-and-needs-to-go-to-place-of-employment!  So, no honestly I did not think Home Affairs!”

I immediately hit panic mode.  Admittedly I was in panic mode already since the lonely walk down the passage.  Now I just decided to do more actions other than playing hiding-freak’n-seek-with-my-maid.

Threw Isabelle into clothes that weren’t her jammies. I made two bottles, threw blankets, toys, cereal, bowl, spoon and stuff into a bag, grabbed my bag, grabbed her, grabbed my  other bag, gtabbed my other stuff and headed out the door.  There really was no time to work out a plan, it was just reactive stuff now with short bursts of cursing thrown in for good measure.

I get to work, people smile.  No one seems to have a problem with the fact that I have a baby on my hip – who it turns out is wearing the same colour combination as I am – red shirt, blue denims – totally unintentional, but totally nerdy.

I sit down at our production meeting with our production team.  Isabelle is on my lap playing with a squeegee thing and we are all sitting there like it is a normal day and nothing is amiss.  She threw up on my leg, tossed various things off the production table and onto the floor, but no one looked at me skew, or seemed to mind.  There we were talking about lead dates,binding, creasing, UV’ing and sexy stuff like that.

After the meeting I went upstairs, she sat on my lap at my desk.  I dealt with various dead line issues, and I walked around the factory with her on my hip.  Everyone acted like it was all normal and quite expected.

I sat on my office floor and fed her porridge.  I gave her a bottle and made a little bed for her on the floor of my office – I am in an office area with 5 other people and it is quite noisy.  Everyone started speaking a bit quieter, they turned the air conditioner off and acted like this was all part of a normal day.

How cool is that?  It’s a good place to work when your colleagues and bosses kind of roll with you and your logistical issues, and do not throw a wobbly because you have drooling infant on your hip ….

The weekend that was …..

We arrived back from our hike on Thursday afternoon.  As soon as I saw Isabelle I knew she was sick.  The poor lamb chop was all red and blotchy in her face and just looked exhausted.  I tried not to panic as I stumbled in the door.

Our wonderful house/child minders had done a little midnight run to Medi-Clinic’s ER the night before as Isabelle had been spiking a temperature.   I am really glad I was out of cell phone range, as I can’t imagine getting that call and not being able to do anything as I was stranded in a nature reserve with no way out.  Rachel and Blake did a wonderful job to sort out Isabelle and keep the household sane in our absence.

I realize there are a lot of moms who would tut-tut-tut me for being away from the kids, and being out of cell phone range. I did feel guilty I must confess, however Rachel is a nurse, and her and Blake are probably the most level headed people I know.  If there was a crisis, odds I would be the one running around the garden in my jammies screaming hysterically, so I am glad that sensible Blake and Rachel were here.

As a precaution I took Isabelle off to the doctor on Friday – doctor treated her for croup and gastro.  I kind of thought that once I gave her the steroids and the suppository all would be well – as well as it can be if one is placing something large into a baby’s bum I guess.  However, it was not to be.

The weekend began to be measured by minute – each one more excruciating than the last.

Isabelle cried all weekend long.  I don’t mean she cried a bit, I mean she cried  a l l   w e e k e n d.  Our house guests can attest to this no doubt. Shame for me, shame for them, double shame for poor Isabelle.

Fortunately (I realize sarcasm is the lowest form of wit ….. ) Kennith had planned to be unavailable the entire weekend, which was an exercise in driving me more over the edge.

I took the safe route and stayed house bound all weekend.  It was easier to control the kids, and probably the route less likely to end in a nervous breakdown.

On Sunday it was pretty rough, and I must confess that the bigger two were really good.  They played outside in the dirt – I would love to say on our lush grass, but I would be lying.

At one point Georgia came up to me and asked if she could come inside to shower.  She was covered in black mud from head to foot, with a huge green booger hanging out of her nose and resting on her top lip with a mucus cord connecting it to the other bits still in her nose.  It’s these precious moment that remind us why we chose to become moms!

The weekend ended with me being awoken by  Isabelle at about 1/2am on Monday morning.  I went through to check on her and found her lying there with a temperature of 39 degrees and just looked terrible – poor cherub.  I gave her a suppository – and then sat on the rocking chair with her hoping she would cool down.

By 3am we ended up in a tepid bath trying to get her temperature down.

Isabelle is such a little trooper – there she was sick as a dog, and splashing about in the bath with her two tooth smile.  The balance of the morning she spent lying on my chest as I tried to sooth her.  (I might have needed some soothing then, a baby on your chest in the middle of the morning can be very soothing even to the most jaded soul.)

I did what all working moms hate to do on a Monday morning and phone in to say I won’t be in as I have a sick baba.  Bless them, they were so understanding.  I took sick baba to the doctor – again – to discover she has a raging middle ear infection.

So baba got through the rest of the day with antibiotics, more suppositories, some throwing up, and some sleeping with lots of crying thrown in – I may have had a bit of a sob too.

Fortunately – and I say this with my eyes looking towards the heavens – I have Pepe!!!  I am truly blessed.   Pepe looked after Isabelle for a bit, so I could get some sleep as I was so exhausted from this weekend and the interrupted night last night.

This evening was more suppositories, more antibiotics, some nasal spray and hopefully a little baba who sleeps through the night.

And a very tired mom who gets some sleep too.

<Kennith was a super star, he fetched the kids from school for me, and made dinner – and he found an unopened bottle of wine! Bless.>

So you think you’re alone now

It really is quite blissful having a first baby – you feel like you have given birth to a messiah and you are just blooming.

It really is so wonderful and you feel dreadfully special – like the world has chosen you to be the one – the one WHAT is still open to interpretation.

For me it was all soft and flowery around the edges and I felt like I was being carried around on a pedestal.  Everyone smiled at me, and people drop by and bring you presents and congratulate you – it really is all quite good for one’s self-esteem.

I remember with such clarity when my lovely bubble burst.  Connor was born in December so we had the benefit of a lot of holiday and Kennith took some time off work to cherish his new family (The family Walton’s theme tune plays in the background.)

Then one day, the sun came up, and he put on his work clothes and seemed to make movements that indicated he was going to be going somewhere.  As the morning wore on, he picked up his car keys, gave me a peck on the cheek opened the front door and disappeared through it.

I remember how shocked I was as the car drove off – I was standing on our little stoep in my jammies holding this baby and wondering “what the hell do I do now.” I kept thinking this was some practical joke and he was going to turn around and come back saying “ha ha that was funny!!!”  (er, not so much …..)

I came back inside looked at the clock on the wall and it was 7:05am – and I calculated that it was going to be 11 hours until Kennith walked back in the door at about 6:00pm.  Who thought it was a good idea to leave ME alone with a baby?  And more importantly WHAT was I going to do for 11 hours with a baby!!  I was so scared and really felt quite lost.

True to form the day was chaos/scary and jammies seemed the easiest outfit to go with puke and spilt milk.  It might be the crazy pattern that hides all the stuff you spill on yourself all afternoon.

The day stood before me as a great open crevasse of time.  It soon got filled with feeding, burping, bum changing, making tea, more feeding, burping, bum changing and so on.  Busy – but not terribly fulfilling – am I allowed to admit to that?

I really do love the sage advice people give you about sleep when the baby sleeps. It is such great advice, but I think anyone who has had a baby will be able to testify, even though the books say that a new born baby should sleep for 16 – 20 hours of a day, somehow it does not seem like that.

If they were sleeping for 20 hours, why are you not getting your 8 hours of sleep – why are you walking around like the zombie extra from the Thriller video?

If they sleep for 20 hours why are you not lying on the couch Nutella smeared sandwiches and watching the box set of Desperate Housewives?  Because every insane new mother knows that they do not sleep for 20 hours – after three I still can’t tell you how much they actually sleep, but they definitely do not sleep for 20 hours.

Sleep is when you are in a coma like position and lie down and remain there for a few hours – babies do not do this!!  I am lucky if I get 20 – 45 minute breaks from my baby, and that is only because I have been breastfeeding him for what feels like 3 hours to try and get him to be calm and be sleepy.  Sure my nipples are about 5cm longer than when I started and throbbing like no-one’s business, but anything for some peace and quiet.

Really there is no sleep for the wicked and I realized this very early on in the relationship I was trying to forge with my son.

By the time 3pm swings round, I am watching that clock like a hawk and literally watching the minutes tick by in anticipate of Kennith walking through the door.  By 5pm I am climbing the walls, and by 6pm I am in a rage.

Poor unsuspecting Kennith skips in from his little day at the office and I am the lead character in the Omen, and practically throw the baby at him – usually with a  phrase like “Why the hell are you late?” or “Do you know what I have been through today?” Either way it is small wonder that our partners start to work that little bit later …. of course this tactic does nothing to calm our inner bitch and as the weeks tick by our rage does tend to turn towards our partners.

I recall thinking that “we” were in this together.  Remember how “we” were pregnant?

Well I was pretty shocked when the “you” part of “we” toddled off to work and left me holding the baby.  How come this has become MY problem when “we” were so much a part of this before.

It’s all quite shocking stuff, and really unless you have been there – difficult to imagine how absolutely lonely and desolate you feel.

It does pass – eventually – but not before you have made best friends with the wine bottle and the cork screw, maybe had a bit of therapy and if you are lucky some mind altering medication –  maybe even have a go at couple therapy with a lovely therapist in Kenilworth …… ah happy times.