Not only is it the penultimate week of term, with all the mayhem that entails (see The Crazy Countdown to Summer) but this week I have entirely hampered my progress in all things by giving myself a minor but very inconvenient injury. Whilst making dinner in a rush on Sunday, I managed to drop a tin can out of a cupboard onto my finger. The tin happened to land at exactly the right angle for the ridge around the top to slice my finger nail in half. I’ve resisted the urge to post a picture for fear you never want to come back to this blog but, suffice to say, it is pretty disgusting.
OK, so it is only a finger – I’ve not lost a limb or anything – but not only was it excruciatingly painful at the time (I swear it came close to rivalling labour pains) but it still really hurts and I can’t put any pressure on it. So, it is basically entirely useless, as fingers go.
But a bit of pain and having to negotiate life minus the use of one measly digit is the least of it. I’ve been told to keep my finger in a bandage until the nail grows out, which could take about six months! So the middle finger of my left hand is currently permanently mummified, and likely to remain so for some time. Not least of the problems with this is that touch screen typing is a major fail, making this blog post slightly more challenging to write than normal.
But the real problem is that managing life with three messy kids while you have one finger in a bandage that you are supposed to keep clean and dry is proving a good deal more challenging than I’d anticipated. Almost everything you have to do with kids involves quite literally getting your hands dirty. And then washing them. A lot. The simplest of things, like putting sun cream on their faces, changing a nappy, unscrewing a drinks bottle – all are suddenly incredibly tricky. The loss of one little finger has made life disproportionately difficult.
M, my accident-prone middle child, is somewhat fascinated with the bandaged finger. All three kids were in the kitchen when I had the accident and it was pretty dramatic. Much as I tried not to scream too much, the blood squirting out of my nail was enough to freak blood phobic H out considerably. Luckily, my husband was home so I could rock quietly in a corner for an hour, nursing my throbbing finger, wrapped in a sandwich bag full of frozen peas.
But, once things had calmed down, H and M were both very concerned and interested. While H is terrified by blood, M, who has shed her fair share in the past, is less panicked by it and finds it rather intriguing. She keeps asking me when the bandage can come off, if my finger will be OK and if I need to go to hospital – a place she has unpleasant memories of so is understandably scared by.
Still, with six months to go, I guess I am just going to have to get used to managing life with only nine working digits. Or find some sort of waterproof alternative bandage, that also lets the skin get some air. Internet research in progress on that one.
Apart from the injury, this week was turning out rather nicely. I had a really good week at work. T has, for once, been behaving himself pretty well and my challenging M has even calmed down her moods a bit, placated by a busy week of a school settling in session, ballet show and nursery graduation (wearing full gown and mortar board, aged four – I kid you not). Plus we are off for a sneaky weekend away in the Cotswolds, which I’ve been looking forward to for ages. We’re staying in a pub. Need I say more? OK, so it would be better if it was just the two of us but if we drink enough we may no longer care about the three kid mayhem.
But tonight was a bit of a downer on my cheerful week. It was school disco night for H, something he had been looking forward to all week. I’d offered to help out and he was pretty excited about that too, bless him, but it didn’t turn out to be the fun night we’d anticipated.
H struggles with lots of things, including noise and new situations. Anything a bit out of the usual routine causes him stress. We had to abandon his first school disco two years ago, but he was only five at the time and I wasn’t surprised. Last year, he went along and, despite having a bit of a shaky lip at the start, he enjoyed it, so I was pretty confident he’d manage tonight.
Well, it wasn’t to be. He fell over on the walk to school and had a tiny scratch on his elbow which started to bleed a bit. It was minuscule but that doesn’t matter to H. Blood equals seriously bad in his book. So he had a meltdown about that as I went on a search all around the school for a plaster, which he didn’t really need but I hoped might calm him down. Eventually I located one but it was too late by then. The disco had started and it was noisy and busy and, in his already edgy state, he simply couldn’t cope with it. It was all over for us.
I don’t know why I let this upset me so much. I know H’s ways of old and mostly I try to let them wash over me. But tonight it got to me for some reason. It is just that I hoped he would be so much better at this sort of thing by now, that he could enjoy the fun things, just like all his mates, without hiding in a curtain to escape.
Still, I now have a glass of wine and I refuse to let a finger and a disco ruin my weekend. Man, do we need this break. It is going to rock and I can’t wait. Now I just have to get through all that dreaded packing and we will be set to go.
And I know H will love this weekend because he always does love this kind of thing, in the middle of his beloved, familiar family. He adores all of us, although he is alone in his funny ways next to his siblings who are much more at ease with life. And I thank my lucky stars that H will always have us and them to cling to in what is, to him, an often scary and confusing world.