Emergency services and wee funnels – my rubbish weekend

If you read my recent “soft play and fails” post, you will know that I had a slightly annoying Friday last week. You will also know that said rubbish day culminated in my toddler being sick all over one of my friends. What you don’t know is that vomit was only the beginning.

The worst thing about my 1yo’s bug that night (besides the usual feelings of worry about him) was the fact that I currently have no washing machine. You can imagine the “joy” of dealing with pukey clothes without being able to just bung them in the machine. I didn’t deal with them. I hid them in a far corner of the bit of my house which is being renovated, in the hope that the plaster dust would neutralise the smell until I could find a launderette.

I can’t say Friday night was pleasant, but we survived it. By midnight, poor little 1yo was finally able to keep down some water and we all gratefully went to bed.

Saturday was sort of alright. We went to IKEA and I discovered I could put my 4yo in the basket of the trolley with his tablet. This enabled me to look at candles and unnecessary soft furnishings in peace, instead of spending the whole time stopping him from forging a path of destruction through the kitchen displays. I even think the children actually went to sleep nicely in the evening.

But cue 3am and my poor little 1yo started crying in an unusual way. I ran to his bedroom to discover he was burning up. I took his temperature and it was nearly 40 degrees celsius. I gave him some baby ibuprofen (we were out of baby paracetamol), brought him into our bedroom for a cuddle, and stripped him down a bit. Then we noticed that his breathing was a bit fast as well. I decided to call 111 (for the non-Brits, this is a 24-hour health advice line you can call for non-emergencies).

After the usual assessment, the advisor on the phone told me he was calling an ambulance. Okay. That’s serious shit. My adrenaline kicked in. Best put some clothes on, I thought.

I put some Peppa Pig on Netflix for my 1yo while I waited with him for the ambulance. My husband stood with the door open as advised by 111, to make sure the paramedic could find the house. The paramedic soon turned up and was very reassuring while she did a series of tests on 1yo to assess his condition. Based on these tests, she offered to drive us to hospital.

It wasn’t a full-sized ambulance. It was smaller and called an Emergency Response Unit or something like that. The back of it was sort of like the back of a Black Cab. We strapped 1yo into his own chair – he always prefers to have his own chair – and I sat in another. Husband stayed home to look after the 4yo.

Our local hospital has a paediatric A&E and this allowed us to be processed through triage very quickly. The nurse brought us to a bed and presented me with a sort of test tube with a funnel attached to it. “We’ll need to get a urine sample,” she said.

I said, “Uuuhhh, how do I get that then?”

“You should take off his nappy, put this waterproof pad underneath him, hold the funnel nearby, and wait.”

Me: “Right. Okay.”

I felt a heavy weight of responsibility. I had been given a urine sample obtaining job. I wished to succeed at this. Never mind I also had the responsibility of keeping a sick baby mildly content whilst waiting an unpredictable amount of time to see a doctor.

Luckily, we’d brought my best friend: the tablet. And the hospital had brilliant WiFi. Streaming CBeebies saved my sanity on this night. Thank you, tablet. Thank you, hospital WiFi. Thank you, CBeebies. Never say I’m not grateful for small favours.

So now you can picture me:

  • Holding the tablet at a comfortable viewing angle for the 1yo (which was an uncomfortable angle for my arm).
  • Simultaneously holding my head upright in a way that would keep me from nodding off in utter exhaustion (the head bobbing slowly down and then shooting back up again in another bid for wakefulness).
  • And watching LIKE A HAWK for the anticipated wee sample.
  • Constantly re-adjusting the funnel to ensure ideal placement for the catching of a sudden wee.

In the end, we waited 3 hours to be seen by a doctor. I spent that entire 3 hours waiting for my son to wee in the funnel. That’s right: I spent 3 hours staring at my son’s junk, hoping for a wee. Well, how else could you spend the wee hours of a Sunday morning (maybe be dancing in a club? I wouldn’t know).

When the doctor finally came, he diagnosed tonsillitis and sent us home with some penicillin. We never did get that urine sample.

While I was waiting for husband to collect us from hospital, I gave my son his first dose of the penicillin from a syringe. At first he took it eagerly as he loves the flavour of Calpol. But then he made the incredible grimace. This was the precursor to a later disaster.

When we got home I was allowed to go for a nap while husband looked after the children. I was awoken when he tried to give my son the next dose of his penicillin. He screamed and screamed and refused to take it. When my husband finally got it in, 1yo promptly puked it back up.

I was enlisted to have a go at administering another dose. Let’s just say I failed.

Hours passed and my son refused to eat or drink anything. My husband popped out to the shops, and while he was gone, 1yo laid down on the sofa and just went to sleep. I looked closely at him and I thought he’d gone a bit blue around his nose and mouth. In hindsight I was probably imagining it.

Suddenly, my heart started pumping at a mile a minute. It felt as though it was going to leap out of my chest. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I called 999. This was the first time I’d ever called 999 (or 911, when I lived in the USA) in my life.

The woman on the phone was very kind and talked me down from what was apparently a panic attack. I’d never had one before.

When my husband got home, we agreed that my son should go back to A&E because he wouldn’t drink anything and we couldn’t get the medicine into him. Why are children always sick on Sundays?

They were very nice at A&E and they gave us special rehydrating solution and then the doctor eventually came and gave him an extra check. She said he was fine and then had the nurse help us learn the best way to pin him down and trick him into opening his mouth so we could syringe the medicine in. It seems cruel, but the doctor said if we couldn’t give him the meds then he’d need to stay in hospital for a whole week to get them via a drip.

Perhaps we didn’t need to go to A&E the second time, but you hear so many horror stories about misdiagnosed children. It was a “better safe than sorry” situation. And the doctor and nurses were completely understanding and incredibly helpful.

We went home again and I can’t say giving 1yo the medicine got any easier. But by the end of the day, you could tell it and the rehydration solution was taking effect, and he started taking an interest in his toys again.

He’s now perfectly fine, even though we’re still wrestling him to get the drugs in. Luckily, he is also back at nursery and they skillfully administer some of the doses.

So there you have it. My crap weekend. Why did I bother telling you? Partly just to vent. Partly to say you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to use emergency services and the NHS if you feel you need them. And mostly so you can laugh at the image of me obsessively holding a wee funnel for 3 hours.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Does your bedtime routine actually work?

The bedtime routine has taken on a sort of magical status in our house in that I dare not depart from it in fear that the kids would not go to sleep. However, I’m starting to wonder if it is as effective as I imagine. Herewith, a dramatisation of a typical evening in our house.

18:00 BST

Mum: It’s bathtime!

4yo: Nooooooo! You need to have a picnic with me and then I need to tidy the picnic away!

Mum: Fine. Drinks imaginary drinks and pretends to eat plastic food. Finished! Now it’s bathtime.

4yo: I just need to tidy up the picnic. Very carefully proceeds to put all the plastic food in the plastic picnic basket. Then very … slowly … folds the tiny picnic blanket in a tiny square shape.

Mum: Ok NOW it’s bathtime.

4yo: But but but…

Mum: I will remove pasta from your reward jar! 4yo begins running up the stairs. Hey you, 1yo, it’s bathtime.

1yo: In manner of Churchill Dog Oh no no no no.

Mum picks up 1yo old and carries up stairs as 1yo arches back and impersonates a piece of timber.

18:15 BST

Mum: 4yo, please sit on the toilet.

4yo: I’m too tired.

Mum: The sooner you go to the toilet, the sooner you can go to sleep. Pulls down 4yo pants and places him on toilet. Removes the rest of his clothes in anticipation of bathtime. Hey, 1yo, let’s get you ready for bathtime!

1yo: Oh no no no! 1yo runs away and hides in a corner. Mum picks him up and takes him to his changing mat while he once again impersonates a piece of wood. Removes clothes from 1yo and places him on his potty.

Mum: Hey, 4yo, are you done on the toilet?

4yo: singing whilst remaining on toilet Tomblibooooo Tombli Tombli boooooooo!

Mum: Runs bath. If you’re done on the toilet, you should get off the toilet!

1yo: cackles as he pushes toilet seat aggressively onto 4yo.

4yo: Oooow! Brother hurt my back!

Mum: THEN GET OFF THE TOILET. 4yo gets off the toilet. Now brush your teeth. 4yo brushes teeth and fed up mum wordlessly lifts him up and deposits him into the bath. Ok 1yo, now it’s your turn to brush your teeth.

1yo: Oh no no no no.

Mum picks up 1yo and places him on the stool by the sink. 4yo impersonates jelly and melts down onto the floor. Mum tries to pick up 1yo. 1yo returns to wood impersonation. Mum lays 1yo down on lap and forcibly brushes teeth, then places 1yo in the bath.

4yo: My brother is stealing all the bubbles! Aggressively moves all the bubbles to his side of the bath.

1yo: Screams because he has no f*cking bubbles

Mum: Pours water over both children’s heads. Washes hair and body whilst ignoring screams and protestations.

18:45 BST

Mum: Time to get out of the bath!

1yo: Oh no no no no!

Mum: forcibly removes wood-like toddler from bath, dresses him and leaves him in his bedroom. Ok 4yo, it’s time for you to get out too.

4yo: But I just need to finish making this volcano. Mum watches while 4yo fills a cup with water and then covers it with a flannel.

Mum: Ok, now let’s get out. I’m going to count to three. 1 … 2 …

4yo: In mortal fear of reaching three, opens the drain of the bath and gets out. Runs into bedroom with towel and hides underneath it. I need to be a pillow!

Mum: Pretends to use towel-wrapped 4yo as a pillow (like every night) Wow, this pillow is sooo comfy. Ok now put on your pajamas.

No response. Mum picks up 4yo and applies his pajamas while he ignores her and attempts to build a bus stop out of Duplo bricks.

Right, now play in your room while I get your brother to sleep.

19:00 BST

Mum reads stories to 1yo and actually enjoys this bit, with cuddles and giggles. Then she lets him drink a large quantity of water. Then she sings Twinkle Star and places him into bed with appropriate toys and dummy. Turns musical projection mobile on. Does secret prayer that this bedtime ritual will work tonight.

Mum: Night night, sleep tight, Mummy loves you, see you in the morning. Magical phrase must be repeated exactly the same each night.

19:10 BST

Mum reads no less than 4 stories with 4yo while he offers continual non-stop explanation of all the illustrations. 4yo gets in bed and mum turns the Gro Clock on (VERY IMPORTANT).

Mum: Would you like a song tonight?

4yo: Yes but it has to be a NEW song that you haven’t sung before.

Mum: But I have already sung you all the songs I’ve ever known.

4yo: Fine, then just sing “Summer of ’69” again.

Mum: I got my first real six-string, bought it at the five and dime, played it ’til my fingers bled, was the summer of ’69! Mum continues to do her best Bryan Adams impersonation while 1yo starts crying in the other room. Okay, big boy, time for sleep. Kisses 4yo.

4yo: 4yo kisses Mum precisely 5 times on the cheek in return and then shouts, Weird!!!

Mum: Night night, sleep tight, mummy loves you, see you when your sun comes up. Runs next door and puts 1yo back in bed.

19:30 BST

Mum goes downstairs, cleans up toys, does the washing up, puts a load of washing on, pours a drink and sits down to watch telly and/or blog. She hears a squeaking doorknob and crying. She runs upstairs and puts 1yo back in bed. Goes back downstairs, takes a drink.

19:40 BST

4yo: shouting from his bed I NEED A POO!!

Mum: Shouting back from downstairs THEN JUST GO!!

19:55 BST

4yo: Still on the toilet, singing Tomblibooo, tombli tombli boooooo!

1yo: Waaaaaa! Mummy mummy mummy!

Mum: runs upstairs. 4yo, please get off the toilet. Puts 1yo back in bed. 4yo is still on the toilet. Mum has to physically remove him from the toilet and assist with wiping and hand washing. Puts 4yo back into bed. Then puts 1yo back into bed again.

20:05 BST

Mum goes downstairs and gets in a solid 10 minutes of blogging. 

20:15 BST

CRASH BANG! Mum runs upstairs. Toddler has removed all the clothes from his wardrobe and wedged a toy lightsaber behind the radiator. Mum tidies up, puts toddler back in bed, and goes downstairs. 

20:30 BST

4yo:  Shouting from his bed again Mummmmyyyyy! My covers are all messed up.

Mum: runs upstairs, fixes 4yo’s slightly disarrayed covers. You know, you could fix these yourself.

4yo: I love you mummy.

Mum: I love you too now please please please go to sleep!

1yo: Waaaaaaa! Mum puts 1yo back into bed again.

21:00 BST

All is finally quiet. At last, mum can do some writing, maybe watch Bake Off. She finishes her glass of wine and falls asleep drooling on the sofa.

What’s bedtime like in your house?


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Petite Pudding
Two Tiny Hands

Reasons my mum is crying

A child’s musing on those moments when mum loses her sh*t.

I’m sure pretty much everyone knows and loves the famous blog, ‘Reasons my son is crying‘. It pokes fun of the very many things a typical young child might have a bit of a tantrum over. An example from my own 4-year-old today:

4yo (observing as I begin to apply sunscreen to  his 1yo brother): The sunscreen says “kids” on it.

Me: That’s right. Good reading.

4yo: But my brother’s a toddler. Not a kid.

Me (continuing with sunscreen application): Not all kids are toddlers. But all toddlers are kids.

4yo (high-pitched; distressed): NOOOOOOO! My brother needs TODDLER SUNSCREEN! I’m the kid. The kids sunscreen is only for meeeeee!

So, yeah, that happens. And it’s pretty funny when viewed in hindsight. But what about when you’re right there in the moment? Sometimes, don’t you just feel like lying down on the floor, going stiff as a board and refusing to move, a la toddler? Or just having a good old cry? Well, I do. And it got me thinking of what my sons must think of me, when I’ve lost it and cried in front of them. Some examples from my own experiences:

Newborn baby be all like:

My mum keeps shoving her boobs in my face. They are all hard and huge. And she is DOING IT WRONG. I am not having any of that milk until she ups her game a bit.

Wait? Now she’s crying? WTF, I’m the one who’s starving here!

Six month old be all like:

Mum has been IGNORING me all day. She keeps going into the kitchen and turning on some machine that’s really noisy. Now, she puts me in this highchair and starts waving a spoon full of orange mush at me. I don’t think so! I’m going to wave my hands wildly and knock the spoon of mush down her shirt.

She’s crying again. She tried to poison me and SHE’S the one who’s crying!

Nine month old be all like:

I’m tired of this sleeping at nighttime stuff. It is so last month. I’m going to just rest for short 45 minute intervals and then wake up and scream for mum. She loves giving me cuddles in the middle of the night.

3 hours later…

I just had to scream for TEN WHOLE MINUTES before Mum came to cuddle me this time. She’s biting her lower lip and begging me to go to sleep, tears streaming down her face. I don’t know what her problem is. I thought we were having fun, seeing each other all night.

18-month-old be all like:

I’m finished eating and no longer require this plate in front of me, still half-full of food. I shall toss it across the room in the manner of a medieval king.

Hey, why is mum shouting just because there are some baked beans in her hair? I put baked beans in my hair all the time!

2-year-old be all like:

These playgroups are kind of cool. Hey, wait a minute! Some kid is trying to play with the same plastic kitchen as me! I’m going to hit him repeatedly with this small metal pan until he goes away. What? Now mum is trying to drag me away from this usurper. I will go stiff as a board so she can’t move me until I’m ready to go. Uh oh, woman is tearing up again. Maybe if I scream a little louder in this public place she will learn to respect my boundaries.

4-year-old be all like:

It’s getting late and I’m actually quite tired. I’m going to give Mummy a big cuddle and tell her that I love her before I go to sleep. Wait…is she crying again?

Is it just me or have you experienced these sorts of moments? What are the reasons your kids’ mum is crying?

The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum