incredibly frightening. Makes you realise how small and vulnerable we are.
Friday, March 11, 2011
It's been the week of flu and sleepless nights. N finally declared herself fit enough to dress and go to school today, despite a still dripping nose, and some post midnight walking to join me in bed to pass on her last remaining germs. More than being completely healed, I think she was just incredibly bored with being sick.
Yesterday R came home from school and declared himself to be hot, head-achy and not feeling well, and sure enough, he was the first to get to my bed after lights out. And there I was thinking that some clever manoeuvres had got me to have the bigger than kingsize bed all to myself last night. After 4 sleepless nights with one or the other or both of them sleeping with me, I declared last night to be no-sleep with me zone, and convinced N to sleep over in R's room to ally his fears. He's going through this manic fear thing, which includes even double locking the door at home during the day. Tonight he told me it was due to the film "Tangled". Whatever. Anyway, the zone was infiltrated by both of them. You'd think the bed was big enough. However, they both have this habit of sleeping as close as possible to me without managing to re-enter the womb. Nice on a cold night, but not so great with the combination of fever, coughing and copious amounts of snot and a box of tissues that was always on the wrong side of the bed to the sneeze.
I'm a walking zombie. I have tons of revision to do for the coming 2 weeks rounds of exams, and now would be the ideal time with H still travelling until tomorrow morning. I even had fantasies of going to see Leslie Chang at the RGS tonight. I'm just too darn tired. So it was reading a couple of chapters in bed with them, a quick blog to give all those of you who are still trekking here day after day without a word from me, and then to bed for me, storing up some Z'ds for the inevitability of tonight.
So they've both got / had the flu, that leaves the two of us. I felt dreadful today, not sure if it was a premonition of getting sick or just plain tiredness. At one point I felt like I had earned the right to be sick and lie in bed all day, but that would just complicate things a bit too much.
So this evening we're lying reading and R is petting my belly and tells me I'm getting fat. Yup, rub it in dear. It's just what I need right now. As if I don't know, as I try to squeeze into my clothes recently. I ask him if I should go on diet. He says "what's diet?" I explain it's when you eat less. "No," he says wisely, "no need to diet, just chose to eat healthier food. Like me. That's why I'm so skinny" And then adds "No more gummy bears." Just for the record, gummy bears are not even a big feature in my life, but it was an appropriate example as no food is safe with me at the moment, even left over gummy bears from mountain half marathons that seem a distant memory. I slogged around the track this afternoon and barely did around 5km. A very very very slow 5km. I couldn't believe that between January and end of February I'd clocked up 4 half marathons. I'm falling apart.
This post is dedicated to all mothers and fathers who get less than the sleep they need.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Celebrates it's 100th anniversary today. I mention the fact that it's Int'l women's day today to my daughter (still home sick). "Oh", she says, as if she finds it rather strange. "Is there also an international men's day?"
Touché. Does that mean that she's growing up in a society where gender inequality is considered strange? Or is it just that 9 year old girls feel vastly superior to 9 year old boys?
Monday, March 07, 2011
It's been a rather loaded few weeks. Suddenly I realised yesterday as I collapsed in bed after falling asleep in the middle of reading a story (we're into the delights of the The Hobbit) to my daughter - she gamely took over and continued reading aloud to me - not that I heard anything, it's March. Yup, that month that is on steroids in Hong Kong.
It's only the 7th, but we've already had a medium sized party, for H's birthday - we cut the attendance list by 75% by only inviting his closer friends rather than everyone we usually invite, and even asked people to bring food. We've been to the first and second on the list of arts festival events (Power Plant and NY Ballet), I've had the first of 3 long hours at the dentist for a root-canal and crown treatment (why me? why now?) and I've missed the first in the series of lectures I wanted to attend. My daughter is sick with quite a high fever. So she asked me to stay home and I agreed. She's not often sick and when she is, she kind of toddles along in a sub-cheerful haze, so if she actually requests parental care, it must be a bit more serious than normal. It's the second time she's under the weather in the last few weeks.
She came home with a sore throat the other day, so I told her to take a strepsil and she carried on with life and later went to bed as normal. Much to my horror, later that evening an email came from the school to say a child had Scarlet Fever and to watch out for the symptoms, including starting with a sore throat.... it was nothing luckily. But imagine, Scarlet Fever we have read books in which children die of it - but that was before anti-biotics I quickly told her after checking her for a rash, fever and red tongue the next morning.
Still to come, are other concerts, lectures, the HK arts fair, dinners, gala dinners, the fact that H has already started his job in Singapore, but will be in Europe for 2 of the next 3 weeks (up and down, back and forth, poor guy). Did I mention my Chinese end of term exams? Children's school assessments, and then the fear.
After 2 years of living in this house, and no longer sharing a room with his sister, except for their "sleepovers" in the weekends, my son has suddenly become immensely scared of sleeping alone. Part of me sees where he's coming from. His room is extraordinarily noisy as I discovered last night as I lay with him trying to calm him down and get him to sleep. If it isn't the buses, it's the mini-buses, or the amahs walking the dogs in their posse's of 50 yapping ladies and barking dogs. Then there are the cars and the racing cars which mistake our road for a grand-prix circuit - particularly the early hours of the weekend mornings. The water supplies dept and PCCW and the HK electric also like to do their bit, by breaking the road up, fixing it, and then passing the baton on to the next lot to break it all up again, bring trucks and diggers around, collect them in the evening, etc. etc. I think we've been through that cycle about 8 times in the last few years.
What is the solution? Obviously he wants to sleep in my bed. And particularly so, since his sister is there due to her sickness (they may sleep with me when they're sick so I can keep an eye on them during the night without leaving my nest). So tears and hysterics. I try the rational. The safety of HK, the security guard doing his rounds, the security cameras, the fact that a busy road is a deterrent. He has answers for all of it. He declares Singapore will be better. For one, he and his sister have decided to go back to sharing a bed and for another it will be quieter. I have to relieve him of the idea. I have to explain to him that fear resides within, rather than without, and that his fear will follow him. That it's something that he has to conquer. I am being honest here. If we were still living in Spain, where villas like the one we were living in were regularly broken into while the inhabitants were gassed, or South Africa, where robbery and rape was as normal as doing the grocery shopping, it would be a different story. But we're in Hong Kong. Living on the island. Where in the last 8 years I've never heard of anyone being robbed, or even pickpocketed or mugged for that matter. So I feel fairly confident in explaining to him that the fear is in his mind only and not realistic.
Is it the age? That's probably part of it. I'd like him to try and come up with some solutions himself. We've compromised on him falling asleep on my bed and me taking him back to his later. And when his sister is better to see if they can share a room for sleeping purposes again for the time being. He knows and she knows and we know and have discussed that she's 9 now and "nearly" a teenager. And that teenagers have more need for privacy and time on their own without younger brothers who aren't "nearly" teenagers. Fortunately she's still humouring him, and they still adore each other enough for this to be an issue in theory rather than reality.
I'm really tired. I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed. A friend at the party remarked that I was looking remarkably good. My retort was that a lot of Armani make-up (honestly, I never used to go beyond bodyshop and occasional Lauder lipstick, but I swear by Armani - worth every cent), and putting on heaps of weight by anxious eating was the clue. I don't really want to deal with fear right now. I want 7.30pm to roll by and them to jump into bed and fall asleep after their stories like they always used to so that my "me" time (that would be me and my Chinese homework) can start.
I know change is the one constant of bringing up kids. I'd just like the changes to be all positive and light and not what seems to be regression. I don't want to be mean, and I don't want to spend hours getting him to bed and I don't want to co-sleep with a 7 year old. This too will pass. They say.