Sunday, 9 August 2009

Slowing down for summer?

Tomorrow we have nothing planned. We have a carer coming at the usual time, 7AM, which will be somewhat of a shock to the system after this past week. Little Fish has been sleeping in until past 9,; even Mog has been letting me snooze until 7.30. So she'll be gone by 8, and we'll be left, dressed and awake, with a day ahead of us and no plans. School finished for the girls on July the 17th. And tomorrow, August the 10th, will be only the second day this summer where we have nothing planned. Sadly, I think there are only another two days unplanned until the girls start school again in September. Not that every day is packed full, just that we have at least one appointment every day between now and the end of the holidays.

A week away from our plans last week; a week with a fair bit of rest built in for a tired Little Fish. And a Little Fish who seems to have slowed down a fair bit. Not verbally; she's still averaging 17 "why?"s to the minute, but in every other way. She wants to sit in her bee chair not her manual wheelchair. She's sleeping in til 9, and then taking until 11 to eat her breakfast. She's grazing for lunch, then asking for a nap in the afternoon, taking another two hours to eat her tea and then going to sleep. Add in a few essential episodes of Charlie and Lola, and whatever appointment we have for the day, and that's another day gone.

It's a pace which seems to be suiting Mog nicely too - she suddenly tuned in to Charlie and Lola herself this afternoon and started laughing appropriately at some of the situations Lola was getting herself into. Interesting; it takes LF several viewings to work out what's going on, and her enjoyment then comes from the predictability of the familiar scenes. But Mog got the joke on first viewing. And then her eyes flickered again, and the curtains came down again, and her gentle seizures took hold for the rest of the evening. But for an episode or two, she was there, she was with us, she was sharing the joke. Great.

It's hot here which certainly slows me down. Walking from the door to the bus, and then loading the girls, and I'm ready to go back inside and drink buckets of squash. The thermometer tells me it's just 24 (75F); nothing much I guess but certainly on the hot side of comfortable for us. Little Fish breaks out in a constant sheen of sweat, wanting cuddles but hating the fact she sticks to me when we touch. And Mog relaxes, basking in the warmth, her muscles loosening, tight fists uncurling, ankles bending. And then she overheat, and fits, and that's the end of that - but she does love the warmth. I sometimes think we need indicidually climate controlled rooms in this house. Like the Living Rainforest, different rooms in our house would be set to different climates. I'll take something arctic for my bedroom please; give me thick duvets and warm, heavy, blankets, and I'll sleep like a log. Give Little Fish a nice handy "room temperature" temperature, and she'll doze under a light blanket; who knows, she might even learn how to turn herself over if not weighed down with covers? And Mog can have something slightly sub-sauna; nothing to cause her to overheat but warm enough for her to unknot herself, again without the pressure of too many layers. In our sitting room we'll have a nice cooling breeze we can all enjoy, with a sun trap where Mog and Goway can soak up the heat together. A nice neutral temperature for the kitchen please; cool enough that turning the oven on isn't a form of torture, but warm enough not to flatten my cakes whenever I open the door to check on their progress. And the bathroom, well, the bathroom needs to fluctuate. Neutral to warm I think most of the time, with whole body hot air blowers for the girls when they get out of the shower. I wonder if the savings in towels would be worth the costs of having one installed?

In the meantime, I'll stick with thick curtains to keep the sun out, a slow and steady pace, and warm blankets and radiators later on this year. I've been thinking about temperatures since a conversation this morning. I've been camping since I was 6 weeks old; my brothers younger than me I think. And it's never occurred to me that taking a small baby camping would be a problem. Talking to someone today, she wasn't sure about taking a 6 month old baby camping next year, as she was worried about the temperatures. My reply was that babies have actually been surviving quite well for centuries, even without central heating. And now I'm wondering whether that was unfeeling or unsympathetic or just downright foolhardy. I don't think it's the most sensible idea ever to take a very small baby, wrap them up in 17 layers and then leave them in the sun for hours, just as it probably isn't the best idea to strip them naked and let them play in the snow. But beyond those extremes, surely most babies do quite well most of the time? Or is this one of those areas where my philosophy regarding the girls (since their lives are expected to be significantly shorter than average, we go for depth and breadth of life experiences rather than length) doesn't translate to the rest of the world? I should probably work out the answer to that before I tell another mother her baby will be fine, just take a range of clothing...

Meanwhile, after a run of busies, tomorrow is an empty day. It's also the one day this week we're supposed to be getting rain. Cooler is nice; wetter can be a nuisance. Several hundred miles to the north, my brother and his wife are moving house tomorrow. Or at least, moving out of their house and enjoying (?) being of no fixed abode for the next few months. A lovely house I'm told; unfortunately chest infections and hip operations and other complications have meant we've never yet seen it. When they do have their new place it'll be in Tanzania; I'm not entirely certain I'm brave enough to take the girls on such an Awfully Big Adventure to go and visit them there - we shall have to wait and see. As it stands, we shall look forwards to spending time with them before they leave, and look forwards to reading their blog, when they get around to setting it up (hint, hint!). Oh, and incase anyone was wondering; yes, I've forgiven them for bringing the pox with them on their last trip south.

So I'll be thinking of them as they see the last of their posessions into the last of the cardboard boxes, and hand their house (and much of their security) over to new owners. But beyond that, we have no plans. Little Fish will want to spend the whole day watching DVDs which probably isn't the best idea ever, and Mog will want to spend most of the day listening to music, which is only slightly better (is it better at all? It feels better than being glued to the television screen, something about being free to use your eyes to do something else I suppose. But does this actually count when you're blind?). I know that we do not need to spend the day baking, we do not need to spend the whole day eating either. But beyond that, it's a mystery. And if I seem to be harping on about it a bit, it's because although this break from appointments is welcome; the thought of an entire day fielding Little Fish's whys without help from anyone else is also somewhat scary.

I should probably take myself off for some sleep in preparation.


Hazel said...

I was told that a normally healthy baby can regulate their own temperature just fine after the first week or so, and that if I'm hot then the baby probably is too, ditto cold. I'm probably more of a haphazard mother than most, but I took ours up the big hills in the Lake District strapped to my back in the rain aged eight months and he was just fine (no-one else wanted to come with me and he was too small to object...) he's certainly got great defences, rarely gets sick, whether that's in spite of, or because of, my parenting skills, let the reader decide... Camping? Absolutely!

Doorless said...

I've taken babies camping as young as three months. I do hope you have some unexpected nice surprises to brighten your day.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you, on home visits midwifes tend to tell mothers homes are too hot for the babies! Also in Scandanavian nurseries they bundle babys up in their prams and put them outside for half the day even when there is several feet of snow on the ground!

Will be thinking of you floating through the day on a cushion of whys!


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