Mondays around our house aren’t popular, but they tend to be orderly and calm. Not at all like the end of the week, which tend to be balanced on the edge of chaos.
This past Friday was no exception. I managed to get me up, dressed and fed. And Vegemite up, dressed in her school uniform, and fed. I’d made her lunch and packed her school bag the night before, so that was all organised, too.
But Miss Z wasn’t quite as prepared. She had swum at school the day before and I’d rinsed and hung up her swim nappy and swimsuit to dry so that she’d be ready for hydrotherapy on Friday morning. But QB had moved them and I had to scramble around looking for them. I finally found them, buried in a heap of dirty laundry – a bit smelly, but I hoped no one would notice since she’d be wearing them in the water…
Miss Z started her day, as she often does, with a lot of coughing and a big vomit to clear all the secretions that pool overnight. I dealt with it and managed to get her dressed and give her all her medications. Both girls were ready to go! Success!
Everything was running according to plan. Miss Z watched cartoons whilst Vegemite brushed her teeth and put on her shoes and I loaded the car with Vegemite’s school bag, Miss Z’s swim bag, the ‘spotty bag’ (which we take everywhere with us and includes spare nappies, extra clothes, sick bags, muslins and emergency meds) the feed pump and formula, and the special needs stroller. And I put the dog in his crate, since we were going to be out for the morning.
But my plans changed when I picked up Miss Z to head downstairs to the car. She was stinky. Really, really stinky. Whilst I was marvelling in my moment of logistical success, she had been producing a poo in her nappy.
It was too late to change her – it would have made Vegemite late for school. So, I abandoned the idea of taking Miss Z to Vegemite’s school assembly before hydrotherapy and instead dumped Vegemite in front of the school and returned home (the opposite direction to hydrotherapy) to get Miss Z cleaned up.
On the drive home, I realised I was feeling really, really tired. So when I got home, I put water on for coffee. That should be straightforward, except that earlier in the week our aged kettle had started blowing fuses every time we switched it on. QB being rather particular when it comes to kettles used to make his tea would not countenance the idea of buying a new one at Target – instead he has ordered a very specific one (from overseas no less) online. So, when I want tea or coffee at the moment, I have to boil a pan of water on the stove. It is only an extra 5 minutes, but then again – its an extra five minutes of my life every time I want a cup of tea or coffee!
(In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just stop by a coffee shop and get a take away, it is because it is just too difficult with Miss Z. I can’t leave her in the car, which means I have to get the stroller out of the car, put it together, get her out of the car and into the stroller, try to squeeze the stroller into the cafe to order, then return to the car, lift Miss Z back into her carseat, fasten her in, take apart the stroller, lift both parts back into the boot and then head off again (usually sweating heavily by this time) – hopefully remembering that I’d put the cup of coffee on the roof of the car during all the lifting and positioning (the number of times I’ve gone through this and then driven off with the coffee on the roof is embarrassing).
Anyway, back at home, I leave the water to boil, let the dog out, and change Miss Z (I’ll spare you the details of that particularly joyous activity). By this time the water has boiled and I can make my coffee, put it in a travel mug, put the dog back in his crate, and carry Miss Z back downstairs.
It is now 8.45am and I’m finally ready to depart for hydrotherapy. The trip there was pretty uneventful – apart from slow traffic – and we arrived in time for me to sign Miss Z in and get her changed before the start of her session – success!
Hydrotherapy gives me 45 minutes of sitting poolside and watching Miss Z and her brilliant hydrotherapist – and also doing a bit of people-watching around the pool.
Miss Z hates getting out of the warm water of the pool, so it is a scramble once she’s out to get her dry and dressed before she really cracks it. I also have to change the dressing on her stoma (the hole where her feeding tube enters her tummy), which has become water-logged. She also has a sore on her heel where she’s kicked her foot against the side of her stroller, so I re-bandage that as well. Once she’s dressed, I head out to pay for the session and chat with the receptionist about scheduling for next year.
Then its back to the car, where I hook Miss Z up to her feed for a late breakfast and head home. Miss Z is fast asleep within minutes – swimming really wears her out. When we get home, I steal five minutes in the car with the air conditioning, music and sleeping child, and catch up on my email and Facebook on my phone. Then Miss Z wakes up and we head inside.
Miss Z obviously didn’t get enough sleep on the way home as she is very grumpy. I try her in her beanbag and on the floor, watching cartoons and listening to music. Getting food and without food. Nothing makes her happy. I make my lunch in between rushing back to her to stop her from scratching her ears. The other night she scratched her ears in bed and I didn’t notice. When I went to check on her later in the evening, her bed looked like a scene from Dexter.
Miss Z finally gets her way and we end up snuggling on the sofa (despite the heat here in Brisbane). She immediately falls asleep. I start to nod off as well. Then the doorbell rings, which set off the dog (he likes to think he is a guard dog even though he’d let in anyone who offered to scratch his belly).
It is Miss Z’s speech therapist and physiotherapist. They’re her two favourite therapists (most of the time). They’ve also brought a student. I leave Miss Z sleeping and let them in. They come upstairs and say hello to her, but she refuses to open her eyes – this is a classic Miss Z move. So, I give them an update on the latest Z developments – she’s being reviewed for suitablility for the ketogenic diet on Monday, we are trialing a raised bathtub, we finally have a gastroenterology appointment. Everyone heads to the bathroom to inspect the raised bathtub.
When we return, Miss Z has her eyes open, but immediately closes them when she sees that her therapists are still here, and are now planning to make her “do things”. She feigns sleep for awhile longer, but eventually has to practice kneeling, rolling, and holding her head up.
I discuss the fact that Miss Z is out-growing her stroller faster than expected with the physio. I discuss ways to move forward with Miss Z’s communication with the speechie. The student – who has been working with Miss Z all term – chats with her and gets rewarded with eye contact. Ben the dog tries to make it all about him by presenting his belly to be scratched, but he’s easily distracted by a frozen banana.
When the therapists leave, Miss Z is ready to nod off again, but it is time to collect Vegemite from school, so I load her back in the car and we head off. We do “big girl pick-up” which means we pull up in the car and Vegemite jumps in, rather than getting Miss Z and her stroller out again. When she gets in, Vegemite excitedly informs me that she was awarded Student of the Week – and that I missed her getting it because we’d had to return home for an emergency nappy change. Ho hum.
Its Friday, which usually means that if Vegemite did well in swimming lessons that week, she gets a treat from MacDonald’s. She didn’t have swimming this week, but considering she got Student of the Week, we head to MacDonald’s anyway. Once upon a time, I was one of those parents that didn’t want my child to even know what MacDonald’s was… Those days are gone. We still don’t eat meals there, but their smoothies, shakes and slushies are an incredibly handy motivator for Vegemite. And it has a drive-thru. Since Miss Z arrived on the scene, I’ve become a big fan of drive-thrus!
After getting Vegemite’s reward, we head home. Vegemite immediately switches on the television, but when I notice that she’s about to watch an episode of an extremelly annoying show on Disney channel that she’s already seen at least twenty times in the past 2 days (at least that’s how it feels), I order the television off, and she entertains herself with some toys instead.
Miss Z is still grumpy and no amount of cuddling or repositioning can make her happy. She gets another feed and I jolly her along while tidying up the kitchen, bringing in the laundry and playing fetch with the dog (who is full of beans after a fairly boring day for him). I manage NOT to throw any dog toys onto the roof of our house or into the neighbour’s garden, which is pretty good considering my track record…
Then its dinner for Vegemite and bathtime for both girls. With the new raised bathtub, both girls can take baths in different bathtubs in the same bathroom at the same time. So we do it, because we can. I’m still getting the hang of the new bathtub and somehow manage to flood part of the floor, but otherwise I’m calling it a success since I ended up with two clean girls and no one drowned.
As I was drying Miss Z, our cat Juno appeared outside the bathroom door. She was making her yowling noise, which always signals that she has brought us a ‘gift’. It turned out to be a baby rat – dead. Vegemite wailed that the rat was cute and that Juno was cruel and awful. I scooped it up and threw the little corpse in the bushes, hoping the cat wouldn’t return with it again in a few minutes…
After that it was simply a case of changing Miss Z’s feeding tube dressing, re-bandaging her heel, brushing her hair and tying it up (she HATES this), brushing her teeth without making her vomit, putting on her pajamas, attaching her feeding tube, handing her over to QB for a quick cuddle while I dash downstairs to put a new drop cloth on her bed (it goes under her head and can be replaced during the night if she does a lot of dribbling or coughs up secretions). Then Miss Z (who is tired and cranky by this time, so we’re skip the bedtime story) gets positioned in bed (on her side to minimise the risk of choking, pillow between her legs to prevent pressure sores and ensure good hip support, pillow behind her back to prevent her from rolling onto her back and choking, and bunny between arms for comfort) and I put one of her fibre-optic lights next to the bed to help settle her. Covers pulled up, lights turned off, music turned on – and that’s Miss Z in bed – success!
Half an hour or so later, Vegemite also heads off to bed (after eating most of the naan bread from the curry that QB has ordered for us). At which point I pour myself a glass of wine and collapse on the sofa. After all, I’ve got at least an hour before I need to start on Miss Z’s nighttime meds and overnight feed…
Bring on Monday, I say!