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Yesterday daughter came to collect her offspring and told me about her nightmare. This daughter is not given to sharing her dreams, in fact I can’t remember her ever doing this before. I listened attentively. The narrative was short, but it revealed so much.

In her dream she, and I, were in a hall and the 11+ decisions were being read out. It came to her daughter’s name and the outcome was non-selection for Grammar school. In her dream she cried hysterically, berating herself for not signing up to the coaching culture. She cried so loudly that she woke herself. Daughter described this experience as a ‘nightmare’, which to her it was.

I am no expert in dream interpretation but there are so many bits that leap out if I analyse. Grandaughter will receive her 11+ decision, result, today. She and her parents had made the decision not to go down the coaching route, unlike the majority of her classmates. AJ is bright. Her literacy skills are excellent, her numeracy is average and, she loves school. The central core of daughter’s dream is that she will blame herself if/when AJ is not selected for a grammar school. Her error will be not insisting AJ be coached.  Parent’s, but especially Mothers, do this all the time, throughout their children’s life they assume responsibility for every outcome. I find it interesting that I am with daughter. Is she sharing the ‘blame’ with me, or am I there as her support? Whoops! Now I’m doing it, assuming degree of responsibility for her anguish.

Daughter herself only attended grammar school for 6th form. We had made the decision to move her to another, non-selective school prior to what was then the 12+. Is the ‘nightmare’ revealing that she felt sadness at not having the chance to go through the election process? Her distress is now becoming mine as well. Luckily though, I can look back and know that the decision we made nearly 30 years ago did not, educationally, have any adverse repercussions.

This afternoon AJ will come out of school clutching an envelope which will reveal which school she will attend from September. I think I know what it will say. I would love to believe that natural ability will overcome the 3 years of coaching  that the majority of her classmates have undertaken. It would certainly reinstate my faith in the original concept of the 11+. Whatever the result AJ will know that it was honest and that we are proud of her.

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Whizzing through again!

What to say? Well, if anyone wants to read me on a more reliable basis I'm chatting away as A Midwife's Muse on WordPress otherwise I just pop here and back to 20six.

Son and his long term partner got married in May. The wedding had been planned for months, all the arrangements made, the dress bought and then nature stepped in, they found out that they were expecting a baby. The arrangements remained the same but the dress had to be re-thought so, yes, my 6th Grandchild is due in 6 weeks.

The other Grandchildren are growing apace. Jack, at 4 has started 'grown-up' school, and loves it, apparently it is full of dinosaurs, perhaps that is his comment on the age of his teachers? Amy is at nursery 3 full days, and taking it all very seriously, her favourite speech now is ' Quiet please. It is now quiet time. You may read, but quietly'. Izzy is 18 months, a truly beautiful little girl, and extremely adventurous. The year old twins, Jamie and Louis, are at nursery 1 day a week as their Mummy has gone back to work, and I have them the other 2 days. They remain identical, not just in looks but development and behaviour as well. For me, the key to coping with 2 mobile babies of the same age, has been organisation, routine and multiple stairgates, which is a whole new concept for me and childcare but its the only way that we can get through the day without upsets and accidents! 

 

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Jack, Izzy, Jamie, Louis, Amy

Today was eldest daughter’s birthday so there was the usual family meal, complete with the Grandchildren. I took the opportunity of the mass gathering to have a photo taken with all of them, just in case. Yes, I’m a pessimist who is anxious in case something goes wrong on Friday, so would like to know that there is a photo in existence that shows Nanny with the grandchildren. I know, I know, it’s only a minor op. and 90% of me is certain that all will be fine but there is just a teeny, tiny 10% that reminds me of the unexpected hiccups that occur even in routine procedures. I’ll laugh about these ridiculous jitters on Saturday, I’ll probably feel quite embarrassed I have revealed them here but it does feel good to bring them out in the open. You see I don’t let the family know what a little worry wart I am, I like them to believe that I am invincible, a safe port in stormy seas, a rock but sometimes even a rock needs somewhere to release her stresses, and this is that place. I’m not worried, for me, that I might die, after all if I’m dead I won’t know anything about it. However, I am concerned that I may a) be left compromised viz a vie quality of life or b) in a PVS. Drama queen, perhaps, but I’m being honest here, declaring my angst and this is how I feel under the confident exterior I show the world.

Right, back to normal service. The Conservatives are proposing introducing the provision of maternity nurses, emulating the Dutch system. What do I think? Immediate response, wonderful. Then I think ‘ that’s going to cost a huge amount. Where’s the money coming from?’ This has got to involve cutbacks somewhere within the public services, hopefully not the health service, or education, or police, where then? Next comes the thought that, although this is important to me, there are as, if not more urgent calls on the public purse just within the Health Service. What about the Care of the Elderly? I know from our experience with my Mother-in-law, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, how scanty and difficult it is to obtain help with care. How do you decide which is more deserving, a family with a new baby, or a family with an elderly, infirm relative who requires round the clock care? Here I am going to be hugely brave and get off the fence, I believe that any spare monies that exist should be channeled toward the elderly requiring care appropriate to their needs. I can’t express really why I believe this, when I try to dissect my thoughts the argument is easily destroyed. People should be prepared to have a baby, as you get older you should anticipate dementia and take out an insurance. Relatives should help and support family when there is a new baby, ditto for an elderly relative. Ahh, supposing the old person does not have relatives? Well, the insurance policy should come into it’s own then. See. I cannot logically defend my viewpoint, this is a real gut reaction. It’s all down to emotions. New baby, wonderful, a joy. A new life who will respond to you, will grow, may try your patience sometimes but will ultimately make it worth all the hardwork. Senile relative? Hard work with little reward, unless you take comfort from the fact that ‘Auntie’ hasn’t developed bed-sores, been found wandering the streets or fallen out of bed recently. A baby starts off needing to be fed all their food, but eventually they learn to feed themselves and then they will even prepare their own, and others, meals. ‘Auntie’ will start off feeding herself, it’s dangerous to let her loose in the kitchen though, gas, electric, water so many possibilities for her to have an accident. It’s not long though until she needs help, and this is assumes that this fully grown adult is not agressive due to her illness and therefore likely to be more intractable than a toddler ever knew how to be. Natural functions, smallish amounts in babies, easily controllable, not quite such a party ice-breaker when it’s an adult you’re talking about, ‘ Oh yes. Hugo is such a new man, he changes all Auntie’s incontinence pants, even when there has been an explosion and it’s gone all up her back!’ As I said, emotions. Been there. Done both. Know which was easier. Know which one I couldn’t have done without a huge, continuous amount of around the clock help and it wasn’t child-rearing.

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Family update

Jack – aged 3 and a half is at nursery 3 afternoons a week, and loves it. Today I took him and he disappeared at break-neck speed once we were in the school grounds, he couldn't wait to get his coat off and start playing. His sister, Isabel, or Izzy, is a little poppet. At 10 months she is tiny, a really petite little girl. She is crawling now but is never far away from her Mummy, there is a real love affair going on there. Izzy is 'double-jointed' which is at times really quite gross, thumbs go right back onto her wrists and her legs take on angles and positions which are freaky to observe.

Amy is not quite the butter-ball she was, thank heavens, her legs and tummy are slimming down nicely and she is just at the changing from toddler to little girl stage. Her Mummy says that she has spent too much time with me, she has all my mannerisms and sayings down to a T. We have a lovely relationship, she could be my favourite, but I try really hard not to have one grandchild I enjoy more than the others, perhaps it is just that we are so familiar with each other. Her brothers, the twins, Jamie and Louis are 12 weeks old now. Time has flown. They are the image of their sister, in other words little chubbies. It has become easier to tell them apart, if you know them, but Hubby and Son still get it wrong as often as they are right. Last week they both developed bronchiolitis and so spent the best part of a week in hospital between them. Traumatic time, trying to juggle the childcare. Amy's nursery have been amazing. She goes two mornings a week but since all the problems with Louis, queries about his hearing, spina bifida occulta and a heart murmur and then daughter becoming quite low due to worries and an almost total lack of sleep, they asked if they could have her on a Friday as well because she is 'so lovely and really helpful.' 

 

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The twins are here

The babies were born by elective caesarian section on Thursday 23rd August at 11.45 and 11.46 weighing in at 6lbs 30zs and 5lbs 15ozs respectively. Twin 1, who still has no name, got off to a roaring start and hasn't looked back, Twin 2, louis, was not as lucky. 15 minutes after he was born he was admitted to SCBU because he was having a hard time getting this breathing concept right. Once there they put him on CPAP, a machine which allows baby to breath by themselves but forces air into the lungs when they do take a breath. Because they couldn't be sure that the problem was solely due to him only being 36 weeks they put him on IV antibiotics, and because his brother had shared the same home they put T1 on IV antibiotics as well. The troubles were not over for poor old Louis, they then made a drug error with one of his antibiotics, Gentamycin. This is a nasty, toxic drug if given in excess, kidney damage and deafness being just two of the possible results of an OD. Blood tests have ruled out kidney damage, thank heaven, but he failed his first hearing test so this is being retested in 6 weeks.

At 12 weeks daughter was told that she was having identical twins, and they wern't wrong. They have no distinguishing features, every time you think that you have found a way of telling them apart you discover that the other twin has the same ear crease, what ever. Daughter has now painted T1's toenail with red nail varnish to avoid muddling them up!

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One down, two to go

It's happened, at last. After 6 months of waiting pregnant daughter has finally exchanged on her house move, they up roots to a house about 3 miles away, they are only one mile away at the moment, a week on Friday, that's just under 2 weeks before her section, fingers crossed she makes it that far. The twins are doing well, growing at slightly above the normal rate, todays scan showed two lively, chubby babies currently weighing around 5lbs each. Needless to say, daughter is extremely large and rather uncomfortable.

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