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  • jdettmann


First prize for The Pun With The Most Elaborate Set-up: H announced this morning that his watch is set to 'Green H mean time'.

We’re back from our holiday a bit early, because there were a number of issues in our lives that needed tending to. Things were outstanding. (Don’t you love that word? So much nicer than ‘overdue’.) Bills needed paying, friends needed seeing, physiotherapists needed consulting and H and I needed to acknowledge that two weeks alone on a farm with a toddler is one week too many.

Among the outstanding tasks is  May Blossom’s eighteen-month checkup. What Dr Who-style wormhole in time has allowed eighteen months to pass since her birth five minutes ago I do not know, but there you have it.

I’m supposed to fill out a questionnaire in her Blue Book before the appointment with the baby health nurse. A Blue Book is a collection of documents that contain all her stats and data from birth onwards. It’s meant to accompany you to every appointment until she leaves home and you can fill in the child’s milestones and whatnot in it. We were a bit late starting to fill May Blossom’s out because we didn’t know it existed for five days after her birth. The day we left it was pointed out to us lurking on the lower level of the trolley-bassinet she lived in at the hospital. We had only been interested in the top, baby-dwelling level of the trolley. Thus May Blossom’s Blue Book lacks much in the way of narrative setup.

The 18-month questionnaire is oddly phrased. Each question begins ‘Do you have any concerns about how…?’ to which my answer is almost always yes.

It asks ‘Do you have any concerns about how your child uses his or her hands and fingers?’ Well, yes, since you ask, yes I do. I am concerned at how she uses them to get the scissors out of my bedside table, and how she uses them to press all the buttons on the dishwasher and reset the oven clock eight times a day. Is that the sort of thing you mean?

Do I have any concerns about how she is learning preschool or school skills? You bet your life I do. HOW, precisely is she learning preschool or school skills? How does she know how to count to 10 (sort of – there are several threes and fours)? Where is this  recitation of something that sounds more like the alphabet than not coming from? How does she know how to sing songs? Who is teaching her all this? It’s not me. I’m too busy reading blogs and not my paying my bills on time. Maybe she hasn’t started sleeping through but is sneaking out to night classes.

I suppose it’s good, really, that she’s picking up preschool skills, because I have put her name down for exactly no preschools, so she may end up being self-home-schooled. The preschool application forms are definitely outstanding.

I have no good reason for this. It’s not a difficult task. I know the answers to the questions. For me these forms are the new Medicare claim – the piece of annoyingly simple paperwork that I just cannot bring myself to do. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I have the Medicare shit under control these days, but there might just have to be some aspect of my paperwork that remains undone or the world will spin off its axis. I suppose I could do the preschool forms. There’s always my tax still outstanding.

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