• jdettmann

We All Fall Down


Just one of the strange scenarios I have found in my home recently. By coincidence, a reasonable accurate portrayal of our life: a naked cat having a tantrum (Garnet), a moose who is over it (May Blossom) and I am obviously Mummy Pig, bearing it all with the patience of a saint, while wearing too much mascara. Not pictured: H, off earning money to keep us in antibiotics and steroids.

In news that will surprise precisely no-one who has ever read this blog before, here at the House of Gusto we are once again beplagued with illness. In under a month we have had one sinus infection, one chest infection, one ear infection, some viral tonsillitis, four common or garden variety colds, two cases of croup and one case of severe infectious impetigo. Jesus wept.

The only thing left to try is giving up on the healthy diet, with all the fruit and vegetables and quinoa, give up the probiotics and the immune boosting herbs and vitamin C powder and gummy vitamins, and try a regimen of McHappy Meals and white bread with margarine and hundreds and thousands, washed down with full-sugar Cocoa-Cola. I’ll let you know how we get on.

So there has been a lot of not going out, time off pre-school and quarantining ourselves at home, which has made everyone go completely do-lally. The children are beginning to turn on each other, and at times I’ve been tempted to just leave them to it. At other times I rally though, and attempt to intervene when a whack leads to a pinch, which leads to a thump which will eventually land someone in hospital. But even intervening has its risks.

A week or so ago Garnet and May Blossom were squabbling over something toy-train related, which is weird because only one of them gives a toss about the trains. She squeezed his wrist hard. He whacked her. I made them apologise to each other, then to distract them I pointed at their hobby horses, lying conveniently in the doorway like the overpriced trip hazards they are, and said, ‘Hey don’t your horses need some exercise? How about you take them for a ride! They’ve been stuck in their stable all day!” (When I haven’t slept for a fortnight I speak with a lot of panicky exclamation marks in my voice).

May Blossom piped up, “Actually they’ve been very bad today.”

“Really?’ I asked, ‘What happened?’

She replied, “Well, they kicked over a bucket of water they weren’t supposed to. Then they ripped up some books, then drew on some paper they weren’t supposed to. Then they broke some newly made chairs … And then they killed an old man.”

Well, I thought. That escalated fast. Those horses have indeed been very bad. Those horses need more than exercise.

When we are home too much I start stumbling across creepy toy vignettes around the house. Like this:

Sometimes, when I can, I have been taking the least sick child out of the house for an exciting adventure. That rarely ends well. Garnet and I managed to go to the butcher early this week, as a special treat. While the assistant butcher was getting our order together, Garnet introduced himself to the jolly fat main butcher, who got excited because it turns out his father’s name was Garnet. He showed Garnet around and named all the different meats for him. ‘This is lamb and this is bacon and that is pork and that is chicken.’ Garnet repaid this kindness by getting his words all confused and as we left he tried to say ‘Bye, Butcher,’ but it came out ‘Bye, Porker’. To the big fat jolly kind butcher, who looked a little shattered.

After that it was only about a day before Garnet got the viral croup that May Blossom had. I should have known he was coming down with something, because she had perked up enough to play Schools, which meant it was his turn to get sick. She lined all her stuffed rabbits and cheetahs up on the floor and wrote some letters on pink slips of paper, which went in a box, but then had to come out of that box at roll call and go into a different box (she’s mad for bureaucracy in her games – can’t get enough paperwork). Usually Garnet will join in a game like this, but this time he came for roll call, sat in class for five minutes, then muttered ‘I’m going back to my shed,’ and stomped off. He doesn’t have a shed. I think he means the corner of the playroom where the oven full of ponies is. I’m a bit scared of his shed.

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