Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chickpea died.

Chickpea has been part of our family since Iris opened a wrapped box with holes in it on Christmas Day and found two rabbits inside.

Chickpea was a neutered female, and she and Iggy Hop mostly got on very well, with occasional spats. I suspect they fought because it just is hard to keep on getting on with the members of your household, and because as Chickpea got bigger she thought that perhaps it was
time she was the dominant bunny, but Iggy was happier with the status quo.

Chickpea was incredibly soft of fur and a beautiful golden fawn, but fierce. She didn't like being picked up and she would grunt to remind anyone who tried, but she liked us to feed her treats out of our hands. She climbed the hedge to eat the lemon tree, she snatched food from Iggy and ran off with it, and she taught me a lot about rabbits. Having two rabbits has meant that we are able to see differences between them: Chickpea was a foodie, she liked to try new tastes and passionately ate her favourite things first.

She died suddenly. Yesterday at breakfast she was balancing on her hind legs, eating treats and pawing at Sean's dressing gown. Sometime in the middle of the morning she was in one of her ordinary spots under the hedge. After lunch she didn't come hopping to greet me and
ask for treats when I came out the door, I found her hunched in her hutch. Her nose woffle was slow, so I opened the hutch roof and got her out. I knew something was wrong when she didn't object. Hazel, Iris, and I checked her all over for injuries and we didn't find any, her tummy was soft, but she was obviously sick because she really didn't seem to mind, no freaked staring or anything. The vet had an appointment for 4:20. I put her in the bedroom of the hutch and closed
the door for quarantine. Iggy hopped about the garden. At about 2:20 I was about to take Hazel to Circus School so I went to see how Chickpea was, she was lying on her side, as if happy, comfortable and at ease but she was utterly still. I picked her up and she was still warm so I listened to her chest, but her heart was silent.

Crying, I brought her in to the children. They took turns holding her and we came to believe in her death. Hazel rang Sean, he said "I will be home as soon as possible" and was. I took Hazel to circus school, she was only a little late and went in with the hope it would be very interesting so she could concentrate completely on it.

"At least," Hazel said, "it wasn't Moab, because we only have one cat and we have two bunnies."
I agreed, but warned her not to say that to her grieving sister.

I came home again and took Iggy to Chickpea's appointment, to see if he seemed well to an expert observer. We talked about Chickpea's death, but no conclusions were reached. I had Chickpea in the car just in case the vet wanted to check any hypotheses, but Iris didn't want
an autopsy and Iggy did seem well.

When I came home I asked Iris "How are you?"
"Sad, but a bit calmer since Daddy came straight home from work and
was really nice to me and gave me everything I wanted."

After dinner I asked again and she said
"A bit sad, but not hurt, not in pain like I fell over," and we scheduled Chickpea's funeral for 11am.

We didn't let Iggy back into the hutch but instead he stayed the night in the grand new bathroom. He seemed to quite like it. This morning Iris went in to check on him, alone as it happened. Afterwards she said
"At first when I opened the door I couldn't see him and I thought he might be dead too, and he was quite still in the box, so I thought he might be going-to-die like Chickpea was, but he came out for some treats and was normal, so I was happy."

Later Iris said she was
"Sad about Chickpea, but I'm not crying anymore whenever I think about her"

This morning we hit our main water pipe while digging the grave in our funereal finery. Water fountained out baptising the concrete rabbit we had ready for the headstone, but missing the dead rabbit lying in state in the beautiful wrapped box she originally came in and her
floral offerings. The funeral was delayed while we rang the plumber. At the funeral we said some things, stroked her soft fur, and put her back in her box. We placed flowers all around her and went out to lunch somewhere where the water was on. The interment was after the plumber dug the hole a little deeper, fixed the pipe, and told me he didn't think he'd be needing that hole again until she was long gone. More flowers, a few more words, Hazel and Iris filled in the hole, and positioned the concrete rabbit and more flowers. The finished grave is rather lovely.

Sean and the children had horse-riding to learn, so I spent all afternoon at home disinfecting and cleaning the hutch for Iggy, who would sit still enough that I'd want to give him a treat to check he was okay and not about to die too. I'd get a treat and go to him, but he would run and hide. "Running is good" I would think, sadly, and I'd go back to my services for the unappreciative rabbit. I thought he hated the smell of the cleaners I was using and so I washed my hands in his pee and then in plain water. After that he allowed himself to eat a treat I'd given him, but only if I put it on the ground and retreated. So I think he feels I am culpable because I was the one who
found her, who took him to the vet with Chickpea dead in the car, and who was trying to clean their hutch of all traces of their shared life. I was cheered when he started grooming himself (Chickpea mostly groomed Iggy and Iggy occasionally gave her a bit of a lick too).

I hope Iggy forgets this theory by tomorrow, surely he's not alone in his hutch plotting revenge and bearing a grudge. I also hope it will all help with Iris's fear of death, as it was so surprising that there was no time to dread it, and afterwards there's been kindness, compassion, flowers, funerals and cards.

Goodbye Chickpea, I will not forget you. You jumped in pure joy, and when you flopped down in the backyard the whole household was at peace.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Things I am up to.

Helping with PMP, reading, and shelving at school. Starting a Human Biology course, getting on with the rabbits, a lot of washing, some bicycling.


Friday, August 21, 2009

This little pig stays home.

Iris diagnosed with influenza, probably swine flu, this morning, Dr says Hazel probably has it too. This afternoon I went to sleep in the middle of a paragraph I was reading to Hazel, awoke to her telling me I was hot and when she took my temperature it was 38.5 (102ish). I'm such a joining-in kind of person.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not managing Christmas cards but ...

If you read my blog, you know what I'd be likely to write in a Christmas Letter, if I was so organised as to send one, it would be this:

I've been keeping well in the important ways (although I had influenza for weeks of winter and my knees aren't so hot... I hope that I'll be back to playing Ultimate Frisbee in the not-too-distant future). 

Iris starts school in February, and before then we have a mad Summery rush of end-of-year ballet, violin, and school shows, celebrations and vacations. Sean's family has a new holiday house near Lake Taupo and we'll have Christmas there, we pop back to Wellington, have a New Year's Eve party, and then whizz off again to Auckland and the Coromandel. When we come back we'll have the girls' birthdays' party and then Iris will start school! I hope she's readier for this transition than I am. 

I don't know what life will be like with two school children. Except for continuing to read aloud in the school library on Friday lunch times, I have planned to have no plans for the first term, both so that I can support Iris if she needs support, and so that I can sort of find out what I'd like to do next. I remember after my MA when people asked what I was going to do next I said that I didn't know but that someone (who was Sean, as it happens) had told me "Don't do nothing". I feel like I'm close to that choosing spot again and that again, I don't know, but I won't do nothing. 

Iris and Hazel and I have all been learning the violin for the past 6 months and we've been very lucky to have found one of those people who has a calling to teaching. She also does Feldenkrais Technique and that's been interesting too. Unfortunately she has plans to go overseas in about February and the next just-right person has not yet fallen into our laps. 

Hazel's starting to enjoy reading to herself! Hooray! Although her current obsession is for Philip Pullman's Northern Lights series and she can't read that fluidly enough to satisfy herself, but she is finding some children's chapter books are both within her skill and her interest ranges. She enjoys school by-and-large, is strongly interested in writing, drawing and natural history and good at mathematics. The thing I hear about most at school is the monkey bars however. 

Sean's work has been progressing, and he took up Mountain Biking about a year ago and loves it. Our 40th birthdays are both in 2009 and for mine (Feb 15) I plan to have a party at home, for his (May 13) he plans that we'll all go to Thailand! He's been spending a lot of time on the web and reading guide books. 



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"I pooed and peeed in the toilet and nowhere else!"

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Workshop workshop.

Yesterday a subconscious urge struck me and I signed up for the "How to run a workshop" Playcentre workshop on November 19th; now I'm trying to work out why I did that.

Is it about schemas?

In 2004 we at Wilton Playcentre developed a 2-3 hour Schema Workshop as part of its Centre of Innovation research contract with the Ministry of Education and I've enjoyed giving that to Playcentre and other Early Childhood Education people about half a dozen times.

While we were working on that schema workshop I made a chart showing schemas in areas of play*. My chart is popular with people who find it immediately accessible and useful, but I suspect it would be more accessible, more useful, and therefore more popular, if it had some sort of brief introduction with it. Also, when I wrote it in 2004 I put on it everything I knew about schema learning theory at the time but I've learnt some more since.

So a few months ago I started working on my personal introduction to schemas because I'd like there to be something really short that I can give to people who ask me about schemas that they can use in the meantime, while they work out whether they're interested enough in schema learning theory to do any more reading about it. It started as a half-hour workshop that can be part of another meeting and I've given at a SPACE group and a session meeting (a meeting where a whole playcentre can get together to talk about the kids). My introduction didn't stay down at the half-hour length and so it could do with some work yet, and a Workshop workshop might well show me the trick of concentrating and shortening it.

* Schemas in Areas of Play.pdf
Harper, S. (2004) Playcentre Journal 121: pp 18-19
Also in Meade, A. and Cubey, P. (2008) Thinking Children: Learning about schemas pp 27-29

Or is it about something else?

You see, schemas are quite an interesting thing to know about, but I think I'm wanting to write about them in order for what I know about them to end up as a pamphlet so I don't have to be there to introduce them myself: A Letter of Introduction to Schemas perhaps.

What I'd like to stand up on my hind legs and lecture you about right now is Te Whāriki's belonging and well-being, flow, people's passions (of which schemas are a subset) and how desperately they matter when people interact.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where I'm at.

I just wrote a letter to a friend I haven't seen in a long time, I want to go to bed and so I'm not going to write a blog post too but I doubt he'll mind me putting it here.
I'd like to write properly, but it seems unlikely this month as Hazel's taking a bit of settling into her second year of school. She's at the primary school I was at, Iris is at the playcentre I was at too. Most people in most of the world and through most of time raise their children where they were children themselves but it still feels odd to me.

I'm about to turn 39. In a very biologically appropriate way I've spent my thirties working with children. Other people's first of all as, of the four years I spent in the US while Sean was in graduate school at Indiana University, Bloomington and I went along for the ride, I spent the last bit working in "daycare". Then we came back here and I puttered around for a year with a couple of part-time jobs, one of which was in "early childhood education" and since then I've been Mum. If Mum is a job it's the best and hardest one I've ever had but we've decided to stop at two (though I wouldn't bet this lovely old sunny house in Northland on that) in order to retain the opportunity for work-life balance.

I'm thinking I might well do some art school courses when Iris gets to school in a year. I have some big scale installation-type projects growing in my mind (eg. a box a person can crawl into and peer out of because the sides are a web of yarns: somewhat related to those nail and yarn pictures of the seventies but less regular) and if I can fight akrasia far enough to get around to tidying the playroom on a fairly frequent basis surely I can get some of them out of my mind and into the world.

I write a blog. Or at least, I text my blog the occasional sentence and form intentions to write more some other time. if you're curious.

If you're actually curious you could read this:

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Sunday, November 11, 2007


Donate at Number 149551 (not me, but RincewindTVD who I picked because he also needs mascara to make his moustache camera-ready).


Monday, October 22, 2007

Washing my nose.

The strangest thing is the pause. After filling the nose pipe with water that feels exactly the temperature of my skin and 1/4 tsp of salt, tilting my head winningly and putting the elegant blue ceramic nose pipe to the higher nostril, I wait, wondering where the water is going, whether it's going to work this time, and then just as I'm about to give up and blow my nose again to clear the blockage, it pours out of the other nostril. This is a very bad time to get the giggles.

I'm oh so glad that when I want to, I know how to wash my nose. Today my glands are a little swollen and my sinuses are a little tender and it is just the moment when sometimes, if I catch it right, I can wash it all away.

I'm also glad I don't have to use it every day.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Coming out.

Coming out; lots of brave people do it on October 11, and I meant to, but I wasn't very well.

Should I come out? What as?

I like to wear skirts, which is more usual if one is a woman, and I'd rather re-define woman to include me than be considered a man, despite my more mannish tendencies. Thus I am not transgender.

I have no ex-girlfriends, but that wasn't through a lack of yearning, it was more through lacks of action, guts or reciprocity. I guess about a quarter of my crushes have been on women, and my number of lovers is not statistically significant, yet if my outward behaviour choices were as gay as they have been straight I'd definitely be gay, so I suppose I'm straight-ish enough in action, despite all those fervoured imagined trysts, that my claim to be bi is somewhat tenuous especially by now. Lois McMaster Bujold's good with words, when Aral is described as bisexual to his wife, she replies "Was bisexual, he's monogamous now." I do have a tall dark handsome husband and with the evidence of two pretty-in-pink daughters; it's not a very gay look. So, if I'm straight I'm not very straight but I'm not very bi either.

What I can tell you for sure is that I am a feminist. I take the politics of sexuality and gender seriously; I am very over statements of the form "you know what wo/men are like" and gay jokes, in 10 years time I'll be judging my children's partners on their choice of words and actions rather than their sexes, and I am working for a world where sex and sexual orientation don't matter any more than whether people's earlobes are attached or not (did you know that most people choose long-term partners whose earlobes are the same as their own? I hear they do).

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Upcoming schema.

I think I've got a different schema starting. I'm not sure yet, but there are symptoms.

I've been making a file index of all the fictional people in our roleplaying game and didn't colour code the cards, although I had two colours.

I've been enjoying tidying the Lego (sorting by size and shape into clear boxes and putting the boxes into bigger boxes) as much as or more than making stuff with it until tonight.

Tonight I invented the Lego graph: a bar chart you can feel the differences between! But I didn't want it to have anything but yellow Lego in the bars.

Tonight I covered a four by twelve flat grey with yellow Lego, and covering that with more and more yellow Lego, filling in the space lots of different ways. It was so beautiful I had to put it in my mouth.

And last night three of my friends wore matching magenta tops with concentric silver stars to the party and every time they gathered together I got a special replete feeling and I just wanted them to be near me the whole party in their colour co-ordinated beauty (despite temptation I made do with a magenta sparkle, thanks for your concern).

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Toilet paper.

"Look Mummy, I am wrapped in the toilet paper!" Iris laughs, invisible except for her muscular little legs.
"Oh. Iris." I say, tiredly, humourlessly, but fondly.
Slightly disappointed she returns to the loo to unwind.

I'm sorry. I wish I hadn't suppressed the laughter. I wish I'd let it rip. She'd laugh if I wrapped myself up and capered half naked for her.

Perhaps it's the connection with the only place in my life with a lock on the door. The children use the toilet paper for things other than its intended purpose. It's not wasting, it's using; they are exploring ideas with it. It's a cheap resource, usually it is not even rendered useless, merely less pristine. We have more, they use it clean so it's not a health risk. But sometimes I get disproportionately distressed by it anyway. I try to guess when it might matter and just put the toilet paper up high so that we won't come into conflict un-necessarily. And that's why I didn't laugh; I was amused this time, but I didn't want to reinforce playing with toilet paper only to become a shrieking ogre about it some other time.

I told her aunt.
"Is she Mummy's mummy then?" she asks.
I'm still groaning on the inside.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Transitions and objects.

Mary, carrying her own baby and shepherding her own almost-not-a-preschooler anymore took a rotten branch taller than she is a.k.a. The Most Inconvenient Transitional Object Yet out through the crowded zoo foyer for Iris. It's still in the car (although I shortened it a little so it fits in the boot). I start to get it out and each time Iris becomes anxious and pleas "not quite yet".

One of the features of life with Iris since Hazel has been going to school is that she usually likes to take something from the place she is leaving with her to the place she is going. She needs to borrow something from Playcentre at the end of the session in order to leave happily. She often asks people if she can have something to eat as she's leaving and carries it with her as she goes. She surreptitiously picks up litter, leaves, gravel, and carpet fluff to hold in her hand until she's settled into the journey. She took a toy meerkat she'd borrowed from her cousins when she was visiting them to the zoo.

Typically a Transitional Object is something like White Bear, with whom Hazel has slept almost every night that she hasn't slept with us. Iris doesn't have one beloved object that she sleeps with, she likes variety; at the moment the thing she wants to have in her bed as she drops off to sleep is me,
"Lie down and stop typing or I will never get to sleep!"
I don't suppose I count as a transitional object in the original sense as they're some kind of substitute for the mother, but she's certainly using me to make a transition less of a change, and I think that's what the other things are about too.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007


We're a little further from the darkest day.
The kids have not been 100% well much of the last few months. We went on holiday and all got sick.
The silvereyes love the dripping in the bird feeder in our back garden.
I'm knitting a zip cardie and I dyed my sports-bras very purple (I'm finding these Berlei High Performance Underwire Sports Bras simply excellent but, as with all bras, I think it depends greatly on the competence of the person who fits it).
I run through Otari most Fridays. It's lovely there.
I've become an ENFJ. I don't think I've been that before, not that I can remember what I was I'm afraid.
I found a pseudo-scorpion, it is very dextrous with its long front claws.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Raisin bread and sprinkles.

Today Iris decided we live in a busy cafe and we made bread and muffins and fluffies and were as polite to each other as if we'd never met.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh, I could cry.

They love each other. They hit each other of course, they're sisters and they're only 3 and 5, but it's usually preceded by something the other could have responded to that was verbal, or at least vocal, and it's definitely an expression of passing frustration rather than lasting enmity. They spent their days together for all of Iris's life. Hazel went to school and now they are separated for over 6 hours of every week day. Hazel did some emotional processing and seems pretty settled by now.

Iris seemed more all right at first, but she never coped well with drop-offs and pick-ups and has become very stressed. She has been night-wetting for the first time since she was 20 months old. Her first response to every suggestion of a change in activity from anybody is negative. She is having to take more and more awkward transitional objects everywhere. She's edgy, demanding and sad. All she suggests doing in Hazel's absence is watching DVDs. We went to the pool with school and she wanted to be left in the classroom. I took her away. She was heart-broken anew and has re-interpreted events to suggest that if she had been able to fold her clothes like a school girl she would have been allowed to join Hazel at school.

Iris has not wanted to go to Hazel's ballet recently, she used to demand to watch it. Last week Sean was home sick and so I left Iris in front of a DVD and took Hazel. Today I asked my father to come over so I could take just Hazel. Hazel said she didn't want to do ballet anymore because Iris doesn't like it and she wants to spend more time with Iris. I explained we've paid for the term and she herself would have to tell her teachers that she was leaving and why and hug them goodbye. Hazel spent the lesson, curled foetally, thumb in mouth, watching the other children dance.

But Lois McMaster Bujold says to lower the wall, not increase the pressure.

I'm trying to help my children through this separation and change. I'm trying to remove unnecessary transitions from Iris's life, I'm trying to empower Hazel to walk to and from school so that Iris doesn't have to come face to face with the source of her grief twice a day. I'm trying to give Iris lots of opportunities to use scissors. I too have been cutting things up in order to make new things out of them. Emotional processing through displacement perhaps; I am trying to remain calm.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

I traded my blog for ...

I have been thinking about Geeks on Dates, and I've even got a little further on writing a few of them, but not far enough on any particular one. I could try to blame the virus or viruses that have been plaguing my partner, or whatever it is that has been plaguing my children (each other?), also, I've been going out, I saw both Ed Byrne and Dylan Moran (I doubt they saw me). But really it's probably the new overlocker.

... a new overlocker.
"Yeah, I think I saw a geek crawl out the back door."
sew sew sew.

My next dilemma is, now I'm here will I stay, I should be making fabulous circular skirts of happiness for the children? Just think how much the utter joy of a three year old is worth when stacked up against a snort of laughter in a thirty year old or two? And that snort's if I did anything but read.

Also, while we're doing a little philosophy, what about those choosy fruit flies with their free will? How bad does that make insecticide? (Seems like there might be a brain region evolved to produce "spontaneous variations in fly behaviour").

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Shallow grave.

Wish my rodent was imaginary; I had a tug of rat with Moab, the rat's tail-skin stripped off, the shiny naked tail bled on the carpet as the rat tried to flee from us. I took the rat outside and convinced Iris it wouldn't make a good pet now, not with its tail smarting and its internal injuries slowly killing it. I explained we had a choice, it could die slowly or I could kill it fast. We decided I should kill it. I picked it up by its poor naked tail and swung its head hard and fast onto the concrete step to snap its spine.

As it quietly died Iris called it a cutie and admired its perfect little pink feet.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

I took two small white pills.

"I just forgot, and I think my husband thought I'd made a decision in a discussion we've been having lately."
"Have you considered doing something more permanent?"
Well, having another baby would probably fix the problem for at least eighteen months.
The nurse wrote "Had unprotected sex with husband."
Does the partner make a difference to the dosage?
She offered me a glass of water, but I said I hadn't finished thinking yet.

I'm with Mr. Pratchett; we can't go down both legs in the trousers of time. In some ways that makes choosing easier because once I choose it's part of me, I just am the one who did it that way and I've noticed that I remain smug enough to be pleased whatever I choose. I went to the beach with my family (Hazel's fine but had diarrhea recently enough she wasn't at school). I enjoyed their conversation and their independence, I threw the disc, ran fast and jumped high. I didn't have to carry anybody. I looked at babies with strange concentration.

Mother of two, or three? Fit and getting faster, seeing movies, and role-playing, or busy getting enough sleep for two? Still thinking the same thoughts as I was before but faced with a real possibility they are cast into sharp relief. I'm particularly aware that I could easily become someone who said "Oh, I've done team sports twice in my life. Netball for the winter when I was 12 and Ultimate for the summer when I was 37-38."

Those pills, they've changed the recipe, and they didn't make me feel as bad this time.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Baggage claim.

My lovely physiotherapist said I wasn't getting better enough and referred me to a podiatrist so that if I was doing something in such a way that I kept re-injuring myself he could help me fix it. I am and he is. I've been running wrong, of course I've never been taught and I don't do it in order to annoy anyone, frivol ACC funds or even to make my team lose because our women are slower than the other teams' women, but it's still wrong both injurious and inefficient.

So I have work to do, it starts with exercises. I'm supposed to run while I do some of them. It transpires I can't think about my exercises in the game, I'm too busy thinking about the game. I also break into sheer stage-frighty panic at the very thought of doing them anywhere public. So I'm trying to fool myself into doing them around the barriers of my sports-phobia and my tendency to avoid effort in situations that may lead to failure.

I throw the disc to the other end of my lawn, I quickly look around to check no-one's watching, I run, slowly and awkwardly, thinking of all the instructions I'm trying to follow, to the disc, I pick it up furtively glancing around to see if anyone's started watching, I throw the disc to the other end of my lawn, I glower around to check no-one dared watch, I run, fuming at my incompetence in following this kind of instructions, to the disc, I pick it up and pull it viciously into the bushes at the other end of the lawn... after I while I get sick of myself and jump to the disc, trying to use my bottom as if it had muscles in it, Iris jumps with me, she gets to the disc first, grabs it and runs away from me laughing; effortlessly and visibly using her beautiful glutes.
I swear, "Bum!"
She falls to the ground giggling.
We start again.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Aid

At dinner Hazel often asks "What did you learn today?" she didn't tonight, but if she had I would have had an answer because I did a First Aid refresher course with First Aid Consultants today. Here's what I learnt:
  1. Survey the scene.
    • dangers in general?
    • what happened?
    • number of patients?
  2. D - dangers to patient (move them?)
    R - responsive?
    S - send for help ("ring ambulance, come back and tell me when you have")

    A - airway open (+ stabilise head and neck)
    B - breathing? (look, listen, feel)
    C - CPR
    • if patient under 8 then start with 5 rescue breaths
    • C: 30 Chest compressions (in time with Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" 30 takes you about one chorus)
    • A: airway open?
    • B: 2 rescue breaths
  3. Airway closed? 5 back blows, 5 Heimlichs (or chest thrusts if can't), repeat.
    Breathing but unconcious -> Recovery Position
    Conscious but breathless -> Sit Up (elbows up too perhaps)
    Conscious but feeling faint -> Lie Flat on ground
  4. Body Check
    1. Calmly introduce and explain yourself, ask what happened.
    2. "Squeeze my fingers with your hands"
    3. "Push my hands with your feet (if can't lower spine injury, don't move them)"
    4. Head: look for fluid coming out ears, nose, mouth. Feel for spongey skull.
    5. Neck, spine, abdomen: feel for hard bits.
    6. Squash pelvis: check for grating
    7. Check legs then arms for deformity, bruising, pain. Check joints work.
  5. Nil by mouth.
  6. Keep the patient warm and reassure people. Speak slowly, deep and calm.
  7. Keep Monitoring and Reassuring.
If a person is unconscious get an ambulance. If a someone has been knocked out they should be checked out.

If you've RICEd someone (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and there's no reduction in pain or swelling or they don't have the ability to move the thing, take them to A&E. Do no HARM for the first 24 hours (Heat, Alcohol, Resuming activity, Massage: all things which make more blood and inflammation at the site of the injury).

Burns are now 20 minutes under cool water (softly running). Get off all relevant jewelery and clothing unless it sticks.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007


Having a happy birthday so far!

My household made me a grand birthday breakfast with eggs in hollandaise sauce, cake, and coffee on a petal scattered table with hydrangeas tied to my chair. Hazel and Iris (and Anne) have made me a shiny Cadbury Roses wrappers patchwork handbag!!!!

Hazel didn't cry after she got to school. We were almost late so she didn't really have time I suppose.

I took a bus to town.

and bought many brightly coloured things to wear. I met Sean and Iris at the Costume Cave sale, didn't buy all the brightly coloured things I could have, and had a lovely lunch at a place whose name seems to have been erased from my mind. They'd been at Tumble Tots, where for the second week in a row the woman of the team had done the demonstration of the equipment.

When we got home my father met us and he and I walked up to collect Hazel from school and my mother and nieces (a.k.a. H and K) came over shortly after we got home for afternoon tea. H and K brought me oodles of balloons from their own birthday party and Mummy and Daddy gave me some interesting looking books. Hazel read her latest book to my father, which is only fair after all hours he's spent reading to her.

And then we went swimming, and had dinner out.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Keeping it ever so seemly.

Last night was a lovely night and this morning was a beautiful morning. Anne and Iris both chuckling and even I was staggering about and smiling by twenty past seven. Knowing Sean had made Hazel's lunch and I'd done a nice job of shopping for the Playcentre morning tea, I figured I had time enough for cleanliness so I even got the washing on the line despite wanting to be at Playcentre pretty early in order to help everything go smoothly for Alan Johnson's visit. Considering that I was preparing to have the UK State Secretary for Education and Skills come to visit intending to learn something from my work I thought I had done a fine job to keep the flap at a reasonably normal level.

But when we walked into Hazel's classroom sitting in her beloved teacher's place was someone else! Hazel became clingier and clingier as the new person, who had actually taught me on occasion when I was a pupil at that school, tried to make friendly conversation. When it came time for me and Iris to leave Hazel totally did her nut. Her beloved, and quite experienced, teacher said that, in her experience, the best course of action was to just leave. So I gave Hazel my jacket as a transitional object and Iris and I left. We heard Hazel's cries all the way out the gate and down the street.

"Hazel does want her little sister but we are going away Mummy!"

I was concerned too; the beloved teacher wasn't there when I was given that advice at a creche and Hazel screamed the place down all afternoon and then went from a pleasantly independent 15 month-old to a dramatically clingy one and stayed like that for a couple of years. Neither was she there when I was given that advice at swimming lessons and she wouldn't put her head under the water for the next year and a half.

Fortunately Playcentre was in good shape despite me being 25 minutes late. The kids and visitors had a beautiful peaceful session (at Karen and Nigel's wedding someone said that a good marriage was like swans gliding across the lake, beautiful, serene and the product of madly paddling orange duck feet under the surface; the session was like that). I'm not sure that Alan Johnson got what we are though; Playcentre is not a play group. Playcentre is an organised pedagogical movement in Early Childhood Education, as are Steiner and Montessori, Playcentre's unique features are that it is based on free play in a rich environment, it is native to New Zealand, and it is run as a parent volunteer co-operative. Play groups are groups where kids play together while adults talk, they are unlikely to be licensed ECE providers).

I rang the school and they said Hazel had settled in 3 minutes, and was busy and happy in her class, that she played happily at play-lunch, and at lunch, and that other kids looked after her.

She was let out of class first because she'd been so brave and I gave her a flower and got a huge hug, she gave me the jacket (which she had been wearing around her neck) back, then she sniffed the flower, rejected it, read me her homework book, said something to her teacher and we set off for home.

I think I need to play some Ultimate; get me ya-yas out. But for now ... housework!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A day with Iris.

The day Hazel started school the skies were scorching clear. Iris and I went to a cafe with friends and lunched on fruit and carrots in the bush listening to the birds. Iris ran to the toilet and got there with bone dry undies, danced to every car stereo we overheard, took off all her clothes to play in a sprinkler and we agreed we'd had a day of delights. All day I felt Hazel's absence as an emptiness in my stomach like a new love.

Hazel walked out of school a three-metre tall born-again pupil with a new book bag , she told me it was the first day of homework and read her homework book to me in the playground, and to Iris at home, and to Iris and me at home, and she got Iris to read it to me too. She then told me
"Ella was kind to me," and asked "can I start my homework? How do you do homework?"
As she had already read the book I told her she could copy the words out of the book if she wanted to do extra homework. She copied out the title and first sentence, and drew around the book ("not on the book!" she explained hotly) "to see what shape it is." She was a little disappointed to hear that although the teacher had given her the book it was not hers to keep, but vastly cheered to hear the school has a whole library.

She tells me she played with Ella, Nyah, Zoe, Tara and Maria, but not the other Ella who lives next door. That she took the principal 3 of the 4 pictures she did today because when she was visiting he'd said that sometimes people bring him things they are very proud of and it's the best part of his day.

I'm as threadbare as a thousand year old rug and I haven't even done the washing so Hazel has no clean knickers to wear tomorrow to the school picnic I found out about today (Iris and I are invited too).

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