Djokovic vs the rest of the world

25 Jan

Getting married meant – apart from other things –  that I would have to take an interest in various sports. I mean, WATCHING various sports. Being french, soccer would be the obvious choice but living in South Africa, my boer husband is more into rugby. So I had to compromise; so I chose neither. I don’t like watching team sport. I can never remember their names and the colours all look the same so I’m never too sure whether I cheer for the right team or stupidly rooting for the Australians. Blergh.

I do enjoy supporting single players though. Take tennis. I love watching tennis.

Back in the day, I watched Roland Garros. Religiously. As if my life depended on it. It sort of did, considering that for froggies like me, Roland Garros is aka exam time. It is a great way to take a 4 hour break after 20 minutes of hard studying. Don’t judge.

Now, I can safely say that I watch tennis for the luuuve of the game. Over the years, I took great interest in some players. Some more than others.

Federer. Roger is nice. He’s a bit of a super human though. He hardly sweats. He doesn’t get angry. He barely gets thirsty. He dresses better than a Yves Saint Laurent’s fan (that’s no achievement – apologies to all my fashion victim friends) and looks better after a 5 hour match than I do after a 2 hour pamper time! I can’t relate.

Nadal. I’m treading on thin ice here so I’m going to watch my words to avoid any conjugal dispute: Rafaël is Spanish. Apart from paëlla and a lot of ¨, what good has ever come out of Spain? Plus his left arm freaks me out. Can’t his trainer help him with that? Shouldn’t someone give him some dumbbells.  I was ready to give him a chance considering his boyhish charm but his embarrassing video with Shakira ruined it for me. Cringe. I feel for him.

Murray. Oh puuuu- leaze. Don’t make me waste cyber space writing about Murray. Sorry England.

Djokovic. Ah, Djoko. Now that’s someone worth talking about. Let me educate you about Novak.

#1. He comes from Serbia. Serbian people have suffered enough. They deserve Djoko.

#2. Look at his blue eyes. Don’t these blue eyes say ‘Give me a racket?’. He was born to play.

#3. His great personality earned him the portmanteau of Djoker. He does impersonations of other players who, of course, are all his friends (they all want to be him obviously) and he dances – gangnam style. He’s got personality  and ‘personality’, in the words of Samuel L Jackson, ‘goes a long way’.

#4. These crazy australians (no offence australian friends, you aren’t as crazy as the french), somehow, think it’s a good idea to have these guys play at, like, 1am. No jokes. 1am. You know what I like to do at 1am? Let me tell you what I DON”T like to do at 1am: playing tennis. Djoko, he not only plays tennis but he also signs dozen of autographs at the end of the match. If one day, I become famous (for, I don’t know, writing stupid blog posts), I won’t be signing autographs at 1 am. Do not even ask.

#5. Finally,

I mean, isn’t this raw animal energy? How can you not be on his team?!

Sunday, the Australian Open final is on. Djoko, do not disappoint me. Otherwise I’ll have to delete this post that took precious time out of my busy homeschooling time.

(No Education Department, it didn’t…)

Life. Hermione’s style.

22 Jan

Before I became a Potter, I had a normal family, with (a) normal children daughter. Little did I know how much I was missing out on the Hermione Granger’s phenomenon.

Hermione Granger: the heroine that saved my daughter from becoming another victim of, I don’t know, what’s worse than Hannah Montana??

Thank you Joanna Kathleen.  Thank you for Hermione. I’m sad they forced you to write J.K to hide the fact that you’re a woman. That sucks. But you saved us from another generation of girls thinking that the best thing after living with 7 dwarves is living, like Montana, a double life (school girl by day, famous pop star by night and NOONE knows?? The suspense is killing me!)

For more than a year now, my daughter morphed into a nerdy, bushy hair witch, professing freezing curses or invisibility spells, armed with a wand and a book of HP. What’s not to like you might ask? I’ll tell you what’s not to like: nothing!

#1. Nerdy is the new skinny.

Nerdy AND bushy. What a role model!

Nerdy AND bushy.
What a role model!

If you had read my post about losing weight, you’d remember that it ain’t easy. And if you haven’t read it, you are dead to me.

Hermione taught me essential things, like nerdy has nothing on skinny. In the Prisoner of Azkaban, she actually masters the forces of time and space simply to have more hours in the day  to study. Now, that’s what I call dedication! Plus her wardrobe would not get her in the ‘popular’ circles! When last did you see the Batman cape on the catwalk, hein?

As a homeschooling mum, let me tell you she’s my dream student! Aaaah, if only my children would be geeks too…

 

#2. Bushy hair is like soft music to my ears.

Like a real nerd, Hermione has no time for flat-ironing her hair. She is average looking really, and she challenged the long straight blond hair beauty stereotype. That’s right, all you with straight hair, make way for the frizzy bush.

This is a daily scene in my house:

Me: standing in the bathroom working with these cursed curls.

Léa: I love your bushy hair mum. You’re soooo luuucky!!

#3. A wand is better than a tiara – any day.

Tiaras are so yesterday!

Honestly, what can Ken do with a tiara?

Tiaras are so overrated. They just sit there (if at all…) Even Barbie rejects the look.

With a wand, pshew, the possibilities are endless! I’ve been frozen, rendered invisible, levitated; all that by a wannabe-Hermione (yes, that’s my daughter I’m talking about!). Hermione, well, no doubt she knows the value of a wand.

Hermione: “You — crawl — back — here — after — weeks — and — weeks — oh, where’s my wand?

Harry: “Protego! Hermione! Calm —

Hermione: “I will not calm down! Give me back my wand! Give it back to me!

 

#4. She is nothing special.

That’s a big deal people! Nowadays, everyone seems to have a really special talent, a visible sign that they’re just not your typical next door neighbour – if you don’t have one, you can be my average next-door-neighbour. Hermione is a muggle (Not a mogwai, no, those are the creatures that turn into Gremlins). A muggle is someone whose parents are the average Joe. She isn’t born with a magic wand in her hand. She has to work hard at becoming the best witch in her class. There is no prophecy assuring her that she might live. She is principled, hard worker and brave (It’s almost too easy to hate her really) There’s always a moment in the movies when they have to turn to the brightest witch of her age to save the day and that’s why her name is on every cover (that, and the fact that it’s probably stipulated in her million-dollar contract).

Now I hope I’ve made my point.Next time you hear your daughter complain about her hair or her lack of special talent, make her read Harry Potter. Twice. That’s what my girl did!

 

Snowstorm. Almost

18 Jan

It snowed. In Fréjus – Provence – South of France – Europe. I’m geographising (there should be such a word!) for the people out there labelling the world into 2 categories: America and non-America.

It’s a big deal, snow in Fréjus. It does not snow there. E-VER. In the 20 odd years that I lived there, I saw snow twice.

The first time, I was in Grade 1 and my teacher gave the hyper excited 6 year old pupils a generous 5 minute run in the courtyard. Anything unusual is deemed dangerous in France (no wearing of shoes being one of them, can you imagine running through the snow WITHOUT gloves??). My partner-in-crime and I tried to sneak an extra minute (wild things that we were) and got into trouble. But it was totally worth it. Those were the best 6 minutes of my Grade 1 year.

The second time is a bit more blurry in my memory. You know, been there, done that, kind of attitude. I vaguely remember a sorry-looking snowman, wet clothes through and through and loads of picture of the family dog.

Now I’m so bummed that I missed the third snowfall of the century. Being in Cape Town, what’s that all about??

You can tell when a town is not ready for the wild tempest of the decade when it makes the national headlines with a very professional (NOT) video of a Fréjusien. In a very shaky footage, we hear her I’m-in-shock voice describing this – I quote – ‘crazy thing’ that was happening. She measured the height of the snowfall against her own – and again I quote –  ‘hand that is not too big but not too small’: approximately 10cms.

No joke!! 10cms??? 10cms!!!! Wait, World!!! 10cms of SNOW. Enough to make a snowman mud bath!!

There was panic!! Schools were closed:

People were  scared:

Warnings were issued “Drive With Extreme Caution After The Important Snowfalls”:

It was a tough Friday for every citizen in Frejus. For everyone else, it was:

**Before you ask –  I can sense your worry – my family made it out ok. Thanks for asking.

How to lose weight. Fast.

17 Jan
Losing weight is not an easy affaire for men or women.  I stopped dieting many years ago. I guess at some point one has to make peace with their own morphology –  those thighs are here to stay, I’m afraid! Alternatively, you can try some less conventional ways of losing weight. I thought of some controversial ones.

You can thank me later.
#1. Try and swallow a tapeworm.
That's if you don't want to play naked in the sandpit.

That’s if you don’t want to play naked in the sandpit.

You know, the kind that feasts on your food in your intestines while you go crazy on the dessert buffet? I came across this unconventional way when I was young and with my BFF, we dreamt often about where to find such worms. You’re likely to find them in raw meat or if you play naked in the sand (like one does…) But if you’re a vegetarian, if you don’t live near a naturist beach or if you’re not a kid (kids always have to be dewormed, they’re so lucky!), then skip to unconventional method #2.

 

#2. Up until now, you might have been a reasonably normal person but turning into an OCD person will help.
...and writing down my food intake.

…and writing down my food intake.

Take my husband for example. He dresses up as a normal person, but really deep deep down, he’s not. He lost some weight a few years back AND managed to keep it down (Or up, depending on how you read my sentence really). His way? Simple. Write down EVERYTHING you eat on a calorie diary. Every single bite you have, every sip you take, (Sting will be watching you?), record it down as you eat. It’s not anti-social and it doesn’t freak anyone out. It’s a great conversation starter too: Hi! It’s so nice to finally have you in our home…So, can I tell you how many calories I’ve had today, huh?… It’s perfect.
WARNING: if you’re married and have a family, it MIGHT put strain on your relationship. I have been known to fall asleep in the middle of my husband keeping me up to date about his weight/calorie diary for the day.

 

#3. Someone on the world wide web advised to gain perspective by understanding the fractions.
I know. You’re also thinking **insert snoring sound**?? This is what they say:

Your diet is an incredibly small fraction of your life. If you live for 80 years, and dieted for four months, that would only be .42% of your life. That’s right, if you diet for four months, it will be less than one half of one percent of your life. On the other hand think of the major benefits you can get from .42% of your life. It helps you stay motivated.

 

If you’re like me, reading about fractions makes you lose your will to live – let alone eat. Great way to pass on the cheese cake!

 

#4. The ‘guaranteed or your money back’ method.
If you’re a desperate teenager, or an adult with an IQ lower than 30, this method works.

Oh Darn! We didn't get the soap. We got the pills.

Oh Darn! We didn’t get the soap. We got the pills.

Again when I was young with my BFF, when we finally gave up on the idea of the tape worm (We were not so keen on the op to remove the parasite after we reached our goal weight), we found one of those definitely legit ads in a magazine. You know, those that absolutely and entirely promise you that you would lose 30 kilos in 1 month – guaranteed or your money back!!! We ordered those pretty pink-looking pills that will make us look like… well, 2 idiot teenagers for sure! We sent our money and…nothing. Nothing in the mailbox for, like, 6 months! Then miraculously, the pills arrived and we started our intense diet of eating sweet tasting bonbons 3X a day. Hardcore!


#5. Alternatively, if method #4 makes you feel foolish, try this method. This one is real.
It shows on my Facebook page everyday. It is as reliable as the You magazine.
One **surprising** tip for a flat bellyIt must be similar to the Hollywood diet (which I think they stole from the Ethiopians). In the words of Billy Crystal from When Harry met Sally:
We're sitting and talking at this Ethiopian restaurant that she 
wanted to go to. 
And I was making jokes, you know like, "Hey I didnt know
that they had food in Ethiopia? This will be a quick meal. 
I'll order two empty plates and we can leave."

 

If you can’t maintain this for the rest of your life, you might have to rethink.

Hope this helps. If you have any more grotesque tips, please do share 🙂

Excuse my French!

14 Jan

How bad is it to change a blog’s name?  The readers are used to a name and the new one won’t stick? The blog will be abandoned in its own blogosphere, never to be found again?  Well, in spite of this gloomy picture, here are the reasons that made me consider the change:

 

 

Firstly, who can remember ‘Our Nest Au Naturel’? It’s hard enough to pronounce it properly, let alone remember it!

Secondly, I’ve grown to really dislike (I’m trying to say ‘hate’ a lot less) the idea of the ‘nest’. Yes, I’m running the home, feeding and caring for the children like a bird its birdlets, protecting and fighting for their life (South Africa can be dangerous after all). But I hate (Aaargh) oppose the ‘close-door’ policy that it seems to imply. My family is precious, of course, but the family that I gained in Christ is at times equally important. ‘Nest’ seems so limiting and narrow-minded!

Thirdly, I’ve grown weary  (and also quite disgusted) at the kind of searches that I find on my blog. While ‘au naturel” might own a certain je-ne-sais-quoi under the tongue of non-french ears, it also has an correlation with ideas that I’d rather not have on this family-friendly blog! I mean, ‘Au Naturel’? Really? Are we running around naked in this house? I don’t think so…

Fourthly, … I don’t really have a fourthly but I thought that a thirdly was just not enough. Voilà quoi!

Soooooooo, after many many many months of thinking, hesitating, pondering and procrastinating, I’ve finally decided.

The name will change. The URL won’t and so, I hope that you would please

Excuse my French…

#FailTraditions

18 Dec

Remember when I wrote that we didn’t have any traditions for Christmas? Well, it is not completely and utterly true. Like facebooking, blogging can also be deceitful! So even though I said that traditions become irrelevant in the light of Christmas being about Jesus, I happen to have a few traditions of my own.

I do. – Insert **shock and horror** face!

They are a bit different from the more common traditions that we hear about and they are mostly out of my control.

#1. My first tradition is my kids asking “so….. what is our christmas tree going to be this year?” with a vaguely interested tone of voice!

0I will be blunt and say that the traditional christmas tree just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t think they’re ugly but I don’t want them in my living room for one month. I’m not a fan of ‘fake’ anything (flowers, marble, gold…) and the ‘real’ ones look a bit miserable in the 32 degrees. But I looooove fairly lights. I think fairy lights should be up all year round. So every year, I need to find an alternative  that will allow me to enjoy a season of  their ambience setting.

This year, I saw a beautiful tree made of plank with writings on it and thought “Rats, if I were not so lazy I would totally make that!” and low and behold, my friend, without  knowing that I liked that idea, made it, painted it and gave it to me as a christmas present! So our tree – for 2012 – is made of white-painted planks with Mark 10:45 written on it (my very professional picture does not allow you to read the verse but it is painted in beautiful red handwriting “He came to give his life as a ransom for many”)

#2. My second tradition is a bi-annual December trip to the ER for Killian’s acrobatic prowesses.

WARNING: Do NOT try these experiences at home without the supervision of an adult.

5 years ago, he opened his forehead on the corner of a furniture trying to run away from me (that will teach him).

3 years ago, he decided to jump from the roof of our jungle gym onto the umbrella, hoping to bounce back into the pool. No, his plan did not work out and yes, he ended up with a hole in his skull.

Last year, he tried to jump off the rope in our garden, misjudging the backward momentum effect and ended up breaking his arm – 6 week in a cast with no swimming!

And a few days ago, he jumped in the pool grabbing the concrete side at the same time and landed on his chin. A 2 hour wait and 3 stitches later, he proudly wears another big plaster on his face.

It seems that we became very fond of tradition #2; so even though we planned on only making it a bi-annual trip, it seems that we’re speeding it up and did it again this year. Watch this space?!

At 30

At 7At 8

#3. My third tradition is having a very disappointed mum because the parcel she sent a month ago did not arrive in time for Christmas.

Disclaimer: All comments about the South African postal services might be an overreaction and an exaggeration as there are still a few days before that parcel shows up!!

My mum who can’t be with us for Christmas always sends a lovely parcel with exciting goodies for everyone. Every year, she prepares it well in advance but the south african postal services are not as efficient as the french ones. They might be friendlier but friendliness does not count as much as french mustard and mayonnaise!

And there you have it! You too can make up your own traditions! Happy Christmas!

Santa and other forbidden words…

7 Dec

ChristmasTraditions

Christmas traditions.

If you are like many of my christian friends, the word makes you boil with enthusiasm and your crafts, paints, baking utensils, homemade jar cookies and your blog posts are all a ‘tick’ away! If you’re like me, the word makes you shudder.

The build-up to Christmas is really enjoyable. I love Christmas and all the celebrations around it. Some have a christian character attached to it, like  Carol concerts, Operation Christmas box but others do not, like family coming together, gifts and cockroach-killings.

For many christian families, Christmas is also celebrating with binding traditions. Some go to great lengths to make these traditions very christian. Whether they feel that these traditions make them more Christians than others, I cannot say. But one thing I am convinced of, is that none of these traditions bring them or their families closer to Jesus.

I generally have no desire to be ‘the same’ as everyone, which comes easily: I became a christian in my 20s and I’m french. My culture and my background are distinctly not the traditional brand of Christianity we tend to read on family blogs. But nobody wants to be different in the “weird” or “less christian” kind of way. It took me great many years to come to terms with the fact that we are not enthused by Christmas traditions. It’s a taming process to remind myself that my children’s fate, whether they will live for the Lord faithfully or not, does not depend on the way Christmas is celebrated (even if Santa is included – which he isn’t – but it’s worth mentioning really… Sorry, I had a relapse)

The essence of Christmas and simply and purely celebrating the birth of Jesus. Whether you buy into the commercialisation of Christmas fully, half-heartedly or not at all doesn’t define you as a more godly person as long as you remember that at the centre of Christmas is, and is only, the birth of Jesus.

Unfortunately, my readership is not nearly big enough to have an impact but if you, like me, feel that you don’t always fit the mould, do not fret!!! God is only concerned about your first love in your heart. And it isn’t your family traditions.

I went to his office and all I got was this lousy picture…

8 Nov

I need to back-flash a bit here to the end of October.

Phillip’s birthday happens to be a day after Killian’s one and, just to reverse the routine, I will first post about Phillip’s birthday before devoting my attention to Killian’s. I have to confess that more often than not, my husband’s birthday gets neglected, or at least overlooked and poorly planned. I have an excuse, some kind of valid justification why it is so (The humand mind is amazing when it comes to self-justification). Yes, after planning my last kid party for the year, I have no more mental energy to think carefully about what I should do for Phillip’s. The truth also is that my introvert husband would happily choose to spend his day with me and me alone (maybe the kids, on a good day) and the real bottom of the truth is that he tends to get reflective and self-examining (yes, even more than during the year, can you imagine…) on this day – which tends to make me feel guilty, assuming that his pensive self is caused because of my lack of attention to his special day. I imagine him thinking “What have I done wrong that my wife does not love me?” It is one of my worst feeling, to think that I’ve let my husband down…

This year, as I said, has been just about the same as every other year. How can I not learn?? However, this year, just after he left for work, I frantically scratched and searched my (thin) baking cupboard and whipped, mixed and baked some muffins, told threatened the kids to write a simple but beautiful message for their one and only father, and as early as 10 o’clock, we headed to his work and surprised him there. I guess sometimes the simplest efforts are the best ones. Under his oh-my-word-I-feel-so-self-conscious skin, I know he was quite happy and touched by this. From this whole outing, I managed to get 2 very blurry pathetic pictures to illustrate that special moment. The first one is in the office with the sparkles (The rest of the people are behind me, so it looks like it’s just him in the office but don’t be fooled) and the second one is taken when he is still in the entrance of their office, feeling too awkward to go in.

That is the office. I’m sure there’s a lot of confidentiality involved here but the photo is so blurry that not even Sydney Bristow will get any secret trading code!

Stuck in the passage, awkward, self-conscious and overwhelmed 🙂

And here are the letters from the kids.

Messages from the kiddies

From Matty (dictated): Dear Papa, You are the nicest papa in the world. I love you because you always play cricket with us and you’re always nice with us. I also like it when you are torturing Mama because then we can join in. I’m a little bit upset when you need to go to work and when you have a meeting in the night because I won’t be able to see you in the night. Happy Birthday, From Matt.

From Killian: I love being with you. you our are my best papa.

From Léa: Dear Papa, Happy happy birthday! You are very special to me. I love it when you play cricket with us (although saturday wasn’t that fun). I am very sorry that we didn’t make this morning very special. I told myself last night to say happy birthday to you and then I forgot! I love spending time with you better than anything else. 38 is so old, although it is not everyday you turn that age! So I wish you a very Happy 38th birthday! Lots of love, Léa.

What I liked about these letters is that they show a small window into their heart. Killian’s heart bursts out of love for his dad. He is his hero but his message is short for his spelling is poor. I would never guess that Matty doesn’t like it when Phillip gets home late. For him, everything looks juuuust fine. As for Léa, her guilty conscience for not having done the right thing was too overwhelming for her.

Another birthday gone. Another year to plan the next one.

When I’m big, I want to be a gladiator…

8 Nov

Killian never really said that but I’m sure that he at least thought it! After being stuck for 2 years – almost 3  – on the pirate party, it came almost as a relief to hear him shout for a gladiator party!! We studied the roman time during our school time and it has been a fascinating time period for the kids AND for me!! So I was quite keen about the unusual theme… until I realised that the challenge of living in developing country (emphasis on -ing, as opposed to -ed) is that if your theme is not Spiderman or Hello Kitty or Pirates, there aren’t many available accessories in the shops (which is probably better given that anything with a brand name attached is so expensive!)

After being postponed by a week because of whooping cough threat (!!), and after many days of countdowns from Killian, finally he could have his roman gladiator party. So we made do with a few wooden swords, an old pair of short and some leathery fabric that I bought to complete the look and Killian’s outfit – as well as Matty’s –  was ready. Léa wore a white roman dress (i.e. a white dress that my friend Laure left here because it was torn. It looked almost roman) with a brown belt and was armed with a bow and arrow. She would have fitted the Robin Hood party-theme very well but she thought she looked great and so did I!!

Game wise, I printed some roman pictures and cut them into puzzle pieces. Each cut picture was put in a ziploc bag and each team of 5 children had to find 3 bags, hidden in the garden, assemble the pieces AND name what was on the picture.

Working out the acqueduc, or the arena or the roman soldier.

Then, each gladiator had to attend the training school, called a ludus (I bet you didn’t know that!). The training course was an obstacle course in the garden, with weight training too!

Weight training!

Then, the part that Killian had been begging for the past few weeks: the gladiator games!!!! We formed an arena with giant sparkles (except that in the sunlight we couldn’t see them!!), and separated them into 2 teams again. We invited the emperor and his assistant (akaPhillip and Doug) to watch the games and decide who was the best gladiator. The aim was not to win the fight but rather to entertain the crowd, show courage and skills, and die bravely. These gladiators-in-training showed amazing talent and we were thoroughly entertained!! We had some fighting on their knees, some without an arm, some even had to hold their swords in their mouth for lack of any other limbs. All fought showing no fear and all were rewarded for being the best **something**.

Matt, sword in the mouth, and Sebastian hopping on one leg.

Some tragic deaths 😉

Brother against sister. No mercy!

Skilled gladiator! (Laure, thank you for your dress!!)

Hardcore, yet pensive birthday warrior…

My cake disaster was saved by 2 lovely ladies (Kirstin and Kirstin) who helped me turning what was supposed to be a roman soldier into a shield. When Killian saw it, he gasped (of joy) which is all that I needed 🙂

A fun group of gladiators!! Well done!!

The story of the Tetanus, the Whooping Cough and the Ritalin

25 Oct

No, this is not a medical journal – at least not one that will be worth referring to – this is the story of our last 2 days. Yes,in our modern days, we had to brave 2 almost-believed-to-be extinct diseases, mixed with the very much alive sickness-of-the-day (yes, ADHD is real and no, it’s not just a tale-tell made up by the teachers).

One of my friends’ son has been battling with a horrible cough for the past few weeks and upon her visit to the doctor, he was diagnosed with whooping cough. Naively I thought I would check with my friend Wiki what “whooping cough” is in French. It’s whaaat? La coqueluche??? Isn’t it something that my grandmother told me about, a weird disease that killed hundreds in those times??

Given that our kids are all friends, they happily and unselfishly shared the bacteria (maybe all these parenting speeches on ‘sharing is caring’ finally paid off) and on Monday evening, Matty started to cough. My panic button was immediately pressed and, with a faster reaction time than ADT (No record breaking here, though), I made an appointment to my faithful doctor for the next day. I have a 100% trust in my doctor and even though I read up on whooping cough, I knew he would be of much help on how to deal with it.

Next day, prepped up to face the world, one deadly disease at a time (or so I thought), we rocked up at the Medicross. I’m taking all the kids with me, I thought. Killian has a thorn in his foot. My dear doctor will surely help me to remove it as it looked slightly deeper than a Hollywood celebrity’s personality.

Matty was quickly taken care of. Whooping cough is highly contagious and the cough can last for months, unless it is detected at the beginning and treated with antibiotics, in which case the contagion is limited to only a few days. Good news for us, only a few days of quarantine. Tap, tap on my shoulder: Killian reminded me of the thorn in his foot. Ah yes, a simple formality. We need to go to the procedure room. Ah. He needs an injection to numb the area. Mmh. And he needs a booster for his tetanus vaccine. Oh boy. That’s way more that I bargained for.

I braced myself for what was to come. I lost some of my hearing on that injection. Some of my heart too. I truly wished I could switch places with him. It was painful. The doctor worked hard and long at removing the thorn that was 1 full centimetre deep. And every minute, Killian kept asking with tremor in his voice “Is he doing another injection?” No. “And now?” No. “And now?” No my love. Léa, crying next to me, sure did not wish to switch places with him but felt awfully sorry for her brother. Matty, on the other hand, said that he looked at everything the doctor did – unphased.

The tetanus shot was nothing compared to the first injection. By then, Killian was so hysterical that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway what kind of procedure they were doing on his arm, but I was amused by 2 reactions: the first was the nurse’s face when the doctor told him that the one brother had whooping cough and that the other one was at risk of getting tetanus with the infection in his foot and that he needed his booster shot. She might have thought we were some kind of amish or something…The second was Killian’s neurotic behaviour stopping in a split second when he realised that his second injection was already finished and exclaimed **bravely**, “Oh! That wasn’t even sore!”

Back home, things went back to normal. Until the next day. Wednesday. Killian had been on his absolute worst behaviour throughout the day. Starting from not wanting to sit for his reading, to lashing out at his brother, defiantly disobeying me, going from zero to 100 in a few minutes, speaking to me in a way that not even Jack Bauer would to his tortured enemies, ending up in clinging and begging me to forgive him.

I tried to understand what was the matter. Was it payback for allowing him to be hurt the day before? Had I not given him the right amount of Ritalin? (and believe me, I make sure of that!) I even considered an adverse reaction to his previous day vaccine – I could already see the headlines “Mother kills child after vaccine’s unfortunate side effects”. At 4 o’clock, I had the choice between death (I wasn’t sure whose yet) and a top-up of his medication to help the poor sod out of his misery (and mine). At the first signs of him becoming sane again, we talked. Somehow, in the morning, when given his pill, he hid it under his tongue and did not swallow it. Relief was my first reaction. Utter frustration was next. Frustration at Killian obviously. Mostly frustration at people thinking that Ritalin is unnecessary, that parents and teachers just need to try harder.

A few minutes into Ritalin, roller-costered-out and calmed down, looking at me with his big hazelnut eyes, he says “I feel better now”.

And here ends the story of the whooping cough, the tetanus and the ritalin. They had many children and lived happily ever after.

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