The surgery website says that if you need a doctor’s appointment you should call at 8am in the morning. That’s fine, but at 8am in the morning, I am busy doing what countless other mothers are doing at that time: clearing up last night’s dinner, finding second pair of games socks and mouthguard for rugby match (no mouthguard? Find your brother’s. No that is not gross. I’m certain you won’t suffer any sort of spit related infection), sponging down tunic which has missed the weekend laundry, getting ready for work, applying mascara ineptly in the kitchen mirror (have you ever tried applying mascara without a mirror? Impossible!) while listening to someone read another chapter (Wonder by R Palacio. Brilliant book btw), sewing on name tape (wrong name – I knew I should have ordered more than 72 – but folded over they have the same surname, I figure that will suffice) into waterproof needed for today’s trip to Kew Gardens. I know you get the picture. Therefore, by the time I call the surgery, it is 8.04am (quite an achievement really!), and my call is now number 34 in the queue. Is it worth hanging on to be told there are no appointments left for the day, or the next slot is on any day next month that doesn’t end in a ‘y’, or I should go to A & E if it is an emergency (which it isn’t, obviously), or ring back later and spend another half hour on the phone? Last time I visited the GP, it transpired I had been struck off their register because I hadn’t visited the surgery in over 3 years so I am determined to find a way to see somebody this time! So, hanging on it is….
I believe it is well documented that the possession of a pet in the house provides health benefits, including increased psychological wellbeing and an important factor in stabilising blood pressure levels. First, a routine visit to the vet with the black labrador for annual vaccinations, worming, general maintenance check. A small nodule has been discovered which needs removal as well as treatment for tooth decay (the dog has not been flossing). I’m going to encourage the Things to become vets on the back of the bill. Second, the cat has moved on from the tendency to bring me small rodents, and is now content to chew her way through any wire in the house. Computer cables, phone chargers, sewing machine lead, shoe laces, iron cord. You’d think she’d suffer an electric shock; maybe she enjoys the thrill. Third, there is nobody in the house who would like to clean the fish tank. Except me, of course. Next to putting out the bins, picking up dog mess from the garden, and disposing of rodent guts from bedroom carpets, it’s up there on my list of favourite jobs. Just off to buy some more phone chargers. Blood pressure problems? Not me!
Interesting fact for the day: a recent study concluded that people had a worse impression of a woman if she dropped a tampon out of her handbag as opposed to a different innocuous item, for example a hairbrush or a packet of paracetamol. Even more disturbing, those people would then avoid sitting next to that woman.
What is it in our cultural norms that makes us think, behave and react this way? I don’t have the answers, by the way, just posing the question.
Minecraft. What? Where? When? Where? Who? Thing 3 tells me it’s a ‘Sandbox’ but that’s just not enlightening. What’s fascinating me is the polar approach towards construction adopted by boy/girl. I’m not gender stereo-typing here, I’m just a casual (well, maybe less than casual when I’ve finished watching Series 1 of The Crown) observer but one world is full of armoured vehicles, buildings complete with spy holes, ammunition stores, secret tunnels, a couple of thousand sports pitches, trap doors, sky scrapers, dug-outs and a large sign saying “KEEP OUT SISTERS”, and the other is awash with dog and pig hospitals, bedcovers with flower designs (as much as flowers can be designed with blocks), enormous bathrooms, more bedrooms, a cat rescue centre, equine stables, orphanages, schools, a foundling hospital and a secret password so that none of her siblings can access these worlds. What this tells me is that at least two of my children spend too much time on Minecraft.
A few years ago, a stranger sent me a beautiful text on Valentine’s day. I was genuinely perplexed as to who might have written this to me, so perplexed in fact, that I presumed he (possibly it was a she) had sent the message to the wrong number. My response to the beautiful words was thus:
“is this 4 me? I’m married with 4 kids, black lab, cat and goldfish, live and work in leafy South London. Happy Valentine’s Day nonetheless.”
I never heard from the stranger again.