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How did my conference go, you politely inquire?

Oh, it was fine, except I ended up in the hospital. The first two days went well–we (did I say my spouse was traveling with me? He was.) were able to check into our hotel when we arrived in the morning, which meant we could nap rather than staggering around the streets wishing we were napping. And then we got a decent night’s sleep, and I gave my talk the following morning, and it was well received, and after a day of conferencing we had dinner and fell asleep at a reasonable hour…and I woke up shortly thereafter and thus began the worst case of food poisoning I’ve yet to experience. OH, THE AGONY! In fact, I thought I might be having contractions, because recall that despite my many, many children I’ve never felt a contraction. The violent emptying of my bowels soon made gastritis seem much more plausible, but we got to contemplate the possibility of delivering a catastrophically premature baby in a foreign land… Anyway, long story short, I ended up in A&E with dehydration and not-enough-calories, so got to enjoy the splendor of the National Heath Services and be called dear a lot (American nurses call you honey) and see a maternity ward and be offered a courgette pasta bake which I declined in favor of crackers. All’s well that ends well, but it did put a kink in my sightseeing plans. Good thing I hate sightseeing and actually like to lie in bed watching foreign TV, which I was able to do just fine. True, it meant I didn’t fulfill my professional obligations to the extent I might have, but I find that I don’t care.

The babies got through our absence very well. But despite having missed them terribly, it didn’t take long before they were both screaming and I was utterly out of patience. Long time readers with photographic memories will recall my Code red, code green post. There’s a LOT of code red these days as the babies work out how to play together. I know that it’s typical, and developmentally necessary, and blah blah blah, but Bun Bun is giving me a very hard time. She screams and flails at the slightest provocation (usually sibling-related injuries to her person or her SOUL), and has had some epic tantrums lately, which I thought were OVER by age four. She has also discovered obnoxiousness, which I’d hoped she’d skip. I think starting preschool at the end of August will go a long way towards curing what ails her, but in the meantime, I’m finding it hard to cope. I feel like there’s a strategy that will keep them happy and it’s a Personal Failing that I haven’t found it yet, but if that were really the case, someone would have found this strategy already and told us parents about it and sibling conflict and emotion regulation would be SOLVED.

So that’s me! It’s very good to be home. Summer has finally arrived and there are lots of green beans to eat…and I am totally able to eat again.

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9 Comments Post a comment
  1. At least it struck after you gave your talk! But, sheesh, if all you wanted to do was lie in a hotel and watch foreign TV, next time, remember you can do that WITHOUT the excuse of illness. (When I was in Manchester a few months back for a conference, I revelled in the delight of lying in bed, watching TV, going to bed early, and then sleeping late. It was one of the highlights of the conference.)

    Isn’t it annoying how a few days away from your kid(s) makes them seem so sweet and loving and shows you how much you miss them when you don’t get to see them every day, and clearly they have missed you too, but for them the expression of missing you gets translated into assholeness? It just isn’t fair.

    July 28, 2015
  2. Nicky #

    Your green beans are lovely! My oldest child’s tantrums were, alas, also not done by age 4. Going to school really did help him, though it was worse the first month or two.

    Re: sibling rivalry. My boys are ages 7 and 5, and they still fight daily, but it is manageable. (Hahaha, I write this as one comes crying and complaining about the other. Nevermind, they resolved the problem without my input. Huzzah for Montessori training!). Things I repeat ad nauseum: I don’t care who did what. We don’t hurt each other on purpose or by accident. If you hurt someone, you apologize. We don’t grab toys, we ask politely, and accept no for an answer. We share our toys. If you can’t play together nicely, you will be separated and have to play separately.

    Rules for my own sanity: No noisy toys where I can hear them. You must not be irritating! (I declare anything I wish to be irritating. Especially repeating words, or robot shooting noises.) If there is coffee in my cup, I am not available for anything except conversation and snuggles.

    Good luck. I do still struggle daily, but they’re much less bother than they used to be. I guess I’ll keep them 🙂

    July 28, 2015
  3. Oh No! I’m sorry to hear that. What a horrible (and scary) way to spend travel time.

    I don’t actually have a photographic memory but I remember that post because it is AWESOME!

    I don’t think this is helpful but I am under the impression that this learning-to-play-together phase lasts a very long time. People think that when I rave about how my kids play together I mean that it is all giggles and polite company. What a REALLY mean is that they interact, often by choice, and perhaps I am a bit cynical but aren’t all relationships about navigating conflict? My take is that as long as they survive, they are learning social skills.

    July 29, 2015
  4. Ay yi yi! Well. At least you got to give your talk!

    Today Bug (6.5) helped Tatoe (3.75) go to the bathroom and wipe the tushie and put his clothes back in and I got a tiny glimmer of a time when they may act human towards each other. And then later there was fighting and shouting again, after Tatoe knocked over a two year old.

    July 29, 2015
  5. Steph #

    First of all I’m so glad you’re home safe and well. That must have been rather scary. While dual citizenship would have been cool if you were further along, it’s so good that the vomiting didn’t bring Bunter into the world early.

    I love your garden basket full of greens. Yum!

    My kids are each in their own personal states of developmental upheaval so I can relate. I think preschool will change both of our lives in a very positive way. Love to you!

    July 31, 2015
  6. You poor woman, that illness sounds frightening. I know! Go back in time, don’t eat the bad thing and come and visit me instead!

    (Vegetables look really good. No marauding rabbits this year? I have quite a few raspberries and that’s all.)

    July 31, 2015
  7. Egad! That sounds terrible, and scary. Glad you got to give your talk and part of me is slightly jealous about the lying around watching foreign TV part, but that’s the ‘introvert that is bad at conferencing’ emotion. Hoping the tantrums stop – perhaps just shove a green bean in her mouth? Who can be upset while eating such deliciousness? Seriously though, this sounds UGH, and yes, preschool will be a welcome change.

    August 3, 2015
  8. I guess wearing a hospital gown was a creative way to get out of wearing your maternity clothes. I’m really glad your talk was well received, AND that you got sick AFTER the talk. But I’m not at all glad you got food poisoning, yet relieved you didn’t go into labor. What a trip! Really happy Mr. Bunny was with you.

    Sounds like Miss Bun Bun is completely ripe for preschool, and luckily, it’s a month away! I’m sorry about all the codes red. Holy shit, that doesn’t sound fun at all.

    August 4, 2015
  9. SRB #

    ZOMG! I am sooooo behind! BLECH to the food poisoning! I went through this recently and hoped I would actually die because it is so awful. And because I am very dramatic! That little garden harvest at the end was a lovely palette cleanser for the reader, and I hope for the writer as well. 🙂

    August 10, 2015

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