Friday, 27 November 2009

Living in interesting times

We begin with one from the archives. Frank, at 6 months, loved mashed mango. He loved it so much he even took to wearing it. He is now three years and six months old and has a fulsome list of what he will and won't eat and how it should be presented. I give you Frank Budd, Emperor of Prettygate!

OK, onto the news.

We have some big changes here. It feels big to me anyway as I am soon to enter the state of full-time Mum. I approached my lovely boss, Haven, last Monday to ask whether it was possible to be relieved of my teaching and assessing duties for the coming year. It has become increasingly clear to Budd and I that we are simply too stretched at present and that we need to open up some space in our lives to allow the healing from the past year to actually take place. Budd is a fantastic dad to Frank but being a stay-at-home Dad doesn't come naturally and he is worn out by his long days at home alone with a three year old. I want to savour the last year and a bit with my boy until he goes to school and have teacher training, less sensitive ears and a lot of patience on my side.

A decision was made that if I could step back at work then we would, as a family, be more centred and Team Budd would move forward with healthy strides rather than the lurching we feel happens at the moment.

All went well and I finish teaching next week and will assess the work I have set but then be on a kind of extended sabbatical. I am so grateful that doors will be left open for me when I want to return. Very grateful.

Frank is considered to have the very highest level of special needs and needs people around him that are aware of these. Outwardly he looks fantastic. He is lively, funny, loving and contrary, sometimes all in the same minute. He has T1D. It does not define him. It is, however, an integral part of who he is. It can never be forgotten. It can be exhausting enough bringing up children and three is a magical and challenging age. Add T1D to this and you have a lively cocktail.

This was brought home to us again at midnight last night when I went in to check Frank just before turning in for the night to find he had vomited all over his covers and fallen back asleep. Bedding was duly stripped and the washing machine fired up. At half four Frank came padding into our room, climbed on our bed and coughed a bit before being lavishly sick again. More sheets were stripped, a trip to the tumble dryer in the garage paid and the washing machine fired up again. Frank was given water and his blood sugar levels taken. He was at 17.4. Higher than expected in the night but not so high as to need hospitalisation. We left him on our bed sleeping whilst Budd dealt with all the washing and emptying of bowls and I read about how best to deal with vomiting in juveniles with T1D.

We have been told that vomiting more than twice in 24 hours warrants hospitalisation. But our guts (remember my belief in trusting the parental gut-feeling?) told us to hang in there and keep him at home. He was taking in water and keeping it down and his blood sugar was being tested regularly and was fine.
When he woke at nine the next morning he was hungry, or rather, "humry" as he says, and had two bowls of cereal with goats' milk, walnut toast with almond butter and ginger tea. He tended towards grazing throughout the day rather than having three meals and has been active but pale and tired too.

The NCT Open House I was running was cancelled by e. mail and then a note stuck on the front door to tell people we were possibly infectious and to give us a wide berth.

Frank was in bed by just after six and asleep by seven having had lots of great stories such as "A Squash and a Squeeze" and "The Smartest Giant in Town" read to him.
At eight he woke crying, all sweaty and wanting me. We had a cuddle and I decided to bring him downstairs to sleep on the sofa with us. I am writing this and Budd is e.mailing friends to let them know we will be away at Christmas. Gardeners' World is on and Frank has drifted off happily.

In some measure this goes against my ideas of quiet, electronic free evenings to help a child wind down and rest fully. However, I have very strong memories of feeling so much better having the buzz of my family near me and falling so much easier into the warm arms of sleep when they were engaged purposefully and calmly in something whilst I was resting. Especially when I was ill. I feel better having him here to keep an eye on anyway.

We also have a holiday planned.

A summer break didn't really happen for us and we feel a bit broken from the past thirteen months. Our confidence to travel has been badly knocked but we are seeing a return to form emerging slowly and to celebrate this we have booked three weeks (Count them! Three weeks!) in Brittany. We will be staying in a converted barn and spending our days walking, running about on beaches, eating gallettes, seeking out cafes and getting healthier by the day. Our evenings will be spent reading and knitting by the fire and I fully intend to continue my tradition of Budd and I reading "A Christmas Carol" stave by stave to each other, with the final stave being on Christmas Eve.

I am so excited to be travelling with my little family. I love them so.

And so I end this post with a quotation from Tiny Tim:

God Bless us, everyone!


  1. It's wonderful news about your sabbatical! What a great boss to accommodate your family's needs so promptly. And Brittany for three weeks sounds great ... but brave too - will you have 24 hour access to help in the same way you do in UK?

  2. Thanks for that, Bernie. It's good to know that my little blog reaches people. Finding the nearest hospital to us in Brittany is on my to-do list. The list gets longer rather than shorter each day! We have to grasp the nettle and go for these trips and it feels important to me to show Frank that his condition just needs to be planned for but doesn't stop adventures from happening.
    Have a lovely festive season yourself and I wish you peace and joy in your creations for 2010.

  3. Oh yes, you're absolutely right and you will all be very much happier for it. Bless you and be safe. Will be lovely to see you in the new year some time.