When all is working as nature intended you take poo for granted. You do. When it isn't, bowel function takes over your life. One child, since starting école maternelle, has become frightened to poo on the toilet. Apparently it is quite common when children start school because they are embarrassed to do a poo in front of all their little classmates. I can understand this. But Matilda has got used to holding it in and she holds it in, and holds it in until it explodes in an unholy, unsanitary, underwear destroying mess. The other child is also exploding, in fact can't stop exploding, in noisy, fruity, seeping gushes. Luckily Owen is taking his gastro in his stride. He's dehydrating and, we realised after out trip to the paediatrician this morning, losing weight, but remains chipper. Matilda, though, is suffering. SUFFERING. She screams and clings to me when she is on the toilet, desperate not to let anything out. It's been going on for two weeks and it's horrible. She is worn out and stressed, and so are we. I understand there are all sorts of psychological theories about children and poo but having spoken to my favourite psychologists (other parents) it seems the best thing to do is not get stressed, and wait for normal service to resume which, I am assured, it does. But at the moment it all feels too much. Going out is a nightmare, she could barely walk this afternoon from holding herself back and we generally go through about four pairs of knickers before she gets beyond the point of no return. Always fun when you're being observed by a playground full of children and parents. I decided not to be embarrassed and talk about the problem. This was the right thing to because now not only do I not feel like a freak/terrible mother/both but have received some good advice.
And as if poo wasn't enough we also have incontinent snot. Snot and a 50 a day hacking cough. Both of them.
So reasons for disturbed nights are many and various and the mini-beasts are missing no opportunity to try them all out. Last night Matilda treated us to a new and different nighttime horror, a deeply unpleasant series of screaming fits because her legs hurt. Growing pains? Restless leg syndrome? The need just to find a focal point for her anxiety? I don't know but it was a bit frightening. After the fourth or fifth crisis, Fanf was about to call the hospital when I distracted her with my random collection of special things, stored inside a blue glass Beatle car,which I have not added to or looked at since I met Fanf. Most of which I could no longer identify. They included a scrap of paper with the number 2 on it, a piece of fake corn (I remember it was set dressing from a play, I don't remember which play), numerous conkers and stones, my grandad's last coin (a pound) and a rather cute necklace with Janosch's Tiger-Ente, which now has one proud new owner. Matilda fell asleep stroking her new, strange and treasured possession. I fell asleep wondering where on earth it had come from and why it had been carefully stowed away with the special things. I also made a mental note to hunt down some Janosch for the mini-beasts.
Actually, little O, trooper that he is, threw up in bed last night but was clearly feeling compassionate and didn't say a peep. I went in this morning to find him lying in a pool of dried sick. As I'm sure I've said before, it can be tough being a parent but it's bloody tough being a kid too.