This isn’t going to be a chronological recitation of how our night/day went so very wrong this week, just a recap. I need to put this down in writing to remind myself it did happen and to keep tugging away at different thoughts, working out what may have been precipitors or agents of our decline.
It goes like this. Every two weeks or so, my Dearly Beloved must spend two days in Vancouver; this necessitates leaving by taxi before we are awake to catch his flight, spending the night in Vancouver at the same hotel each time, then catching a flight back that lands just on kiddie bedtime. Oh, I forgot. The children also think of Daddy’s away time as Mummy torture time; intentionally or not, their behaviours rev up and their judgment disappears, whenever there is a solo overnight on offer.
Thankfully, Mrs. D. our respite worker, visits us and can often fit in these trips – it would help if they were scheduled to be the same days of the week each time but that seems to be asking a bit too much of the administration.
This last Friday morning is the one for indelible inking on one’s parental brain.
Take two hyper children, read them stories, put them to bed (20 mins early because they seem so very tired – Mr. D. had a four hour hike in the forest that day) and kisses all around.
Mr. D. comes to you at a little after midnight and explains he has wet the bed. This happened two nights ago as well – these are the first instances for years. The other sheets aren’t washed as yet (too much washing) and all the others fit poorly; besides, Emma is asleep on the bottom bunk, so we just had some thick and very soft beach towels, layered, on top of the wet sheet. Thank goodness dearly beloved had thought to put down the waterproof mat under the sheets! Kisses all around.
2.00am-ish Mr. D. arrives in our bedroom asking for his medication and to be allowed to watch TV. An extremely tired and zonked mummy explains it is only 2am – go back to bed, already, won’t ya.
3.00am Mummy is awake and aware of some sounds next door – seems like talking but is very quiet. Nothing else to report. Eyelids droop.
4.00am-ish Mr. D. arrives in our bedroom asking for his medication and to be allowed to watch TV. An extremely tired and zonked mummy explains it is only 4am – go back to bed, already, won’t ya. Kisses all around.
OMG. Mummy smells smoke.
Mummy bounds from bed, much to surprise of Mr.D. and starts hunting and asking – Emma was awake so my dismay didn’t rouse her, she was plenty roused already. I realise most of the lights are on, I run past the bathroom, searching for fire, and realise something is wrong. Oh, is it ever. Big mess, water everywhere, numerous beloved (by Emma) stuffies are shoved in the toilet, as are two stuffies belonging to our local library, two nappies from Emma (diapers), and the toilet had not been flushed – we have a broken handle awaiting repair so one must flush manually inside the cistern – so the water was dirty.
Okay, Mummy, concentrate. Bathroom? Disaster. But, still this burning smell. Continue through house, run past stairs, realise front door is open. The. Front. Door. Is. Open. Now really getting a little scared (okay, now nearly dead, actually, as my heart beat so hard my bones actually ached). Remote to TV moved (so I now know he’d watched previously at some stage), morning snack already eaten and drink drunk (remnants in Mr.D.’s bed) and something amiss in the kitchen. Can’t find smell or burning anywhere.
Next logical thing – do I search downstairs or do I interrogate the children? Always fancied a little interrogation, myself.
Ready for it? Get a comfy chair and a good cuppa for this next bit.
Mr.D. explains that he had written a note or invitation to the kids two doors up (he can’t remember their names even though I do) and wanted to deliver it to the mailbox in their door so they would see it as soon as they woke up. A lot of Mr.D.’s “notes” are still illegible. So, even though it was minus 6 outside at the time, Mr.D. (and Emma – took her for company), retrieved soggy matches from the garbage bin (came back wet from David’s wilderness class), found a stub of candle, climbed on the kitchen counters to climb to the highest shelves, found an old candle holder (way too big for the job) to carry the candle with, and set out. Yup. Both out the front door (so totally forbidden) and marching, in the dark and minus 6, to the neighbours, lit only by one street lamp and a stub of one inch candle. The neighbours did not come to see us this weekend so they probably could not read the invitation and probably think they have a stalker. Reassuringly, Mr.D. tells me they did both wear coats over their PJ’s. Oh, yes, that was so reassuring.
When they returned home, they hung up their coats and went back to bed, leaving the haunting smell of matches throughout the house and the front door wide open!
Never did get an answer as to why the toilet was stuffed with nappies and stuffies – pushed down with Emma’s electric Winnie-the-Pooh toothbrush. Wouldn’t have mattered, by then I was fairly close to hysterical. I’ve had no sleep to speak of, they’ve had only a smidgen of sleep, they are ramping and revving higher and higher and higher.
Ring respite worker – answering machine. She is due at 9.30 but I ask if she can come early. We find out at 10.30 that her son has a non-responsive fever and aching bones and that she is taking him to Emergency. Fair enough. Luckily, we do get to see her later in the day. I am still shaking at what “might have” happened, rather than rejoicing in the fact that nothing much did happen.
I do not trust Mr. D. enough for me to leave the room. I ring Emma’s daycare, where they understand our dynamic of FASD, ADHD, etc. etc., and they offer to come and pick up Emma and feed her breakfast (luckily, I had packed her lunch the night before). Mr.D. still doesn’t think that he has done anything wrong; my hands are still shaking and his determination does nothing to help.
I ring Father, despite being asked not to by the boy who didn’t do anything wrong. He commiserates but is stuck in Vancouver and on his way to Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, back to Vancouver, and isn’t due to be home until 7.30pm. Meanwhile, Mr.D. and I cannot go anywhere – Emma’s car seat wouldn’t come out so Emma has ridden off to daycare in Mr.D.’s booster seat.
I ring social workers, support workers, mental health care workers, working workers, non-working workers, wonderful workers, everyone! Nobody can provide IMMEDIATE help, which is what I need. I don’t even feel safe to have a shower, with Mr. D. in the mood he is in.
To cut a long story short (too late) we stumble through the day, respite angel arrives at 3.30pm, we unanimously agree to let her clean the house (sorta) whilst making Mr. D. help out, which, to his credit, he does. I would rest, except that every 30 minutes the phone rings with someone checking to see how I am, what the situation is, and whether I had heard from A, or B, or C, or some other worker. Bless ‘em, they tried so hard, but I was mighty over that telephone by the end of the day.
We organise taxi to pick up Daddy. With my sleep apnea and no sleep, I don’t trust myself to drive out alone to pick him up and I can’t drive out with the kids because we still can’t fix Emma’s car seat. Respite Angel – Mrs.D. – has dinner with the kids and bathes them (reminder, I owe her a nice dinner, not damn Hawaiian pizza and salad again) – I stay as far away from my own children as I can, having secured everything the slightest bit hazardous that I can find.
Daddy arrives home, everyone is hugs and cuddles and kisses, short lecture given (they are now too tired to really hear anything), story read, children in bed. Parents hug. Tightly. Parents watch mindless TV and go to bed, determined to have a good sleep.
Mr.D. vomits all over his bed and beloved Blankie. Over PJ’s. Over Emma’s thick and heavy quilt. Luckily, one pair of sheets did make it through a wash and dry cycle, so Daddy changes the top bunk.
The vomiting continues. He snuggles with me while Daddy and Emma drive to Bakery for normal Saturday treat. A day for children in front of the TV with various pots and pans. Emma is the only one feeling well, now, as parents are slowly succumbing to illness as well. We’ve washed all day – non-stop – including taking two quilt covers that are very heavy to the laundromat because our machines weren’t big enough to get the stains out – and we’re still washing as I write this. Luckily it snowed a little and that cheered the kidlets up. That, and an episode of Mythbusters that they hadn’t seen before.
Mummy is slowly rationalising and calming but it has taken a while.
Did I mention we did not find the small lighter Mr.D. has for Wilderness course, nor our sharp Henckel dressmaking scissors we keep in the kitchen?
Do I sound scared? Really?