Dot writes: it’s really astonishing how much Frank can talk when he gets the chance. Today I took him for his follow-up appointment at Crumlin (no further surgery advised for the present, hooray) and then it occurred to me to drop in on my friend Sinead, who lives in that area and is expecting a baby in a few weeks’ time. We managed a brief discussion of birth and a viewing of the newly prepared nursery, but mostly Frank talked about the Octonauts, in great detail and with rather the air that Sinead was going to be tested on it afterwards. Normally Frank has to contend with Hugh, who has a lot to say for himself, so I think he relished the opportunity to capture ALL of our attention. Even though we did quite want to talk to each each other. Never mind.
We are counting down the days to when Ken will come back permanently from Edinburgh. The magic date is 2nd May and it can’t come soon enough. Frank is sure that Ken will be bringing some Octonaut toys with him. Hugh wants to play Monkey Quest. I want to sink back gratefully into the library, having had a rather good week’s work immediately after we came back from Norfolk, when Ken was still with us, and since then an unsatisfying period broken up with hospital appointments and other little engagements. I find it hard to get properly absorbed in what I’m doing when I have to keep stopping, and I really notice how much tireder I feel when I’m the sole parent in charge. Hugh had a rather changeable weekend – sunshine interspersed with strops and sulks – from which I emerged feeling battered. (I also have a cold.) I do wish Hugh and I could have a less tempestuous relationship; I love him so much, but he makes such outrageous fusses about such minor things, which is dreadfully draining. I spend a lot of energy worrying about him, even though deep down I am quite sure he will turn out fine, if I can just refrain from murdering him. This evening he was being very funny and charming. He was dancing to Buena Vista Social Club: dancing rather well and clowning around to entertain us. Also, yesterday he expressed warm appreciation for my home-made fish fingers (actually salmon steaks cut into strips, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and fried), which pleased me.
Some little pieces of progress can be noted. Hugh now almost always dresses himself. He’s been capable of this for a while, but though the flesh was strong the spirit wasn’t willing. Frank is reliably dry at night. We took no pushchair on our Norfolk trip and didn’t really miss it; the only regular use of the pushchair now is when Julie takes Frank to pick up Hugh from school, a journey that has to be done a bit more quickly than Frank can walk. Before Ken went back to Edinburgh we had our friends Niall and Meredith round for dinner, and not only did I do all the cooking (glow of pride) but Niall said he thought Hugh had calmed down, which was a nice indication of improvement. (Often hard to see this from close to.) Hugh is getting reading homework from school and can definitely read a little now. (I’m bemused by the idea of giving five-year-olds homework, but on the other hand it’s nice to get a sense of what he’s doing.) Hugh has also rather taken to maths and likes to do sums on the way to school. Sometimes I ask him the questions and sometimes he asks me. When he’d asked me three in a row and I’d dutifully answered them he remarked, “You know, you’re very good at this, Mummy.” Frank has made some friends at playschool and dreamt last night that one of them, a girl called Chloe, was in our house and wouldn’t go home. The boys are also getting better and better at playing with each other. And we are very pleased with the trampoline Grandma bought us. It has been bounced on right through the winter, whenever weather vaguely permitted, and now the air is finally warming up it is in daily use.
Ho-hum. Because this post has no single topic it’s rather hard to know how to stop it. I think I’ll hit publish and burble the rest to myself on my way to an early bedtime (with book – Baugh and Cable’s History of the English Language, which I’m reading for teaching purposes). Night night.