Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to

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Monday, 17 March 2008

Happy Birthday Nat

Somehow in the general mayhem that was the weekend , Nat's 14th birthday has been almost sucked down the tube . However , today is the day , St Patrick's Day and although she had her party proper on Friday night she is having a few friends round tonight so I am despatched off to Millie's cookies to order a giant cookie with writing on it . She ( secretly ) still likes the fact that I call her silly names so I asked her did she want her proper name piped on or one of her other names ( there are a few ) and she dares me . The young woman at Millie's goes cross eyed when after several attempts to get me to understand how it all works ( red chocolate or vanilla border ? red chocolate or vanilla piping ? and various other options mumbled in very thick accent , combined with my slight deafness against a backdrop of loud music and no Nat there to translate for me ..... it is hard work ) clearly thinking Nutter Alert ( in so far as she does thinking at all ( Oops Snob Alert ) and when she asks what I want piped on the cake and I say Happy Birthday Noodle she goes quite cross eyed .

This is a look Ive seen before .

In fact I really should be formulating my seven wierd things about the list for the I've been tagged by BetteJo business which has also been overtaken by events .

This slightly cross eyed look came over D yesterday when we were driving away from the pet hospital . Having just left Alice to her fate with me having scared everyone with my tales of having read on the net that greyhounds dont survive anaesthetic the way normal dogs do , D was quietly driving and trying to contain himself , whilst I was reading the texts that had arrived for me whilst we were talking to the vet .

Liz , having no idea that we were in the throes of such a nightmare , had brightly suggested I come to her house for an afternoon of Origami . Liz is a great and dear friend of mine who I've known almost for ever and who despite being a scholar and an academic also has a keen interest in all sorts of other things like lace making ( she goes on conventions ) maths ( she goes to maths conferences for fun) and origami . Of course I like the fact that she will occasionally drop everything and spend three hours over soup and tea in a coffee shop hooting with laughter with me about this and that ( mostly that ) .

I read her text out to D , and he repeats slightly incredulously , people are going to her house to do Paper Folding ? From 2 till 5 pm ?
Yes I say and I would have gone except that it might interfere with collecting Alice , and it feels too complicated .
Though , I muse , I could always make a little figure of a Jack Russell and then .... ( rip it to shreds , I am thinking , but I hopefully taper off and finish this sentence in my head ) .. that would be very therapeutic , I say , possibly .

D looks as me , then glances out of the window and I think again , not for the first time , that I am glad I do not know in detail the thoughts that pass across his brain .
I suppose if I had a therapist he would be ringing her now . Or not as the case may be .

As I drove into town at 9 36 am I started thinking that fourteen years ago today my labour was all over , I was back in my bed , and there was this tiny little blonde haired girl with a rosebud mouth in a goldfish bowl thing beside the bed . Across the ward from me was another woman, Ann, of around the same age as me who was also mobile , though like me , somwhat shaky on the pins after an epidural . It was a big ward and all the other women were post caesarean section , so much less mobile than we were ,and all of them bottle feeding their babies . I find that hard to believe . We were unique in that we were breast feeding . Or rather we weren't breast feeding , though we were trying very hard . Nathalia was the most wonderful baby and she did everything right , latching on , as did Patrick across the way . But I can still recall my relief when I looked up and saw the agony in Ann's face and her hands clenching when in unison with my baby , hers latched on and we were in some kind of joint agony as the midwives would say , very much in passing " you dont have to do it you know . We have ready made up bottles here you know . " The temptation . Oh the temptation . And we would reminisce about how we had been warned in our parentcraft talks about the agonies of breast feeding but that we had been too busy fretting about the labour stories to bother about the next bit ....

There was a desparate shortage of staff so although we had fabulous new facilities and a great area with drinks machines etc , we were terrified to leave our babies as it was not long before that a new born baby Abby Humphries had been stolen from her mother's side in the maternity unit . Ann and I soon staggered over to each other and got chatting and agreed to babysit for each other whilst we did our hasty ablutions and got ourselves endless coffees. ( Abby was eventually found and reunited with her parents ) .

Happy memories ....most people are so desparate to get home with their new babies . I loved those five days I was in hospital ( they used to let us stay in a long time then .... ) having my meals delivered , washing done and nothing to worry about except taking care of Nat . It was all so simple !


BetteJo said...

Hospital is very different there, isn't it? 24 and 22 years ago I was in for 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 days respectively. I breastfed too - oh the bleeding, cracked nipples.
But in the end it's all worth it and there are days when things are complicated and crazy when it would be so nice to be just rocking and feeding a tiny baby. So simple, I agree.

Happiest of birthdays Nat!

MsCatCalls said...

I dont really know how I managed to be in for so long , even then ... now its all very different , one or two days the norm , but even friends having babies the same year as me were in and out . maybe I was just lucky ( or some would see as unlucky ) , maybe they had a spare bed that week ?

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