Monday, 6 July 2009

Grace - 18 months old


So Grace is 18 months old and very hard to control since our holiday.

We took her to Spain with James' folks for a lovely, relaxing, stress-free week of hot sun, swimming and snoozing, oh and a hideously expensive root canal treatment for me of course.

We were not two days into the trip when the pain began, beating like a drum, sending vibrations down my jaw and up into my ear.

"Don't worry" I said "I am sure it's just my old wisdom tooth playing up again, probably just a bit infected, will pop to the dentist and get some antibiotics tomorrow or something"

As Sunday night eased into Monday morning the drum beat got louder and the lack of sleep and agonising pain started to make me slightly hysterical. At one point I begged James to punch me in the face so I could be knocked out (I think he contemplated it, I am not a fun bedfellow in hot countries it seems. I can't sleep with a fan blowing on me, I can't sleep with just a sheet on me, I can't sleep with one pillow etc etc)

Come Monday morning, I was mute with pain. Luckily the villa we were staying in had a folder full of handy information and telephone numbers. In it, like a shining beacon of light were the words "Karen Gardener, English Dentist"

Marvellous, I thought as I made the appointment, I will be in and out in no time.... half an hour and one very expensive x-ray later, she diagnosed severe tooth decay with no option other than emergency root canal..

Two and a half hours after that, (and many hundreds of euros lighter) I gingerly unpeeled myself from her plastic chair of hell and stumbled, dazed, numb and post-traumatic into the roasting hot Spanish sun.

James' wallet was hurting almost as my much as my jaw as we made our way back to the villa. Much like the war, or maybe more recently, Fight Club, we don't talk about what happened in the dark and lonely hours I spent in the plastic chair of hell, but sometimes, late at night I still hear the drill, and see the orange plastic goggles I was forced to wear (because being in the worst pain ever is not enough for 'dentists'. They like to dress you up like a idiot and make you dribble down yourself too - SICKOS).

Later in the week some English chaps who maintain the villas came to mow our lawn. We offered them a drink and got chatting, turns out Karen Gardener the English Dentist is also known as The Butcher.. How we all laughed at that.

One of the chaps said I should have gone to his dentist as he was much cheaper. As he was talking however, I noticed holes in his mouth where teeth once lived so decided that perhaps I had been lucky afterall. No one wants a missing tooth in their wedding photos do they? I always managed to go over the handlebars of my BMX and get a cracking scab on my nose the day before school photos.

(Irrelevantly, but still very hysterically, I told my brother that my BMX had special go-faster powers. The foam between the handlebars had a pattern on it which looked like buttons.

I would tap at them in code-cracking manner then shoot off whilst my brother trailed behind me sobbing "WAIT, my bike is not magic like yours" I would shout back "Eat my dust" (I used to idolize Bart Simpson. I even had the trainers, much to James' delight when he discovered childhood photos of me looking moodily uncool in them.)

So anyway, root canal aside, we had a lovely lovely time. Being as it was not my house and had stone floors, not only did I let Grace roam around free like a mountain goat, I also liberated her of her nappy for the whole week, and consequently spent most of it slipping in her widdle.

"Weeeee!" Grace would say, as she watched us skidding across the floor. She also pointed at Pip everytime he went underwater in the pool and said "Uh oh" thinking he had fallen over!

Grace loved the swimming pool. At first, she was a bit nervous but it did not take long till she jumped in like the rest of us (except I did the jumping in where you don't get your hair wet of course, even though it was covered at all times by one of Graces factor 50 plus sun protector hats with ear flaps. My nickname for the holiday was Ming Ming.)

Grace - on the other hand was way too cool for her hat, she hid it in a drawer so we would not make her wear it!

By the end of the week she could swim a length in her arm bands. We all sobbed like the soppy so and so's we are. The people next door to us must have thought we were mad, all they heard all week was WELL DONE!!! BRILLIANT, MING MING and WEEEEEEE!!

Polly went up onto the balcony to have a looksee at our neighbours and spotted a big fat naked man hosing himself down.

She was very excited about it and kept making excuses to go back up there all week. Not even the giant wasp nest could keep her away. It's so true that you never know someone until you go on holiday with them.

Who would have thought my mother-in-law-to-be (MILTB) was such a fan of the nudist scene? She was DESPERATE for James and I to swim naked "So liberating" she would say
"Try it" she cooed "Me and Pip will turn our backs" "Play volleyball, NAKED, or cricket. "
On and on she went, till finally, we caved in.... We dropped Pip, Polly and Grace down in the town and raced back for some "liberation".

I confess, nude swimming is fun. Obviously the second we got out and started doing nude sunbathing dumb and dumber (the English men with no teeth) turned up to clean out the pool and saw us in all our naked glory. Needless to say we did not do it again.

Pip did not seem as keen on the naked sunbathing, but he DID like making sure we were at the front of every queue we entered and were very very early for check-in. Hell hath no fury like man in a hurry with a walking stick.

"THIS WAY, QUICKLY!!!!" he would shout as he charged up and down airports, taking out anyone who stood in his path, whilst James, Polly, Grace and I ran along behind, dropping suitcases and losing flip-flops as we went.

Obviously it did no good as Ryan Air are the worst airline in the whole world ever and we still ended up queuing for hours either end as he and Polly where searched and frisked and fondled by various airport staff.

Grace was hard work on the plane, as I am sure all toddlers are. Luckily she is obsessed with doing up seatbelts, it's just a shame she can't undo them again. She has learned how to say please though, so even though I had to keep putting my book down and take off my headphones, the sound of her little voice saying "pease" accompanied by the Mackerton sign for it (touching your chin) I did not mind.

Her vocabulary has come on leaps and bounds, Daddaaaa!!! Mummeeeee!! Nannneeeeeeeeeee!, Dindaaaaaaa! (Grandad) she would shout, racing over the roasting hot patio (which none of us could stand on for more than a second without breaking into snazzy high-kneed dancing to stop our feet burning). She can even count to ten, it goes something like this however: one, dooo, feee, foooor, ive, ix, even, aiiighhht, nine, ten (then a MASSIVE round of applause for herself).

She was very good at being ball girl each morning and evening when James and I would have our daily games of badminton. James was torn between refusing to play because my idea of a fun game is to see how many times we can pass the ball to one another without dropping it, as opposed to the competitive option where you actively try to make your opponent miss, or playing anyway as at least he got to hit a ball (Gently with no spin!).

We had a family game of cricket on the Friday night. Pip even came out of retirement for it. James was like a little boy playing at the bottom of his garden again, his face was a picture of joy as he thwacked the ping pong ball and did snazzy-high-knee dancing back and forth the patio whilst me and Polly hopped about in the bushes trying to stop our bikinis falling off as we searched for the ball (Well I was, the nudist probably enjoyed it!)

We got home late on Saturday night and I had to get up at silly early o'clock to do the race for life on Sunday morning. I did my 5k in about 28 minutes which is not that good really, I could have done it much quicker but it's hard to barge past someone when they have heartbreaking signs on their backs saying things like "For my mum". It feels wrong somehow (Apart from the people who were running for Jade Goody, I actively enjoyed taking them out) anyway, it's done, but I am am still short of my target, so if you could be so kind as to sponsor me it would be muchly appreciated.

www.justgiving.com/erickaracesforlife

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xxxx