Monday, 28 January 2013


It's about twenty minutes from the store to the Minor Injury Unit at our local hospital. Sofia Faith slept the whole way. Alarm bells started to ring when I woke her to take her out the car and she fell back to sleep again in the waiting room. This was not like her at all. Especially considering she had already had a nap in the morning.

The paediatrician roused her to make various checks. She was concussed. I would need to keep a careful watch over her for the next 72 hours. If she started to vomit, seemed particularly irritable and clingy, or lethargic the next day, I was to return with her. I didn't stop to explain that my little one was clingy and irritable a lot of the time. Instead, he took her blood pressure, I took his advice, and we left. Esme was due out of school in five minutes. It was going to be cutting it fine. 

I carried Sofia as if she was Dresden china back to the car, beyond grateful that she was okay, still feeling nauseous that she may yet not be. I tried strapping her in, finding it difficult- aware that I was still shaking myself. I was in such a rush it didn't help. I dropped the keys on the driver's seat to free up both hands, there I managed it. I shut her door. I must get to school... CLICK. Before I had a chance to open my door the car locked itself. 

In disbelief I stood gawping for a moment. Staring me straight in the face sat on my seat were the keys, complete with their once amusing, now just stupid keyring. A word play on the 1939 government moral boosting poster KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, read NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT.

Context please. We'd been through too much already and I knew missing picking up Esme would not be the end of the world. A concussed baby locked in a car on the other hand, mmm. I phoned school. I phoned a mum. Said mum picked Esme up for me. Said mum's hubby could be with me in ten minutes to break the window. Said mum and hubby are legendary. In relief I phoned my OH Simon to fill him in. He said outright, "NO. Do not break the window, it will cost about £250. I'm on my way." I argued pointlessly, "But your daughter is crying. She is concussed." 

He was adamant and I hurt. 
Said mum's hubby was not required. 
Sofia screamed. For both of us this was towering torment on trauma. 
A blizzard began and I did my coat up, thankful to be wearing it.

Simon's journey would take an hour. Sofia was crying and I was close to it. We were in for a wait. I had to distract her. I would sing. And sing I did. At the top of my voice so that Fia could hear me the other side of the window. 

Verse after verse of Old MacDonald shakily soprano-ed in the car park. People toing and froing from the unit glanced in my direction oddly. In their defence, they only saw a crazed woman moo-ing, baa-ing and snorting to her reflection in the car window. 

Fia fell to sleep. She woke again and screamed some more. She looked at me with such confusion. I felt so sad but continued, changing tack for peekaboo. Somewhere in the hour, covered in snow, and dancing beside the car, my phone died. Great.

A woman unable to park drove alongside and shot me the most insane look for wasting a parking space. She obviously had no idea of my plight. Sofia was now shrouded in her own unhappiness for she had cried the windows steamy. I was beginning to lose sight of her.

Freezing and almost overcome with guilt and grief, I turned to the sound of feet walking my way. My OH was here, suited and booted, striding toward me. He used the spare fob and the car unlocked. I fell to Fia, apologising, hugging, kissing her better, checking her over in the process.

About half an hour later, Esme Grace and Sofia Faith chased each other around the lounge. Their noise levels raised the roof. I didn't once ask them to keep it down. Instead I had a large glass of wine and set about making a dinner for friends who were coming over.

What was that all about?

What it was indeed, was a blatant reminder that I am lucky to have a second little one in my life. A warning not to constantly bemoan the fact that I find her challenging and exhausting, but a motion to hold her tight just that little bit more and wonder at her being, her sense of adventure, her spirit.

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