Sometimes I Feel Like I Live in a Zoo…

…I really really do. Children are a great leveller, we all know that. But sometimes they take it so far that you feel like you’re playing a part in some sort of crazy family movie. Take last week for example…

So I’ve just recovered from a tummy bug and a twisted ankle when poor little Ben gets my tummy bug too. Obviously he starts to exhibit symptoms at 6pm at night, so there’s no chance of seeing a GP or anything. And as I’m gathering the sodden pieces of clothing together and mopping up stinking nappies (while trying not to gag) it occurs to me that he could have contracted something sinister like those poor little babies that died recently in Kwazulul-Natal. And he’s still so tiny and clearly so uncomfortable, plus his nappies are way more offensive then usual and are a strange colour.

So it’s clear that we can’t wait until morning to check this out, as I won’t sleep with worry anyway. So off to A&E we go. I phone Gareth in a panic and he rushes home from work. Plus I call our nanny Norma and ask if she minds working late and looking after Rachel while we head to the hospital.

Just as Gareth gets home and Ben’s screams are reaching a crescendo, and we’re literally heading out the door, Rachel attaches herself to my leg and declares that she has a “ponytail” up her nose. While I was giving Ben some medicine I recall that I did hear her sneezing a few times, but I didn’t think much of it. I hand Ben over to Gareth and look up her nose. Nothing. I get a torch and shine it up her nostrils and notice right at the top of one nostril she has shoved a small green hair elastic, that we normally use to make her ponytail with (hence her statement of “ponytail up her nose”).

She has pushed it so far up that there is no way normal tweezers are reaching it, besides she won’t let us touch her nose anyway. I’m worried she’s going to choke on it, I’m worried it will end up in her brain and I’m worried that I didn’t concentrate very hard in Biology either (how is the nose linked to the brain exactly anyway?).

So, in a mild state of disbelief, we pile BOTH children into the car and head to A&E. The nurses are very efficient but we draw some sideways glances when we declare that both of our children need to be seen to. Obviously Ben switches instantly into the world’s most charming baby and smiles at everyone he meets. So much so, that I’m immensely glad I thought to bring along one dirty nappy so at least the doctor believes me that he’s not 100% healthy.

After checking for dehydration and taking a stool sample, Ben is declared fine to go home. Next is Rachel. With the help of the doctor, a nurse and her father all holding her down (while she screams and thrashes around), we insert the world’s longest tweezers up her nostril and remove the world’s most expensive elastic band. I say this because the entire procedure took one minute and they charged us R750 for the pleasure. And then they charged us R750 for Ben too.

So that was a fun night. Like our own version of Grey’s Anatomy but fortunately less traumatic (and unfortunately not filled with as many good-looking doctors). So for my birthday on Sunday, I’m not wishing for much. Just a few weeks where we’re all healthy and life is well, just a little more boring. But I guess with kids, that’s never going to happen –  I may as well get used to it.

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