Where I’m at

Well hello, my blog!

Where do I even start? I don’t know if anyone is even reading this anymore. Life is busy, which is my whole excuse in a nutshell for not blogging for several months. It’s hot now, rainy season having finally given way to the full-on Japanese summer. One of my jobs doesn’t offer me hours in August, so I guess I have a little more time of sorts, now, though staying home with my goblins doesn’t entirely feel like unrestricted vacation time.

From April, which is the start of the new school and business year here, we experienced a few changes. They weren’t huge ones, but there were challenges involved nonetheless. I dropped one of my freelance jobs when another one increased my hours. My pay has overall remained about the same but I now have more definite days off, which is nice. My husband got a new position at work, becoming a permanent worker and changing teams. Weirdly, this resulted in a monthly pay decrease but a significant bonus increase. For him, changing teams was obviously more significant but for the rest of us, the other main difference is to his schedule. There are no more night or Sunday shifts for now, but his hours are typically considerably longer day-to-day.

My son is now 3.5 years old and, as shocking as it seems, heading rapidly towards 4. He is still creative and funny, very random, and maybe inheriting my anti-social tendencies. My daughter is nearly 1.5 now, cheeky, stubborn and cute, waddling about and getting into mischief wherever she can. She and my son are closer than ever now, my son rushing to defend her when she gets in trouble but also leading her astray constantly. They’re still in childcare, though we recently had a bad run with viruses and there were a lot of days off involved. I’ve used up a lot of goodwill, what little paid leave I get, and we’ve had to call in my bloody mother-in-law for help. They were all ordinary, typical bugs; it was just that there were a lot of them. Here’s hoping we can get through the rest of the summer a bit more easily?!

The big storm cloud that has appeared in my life comes from a bit further afield. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer recently and has just begun chemotherapy for it ahead of surgery later this year. Waiting to find out how bad it is (and speculating in the meantime) while trying to decide when/if to fly back home to see her has been filling my thoughts a fair bit. Here’s hoping the treatment works.

Am I ok? Aside from the above, I’m getting along alright really. Day-to-day life is mostly fine, though I’m tired on some deep level that can sometimes color everything. I’m mentally restless, I suppose, still finding ways to channel it within the constraints of my current life. I’ve been having a bit more luck with making time for writing lately, even if this blog doesn’t really show it. I’d like it to do so. The modest goal I’ve had floating around in my head for awhile now is to try to do a post a week, but we’ll see how that goes.

I hope you’re alright too. If you’re here and feel like it, please let me know how you’re going in the comments!

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Yet more fever fun

“Oh, it’s high!” exclaimed the other mother in surprise, holding aloft the thermometer. I gave her a sympathetic smile as I hoisted E out of her carrier to do the same process. How many times have my children had perfectly normal temperatures only for the childcare thermometers to offer up some absurdly high reading?

I tucked the thermometer under E’s arm, waited, and then gasped in surprise myself at the elevated number it showed. “What?” I peered at E suspiciously. “You do not have a fever.”

“Maybe the room’s hot?” suggested their childcare worker, heading over to adjust the air conditioner. The other baby, in the meantime, was having her temperature taken again and, this time, it produced a low reading to her mother’s palpable relief.

I decided to use the same thermometer for E’s second attempt. The number that came back was still high, but within the realms of normal. I frowned to myself and patted her head before handing her over. She must have gotten a bit too warm in her carrier, I reasoned. Her head felt as hot as it always did.

Wait, what?

It’s Mr. K who always has a hot head. It’s not E. E’s head is usually cool. It’s been a relief, really, how reassuringly cool her bald head is compared to her bronchitis-ridden brother. Something was amiss.

But she was already settled into her teacher’s arms, as calm as ever. She had played around like normal at home. It was probably nothing.

Reluctantly, I left and headed off to work, but I kept checking my phone throughout the morning. The lack of calls from childcare was reassuring at first, but then my imagination went into overdrive. Perhaps they hadn’t called because they hadn’t had the chance. Perhaps they were too busy rushing E to hospital somewhere because something was really, really wrong, and maybe they had just called R instead and he was rushing to meet them somewhere-…

It was actually more of a relief when I got out of my final class for the morning and found a missed call from R on my phone. Childcare had indeed called him, but only because phone Japanese is not what you would call a strength of mine by any stretch of the imagination. E was not in the emergency ward of a hospital or anything remotely like that, but she did definitely have a fever. In fact, it had gone up to 39 degrees. I was to come and pick her up ASAP.

And so here we are. The 39 reading worried me and had me wondering about goddamn bloody annoying why is there no vaccine for it roseola so we ended up going via the doctor’s (Mr. K stayed at childcare until afterwards). While he was pleasant and appeared to take me seriously, the doctor just diagnosed a cold (possibly with a wave of his boyband haircut to cap the whole thing off), and told me to come back if E still had a fever on Saturday. Honestly, that doesn’t seem impossible right now. After a nightmare night of her screaming on Wednesday, it seemed like she had turned a corner and her temperature was mostly normal by this afternoon. Now, though, she’s hot again and squirming in her sleep, and I’m searching my inbox for tomorrow’s company’s phone number. At least I don’t have to try to make sure I sound genuinely sick when I’m calling in because my children are sick, hey?

So yes. More cancelled work, more anxious waits as the numbers on the thermometer fly up just a little too quickly, more ambiguous diagnoses and the ongoing unpleasant realisation that, as far as medicine has come, there are an awful lot of things that nobody knows or just nobody bothers with. Whatever immunity E borrowed from me for her first six months has worn off. It’s her turn now.

1 year old

On Saturday (29/10), Mr K finally turned one.

I seemed to run the full gamut of emotions in the lead-up to the big milestone, golden fuzzy warm nostalgia all the way down to bleak, dissolve-into-tears mess with no idea how the hell I’d made it this far and certain that I couldn’t manage it for much longer. Extreme, yes, but the year has encompassed both those feelings and all that lies between, so why not?

And here we are. 

Mr K is 12 months old, but we should really say one year now. I don’t know if I can still call him a baby? He still acts very much like a baby, though. He babbles at length, crawls everywhere, and finds inane objects utterly interesting. He stands up a lot but only when holding something, and he has taken a strong liking to opening and closing things, pulling things out and putting them in different places entirely. He doesn’t walk yet, but he is determined to skip that and climb on things instead. 

The time has been, and still is, so very distorted. How can one year have passed already, yet how can it have been only one? The days are long but the year(s) are short indeed.