Saturday, May 7, 2011

With Friends Like Us

At the beach on Easter Sunday.  Really, this is us at our best.
We are living proof that Aussies are arguably the kindest, most generous, most tolerant, forgiving and accepting people anywhere.  ( Remembering the family in southern India who offered me their only chair, my friends in Kenya who showed me around Nairobi, the man in southern Haiti who crawled up his palm tree to share his last coconut with us and the family in northern Haiti who gave me a free Coca-Cola because I had been robbed and really didn't have any money with me.  Oh dear.  Folks are generally good after all, aren't they?!)

But my kids and I really DO test the boundaries sometimes.

A few weeks ago I dropped Damon and the three boys off at Tracey's for the morning so that they could look at camping gear while Ryan and I went for her doctor's appointment.  Note that Tracey already has four boys of her own.  And a daughter.  I had to apologize for adding more maleness to the mix.

Ryan and I returned to announce that she's had Glandular Fever for the last month or so.  (Mononucleosis or Epstein-Barr virus for the Americans.)  Not EXACTLY considered CONTAGIOUS anymore, since you don't get it through aerosol contact, but still INFECTIOUS.  Meaning you pass it through saliva, like in sharing food or kissing.  Maybe it's infectious but not contagious.  Whatever.

I still felt a bit guilty, first of all because I'd been asking her to go to school exhausted because the REST of us had kicked the flu bug in two weeks and she just couldn't still be sick, could she?  Shades of MY Dad.  If you weren't vomiting on the way out the door you were healthy enough for school.  And even then, you probably had time to mop it up and run for the school bus if you really tried.

And - oh yeah- in the meanwhile Ryan's been running around sick, exhausted, pale, weak AND infectious.  Or contagious. 

Tracey and I just told the kids not to kiss eachother and went back to our tea.

She and her husband Neil even had us all over again a few weeks later on ANZAC day.

More often it's like this.  (Matthew and Aidan at the boat ramp over Easter break.)

All was going well - meaning that the nine kids, ages 2 to 16, were all happily amusing eachother - when Bullet, a 2 year old Irish Wolfhound mix on his way DOWN the porch stairs collided with Matthew on his way UP.  It was no contest, kinda like the time my Saturn ( I loved that car!) collided with a Lincoln Continental.

"There's a LOT of blood, Mom."

Matthew had hit his head on the one tiny metal bolt holding the porch post in place.  Or something like that.  It all happened so fast.  One of Tracey's boys didn't think twice about picking up a bleeding kid, carrying him up the stairs, blood pouring out of Matthew's head the whole time, onto the stairs, the porch, and onto poor Bullet, who was trying to figure out what they heck had happened and why we all weren't having fun anymore.

Poor Bullet. 

Oh.  And Matthew. 

I am NOT your typical mother.  I DID cradle Matthew on my lap.  All the while trying to reassure everyone ELSE that head wounds bleed profusely and usually appear a lot worse than they are as a result.   (Why was Damon still so surprised when the REAL doctor said the same thing only a little while later?!)  Tracey and Neil aren't your average parents either.  They had icepacks ready in seconds.  Pressure, folks, pressure.  My motto is to just hide the blood for a bit until everyone calms down.

At that point Tracey mentioned the metal bolt though and I would have felt really negligent NOT going to a REAL doctor for a second opinion. 

At which point I realized that, although I had my writing pad with me, I did not have my wallet.  Containing our Medicare information.  (Or my driver's license in the event that Damon was drinking, so duh.  My writing friends will be pleased to note I had that writing pad, though!)

So we put our hero in charge of two squeamish girls and a passel of boys of varying ages.  Neil drove Damon and Matthew to the 24 hours clinic while Tracey drove me to get our ID.  Matthew was already being treated by the time I arrived.  Nothing like a child with a bleeding head wound to get prompt attention.  The bleeding stopped by the time the doctor showed.  And we were back in time to finish up the barbeque.  The kids had cleaned up all the blood.  Bullet was forgiven.  (The term "faster than a speeding Bullet" now holds a special place in our hearts!)  Matthew had a new hero - the kid who had valiantly carried him up the stairs - and was a hero himself.

And I found lice in Matthew's head while we were at the clinic.

I can't believe Tracey and Neil didn't kick us out.

I can't believe they take us as we are!  (Rodeo on May 1)

Turned out that trip to the clinic though, saved us a lot of aggravation in the long run.  A couple young bugs on each of the boys, haircuts and treatment, and all was remedied BEFORE it became an issue.  (And you gotta see the lice products here!  SHELVES and SHELVES!  Foams and sprays and prevention wasn't half as horrid as that time in Germany when we had to heavily medicate everyone's head and boil the heck out of the stuffed animals.  Some did not survive.  How can the SAME bugs be treated so differently in two different countries?!  More bugs here?  Nah, my guess is more kids.  And more tolerance.  No need to bathe the kids in shame or anything!)

Mono.  Lice.  Next thing you know we'll be spreading our terrible accents around.

Today we went over to visit some other neighbours, Zianda and Chris and their 6 month old, Oliver.  Zianda showed Ryan some of her sketches.  Ryan showed Zianda her crocheting.  And got to hold Oliver.

Until Aidan got a little rambunctious on the couch and kicked Oliver in the back of the head.

Honestly, how does bringing the hostess a gift (which we didn't do!) make up for THAT?!

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