The doorbell rang and for a split second I gave serious consideration to not opening the door.
Our morning had been a disaster since my parenting partner in crime (affectionately known as dad by our children) had left earlier for work. I had Gremlin determined to grow her teeth as painfully as possible. This meant she was regularly filling her nappy with what I can only describe as slop. There were regular tears and emotional outburts because it was so painful for her. She looked a sorry sight with her bright red cheeks, snotty nose and cough all as a result of those rotten teeth. Over and above that I had Sproglet who was regularly demanding attention as was his way of making his presence known in the early days as a family.
I had not even been able to get out of my pj’s, brush my teeth or had a decent cup of tea and my hair was just about in a messy pony tail – I’m sure you get the picture of us not looking like the perfect, well looked after family. I knew that I wasn’t expecting visitors and I had no social worker visits planned, so I did seriously consider not opening the door.
The guilt got the better of me or perhaps I became aware that the kids were going to give us away with all their crying and moaning, so I decided to open the door. Standing before me, was the immaculately dressed Health Visitor who had decided to pop by to check on us.
At that exact moment, Gremlin decided that what was in her tummy needed to be released and she promptly filled her nappy and the smell that followed was stomach churning for everyone within a 5 mile radius.
Although I’ll cover it in another post, the Health Visitor started to tell me off for not answering the many phone messages she had left on my mobile. I was trying to explain that I hadn’t received any of those messages while trying not to pass out from the smell from the crying toddler I was holding, when I realised she had called me by a different name to my own and had me confused with someone else.
I let her in and then promptly told her my immediate priority was not her but the Gremlin who immediately needed a nappy change. I took the Gremlin round to our dining room to change her, while trying to pacify her cries and offer all the motherly reassurance that I could. When I calmed her enough, I almost died when she rather loudly proclaimed ‘me not like that lady, she is soooo rude.’ In our open plan house I know that the lady in question most definitely heard the Gremlin.
Upon my return to the living room, she fortunately didn’t say anything but started to collect all the information she needed and started to carry out the initial health checks on the children.
I thought we had recovered the visit once we had moved past the initial confusion and had removed the smell of poo from the room when she then asked the Sproglet how he had got the rather impressive bruise on his shin.
I froze at this point, followed by frantic thinking of how did he actually get the bruise? I didn’t even remember seeing before she pointed it out. Knowing that we were under the microscope and being closely assessed for our ability to keep these children safe, I was desperate to try and remember so I could give a plausible explanation.
At this point, I am drawing a blank which seems ridiculous because this bruise was massive and really dark so it wasn’t a minor bump against the bed. Sproglet decided that he confidently knew the reason and announced that ‘an elephant did it.’ I tried desperately not to laugh as I knew this wasn’t really helping the underlying tension in the room but she immediately started to ask him whether elephant was code for one of his grown ups followed by ‘we don’t really get that many elephants around here’ so did he want to offer a different explanation. Sproglet didn’t take kindly to being told that he was making up the story about an elephant doing it so became quite angry at her.
She then suggested that I should maybe call some of the other adults he had been in contact with because she was concerned that I was unable to answer what had happened to my child and I was meant to be looking after him. I then have to call my husband at work (who fortunately picked up on my panicked voice) and proceeded to explain that he didn’t remember Sproglet hurting himself but when we had been out a couple of days prior, I had lef them for a short while and they had gone in to the park area where we were visiting. There was a climbing frame there although he couldn’t remember what it was but perhaps he had done it there.
I start to explain this to the Health Visitor who had insisted on hearing my end of the phone call at which point Sproglet again announced ‘I told you the elephant did it – it was a metal elephant and I hurt my leg climbing on it.’
She seemed reassured and finally left and we still have our children in spite of the disastrous visit, although I now never open the door unless I have clothes on, my hair brushed and have checked for elephants in the previous few days!