Published: May 24th 2010February 16th 2010
This day was certainly a very different day from what was planned. Most of it was totally unnecessary, as my mum would say a good smack could have done the trick (but we don’t hit children, or at least you don’t hit other people’s children no matter how much you think the little darlings would benefit from one - let’s not open the smacking debate, we will leave it at my parents certainly gave me a good hiding in my time and it did me no harm, in fact I still get a smack round the back of the head from my mum and aunt, obviously now it is done in good fun with all of us laughing). Anyway that is jumping way ahead.
Again this day was billed as a quiet day with nothing much to do except go to paint some plates at this potter’s house. It was a slower start to the day; all that actually meant was instead of getting up at 7 I could get up at 7:30. The slower start did give F and me the chance to watch about 10 mins of the winter Olympics. HB did her usual walking round in circles
while talking to herself. When she walks round me in circles (literally not metaphorically) it makes me feel rather dizzy, so I tell her that I am not a roundabout and to stand still. I tell you it happens like clockwork, you stand still in a group and talk and she takes to walking in circles. Ugh, it makes my eyes spin thinking about it. Back to the day, as we were leaving and putting our shoes on HB turned round to me and said Anita my checks are hurting. Wonderful, why is it children always leave it to the last possible moment to tell you something important. Now this little comment may not seem big, but it sets a whole sequence of events into motion, that as I mentioned at the beginning was totally unnecessary. You may also think, well you are still in the room; there must have been something that I could have done. Well no, we weren’t in our rooms. Remember this is Japan and they confiscate your shoes on entering a building. God forbid that you should step from the entrance way up onto the wooden floor with your shoes on. You get pounced on
by 5 people whose job it must be to make sure that you take your shoes off and don’t step on the floor with them on. So I wasn’t in my room, and we both had our shoes on, and everyone else was in the car waiting for us to get a move on.
Once in the car we only had about a 15 min ride to the house, but HB complained the whole time that her cheeks were hurting and sore. I knew what the problem was, you could see it. Shall I tell you? Promise not to say anything? Okay, here it goes. She had................... dry skin. Shock horror! Who would have expected that? As we all know, and have experienced, that when it gets cold skin tends to dry out and crack. Well that is what happened here. She had dry skin from the combination of the cold and the dryness of the rooms from the heating. To avert any major melt downs I looked through my bag to see what I had. Unfortunately all I had was a gentle hand cream. Ah, what the heck, lets but a tiny bit on to help. What a
Looking very proud of myself
It is hard work being so creative
disaster that turned out to be. I put a tiny amount on both her checks and for the remaining 10mins of the car ride she was as good as gold. No complaining about pain or anything. Hurray.
As soon as we got there and out of the van, and she was with her mum (in the van we were at the very back, separated by 2 other rows of seats) she started up again. It didn’t take long to go from mere complaining to full on tears. Don’t think me cruel, I am sure that they were painful. I have had dry skin and know what it can be like. What I refuse to do is pander to her whims and whines. She also started the I want to go now! Take me back now, we aren’t staying here. To me, that is a tantrum, and there is only one way to deal with them - ignore them. She spent the next hour that we were there being smothered by Mrs G who was convinced that HB was dying of something. She turned to me and asked what happened, so I told her. When I told her that I had put some cream on her, she almost blew a casket. How dare I put that cream on her! She has very sensitive skin. That is something pretty crucial that I need to know. That would be like forgetting to tell me that she was allergic to something. As a nanny I need to know everything about your child - good and bad. It is no use telling me that after something has happened. And is no use telling me that all her soaps and things say sensitive on them, coz you know what? I don’t read German! Then she went on to say that she was sure that HB had a fever and was lethargic. Well of course she is hot she was bundled up in about 5 coats while sitting next to a fire. Reminds me of the time I was working at a summer camp, and one of my little mini campers got too cold while at the water front. I took her up to see the nurse who wrapped her up in towels and started using a hair dryer to warm her up, but at the same time was taking her temperature, then looked surprised when it said that she had a fever. Of course it would if you are blowing a bloody hair dryer at it. She is lethargic because she has been crying for an hour and is tired from seeing everything and not having any down time.
Anyway, I had a great time at the house, we watched him making a vase. His fingers were rather freaky as they bent backwards from working with the turn table and pushing them against the clay. He had a special way of preparing the clay. He had to kneed it 50 times. It made this incredible creation which at 1st I thought was the finished product. Then he had to fold it all back again and start again. He did this a couple of times before starting to mold it into the vase. It was fascinating to watch him at work. Almost mesmerising watching the turn table turn. In no time at all he made a beautiful vase. Then it was F’s turn to make one. That wasn’t so beautiful, but a good attempt. The hardest part is cutting it off from the rest of the clay. You have to use a thin wire, but that kept getting all twisted and stuck. We all had a chance to paint a plate each. You had to paint it using aspecial paint mixed with green tea, so that when it is cooked the black paint turns that traditional blue colour that you see on so many pieces Japanese pottery and china. I thought I would do something very Japanesey - some blossom with a temple perhaps. Or not. I went for the very traditional Giraffe and savannah picture that is so typical of Japan. I have no idea why a giraffe and tree came to mind - it seemed like a good idea. I wrote my name in Japanese on the back so I think that made up for it.
By this time HB was screaming blue murder, and demanding to go this second. This is where a good clip round the ear would have stopped all this nonsense. My mother would have told me to pull myself together and that we were leaving when we were ready, not when I want to go. That is something I still hear to this day. You must think that I have a really cruel mother. I don’t. I have a wonderful mummy, who I love with all my heart. She is just very strict and takes no nonsense. She sent me into school if I was sick - saying if I really was ill then I could spend the day at the San (the sick bay that looked after all the sick boarders at my school). This is why I tend to work even when I feel dreadfully ill. At this point, I had finished, so I took her out to the van, telling her that I am sure that her cheek hurts, and that I was sad that she was feeling unwell, but crying and make a huge fuss about it will only make her feel worse, so let’s stop the crying and try to be brave like a big girl. Finishing with - we will leave when everyone is ready, not when you tell us that you are ready to go. Hey presto it worked! No more crying. In fact from this point on she was pretty much her usual self, granted a little tired, but if you have been crying for an hour you tend to be a little tired from it.
From here we went to a very authentic Italian restaurant that was literally in the middle of nowhere. I had a very yummy lasagne. Mmmmmmm. HB was, by the end of the meal, as right as rain. However, this was not enough to satisfy Mrs G and she insisted on taking her to the hospital to get checked out. So much for a quiet afternoon. The Japanese hospital was everything that you would consider it to be - very, very clean. All the staff walked around with masks on their faces, and no not the scary masks, but the mouth ones. Hehe, I could just imagine that, you walk into the hospital and all the Drs and nurses are wearing scream masks. Ha. Makes me giggle. It was a very boring process. I was sitting outside in the waiting area for the good part of an hour twiddling my thumbs. Prognosis? There is nothing wrong with her; she had a slightly red ear, but nothing that would make her ill. I could have told you that. That is the end of it right? We can go back to the hotel now, right? Wrong! Mrs G was not satisfied with that answer, so she made them refer her to an ear, nose and throat specialist at some clinic. Great, just what I wanted. If we weren’t sick when we went in, I am sure we picked something up while waiting in the waiting room of the clinic with all the children that are really sick and didn’t just have DRY SKIN! So another 2 hrs was passed sitting and waiting, then waiting some more. And what did this Dr say (this Dr had a fancy piece of equipment that could look further into HB’s ear), wait for it, it is worth the wait. Compose yourselves as it is going to be a big one. Here it is, this is what the Dr said - there is nothing wrong with her. If her ears hurt on the flights, it is for the same reason everyone else’s ears hurt - the pressure change. Wasn’t that worth it - aren’t you all laughing? I am not. Well I was at the time, on the inside obviously. Does anyone think I am being too harsh? We were given a prescription though, this is the clincher. It was for paracetamol, that is right, every day painkillers, that you could get over the counter for a lot less. So for probably the cost a small house in central London we learnt that there was nothing wrong with HB, she is absolutely healthy and got a bottle of pain killers for our troubles. Mrs G spent the ride back to the hotel trying to convince me it was a good idea to get her checked out. I just smiled and nodded, a skill I have perfected over the years.
So once again we found ourselves at the hotel and ready for dinner. Tonight’s dish? Basically beef fondue. We had boiling water in which we were dipped very thin bits of beef into. It is known as Shaba Shaba. I was at this point too tired with the day’s eventfulness to care about it and didn’t really enter into the spirit of it all. I was more than glad to crawl into my futon bed in the oversized cupboard once everyone else was in bed.
So there you have it - a pointless day in my view, but on the plus side it did lead to some very good outcomes in the days that followed. But you will just have to continue reading to find out more. To be continued ...