Thursday, August 31, 2006

Final Nursery Visit & Locked Out

Tomorrow Amelia has her first full day at and effectively starts nursery. Eeek. Today was her fifth and final visit, from 11:00-2:00. It was another lunch and nap-time visit as it was this that had gone so badly last week. Once again, Sheep dropped her off, and he left her after checking that she seemed happy and settled. He dropped in on Barnaby to say hello, went back to the baby room to find Amelia still happy and playing and so came home. I collected her at 2:00 and she had had a good time, in that she had not been distressed and had not cried at all. However, she had not slept at all either (after 20 minutes of being in a cot, she was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so they let her out...) Incidentally, in order to try and get her to sleep they asked for something of mine that smelt of me. So I placed my unwashed (!) pajama top in her bag, which they laid in the cot with her, in the hope that it might calm her. She ate 10 spoonfulls of mashed sweet-potato but hardly drank any milk (formula) when offered to her. Needless to say, she was delighted to see me.

The rest of the afternoon was eventful to say the least. When I left for the nursery I was a little late and couldn't find my keys. Sheep suggested that I took his as his plans were to go to a coffee shop to work. However, he'd forgotten that we'd been having a problem with our Yale-lock latch and so it wouldn't automatically lock behind him. This meant, effectively, that he couldn't leave until I returned, as the house would be left unlocked. While waiting, he was obviously champing at the bit, and so got a screwdriver out and started to examine the latch to see if he could fix it: an entirely understandable response from an engineer! To give Sheep his due, he thought that he'd mended it. When I arrived back, in the car, from nursery, I was concerned that Amelia hadn't had her lunch time nap yet and thought that since I was in the car anyway, the easiest way to get her off to sleep was just to drive round a bit more, so when I discoved Sheep still at the house, waiting impatiently for me outside, I offered to give him a lift to the shopping centre. Amelia fell asleep beautifully and I returned home. However, as soon as I got to the front door, discovered that my Yale key would not open it. Not at all. In fact, the key just turned freely in the lock. Sheep's 'fixing' had rather backfired!

My dilemma was that my phone (which is on a fixed monthly contract) had reached the limit of its credit and as I have never had to 'top it up before' I had no idea how to go about doing so. But unless I did manage to top it up, I had no means of calling anyone, and, amongst other things, Amelia was going to need a nappy change before long (I didn't have her nappy bag with me as I'd only been collecting her from nursery). It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to top up my phone. Obviously the next problem was to get hold of a locksmith. Here the power of local social networks comes into play. It was no use asking Sheep as he was sitting in a coffee shop, and so hadn't really any access to that sort of information. On my phone I had the number of someone from my NCT group, who I was pretty sure would be home as she's due to give birth tomorrow. Luckily she was at home, and she looked through the yellow pages, and gave me the numbers of three local locksmiths. I called one and they said that they would be with me within an hour (this was about 3:50 pm). The next problem was Amelia's nappy. I called another NCT member who lives in Loughton and who has a son Amelia's age (and a daughter Barnaby's age, as it happens) and, effectively invited myself round for a nappy change! Since I'd asked the locksmith to call me when he was on his way, it seemed safe enough to go out. I actually had a nice time at her house, drinking tea and chatting, as well as doing a couple of nappy changes (Amelia's bowels rose to the occasion). I left her house at 5:00, thinking it was a little strange that the locksmith hadn't called. By this time, Sheep was heading home and as I arrived home I called the locksmith only to discover that they had already been and gone again; they had called the landline and not my mobile. Grrrr!!!! They promised, again, that they would send somebody, but that it could be another hour. This meant that there were going to be impending dinner-problems.

I left Sheep mounting guard outside the front door, prepared to pounce on any passing locksmith while I went to collect Barnaby from nursery. Luckily, I had some presence of mind while I was there, to pour out my troubles into their ears and beg some food for Amelia. They heated up some baby food in a dish, with a spoon and wrapped it all in silver foil so that it would stay hot until I got home. How wonderful is that? We all came home, to discover, joy of joys, the locksmith had arrived. I guess it was about 5:30 by this stage. I left Sheep with Amelia, the heated baby food and the locksmith and took Barnaby out in the car, again, to buy some hot dinner for us (chips and veggie nuggets, not great, but hey, it was hot food!). We returned just before six, the door was still shut fast, and so we went into the back garden to eat our dinner and I gave Amelia a breast-feed as well. Of all of us, Amelia was least put out by events.

By 6:30, the locksmith still had had no success. (He had this jointed-arm tool thingy that he was poking through the letter box in order to try to release the latch from the inside). After this didn't work he then went round all of the ground floor windows trying to break in. Again, no luck. So he then turned his attention to the upper windows. Sheep went next door to try to borrow the neighbour's ladder (in Sheep's absence, Barnaby needed a poo - and not having a potty or anything to hand, I was struggling with Amelia in one arm, whilst trying to manoeuvre Barnaby into a corner so that he could poo on a flower bed. I failed miserably, at which point we also had a pooey, sticky Barnaby to contend with...sigh). We called Claire and Julian and they came over with their ladder only to discover that our upper windows are equally impenetrable. (I felt really guilty for calling them!). Eventually, there was nothing for it but to drill out the whole lock. By this time it was approaching 7:00 (and I normally take Amelia up and start getting her ready for bed at 6:30). Shortly after 7:00 we were in. The door opened and I flew upstairs with Amelia to start to get her settled for bed (forget baths tonight!). Barnaby, equally didn't have a bath, but got into his pyjamas and sat on the stairs watching the locksmith fit the new lock. (Incidentally, the whole farce cost us £173!!!). Eventually, we got both Barnaby and Amelia off to sleep, but with all the excitement, it wasn't until 8:00 (Barnaby) and 8:30 (Amelia) when they eventually, reluctantly, drifted off.

What an evening! However, it shows the power of local, social networks - without them I wouldn't have been able to find a locksmith, get nappies, baby food or borrow a ladder. And, at least it's stopped me worrying about Amelia's first day tomorrow.


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