Night Terrors and a change in employment

Updates are somewhat like buses you wait for three weeks for one to come along and then two appear in a week.  What has spurred this productivity?  A week off that’s what: using the remainder of last year’s annual leave entitlement.  Although we haven’t done half of what we have planned to do, but nevertheless it has been an eventful week.

Regular readers of this website will recall how 2013 was one of the most eventful years for this enclave of the Bagnall family. Most years have big events: births, deaths, marriages, holidays, big birthdays, and house moves but 2013 had them all.  However there was one obvious large event that was missing: a new job.  My company did relocate, and then the week before Christmas was sold to William Morris Endeavor, but my job did not change per se.  2014, however has decided to complete the full house.  Before my colleagues cry out in uproar that I have not told them that after 18 years I am leaving IMG, it is not I.

Lucinda has worked for Air Canada for nearly as long as I have worked for IMG, 16 years in total (although with three years of maternity leave only actually worked there for 13 years – I will duck to avoid the right hook now) and she was looking forward to going back after this maternity leave had ended.  Her return date was/is the 2nd April and she received her line (and therefore the days she was due to work – although not the shifts) for the year last week so this week were going to sit down and try to plan our joint leave for the remainder of the year (something one has to do when one has small children).  Somehow we hadn’t gotten around to finding time to do it but now those plans are a little up in the air.

A text message from one of Lucinda’s friends and colleagues from Air Canada alerted Lucinda to the news.  The new Terminal 2 of Heathrow airport is due to open in 2014 and Air Canada is one of the airlines that will be moving to this state of the art terminal.  Lucinda was fully aware of this and her return from maternity leave would have given her a couple of months to get back into the swing of work before the move.  Now that is up in the air (no pun intended).  Air Canada will not be moving.  Actually that is not true.  Air Canada will be moving but Air Canada will/may not have any Heathrow representatives.  Air Canada has decided that London staffing is an unnecessary expense and are handing over ground control to the handling agency ASIG.

What this actually means for Heathrow’s Air Canada staff is still a little confused, for apparently it is not a done deal but a meeting with staff did nothing to allay their fears.  Lucinda is obviously concerned,  job share works so much better for us than part time work and the perks (staff travel for instance) will be greatly missed.  We will have to see what happens and fear not we will keep you all in the loop.

The children are completely oblivious to this, as one would expect and life for them continues to be a big adventure.  However with all adventures there are scary moments and Amélie is of that age where her brain is beginning to appreciate the big wide world but still not developed enough to comprehend it (I still feel like that at the age of 40!).  This has manifested itself in a couple of ways over the last few weeks.  Just after Christmas Lucinda took Éowyn to see Disney’s new film ‘Frozen’.  Amélie is probably approaching the age to go to the cinema for the first time but we didn’t think we would start with this film.   Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed the film (she loves going to the cinema) and related the storyline to myself and Amélie.

Now if you are going to watch the film and don’t want to know anything about it I would skip the remainder of this paragraph now as there is a spoiler alert on the way:  Part of the story involves the protagonist’s parents going to sea in a boat.  The boat hits a storm and is sunk with the loss of all onboard.  As the parents are also the King and Queen of the country it means that the protagonist becomes the queen of the country.  This must have been playing on Amélie’s mind for one afternoon she came up to us quite earnestly and said, ‘Mommy, Daddy please don’t go to sea in a boat.  I don’t want you to die.‘  Touched we assured her that we wouldn’t and gave her a great big hug.  This touching moment was spoilt by Éowyn replying, ‘No, I want you to go to sea in a boat, then I will be Queen!‘  We did have to point out the flaw in her plan:  Lucinda and I are not a King and Queen and so she wouldn’t become Queen.  I think we are safe – for the moment.

The second manifestation of Amélie’s growing awareness is happening at night.  Amélie has had a couple of episodes of Night Terrors.  Night Terrors are very different to nightmares and in some ways a little more frightening for the parents.  Nightmares are bad dreams and occur during REM sleep, Night Terrors usually occur in the first couple of hours of sleep during the transition between one sleep phase and another, and so it was for Amélie.  Three times in five nights about 2.5 hours after falling asleep, she sat bolt upright in bed screaming.  The first (and subsequent times) time we ran upstairs to find her completely disoriented and dripping with sweat.  Not sure what to do I picked up to cuddle her, but to no avail she didn’t seem to be awake and wasn’t being comforted by a cuddle.  After about five or ten minutes (although it seemed far longer) she calmed if a little confused as to why she was not in bed.  Her nightclothes were sodden so we changed her and it was as if nothing had happened, no memory of what had just happened.  She just got back into bed and went to sleep without too much effort.

So what makes this a night terror and not a nightmare?  The last part of that paragraph, Amélie had no recollection of the night terror.  Night terrors do not occur in REM or ‘dream’ sleep and so there are no visions to recall.  She simply stopped having the night terror and, once dressed in fresh pyjamas, got back into bed as if nothing had happened.  With a nightmare the visions seem real and it takes a while to calm your child down and allay those fears.  After the rush of night terrors we have not had one for a few days so we will see if it was a short-lived episode or whether we need to consider changing her bedtime routine to try to prevent them.  They do not seem to have bothered Amélie, especially as she doesn’t recall them, but they are certainly disturbing for Lucinda and I.

No such problems with Éowyn at the moment.  Indeed, apart from, what is becoming an unhealthy, obsession with graveyards and little boisterousness she is being well-behaved at the moment.  Her reading and writing is coming along in leaps and bounds and seems to enjoy both.  She is growing into the big sister role although she doesn’t realise her strength and how much bigger she is that either Amélie or Ezra.  She is, however, learning that she doesn’t always have to win.  Usually when she has a race with Amélie she will win quite easily (she is two years older that her sibling), recently she has been letting Amélie win, which is a big step in her growing maturity.

Ezra, too, is maturing at a steady pace.  He now spends a lot on his time on his legs, leaning against whatever will support his weight.  Mainly to see how far his little hands can reach and what delights they can find.  If he is leaning against you and you are ignoring him (for instance you are on the ‘phone) he will bite you to get your attention.  He knows it is wrong because he looks at you as if you say, ‘Well, you were ignoring me!

Sometimes those hands come back with a great treasure.  Lucinda hosted her first little coffee morning in our new home last week and had the obligatory cakes and biscuits on the coffee table (as one does).  While her attention was distracted with conversation Ezra pulled himself to his feet and reached out those little hands of his. Imagine his delight when they came back with a most delightful treasure: A shortbread biscuit.  He quickly realised he had a mighty treasure and headed off to eat it in secret.  By the time Lucinda had realised what was going on, he had already eaten most of it and sat there with a big satisfied smile on his face.

To end the week, and take advantage of one of the few weekends I have been able to spend with Éowyn since she started school in September we headed out on an Adventure.  Painshill Park in Surrey was the destination.  Just inside the M25 and off the A3 it is only a short car journey from Staines-Upon-Thames, however neither Lucinda or I had even been there.  Our interest in Painshill Park had been piqued by the re-opening of the now fully restored Crystal Grotto.  We had sold the trip to the girls as a fairy cave and we were going to look for fairies, with the proviso that fairies are very shy and will only show themselves on rare occasions.  For whatever reason however they were not interested and the beauty of the folly (indeed the gardens as a whole) was lost on them.  Lucinda and I, however, were impressed with Painshill Park (and definitely the Crystal Grotto), even if it was a little pricey to enter.  We may have to have a return visit when the weather is a little brighter and the water level has dropped enough so that the grotto isn’t lit with temporary lighting and the mirror water pool is actually clear rather than the cloudy puddle it was last weekend.  I even think that the girls will enjoy it next time.

We left Painshill Park just as the storm clouds were gathering and arrived home just as an intense thunderstorm hit.  We watched from the comfort of our own home as the sky turned black and rain so heavy that it was hard to see across the street fell on our little corner of England.  The storm was heavy in Staines but at least we didn’t get hit by lightning or a tornado!  That would have been an adventure.

My week off work is now at and end and so I will leave you with some of the latest photos and don’t expect an update anytime soon.

Peace and Love