Grandchilderbeast chats and consequences

It’s been a bit full on this week, since last I posted I have travelled back to the UK and am staying with my youngest daughter and her four girls. Two of them are ‘big girls’ (10 & 8) but the other two are 18 months & 3 yrs.

The bigger two are getting the start of their education in all things bodily changes … particularly the 10 yr old who is turning 11 soon. But it was the younger of the older two I was chatting to about consequences of actions, intended and unintended.

As we were talking, I sneezed.

“There” I said. “A perfect example of unintended consequences to an action. I didn’t wet myself (hooray!) which I often do when I sneeze. That’s definitely an unintended consequence – I don’t want to wet myself, but I know it might happen. So when I sneeze I know there might be a consequence to that action.”

“Does everybody do that when they sneeze?” I love the matter of fact curiosity of a grandchilderbeast, no judgement, just genuine interest!

“Well” I explained, “it does happen to quite a lot of ladies about my age between 50 and 60. Especially if they have had children. There is a set of muscles that holds all the important bits where you pee and where babies come out (and blood when you have a period) and where your poo comes out – three different holes leading back into different parts of your body (you know, you’ve seen it in your body book and on the wall chart) but all held in place by a group of muscles. When you have a baby, all those muscles get stretched to let the baby out, and sometimes that means that when you are older, they don’t work as well as they used.”

”I’m glad I’m young” said my grandchilderbeast.

We returned to our discussion about consequences of actions and why you shouldn’t really kick your 3 yr old sister back if she kicks you!

And so we carry on our evening, the little ones are settled in bed, and I take opportunity to share some old favourite books with the older two. Reading aloud I occasionally stumble over words and phrases as the brain fog intrudes. I ignore the sweat coursing down the back of my neck as another hot flush randomly makes it’s presence known.

For many of us, our daily lives are accompanied by unwelcome and unintended consequences of menopause. These last few weeks of full on family life have been beset with unbelievable fatigue, headaches, sweats both night and day, unpleasant and strong body odour and of course, the will I / won’t I excitement of seasonal sneezing … I carry a change of clothes in the backpack for the two little ones when we are out, but my change of dry knickers and emergency leggings is there too.

So here I sit, counting my blessings at not pissing myself in hay fever season, of the grandchilderbeasts not caring or noticing grandma’s smelly feet and body, nor that she can’t always remember the right words (sometimes they can’t either), listening to my daughter only half joking about why did nobody (ie me) tell her this stuff about her own bodily changes after childbirth and the potential horrors of raising toddlers!

I’m also trying hard not to blame myself for my current state of wellness and anxiety (borderline depression) as my menopause symptoms have been triggered by weight gain and lack of consistent exercise over the last few months. I’ve been busy at work, the weather has been wet, it’s been easy to just vegetate and here are my consequences.

Yes, I know the triggers, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered to be ‘menopause aware’ …

Now the grandchilderbeasts are safely abed, contemplating a cup of tea and a cookie and pondering consequences… tough when you’re 8 and even more so at 57!

Time for that cookie and a cup of tea, and whilst I wait for the kettle to boil, perhaps a Kegel twitch or two?


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