False Widow

7FFF9E96-7BA9-453D-B171-DDB264FCB80EThe suggestion of a child being almost deficient in a key vitamin could send an otherwise occasionally calm mother into a state of mania. Which may well be what has happened. A blood test carried out in order to answer a specific question about marque 2 has done its job. Vitamin B9. Otherwise known as folate. His levels were very low which can cause an anemia, different from a lack of iron anemia. Which is perhaps why he didn’t feel too hot after the blood letting session. Why he had to lie down on the Doc’s couch, raise his legs and hope that by the time he went to stand up again he wouldn’t keel over. Oh the guilt. The Doc is quick to try to assuage it. He’s seeing a lot of this since the powers that be decided to end the bolstering of breads and cereals with this vitamin. A leafy green veg lover marque 2 is not. How didn’t I know?

Super-duper strong folic acid is prescribed and the bloods will be retested in a month. But seeing as I have failed at a very basic parenting level and sent my child off fainting to face the world, supplements won’t do. Oh no. I have discovered that I can make vitamin laden soup from scratch and they all eat it. I have also discovered that tomato soup, a favourite, isn’t just made out of tomatoes. You can bung just about any vegetable you like in, then over power it with tomatoes and call it tomato soup. Which they all happen to love. Oh the joy.

‘Have you taken your tablet today?’

‘Yes Mum’.

‘Great now here’s a bowl of soup, just to be sure to be sure’.

The zeal with which I’ve taken to the late onset daily chopping, cooking and blending session can, at times, be a little frightening. And not only for me.

‘I’ve made some delicious soup for you all’.

‘Oh no, not again, can we please just have one day without soup?’

Then, a few weeks into it, the blade gets stuck on an undercooked carrot and burns the motor out. Is this the end? Is it the gods telling me to get out of the kitchen and sit my arse back down at the laptop? Throw some more key ingredients into the developing novel, bloody quick? Probably. The kids think they are off the hook, finally, and a non liquid diet will re-emerge. Oh no. Not a day passes and there’s a newer better blender, 550 watts, sitting proud on the counter top. No carrot will defeat this beauty. What was I thinking attempting this life saving task with a silly little 200 watt one?

The 180 degree change to the diet has prompted other changes too. Extreme decluttering. A room which we could ill afford to have out of use was a designated junk room for more time than I’d care to admit. Floor to ceiling style. What else are we supposed to do with all the books already read, the beds that have been replaced, the many many shoes. My idea of attacking it involved pushing the door open with all my might, climbing up and standing there, on top of the mattresses in a vacant stare for half an hour, and then returning to the safety of the brewing soup. His idea of attack involved an actual attack. Removing things. Leaving them outside on the landing so they could no longer be ignored. Floor emerged, slowly, beautifully. We discovered the joy of Ballyogan dump. My excitement kicked in and I joined his efforts, putting in final touches such as new curtains, which grabbed all the attention from him and his brute force weekends of sweat and labour. A neat trick. Marque 4 and 5 have moved in, a tad prematurely, but are loving it. Stripping wallpaper and painting is yet to be done. I’m sure I can dab a bit of gloss about and make it all seem like my own hard work.

He moved on to attack another room downstairs, the garage conversion, which may not have been properly converted and could do with a few structural changes to make it feel less like an outside room. As a committed arachnophobe and having successfully passed this on to all my children, he unwittingly divorced himself from any chance of further help when he emerged saying he was pretty sure he was holding, upon a lovely old cushion, a false widow spider. Small and innocent looking with a bubble tummy area, I dismissed it with a laugh at first. Not a hardy laugh. A laugh which indicated that he has, perhaps, been overdoing it and should sit down and have a cup of tea. Then I googled. The pictures were a great match. A school in England closed temporarily due to an infestation. Whop de do.

Words spin as I stir the soup. Venom. False widow. Black widow. Hell. I google again. We are experiencing a great increase in false widow spiders in the UK and Ireland. Dublin, Cork and Wexford are particular hubs. It’s not all bad though. They are competitive and fast breeding, fair play to them. Their bites are not fatal. Goodie. Their venom is currently being tested for potential therapies – for cancer and certain bacterial infections. And their name. I really like their name. I’m pretty sure I’m going to write a short story and call it False Widow some day soon. If only I can pull myself away from the blender.

I sit on the couch at night, satisfied in the glow of the fire, that essential vitamins are pulsing hard through the bodies of all my boys. Marque 4 joins me. Then he runs his little fingers up my back, expertly mimicking a False Widow, and I leap up and scream and everyone laughs, especially him in the corner chair. He laughs hard, tears stream down his face and he thanks marque 4. He thanks him, he says, because he’d never be let away with the delight of inducing that fright himself.

You think? Revenge is coming, my sweet.

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