Prudish Prune

Mar 28 2011

What’s the one thing we British should have learnt over past twenty years? That’s right; when in the sun ensure you cover yourselves suitably in sun tan lotion to avoid burning your skin. Six weeks into our Florida stay and I am finally moving like C3PO whilst lighting up any room with my red raw back and belly. You may have noticed that I didn’t mention my shoulders? That’s because I was clever enough to smear factor 70 over the very top of my torso, so now I am left with two white stripes across the top like a proud military officer (that’s if they have stripes on the shoulders, I don’t know).


The day in question was this weekend when we took a family trip over to Amelia Island. It is an island, but you can drive to it over one of Jacksonville’s thousand or more bridges. We decided to take the car ferry over the St John’s River for a bit of fun; it was pretty easy, we just parked up and boarded when the ferry had unloaded the oncoming vehicles. Once aboard, we were able to get out of the car and stand at the front for the short distance across the waterway. As we looked down into the river, hoping to see Dolphins or something equally as exciting, we were surprised to see the whole area covered with dinner plate size Jellyfish. It doesn’t fill you full of confidence when you are heading just down the coast from there for a day on the beach.


We drove the ten to fifteen miles to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island and set-up camp on a fairly quiet area of the beach. The views en route were pretty spectacular with open views of the ocean, golden sand and hundreds of folk enjoying a relaxing day fishing. Lucia and now Camille both enjoy dipping their toes into the sea, Lucia likes jumping the waves as they crash against her. So I must have spent most of the day up and down to the sea with Camille so that she could wash her hands, feet or “Batachas” (Little rubbery stringy things). As we were on the coast, it seemed significantly cooler than back at the apartment, but of course it is the same sun. At one point Lucia and I were in the sea, up to my knees, her thighs, when she screamed out loud and bounded back to the safety of the sand yelling “JELLYFIIISSSSSHHHHHH”. I trembled in fear, trying desperately to get my feet out of the water whilst making ground towards the sand. Having not seen where the jellyfish was, I swung my legs around in windmill fashion, almost walking on water back to the haven of the beach. An old couple strolling along the beach were almost wetting themselves as I exploded into a jabbering mess after my close shave. Lucia probably didn’t even see a ruddy jellyfish.


After the day out we returned home and when I de-robed, my back lit the room like a lighthouse; my chest was equally as red. Hayley mentioned about going down to the pool today, but the embarrassment of my tinged torso and the fear of scorching it even more, were enough for me to find any excuse possible to keep in the shade.


Back to the week that was. Camille is now over half way through her treatment and still managing the treatment really well. We’ve even had the Florida Times Union to see us this week as they want to run a story on Camille and Lucia enjoying the art programme that they are running. They took some great shots and hopefully we’ll get to see the article even if we are back in the UK once it is finally published.


Whilst Lucia was concentrating on her Maths schoolwork this week, Hayley took five minutes out in the quiet waiting room at the Proton Insitute to check her e-mails. Whilst she was in there, another mother and her two friends/family members walked in and began to talk to Hayley. One of them asked Hayley outright whether she was Russian (as you do). Hayley replied that she was from England and the lady seemed confused; "Well, how did you learn how to speak English like we do?" she asked. Hmmmmm. She then went on to ask what music we have in the England and whether she had heard of Beyonce. She also asked if we had black people in the UK. Trust me when I say that this lady is a minority, a very simple minority.


We had to take Camille to a child psychologist this week. It was our choice and based on the fact that she just explodes if something doesn’t go her way. It is manageable to a degree, but Camille is due to be going to school in September and we need to make sure she is able to fit in; the fear is that these tantrums, demands etc will make her a nightmare for the teachers and potentially other children. So, the psychologist was a really nice lady, who spent some time just going through what our thoughts are on Camille’s behaviour. In fact, most of the hour session was investigating what we are doing to control her and getting to the point where we are admitting that we have spoilt her for two years and this is us now paying for that. Neither Hayley or I regret the way we have given Camille a little more slack over her time since diagnosis, I think most people would have done the same, but, if you are unfortunate to find yourselves in this situation, just be prepared to have a battle afterwards. So where do we go from here; we just instil discipline like we would with Lucia; so instead of the question “what would Jesus do?” we must now ask “what would we do if it was Lucia?” Easier said than done, but we need to try.


It’s been another difficult week for Hayley as she found out that a very close family member is not very well back in the UK. She feels that she really wants to be back so she can support the family but obviously Camille needs her probably more than anybody. It’s unfortunate that it had to happen while we are here, but we’ll be back soon and over qualified in medical practices. We hope you are all OK, and if we can be any help out here, just let us know.


We do keep up to date with things using Skype; what a fantastic service. Video calls are great so that the girls can speak and see their grandparents on a regular basis. We use Lucia’s iPod touch to do the calling as it has a built in camera and is pretty clear using the wireless connection. Lucia also uses the iPod for what it was built for, listening to music. She has got a great taste in music with her iPod containing songs from the Beatles, David Bowie and T-Rex. She was browsing iTunes earlier, listening to things like Katy Perry and the like when all of a sudden she put on Rihanna’s S & M. Now, I don’t think I’m a prude, but there is something uncomfortable about a five year old being able to listen (and potentially sing along) to lyrics like that. I fear that I may sound like David Cameron (without the pronounced plum), but that has to be wrong doesn’t it. Explicit lyrics are clearly marked, but surely suggestive lyrics are equally as bad?


We’ve also found another use for the iPod. Camille has not walked since her surgery back in October when Mr Mallucci went in for the first time. I think we’ve only just realised how long it’s actually been. So in readiness for a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow we tried to get Camille to walk between Hayley and I on a soft carpet. So, we struggled for a while before sticking on Goldfrapp’s Rocket, Camille’s favourite song. After doing the rocket (sticking her hands in the air in a rocket fashion), we grooved along until the chorus kicked in and said “GO!” Camille tentatively strode forward, walking four or five steps to me. We managed to get her to repeat the act a few times, each time bouncing along to Rocket, as she tip-toed along.


Talking of Mr Mallucci, it was lovely to hear from him this week as he sent a text message to Hayley asking how Camille was getting on. It was beyond the call of duty, but very welcome.