There are times when I find that there are not enough words in the human language to explain my situation and on other occasions I simply don’t have the vocabulary. The other week I found myself trying to think how to explain to Trevor what was wrong with my car. “Well, there’s a sort of quiet shwooshing sound from the back, then there’s an almighty twang, the car shudders a lot and then carries on as normal.” From Trevor’s previous expressions I know that he is a master interpreter of shwoosh and twang. It would be so much easier if I could say “the main differential over the manifold has warped along side the bottom sump” but then if I could say that then I would probably also know what the problem is. For what it’s worth I have no idea if what I’ve just said even makes sense, they’re just terms I’ve heard bandied around from time to time.
Of course there are other times when words fail simply because you don’t know what the problem is. My friend’s cat is unable to eat at the moment, several expensive X-rays later and they are still none the wiser and none the healthier. There is nothing as distressing as not being able to even offer a guess. “Seems happy, but can only lick the food.” If only they could talk as a rather famous vetenarian once commented. It seems daft to suggest that a cat is “not quite himself” but anyone who has a pet knows what they mean and thankfully vets tend to know that if you have a hunch that something is wrong then invariably you are right. Sadly though the malady is often not found. Even worse is babies crying especially if it’s your first. The amount of times I would look at my eldest in despair trying to decipher the unholy wails from the tiny bundle. Some doctors also seem less helpful than vets. For some reason most vets I have encountered accepted that I knew what I was talking about with my cats but many doctors would give me the patronising look reserved for new mums. The idea that my concern for my son was somehow a nuisance or detraction really shook me. I took advice from my mother who asked whose opinion I valued more, mine or theirs and what did I consider to me more important, my child or their timetable. As soon as she put it like that my doubt fell away and we finally got the situation properly diagnosed. Thankfully it was a one off case but it took a long time to sort out.
Of course most of the time in the early stages I and thousands of other parents would look at their wailing charges in desperation. They were fed, they were clean, they had just slept for hours, they were the right temperature, they had no rashes or sore neck (I would always go straight to Meningitis J) so why wouldn’t they stop crying? Please. Please stop crying. For the love of god stop crying. Of course I soon calmed down, sleep deprivation has the bonus of turning you into a mind numbed zombie and I soon accepted that sometimes some babies just like to have a good old howl. If only he could have turned to me looked me in the eye and said “Now see here Mother, you are doing a great job and I want for nothing but I am currently feeling the need to express my inner turmoil with my role within the universe.” Like would have been so much easier but as has been so often in my life, words failed me.