It’s not that catching

I don’t think pregnancy is catching. But the lack of brainage may be. My surgery just wrote to me, inviting me for a second swine flu jab. This may be because: (a) I fall in the pregnant and asthmatic categories, (b) they have made an admin error or (c) you know when you’re not sure you’ve done something, so you do it again, just in case? Maybe they are pregnant too. It’s not that catching, surely.

Dad has had a swine flu jab and says it makes him drowsy. Mine made me stay awake (all the time I wasn’t having nightmares) but I couldn’t say that wasn’t actually the pregnancy hormones.

This is the same surgery that put in a touch-screen for patients to check in not too long ago. I wondered how long that would last before some bright spark put cling-film on it. Until Tuesday, as it happened. It’s the kind of screen that asks you for your gender (not too hard), month of birth (takes a little thinking about these days) and date in that month (well, there’s a 1 in 31 chance of getting it correct by that point). I had often wondered, as many mathematically inclined people do, whether it would ever have to ask me my year of birth as well.

Well, that also happened on Tuesday. I watched furtively from my vantage point to see whether anyone looking like they were born exactly five years after me was going to turn up while I was waiting. I think they did, but hadn’t the nerve to ask.

The chances of this actually happening are quite slim, but not impossible. I won’t go into details here, but I remember studying maths at ‘A’ level and discovering that in order to have a 50% chance of two people in a room sharing a birthday, you only need 22 people. Maybe this is why facebook birthday announcements come in clumps. I have around 360 friends, and am as likely to have two people with a birthday on any given day as none. Although, of course, it is not as neat as that.

Forgive my ramblings again. My brain-to-keyboard connection is on auto-pilot. I have typed a lot of sermon today in preparation for Sunday and as a result  now know more about John the Baptist than I ever thought I could remember (or use). Did you know that he was neither Baptist, nor C of E, for example? And that he shares a middle name with Winnie the Pooh? And that he is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox church every Tuesday? None of these exciting details made it into the sermon notes I must confess.

However, learning more about his remarkable birth has been instructive. He really was far too Old Testament for the New Testament. That’s what comes of having older parents. And for the entire pregnancy his dad didn’t say a word. I bet Zechariah had a lot of listening to do with Elizabeth running around the house all hormonal and probably illiterate. I expect dinner parties were off the menu for the duration. Was he able to tell her he knew the sex, 2000 years before sonographic scans? Or even the name?

My own little Elizabeth is becoming more and more articulate herself, and is a delight. Today she made me write ‘Lily’, ‘mummy’, ‘daddy’ and then ‘Baby Bean’. It was touching – she has realised that we are expecting a baby at some level. She is very interested in dolls and caring for them at the moment. I never was. And, unfortunately, it is still not that catching.

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