Sunday, 28 June 2009

All aboard

Well little man had perked up a bit by yesterday morning when daddy collected him. He wasn't demanding to be carried around at all times any more. And he ate a very large piece of melon for breakfast. Hopefully we are over the worst... because we are going on holiday!

I have packed all our stuff into one small wheely suitcase and my shoulder bag. Little man will go in the sling and we are going on the ferry as foot passengers to see friends on the Isle of Man. I'm now trying to think what I could have forgotten. I have teddy. Oh I don't have any toys or books for the journey. Surely a ferry can fit in a kiddies' play area?

I'm looking forward to being somewhere peaceful, children excepted. I wonder what little man will make of two little girls who will no doubt be fascinated by him. And the big question: will he sleep? That really is the one and only question at the moment. Forget the meaning of life or where on earth all little man's socks have gone. I just want to know whether he will sleep.

All well on the guys front. Still getting winked at and exchanging emails with a few. One in particular seems quite lovely. Had one real charmer whose email deserves to be shared regardless of my promise not to talk about these poor people. He wrote: "god if i had u in my bed i wudnt mind if i put a bun in ur oven lol cutie x". What a *^*^.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Normal service...

...will be resumed when Ben's teeth come through, we both get more than three hours of sleep in one chunk, I get a moment without the human limpet glued to my hip and my period finishes. Bleurgh.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Right now...

  • is pouring with rain, which is good because it has been hot and sticky all day.
  • ...the CBeebies off air screen is still on the TV ten minutes after it went off air.
  • ...the 64 Zoo Lane theme tune is stuck in my head ('there's one with a hump...').
  • ...I am thinking I want a glass of wine but should have a night off.
  • ...I am wondering if I can be bothered to sort out my holiday pay forms.
  • ...I need to phone the friend I am staying with next week.
  • ...little man has gone straight to sleep after a tired, miserable, teething day.
  • ...there are toys strewn around the living room.
  • ...the dishwasher has nearly finished.
  • ...I am hoping I sleep better tonight than last night.
  • ...I am deciding what to do about all the guys who keep virtually winking at me.
  • ...I just want to slump on the settee with Robin Hood. Again.
  • ...I need to take an allergy pill as I did manage some sorting out today and am sniffling because of the dust.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Happy camping

The rules for camping with a one-year-old:

Don't go at the summer solstice and expect the child to sleep before 10pm or after 4am.

Don't try to put up a large tent on your own while the child runs off across the field.

Don't think that you can relax and sup wine in the evening while child sits quietly on your knee.

Don't expect the child to have a sense of self-preservation that stops them going near a lit gas burner.

Don't lie in bed freezing cold without summoning up the energy to get into your sleeping bag and under your duvet properly.

Don't expect to be able to go for a shower.

Do say sod it and go anyway.

Do accept offers of tent-erecting help from nice young gentlemen.

Do remember that you have your entire collection of slings in the car before you get the tent up.

Do take enough warm clothes for a cool evening and cold night, for you and child.

Do use far more baby wipes than normal for everything from cleaning the groundsheet to cleaning yourself.

Do have fun.

Do ignore all the rules.

It was very tiring and a lot of hassle to pack and unpack all the gear by myself. But hey, it was fun.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Oh go on then. I've been tagged! Thanks

The rules:

1. Mention the person who tagged you
2. Complete the lists of 8s
3. Tag 8 other bloggers and let them know.

8 things I'm looking forward to:

1. Finding a date.
2. Going camping with my little man.
3. Going to bed.
4. Getting that bloody dripping tap fixed.
5. Seeing a beautiful sunset, hopefully, from the campsite in Silverdale.
6. Little man's teeth all arriving.
7. Selling my house for loads of dosh.
8. Putting my name down for an allotment.

8 things I did yesterday:

1. Sorted out my boxes of bed linen.
2. Received two emails from potential dates on
3. Changed two dirty nappies.
4. Knitted half a sleeve.
5. Wiped a highchair tray and the floor underneath for the 27-millionth time.
6. Checked the age of Beth Ditto and Peaches Geldof.
7. Abstained from drinking alcohol.
8. Watched an episode of Robin Hood.

8 things I wish I could do:

1. The whole of the 24-step Yang style form.
2. Play the guitar, again.
3. Climb mountains, still.
4. Change a tyre.
5. Speak Welsh.
6. Lose my post-pregnancy jelly belly.
7. Kite surf.
8. Put up my new tent on my own.

8 favourite fruits (What? This seems a bit random.)

ripe nectarines, raspberries, blackberries, gala apples, grapes (preferably fermented), mangoes, cherries, figs.

8 places I'd like to visit:

1. The bathroom.
2. The Outer Hebrides.
3. Bardsey Island.
4. County Antrim.
5. Adelaide.
6. Bhutan.
7. Brittany.
8. The Picos de Europa.

8 places I've lived (this is getting a bit much now)

1. Runcorn, Cheshire.
2. Cardiff.
3. Chamonix for three weeks in a tent.
4. Northwich, Cheshire.
5. Standish, Lancashire.
6. In a crazy dream world.
7. In the clouds.
8. Up a tree.

8 people tagged (sorry folks).


The time has come...

...for little man's first camping trip. Tomorrow we head to Silverdale for two nights. Tonight I should be clearing out the boot of the car and then packing it with useful stuff. I'll do it after this glass of wine. Honest.

The boot of my car is quite something to behold. It is absolutely full of junk. There is a big pushchair that I never use because I carry little man in a sling. And under and around that there are various items including: more slings, shoes, umbrella, toys, baby clothes that don't fit little man any more, maps, books, old sandwich wrappers, woolly hats, sun hats, fleece blankets, a witch's broom (daft Halloween one, not real one unfortunately), Makka Pakka, seashells, bags, shoeboxes, the odd newspaper...

Ok, I've just been out to clear it. There is an entire washing machine full of clothes - mine, his, winter, summer - a Bob the Builder DVD, the missing magnetic spindle from the shape sorter, a mouldy plastic food container, a Silver Cross pram umbrella (complete waste of money!) and a form to join Wigan Sure Start. Phew.

Now I've just got to fill it with useful stuff: new tent, check, new airbed, check, new pump, check, new camping table, check. What is the chance of having all of this new stuff and there being nothing missing or damaged?

On a completely separate issue, my emails from potential suitors now stand at three. I have decided that I will not tell you anything about them because that's just not fair. This internet dating thing does rely on a lot of trust that the other people aren't having a laugh at your expense.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I had such profound things to stay about stuff. And nonsense. And then... I got home from work just after eight and little man was still up, reading a book with grandma and resisting all attempts to get him to sleep. I managed to get him in his cot at 9.30 after going and lying down with him. This is the little fella I am going to take camping this weekend. He probably won't go to bed til late and will then wake up at the first sign of dawn and birdsong. Why am I taking him on his first camping trip on the weekend nearest to the summer solstice? It is now too late to tell you all my philosophical insights. And too late to feel like I've actually had an evening. I am going to bed.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Answers on a postcard please

This fell off my car today.

Answers on a postcard please. STBE husband was in the garage, sorting out all the junk in readiness for selling the house and he assured me it's just a spare bit. He also reached under to pull it off, which was fortunate because I couldn't.
Another few questions:
Why would someone with a white (white! that's a whole question by itself) sporty Audi park really close to an old Mondeo that is covered in scratches and held together with electrical tape? And has a child car seat on the side he parked on??
Why would someone dot DIY materials around my driveway instead of putting them all together, out of the way, when they know I'm going to be coming home with shopping from Tesco?
Why would someone go over to the cupboard under the sink to get a bowl especially to put next to the kettle and deposit used teabags in when the compost container, which is where they will ultimately end up, is on the draining board?
Why would a very small person think it is a good idea to climb on the settee then lean over the armrest so far that he goes over head first with a very loud thump?
Why do schoolkids have to be so bloody noisy and wake up said small person who is napping one of the only ways he knows how, which is on mummy's back in a sling while she goes for a walk?
Why do my chickens think I am a cockerel?
Why does my DVD player keep spitting out all my discs with such force that they fly across the room and I now can't watch my new Robin Hood box set unless I stop messing about on the laptop and watch it on there?
Why is teething such a pain in the arse if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor?
Why have sent me people who clearly don't match?
Why have all my line spaces disappeared?

Why do I need to open another bottle of wine tonight? Actually, I think that's the only one I know the answer to.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Achievement level: 0%

An unusual day when I haven't had little man with me but also haven't had to work. And what have I done? Bugger all, really. Bit of a lie in, but I went to bed late anyway. Out for lunch with a friend who accompanied me on a creative venture first (ask no questions...). Home to fiddle about on the computer, pretend to start writing a short story I could submit to a magazine, stare in confusion at all the wires at the back of the DVD player and transfer them all to the video so I can watch Gladiator. The big thing on my to-do list is to round up all my pay chitties so I can claim some holiday pay. Have I done it? Have I hell. Is the house a mess? Of course it is.

So I haven't achieved a single thing, but I also haven't enjoyed a relaxing day off because I've been thinking about all the things I should have been doing. I blame hormones.

The thing is that although the rational side of my brain is worrying about all the things I should have been doing, the intuitive side (by far the larger side) knows that things that need doing will get done as if by magic at some point when it just happens without any hassle.

Off for a relaxing bath and read now....and maybe an early night. Maybe.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Teeth and tears

I'm trying to imagine what this teething business feels like. And why it doesn't seem to bother him much during the day but stops him wanting to go to bed and wakes him up in the middle of the night. Obviously there are plenty of distractions during the day, but surely that suggests it can't be that bad.

Today he has been running around the park at Penwortham Gala trying to get in the way of the swings, climb the giant rope web climbing frame thingy, pick up random pieces of litter and generally stop mummy sitting down on the grass in the shade of a tree for two minutes.

Tonight, he went to bed fine. I settled down with a glass of wine and some pizza to watch Robin Hood. Twenty minutes in he woke up. I brought him down to watch the rest with me, following my usual parenting rule that the easiest method must be the right method. Then I started to really notice how violent Robin Hood is. For a Saturday evening.

I then read him some books (little man, not Robin Hood) and tried to cuddle him back to sleep (little man, but if Robin Hood fancies it...), but that boy can really resist being cuddled when he realises the ulterior motive. He has already had paracetamol, ibuprofen, Bonjela and baby crack (teething powder). So I gave him some more milk. I think he might actually have had about 17oz of milk since teatime. Considering that I used to despair of getting him to have 'enough' this is quite something. I put him gently back in his cot, he turned on his tummy and all was quiet. For about three minutes. I have now rocked him back to sleep and put him back in bed for the third time tonight and, fingers crossed, all is quiet.

On another note, he has started signing all sorts of things I didn't realise he had really learnt. Like baby and cow and teddy and mouse. So maybe he's unsettled because he's going through a developmental phase. Still doesn't tell me when he wants food or a drink though.

So what does teething feel like? All I know is that having mouth ulcers makes you feel pretty miserable.

Friday, 12 June 2009

10 (possibly) surprising things

1. I used to have an outy belly button until I had an op during my primary school years to turn it into an inny.
2. In my teens I dyed my hair green and purple.
3a. I know what the Welsh proverb 'Dyfal donc a dyr y garreg' means, although I probably don't pronounce it correctly. 3b. My great, great (possibly a couple of more greats?) grandfather won the bardic chair at the Machynlleth Eisteddfod.
4. I once canoed 50 miles down the River Wye.
5. I got a first-class BSc from the Open University after starting a course to see if I could do science.
6. I once got a black eye from someone dancing too enthusiastically at a concert.
7. I naturally have very little patience.
8. I had a poem published at the age of 14.
9. I swear profusely at other drivers.
10. I can read a walking map and have only ever been lost in the dark in a peatbog once.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

What I wanted to write...

...was this: Imagine my surprise when I suggested to little man that an afternoon snooze would be a good idea and he curled up in bed with me and actually fell asleep!

Unfortunately, what he actually did was stand on my head, poke me in the eye, pinch my tummy, rattle the blinds and try to insert The Tiger who Came to Tea up my left nostril.

Let's just hope he sleeps tonight. Last night it was a 12.45am wake-up followed by a 6am start to the day. And of course I didn't go to bed as early as I knew I should. And tonight I don't even have any wine to help me wind down. Yes, I have run out again due to very poor grocery planning.

Ho hum. Still on the subject of sleeping arrangements my new tent arrived: So now I can go and sleep badly and be woken at dawn in the beautiful countryside.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sleep is for wimps

Just when you think you can't get any more tired whilst continuing to function like a normal human being, your little one is subjected to the sudden appearance of molars.

Last night: I went to bed around 10pm, read for a bit (I am re-reading the Lord of the Rings for the three-dozenth time because that's what I do when I can't think what else to read), then put my light off and attempt to go to sleep. Midnight arrives. I am still half awake. Little man starts crying. I stick some Bonjela on his gums and lie down with him in my bed. Around an hour later I think he is asleep enough to pop him back in his cot. I would co-sleep if I could but the slightest thing wakes me. Even when STBE husband and I were actually acting like partners we didn't sleep in the same bed. Strange, I know, but we disturbed each other's sleep.

Then just after 5am little man wakes crying again. I try everything to get him to settle for another hour or two's sleep. I give him a bottle of milk, paracetamol, Bonjela, teething powder (baby crack). I walk up and down the landing with him, rocking and humming. I sit in bed rocking him. I lie down and cuddle him. No. He wants me to read him The Tiger who Came to Tea or open the blinds so he can look out of the window for the dog across the road. So we go downstairs and, for once, I stick CBeebies on so we can both stare at it like zombies. Because despite all his crying and struggling, little man is still knackered. I watch the Teletubbies with him for the first time and find myself wondering how on earth they could have called one Tinky Winky. I find myself deeply irritated by the Tweenies.

I go to a playgroup. I come home. Ben sleeps in the car. For an hour and a half. This is my half-hour cat-napping baby. I go to work. I knit. I work (really, I do). I drink tea. I attempt to not yawn too frequently. I come home. I go on the computer and watch an episode of Robin Hood, check my facebook, write my blog, check my email and catch the latest posts on the Baby Led Weaning forum.

It is now 10pm. Why am I not in bed? Pre-child I was usually in bed by 9.30pm. Now, when I really need an early night I don't do it. Because I have learnt that it's perfectly possible to function on an ever-decreasing amount of sleep. Sleep is for wimps.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A Cunning Plan

A strange day. Out for a pleasant pub lunch with STBE husband while STBE ILs looked after little man. We had The Talk. The one about what the hell we're going to do.

We have agreed to spruce up the house with a view to putting it on the market so I can move back to be nearer my parents, as well as the STBE ILs where STBE husband is currently living.

That means there's a lot of work to be done to tidy up the decor, declutter, put stuff in boxes and find somewhere to store them, make the garden look like it's actually low maintenance, check out estate agents' fees and write my own sale blurb to avoid the hideous jargon of well-appointed homes, deceptive spaciousness (yeah right) and mahogany effect spindles (this is a good point??!!). STBE ILs are happy to help but are heading to Canada for six weeks in three weeks' time.

I am checking out the bargain-basement, open-straight-onto-the-pavement, bathroom-downstairs, tiny-concrete-backyard type of terraces that I might actually be able to afford.

Little man and I then stayed at ILs' for a barbecue which STBE husband and I shopped for. It's all quite surreal. It's a good job I think hatred and anger are a waste of energy.

Monday, 8 June 2009

A quiz

Where would a 15-month-old boy hide mummy's house and car keys just before she is going to walk to the shop with him to buy something for dinner and some bedtime milk?

a) In the basket of toys on the floor

b) In the empty sweetie tin on the table

c) In the jug on the window ledge

Well? If you answered a you don't know 15-month-old boys very well; that would be far too easy. If you answered b, I think that could be plausible, but we are talking an 'adventurous' boy. If you answered c give yourself a gold star.

I popped upstairs to have a pee. A luxury to go alone, I know, but he's usually fine downstairs. I thought everything was safe. I was two minutes tops.

I came down to find him standing on the window ledge. What I didn't know until after half an hour's frantic searching was that he had taken my keys up there and deposited them in the pottery jug in the corner.

So I'm now congratulating myself on having such an agile, adventurous, determined, imaginative little boy!

I'm also in my pyjamas already because he puked on me just before bedtime. Nice. I think he had packed in one too many broad beans.

And why are my keys so amusing? The duck quacks and has a light in its beak. It quacked in my pocket in Somerfield when I crouched down to a bottom shelf.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Work is a four-letter word

I think that work is highly over-rated; careers even more so. Generally it means working your arse off for an employer that couldn't give a shit about you in return for a two per cent pay rise every year and an ever-increasing workload.

But right now, my work isn't really that bad:
1. I wear whatever I want, usually jeans.
2. It's a six-hour ish day.
3. I get to spend the morning with my little man first.
4. I knit in between stories.
5. I could call the boss a cunt and no-one would bat an eyelid.
6. I never have to bring work home.
7. Because I'm casual I have no responsibility and no stress.
8. The big bosses are very far away.
9. We have quite a giggle at times.
10. We watch telly, although it's usually sport. Very dull.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

4 present, 2 arriving, only 14 to go...

Why? Why does teething have to be like this? It really doesn't seem to work very well. Do all mammals have it this way or what?

Little man got his two front bottom teeth at around 8 months and his two front top teeth at around 11.5 months. Then nothing until now (15.5 months). So I guess both he and I have had some welcome respite.

I've known he was teething for a couple of weeks now and have been checking the lumpy bits to the side of his existing teeth wondering just how much longer it could take for some more to appear. In the meantime he has been chewing his fingers, whinging a lot, not eating much, not settling at bedtime and waking in the night. I have given the odd dose of paracetamol when he was upset in the night and just hoped it would all get a move on and we could get a few out of the way in one go. I don't fancy a fortnight's hell for every single tooth.

Anyway, I was putting some Bonjela on his gums at 4am today. As you do. I happened to slide my finger further round and whaddya know... two teeth have cut through halfway round. So it would seem we are on to molars before he bothers getting the other incisors. Trust my little man to be different. It's no wonder he has been upset but I didn't realise he was actually cutting these biggies so now I feel bad for not giving him more paracetamol and Bonjela and teething granules. And cuddles.

But it does explain why he wanted to eat the frozen sweetcorn before I put it in to cook with the pasta tonight. And why I'm having some medicinal wine even though all I've got left is a bottle of white, which wouldn't be my first choice.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

X marks the spot where my brain should be

Fuckety fuck and buggery shite. I forgot to vote. I realised this when I was about ten miles down the M6 from home and thought why oh why didn't I write down that list of stuff I had to do this morning. I topped up the chickens' feed and water, emptied the compost bowl, put out the bin, put the dishwasher on, shut windows, closed curtains, fed, washed and dressed a small boy and myself, put washing in a binbag to take to my mum and packed clothes and stuff for a couple of nights away. But I didn't pop round the corner to vote in the European elections.

I even thought about turning round and going back. Or getting to my parents', leaving little man, then going back. But then I noticed the queue on the other side of the motorway. I saw a motorbike embedded in the central reservation. Then several miles of stationary traffic. The motorbike - not nice to think about at all on a sunny summer's morning. But the queue also got me thinking about how unprepared I am for getting stuck on the motorway with little man. I go up and down the M6 a lot to see my parents. But despite having a boot full of junk I have nothing useful. No bottles of water, no snacks, not even any spare nappies and wipes as I know my mum has some at their house.

So I didn't go back to vote, which makes me feel bad. For the record, although I had been considering giving little man the pencil and telling him to make his mark, I would have voted Green Party. And my next task is to sort out the boot of my car and put some useful stuff in there. That's after I do the Codeword my mum has been saving for me because it's so hard. And sorry for the language, mum, but you have to pass a test in eloquent swearing before you're allowed to work for a newspaper.

And on the subject of motorways, I continue to marvel at the giant phallus now towering over the M62 near the Widnes junction. It's supposed to be the elongated head of a girl but the parting in her hair is unfortunate. And it's apparently supposed to be a monument to the area's mining heritage (I'm sure all the ex-miners are really chuffed) but I think the artist got his shafts mixed up.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Warning: whinge coming up

I have a sore throat, mouth ulcers and face ache. My DVD player finally died after being abused by little man, who liked pressing the open/close button. Little man himself only fell asleep at 9.3opm due to teething, heatwave and general midsummer madness. It is hot and I don't expect to sleep very well. I am not enjoying this ruby cabernet, it's too heavy and it's not helping my throat. I just googled glandular fever but I don't think I have it so I don't have an excuse to get lots of sympathy and afternoon naps. There have been kids shrieking at the tops of their voices all evening right outside my house. Because of little man's late night I haven't done any tidying up, even though had I known how late it would be I would have just left him to play and got on with things.

So I'm now going to think up some good stuff that happened today:
1. I got little man back from his daddy.
2. I made little man's botched homemade trousers into cropped trousers, thus hiding some of the cock-up and making him look well cool.
3. I spread the word about babywearing at a post-natal group.
4. Little man and I had our tea/dinner (delete as you like but at 5pm I don't think I can call it dinner) sitting outside on the patio.
5. I got invited to go camping in North Wales.
6. Little man and I got the giggles over the Stroke Henry book.
7. I inspected my salad seedlings and they're coming along nicely; I watered them with little man on my hip about an hour and a half after he should have been asleep.
8. I got three eggs.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Status updates

My status updates on a day without little man.

- tried to have a lie-in but woke up at 6.30am with a funny throaty, hay fever, cold-type feeling.

- thinks the first cup of tea in the morning is one of life's simple wonders.

- had a bacon buttie. Because the bacon needed using up, of course.

- painted her toenails.

- discovered a new poet (Mary Oliver) thanks to

- went to Slingmeet without a baby and tried the secure high back carry with a doll but ended up almost knocking the doll's head off.

- chatted to the Children's Centre lady who came to talk about choosing a nursery and came to the conclusion that nurseries are all part of the consumer capitalist conspiracy.

- saw a temperature reading on the side of a building in Preston that said 24C. And that was in the shade.

- proved to herself what she said a few posts back: the best way to avoid spending money is to avoid going into shops.

- bought herself some new sandals. (Yes I know I'm not consistent with this consumer capitalist hate thing.)

- filled up with petrol as she was on 346 miles since last fill-up and the petrol gauge doesn't work and she has been putting her foot down a bit.

- went to work and knitted some more rows of the first sleeve of the cardigan for little man and felt very hot knitting a chunky cardigan when the office air conditioning seemed close to breakdown due to the heatwave.
- also checked house prices in Runcorn and thinks she might be able to afford a two-bed terrace in need of modernisation if she could persuade anyone to give a mortgage to someone who doesn't have a proper job (and doesn't want one).
- texted STBE husband to see what little man has been up to and was pleased to hear he has been squirting himself with a hosepipe.

- would like to point out that she does actually do some work in between knitting and surfing the net but the nature of the work means you wait around quite a bit (for crap writers to write crap stuff that you then have to rewrite).

- saw a beautiful glowing sun sinking towards the Lancashire coast from the M6.

- got home at 9pm to discover she had left the freezer door slightly ajar at 10 o'clock this morning.

- took a picture of her new sandals before it got too dark and is perplexed at why her camera keeps taking video instead of photos when it's on the photos setting. But it is a several-years-old 4megapixel jobbie that was her STBE husband's before he decided he needed a nice new one.

- put the freezer on boost, warmed up some chilli, threw open the back door and poured herself a glass of wine.

- was disappointed on checking her dating site that noone has sent her a message.

- is listening to the blackbirds saying goodnight.

- should go to bed but doesn't really feel like it when she only got home from work at 9pm.

- really, really wants to go camping.

- is going to watch Robin Hood on iPlayer.

- thinks her long-life bulb's long life might be over.
- wonders if little man's new tooth will have come through yet.