Thursday, 31 December 2009

Broken resolutions

Had I made any new year resolutions, I could actually have already broken them despite it being only 9.30pm on December 31. That's because ye olde Celtic new year observed by many a modern-day pagan starts on November 1. So I won't be making any special resolutions tonight, beyond the ones I make most nights which include never drinking again, eating some fruit for breakfast, getting out in the fresh air more and attempting to maintain my infinite patience a little bit better.

And I'm afraid I'm a fireworks killjoy. Since when did new year's eve become an excuse for letting them off from as soon as it goes dark til three in the morning? (Ever since the millennium, I think.) Shouldn't be allowed outside of November 5 in my opinion. Grrr.

So as there's nowt special about tonight I'll be off to bed. After a small glass of Baileys.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Choo choo shoes

He came up with the phrase all by himself, not bad for a boy who is not in a big hurry to get on to talking. He's signing all the time though, signs coming out that I didn't even know he'd learnt. He keeps telling me he wants to go to bed but he certainly doesn't mean it!

Anyway, our downstairs floors are cold and we both need slippers now that it's no longer flip-flop weather. At least he's sorted, I still need to find some. Maybe I should knit some, but not in the shape of trains! Anyone know how to make knitted ones non-slippery?

Daddy brought little man home shortly after ten and we've had a nice relaxed day: While we tidied up clothes we pretended to go to sleep and played tents under the duvet; we turned a plastic box into a boat and had a run-in with a crocodile, a lion and a jellyfish; we had a bus ride to the library during which he fell asleep in a ring sling and gave me a seriously achy back; I dished up spag bol while he followed me round trying to put cars in my back pockets...

Moments of simple silliness to be treasured.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Behind the facade

Behind the knitting (a boy doll for little man) and the decorating (more woodwork to paint) and the cooking (Hairy Bikers' panna cotta was a big disappointment) and the commuting (in ice, snow, fog, rain...) and the buying (a new camera), I'm actually not really ok. There we go, I said it. I'm not ok.

Now that I've moved house, the next thing on the to-do list is to get divorced. I don't want to get divorced. But I don't seem to get any say in this matter. Boxing Day was the first anniversary of me finding the text messages on STBE husband's phone from the woman he was having an affair with. So not a great time really.

Little man has also ended up spending more time away from me than ever before over the past few weeks for a variety of reasons that, on their own, seem reasonable but have added up to a pretty heartbreaking series of separations.

And here's the interactive bit: STBE husband picked little man up yesterday (Sun) morning because I was working in the afternoon and today and is meant to be returning him tomorrow (Tue) morning. Was it unreasonable of me to be upset to receive a text this morning telling me they had gone to north Wales and would be staying at a B&B tonight because he wanted some time away from his parents, where he currently lives, and was it ok for him to bring little man home a couple of hours later so they could do something there in the morning, like visit a castle? This would be the little man who has just moved house and needs to settle in and whose mummy is putting off having a little holiday for that very reason.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

My library

Too many books? Never! I just need to get round to sorting them all out... but at least my new house comes with a healthy amount of shelving.
Christmas Day went well. Little man loves the kitchen daddy made for him and he ate his own weight in chipolatas. Little man, not daddy. We all had a sunny, icy walk down by the river.
Now I'm having that post-Christmas feeling of wanting to get back to normal. I think New Year's Eve will find me tucked up in bed for an early night. Especially as little man has woken up in the early hours the last couple of nights and then fidgeted his way through the rest of the night.
But now he's off with daddy again while I work for a couple of days.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Home and away

The snow arrived eventually. But I don't have any cute pictures of little man playing in it, because he has been with his dad since Monday. While I have been moving house, the amount of time he has spent away from me and with his father has crept up. My variable shift patterns have contributed to this. Now, STBE husband's relatives are visiting from afar and so once more little man's presence is required. And now that I am only 15 minutes' drive away it seems so much stranger to not have him with me despite him being so close.

Of course, this gives me the opportunity to Get Things Done. At my pace, ie tearing around like a lunatic, banging into things and getting irate (who'd have thought the door handles in my new house would be such a problem; each one I pass either whacks me in the arm or hooks itself onto my clothing). I have presents to wrap, boxes to shift into the loft (where no doubt I will stand and gaze out of the Velux window at my river view), panna cotta to make courtesy of the Hairy Bikers, piles of washing to get through, brandy snaps to munch, snowy motorways to navigate so I can get to work later.

And now that moving house is over, STBE husband and I are going to have to sit down and talk about when 'STBE' is going to become simply 'ex'. Unless of course he decides to admit what a twat he's been, apologise profusely for his behaviour and book a very, very long course of relationship counselling.... Divorce it is then.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Bob the Builder gets let off

I found the key to managing toddler mischief: television. Little man specifically requested it this afternoon via some pointing and mumbling. I thought, well ok, half an hour isn't going to do any harm. He sat on the settee completely still and silent for about an hour and a half. I kept thinking, I'll just wash up then I can put the telly off and we'll look at some books... I'll just get the dinner on then I can put the telly off and we'll make some music (read noise).... I'll just get this load of washing in then I can put the telly off and we'll draw a picture... I'll just sort out this last box then I can put the telly off and we'll build a tower....

So there we have it, I have the solution. Will I be doing it again? Of course not. Sure, it made little man easy to manage for a short while, but at what cost? He turned into a passive, listless, blankly staring little thing. So I'll carry on involving him in all my everyday tasks, however much harder that makes them. And finding other ways for me to cope with the toddler energy. After all, it's me that needs to cope, it's not little man who has any problem with it.

Where does Bob the Builder come into this? I sat down with little man while the risotto and the sticky chicken drumsticks were cooking and watched this one programme with him. Bob and his team constructed a cruck-frame timber and straw-bale cottage that was a cartoon replica of Ben Law's Woodland House, as featured on Grand Designs a few years ago. Now that kind of telly I'd like him to see more of: then he can be inspired to become a woodsman and build me one!

In other news: It's not the entire country that is blanketed in snow. We had about eight flakes this afternoon. Now it's raining.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Run away!

In ye olden days, my son might have been called naughty. Or at least mischievous. I think his behaviour is perfectly natural toddler behaviour. However, this doesn't make it easy to live with, especially when I'm feeling a bit frazzled myself and somewhat lacking in patience.

If there's a switch or dial within reach he wants to press it or twiddle it. If we're in a busy place, perhaps involving traffic, and I need him to stay close he will try to run away. If I ask him to stop bashing his little car into something (radiators, my legs, chairs, tables etc) he only does it harder. If he isn't strapped into his highchair he tries to climb out, posing a danger to his own head should he fall. All my baubles are now on the top half of the tree because he was pulling them apart. If we're at some kind of play group and there's an open door, he will run out of it. Getting him dressed involves me chasing him around with each garment until I can pin him down for ten seconds. When I'm trying to lace his shoes, he starts kicking his feet around and squirming away. Should I, heaven forbid, attempt to do some mundane chore that involves waiting in a queue or at a desk... he will of course run away repeatedly and will not tolerate staying strapped in a pushchair. Despite all this running away, if I want him to walk a short way with me he very quickly grabs hold of my legs and tries to climb up them until I pick him up.

And because I have been so busy and stressed I am dealing with all this as and when it happens in a less than ideal way instead of anticipating it and having some idea of how to handle all that toddler energy and emotion. And a raised voice simply makes him go into a frantic mode in which he tries harder to do whatever I don't want him to do more quickly before I can stop him.

So all in all my conclusion is this: I need a holiday. I'm thinking two or three nights (which I can fit around work) in a quiet cottage by the sea. Somewhere properly dark at night. Only problem is whether it's fair on the little fella to drag him off somewhere else before he realises that where we are now is home.

Have I mentioned that he was awake at four this morning and fidgeting for a good hour or so...? That as he goes about his toddler business he has taken to chanting 'mummy, mummy, mummy...', which sounds cute but (whisper it) gets a bit wearing after a while, that he cried inconsolably when we went for a play in the forest this morning and for a good half hour in the car on the way back for some reason that I certainly couldn't work out, that he is currently obsessed with cats (miaow), that he now has all teeth but the big molars, that he has been frustratingly on the verge of being able to talk to me for some time now but seems a bit stuck on the frustrated whinging stage. That he thinks my little statue of Buddha doing baduanjin is the troubliphone.

Monday, 14 December 2009


  • A squirrel nonchalantly skipping along the grass verge between my house and the busway.
  • A grey wagtail wagging its tail on the pavement. It was bright yellow, but I am assured it was a grey wagtail and not a yellow wagtail.
  • The extreme grubbiness we have had to clean off all surfaces in my new house.
  • The sight of the house vendor, having returned to collect some junk from the back yard, digging a hole in the verge between the house and the busway to bury her compost materials.
  • The arrival of my period only 31 days after the last one. I mean, that's normal. It's usually at least 42 days.
  • Just how many cookbooks I own. Just when I thought I had unpacked them all, there was yet another box.
  • How well I slept on my first night in my new house.
  • How gullible people are who buy things because they saw an advert on the telly (I've just seen one for a men's fragrance [read perfume] called hot water. I mean, come on, I could sell hot water.)
  • How much nicer my bathroom looks without me having had to repaint the blue ceiling or take off any of the stark white, yellow and blue tiles thanks to some nicer flooring and shower curtains and a new loo seat.
  • How much I'm looking forward to a day of chilling at home (my new home) with little man when I collect him from daddy's tomorrow.
  • That STBE husband and I have come to an arrangement for Christmas that involves me cooking Christmas dinner for the first time ever for the three of us.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Quick update

Not so much of the woe is me any more. My grandmother's friend's son's partner had a van. My grandmother's friend's husband drove it. My grandmother paid for it. All my belongings are now in my house. The nice cable people also sorted out my broadband connection and I bought a new phone, but am still in possession of a dud one. My fridge freezer is arriving on Sunday. I have bought some new wheel nuts, although not put them on yet as I have no idea how to. Little man's cyst is looking much better although he still joined me for a cuddle at some unearthly hour last night. So what does that leave outstanding? Well, I guess the main thing would be that conversation his father and I need to have about Christmas that I thought we would be having tonight but he has called off. Yes it is this Christmas we need to talk about, 2009, the one in two weeks' time.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Do not read this

It's pure rant. Stuff I need to send out into cyberspace to stop it going round and round my head.

I moved out of my last home on October 17. I thought little man and I would be at my parents for a couple of weeks. I finally completed on my new home on November 24. I still haven't moved in. I could really do with my own space now. And more than two pairs of shoes. But a friend who has access to a van can't get it this Thursday, as expected, and it looks like it might be next Thursday instead.

I have been decorating, in between trying to spend that thing that some working parents call 'quality time' with little man. I have had heating installed and some new floorings laid. I have had cable connected for my phone, broadband and telly. Unfortunately, the broadband won't set up. A phone I bought online isn't working. Because I have cancelled my old email provider I can't remember where I bought the phone from so can't return it. But I also can't use the free number to phone the cable people to find out why my broadband won't work. And when I tried on my mobile today I was on hold for so long I gave up. I also don't know when my new fridge-freezer will be delivered because notification will be sent to my defunct email address.

My application for insurance cover for the mortgage is currently on hold. My doctor wrote a report to say there was an outstanding issue with a dermatology referral. This is because I showed her a freckle on my foot that had gone all red. She gave me a referral. Of course, the redness went, all was well and I cancelled the appointment rather than waste hospital time. I now have to write a letter to explain this. And I have now changed doctor because I've moved house and am already paying that mortgage.

I got some sealant put in the back tyres of my car last week to stop them losing air. Unfortunately, the garage had to break the locking wheelnuts because I had no idea where the relevant tool might be. So now I have to find some new nuts. The car is also leaking coolant. Although my moving house won't result in any more miles travelled overall, as those looking after little man don't have to go far any more, it does mean my commute has turned into fifty miles each way. That's not as gruelling as it sounds: I don't travel at rush hour and it is motorway virtually all the way. But I do need my car.

STBE husband is avoiding talking to me about Christmas. Instead he texted me to say when he would like to have little man. I texted him back to say I would like to talk about it in person. He texted back in a manner that suggested I was being unreasonable in not simply agreeing. I texted him back a five-part message to point out all the considerations that need to be taken into account: such as little man and I getting settled in our new house, my not having spent as much time with him as I would like because of the decorating, the fact I would also like to see STBEH's family members who are visiting, the fact my shift pattern is unusual over Christmas.... He has still not come up with a time when he is available to talk.

Little man has an infected branchial cyst. It's one of two holes in his neck that won't ever go away. It's only a problem if it keeps getting infected. At the moment it's red, swollen and oozing green gunk and he is on to his second course of antibiotics. He's fine in himself, although he is waking up randomly some nights. I'm not surprised at that as he's a sensitive soul and mummy is rather stressed.

And then there's all the things I haven't been doing which I'd like to be doing: walking, knitting, cooking, planting herbs, talking to the chickens, seeing friends.

I could cope with a few of these things, but all together it's really a bit much. I keep forgetting to take my antidepressants, which probably isn't very helpful. And I think there are only so many bottles of wine and takeaways a person can consume in the name of temporary stress relief. Particularly when 'temporary' is redefining itself.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I'm up a ladder...

...which is why I haven't been blogging. Too busy painting. Mmm, Ecos in bengt from the Swedish range. Farrow & Ball lime white. Oh no, I've fallen into giving companies blatant plugs, something I try to avoid unless I feel really strongly in favour of their products. I must admit to also using some bog standard, probably not particularly environmentally friendly, paints too. But as the nice ones are 50 quid a pop I have had to weigh up financial priorities. And I decided bedroom carpet was a good thing to have: 100% wool with jute backing. So there.

By this time next week little man and I might even have moved in. And he can do some serious bus watching from my bedroom window, which is conveniently low enough for him to see out of without having to stand on the windowledge. Which wouldn't be encouraged because it's newly painted. In Homebase chalk white eggshell.

I think there may be one loyal reader who finds the title of this post funny. It's all about loud phone calls in open-plan newspaper offices. 'Can you talk or are you up a ladder?'