Thursday, 30 April 2009

Man wanted

Must be perfect in every way. You know the sort of stuff: ruggedly good looking, strong but caring, good at putting up shelves and changing oil, home owner, generous salary that allows me to piss about doing what I want but that doesn't involve him working all hours, sweet and sensitive but not a girl.... etc.

I haven't had to look for a new man since I was 16. I am now 32. The rules may have changed slightly since then. I may have changed slightly since then. Oh bugger. I don't think I have even encountered a single man within a reasonable age range within the last year or so. Where do I start?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


All the parents of small children out there, repeat after me, ohm mantra style: I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience... And so on until your brain melts. Do it in the lotus position if it helps, but I'm just slumped on the settee with a glass of wine.

Food all over the floor... and the curtains... and in his hair... and up his nose... and on my jeans... Then there's bashing me with a serving spoon, pulling my glasses, tipping cornflakes all over the floor, crawling off mid nappy change, refusing to go in the car seat, refusing to eat lovely food I've made, refusing to go the way we need to go, picking up random dirty things off the pavement, grabbing things in shops, pinching me, wanting to be carried then wanting to be put down, wanting to climb every flight of stairs he sees, not wanting to share his toys with anyone else, not letting me brush his teeth, pointing at the apples then discarding the one I give him, pulling my damp washing off the airer as fast as I put it on, getting annoyed because I won't let him climb in the dishwasher, or the fridge, being full of beans when it's bedtime, strewing books and toys all over the house... All that perfectly natural stuff that 14-month-olds get up to.

I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Tao of Pooh

I changed my facebook religious views a while ago to 'taoist pagan' when I had obviously had one too many glasses of wine. But it's actually quite accurate. The taoist bit means that I don't give a shit about many of the things that a lot of people give a shit about, that I try to go with the flow and avoid getting caught up in all kinds of strife and struggle (wu wei, in other words). I think this attitude is why I'm not currently going quite as crazy as I could be. But remember: The Tao that can be described is not the true Tao! Although the book, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, is quite a good description. A tai chi class helps too, although I am somewhat restricted in my ability to find one at the moment due to being a single mother.

The pagan bit means that I like to hug trees, watch the sunset, listen to an angry blackbird or paddle in icy cold seawater. It's about being in tune with the natural world, being green, feeling that our pre-Christian ancestors probably had it right when they celebrated the changing seasons and worshipped the creative forces of the universe. And lots more besides that I can't put into words right now. So blessed be and enjoy Beltane.

Monday, 27 April 2009


It's a good job little man is, well, little. Because he gets carried pretty much every-where. You see, I am addicted to babywearing. I have never got used to using a pushchair. I bought one on eBay just in case. It rattles around in the boot of the car because I have nowhere else to store it. I use it around once or twice a month. It annoys me. I hate having to use both hands to push the damn thing. I hate the contortions necessary to hold open a shop doorway and pull the pushchair up a step while ramming old ladies out of the way. I hate not being able to go for a walk in case the path is too narrow, too bumpy, too muddy, too steep or involves stiles.

But baby slings are an addictive habit. I started off with a Close Baby Carrier, cos it's what I saw on the telly. It was okay until I tried a Tinokis stretchy wrap, which was wonderful while little man was still tiny. I also ended up with two ring slings, one padded, one not, which are useful for quick carries into the shop for a pint of milk. Then I got a Calin Bleu gauze wrap which is nice and light but a bit unforgiving for the beginner wrapper. So I bought an Ellaroo wrap on eBay which was gorgeous but turned out to be a little short. Hmm. Oh and a lovely soft mei tai which had the same problem. And now I'd like a Storchenwiege and a Yamo.

I blame Preston slings group for being the only place where I don't feel like the crazy hippy weirdo mum.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Quiet please

Let's share a moment of peace and tranquility.....

Did you manage it? Or were there cars zooming by outside, dogs barking, aeroplanes overhead, music pounding, builders building, ice cream vans, the constant hum of a motorway in the distance.

I spent the weekend in a holiday cottage near Kendal where it is much quieter than at home. No traffic hum. Just birdsong, which doesn't really count as noise. (Unless it's that damn sparrow that woke me up at 5am last week.) It was also properly dark at night, no orange streetlight glow. I would love to live somewhere where night is night, where you can see the stars properly and notice the difference between moonlit nights and cloudy nights and stormy nights.

And so onto the next project: Little man's first camping trip. Sadly delayed until this year due to last year's marital issues. Now I just have to rope in a couple of friends with a large tent...

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Clothes, nappies, teddy, wipes, toys, books, slings, snacks, milk, woolly hat, sunhat. Check. Chickens' feed and water topped up. Check. Bin emptied. Check. Dishes done. Check. Garage locked. Check. Me: clothes, books, knitting, tweezers, E45 cream, antidepressants, relaxing CDs. Check.
All for two nights away in a cottage near Kendal. Which is about an hour up the M6. And I have to come back early to go to work on Sunday afternoon.

Have a good weekend folks. I've given you a pretty pic to set the tone.

Baby nomad

Here are The Trousers. Now moving on....

Little man likes to be on the move. Especially when it is time for a daytime nap. Which means mummy has to be on the move. Not having a nap beside him. This afternoon I spent half an hour sitting quiety reading books with him hoping he might start to doze off. Then I put him in the ring sling and pottered about the house for half an hour, hoping he might start to doze off. All he did was stop me drinking my cup of tea because he wanted to stick his fist in it. I had things to do, things I could do much more easily if he was peacefully asleep. But no, he wasn't having any of it.

I put him in the Yamo, a soft-structured carrier borrowed from Preston sling group. I grabbed my keys and left the house. Walking up the road at school run time was not so pleasant so I turned down a track that cuts through fields/wasteground behind my house. Ben dozed off on my back. I looked at the hawthorn blossom in the overgrown hedges and the petals sprinkled over the path. And I thought, hmm, this is nice. And those things I had to do will get done. Eventually.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


How very pleased I was with myself.

I'll start at the beginning. I had my baby-free lie-in. Which actually meant waking up at 7am and lying there for a couple of hours drifting off a little bit now and then. I finally decide to get up and make a cup of tea. Then it hits me. It is gone 9am. And I am only just getting up. The day is wasted! I put it down to my upbringing that I feel like this if I haven't achieved at least ten useful things by 8am. So I now have only four hours before I have to think about going to work. I spring up, shower, put a load of washing on, unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, drink two mugs of tea and eat two poached eggs on toast (my bantams' eggs, they're very small).

I still think I haven't done anything yet. So I bake a loaf of sun-dried tomato and chive scofa bread. Quick and easy and handy to take to work later. Then I get to work on the grand plan: a pair of "ten-minute trousers" for the little man. Made from a pair of my own trousers that I, ahem, grew out of. I know they will take me a bit more than ten minutes. I have to set up the sewing machine, find my sewing scissors, google Bernina to find out how to make the sewing machine go backwards... Eventually I get down to work and I whizz through the project feeling good. I hold up the finished product.

One leg is inside out.

See if you want to try and do any better.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Self-destructive habits

No, don't worry. I'm referring to why oh why I don't go to bed early when I'm really tired and I know I'm going to be woken up at 6am. And why oh why does my little man decide to wake up at 6am when he's still so obviously tired and really grizzly until he has a nap around 9am? Clamped-to-my-hip grizzly. I'm hoping a new blackout-lined curtain might make a difference in his east-facing little room. But I think he might just be a natural early waker. That's how I would usually describe myself. But it feels like there is such a big difference between waking up at six-something and waking up at seven-something.

But then the little man does now sleep through the night. Which makes me much luckier than some of my fellow parents. It took him until around 10 months to stop waking for a feed in the night but he got there in his own time. Of course, he was only doing it for comfort. And what is wrong with that exactly?

Tonight I can go to bed knowing I will not be woken at 6am because little man has gone to stay with daddy. Which means I will probably end up going to bed even later. And I'll be having a glass of wine, or two, just for comfort.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Mooncup activism

No I am not embarrassed to talk about my periods or menstrual products. So there. You've been warned. I had to dig out my Mooncup this morning. I remembered that I still haven't used the little advertising stickers they send out when you buy one. I should pop them in my bag; you never know when you might find yourself in the perfect toilet cubicle. That would be one that is frequently used but not so well maintained that the cleaner will immediately remove the sticker.

There are 13 full moons in a year, usually. And for people with a nice regular 28-day cycle there are 13 periods in a year. I have seven or eight. That might sound good but unfortunately it's because I have polycystic ovaries, which is not so good. Lots of unpleasant symptoms, plus the fact that I don't ovulate naturally. That's why my lovely little man was conceived by intrauterine insemination. At around midday on Friday, June 6th, 2007. And it's why I developed gestational diabetes and my little man was born a week early after I was induced. Of course, because of sod's law I bought my first Mooncup just a couple of cycles before I got pregnant. Then it became useless as it was the wrong size.

So for anyone on fertility treatment I recommend immediately buying a Mooncup. In fact for anyone who ever has periods, I recommend buying a Mooncup or similar. It saves that frantic hunt through your bag only to realise that you forgot to pack any tampons. Instead, you can pack your stickers and become a quiet activist in the fight against that hideous phrase: sanitary products.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Extreme knitting

It's exciting stuff. I have been knitting for only a few months. It's very therapeutic when you're coming to terms with the end of your marriage and you're at a loose end in the evening after little one has gone to bed. (Ignoring the floors that need disinfecting, the loo that needs scrubbing, the fridge that needs cleaning...) And already I am throwing caution to the wind. I have a pattern for a tank top from a website I have some Aran-weight yarn. Which is not what the pattern specifies. I think it looks nice in 2x2 rib. Which is not what the pattern specifies. I am doing a line of cable. For the first time. Without a cable needle. I have no idea if the resulting garment will fit me. I even have a cunning plan to cut the arms and neck area off an old blouse that doesn't fit any more and sew it into the tank top so it will look like a trendy ensemble.

I am starting to think I may be better at the ideas than the execution. Or maybe it's the doing rather than the end result. I have a head bursting full of ideas and I love beginnings. Beginnings are full of potential. I am at a new beginning in my life as I work out how I'm going to live as a single mother. I can imagine all sorts of wonderful things that might happen. But probably not while I'm sitting at home knitting.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Hello world!

That's what my son and I say when we look out of my bedroom window first thing in the morning. Well, I say it in response to his wave. Since the wave is to no-one in particular I assume he's saying 'hello world'. He can't actually say it as he's 14 months old. Which is why he's still fascinated with looking out of the window at ordinary things like houses and cars and trees and the odd starling. Baby-signing parents please insert signs as you read. Ben signs 'bird'. Lots. Often when he's just seeing a tree (go on, you can remember tree can't you?) as he obviously thinks this is where there should be birds.

Anyway, hello world. This is my first blog entry. Now I have to go away and think about what the hell I'm doing writing a blog (thanks K) and why I'm not in bed yet as we'll be saying hello world at around 6am tomorrow.