Sunday, 31 May 2009

Dappled shade: Part II

This time it was Yarrow Valley Country Park. Strolling along the river - which is where I saw my one and only kingfisher a couple of years ago - then up the rough tracks through fields and woods. It was early enough to still be quite cool. At first it was peaceful, just the babbling water, birds singing, the odd sheep baaing, leaves fluttering. Little man sang his sleepy song, which is a sort of hum in time with mummy's footsteps, then dozed off.

I followed a new path for a while but eventually turned back because I don't think I could do a circuit back into the park. I am that sort of person who always wants to know where a new footpath goes. It bothers me that I haven't actually explored around home that much despite living here for more than six years. I think the trouble is you never know when you're going to meet a vicious dog.

It was a dog barking that woke little man up after only ten minutes snoozing. My biggest dog gripe, though, is the amount of crap on the paths. I really don't understand how someone could let their dog do this in a place where lots of children come to play.

Little man has now gone with daddy and I have to go to work. Which is a bit of a bummer on such a lovely sunny day. But I suppose it has to be done occasionally. I have a sudden need for salad so am taking a stilton and toasted walnut concoction with me.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Dappled shade

I was reminded today just how lovely it is to be strolling in the dappled shade of a deciduous woodland on a hot summer's day. A combination of smoke from charcoal making and suncream in my eyes made me quite dreamy. And I got round the slightly muddy paths with little man on my back much easier than my friends with pushchairs did. Ner, ner, ner, ner, ner.

We were at Cuerden Valley Park fair, eating hog roast rolls, chocolate fudge and Mrs Dawson's ice cream. Little man joined in with the Leyland Morris Men and nearly got trampled on. He then tried to steal their sticks when they weren't looking.

Little fella slept right through my knit and natter last night. (In fact he slept til 7.30am. Woohoo.) Not a lot of knitting got done but there was a lot of nattering and a moderate amount of wine supping. Now I'm finishing off all the semi-drunk bottles and munching the leftover nibbles. Yum.

I'm off to put up my tipi in the woods. Preferably some woods containing dangerous outlaws such as Jonas Armstrong. Unfortunately Sherwood Forest would be on the other side of the Pennines. That's the wrong side of the Pennines, by the way. If there's even anything left of Sherwood Forest. Maybe I'll find a small copse closer to home. For a picnic.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Five favourites

Quick, quick, it's gone 10pm, must get to bed...

1. Flower: daffodils (so cheery), but...
2. Season: autumn (mists, dew on spiders' webs, blackberries, lovely colours, warm days and cool evenings to cosy up on, relief from hot summer nights).
3. Point of the compass: west (sunset, views from British coast, sea, islands).
4. Non-alcoholic beverage: tea (milk, no sugar).
5. Stone: Snowdonia slate (shiny wet mountains, colour of little man's eyes when he was born). This was a close one, sandstone feels more like home.

And you?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A glass of wine

When STBE husband left, my alcohol intake went down dramatically. It was usually him who bought it previously. I took up knitting and was therefore too busy to guzzle. I really only drank when with family or friends a couple of times a week.

Now I am feeling quite stressed and very tired, juggling little man, work, everyday stuff, communications with STBE husband and the occasional bit of me time. And I keep having to make emergency trips to the shops for wine on the way home from work.

So here's the conundrum: should I just stock up so it's there whenever I fancy it or should I try to resist? Should I bother putting pressure on myself to not drink at a time like this? Or should I take control and decide to save money and not put my health at risk just because I am going through a difficult time?

Right now I am supping a glass of a half-price Chilean cabernet sauvignon from Tesco Express near work. I got home from work to be told that little man had been left to cry for ten minutes when he was put to bed. He has resisted going to bed a few times in the last week, but it is highly unusual. He is usually zonked out by 7pm. Last night I read him books and cuddled up with him in my bed until he was fast asleep and transferred him to his cot at 8.30pm. I believe that if he is upset he needs security and reassurance. I do not believe that crying himself to sleep is a good association to make: going to bed should be a lovely, cosy thing. And I know from experience that this phase will pass in its own good time.

So I am off to fill my glass while I ponder how I can remain in control of the manner in which my little man is brought up at the same time as earning some money and handing him over to his wider clan members. And after that glass I am definitely having an early night in case whatever is bothering him wakes him up before 6am.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Simple living

It's very straightforward: Spend less, work less, live more.
I don't see the point in working my butt off just so I can spend two weeks a year lying on a generic beach somewhere hot, buy a 4x4 that will never see any mud and live in a detached faux Georgian mansion that's two foot from the identical one next door.

I'd rather wear charity shop jeans, make my little man wear really badly sewn cut-down clothes, grow courgettes and live in a house that only has one toilet to clean.

The simple things in my life include:
Tickling sessions with little man in the middle of other activities such as clothes sorting.
Eating food I cooked from scratch.
Collecting eggs from my three bantams.
Going out for tea and cake or a stroll with friends or family.
Pottering in the garden.
Using just one long piece of cloth to carry my little fella instead of putting him in an expensive, unwieldy pushchair.

There are other things I'd like to get on to, like ordering an organic veg box now and then and finally having some success at making my own wine. Getting organised enough to make bread more often. Changing to a much smaller car. And there are some things I do spend money on unnecessarily: more wine than is good for me, books I could get out of the library, new toys I see for little man that he doesn't need...

My first inspiration for all this was a book called Timeless Simplicity by John Lane. I heartily recommend it. I have given my copy to STBE husband though in the hope it might give him an alternative perspective on life. I had already been trying to get him to read it for years.

And my best tip for spending less is to avoid going into shops in the first place. Then you won't be tempted. I'm not strong enough to look round lovely shops without convincing myself I deserve to buy something. And it's amazing how many days you can survive without your big supermarket shop if you're as disorganised as me.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Me time

It's a sunny bank holiday Monday and most of the country is organising pleasant family get-togethers over the barbecue and a few beers. I am alone because I was working yesterday and again this afternoon so little man is with daddy for two nights. I have had a whole morning to myself.

So what have I done? My tax credits renewal and tax return. Not exactly fun or relaxing. But quite satisfying to have done. Especially as I am owed tax because I haven't actually done any freelance work in over a year. And I think my tax credits will go up because most of last year I was on maternity leave. Hooray for a low income.

I have also written a difficult letter to my STBE husband putting forward my perspective on things and outlining my plans because I couldn't pin him down to a date for us to sit down and have a talk. I now feel a certain amount of trepidation at what his reaction will be but I haven't said anything unreasonable. The problem is he's not always reasonable.

Now I need to go and do something nice for half an hour before I have to think about going to work. But I'm not sure what. I will probably waste the half an hour trying to decide and thinking actually I should have been tidying up.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Plant list

Herbs bought in Tesco today which I could have had growing in the garden by now:

Coriandrum sativum (coriander)
Allium schoenoprasum (chives)
Petroselinum crispum (parsley)

Weeds/plants in wrong place pulled up and composted in half an hour between dinner and bathtime:

Leucanthemum vulgare (ox-eye daisy)
Calendula officinalis (pot marigold)
Epilobium angustifolium (bose ray hillow werb as we used to amusingly call it)
Digitalis purpurea (foxglove, no little man, don't touch that one)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion - fed to chickens)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Rubus fruticosus (bramble)
Urtica dioica (nettle, hiding in undergrowth, ouch)
Cardamine hirsuta (hairy bittercress)
Ranunculus rapens (creeping buttercup)
Origanum majorana (marjoram)
Alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle)

Now some clever person's probably going to come along and tell me I could have made a week's worth of meals out of all that.

Plants that approached little man's mouth:

Strawberry flowers (tried to discourage him; I would obviously prefer that they survive to become strawberries)
Pot marigold petals (obviously look edible, and they are, but I have to get him to learn that he can't put any old flower or leaf in his mouth without mummy's say so until he's old enough to learn what is edible and what isn't)
Unripe blackcurrants (probably do him no harm but ditto the reasoning above)

Area of garden weeded: About 3%.
Satisfaction level: 90%
Chickens currently roaming garden: 3
Eggs collected today: 1 (a Matilda egg from the size of it)
Interesting new fact about chickens: they like rice cakes.

Friday, 22 May 2009


I need it more than I need the catharsis of blogging tonight. Little man and I were supposed to be staying at a friend's overnight. But said little man still hadn't settled by 9.30pm, which is unprecedented. Having had only one glass of wine by that point I decided to bring him home. And I'm really hoping his late night sees him sleep in past this morning's point of 5.45am - although I am aware it doesn't always work like that.

Anyway, so you don't feel like I'm selling you short feel free to tune in for some entertainment to The Mom Song on YouTube:

Good night... bugs etc.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The tangled web of 21st century dating

Had a snoop on a dating website. Oh dear. I looked on Earth Wise Singles hoping for a bit less of the 'look at me aren't I gorgeous and just the best thing since sliced bread'! And there do seem to be some genuinely nice folks on there. But oh dear. The whole thing, the catalogue of pictures and vital statistics. The pictures range from really terrible washed-out passport photos to really unhelpful 'look at wacky old me doing a handstand halfway up a hill' ones.

Some of them are very obviously 'on their travels' and though I have no problem with travel I do have a problem with people who list countries they've visited as if they have 'done' them: 'Oh yes, I did Thailand in 1998 when I was 16 and got mugged at knifepoint/offered a 13-year-old bride/sold into sweatshop slavery/murdered by pirates' (delete dramatic anecdote as appropriate).

Then there are the profiles. These poor people have to state what their appearance is like, although there seems to be an option that says: You decide. I mean, no-one is going to put weedy, or spotty, or downright ugly. The list of interests is obviously an environmentally-friendly-stroke-outdoor-pursuitsy approved list they can choose from: alternative energy, alternative medicine, art, biking, camping, canoeing/kayaking, crafts, cooking, dancing, environment, gardening, green living, movies, music, organics, outdoor activities, painting, photography, reading, yoga.

There's one whose blurb really seems to make sense to me. But he's from Chiswick. And he looks too ambitious for me: too good looking, too right-on greeny, too vegan. There's one who's a single dad and the things he says sound really nice (committed single parent sensitive to a child's needs...), but he's a bit old and, frankly, not that good looking (IMHO). I skipped over all the ones who live in Devon, but maybe the perfect man for me just happens to live a six-hour drive away. Oh sorry, shouldn't say drive, not very Earth Wise. Bugger. Am I green enough, exciting enough, energetic enough, PC enough?

And when the hell am I supposed to be able to meet any of these people anyway? Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
And do you think my profile picture, above, will attract many contacts?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Sea air

I'm hoping a dose of it might help little fella sleep longer. This morning he woke at 5.45am sounding immediately upset. Not the sort of sniffing and fidgeting that means you can ignore him for a few minutes. It was instant howling. So we had a snuggle in my bed and he went back to sleep. At 7am.

So that made us late, but we eventually went to Crosby for some breeze and drizzle. And beachcombing for holey bricks. And a walk that justified the cake (coffee and walnut, cafe in Little Crosby not very friendly to two mums and two tots but old tractor on lawn very exciting).

When I was a kid we would often go and stay at my grandmother's near Llandudno. The sea air there used to make me really tired. I remember fighting to stay awake on summer evenings but having to give in and go to bed far earlier than normal. So I'm hoping it might help little man make it past 6.30am. As for me, I don't need sea air to feel knackered these days.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The virtue continues

I have finally mopped the downstairs floors! Believe me, they definitely needed it. Little man tends to drop his food overboard when he is fed up with it. And although I wipe round the highchair after each meal, the floor really needed a proper clean. The weather hasn't helped, with lots of wet and muddy comings and goings from both front and back doors. So armed with my new Magic Mop and rediscovered bucket I set to.

Then of course I had to go and lounge in a hot bath for an hour or so while the floors dried so I didn't mess them up again.

I have got other tedious stuff done today too: new front tyres, brakes checked, wheels balanced, library books returned (such a good job they don't charge fines on children's tickets), top with hole in returned to Debenhams, broached subject of wanting to move house with STBE husband...

And the not so tedious: used Yamo for first time, chased little man around library as he pulled books and DVDs from all the carousels, read the Tractor book (ok, that is starting to come under tedious), found the old computer keyboard in the garage for little man to bang on, found some very nice blackcurrant tea in Somerfield.

Life, and all that.

Monday, 18 May 2009


Nettle soup:

1. Don pink rubber gloves and wander round garden marvelling at the sudden absence of nettles whilst three chickens squawk at you for attention.
2. Wander down road leaving front door open until you find nearest bit of waste ground that doesn't look like it's been contaminated with dog pee.
3. Pick a generous handful of nettle tops. Return home ignoring nosy neighbours who probably think you've finally flipped.
4. Wash thoroughly (the nettles, dear), strip off (the nettles!) stalks and chop leaves roughly.
5. Sweat a diced onion and celery stick slowly in butter til soft.
6. Add nettles and let those sweat a bit. You may now remove the rubber gloves.
7. Add whatever stock you happen to have, I found some proper stuff I had made in the freezer.
8. Simmer for a few minutes then whizz in a blender.
9. Dash outside again to pick a head of wild garlic flowers to garnish.
10. Tuck in. Grated parmesan is nice on top too.

I was surprised how yummy this was. I seem to recall once making nettle tea that tasted very earthy, ie like soil. But this was fresh and zingy and really filling. And nettles are full of wonderful vitamins and minerals.

Now I have to make some when little man is around and see if he will have it from his Doidy cup. He seems generally suspicious of green food. I am really missing him while he spends three nights with daddy. It means I haven't even been able to try out my new slings yet! A Storchenwiege Leo Turkis 4.6m and a Yamo Mocha Flowers. Tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Self-destructive habits: Part 2

It's not big and it's not clever. I drank so much wine last night that I made myself ill. Little man was, incidentally, staying with daddy. I wouldn't have done it if he had been home.

It's not something I do very often and, of course, right now I'm vowing never again. It was the sort of hangover that only a McDonald's could reach. Which makes me feel bad for going there at all. I find it very sad when I'm standing in the queue seeing quite young children being fed on burgers and fries. I'm sure little man will discover Happy Meals at some point but I'm not going to help speed that up.

Anyway, chicken sandwich and fries downed, I then had to get through six hours at work. Yes, on a Sunday. I got quite a lot of knitting done as it was a quiet day but even looking down at the needles made me feel a bit queasy at times.

I'm now typing this in the time it takes a frozen pizza to cook. I will be having an early night and tomorrow I will probably feel particularly wonderful and motivated to be healthy because of the sheer contrast with today. I would like to point out that yesterday was not all unhealthy though. I did walk up Rivington Pike with the two friends I later drank with and we had a mostly-vegetarian barbecue.

I was impressed that I managed to light the barbecue and successfully cook on it - without needing a man. Now I need to pump up my own car tyres and put up a new curtain in little man's room and I will be a truly independent woman.

Friday, 15 May 2009


I knew there was something else on my to-do list: get new tyres, new headlamp bulb and brakes checked. But they only had ridiculously expensive tyres in stock so it will have to wait til Tuesday. I do so hate everything to do with car maintenance. But the car was free when STBE-husband's brother and family moved overseas so I guess I can't complain. Even though the petrol gauge doesn't work, the tyres have a fault that means they gradually go flat, there's something clunking in the suspension that I'm told could be the ball joints, it's a great big beast when it comes to manoeuvring and it's probably not very economical on fuel. And in winter the back windscreen ices up - on the inside.

One day I will downsize. Perhaps when I also downsize my living accommodation. Anyone who knows my house may wonder how you could get any smaller, but I'm sure the two of us don't need two and a half bedrooms. The phrase downsizing does amuse me somewhat as it assumes you have something to downsize from. I could downsize to a camper van, or a teepee. Which sounds quite nice actually. Probably not in winter though.

I may downsize my body at some point (I actually asked the doc recently about getting a boob reduction but I'm talking here about general flab) but it's probably not worth putting myself under that pressure this side of getting divorced. Gu cheeky chocolate pud anyone? No? Oh dear, I'll have to have them all myself.

To-do list

Right little man, it's morning. I should have written a post last night but I was toooo tired. Pity about the arsehole with the over-sized exhaust leaving his engine running outside at 11pm then.

We've already lost an hour this morning. I'm sure it was twenty past six when you first woke up. Then twenty minutes later, while we're playing let's stand on mummy's head while she pretends to be asleep, you wriggled off the bed and headed for the stairs and mummy realised it was twenty to eight and probably time for breakfast.

Today we need to get some food. There's a lot of leftover roast chicken in the fridge that I got daddy to cook yesterday while he was here looking after you and I was in work. So I think I'll make risotto but that means I need to get my butt in gear to make some stock too. We need to take some library books back, we're on a last warning, so maybe we'll go to Tesco in Wigan and we can do that too. Pity they've moved the children's library to the opposite side of town to the adult library. And it's raining. And my new slings haven't arrived yet.

While we're at it I need to work out what I'm eating on Sunday and Monday when I'm working and you're with daddy again.

What else? I'd like to finish making a top I started for you out of my old t-shirt (it'll be very cool, it's a 'life is good' t-shirt with a little guitar on it) but daddy has the sweatshirt I wanted to use to check the sizing.

I'd like to go through the boxes of sheets and work out what I've got before S and P come tomorrow so I can put a cover on the duvet in the back bedroom.

There'll be washing to do. And cleaning up after you.

Ooh, there's a Boris spider. That's odd. Boris spiders aren't usually seen much til autumn. Maybe it thinks it is autumn because it's cold and wet and windy. All big house spiders are called Boris by the way. And you're not allowed to stamp on them.

Oh sorry, yes I'll get you a drink of milk now. Do you want any more of your nut-buttery toast? I've run out of nice fruit but there's an apple that's been in the bowl for a while...

The chicken feed needs topping up and the water changing. Would you like to live in the chicken run little man? You do seem rather fascinated by it.

Hmm, thought I had more to do than that. Not sure when I'm going to find all the bits of paper I need to do my tax return, tax credits form and holiday pay claims.

Oh, have you finished your breakfast? I'll get a cloth and wipe those mucky hands. Here's the apple you dropped. And there are a few bits of cereal on the floor if you'd like them.

Yes, that's the milk bottle lid mummy just dropped. It doesn't mean you have to go in the fridge and take all the milk bottles out. And the jars. And the cherry tomatoes.

I guess it's time to get going then.

Addendum (Five minutes later): Little man has just discovered what happens when you pull the egg box out of the fridge by the lid so that it opens and the six eggs in it hit the slate floor.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Before and after

Before becoming a mum:

1. All that stuff about lack of sleep is surely an exaggeration. Everyone knows children need lots of sleep.
2. I'm not having a house full of brightly coloured plastic.
3. Children should always sit down to eat.
4. I won't need to babyproof. He will just have to learn what is off limits.
5. I can do some freelance work at home while he naps or plays.
6. I don't want him watching television.
7. The best place for a child to be raised is in a home where there are two parents.


1. Tell him that at 6am. Or at midnight when he's teething. He didn't regularly sleep through (ie past 5am) until he was 10 months old.
2. It's everywhere. And he likes it.
3. Until he gets fed up of sitting still, manages to squirm out of the highchair straps and tries to climb out. Or helps himself from the fridge.
4. He doesn't understand the word no, wanted to spend all day climbing the stairs as soon as he could crawl, likes eating fake coal and is fascinated by plug sockets.
5. Ha ha.
6. I do want 10 minutes to put my feet up every now and again. Like once a week...
7. Just shows how you can make all the plans you like but you can't account for other people.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Baby-led hunting

Little man has helped himself to the following today: Mini Babybels, cherry tomatoes, a slice of melon, grapes, breadsticks, Boursin cheese, a slice of courgette.

It's a lesson in child psychology. I thought he didn't like the Babybels, but after trying to break into one himself then handing it to me to watch how it was done he wolfed it down. He had also gone off tomatoes, or so I thought, until he could help himself. The slice of melon dripped everywhere and the Boursin was not a hit after he had stuck his finger in it a couple of times.
But apparently everything tastes better if you've hunted it down yourself.

I did have a lock on the fridge after I got fed up of him finding all the semi-open containers and spilling them everywhere. He got very annoyed at first before giving up. Then the lock snapped. For a few weeks he didn't realise but he is now back in there at every available opportunity, throwing jars of mustard and mayo on to the kitchen floor. I think I will just leave him to it and hope he doesn't repeat the time when he smashed a large jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Five ambitions

1. Re-learn how to play the guitar.
2. Perfect my new discovery, the secure high back carry, with my new Storch Leo Turkis.
3. Live by the sea.
4. Shoot or catch something for dinner.
5. Walk Offa's Dyke.

What about you?

Oh, nearly forgot to say, hi mum!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Danger: Warning overload

At the park today there was a sign with various warnings and rules on: No dogs, no glass, no litter. And the one that said: Say no to strangers.
Whilst pondering how many of the children who use the play area can actually read, and of those how many would read that sign, I wandered home and said hello to three strangers on the way. Little man was watching and listening over my shoulder.
When it comes to warnings about child safety I tend to think that many of the people who need reminding probably don't read signs and posters and leaflets. And compulsive readers like me don't need reminding.
On the subject of signs, I am intrigued as to who put up the one pictured on the corner opposite my house.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Happy hooker

After months of trying to teach myself from books and YouTube I have actually been on a workshop. I can now crochet. Well, at least if I keep practising to make sure I don't forget everything. So bags, hats, scarves, ponchos, toys and assorted crocheted foodstuffs here I come

I think I might also crochet myself a new man (that perfect one), a new size 10 body, a cottage by the sea without a mortgage on it, a productive vegetable patch and the world's biggest pumpkin. And another bottle of wine for tonight.

Also note the chair in the picture, assembled by my own fair hand from the Ikea flatpack. I haven't got round to the table yet. And little man has already fallen off the chair. I put it with its back to the settee so he couldn't stand on it and push it over backwards. So he sat on it backwards, pushed his feet against the settee and pushed it over the other way. Ho hum.

Exciting phone call of the day: My slings are in at Annoying thing of the day: they haven't emailed the details of how I can pay them by Paypal so they won't be posting them out first thing Monday.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Status updates

24-hours in the life of a facebook update, starting after little man's bedtime on Thursday:
hopes Ben's shoes dry out by tomorrow.
can't be bothered to pick up the pegs off the floor yet again.
forgot she still had washing on the line but is glad she ventured out in the dark as it's a lovely wild night and she now wishes she could go for a stroll.
isn't really enjoying this Pinot Grigio but will force herself to finish the glass anyway.
is taking a cup of the obligatory camomile and spearmint tea to bed.
was surprised when a piece of woodchip from the playground fell out of her bra.
didn't sleep very well, thinks it was down to the aforementioned Pinot Grigio and was woken at 6am.
isn't sure how she came to have a teaspoon in her bed but could do without being bashed in the nose with it.
is fed up of sneezing.
is trying to solve the mystery of the disappearing nappy wrap.
...Take it to the checkout, that's the plan; Take it to the checkout, get it scanned... (Boogie Beebies).
has to go and round up the chickens because she forgot to shut the door to their run last night.
is fed up of sitting in the Ikea car park especially as she has finished the book she has in the car for these eventualities and little man has now been asleep for an hour when he normally only does 30 minutes.
tum te tum, isn't it about time you woke up little man.
used to think that most people worked 9-5 but now knows better - most people are in Ikea on a Friday morning.
thinks it is very blustery.
tum te tum.
do I wake a sleeping baby? It's not a question I usually have to worry about. I'm going to open some car doors and the boot...
resisted the call of meatballs and gravy.
experienced atrocious customer service in Asda Widnes but at least it stopped her buying the hideous chavvy trainers for little man, which were the only ones they had in his size and he only needed because mummy forgot his proper shoes, which were on the mat by the back door drying after little man climbed into the puddle on the sandpit cover last night. Thank goodness for Ethel Austin.
thinks she got the raw deal when she ended up pedalling three children round a roundabout.
was glad she had her hand-knitted wrist warmers in her pocket.
didn't see the sign (which had fallen down) until after little man had immersed his arms in the water features up to the elbows: Contains cleaning agents, do not touch the water.
saw a book that promises to make you into a Buddha in 5 days. Wow. And all for £3.99.
is sitting down with a cuppa while someone else makes dinner.
loves fresh white bread even if it is nutritionally dubious.
can't believe little man took two hours to settle at bedtime, usually he's out like a light. He has also drunk about 13oz of milk.
is thinking of finishing off that bottle of her dad's wine, there's only a bit left, it's really not worth keeping until tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


No, not pottery, although rustic handmade pottery is nice too. But I mean a rare afternoon of pottering about the house, interspersed with twenty minutes at the nice playground on the way home from Tiny Talk and a half-hour walk with the Yamo when he needed a snooze before I made dinner.

My house was getting a bit unbearable. I am not a tidy person, but ironically I don't like living in a messy environment; it affects me emotionally. At least when I do get round to tidying up, wiping down and vacuuming it makes a big difference and I feel much better for it. There's still a bit left to do in the morning but I have put away lots of clothes, rounded up stray bits of washing, disinfected worktops, cleaned the washbasin, binned a million dirty tissues and plucked Mr Frog from the dusty gap between the bedhead and the window.

And all at my own pace. Not rushed. So if little man got a bit grizzly I could stop to read a book with him, give him cuddles or bounce on the bed. I like getting out to see people (tea and cake, yum), but it's nice to potter about at home too sometimes.

As for the pottery, it's bugging me that I can't remember where the dozy chicken jug and matching mugs came from.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Custard facepack

The promised BLW post. That's baby-led weaning. No purees, no spoonfeeding, no open-wide-here-comes-the-aeroplane games. Just real food and a baby left to get on with it if they want to.

Over the past few months he has: dipped a duck leg bone into rice pudding; given himself a banana custard facepack; tasted an olive, spat it out, then decided to try another one; rejected Babybels in favour of mature cheddar or Parmesan; dropped salmon down mummy's bra because he was in the sling while she cooked and he wanted the food NOW; eaten raisins that he has hidden under shelves, chairs or kitchen units for goodness knows how long; refused to eat yummy homemade veg burgers; eaten his own body weight in pasta; munched on a red pepper while going round Tesco; and decided that houmous is the best foodstuff in the world.

And I have: learnt not to worry about whether he eats something or how much he has had; learnt to leave him to get on with it; cleaned up hundreds of messy highchair trays and food-splattered floors; come up with a variety of face-washing games to lessen the trauma; got used to eating with him at 5pm; marvelled at him devouring pasta; sighed at him not eating yummy veg burgers; rediscovered houmous; learnt how to peel potatoes with a baby on one hip; pondered the mysteries of child psychology.

I haven't the faintest idea why anyone would turn good food into mush and muck about spooning it into a reluctant child's mouth. But then I have a little fella who really wouldn't have played along with the aeroplane game. He is very stubborn/spirited/bloody-minded (delete according to child-rearing style).

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Calm. No really, calm.

Trying to maintain my Zen-like calm here. It's difficult. At least little man is peacefully asleep upstairs. I'm not going to go into all the miserable details here but suffice it to say I am going to be getting divorced sometime soon from little man's dad after 16 years together. So I have a lot on my mind and a lot of emotions going on. Hi there STBE husband, by the way, if you manage to find this blog.

Anyway, back to what matters: Do I put on a Star Wars video or go to bed? As I've just opened a bottle of wine I think I'll watch a bit of the Empire Strikes Back. Just hum the theme tune to yourself while I go and get it on...

Ok, so maybe I won't watch a video as there seems to be no plug cable attached to the video player. So here I am in my own home but I don't know how to get a video on, I don't know what junk is piled up in the garage, I'm not supposed to make my own arrangements for getting the dripping tap fixed even though I'm the one who has had to listen to it for the past four months plus. Grrr. Oh shit, there goes the Zen-like calm again.

All the separated parents out there, repeat after me: I have infinite patience, I have infinite patience...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Five favourites

Colour: Brown (earth, autumn leaves, chocolate cake)
Hill: Tryfan (got airlifted off it once, have climbed it dozens of times)
Film: Return of the Jedi (I was too young to see it at the cinema, had to watch Mary Poppins instead!)
Drink: Red wine (yum)
Clothing: Jeans (comfy, practical and don't need ironing)

Homework: Tell me your favourites in the comments...

Separation fact: I have now been to the cinema alone twice in my life (Twilight, Wolverine).

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Something missing

Ah, I remember now: it's the baby, my son, little man, sweetie poppet pumpkin pie.

He is staying with daddy. I haven't seen him for two days now. At first I do actually look forward to a bit of time to myself. Cue guilty feelings; mothers aren't supposed to need time to themselves. So I've had my dinner out with friends, my good long walk with another friend, my couple of mornings of not being woken at 6am, the ability to go out after 7pm on an urgent trip to Bargain Booze. Now there is really something missing.

This isn't how I had expected things to be. I had expected that time to myself would be a lie-in at the weekend while little man and daddy played downstairs or had a trip out by themselves for a couple of hours. Or an evening out with friends and coming back to a home where my son is asleep while my husband has an evening in to himself. Being able to go to a tai chi class that overlaps with little man's bedtime.

Instead it is all or nothing. I am with little man, just the two of us and I can't do anything where a baby can't come or that happens after his bedtime. Or little man is with daddy and I miss him intensely. I miss his smile and his giggle and his tickling the back of my neck when he's in the sling. I miss him saying moo at my cow teapot and the cute way he signs chicken. I miss him trying to put my slippers on and his breathy little 'oh' when he sees something exciting. I even miss the mess and the clinginess and the million and one little frustrations.

I will see him in the morning, with his daddy, before I go to work again in the afternoon. And then I will miss him some more until daddy brings him home the following day. I wonder what little man makes of it all. Is he so young that he knows no different? Or is there something missing for him when he doesn't see his mother?

Saturday, 2 May 2009

On t'moors

I lost my foot in a smelly, muddy bog today. I waded through knee-high tussocky grass. I nearly lost my sunhat to a sudden gust of wind. I peed behind a tree, and behind a wall. I ate cheese and wild garlic sandwiches behind a wall. Not the same wall. Sitting on a rock. I said baa to a sheep. I gazed at the view. I got two blisters and sore knees.

I walked nine miles in the West Pennine Moors and it was great. It has been a long time since I had a decently long walk, carrying a daysack instead of a baby on my back. Not that I mind carrying a baby, but the daysack was a little lighter than he is and the route we took was a little pathless at times and stumbling about isn't advised when carrying a baby.

Now it's time to put my feet up and savour a well-earned glass of wine. And get organised enough to do it all again soon. I used to walk up mountains all the time. It's how I got to know my husband. But I don't think I'll be going walking with him again. I'm really glad I have good friends. Who could probably do nine miles before breakfast and then get on to a 'proper' walk.

Friday, 1 May 2009

New leaves

Yes, there are lots of them about on the trees now that it is May. And how fresh and green they look too. Even my little bit of beech hedge is finally shrugging off last year's coppery, papery foliage and bursting forth. (Someone slap me before I get any more poetic.)

Little man has gone with daddy for the weekend and I am going to meet a friend for a 'proper' walk tomorrow. So after they left this afternoon I promptly climbed into bed and dozed off for two hours. And now that I have had a rest and am no longer on lone 24-hour duty I am thinking about turning over a new leaf. I need to lose a bit of weight, tiresome though the whole concept of dieting is. It's mostly because I saw the flabby bits behind me in the mirrors at M&S when stocking up on some much-needed new t-shirts. And I am going to go to bed early. Every night. Why is it so hard to do?

And on that note, I am off out for a yummy dinner with friends at a really nice pub. Table booked for 8pm.