Friday, 31 July 2009
So I get to the library and little man runs over to the carousels full of older kids' books and starts pulling them all out and putting them in the wooden boxes full of baby books. In between returning all these books to the carousels I see a baby book that has actual real bits of knitting in it. Done on a machine, obviously, but I have to get it out. I see another 'Just like Mummy' book and it's cute so I decide to have that one too. Then I show little man one called Five Little Sleepyheads that has sliding tabs, which he has never used before. Each one changes a cuddly toy from awake to asleep.
So having realised that I am going to get some books out, I also head for the story CDs for the first time. Pooh Bear. Yes please. We have had it on in the car. Judy Dench is wonderful. I love the stories. I don't think little fella has noticed that it's no longer the radio or my new CD of Hungarian Gypsy music. (It's great, you can sing along without knowing the language because there's a lot of dum-de-dumming and la la la la LA la la la la LAing.)
But anyway, the whole point of this post is that I love the idea of Pooh Bear floating up to the top of a tree to find the honey by using a blue balloon to look like the sky and rolling himself in mud so he looks like a little black cloud. He doesn't get the honey because he ends up about 20ft away from the tree and Christopher Robin has to shoot the balloon to get him down. I think I had a deprived childhood; I don't remember ever reading Winnie the Pooh.
Little man hasn't noticed the new books either. He is sticking to the tried-and-tested Lift-the-Flap Tractors book. Personally, I would like to wring Henny the bloody Hen's neck and roast her for dinner.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
I made pancakes for tea with a choice of two savoury fillings: spinach in a cheese sauce, or bacon, mushroom and tomato. It wasn't difficult but involved a lot of utensils and pans and juggling a lot of ingredients and timings. But I thought it would be fun. I thought little man would like to watch. No, he liked to grab any utensil within reach - bearing in mind that he's standing between my main work surface and the sink where all the dirty things are being chucked - then drop them out of the open window. No amount of asking him to stop made any difference. So i had to decide whether to a) move all my stuff to another, more cluttered work surface or b) shut the window despite it suddenly being warm and sunny. a) was no good because the boy was only stood there to keep him amused and if I moved elsewhere he would just start getting up to more mischief elsewhere. So I shut the window. Then I got him to come outside with me while I picked up all the stuff he had dropped and I made out that he was helping to bring it all back in. Like, who am I kidding?
Oh, and he didn't eat any of the pancakes. Not one tiny mouthful.
That was just one episode in a continuous cycle of toddler mischief today. I seem to end most days feeling completely frazzled at the moment. And then I feel guilty that we haven't had some kind of fairytale wonderful day in which I haven't occasionally snapped at him. To top it off he seems to be teething again and is waking up at random times of the night.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
I've spent a large portion of the afternoon in work browsing, firstly, Scottish holiday cottages, and, secondly, reviews of the campsite next to Culzean Castle in Ayrshire.
I have come up with a daft plan that involves camping for three or four nights in a couple of weeks' time and a week at a cottage at the end of September. Anyone want to join me?
The first bit, the camping, is daft because it's the school holidays and I hate other people's children (people I don't know, obviously). If my child makes a noise, runs into other people's space and steals their footballs it's just his charming way of exploring the world and his abilities within it. If someone else's child does it in my vicinity then they're horrible tearaways who need to learn to think of others. Plus I have no idea if I can rope anyone else into coming with me and I can't put the tent up on my own, due to it being designed by men, or very tall women.
But the reviews of the campsite make it sound lovely. Google it. Sunsets, views, friendly, quiet sandy beaches.... and once you've fallen in love drop me a line and come with me.
Part two is the continuation of a half-baked plan I put to some friends a while back. My plan now is to just book somewhere big enough for two other families at a time and see who wants to come when. Again in south-west Scotland, probably. Alternatively Anglesey. Can you tell I still have my tax rebate and extra tax credits sitting in the bank? Good job my bank (that's smile.co.uk, ethical and everything) stopped those pesky fraudsters before they got to my hard-earned cash.
Can you tell I'm feeling more chipper at the very thought of going away even if it might mean camping alone with a 17-month-old? How do I shower? Cook? Relax? I think slings will come in very handy, but still... There's just something about being Out There. Away. Staring at the sunset.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Couldn't help dwelling on all sorts of depressing thoughts, like how much I missed my little man over the weekend, how much I dislike my split on/off-duty-as-a-mummy life, how my marriage fell apart without me having any say in the matter, how unfeasible it is to try to find a new man when I have so little time in which to meet them, how much I really would like to run away and live with my little fella in a tent on the west coast of Scotland.
Still, we managed a walk at Yarrow Valley Park before it rained. Even if I did get wet, muddy feet because I couldn't find my walking trainers (I put them somewhere sensible out of sight when the house was being valued last week) and had to wear my sandals instead.
We got round Tesco without little man throwing himself out of the trolley, with the help of a nibble on the baguette. I bought him some more socks to replace the ones I bought about a month ago that have completely disappeared. All bar one. One stripey green sock all alone in the drawer. I also bought a very large tub of tiramisu.
We used grandma's recipe to make a banana loaf. Yum. Unfortunately, the chunk little man put in his mouth stayed in his mouth while we went for a stroll round the block and eventually came out into mummy's hand as a very squishy, slimey lump of goo about half an hour after he first put it in there. He keeps doing this. What's it all about?
Monday, 27 July 2009
I think going by the BLW forum and my virtual friends' facebook profiles we can cover quite a lot of the essential skills for a self sufficient-ish life: growing food, cooking, hen keeping, winemaking, brewing, sewing, knitting... there's probably even someone who could spin and dye their own wool if we keep a few sheep. Then we'll need some musicians, artists, poets, campfire storytellers, treehouse builders, renewable energy technicians... Who wants to be our pagan priestess?
Apply within, but please don't mention any of the dull so-called realities of life that might make it perhaps just a little teensy bit unfeasible.
Friday, 24 July 2009
I'm preparing tea at the cooker, I turn round to see he has climbed up on to the table again. He is looking mighty pleased with himself. He does a little stamp, stamp jig. He inches towards the edge of the table and, as I dash over knowing what is about to happen, one foot goes off the edge. He goes crash, bang whallop onto the laminate floor. He howls. We have big cuddles.
Ten minutes later he is tucking in heartily to a large portion of spaghetti bolognese.
He has a few red dotty bits on the side of his forehead and no other visible marks. I assume his appetite means nothing is damaged.
In other news, he has also eaten a big handful of sand at the playground, stuffed as many stones into his mouth as he could fit in the back garden and also eaten half a stick of green chalk.
Yesterday when he started with the stones in his mouth thing, I said 'if you keep on doing that we will have to go inside'. He did. So we did. Today he did the same thing and I decided he could just get on with it. I kept an eye out for signs of choking. But in true BLW fashion he managed not to choke, just spat them all out again eventually. For the BLW record, he has never come anywhere close to choking on anything. And yes, I did find one of yesterday's stones in his nappy this evening.
I'm thinking of re-reading the Continuum Concept to remind myself about how these babies in the jungle who play with sharp knives, roll around on the edge of deep pits and go paddling in the rapids somehow make it to adulthood.
Meanwhile, I now know my period will be arriving soon. As I still have no pin number for my new card, and hence no cash to buy chocolate or obscene amounts of tiramisu, I opted for the only thing I could find in the cupboard. A big spoonful of golden syrup.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
I've been finding it hard to go to bed early enough. I think it's because looking after little man is so intense and he is pretty demanding when it's just me and him. So after I've put him to bed I want to have time to relax, to think, to sit quietly, to watch a DVD, to read a book. But I do feel better for just one good night's sleep. It's now nearly 9.30 again and I think I'll be off to bed when I'm finished up here.
I took little man up Rivington Pike this morning, before I went to work. We managed to not get rained on. Which means I won the bet I had with him. When I asked him if he thought it would rain he grunted in a positive kind of way. So I bet him a tummy tickle it wouldn't.
I found going uphill with him in the Yamo not as bad as expected. Once I got into a steady trudge it was fine. It helped that it wasn't too hot. Little man was very excited once we started to get an extensive view and kept saying his favourite line, which sounds like 'what is it?' Yes, my boy hardly has any words at all but he can string a sentence together that is guaranteed to drive mummy mad after the fiftieth repetition in one day. He was even more excited when we got to the top and I took him down to stretch his legs. He was scampering around like crazy and squealing. And falling over. He's not used to uneven, rocky ground.
My latest plan of action is to get out walking with him more, regardless of the weather. He's always happy to be in the sling while I'm on the move and I need the exercise because I've decided I need to get fit enough to go and climb a proper mountain again soon.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
We're finally having an ordinary kind of day. One of those days when I don't have to work, I don't have to go anywhere, we both wake up at home and we will both go to bed at home.
We went to Tesco and both had a snooze in the car park after little man fell asleep on the way there. I had to keep a mental tally of what I was spending as I went round because someone stole my debit card details and it has now been blocked. I had £20 in notes, some assorted coinage and a £4.50 Clubcard voucher. The shopping came to £25. 83. I offloaded quite a lot of copper.
I decided to do some proper cooking because I rarely seem to these days. The lamb curry is now gently bubbling in the slow cooker. Little man wasn't entirely happy about me doing things on the worktop where he couldn't see, so I stood him on a chair and gave him a chopping board and some fake wooden vegetables. I knocked over a jar of cumin seeds. Little man reached out and squealed in an 'I want, I want, I want' kind of way. I gave him a few to try. He wanted more. I gave him more. And more. I gather they're good for the digestive system anyway.
He then went on to munch a lot of the tomato I was chopping, although when he got a bit that had been contaminated with green chilli he was a bit shocked. He was so busy nibbling I decided we'd have lunch on the worktop too. We started off with some green olives with garlic and herbs. He loves them. I had to fight to get any. By the time we got onto the bread and tuna pate he wasn't really that hungry. But he was thirsty and he only had to turn around to get to the sink and play with the taps as I filled his cup.
He is now very messy and quite damp. The curry smells delicious. The chickens are squawking and I think they may have run out of feed. And extraordinarily, we have had very little whinging.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
So I'm thinking of redrafting my profile. Thought I'd try it out here first:
Overweight, in-the-middle-of-a-divorce mum of a demanding toddler seeks sexy loving man who she might manage to see for about two hours a week.
I'm a size 16, very short woman with stretch marks and a jelly belly. Due to hormonal mayhem I have hair where you don't want your girlfriend to have hair and due to feminisim and/or laziness I'm damn well not going to do anything about it. I am a creature of contradictions, one minute I am bubbly and upbeat, the next I am miserable. This will always happen in direct opposition to your own moods. I am impatient, I do not suffer fools gladly, I can be blunt and I swear copiously. I will embarrass you by talking too loudly when I get drunk. I will not always listen to you due to my head being somewhere in the clouds. At other times I will be extremely down to earth and practical and get very annoyed at you for dithering and daydreaming. I am untidy. Ironing is against my religion. I am honest and open to the point where I will tell all your secrets to everyone I know and probably a few people I don't know. Romantic movies make me want to vomit but I will expect you to light candles around the garden on a summer's evening. I have no money. I have no career ambition. I have missing teeth. Don't even think about winking at me. Or else.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
- I finally managed to stay awake on the way to Tiny Talk, but only because I had a bit of a lie-in til gone 7.30. Obviously I can't actually tell the time.
- Ran around getting into mischief so much at Tiny Talk that I got an extra biscuit to keep me amused. Result!
- Ate my own body weight in baked beans at lunchtime.
- Managed to stand on the toilet lid and turn on the washbasin taps. Also grabbed the basket on the windowledge but mummy kept going on about it not being for little people.
- Overcame my fear of the sound of parcel tape coming off the roll and got thoroughly in the way of mummy trying to put stuff in boxes.
- Managed to insert a piece of fake wooden vegetable in the video slot.
- Climbed on a dining chair and managed to eat some bits of wax from the candle in the middle of the dining table.
- Climbed on the dining table and managed to eat some soil from the plant.
- Ate some sawdust left by daddy in the back bedroom.
- Successfully pulled off that weird pelican bib mummy keeps trying to put on me.
- Kept mummy nice and alert this afternoon by jamming a fake wooden tomato up her nose after she crawled under her duvet and kept telling me I must need another nap by now.
- Pulled off some more of the plastic trim around the back door.
All in all, a big day for a little person. Mummy kept muttering something about wine as she was putting me to bed. Little does she know that I've secreted her laptop in my Grobag and am blogging from my cot. Might climb out of that soon too. Mummy says she's going to do some Go Ape thing at the weekend, but I'm already a little monkey. Anyway, bit tired now. Night night dear peasants.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
1. Tolkien, The Return of the King
2. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
3. Jean Liedloff, The Continuum Concept
4. Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, from the Complete Works
5. Pub Walks in Cheshire
Does anyone remember those riddles where you have to get so many chickens across a river in a small boat that can't carry all the chickens at once, but there's a fox on one bank waiting to eat them?
No? Oh well, I'll carry on anyway. Yesterday morning I took my car in for a service before daddy returned little man. I took out the car seat so we could go out with a friend later that day.
This morning I had to pick my car up. I could walk to the garage easily, half a mile. I could carry Ben to the garage easily. But I couldn't bring him and the car back without the car seat and I couldn't carry that to the garage. Oops. The solution? A phone call to my dad. Thanks.
As a result of this I didn't have to take little man to my parents to look after while I went to work, my dad took him down there instead. So I had an hour or so to do some sorting out. I found two necklaces I hadn't seen for ages!
Monday, 13 July 2009
1. 'That road I will take, nonetheless,' said Aragorn.
2. 'I'll just go and - er - finish off,' said Harry hastily, hurrying to pick up his fallen telescope and trainers.
3. The conscious mind is not what it seems to itself to be, nor does it have access to the programming secrets of the continuum it is evolved to serve.
4. Quick: This is my doing, now: Nay, said I, will you cast away your child on a fool, and a physician?
5. You are not going to trespass but, from this vantage point, the hidden pathway which cuts over stiles and fields down to the road can clearly be seen.
Answers tomorrow evening, if I remember by the time I've got to my mum and dad's after work.
It wasn't the most organised camping trip ever, but as it was just me and a friend it didn't matter too much. Little man was with daddy for the weekend, so I headed to Kettlewell in the Dales. And yes, I really did forget to take teabags. Doh. But hey, I remembered the tent.
Slightly peeved that new tent, used for three nights now, has a bent pole. It is also proving quite a faff to put up and take down and very cumbersome to spread out to dry in the back garden. Hmm. But it is a good size and layout when it's up.
Great walk, great pub grub, great wine, great weather until we were tucked up in bed when it didn't matter, great views, great bacon butty, great big blisters. Think I need some new walking boots. Not so great loo facilities on the campsite but at least it put off the noisy hordes.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Chicken Pizza Mexicana
First the base:
225g strong white flour, 1sp easy-blend dried yeast, 1tbsp olive oil, 125-150ml tepid water. Sift flour and yeast into bowl, make well in centre, add oil and water and mix, gradually drawing in flour. Place dining chair next to you at worktop, place small child on chair and give her or him a small amount of dough to knead while you do the rest for 10 minutes or so til it feels right. Stick it in an oiled bowl with clingfilm over the top for a couple of hours til doubled in size. Remove bit you gave to small child from the window frame.
Rub the zest of two limes and 1tsp of toasted, crushed coriander seeds into some chopped chicken breast - two small or one large. Leave your small child to destroy the trim around your back door while you stir fry the chicken for a few minutes. Roll out the dough to fit a 30cm pizza pan. I always do it quite thinly and end up with leftover dough that you can make into trendy pizza-style garlic bread. Spread on a bit of tom puree, preventing small child from choking on the lid of the tube. Sprinkle over 100g or so of grated mozarella and 100g or so of grated smoked cheese (yes, that stuff that comes in a sausage shape and is plasticky but delicious). Feed some of the cheese to squealing small child. Sprinkle on a handful of tinned kidney beans and a handful of tinned sweetcorn, squeezed as dry as you can manage. Feed some beans and sweetcorn to still-squealing small child. Add a bit of chopped chilli if you fancy it. I will when mine, which I believe is still in my dad's greenhouse, bears fruit. Arrange half a sliced red pepper and half a sliced red onion on top of that, then the chicken bits. Do not feed semi-cooked chicken to small child. Gas 9, 25 minutes. The pizza, not the child. Garnish with coriander if you remember and have any growing in your garden that hasn't run to seed the second it sprouted.
Enjoy. Based extremely loosely on a recipe from Pizza Toppings, 60 easy recipes for making good food fast, Chancellor Press, 1994. I would provide a photo, but it's all gone.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Back out of the sling, sitting on mummy's knee watching the box. Mmm, comfy. Oh, now mummy says we can't sit here all day and that if I'm not going to sleep she'll have to go and have a shower and get dressed. I don't know how long we've been sitting here. I like clocks, but I can't tell the time, I'm only 17 months old. We're going upstairs now, she's put me down on the landing. Time for a whinge. She's putting the shower on. Ooh, a crocodile. Where's mummy? She's in the shower, think I'll hand her her pyjamas, that'll be helpful. Why is she hanging them over the top of the bathroom door instead of putting them on? I'll try the towel. She's actually using it. I want it back now, want to hide under it. Whinge, want towel. Got the towel. I'm hiding mummy. Mummy's gone, where's she hiding? Whinge. She's getting dressed. I want to climb on the bed and look out of the window. Can't. Whinge. I'll go into the bathroom and climb on the toilet instead. Might stick my tongue out and lick the lid while I'm about it, wonder when she cleaned it last. Aarrgh, where's my sleepsuit gone? Ooh, where's the world gone? Ah, there it is over the top of my t-shirt.
We're off downstairs again. Ooh a satsuma. Mummy says I've already had one and can't have another. Whinge. Now we're getting in the car. Don't want to. Whinge. Off we go. Sleepy, sleepy, asleep.
Mummy can report that Sir Whingealot Farty Pants is now asleep dreaming of fierce crocodiles. It is 10am. Time for a cuppa.
Monday, 6 July 2009
I go to Slingmeet. He is fine. There are Other People there. I come home. The whinging begins. And it does not stop until bedtime, apart from a brief interlude when I throw him out in the rain to splash in the puddle on the sandpit cover. Sounds cruel but I think it was the highlight of his day even if he did end up trouserless afterwards.
He has whinged because he wanted a third (!) satsuma. He has whinged because I stopped him going in the cupboard again after he smashed a jug. He has whinged because I wouldn't let him in the fridge, wouldn't let him play with a sharp pencil or a pair of scissors, wouldn't let him grab my glasses or pull my earrings. He whinged to be picked up. I picked him up, he hit me in the face, I put him down and he whinged some more. He whinged when he poured his cup of water down his front. He whinged when he tried to climb up the clothes airer a second time despite it falling on top of him the first time.
It was just One of Those Days. There are various options for what might be wrong with him. The return of the teething nightmare after one week's respite. Still tired after our trip away. Sore bum from three dirty nappies today (and he wanted a third satsuma?!). Sore head from climbing up, then falling off, pretty much any structure he sees. Fed up of being back home with just mummy for company after having lots of playmates. Who knows? All I know is that his frustration with whatever is bothering him is way ahead of his understanding or capacity to communicate. Just like his physical ability to climb is way ahead of his mental ability to learn from falling.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Saturday, 4 July 2009
And no the ferry couldn't fit in a children's play area. It was a very small space containing four bean bags and a TV screen very high on the wall showing cartoons. And absolutely no kind of barrier to keep children inside. Completely bloody useless. I decided the safest place for little man was on the tiny outside deck bit at the back. Where there weren't people walking around with hot food and drinks or grumpy old ladies who mutter under their breath about children not being under control. Exactly how am I supposed to persuade a very energetic small boy that he cannot go running off wherever he likes? I spent the whole two and a half hours walking him round and round - in the sling as long as he would tolerate it, in my arms, or trying to get him to hold my hand. He still doesn't understand the whole holding hands for safety thing.
But... we had a very nice few days away. Never far from the sea, beautiful weather, other small people to keep little man busy. Thought we saw a basking shark from afar but it turned out to be a small fishing boat. Darn. I have brought home a nice collection of stones. Naughty, I know, what if everyone who went did the same and all that. But I think little man and I might be related to Makka Pakka. We like stones.
Bit difficult now we are home and it is just little man and me. Suddenly there is a lot of whinging and a small person clinging to my legs as I try to get anything done. There is definitely something to be said for communal living with extended families or the wider community even if it does mean losing any privacy. There's only one thing I can think of that you really need privacy for and there's no risk of that happening round here at the moment!
I seem to be very suddenly developing a cold and have been sneezing and hiccuping at the same time for the past hour, something I hope another glass of wine will cure.