Saturday, 30 January 2010


I've been a bit of a coward when it comes to toddler art. Here's little man investigating some poster paints.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Miiillllkkkk, accompanied by frantic baby signing

That's how our days start at the moment. (I'm counting anything past 7am as the day starting, before then it's just a minor disruption to the night.) So he wants milk. Ok. As you may know, the whole breastfeeding thing didn't happen so we toddle off downstairs to the fridge. You would think by now he might have remembered that mummy will need a wee before we go downstairs, but no, the cries of miiiillllkkk get ever more frantic.

We get downstairs. I get a cup out, pour some milk into it and proffer it. Suddenly, he doesn't want it. Every morning (that I've had him with me, which means not when he's with daddy) for the past couple of weeks.

So I'm guessing this is real toddlerhood. Usually, if he makes a clear, reasonable request I try to give him what he has asked for. But now he is asking for things he apparently doesn't want, or doesn't want them because some tiny detail is wrong. Or he wants something he can't articulate. Or he wants something he really can't have. Or he doesn't know what he wants, which is probably more accurate as it's how I feel most of the time.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Matilda the Hun

She's top dog in the chicken coop. The others are Flossie and Gertie. I can't remember if I've given you a chicken picture before, so here they are in the summer at my old house.
They now live at my folks' allotment, for the time being. I have my name on the allotment waiting list but it's over two years long. I can't have backyard chickens because my backyard is decked to bring it up to the level of my kitchen door.
They have laid precisely two eggs since I moved out of the old house in October. I don't expect much over winter, but TWO eggs?! Still, they are pretty chickens. As chickens go.
The allotment is about five minutes' drive away. In warmer weather I would walk or cycle. And guess what, I hardly ever make it down there. Mostly because my dad has taken chicken care duties upon himself. But also because of the whole what day is it, where am I meant to be, my to-do list has gone off the bottom of the page thing.
I have toyed with the idea of cooking the chickens because of their lack of laying mojo. But as they're bantams it would be a lot of trouble for a small meal. So I'll keep them, and when I get my black/white board I'll have to also come up with a chicken visiting rota.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Failing to plan

Since I decided to start watching what I eat, I would say my diet has actually gone downhill. It's difficult to plan when three days a week I work late, two or three days a week little man is with daddy, which overlap with me working to varying degrees and when I do plan to go food shopping something happens like the garage keeps hold of my car for two days instead of one. Oh, and little man is waking up maybe every third or fourth night for a cuddle so I'm tired and craving simple carbohydrates, like the tub of glace cherries I bought for baking.

So I've decided what I need is a big blackboard/whiteboard so I can get my head round what the hell I'm doing each week and therefore facilitate meal planning. This would also help me to avoid doing daft things like agreeing to meet a friend to go swimming with our little ones on a day when my little one isn't even going to be with me. It might also help the general fug in my head and my inability to remember what I did yesterday or am meant to be doing tomorrow.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Toddler delight

I've been thinking about the delight little man shows in all kinds of fairly ordinary things: cats, diggers, aeroplanes, canal boats, squirrels. But more than that, his utter lack of moral judgement about these things. He loves to see vans and trucks, but his enjoyment of them is not tainted by the thought that they are bad for the environment. He is very much into cat spotting at the moment, but he doesn't know that domestic cats kill wildlife. An aeroplane does not mean so many tonnes of CO2, a grey squirrel doesn't represent the decimation of an indigenous species.

Also, the sort of world young children exist in is so different from the world of adulthood. Toys and books are all about farms, animals, trains, castles, fairies, birthday cakes. Things like paperwork, offices, bills, leaky roofs and the need to stock up on toilet roll don't get much of a mention.

In other news, little man turned red and blotchy today and apparently has some kind of viral thing. That would explain why yesterday he crawled onto grandad's lap and actually fell asleep. It's unprecedented for him to fall asleep in the daytime while motionless. It means he hasn't had his swine flu vaccination. If anyone's done the research please feel free to agree or disagree with my hunch that this is not such a terrible thing.

I can also report that my coolant leak is fixed. And the power steering fluid leak I didn't know I had. So I am now somewhat poorer. But I drew the line at a ball joint with excessive play. I already know what that feels like to drive, although I don't know what it actually means. So if anyone knows, please feel free to tell me if my wheel is about to fall off.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Red carpet

Woohoo, Skippedydoodah has given me a Sunshine Award. I'm trying to decide what to wear for the ceremony. What do you mean it's not that sort of award? Jeans it is then. Again. Anyway thanks to Skip for her kind words. I sometimes need reminding that I have 'strength and humour and principles'! Although being called a 'weaner' ie baby-led weaner, makes me feel like a German sausage for some reason. Actually, most things make me think of food at the moment because that's what happens when you are supposedly on a diet.

Back to the award, I'm meant to nominate another 12 blogs, but I'd rather invite you to browse those already in my blog list, which isn't as dauntingly long as some I've seen! (Skip, incidentally, has the finest collection of crafty blogs you're ever likely to find on her list, which is perfect for anyone who works and sometimes has a moment to spare...) Some of these people are 'real' friends, most are 'virtual' friends. And most of those virtual friends arose from the BLW forum.

I know some people find the idea of being 'friends' with people you've never met a bit strange, but being a mother, single or not, can be a very lonely task. If only all play groups were like Sling Meet, where sensitive, attachmenty-type, natural parenting is a given. As they are not, it's nice to be part of a virtual community in which such outlandish things as babywearing, co-sleeping, baby-led weaning, home or unschooling, household creativity and trying to respect one's child as a fellow human being are not things that have to be explained or defended.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Status updates

A few of the status updates I could have had today:

  • had to top up the coolant again and will have to have it looked at.
  • is always surprised at how early little man can have a nap. Up at seven, I pick him up from the in laws at half eight and he's asleep in the car by nine.
  • is glad she doesn't usually travel at rush hour although the early morning sun is nice.
  • made a guest appearance at sling meet in Preston and remembered to check the date of the next one in Warrington, which she hasn't made it to yet.
  • didn't really want a mouthful of semi-chewed red Leicester spitting out into her hand.
  • wonders if little man's dungarees should have stayed in the drawer until his legs grew a bit longer.
  • found little man's shock when he squirted a tube of yogurt all over his face rather amusing and has to thank joyous occasion for providing bizarrely packaged foodstuffs.
  • wants to buy a castle. For the little fella's birthday, obviously.
  • wishes he hadn't fallen asleep on the way home as well.
  • forgot to get the tomato and bean pasta sauce thing out of the freezer for tea and had to wing it with a supermarket cooked chicken.
  • suggested to the little man he might like to sit on the potty before his bath. He put it on his head and shouted 'at, at' (hat). Then he pointed at the toilet and said: 'Mummy, wee wee.' So that was me told.
  • accepted that he was going to run around like a loon for a while after the bath as he was, unsurprisingly, not quite ready for bed.
  • finished the half bottle of wine left over from Saturday night that she couldn't face on Sunday due to the number of other bottles consumed on Saturday night.
  • booked a holiday cottage for a week in February. Woohoo.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Unexpected reactions to toast

The scenario: Little man is sitting at his breakfast bar (there's only room for one stool) with a cup of milk and bowl of cereal. Mummy is making toast. As she starts buttering it, little man says 'toh, toh'. Mummy says: 'You'd like some toast?' Little man nods. Mummy puts a couple of triangles of toast on a plate for little man and puts them in front of him. Little man wails. Clearly, mummy has done something wrong. She takes the toast away. Little man says 'toh, toh', reaching out his hand towards my plate. I offer him my plate and let him choose a piece of toast. He takes one and eats it.

Then there were the lunch choices:
'Would you like some soup?' (Red lentil, diet fare but tasty. Rejected by the boy, however, the day before.)
'Would you like some cheese on toast?'
'Would you like some beans?'
In the end I gave him some oatcakes, cheese and tomatoes, which he picked at. I don't know how much oatcake ended up in his cup of water because he did it after I'd finished my lunch and was tidying the kitchen.

This evening he picked all the crispy bits off some potato wedges and ate only those bits. He kept biting bits off the mini sweetcorn and chewing them up. Then spitting them out.

I am struggling with the toddler psychology. The wrong-plate-colour tantrums. The getting-set-in-his-ways desire for oatcakes every day.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Slings and roundabouts

Walked to the grandparents with little man in the buggy this afternoon. I didn't want to use a sling in case I slipped on ice. That turned out to be the wrong decision. Pushing a buggy through slush the consistency of lemon sorbet is hard work, and in some places virtually impossible. Good for the thigh muscles though.

In some places I was dragging the buggy backwards on two wheels. I may have uttered a few expletives. I ended up walking in the road whenever I could. So the sling would have been more sensible. At least when you've only your own two feet to worry about you can quickly leap out of the way of oncoming traffic. Should have listened to Cave Mother asking What Would An Inuit Mother Do?

I think I need to strengthen my babywearing muscles anyway. The boy is getting heavy but I refuse to be stuck in a situation where I can only go for a walk where are there no stiles, no narrow gates, no rough paths, fields, undergrowth etc and no fun whatsoever.

Sorry I misled you about the roundabouts. There are only figurative ones featured here. I wasn't going to walk the long way round just to justify the title of a post!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The dreaded and not-to-be-mentioned D word

Ok, ok, maybe just one resolution around the modern new year... but I don't like the word and all its connotations. I don't like the way it tries to make us all think we have to conform to some celebrity-fashion-tabloid-reality TV-plastic doll-someone somewhere is making a lot of money out of this... idea of what women should look like. However, I have been feeling somewhat unhealthy lately, in a backachy, less-than-glowing, pass me another slice of stilton kind of way. So I'm going on a diet. Did you notice the word or did I manage to sneak it in there while you were skim reading?

Not a bimbo-endorsed, join my club, buy my video, eat my breakfast cereal kind of diet. (Aaargh, I said it again.) Just a standard, healthy, cut the crap kind of diet. (Aargh!) A 'no thank you' to cake kind of diet (!). A being organised enough to not call into a handily placed, fat and salt-laden, morally problematic fast-food 'restaurant' kind of diet. [Anyone know a good lawyer?] A vegetable soup kind of diet, a smaller portion of pasta kind of diet, a not drinking in the week kind of diet.

Now where did I put my willpower? I seem to have misplaced it...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Mummy to the rescue

Walked up these lanes to collect little man yesterday morning. (Not the whole seven miles!)
Today it's just half a mile of icy pavements.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

What is that orange light flashing on the dashboard?

Oh, it's the really helpful, did-you-know-your-tyres-aren't-gripping-the-road light. I had noticed, actually.

I may now reluctantly admit that the weather is a little unusual. Yes, we've had quite a bit of snow. And when there is snow making the car slide in the slow lane of the M6 I think even I have to admit it's bad.

I am of the 'well it is winter, it's only a bit of snow, what's everyone worrying about' camp. I assume that because I think the authorities should keep the major routes clear, they obviously will. Including the dual carriageway between the M62 and the Runcorn bridge. Yes, the one I've just done 27mph down because of the slush.

I had to walk little man up to his grandparents (the other grandparents) in his buggy this morning because they live up a hill on a very narrow lane that it would not have been a good idea to drive down. Then I drove 50-odd miles to work in Preston. Through a blizzard. Then I drove 50 miles back to Runcorn, several hours after dark, in freezing conditions. I have left my car on a flat bit of road half a mile away and walked home hoping the car will be a) still there and b) moveable tomorrow.

Now, my main concern is not whether I can get to work tomorrow afternoon. I'm sure that will all be fine. It's how the hell I am going to go and pick little man up from his grandparents in the morning as there has now been more snowfall and tonight it will freeze... It's about seven miles. I'm considering hiking.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Questions to which I may not wish to know the answer

Why are there onion slices and carrot sticks coming out of the legs of your dungarees?
What have you just put in your mouth?
How many pieces of cheese can one small boy stack into a tower before it falls off the edge of the table?
Why do my car windows freeze on the inside?
Just how many blackberries have you just eaten on top of salmon, noodles, yoghurt, blueberries, oatcakes and cheese?
Why do you keep putting that tiny stone in the front door lock so mummy has to fish it out with her car key?
How many times are you going to try to press the switches on the electrical sockets before you listen to me asking you not to?
What are you saying to that squirrel?
Is there a poo in your nappy?
Are you ready for your bath now?
Why didn't I check the gauge before I started knitting little man's boy doll and discover that it's ending up a little wide?
How many calories are there in a heaped teaspoon of Nutella?