Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Teenage flashback

Those of you who know me on facebook might like to know about the 'kissing a boy' bit. It's a very short story. I went out in Liverpool on Saturday for cocktails, followed by sushi, followed by beer (a strange combination, I know). I pulled. He was in his early 20s. He seemed very sweet. He wanted me to go home with him. I wanted to go to sleep. I snogged him like a teenager then got a taxi home. Now listen carefully ladies for the chat-up line: There was a horrible lecherous guy with hands everywhere stumbling round the pub telling everyone he was horny; so I asked this nice young man and his friend to come and stand with me to keep said lech away. And like knights in shining armour they obliged. Job done. Ego boosted.

I don't usually mind working on Sundays. It at least means that little man is seeing daddy when I wouldn't be with him anyway. But it does have the drawback of not giving me much time to get over the cocktails and the beer. But I think I've had my fix of drunkenness for a good few months now.

I'm now back in mummy mode. Little man slept til quarter to eight, which is wonderful. I think the new blackout cover for his window and the new blind in the bathroom might have helped (his bedroom door has glass in the top half). I've decided that most bouts of whinginess and tantruming can be solved by tickling, which must be extremely infuriating to an annoyed small boy.

Friday, 26 March 2010


After a crappy night's sleep due to some weird twingy sinus thing, there was only one thing for it: a trip to the zoo. Well, I figured (after my third cup of tea) that there was going to be no Getting Stuff Done today. And if we stayed at home I'd just end up getting grumpy and snappy. So we packed a picnic and headed off, just in time for little man to have a nap on the way there.

Of course, due to the universal laws of toddlerdom little man was most impressed by the ducks. Especially when they waddled under our picnic bench looking for oatcake crumbs (it was a very cobbled-together picnic). Never mind the 14ft giraffe munching twigs just yards away. No, let's do duck signs and start quacking (go on, you know you want to). Fortunately, it's very easy to stick to a diet when you're at Chester Zoo because the catering is so dire you're unlikely to want to buy food there. Little man enjoyed the plastic replicas of rainforest crops though.

I only took the hip seat, expecting little man to do some walking. Of course, due to said universal laws, the day you have no sling with you is the day they want to be carried everywhere. So I can confirm that the hip seat digs in after a few hours. The only time he wanted to walk was when he saw a puddle. A word he can now say passably well, but no wellies means no puddles, in my opinion.

Despite not walking much, the whole experience apparently tired little man out. Not even the gentle tones of Green Day at full volume could keep him awake on the way home. Now we're just watching the end of Waybuloo and he's showing no signs of being ready for bed.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Yet more mysteries

Why, having tried a mouthful of sand to see what it's like, would a small person decide to eat more?
Why would he want to shove sweetcorn up his nose?
Why is today the day he wanted more sausage, when I had just eaten it all?
Why will he try raw cauliflower but not cooked?
How did he manage to just delete this entire post so I had to start again?!
Why is there so much cat shit in the alleyway behind my house, along which I have to drag my wheelie bin?
How long will it take for the dead mouse, in the covered part of the alleyway behind two houses, to fully decompose, considering it has already been there for three months?
Why isn't tea free on the NHS?
Why did I eat the last two slices of cake in one sitting (Sticky tea loaf from Delia's Frugal Food, highly recommended)?
Why are there always clothes all over my bedroom floor?
Where did this shower of rain come from and why didn't anyone tell me my washing was getting wet?
Why am I always the one who ends up swimming lengths in zig zags trying to avoid bumping into anyone?
Why haven't the health visitors got back to me with an appointment time considering that someone fucked up and didn't tell them we exist anyway?
Why is it apparently easier to say miaow than it is to say cat?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Cafes and toddlers

You're in a cafe at a garden centre. Your two-year-old has some fruit (his favourite kind of snack) and some toys. You have a cup of tea and a piece of walnut cake despite the fact you're meant to be on a diet, but your period just started and you're knackered because the child woke in the night and fidgeted for a couple of hours. Anyway, back to the point. The toddler keeps going to the slighly ajar door into the outdoor bit, squeezing through whilst giving you the cheeky, 'I know you don't want me to do this' look and running off.

Do you:
a) decide your child is too difficult/spirited to take to cafes and avoid them.
b) keep dragging him back, tell him he's a naughty boy and withhold something he likes to teach him a lesson.
c) follow him out of the door and run around after him making sure he's not in any danger or about to break anything, while your tea goes cold.
d) find some ingenious alternative solution that allows you to drink a hot cup of tea and allows the child to be his energetic and inquisitive self.

If anyone knows what (d) entails, please let me know because I'm leaning mostly towards (c) with occasional exasperated outbursts that, while not quite reaching the level of (b), are not the approach I want to take.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Turbo pottering

I put little man in a creche for the first time today, at the leisure centre so I could go for a swim. Now my knee hurts and I've decided exercise is bad for the health. The little guy was unfazed by being left with strangers for three-quarters of an hour; when I returned he was engrossed in some crayoning. The creche staff weren't actually all complete strangers to me. The first person I met on walking through the door was a woman who was my best friend for a while during primary school. This is what happens when you live in one place for the first eighteen years of your life and then return after fourteen years or so away.

There was still plenty of opportunity for little man to demonstrate his dislike of playing with other children when we went to the park. It was lovely and sunny and the park was busy. And he starting crying every time another child went near him on the little climbing frame-bridges-steering wheels-steps-slides thing. He gets very proprietorial of those steering wheels. So we went off to look at the ducks on the pond instead and he managed to cadge a piece of bread off a kind passerby to feed to the varied waterfowl, which included some swans that looked like they wanted to snatch the bread straight out of his little fist.

After visiting the chooks and feeding them the lettuce and cabbage I didn't get round to eating from my veg box, little man insisted on carrying one of the two eggs we collected back to the car himself. I had to keep reminding him to concentrate on carrying it gently and not stopping to point at aeroplanes or starting to run to see the tractor mowing the playing fields. It made it home in one piece. Now if only he actually liked eggs in other guises than eggy bread...

Next up was a stroll into town to buy a bunch of daffodils for my front window. It's part of my campaign to make the area seem friendlier. So many people have blinds or curtains that are permanently closed. Well, I don't care who sees what I own. It's just stuff and I don't have that much of it anyway. But on the way, just after little man had decided he'd walked far enough and it was time for a ride in the Yamo, we were approached by two smart, besuited young men on bicycles, who asked me, in American accents, whether I had time to talk to them about the family. I should have referred them to the STBE husband since I'm not the one who gave up on my family.

Back at home, after the compulsory stop-off at our local playground where little man usually has the steering wheel to himself, it was time to do some painting so mummy can turn the daubings into something artistic looking for grandad's 65th birthday card. Unfortunately, our major mess making was disturbed by grandad himself who came to measure up for a gate to go at the top of the steps in the back yard. The ones little man decided it would be a good idea to try to drive his little car down the other day.

Such a busy day! I haven't described every incident of whinging, whining and tantruming, of which there are a lot from a little guy who still doesn't talk much. I now feel very much like a glass of wine, even though I had planned on abstaining until grandad's party tomorrow and all I have in the house is a couple of those miniature bottles, which I buy for cooking with.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Practical matters

I realise now that taking pictures of curtains during daylight hours is probably not a fantastic idea. However, here they are. The living room curtains. And, below, a nice contrast with the old ones. And I'd appreciate it if no-one mentions the fact that the pattern is upside down.

You see, this is the sort of thing that happens when I so much as think of getting the sewing machine out. Things end up upside down. Or back to front. Or inside out. I also prick my fingers on pins and say ouch, which results in little man coming to rub it better. And I have sewn in three pins behind the header tape, which are going to have to stay there forever more. I really shouldn't be expected to do practical things like this - I am a pisces after all! I should daydream about beautiful curtains while someone else makes them. But I am still proud of the end result. I now have to do an identical pair for the other end of the room.

I'm waiting in for a delivery today. This means we couldn't go out for a walk or drive when little man started looking tired. But we've had a breakthrough. After lots of fidgeting, fetching of books, wailing for milk and general shenanigans, he has fallen asleep in my bed. It took a lot of perserverance from me in pretending to be asleep. And I did consider staying there and snoozing with him. But then I thought, no, I have curtains to make. And so I'm off to do some measuring.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Little helper

My little man would like to say hello to Franklen and his DS, who likes to help around the house. Well, this little man does too. He likes brushing up and vacuuming, putting things in the bin, putting wet washing on the airing rack, peeling and chopping veg, mixing cakes, whisking eggs, kneading dough and carrying the reusable bags into the supermarket. But we're still working on the idea of putting toys away when we've finished with them!

I think it's only natural that young children will want to join in with what they see their grown-ups doing. Everything they see is fascinating to them. Everything they do, they become completely absorbed in. They're not daydreaming about the weekend whilst peeling carrots. Or planning their evening's television schedule whilst scrubbing the bath. And if us grown-ups are doing all this stuff around the house, it must be important. Right? Otherwise why would be doing it?

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Five things...

Five current obsessions:

1. Watching Supernatural. I think it's Jensen Ackles that does it. And the fact it's actually quite funny.
2. Getting the living and dining room curtains finished so I can take down the dead salmon/ terracotta/ rotten peach coloured ones I have at the moment.
3. Re-reading The Lord of the Rings for the millionth time. Seriously, it's probably 30-odd times now. I think I am a hobbit - I'm short and fond of good food and ale.
4. New teacups. I bought some big cups, that hold a mug-sized portion of tea but come with a saucer. Very elegant.
5. Seeing what the tide is doing as I drive over Runcorn bridge.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Days 'off'

I sometimes think I should flag up at the top of each post whether it's about a day with little man or on my own. Most of the time I'm a mum. But quite often, more often than I'd like, I'm just me. That was the case today, after the handover cup of tea. It's important for little man to spend time with his dad. And his dad seems to be more capable of looking after him than many fathers! When the little guy was born I took the view that I knew no more about what to do than STBE husband did. So the pair of them have always spent lots of boy time together. I think the first place daddy took him out to on his own was B&Q.

Time off has its perks. Like sleeping for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. Of course I wouldn't need to catch up on so much sleep if I hadn't had little man fidgeting around in my bed from 11pm last night. Or if I hadn't had the plumbing problems, which are now all better thanks to antibiotics. But the timing of my afternoon nap was perfect. I woke up just in time to get to the cinema and avoid having to watch all the adverts. (I saw Green Zone; I don't like 'girly' films.)

I had my own trip to B&Q earlier today. What I want is lilac masonry paint for the back wall of my 'patio'/back yard. Apparently this is not what I am supposed to want. I'm supposed to want white, cream, off white, magnolia, Cornish white, cloud white, brilliant white, buttercream, buttermilk, Cornish butter... Not lilac. They can stretch to something called silver blue, which is too cold. Looks like I'll have to Google it and trust to the colour on screen being something like the end result.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Plumbing problems, aka pissing blood (TMI alert)

I suddenly have great sympathy for anyone who is prone to urinary tract infections. I had no idea how nasty they could be. Never having had one before I ignored the initial symptoms - you know, the feeling you need to wee five minutes after you just did and the whole burning sensation thing. So last night I was up at 1.30am with pelvic pain, dashing to the loo and peeing blood. Nice. The only painkiller in the house was paracetamol (brought back memories of going into labour and being offered the crappiest, most ineffective painkillers known to womankind). I ended up watching Supernatural on TV Choice on Demand at 4am whilst pacing around the room. And, of course, any kind of illness is a million times worse at that time of night. I managed another hour's doze at about 5.30am before little man woke up.

I am now armed with: antibiotics, Nurofen Plus and cranberry juice. And I am so glad my family are nearby and my dad was free to take little man out for the day so I could go back to bed. Although I discovered the major drawback to living opposite a primary school: it's impossible to nap during the children's lunch break. Makes me grateful to have a boy. Little girls seem to screech a lot.

So I feel crap but am trying to maintain my sense of humour. It was certainly funny when the nurse asked if I was on the pill in case I needed advice on taking extra precautions while I'm on the antibiotics.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Curtain call

I've finished my first ever pair of curtains. Blackout lined ones picturing lions, elephants, hippos and giraffes - all wearing party crowns - for little man's room. I'm very proud, even though they're a bit bodged in places. I had to rip out one seam when I realised I'd put the bottom hem at the top. The linings are only sewn in at the top rather than the proper way of having them sewn in all round. The finished product could do with being a couple of inches shorter. On the final line of sewing on the header tape of the second curtain the top thread started snapping for no apparent reason. I still don't know what most of the buttons and dials on my sewing machine do. But still, they look ok.

So next up are two matching pairs for the living room/dining room. And a panel to replace the horrible grubby nets that are covering the meters and fuse box in a glass-fronted cupboard. It's amazing how you stop noticing such hideous things after a while but they are really not attractive, even for people unafflicted with my extreme dislike of net curtains.

In other news, I've lost seven pounds. The diet is pretty basic: one piece of toast for breakfast, cup-a-soup for lunch, a couple of bits of fruit and a normal dinner. Oh, and a lot less wine. It doesn't even happen every day. I still go out for lunch sometimes. I still have the odd bacon butty or slice of cake. But it appears to be working and doesn't take much brainpower. Which is good, because I'm incapable of even planning to have bread in the house to make tomorrow morning's toast. According to my BMI I'm still obese, which is somewhat surprising and probably has a lot to do with my K cups.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


It's quite like pottering but more weekend-like. Going for a stroll and watching the tide start to come in. Listening to skylarks. Finally starting to sew some curtains. Dining with family. Enjoying a glass of wine or two. Chasing squirrels. Kicking leaves. Drinking imaginary tea. And real tea. Chatting to pygmy goats and Bobo the donkey. Just a random selection from the past two days. I'm counting Friday as the weekend as I work on Sundays.

We heard the skylarks while we were walking along Hale shore. Something about their song always makes me feel sleepy in a warm, summery kind of way. Today wasn't warm and summery, but it wasn't cold either. The walk was somewhat gritty. The views were of chemical works and oil refineries. We got to see lots of flotsam and jetsam washed up by recent high tides: wheel hubs, tyres, rusty old fridges, thousands of plastic bottles, gas canisters, plastic crates. And (yuck factor alert) tampon applicators. Another reason to use the wonderful Mooncup.

Little man enjoyed watching all the aeroplanes taking off from Liverpool Airport. And he enjoyed poking about in the stones and sand with a stick. I built a tower of stones, a la Makka Pakka, which little man happily kicked over. I sat on a rusty wheel hub while he scrabbled about, but I had to keep an eye out for him going near any broken glass or rusty nails. Like I said, it was gritty.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


It's what we tend to do on Thursdays. Work is over for the week, usually, little man is always with me and not daddy and we have no commitments.

We cook. Cauliflower and cheese soup for lunch to use up the cauli from last week's veg box and the slightly over-ripe smoked Cheshire cheese. Little man even ate some. We do those household chores that can't wait any longer like vacuuming up all the bits of crushed cereal from underneath the sofa. We stroll into town to pick up milk and bread and pop to the library. Today he fell asleep in the Yamo on the way there so I actually got to look at 'grown-up' books. (I was going to say 'adult' books but that might give the wrong impression.) I've borrowed some of the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell because I like a bit of action (suppose that might give the wrong impression too...).

Little man even stayed asleep when we got home long enough for me to have a cuppa and start a book, albeit perched on the edge of a dining chair so as not to squash him. After lunch we went to a play group, although it seemed wrong to go to an indoor group on such a beautiful spring day. To make up for it we called in to see the chooks at the allotment, where we found grandad digging and stopped for a cuppa. At home, we planted up some pots for the back yard with narcissi (those tete a tete mini daffs), little purple irises, drumstick primulas and a couple of evergreen ferns. Well, I planted and he rammed my legs with his ride-on car and demanded a succession of oatcakes so I had to keep washing my hands.

We had sausages and lentil thing for tea. Lentil thing contains all sorts of good stuff like carrots, celery and dried mushrooms. He ate the sausages and then ate about a dozen lentils, one at a time. Slowly. And then grandma and grandad arrived to put him to bed while I went off to a yoga class. Ohm.

Now my telly box seems to be playing up, so I guess I'll even be rounding off this day of simple homely joys with an early night. Time for camomile and spearmint tea. I could do with more days like this.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


It's March 2nd. It's 8am. It's frosty, but sunny. Later, it might even get slightly warm. I'm opening windows. It must be spring at last! And that means it's time to sort out my tatty back yard.

I have patio doors from the kitchen onto decking. The decking is a bit grotty looking and worryingly bouncy in places. The seller left all sorts of junk underneath it as well as a hideous, half-rotten table and a couple of plastic chairs. The whole thing faces north. The far corner, where the table is, gets a bit of afternoon sun in summer.

In my gran's garage I have a nice table and two chairs and lots of empty pots rescued from my old house. The primulas and narcissi were an impulse purchase yesterday; I have no particular planting plan yet but I do have some garden centre vouchers.

I think some big wooden troughs would be good, so as to avoid just having little pots dotted all over the place. I even think I might make them myself. Can't be that hard, surely? I will need some evergreens, some herbs, some solar lights, some quirky ornaments (stopping short of gnomes). I've decided I would like all flowers to be in the yellow-orange range or shades of purple. Although I do like bright red pelargoniums a la French and Spanish mountain villages.

And while I'm at it, I might indulge in a little Guerilla Gardening and sneak in some narcissi or the odd blackberry cutting in the grass verge by the busway.