Saturday, 30 October 2010

It's that sort of day

It's a back-door-open sort of day. There don't seem to have been many of these in the last few weeks. It's a shame the yard faces north. No sun 'til next May. But little man's new waterproof, furry-lined winter boots are lined up on the mat waiting to be worn again. We ate lunch al fresco. We had olives and feta in a vain attempt to feel Mediterranean.

It's a brewing-up-in-the-teapot sort of day. I'm using one of my earthy brown Wedgwood cups and saucers, discovered in a charity shop in Oban, which seems to fit in with season rather well. If only I had some leaf tea, the cosy homeliness would be complete.

It's a wandering-around-in-Babylegs-with-a-bare-bottom sort of day. For the boy, obviously. Babylegs wouldn't really cover much of my legs. But he is quite delighted at the rediscovery of his black and yellow stripey ones. (As an aside, I can tell you that yesterday I managed to epilate one thigh. Just one. And that a bit patchily. I thought buying an epilator would be a sound investment as I've been using tonnes of Veet since I started swimming and shaving leaves me with loads of ingrown hairs. I just didn't believe that any commercial product would be that painful and still be on the market.)

It's a tidying-up-in-forgotten corners sort of day. You know, the piles of stuff that have lain around so long you've stopped noticing them. All toys have been sorted and categorised and put away. I know, of course, that they won't stay that way but I have this need to sort everything out every once in a while. The dining table has been relocated to create more playing space. It's easy to pull out again when we want to eat.

It's a staying-awake-all-day sort of day. For the boy. Most unusual. But he doesn't seem to be showing any of the usual signs of sleepiness, despite being up at six thirty. Normally he would be getting 'naughty' by now, ie overtired, but he is merrily lining up all his trucks and cars. I just hope he lasts for pumpkin carving and Halloween mask-making later.

It's a sewing-the-dining-room-curtains-at-last sort of day. I have actually cut the pieces and sewn the side seams. Just got to add the header tape and attempt to sew the bottom hem in a vaguely straight fashion. I might get them done before the first anniversary of moving in.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Underpants: The return (Contains multiple references to bodily functions)

I managed to semi-trick the boy into a pair a few days ago. Light blue Thomas the Tank Engine ones. I put a pair of trousers on him too. I said: 'Tell mummy when you want a wee and you can sit on the potty.' Not long afterwards he weed in them. Fair enough. New underpants. Dark blue Thomas ones. New trousers. Not long afterwards he weed in them. Ho hum. I chose a pair of white Thomas ones that he seemed to particularly like and let him wander around trouser-less. It was, of necessity, a staying-at-home sort of day. Not long after, he pooed in them. I cleaned him up and put the underpants in the bin.

Now very taken with the idea of underpants he decided to wear a red Thomas pair and a yellow Mr Men pair at the same time. No trousers again. Not long after, he weed in them. Have you spotted a pattern here? I put a nappy on him for naptime but persevered for the rest of the day. The only outing we had was a quick trip to the shop and a diversion into the park on the way home. He weed in his trousers at the park. Just before bedtime, he went bare-bottomed. He weed on the floor about two foot away from the potty.

The next day he wandered around the house bare-bummed for the morning. He used the potty or the toilet (when we were upstairs) every time he needed a wee. He'd already pooed in his night-time nappy first thing. I put a nappy on him when grandma came to collect him for the afternoon before I went to work. Again today, at home with a bare bum he has weed on the potty or loo every time.

I'm seeing this as the first stage in a process of gentle encouragement. I don't think we'll be taking the 'Potty Training in 24 Hours' approach.

Edited to note that the following ad popped up on when I hit Publish Post: Potty Training Made Easy: Potty Training In Only 3 Days Fast & Easy - Guaranteed Results.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Right now...

  • Little man is riding a hobby horse, found in a charity shop last week. Unfortunately the horse is upside down so its head is getting dragged around the floor.
  • He has just started to count 'eight, nine, ten'. I think he has decided that is what I'm typing.
  • He is leaning on my knee and pushing my arm and generally getting in the way of me typing.
  • My nose is all snotty and sneezy with the perpetual cold I get every winter and which comes and goes according to how tired I am.
  • I am wondering what to do about the new neighbours slamming their door repeatedly all evening, until about midnight, every time they step into the street to smoke.
  • I am considering having a cup of the hot chocolate filched from the B&B I stayed at in York when I had a girlie trip away at the weekend.
  • I am concerned that the mere mention to little man's daddy that we should all do something together sometime soon resulted in a furrowed brow and the 'I can't talk about difficult [important] issues' look.
  • Little man is pulling out the aerial on the old CD player/radio in the corner of the room, which I really should get round to freecycling.
  • I am sneezing some more.
  • It is raining.
  • The house is a tip and I am about to get up and do some tidying up...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Here be dragons

'Good  morning little man,' I say, as the boy climbs into my bed for a snuggle.
'A crab, mummy,' he declares. 'Crab pic [nip] mummy's finger.'
'Oh, a crab? Ouch, nip, nip.' The crab then has to nip little man's finger, of course, and his nose.
Next up is a visit from the dragon. It might be red, green or blue. The green one always reminds me of the Green Dragon at Bywater. (Short cuts make for long delays, but inns make longer ones...LotR, yes I'm a nerd.) Anyway, it's beware any exposed toes.
'Tent. Hide de tent. [Let's hide in a tent made out of the duvet.]' Mummy has to hold up the duvet over us, while little man declares that it is raining.
'Pitter, patter,' I say, over and over again. Little man puts on his imaginary boots and puts up his imaginary umbrella so he can go out in the rain.
Then the sun comes out: 'Pop.' The sun always comes out with a pop, because in The Very Hungry Caterpillar the caterpillar emerges from the egg with a pop when the sun comes out.
'Bite mummy's finger.'
'No, don't bite mummy's finger please. Be nice to mummy.' Cue a little sigh and a big hug. 'Hug mummy. Mummy hug me.' He still tries to bite my finger.
Next up: 'Mummy sing.' Mummy begins a rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle. 'Stop.' Mummy stops mid-sentence. 'Go.' 'Stop.' And so on until the song is finished. 'Again.'
I start to sing Rock-a-Bye Baby.
'[C]ome on, mummy, [s]tand up. Me de baby.' This wasn't part of my plan for remaining horizontal as long as possible. I have to stand up and rock little man, who does his baby impression - half-closed eyes, scrunched up arms and lots of little sighs - before I drop him at the appropriate point. Well not really drop him, obviously. Not quite.
'[C]ome on, mummy. Down de stairs. Play de cars.'
Snuggle time is over.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Monday, 18 October 2010


Little man has taken a dislike to the whole concept. Even when the underpants come with Thomas the Tank Engine or Mr Men pictures. He wees on the toilet in the morning and at bedtime and on a potty downstairs if he needs to go during nappy-off time after tea. So he knows what it's all about. But he got pretty upset when I just tried a pair of red Thomas pants on him to see if they actually fitted. (Size 18 months to two years, - he's two years and seven months.They fitted.)

I'm just going to leave them lying around so he gets used to the idea. I'm sure one day he'll surprise me and put them on. Or he'll refuse a nappy and want to go commando.

We've now visited three nurseries and there are two more on my list. I've had to drag little man away from each one because he likes their toys and their climbing frames. But I can't make my mind up. I thought I'd get a gut feeling but I've just got utter bewilderment. In two of them the pre-schoolers weren't in their room at the time we visited; they were either playing outside or sitting with the toddler children for a snack. So I didn't get to see how crowded the room looked or how the staff interacted with them. The one that appeared to be particularly well-organised and very focused on individual children's interests also happened to have the least welcoming pre-school room. The one that seemed a little smaller and quieter had lots of new staff and was in the process of recruiting a new pre-school nursery nurse so could be completely different by next April.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The need for nursery

Once upon a time, the daydream was to have two children, move to a pretty cottage somewhere picturesque, and find the husband a job he enjoyed while I home-educated the children, baked cakes and grew vegetables. And possibly did a bit of writing or proofreading if I felt like it. Now you have to imagine that horrible, scraping sound you get when you drag the needle across a record. For it was not to be.

Instead, I have one precious little man who is currently whinging because he is finally getting his last molar and is very snotty. I have moved down the housing ladder and gone back to work almost full time. So we need to find a nursery for a couple of afternoons a week to give the grandparents some respite once he turns three.

I have two visits lined up later this week. Now I need to work out what I'm looking for and what questions I need to ask. Beyond the logistics of session times and how I'm actually going to get to work on time if they all start their afternoon sessions at 1pm. I want to know what sort of outdoor space they have and how much time they spend in it. I want to know what sort of food they provide for snacks. I want to find out whether the emphasis is more on learning or play. I want to know all sorts of things about rewards and behaviour and general ethos that I can't work out how to ask without being on a completely different wavelength to the nursery staff. And in the end, I'll probably ignore the facts and form an opinion based on how the place feels.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bed and breakfast

So my blog is seriously losing momentum. This is what happens when you start working four days a week at a job that gives you mornings with your little one (or mornings to go to the gym when your little one is with daddy) but eradicates your evenings spent with the laptop. I don't get in til nine-ish, Sunday to Wednesday.

Take a little time to fully digest the meaning of this, if you will. I don't tire of bedtime stories because I only get to read them on Thursdays, Fridays and every other Saturday. I still love Room on the Broom and am still amused by the fact that my bog monster (where the mud-covered dog and cat and frog tell the dragon to eff off) has a Brummie accent. Likewise with sharing our evening meal. Watching In the Night Garden. Tucking him in and giving him his night-night kiss. Two and a half nights a week, on average.

But I get woken up by him diving under my duvet five and half mornings (or middles of the night) a week, on average. Ditto trying to encourage him to eat some breakfast. Wrestling him into some clothes. Updating my facebook status to the cries of 'Bird, bird' (which means 'Mummy, get off that social networking site and find 3rd and Bird on the BBC iPlayer for me now, please). Washing up while he tries to drag me off by one leg to fix his truck.

I realise I've posted about the search for a nursery for little man, without talking about why nursery is necessary or desirable and what would constitute a good one, in my opinion. I now have one appointment to go and view one and will probably sort out some more tomorrow. Already I have had to smile and nod during a brief call at the one nursery when I was told it would really 'bring him on' to 'socialise' with other children. So many assumptions behind such simple statements. Repeat after me: I must conform. I must conform. I must conform.