Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Maternal dilemma

I give little bear medised when he has a runny nose. It has paracetamol in and it dries up the green dribbles. It says on the box that it is suitable for 3 months and over. Little bear loves the stuff, and I have to keep it out of his sight, especially as he is getting more adventurous in climbing.

Actually, I think I will amend this to I always used to give little bear medised. You see, this morning I gave little bear medised which I think made me a concerned and caring mother who was upset at her little one struggling to breath and eat and the same time. This afternoon I went to the local chemist. Despite it saying from three months on the box, they have taken advice and are only selling it for children over two. Little bear has around five weeks before he is two. So if I give little bear some medised tonight I am an evil, scheming mother administering noxious substances to my defenceless child for the sake of an easy life.

Poor little bear - it is only really a runny nose but it makes it hard for him to eat and drink. Mind you he doesn't seem to have much interest in food today after the piggery of yesterday. I shall just have to make sure I give him extra cuddles.

EDIT I have just been given links to the official page of Medised and to the thingy that gives national guidelines on medicine, and Medised should not be given to little ones under two! I am really upset and worried about the effect on little bear. I am contacting my health visitor tomorrow.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Little bear and his diet.

Just want it on record.

Little bear, grumpy, green nosed and out of sorts, ate a pear for the first time today. Then he demanded a second one. And raisins, and a banana. He also ate stacks of toast with cream cheese (only topping he will currently tolerate). The finger of fudge, however, was half discarded!

I want to cherish this, for when he is a teenager and allergic to anything with vitamins.

For his meals for tomorrow I feel a little at a loss. He has eaten cream cheese on wheatmeal toast for almost every meal for the last few days, he is so snuffly that I am just trying to give him things that he can eat at his own pace, with plenty of juice. Of course I am getting anxious about what he is eating. As a mother it is imperative that I panic about his diet. For the first time I can see the advantages of giving him a sausage roll. I may try ham and buttery toast tomorrow as it has to be a change. I may have marmite on toast as mum's food is always better and it may persuade him to widen his horizons.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Evil Cat Strikes Back

Evil cat is a contradictory creature. She does like to lie on someone's lap, but violently objects to being stroked. Usually the phrase, 'violently objects' is not to be taken literally but evil cat will pounce and kill hands that are unwelcome. She does give fair warning - battle ears, glares, tail set to stun, hisses - so it isn't fair to complain. Then you get a swipe of the paw that is actually lovely and soft, though delivered with venomous intent, or a vicious suck.

In fact dear heart was mentioning this last night as evil cat sat along him with her tail thrashing like a special effect in sci fi film. "Really," He said, "She doesn't leave a mark and other cats that have possessed us have given us some serious wounds." This is of course true - I still have the scar associated with a former cat and a bath. When evil cat was a kitten (many, many years ago) and she fit on the palm of my hand, I could pick her up and she would madly attack my hand, no matter how high above the carpet she was. She has never left a mark, though she gives a very strong impression that she would!

Well, the laws of causative narration then caught up with dear heart. He stroked evil cat one time too many and he has an inch long, deep red scratch right over the knuckle where it stings whenever he uses his hand. But she did warn him.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Evil Cat and Her Little Ways

Evil cat is evil. At the moment I struggle up and down stairs - I keep telling little bear I have a bone in my knee. Something 'went' about a month after he was born and it has never been quite right since. Now the kitchen, where evil cat gets fed, is down a flight of stairs from the living room. I seem to trot (or currently limp) up and down on a very regular basis. However tonight I sat down with a sigh after little bear went to sleep. I was sitting down and staying sat.

However, evil cat decided that she was starving and needed food immediately. Dear heart very kindly went downstairs and put fresh water in the water dish and fresh food down. Evil cat watched him do this then came upstairs to harass me. Because it doesn't count unless I do it.

Being harassed by evil cat is like the water torture with spikes. She will sit on the arm of the chair, then purr at me. Then a single paw will come out to prod. She will climb over my lap. Then she will climb up my north face. If I am trying to have a conversation with dear heart, evil cat will ensure that she blocks any line of sight. After a while you have reached all you can take, so she gets put on the floor. And again. And again. And again. And all through this - the food is down! It is the food she eats every day! Then she will run over to dear heart, try and sit on anything that will stop him, for example, having a drink. Then back to me...

So I limped downstairs, put down (without exaggeration) two teaspoons of food on top of the fresh stuff put down half an hour previously by dear heart - and she ate the dish full. Then she came upstairs and went to sleep in her basket.

Standards are Slipping

I often get Saturday afternoon off, dear heart looks after little bear and I get to go and do all those things I want to get on with or even relax. Last Saturday I went out to visit a museum. Actually, I went in to visit a museum tea shop thinking that I would at least get a seat there.

Well, I decided a wanted cheese on toast. The board called it a rarebit, and I rather winced at the price, but I thought I would treat myself.

I sat there ages, looking at the piece of carrot cake I had bought for 'afters' and starting to consider having it as 'firsts' because after all, it all mixes up in your tummy. However, finally, the rarebit arrives - on a breadboard. I was not the only one. A surreptitious look round and yes, there were other people eating off breadboards with various degrees of comfort. It was a genuine breadboard - a flat piece of wood with a groove around it. In any shop I would have unhesitatingly called it a breadboard. There were also some 'leaves' as a sort of salad. No doubt they would have contributed to my 'five a day' but I really didn't like the look of the unidentified dressing so I decided to have an apple later, and carrot cake counts towards the five a day anyway.

I may well return to the tea shop, after all it is unlikely to be desperately full on a Saturday afternoon, but I will forgo the rarebit and stick to cake. Apart from anything else, how are they cleaning the breadboards? I always thought that you shouldn't put wood in a dishwasher, and it is very hard to scrub into all the marks made by people using a knife and fork on a breadboard. Also apparently the wood swells to allow germs in and I was once told very sternly that I should change my wooden spoons at least every six months.

Then again, perhaps it was a one off emergency in the crockery area. After all, serving cheese on toast on a breadboard can't be a regular thing.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Little bear's feet of fury

Little bear does not like blankets, so I pop him in a fleecy sleep suit at bed time. However tonight I pulled a new one out of a packet without checking, and I didn't have another clean. Little bear was extremely displeased - this sleep suit didn't have feet!

Now, the room is not particularly cold, and it could encourage little bear to use the blanket, so I was not terribly upset, though I made a mental note to retire this particular sleep suit early. Little bear, however, was incandescent. How dare the sleep suit not have feet? What was going on? Mother, sort this out immediately! The poor little man was red in the face at the unacceptable absence of feet in his sleep suit.

So I put on the slippers he had worn for the first time today, and he calmed down just fine.

I have made a very BIG note to myself - sleep suits should have feet

Next door's roof

There is a lot of weather around today, and unfortunately this is the day that they have decided to mend the roof next door.

It is a terrible dilemma - I am really grateful that the roof will no longer leak and get damp into our house, and I am desperately happy for the people living next door who can start to get the house fixed. However, I would really have liked to see the landlord prosecuted, because he is so horrible, and this should have been sorted out at least two years ago and it is only the threat of prosecution that has made him do the minimum. My damp is unlikely to be finally sorted until the leak in the bathroom is properly fixed.

I am not confident with the roofers either. Not only has the landlord employed them, which suggests that they are naive, desperate or very poor at their job, but they looked very young and they knocked on my door about mending my roof. I said I had it in hand. He actually said, 'we can do it for you now, really cheap'. This is not a phrase that fills me with confidence. Though I do rather sympathise with them climbing up on top of a four storey house in howling winds and rain. They got very upset when I wouldn't employ them, so I won't be taking out tea and buns for the poor young lads, but it must be desperate times.

Now I hope that the gentleman who is supposed to be doing my roof will actually do my roof!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Little bear's breakfast

I have come to realise that the dizzy spells and times when I feel so unwell may be connected to lack of food. I manage some empty calories during the day, but very little in the way of proper breakfast and lunch.

So this morning little bear and I came downstairs. He was going to have his ready brek (sainsbury version, very pleasant) with full fat milk. I was going to have weetabix with skimmed milk, as he has always treated weetabix with loathing and contempt, so I thought I would be able to tuck in without too much interference.

I hadn't realised that weetabix tastes different from Mum's bowl. So I am now sneaking in some toast while little bear is playing happily in his playpen have done some serious damage to a large bowl of weetabix and his ready brek. I'm surprised he can move!

Last night was very traumatic. He has an IKEA panda that he carries everywhere with him - his pandy! I love IKEA toys - they wash! At night in his cot he also has the 'Three Musketeers' or three toys, all from IKEA, that I know are safe - Sally the Camel, Nessie and Catlington. Except last night I could not find Catlington anywhere! Dear heart and myself tore the house apart, desperate to find Catlington while little bear wailed in his cot. I was reassured that the universe was working as it should when Catlington was found actually in the cot, just wrapped up in a fold of blanket.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Confessions of a nosy neighbour

I am something of a failure as a nosy neighbour. I never notice anything - I completely missed the armed police and sniffer dogs searching the street when there was an armed robbery at a nearby bookies. Now that we have double glazing I hear even less.

However, Sunday afternoon I did actually notice that an argument was taking place, but I was a little rushed and I thought it was not the right thing to do to go out and gawp. I knew it was the gentleman next door, who is lovely but will stand no nonsense. I decided that it would look very bad if I actually went out as a spectator.

I carried on until I realised that there were three policemen outside! I thought it must be serious, three policemen on a Sunday afternoon. Tried to discreetly crane around my curtains, but I got no clues.

Monday came, and I was torn. Should I call round to the lovely people next door and ask whether they had a visit from the boys in blue? Should I wait until they mention it? I was absolutely caught between trying to be a reasonable, sensible, non-of-my-business neighbour and desperate curiosity. I was confident it would not be anything dreadful if it was due to the people next door but what was it?

I felt somewhat let down when I found out that 'Her three doors down' had been a little upset when her sister couldn't park directly outside her house (I have mentioned the congestion around here) so she complained. She does tend to go at these sort of things like a bull in a china shop and when the gentleman next door refused to move after all (as there was space within yards and the people involved were all able bodied) she called the police and complained that the gentleman next door had been verbally abusive.

I had to think about this. 'Her three doors down' has a vocabulary that would get little bear's mouth washed out with soap. I mean, I know all the words, and you need to be able to let off steam, but really the language is, well, industrial. When she gets into full flow, she could strip paint. I can see her point, it is like living in a garage forecourt, but if you just say something reasonable to the gentleman next door then all the cars are moved and there is no problem. And her calling someone else verbally abusive...

I haven't heard her side of the story, but I do have trouble feeling for her. If I say that she makes Lily Savage look like Barbara Cartland, I would be exaggerating for comical effect. Unfortunately, I think I would be exaggerating less than you would think.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Evil Cat and the Vet

Evil cat has not been as evil as normal, merely malevolent really. So, rather than leave anything to chance dear heart took her to the vets. She tried to run away, she cried, she wriggled, but she was relentlessly examined and there was no escape from the thermometer.

The Vet thought that evil cat was in generally good health for fourteen and a half but asked us to bring her back for a full set of blood and urine tests, what they described as a 'geriatric cat MOT'. It is hard to think of evil cat as geriatric, more old in sin.

Dear heart dropped her off at the vets in the morning, then he went on to work. Evil cat was, well, unco-operative, but they managed to get the blood samples they needed. She resolutely refused to widdle. She was not widdling, she refused. She only takes the wotsit, thank you so much.

Dear heart had a phone call asking if he could come and pick up evil cat early - apparently she was frightened and upset. For all my jokes, I hate the thought of her being frightened and upset, but I have trouble visualising it. She is relentlessly, tirelessly, endlessly aggressive. And poor dear heart couldn't go and get her, which was dreadfully upsetting for him. The poor man was out of the house twelve hours at a manic job then at least another half hour morning and evening travelling time to get evil cat to the vets. He didn't begrudge it, and I think he deserves a medal.

Apparently evil cat has the very tiniest, earliest trace that her kidneys are not working as they should. This is apparently normal in cats of her age. I ensured tuna was put down as soon as she got in and a comfy space by the fire. She was just so timid last night, I was so upset. I was quite relieved when she made up for it today.

The Health Visitor Cometh

Because I am having so much trouble getting out, the Health Visitors have decided that they will come and take me and little bear to mums & tot's groups. They are being really nice and kind, but I do feel like a naughty girl being made to go to school!

So I try and organise matters so that little bear has an early morning nap. The early morning slips away and still he is playing vigorously with his blocks. Mid morning comes and goes and despite the gloom I take him for a little walk to the end of the street and the newspaper shop. Then he runs round and round the living room until - finally - he achieves naphood.

He actually only gets to sleep around an hour before the Health Visitor is due to arrive. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things will go well and he will at least get that elusive substance - quality sleep. About half an hour before hand my friend rings. I am trying to explain to her all the multifarious things happening - when the Health Visitor arrives.

I explain my situation, or try to but then two ladies knock on the door. They are 'doing outreach' going from door to door asking if mums have children under five and do they want to take part in these particular activities. The ladies are 'official' and have woken little bear up.

So, despite my proud boasts of little bear's placid nature, he wakes up crying and grumpy. I change him as quickly as I can and go downstairs where little bear clings to me, as if he would like to go to sleep mid cuddle. The ladies 'doing outreach' are very nice and give me lots of information, then leave. I believe that the area I live in is considered particularly deprived and has special EC funding for all sorts of things.

Little bear then starts to cheer up a little and runs around, showing the Health Visitor (who was lovely) his gorgeous smile and generally being a darling. She is coming to take me to playgroup next week.

The result is that I am getting the support I really need to get little bear out to meet other children, but I am also feeling a little bewildered by the whole business. I have sheets and sheets of activities, places, contacts, ideas...

Embarrassingly, I also think that my cup of tea for the Health Visitor was substandard, as it was a little milky. That is so shameful.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

We went to see two houses yesterday. It was a deeply depressing experience in one way. Dear heart works in an area much more affluent than the one we live in, and as it is an hour's journey each way apart from anything else, it makes sense to look to moving. However our inexpensive first house has four double bedrooms and three receptions, although 'in need of modernisation, would suit diy enthusiast' and we can effectively afford a two bedroom one reception probably repossession.

The first one was a repossession, and it was so grim looking round. It had been gutted and the place smelled awful. However it's location was absolutely marvellous, near to shops, work, good schools and it was affordable. I think if bedroom two had been one foot longer I would be booking the moving van now. The second was absolutely gorgeous! However, again it was that bit too small.

Having looked at some of the sites offering free valuations, it is a deeply depressing experience, but we can but see. We are going to try and find a three bed that we can afford and that is within a reasonable journey for dear heart. Now I need to work out how to save as much as possible and accrue as much extra money as possible.

I also have the deeply depressing task of trying to declutter a four bed, three reception house to fit into a house with half the square footage.