Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Evil cat's gentleman caller

It was relatively fine weather so ten minutes before dear heart was due home I popped out with little bear for a gossip with the neighbours and for him to have a play. I left the front door slightly ajar.

Well, little bear had a marvellous time, hurtling round, playing with other little ones. Then one of the daughters next door asked whether it was evil cat in the window. I looked, looked again, and no, it wasn't. Instead it was a very handsome completely black tom cat. He was there, posing in the window as if it was his habitual viewing point. Cats - they can own a place in seconds.

Evil cat was fortunately asleep upstairs, as she has never taken kindly to strange cats, so I got the handsome visitor out as quick as I could. His name is Oscar, who used to live next door when their grown daughter had to move in with them in a hurry. Their daughter then moved less than half a mile away, but across an extremely busy road. Oscar likes, however, to pop in to his old haunts now and again, regardless of speeding lorries. I do not think he has been 'done' as he has an extremely square head and a sort of devilish swagger. I suspect there are a number of lady cats locally who are receptive to his attentions.

I am not sure that evil cat fits in to that category. She was, of course, 'done' which was when we found out that the relentless bundle of evil energy was female and not male. We had all assumed the violence meant male which was incredibly naive of us. And she is nearly fifteen now, which in cat years would put her in the frame for a telegram from the Queen.

However I shall expect to see him again - especially if he works out where the cat food is left.

Evil cat is not feeling well.

Actually evil cat is doing okay. She has put back on a tiny bit of weight, helped by a few illicit fish fingers and some definitely non diet strips of turkey and her fur is lovely, soft and dense. Evil cat herself is only dense.

But it is now spring, and we have the door game.

Evil cat will beg, mither, annoy and terrorise until you let her into the garden, leaving the door slightly open for her to come back in. This is an invitation for every fly in existence to turn up. She will go outside and eat something green. Then she will come back inside and be sick on carpet - not vinyl or tile, and not outside. It has to be carpet and if there is ironing around that is even better.

However a number of things are bothering me. She really is very insistent on getting out, eating something green and being sick. I do think her tummy is a little off. She is being incredibly clingy, so that she is an absolute menace. And I worry about her going out into the street as there are some new cats around and evil cat doesn't really understand the rules. Evil cat picks fights and will stay and be beaten up until the other cat gets demoralised and gives up, but that was when we were possessed by other cats, who were used to her, had to live with her and understood that she had 'issues'. She was also a good deal younger and less creaky. Some of the tom cats currently roaming round look twice her size. And it wouldn't occur to evil cat not to pick a fight.

She is also not happy because I had a particularly spectacular sneeze while she was on my lap and she was catapulted across the room and was very offended. Now when it looks like I sneeze she gets off my lap/throat/chest/shoulder and looks the picture of offended elderly dignity and slinks into her basket.

Little bear is Mr Mischief

I feel almost like I have nearly got very close to flu. So little bear has not been out again. As he has been showing all the signs of being tired, I have not felt too guilty. However part of the problem with little bear is that when he is tired, he goes to turbo. He doesn't shout, cry or get cross. He speeds up and loses concentration.

So, after a morning where I have done my best to be a good mum, but really have not been up to the stimulating talking, I packed him off to his room. It was time for his nap, he looked tired, I felt like hell, sounds about right.

Little bear didn't want to be upstairs. Little bear wanted to play downstairs. But being him, he didn't throw a tantrum or scream or cry, he just 'investigated'.

I heard the usual sounds of toy cars, singing, pages being turned and then some other noises. The noises sounded really unfamiliar and had a furniture feel about them. After the episode with the chest of drawers I did not feel I could ignore these, so I went upstairs.

In the corner of the room is a wardrobe. I assumed that little bear couldn't get into it as he hadn't so far. It is tucked away behind things and has stuff in that little bear needs to grow into in it. When I got up there it turns out that there were also some shoes and bags in the bottom as a relic of when I used the wardrobe.

Little bear trotted up to the gate happily brandishing my last decent pair of stilettos. 'Ooo' he said, proudly.
'Yes, shoe,' I said in a rabbit-in-the-headlights sort of way.

Well, all the sheets, duvet, pillows and toys had been stripped from the bed. Dust was settling everywhere. A poly sling from my first dislocated shoulder was crumbling on the mattress. Little bear indicated the bag slung around his neck. 'Bahhhhghhh' he said.
'Yes, bag'. The bag in question was faded and would not have reached 99p on ebay, but my darling uncle brought it back from South America nearly forty years ago. Little bear thought it was marvellous, with all the lovely patterns on it. He did not want to part with it, it was his, thank you, so much mother, from his wardrobe. It is a lovely soft woven bag and the soft tassels were obviously an attraction. Little bear loves the bag, it is lovely and soft around his neck, only slightly faded from the lovely bright colours and you obviously can put interesting things in it. He resisted bitterly my attempts to remove it but I perservered and stashed it across the landing out of sight.

The bag is currently hidden, but how long I will be able to hang onto it for is anyone's guess.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Mountaineering little bear

Little bear showed all the signs of wanting a nap a few days ago, so upstairs he went, brushed his teeth (he has to brush his teeth every time he goes upstairs, he has decided it's the law) and I changed him and left him being quiet...

Crash! I shot upstairs at a far greater speed than I can normally manage. Little bear was crawling out from underneath the solid chest of drawers (not really heavy, but not exactly from Argos) and he was CROSS! How dare the chest of drawers not be climbed.

I was absolutely terrified, checking his head, his hands, his legs - I found a graze on one knuckle. He did need a lot of cuddles and I was happy to give them, but really!

A few days later he was looking sleepy so up again to nap. I heard the usual crashes and whirrs of little bear playing with cars. Then blissful silence as he napped. I am still not exactly sure which of the crashes was when the curtain pole was pulled down, but I only found it when I went upstairs, draped with curtains and across the floor. Then it was count the screws time to make sure little bear wouldn't be going back to A&E. Doesn't a room sound different when there are no curtains? We are getting swish track to replace the pole so that if little bear repeats the trick it is less likely to do damage if it hits him.

And today, I laugh now, but I was terrified at the time. Little bear woke up from his nap. I went upstairs, said hello, went to the loo...

While I was in the loo I heard a bang and a very unhappy wail. I will leave to your imagination the struggle to get decent quickly enough and into little bear's room. You see, last summer my darling uncle won a four foot teddy in a pub and kindly donated it to little bear. Little bear loves his furry climbing frame. It was sitting on the end of his bed after playing 'Bear's bits' - we ask little bear to show us, for example, the teddy's eyes. He does so, then his own eyes, then he gets a clap. The only bit he has trouble with is shoulders. I digress. Little bear had been happy when I had seen him and, I think, gone to do a bouncy dance on the end of the bed, slipped, grabbed the massive teddy as he fell...

I shot in to find him crawling out from under this massive toy that is probably almost as heavy as him and much bigger, and he was once again cross but this time he was actually upset as well. I did the frantic check of fingers, eyes, head and he seems fine. But this time he did need a lot of mum cuddles. It took him at least 10 minutes to calm down, but he was soon his happy self playing with his blocks.

The big teddy is currently face down on the floor - I don't want little bear to get frightened of it. But now it is a question of what to do - little bear has only just had free access to it and I don't want him getting squashed!

Whatever I decide about the huge teddy, I know that there are other dangers out there but I don't know what. I find myself scanning rooms now, wondering what he can do to what. Or what can do what to him. If you see what I mean.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Speech Therapist

The morning before little bear bumped his head, he visited the speech therapist.

Well, little bear looked adorable, was very polite, and sat quietly while we gave his background. Then, in a tour de force, he showed he knew colours, had more than a suggestion of knowing his numbers to ten, could work out difficult toys, and was teaching himself Makaton sign language. Dear heart was so proud when little bear showed off the signs that we hadn't taught him but he had just picked up from watching Ceebeebies.

And of course he didn't say anything, though he made a sturdy attempt at blue.

I am sneakily proud. I am sure that the consultation could have ended earlier, but that the speech therapist just enjoyed playing with little bear.

Little bear has a bumped head

Last Tuesday (you can tell I've been run down) little bear fell over backwards and hit his head. Poor little mite went limp, his eyes rolled back and for the next five minutes didn't even know who I was. He needed a mummy cuddle, just lay back in my arms and wasn't happy.

Now, as you can gather, I have become quite robust about little bear's bumps, and have always deliberately tried not to seem agitated to him, but this time I decided it was time to go to A&E. He was almost himself after half an hour, just a bit tired, but I wanted to make sure.

Dear heart came out of work and took little bear and I to the hospital. First hurdle - parking. The parking around that area was laid out by Satan in a foul mood. In the end dear heart dropped little bear and I off and went to park the car. I had been through two receptions by the time he managed to park and get back to us.

First reception was depressing. I gave the name, timing, exact symptoms, and little bear was tired, but quietly observing what was going on. Then we were passed on to the Children's A&E. There I again gave name, timing, exact symptoms and confirmed we didn't have a social worker.

Then we had to wait.

We did get as far as a cubicle but a poor little girl came in who had reacted to something and all her face had swollen up, including mouth. Obviously an emergency and little bear was just looking more and more tired. So we went back to the seating area.

I was desperately keeping little bear in his pushchair as the thought of chasing him round the hospital made my blood run cold, but he was not happy. He investigated toys, clutched his teddy and looked more and more tired. Fortunately I knew we would have a long day (he bumped his head at 'movement' after a session with the Speech Therapist) so I had plenty of juice with me and he was able to stuff himself with raisins. He was, however, looking more and more washed out.

Well, they couldn't find the admittance papers, which I think got lost when we left the cubicle. This became clear when dear heart and I decided that little bear was tracking things with his eyes, managed to co-ordinate, work out quite intricate toys and be very clear about his opinions but was now near to collapse with tiredness and he had had nothing apart from raisins for five hours and then it was merely half a ham sandwich (couldn't persuade him to eat more). We decided to leave and they looked at little bear then. And told us he was fine.

It took us half an hour to find the car again.

They told me to keep checking on him every few hours at night, just in case, so I slept on a put up in his room. At 2am little bear wanted to play. I was incredulous, he had been so exhausted, and I certainly was. It was now 24 hours after the bump so I made an executive decision that he was fine and went back to my own bed.

He was in a right state for the next couple of days, not from the bang on the head but just from the effects of an extremely long day.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Little bear has a day out again

Today we took little bear to a sort of farm thingy. It was a place where visitors could go and see the animals, but it was not quite a petting place.

First we saw the sheep. Little bear was quite impressed by these, as they were very large up close and very loud. There were about half a dozen rare breeds and they had lots of lambs, they were gorgeous. We let little bear out of the pushchair and he was really well behaved, fascinated by all the animals.

Then there were the pigs. Again there were several rare breeds and some cute piglets. The piglets could wriggle through the bars and run around the yard and then come back to their mother when they were hungry. Little bear giggled like crazy when one did a poo!

He checked out the shed with the open fire, he was fascinated by that, and equally intrigued by anything in pink. Little girls always seem to attract his eye.

There were bunnies in little runs and lots of chickens. One indoor pen showed some more rare breeds - chickens this time. One breed was a transylvanian bare necked chicken, which indeed looked like a normal hen but plucked around the neck. In fact it was completely bare and looked exceedingly odd! However it was a rooster at the end, I can't remember the breed but I think it was something like wyandot, which crowed very loudly right next to little bear.

Little bear didn't cry or scream, but did decide that mum needed a hug and that it would be very convenient to travel in the pushchair now, at this moment, please.

Little bear goes to the bank

As you know, I have trouble getting out of the house with little bear, but last Friday a cheque came for me in the post and I used that as an excuse to just jump on the bus, into town and pay it in. I know I could have gone in the next day on my own, without stress, but it was a great excuse.

Well, of course little bear was quiet and well behaved on the way in. He had been lacking a bit of sleep so was looking quieter and quieter. In one shop one of the assistants asked whether he was alright!!! I immediately felt an appalling mother who had no consideration for her child but dragged him out regardless. Little bear just looked at the lady, completely impassively, perhaps hoping for a lollipop.

In the bank he was as good as gold, he was not stressing for anyone, not even when the nice lady spent so long trying to sell me insurance.

Well on the way home I thought I would perk him up with a little packet of raisins. Little bear approves of raisins. However he had his teddy in a death grip in one hand, and try as I might, I could not convince him to release it. He was not parting with that teddy, not even for mummy to hold while he ate his raisins. He would not relinquish the raisins either - they were his, thank you so much, and he was greatly looking forward to them. He didn't cry, he didn't shout, he just remained calmly adamant.

I tried feeding him two or three raisins to try and get him started, but no, he was grateful for the raisins, but he was not letting go of his teddy in this unfamiliar world and he was certainly not letting go of those raisins.

In the end he manoeuvred his hands so he could clutch both teddy and the raisins in one hand and scoff with the other. Determination paid off in the end.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Fire Guards and safety

Yesterday little bear demonstrated a new trick - standing on top of the fire guard. The first I saw was coming upstairs with toast and finding him unpacking the mantelpiece. Eeeeeek!! Well, I grabbed him and put him firmly on the carpet.

Then he was back up when I went to get juice, or when I went to start tea...

Dear heart had a good look at the fire guard and actually lowered the flap at the top, so he couldn't stand on it. I sighed with relief.


Today I nipped into the next room to take some paracetamol and when I came back he had lifted the flap again and was standing on it, trying to get into the clock. It didn't even have the proper supports this time! I removed him firmly to his room, where he is currently not going to sleep.

I think I need to keep little bear a bit more occupied.

Lollipop for little bear

We were waiting patiently for my prescription in the chemist. We know the lady there - I've been going there since before little bear was born and she has a soft spot for little ones.

Today little bear looked tired and was not smiling. "He never smiles," the lady said. I think about it - he is a little giggler for me sometimes but today he was looking particularly solemn. So the poor deprived child was bought a lollipop by the nice lady.

This was little bear's first lollipop. Of course he has had lots of other sweets but I am a little wary about these. Little bear loved it. He tasted it first, then frowned like a wine taster with an unfamiliar vintage, then stuck the whole lollipop into his mouth. There was still no smile, but a lot of concentration.

I am still unconvinced he never smiles for her, he is in general a happy child, but she must just see him being chilled. I shall have to make sure I tickle him next time we see her, just so she knows that he is a happy chap (generally).