Friday, 29 May 2009

There is so much to look at.

I have been trying to do for little bear what my darling father did for me. Wherever we went he would point out things, tell me all about them, encourage me to look.

So as we have walked along the street this week I have pointed out sparrows, swallows, yellow hammers, blue tits, pigeons and crows. As we have walked in the field I have pointed out Queen Anne's lace, wild garlic, buttercups, daisies, herb robert, roses, dandelions and nettles. For me it is a little sad. I grew up in an urban environment, but both of my parents had a country background and could tell me about flowers and animals and generally enjoy what was there. Little bear is more removed from that countryside. Now I wouldn't like to take him blackberrying because I would be worried about fumes from cars and what they may have been sprayed with.

One of my favourite sights is the blue tit that has nested in a crack in the back of a local pub. I have seen it flying to and fro, often with a full beak. It looks so full of life and joie de vivre. I may be grumbling at the owner of the pub because he hasn't mended the hole in my neighbours roof, but I am not in a hurry for him to repair this particular structural defect.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Dratted tablets

My medication is being adjusted again. It is all I can do not to nod off over the keyboard. I am desperately trying to stay awake long enough to stop little bear happening. It is not helpful that little bear is tired. He has had a lot of busy days recently and is still recovering from the effects of darling father's visit. So there seems to be a lot of little bear to watch out for.

My guess is that little bear needs his naps. This morning he just about crumbled because I printed out the wrong numberjack. But he didn't have much sleep, even though I think he needed a considerable nap. I have had some success with secondary naps, but I am not sure it will work today.

So I am trying to stay awake, and keep up with little bear. I have also done an impressive number of tasks, including chasing up lots of appointments for little bear and getting him booked into a dentist. As I am so phobic about the dentist, that is a big step for me. They have all been things, however, that I can do in small stages, with minimal concentration, sitting down.

On Saturday I nearly passed out in a shop. I was very grateful that little bear was not with me. Fortunately it was a good friend who runs the shop and who was not fussed at me holding on to the ice cream freezer for dear life. I shall be so glad when the tablets settle down and I get acclimatised.


Yesterday afternoon little bear insisted that I took him for a walk. I could not ignore the reins (best invention in the world!) and coat insistently presented to me. So out we went. Little bear was quite undaunted by the light rain and set off at a run.

We took some bread to see if there were any ducks to feed. There were none. Nor were there sparrows or pigeons or anything. It was all very dispiriting, and probably due to the weather. We did see some pretty flowers. Little bear thinks pretty flowers a poor comparison to ducks.

On the way back I looked at little bear. I had been thinking it was time for a haircut, and the barber shop was empty so in we went.

We go to a proper barbers with little bear, the one that dear heart patronises. Dear heart has been going to the place for some time, it has been established for over fifteen years. Well, the lady there is not chatty but she is marvellous with little ones.

It is perhaps as well that the lady is wonderful with little ones. Little bear did not want his hair cut, it was fine as it was, thank you, mother, and could I stop the nice lady messing around near his ears. He cried, he wiggled, he struggled and objected. I got covered in hair, teddy got covered in hair - and little kept rubbing his mouth with his hand and getting hair in his mouth. The lady was patience itself and gave him a lollipop at the end, which I was not sure he had earned.

But he looks so much the little lad now, I am even more besotted than ever.

More Numbers

Little bear continues to be absolutely fascinated by numbers. Specifically numberjacks. Specifically numberjacks to colour in from the Cbeebies website. We actually have a box of paper almost unused because we rarely print out items these days, but I can see it shrinking fast.

Dear heart is happy that little bear is happy. He has just carried off in triumph a printout of Numberjack One and is colouring it in. The paper cannot be reused - little bear is hard on his colouring. The thing is, something inside me is appalled at the profligate use of paper and is saying - must ration, must find alternatives, must find ways to limit amount of paper used. We have over a thousand sheets of paper sitting there, gathering dust. I am not sure about printer ink. I do know that not much ink is used in the 'colour in' lines.

I think I shall see if little bear gets bored before the paper runs out.I think there is a good chance. Then it will be time to worry about the paper position.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Little bear loves the Numberjacks. I must accept, reluctantly, that all the counting of toes, the number rhymes, the counting of steps up and down are nothing compared to animated numbers saving the world from Spooky Spoon and the Problem Blob.

Actually I am quite happy to indulge, as I am being woken up in the morning by little bear counting, he is counting as he is going to sleep and on the changing mat the best way to keep him still is to repeatedly count to ten with him.

Well, I thought I would print out some of the 'print out and colour' sheets from the Cbeebies website, and I started with the Numberjacks. Little bear thought it was the most marvellous thing ever. First he would point to the screen. Then he would watch me click and then he would practically vibrate with excitement as the printer produced - a cartoon of the number four, which he thought was brilliant. Then he would go away with his trophy and add a swirl of crayon, and then back, insistently pointing again.

I'm going to start saving junk mail for the printer. I think it is going to get a lot of use

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Going for a walk

We had a lovely walk yesterday, we went to Kirkstall Abbey. For those who do not know it, Kirkstall Abbey is a remarkably complete Cistercian Abbey about ten minutes drive from the centre of Leeds. It is surrounded by houses, not all of which are considered 'good areas' but it is a lovely place to visit.

Dear heart, darling father, little bear and I kicked a football round the church part of the Abbey, wandered around the outside of some ruins, walked along the banks of the River Aire and generally had a marvellous time. It was so peaceful. We saw some ducks, which little bear repeatedly counted, and some pretty flowers, and a dragon fly, and lots of nice doggies.

When we got back to the car park (free!) we had ice creams and little bear ate his Mr Whippy all the way down the the bottom of the cone - apart from all the ice cream that dripped of course.

Darling father and little bear

Darling father loves little bear. And as is natural, especially of family of that age, he brought goodies. He brought pears, chocolate and jelly babies. Of course he wanted to give sweet things to his grandson.

Well, Friday little bear impressed him by eating nearly all of most of two pears, which did not surprise me. Saturday we went out, and little bear had some treats but within reason. Sunday we did not go out, little bear was showing signs of exhaustion. This meant there was a greater opportunity to treat.

First of all there was the succession of jelly babies. Little bear was getting more and more hyper. I do give him sweets (far too many probably) but not in these quantities. Finally I said firmly that he should have no more jelly babies. 'Do you want some chocolate, little bear?' asked darling father five minutes later.

And to add to the fun, darling father revelled in little bear's ability to drink out of a cup - specifically Sprite, which is lovely, great in moderation, but it has lots of sugar and even some caffeine and is not perhaps the best choice for a hyped up toddler. Especially after darling father pretended to pour whisky into the cup as well.

By the time teatime came little bear was bouncing off the walls. I was tearing my hair out and dear heart was gently fuming. We actually abandoned all attempts to get him to eat tea, fought to get him to have a bottle of milk and struggled through the night time routine, after which he collapsed and slept for hours.

Memo to self - limit sugar.

Little bear and candy floss

Little bear had his first experience of candyfloss last Saturday. I was not in a hurry to give him neat sugar, but he is of an age now when he could enjoy it.

Or not.

I wish I could convey the deep suspicion he showed at his first exposure to candyfloss. If I could properly describe the depths of mistrust he showed I would win the Nobel prize for literature with ease. Dear heart broke off a piece of candyfloss and took a bite, handing the remainder to little bear. Little bear looked at the the pink stuff in his hands and then looked at dear heart, clearly saying, 'you are having a laugh, right?' Darling father tried taking a bite from the piece in little bear's hand. Little bear just raised a sceptical eyebrow. He was not convinced at all.

I think he managed two or three morsels, but in the end he wouldn't even lick the few stray fibres off his fingers. I had to abandon the attempt.

Maybe later in the summer.

I know why it is quiet

The people behind have indeed moved out.

I hope they have found somewhere nice, but from having spoken to them, they do seem to make a habit of falling out with neighbours. I suspect that the very nice lady will soon find that her kids are once again completely misunderstood. To be fair, the kids were always polite to me and I was never sworn at, but I think that they didn't always understand how noisy they were. I think that they were nice people who kept getting it wrong.

When we moved in to this house the people behind used to be almost silent (except the lady of the house used to finish hoovering at 6am) but since then the house has had some remarkable tenants. The best ones from our point of view, with the least noise and disruption, were later accused by the landlord of dealing drugs, but what we heard didn't seem to bear that out. Of course, I have no idea what drug dealers would sound like, but I suspect unpaid rent may have clouded the issue.

So, now we wait to find out who is going to move in next. We have had some truly awful people living there, and although the last lot were not too bad (if you didn't mind the noise and the fighting), our expectations are not high.

I suspect, from some of the noise, that they have removed the kitchen, which they installed. I would be more sympathetic to any other landlord, but from experience I don't think he will rush to make good his property. Which begs the question, what sort of people will rent a house without a kitchen? Because that is who is likely to be moving in behind us.

Friday, 22 May 2009

It's quiet - too quiet!

I am not sure what is going on with those at the back. I am sure there is something. But what? I am dreadful, I am terribly bad at twitching curtains and keeping tabs, but deep down I love gossip. Gossip is not good. Then again, neither is chocolate in the quantity I consume.

I think, and this is all conjecture, that the teenage sons of the house got themselves into a bit of bother last time darling father visited as there was lots of shouts and yells and people running up and down outside the house waving golf clubs and yelling things like, 'come on then!' with what looked like rage. Or fear, as I heard that the three young lads tried to take on a bar full of men. This is probably a learning experience.

Well, I then saw them talking to the nice man next door, looking extremely stressed. This is quite a development as they had previously set on the young man of the house.

Then yesterday I noticed that all the fences that they had put up had been taken down and that there was no sign of the akita or the rottweiler. The dogs are incredibly well behaved and well looked after, but a little off putting.

Yesterday there was only noise around 9pm - woke up little bear - with lots of banging and swearing. There is normally lots of noise all day, usually banging and swearing. There has been no noise that I noticed so far today.

Dear heart hopes that they haven't gone, because we have had worse neighbours, but then he is not kept awake by them on a Sunday night. I don't know what the family does on a Sunday but I don't think it includes a Prayer meeting. All noise stops at 11.55pm. Though Marilyn Manson at 11.45pm at full blast is not conducive to sleep.

I'm not really on visiting terms with them, so I can't really pop round for a cup of gossip, although I tried to be pleasant. I can't bear to speak to the landlord of the property as the way he has conducted business has made our lives so much worse. They didn't make as many friends as perhaps they could, due to riding noisy motorbikes at all hours and fighting in clumps so there is a restricted group I could ask.

I shall have to keep an ear out for further developments.

What a day!

I am not sure what time it will show on the 'time posted' stamp, but locally it is 11.30 am and I am frazzled.

Darling father swore that he would be arriving Wednesday, as Tuesday involves golf, possibly the longest stretch at the 19th hole. But there was football Wednesday night. Then Thursday is scrabble night - well, he says scrabble but he has a lady love in the group and it does involve late nights and alcohol.

So he says he will be here this morning.

Yesterday I couldn't move much from my chair (hence loads of posts) as my ladybits were playing up. Besides, if I left little bear in the living room to eg try and do some cooking then he would be in the study in a blink. I have got into the habit of unplugging the computer when I leave it, but little bear still rearranges the items and some of them are expensive.

Last night poor dear heart (as well as working on his work from work until 9.30pm) fitted a safety gate across the door to the study, in the hope that I would be able to blink.

This morning little bear not only managed to dislodge the new gate from the frame, he also managed to dislodge the gate down to the kitchen. The stairs to the kitchen are extremely steep and there is no handrail. I am terrified of him trying to get down them. This occurred while I was trying to heat up a morning bottle.

He also found the finger paints - I really need a safe place to stash them. I am so blessed he didn't have time to get into them.

After a very unsatisfactory attempt at a solid breakfast I took him upstairs. I need to clean the room darling father is staying in, remake ALL the beds, clean the bathroom and get rid of lots of rubbish and get the laundry downstairs. I managed to empty a bin. Little bear was not happy that I was there and he was in his room, so I came downstairs. He went to sleep.

And I have been having dizzy spells since. So I am sitting down, taking it easy because when darling father arrives I will be in dervish mode.

It isn't even lunch time!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Little bear takes a constitutional.

Little bear, bless him, is full of energy. The garden is not safe and the weather has not encouraged a trip to the park (for me it is at least fifteen minutes (my walking pace) each way plus play time). So we have gone to the shops.

We have gone to the local sandwich shop, which I would recommend to anyone, where little bear gets attention and a toasted teacake. We have gone to the local chemist where little bear gets attention and treats. We have gone to the local newsagents where little bear gets attention and treats. At the chemist in the local health centre little bear doesn't just get attention, he always gets a lollipop bought for him by a very kind lady who works there! A pattern has started to emerge.

Today we went out as soon as he woke from his afternoon nap, as it was sunny and the weather is erratic to say the least. We trundled along to the newsagents, 15p for a fudge. Then over a patch of grass and over a bridge (thank goodness for reins - a dual carriageway one side, a stream the other and a fast little bear is a terrifying combination). Then we went past the horse (I wish it wasn't just tethered there, I always worry but this seems to have at least someone that bothers) and up the bank. Then into the chemist. I wanted just one thing.

Little bear did not behave nicely, I was very cross, and apologetic to the lady. He wanted something that he had seen and he was not being parted from it. Not the sweets at his eye level, nor the toys - he went for a tomato. Which he has almost eaten. Over some time.

It has set me thinking. First of all little bear would never have come away with the object of his desire if he had tried for sweets or toys. Secondly, I need to find ways of going out for a walk without spending. Because all sorts of things seem to leap into my hand, not just the odds and ends and the bits for little bear.

Roll on the slightly better weather when the park is a better prospect. And next time I think I will stand firm, even for a healthy tomato. I don't want to be ashamed of him in shops.

Evil cat, evil eye

Evil cat still has a problem with her eye. She has to have eye drops - dear heart is a hero as I know I could not administer them. And she does not like having the eye drops. Time has not reconciled her.

Dear heart usually grabs her last thing at night, when little bear can't hear her language, and if he is lucky he can ambush her while she naps.

Today I (gently) rubbed my finger over her eyes and two huge pieces of gunk came out. Poor old cat.

She is getting away with quite a lot at the moment, as I am fussing. It has rather brought the knitting to a halt, as I have found myself knitting blind with the cat stationed across my throat between me and the needles. I never, somehow, notice the process. One minute she is sitting on the floor looking reproachful and then I suddenly realise that I can't see whether I have dropped a stitch or not.

Much more of this and I shall be looking for her teleporter.

Darn and Poot

I spotted a spelling mistake on my last post, and I can't work out how to edit it.

Darn, darn darn and darn.

I am not sure that it is entirely healthy, but I do like to make an effort to at least get the dratted spelling right.

Must try harder.

I hate noticing grammar and spelling mistakes. If I notice them in my posts it irritates me severely. If I notice them in other people's posts I feel uncomfortable, because really as long as something can be understood what is the point.

But then again, if you take an effort to try and get the grammar and spelling right you are more likely to be understood.

But on the other hand you can spend so much time eg stretching the sentence so that it doesn't end with a preposition that you lost the flow (Winston Churchill said that 'This is the sort of nonsense up with which I shall not put,' and some books of grammar say that it is not a problem anyway).

And I am well aware that without the red underlining and the back space my writing would be considerably messier. So I know I am not in a position to criticise.

And for posterity it has been recorded that dear heart knelt on a seven day part of the put up bed. Sigh.

Ebay is not my friend

I have been spending on ebay. I am now looking at the 'won' bit and looking very ruefully at the 'spent' total.

All of it seemed a good idea at the time. The material for curtains for little bear's room - lighter weight than the last lot - together with curtain tape and cotton (I can't believe I matched 'pale apricot' material with the right cotton on ebay, so lucky) and of course the new curtain hooks. Then dear heart knelt on a week point in the slat of a put up bed, which rather collapsed. So we looked at the chances of us actually performing the easy repair (arrange a replacement slat) and bought a new one. Then little bear showed even more fascination for the Numberjacks, so he got some little books and a dvd (or two...). And then I got some plants and father's day presents... And the drawer locks with little bear in mind...

One of the items came wrapped in a paper napkin and then an outer layer consisting of packing tape and a recycled holiday brochure. I think I shall give high stars for this, the postage charged was only a small amount over the cost of the actual postage and I do approve of recycling materials.

I think I shall have to watch spending. I may have a little potter on selling if I can find anything to sell. I shall consider carefully. This morning I noticed that some knitted Christmas decorations were on sale. I cannot feel that selling Christmas decorations in May is hitting the top of the market.


The bollards have gone. It seems such a short time since they appeared without warning. Now they have disappeared with the same lack of ceremony.

I sometimes need to remind myself not to let little bear stray too far in the road, as we live near a blind corner, and cars come round at such a rate. I know it made things awkward for a lot of people, dear heart included, and there is the principle of someone just shoving in bollards without so much as a by your leave, but the white vans now rattle past at speed. To no real purpose as both exits to my road are extremely busy with lots of people who don't let other cars out.

(in fairness to some of the drivers, I have been very kindly allowed to cross when cars stop when trying to get little bear across the road).

Rumours of tarmac continue, but I am not convinced that they will come to anything. You see, part of the road is owned in common by four houses, owned by three separate people. Who don't like each other. This may be an obstacle to agreement.

I can't wait to move

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Little bear is caught black handed

This happened a week or so ago, but I thought I would record it here, just to say.

Honestly, I had merely stepped downstairs to put in some oven chips, barely a blink. I promise I do not make a habit of leaving little bear abandoned to his own devices - bitter experience!

I came back up and little bear was holding a sort of egg shaped pen, designed for 18 months plus, roughly in the shape of an ovoid penguin. It is not meant to have a top or lid, merely an extra thick plug at the top which has to be walloped onto the paper to get the ink to flow.

Little bear had removed the plug. With his teeth. He looked like a coal miner, even his gums were black! And his face. And his hands. And some interesting hand print shaped patterns on the sofa, tv cabinet, chair, safety gate...

That was not the worst, however. The black gunk around the room was lovely and washable and little bear was pink and adorable quite quickly. Regrettably he had ingested a considerable amount of ink. And the ink had not stayed black as it had travelled through his system. I defy any mother not to blink when confronted with a vivid bottle green nappy. An acidic, unmistakably non natural bottle green nappy. Fortunately the only ill effects were my brief shock before I remembered his previous day's exploits.

Monday, 18 May 2009

What do you call the handle on the door?

Last night I had one of my rare struggles to get little bear to sleep. He was not happy, and he was sharing. The problem was the door.

Little bear has learned how to turn the round door knob to get into the study. It takes a bit of work sometimes but he gets there in the end. The door to his room, however, is missing, which little bear should have remembered as he was complicit in its removal - he managed to unscrew the handle and I lost the screw! As the door opens and shuts fine without it, due to a quirk of the doorway, we have not bothered getting it replaced. There is suspicion that little bear thinks that if the door knob was there, and he could turn it, then he could get out of the safety gate. However, the door knob is not there.

Little bear does not think this is good enough. At least, from last night he didn't think it was good enough. I wish I could properly convey the dismayed bewilderment as he actually said, 'door' and then pointed at the place where the door should be, then pointed to his nose. Then he would shake his head and spread his baffled hands. Then point at the lack of door knob, then his nose.

Dear heart was nearly on the floor laughing as we tried to get through the bed time routine punctuated by me repeating, 'yes, sweetheart, the door knob's missing.' 'Door!' point at space containing lack of door knob, point at nose. "Yes, love, it's missing." point, point, emphatic shake of head. No matter how we phrased it or what was said, little bear was desperately upset. The door had no nose.

Well, when you first believe little bear is complaining because the door has no nose, you can't stop laughing. I did try, the poor little lad was desperately upset. However, after two and a half hours, two bottles and a lot of cuddles I was grateful that he subsided to a grumble around 10.00. However he was up again at 6.30 - yes, he was pointing at the door, then his nose! Now he has drifted off to a blessed afternoon nap - after pointing at the door, then his nose.

Dear heart has said he will fix the door knob. I truly believe that the time cannot come soon enough.