Tuesday, 30 June 2009


Dear heart has seen the nursery which little bear now attends.

It is Ofsted approved, registered with the council, great child to helper numbers, great equipment, great standards, lovely building...

Dear heart and I think that really we don't want to move away from the nursery.


A way with words

I overheard dear heart say the following to little bear.

"Do you remember the day I told you that you could play on the computer? No, neither can I, off there."

I knew things were too quiet

I took little bear along to get a yoghurt. On the way out and and on the way out there was a man. He looked very official, with a white shirt and numbers on navy epaulettes and was talking in an official way into the mobile phone. He was looking so official I nearly didn't see the beer gut.

Well, he was looking at next door's last remaining caravan, and at the growing number of vehicles belonging to next door, and looking serious. Then as I was going in my house he popped a note through next door's letter box.

I thought it had all gone quiet. I thought it was all nice and calm. I thought that the only thing I needed to worry about now was the hole in next door's roof. Then we could try and sell.

Obviously those who put the bollards in at the end of the road and who then had to take them out now are upset. Bollards are, I am sure, not inexpensive.

We are only really affected when it comes to trying to sell and also upset neighbours. It is not nice, however, with an 'atmosphere' in the street.

Stopping the Shopping 6

My tumble dryer is not very good. It has a very high temperature so there are quite big limits on what can be dried in it. I am considering getting a new washing machine without a tumble dryer, as effectively all I dry in it are the duvet covers, bedding and socks.

I was looking at a JML gadget. But I considered, after listening to the opinions on MSE, that I was just after the gadget.

Anyway, I had seen that the temperature was going to be high today so I washed oodles last night, confident that I would be able to get it dry today. But when I just took little bear out there was the unmistakable evidence of rain. This was not what I wanted to see. Ah well, another few days of living in a chinese laundry.

But at least I am not chasing a gadget and that is good.

Talking about the weather

The weather continues warm.

It is so hot and humid, I am not comfortable at all. Outside is so damp that the washing is hardly drier than when I put it out last night. The dehumidifier downstairs is being emptied twice a day. I don't think I am cut out for exploring the Amazon jungle!

Now the battle is on to ensure that little bear gets sufficient liquid. My late mother, my darling brother and dear heart have all had the same problem - dehydration. Drinking liquid seems to happen to other people. I have forgotten how many times I have looked at dear heart through narrowed eyes and asked, 'how much liquid have you had to day?' and seen a guilty start as he tries to remember when liquid last passed his lips. The record was many years ago and was two in the afternoon when he had his first drink of the day - and that was southern comfort and ginger! Then he had a headache.

My late mother was far worse. I remember her in hospital, she had collapsed with side effects from chemo and the nurse was trying to get her to drink. 'Come on cariad - some coffee?' He could get away with murder when he called my late mother cariad - Welsh for darling. She would shake her head. 'Tea? Fruit tea? Lemonade? Water?' She just didn't want to drink.

So poor little bear gets nagged to drink all the time.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Pyjama Game continues

Little bear still does not approve of pyjamas although last night he was calm enough for us to read a story to him. He could just about bring himself to be calm if allowed to wear his wellie boots with his pyjamas.

It was absolutely heartbreaking. It isn't a tantrum as such. He just sobs, tears roll down his face, he looks at you in bewildered pain that he isn't wearing his proper sleepsuit. Screaming and shouting do not get him anywhere, but I nearly folded with this. Poor little mite.

The pyjama saga will run I am sure, but I think he is slowly being reconciled.

Stopping the Shopping 5

I have been making up little bear's curtains. This is less arduous than it sounds - bung is used a lot. Bung the heading tape on at the same time as you turn over the material at the top. Backstitch by hand while watching TV. Bung on a double hem - I can't bring myself to use backstitch which may withstand little bear. It is hem stitched, but it takes no time - less time than backstitch but I also feel that it is the proper way to do it. The selvedge of the material acts as the side seam.

I am just finishing off the first curtain. I am not doing the 'hang it first then put up the hem so that they match and fit perfectly. I just want something to block the light. But I can't find the rest of the heading tape. And the brutal truth is that I won't be able to find it without a deep clean of the study. Which won't happen soon.

So realistically I need to buy some more. But from where? My normal first port of call is ebay but I only have 12 days to go before I can get my wool. I would be devastated if I had to start again. I can't think of any shop that would be open on a Sunday to get some. Darn. In fact the only place I know that might sell the dratted stuff within miles isn't open on a Sunday.

Well, I had a look on the Abakhan website - the curtain heading was very inexpensive, but the postage was £4.99 to send 64p of heading tape. I had to take a few deep breaths. I shall continue my research.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Feet of fury again

When I first started this blog I wrote about little bear and his feet of fury. He did not approve of sleep suits without feet. They were not right - sort it out mother! Well, he is two and a half and a strapping lad, and in this weather pyjamas are so much more suitable. So today we went to Matalan. I explained that these were pyjamas and that he was going to wear them instead of sleep suits and they were for Big Boys. They only had shortie pyjamas, which looked absolutely adorable.

I am not sure about little bear's temperature control. He was trying to put on a sweater this morning, he is refusing to part with his wellies and this afternoon he put an extra t shirt on over his t shirt as I think he misses his vest. It is extremely warm here, and his is the warmest room in the house.

Tonight I put on the shortie pyjamas. Little bear was not happy. He did not want these horrible things. He wanted his sleep suit. He was quite adamant - little bears wear sleepsuits, sort it out mother! In vain I tried to point out that the pyjamas were lovely, that Big Boys wore them, that he was too big for sleepsuits. He wanted his sleepsuit. He even dragged a sleepsuit out of the wash basket and presented it to me with vehemence. Poor little mite, tears were rolling down his face and he was looking at me with desperate bewilderment.

Dear heart abandoned the attempt to read him a story as little bear sobbed and tried to pull his shortie pyjamas down. Eventually he went to bed in sorrow after I had sung to him. He was not a happy little bear.

I think bedtimes could be a little fraught for a while.


You know you are not in really deep sleep when you half wake up and lose count of the number of legs you have.

I think I got to about six, before I drifted deeper.

Little bear happens again

We do not have an overall thermostat in our home, we have individual radiator settings, sort of knobs at the bottom corner of the radiator. I have turned some off and some down, depending of course on the function of the room.

Little bear has unscrewed the one in his room and we have been unable to screw it back. As nothing has exploded I am waiting for my thoughts to catch up. We could try and get it put back on and hope that little bear will resist the temptation to removed it.

I think leaving well alone is probably the best course of action for now. I just wish that little bear would as well.

Ye canna change the laws of chemistry

Dear heart has been poorly, but soldiering on. He has, at my urgent insistence, taken some soluble paracetamol. The last dose I saw him take he put the paracetamol in a bottle of flavoured water and put the top on to shake up the mixture.

Those with an interest in chemical matters will not be surprised at what happened next. In retrospect I was not surprised though at the time I thought what he was doing was the most natural thing.

The top blew off, with a phenomenal bang, ricocheted off the ceiling and landed in the kitchen. I do feel blessed that no-one was in the trajectory - it went off like a rocket. Or even a swamp dragon - I really should have known!

I just thought that I should post this as an Awful Warning to those who are prone to soluble paracetamol.

I think there is a communication gap

My sister in law and her daughter visited last Sunday.

Sometimes there is such a huge gap of communication. The complete lack of comprehension that I should want to knit anything is a case in point. Home-made is not a compliment. Home-made is acceptable for cakes, but nothing else.

The daughter rather disparaged a friend who was knitting a sweater dress, 'if I want one I will go and buy one'. Now actually that is the sensible option with the price of yarn today, and you certainly will have a better chance of no dropped stitches and finished this century than if I were the knitter. But it did seem a little sad. I don't like to offer to make one, it would look home-made and I don't like to presume. But it does rather show up a vast difference in outlook.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Starting something else

I've finished my blanket - a huge black and blue mound of knitted wool. My sister in law was baffled why I should want to knit this blanket, but I found it immensely therapeutic to knit.

And that's the thing. You see, I haven't measured it. I know that there is 2000g of wool, because that was how much was in the package. Well, I say wool but I wouldn't like to meet the sheep. I haven't folded it away. I haven't even cut off the remaining length. I don't care about finishing things. I only like starting things. I am about 400g into my next blanket.

It probably says something desperately profound about me. But all I can do is look in blank incomprehension when some kind soul says 'think how good it will feel when you finish it'. It will feel nothing. I will lose interest. I have a sweater that I started sewing up nearly 18 months ago. It only needs two seams doing. But then that is finishing off something, which is very dust and ashes compared to starting.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Stopping the Shopping 4

Today I thought - wow! I haven't spent anything today! Then I remembered £40 + of groceries delivered by Sainsbury today. Drat.

But it has certainly opened my eyes to how much I spend - pennies on ebay, never much at a time - sweeties for little bear - we could do with this - we could do with that...

My next resolution is to set goals that I need to achieve before I buy anything that isn't absolutely essential. Of course, a definition of essential is a flexible point. My definition of essentials for my handbag is probably not the same as that of Kate Moss.

Speaking of handbags, after an interesting tussle with little bear I now have only one strap on my handbag. I am in no hurry to replace it, I am not a handbag person. I shall pop into Matalan when the going is good. If only I could show the same restraint in other things.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Dusty times

Darling father has more energy than I do, but so do most plants. However he decided he wanted to wash his car while he was here.

So, while I was trying to get all washed up and the washing on the line and lunch for little bear and prepare for tea, I also dug out some old cloths and a bucket of soapy water (the cheap washing up liquid I use for plants) and a brush and dustpan.

I would like to point out that I was still trying to get on with things afterwards while darling father had his afternoon forty winks.

Well, that was Saturday. On Monday as he went to leave the building work across the street had left a fine film of dust all over his car. This was quite disappointing for him. Fortunately I have a grossly overgrown buddleia at that side which means that most washing hung out does not get a fresh dusting unless the work is particularly vigorous. It also gives me an excuse not to wash our car. Which apparently is blue. Or possibly dark grey. Probably not silver. Could be dark green.

Apparently the plans had been somewhat misleading when it came to the water supplies and it is surprising just how much ended up dug. This includes a deep trench with what feels like a very flimsy board over it. Little bear bounces over it. As I am a fuller figure of a lady, I proceed with caution.

I'm not sure what is going to be like when the building work stops. I just can't imagine it.

Monday, 22 June 2009

I am a proud mother

Little bear (who crashed out around 7.30pm) was very good at nursery. They warned me that a bruise might appear on his arm - this is a relief. I have no idea where most of his bruises come from. I have always assumed that they are part and parcel of him being two and a half and a normal little boy. They let me know that he had had some cream for his nappy rash. I have no idea where the rash came from as I am profligate in changing him, I suspect the muggy weather.

And then she said, 'He knows all his colours, doesn't he?' I was so proud. He knows the main colours (you would get The Look if you asked him to point to Dark Avocado) and he knows the Makaton signs for them as well. He even teases us - showing a brown crayon deliberately when asked for a green one. We knew it was deliberate because he found the green crayon first, put it to one side and then held up the brown crayon! He also knows his numbers and letters - although I suspect he knows the lower case alphabet and is a bit shaky on the upper case.

This knowledge has come from me singing to him, playing with him, Baby TV, Cbeebies and DVDs that he likes to watch. I've always counted steps we went up or down, counted spoonfuls, counted sweeties and counted toes. I've been reading to him on my lap for ages. I just thought that was normal. Now I think about it, I think he is doing really well and I am really proud of him.

I can't take credit for it - of course I have done my best, but he just loves finding out stuff. I can see him working things out sometimes. But now I can see how hungry he is to learn things and how inquisitive and intelligent he is, and I am wondering - what do I do now?

I think I will start with extra cuddles. I am just so proud!

A pleasant surprise

I just want to say that our bin men are really good. They have just taken eight black bin bags as well as a full wheelie bin without any complaint.

They deserve a medal!

Darling Father has left.

Darling father arrived on Friday. One of the first things he did was give little bear full sugar pepsi while I was getting his cuppa. Little bear didn't get to sleep until well after 10pm. He was happily playing and singing nice and quiet, but he was not asleep.

Saturday, well, my plans to get ironing done were completely scuppered. So were my plans to get the sponge paints out for little bear. Dear heart was working a lot of Saturday afternoon, and he is not well. My darling brother and his friend came round as well. It was lovely to see them and ate up most of the evening. Evil cat slept on my head as I was sleeping downstairs.

Sunday, darling father, dear heart and little bear went to see the farm animals and have ice cream so I cleaned and waited for my sister in law and her daughter to visit. They said that they would come 'after bingo' which in the past has meant @ 2pm. I cleaned and tidied and threw out while the men were out, then brushed and swept (and I have absolutely no idea what little bear has done with the dustpan) under the supervision of darling father, and then waited. And waited. Little bear by this point was absolutely beside himself with tiredness so upstairs he went.

About half an hour later my sister in law and her daughter arrived. Bless them they didn't insist that he be brought down. But he woke relatively soon regardless, with dear heart having to use the bathroom facilities. They stayed until comparatively late, so I ended up having a takeaway which I hadn't budgeted for.

Even darling father flinched at my expression when I came in and found him giving little bear full sugar and caffeine Sprite. Little bear stayed awake until around 10pm again. Dear heart was working for most of the evening. And evil cat slept on my head again.

This morning little bear may have napped except that he was in his room, waiting for a nap to hit, and I kept having to trudge up and down stairs for all the things that darling father had left upstairs. Lunch time I went against my habits and gave him a bottle, poor mite was on his knees. Darling father left, little bear had some quiet time and I finally took him to nursery. I wasn't sure about this, but I thought he would benefit. He cried, for the first time, when I left him. He was giving me the signs for being hungry, but I wasn't so sure about that. He looked so tired. I caved in and rang the nursery and they said he was playing really happily.

I am going to have some 'me' time now, and Wimbledon!

Friday, 19 June 2009

I just sent an email to dear heart and as I logged out I saw a header that said, 'win a £3,000 shopping spree at Primark.'

I have been stunned. Spending £3,000 at Primark - would that include fixtures as well? That is a lot of tops to dissolve in the wash.

Mind you, fair is fair - it is the annual wage of one of the people working for their suppliers.

Taking five minutes

I am intermittently clearing up. I have just filled two bin bags of rubbish from the living room. Fortunately little bear was not there to see some of his more tattered books disappear - well chewed rather than well read is the best description.

However as I have dug behind and under things I have thought about how much packaging comes into this house, how much comes in just to throw away. If I get little bear a scone from the sandwich shop there is a paper bag. Dear heart likes his cola in cans. Obviously you buy things in containers, but sometimes the layers and layers of packaging are so wasteful.

Evil cat's food is a case in point. We buy a shipping order about every three months, to get past the 'free postage' point and also so I don't need to keep thinking about whether she is getting low. We get the items from the internet because it is cheaper and saves dear heart getting a small amount from the vet (who doesn't provide large amounts) and has to go an hour out of his way back from work. So we order crunchies - just in plastic sacks around 2kg each. Evil cat is supposed to only need around 25g per day. Actually she eats about half of that, but begs for at least twice the quantity. She also gets pouches, which I can cope with because of the lack of waste, she eats more and it adds liquid to a dehydrated tabby. But pouches are packaged as boxes of 12, and you can only buy 3 x 12, in a further box. And the crunchies and the boxes of boxes of pouches come in a further big box for delivery.

Dear heart may be going to the tip this weekend.

Spring cleaning is late this year.

Well, little bear was at nursery yesterday afternoon and in a rather patchy effort I removed three bin bags full of rubbish from the room where darling father will be staying.

Regrettably I found a huge mound of little bear's old clothes. You see, when he was about four months old all sorts of things went all wrong. There was a horrible, nasty and dark time. I kept myself going by buying clothes for little bear. Now, ebay is my friend and getting big bundles of clothes for little bear for very little money was a comparatively harmless hobby. However I have already taken enough clothing round to a neighbours to kit out two of her relatives new born boys for the first year of their lives. Now I have found a vast sea of outgrown little bear clothing and I am just stunned. Also I had already passed some on to someone who was fostering.

So I am going to try and getting it all washed and ironed and on ebay (which as it is my friend will hopefully get me some pennies). But added to the dirty washing that I have dragged out means that after the earlier washing marathon I now have twice as much washing as before and all the ironing to do. I could cry.

And as for cardboard boxes.... We only get one recycling collection per month. Well, if you add up all the boxes from Lakeland, ebay, approved food, various online purchases, etc etc then you would not believe the amount of cardboard in a large heap near the kitchen door slowly transferring to the recycling bin. Even the special food for evil cat comes in huge quantities of cardboard.

I am just glad that I seem to be in the mood to clear round. Long may this continue!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Stopping the Shopping 3

The Lakeland catalogue has come. I haven't dared look at it. But I really want to. It says on the front that there is a preview for the summer sale!

Well, I have my incentive for staying off ebay (23 days to go) which is wool to make a blanket. I have the incentive to cut down grocery spends which is a new washing machine (possibly by Christmas, but it is an incentive).

I really want the extra air purifiers. Sigh. Well, I will get them if I can get all the curtains sorted out. I have the lace for curtains for the porch, kitchen and dining room (all weird shapes and small sizes) and I have the material for little bear's room half made up and I have curtains already made up for the spare room. The curtains in the study have needed hemming for several years (so embarrassing to admit) and the junk room has a curtain that was the epitome of bad taste in the 80s. It won't take me that long to sort everything out, I just need an incentive - the air purifiers. Plus whatever is needed to make it up to a free gift and free delivery.

So, when I have resisted ebay for a month then I get the wool for the blanket (I have seen just the stuff!) and some much needed slippers for me and the material for the curtain in the junk room.

When all the curtains have been sorted out I get the extra air purifiers.

Now all I need is an incentive to get those silocon 2lb loaf tins. I've seen some lovely blue ones, plus some great moulds and heat mats. On ebay of course. I shall have to give it some more thought.

Getting ready for a visitor.

Darling father is due to visit tomorrow. This entails a certain amount of panic on my part. However it is only Friday to Monday, so I should be able to cope.

Darling father is used to well regulated clean houses. This is not clean and is not well regulated. This household lurches from crisis to crisis. He is used to autonomy, but of course here the house rather revolves around little bear.

And, as always, darling father only seems to visit when it is that time of the month, when I am never at my best.

He will 'get lost' on the way and have to call in to various pubs for directions. He will drink vast quantities of whisky, watch the football at a ridiculous volume and read the Daily Mail. He will wander off to put his lottery on and accidentally stray into a local pub. Where he will have to have a drink, because it's polite.

Evil cat lets him cuddle her! Most people need plasters at the very least.

As for little bear, he will be plied with unsuitable sweets, unsuitable toys and lots of love. Any attempt at discipline and darling father will cry, 'he's only a baby!'

Dear heart will spend a lot of time on his computer.

I may not be on much over the weekend.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Melting moments.

Well, my token effort at housewifery, after constantly reloading the washing machine, was ironing dear heart's shirt for tomorrow.

This led to a really nice plastic jug that was lovely and easy to hold and held just the right amount having a huge hole melted into it by the warming iron. I was too busy sorting out some piles of clothes while the iron heated up to notice. In fact I only noticed it when melted plastic was smeared all over one of dear heart's new M&S shirts.

I don't think Anthea Turner needs to worry about competition from me.

Little bear has a cold

It is official. Little bear has a cold. I am embarrassed to admit, but little bear was looking so washed out and his cough was seeming to get a little worse (it wasn't even a very big cough) that I took him to the drs.

Honestly, if you had seen him, all pale with big eyes looking like a little ghost, you would have thought he was suffering. No, he has a viral cold.

The dr was absolutely brilliant. He tried to coax little bear to open his mouth to see if his throat was sore. Little bear was not co-operating, thank you so much. But little bear graciously permitted the dr to examine his ears and listen to his chest. The dr was lovely, letting little bear see the stethescope and listen to his own heart - I wish you could have seen the gorgeous smile of wonder on his face as he heard the noise.

It was a viral cold, he will be better in no time. I felt so embarrassed wasting the dr's time but he was very kind about it. Of course, now I am green nosed, coughing and with a sore throat. Dear heart also has the sore throat. I feel absolutely dreadful, but reassured that it is a viral cold.

Not a good washing day.

It is not a drying day here today, and I didn't trust the weather yesterday either. As a result I have heaps of wet washing everywhere. I may have to grit my teeth, open some windows and put on the heating, just to get some stuff dry.

But I had to wash. I finally ventured near dear heart's pile of 'clothes he has worn'. I dragged out 19 shirts - yes, nineteen! Not to mention socks, undies, t-shirts and one or two casual shirts. Dear heart cleared around little bear's room. There was a heap of clothes that needed washing about two foot tall. Then there are the usual heap of towels, my stuff and cleaning rags.

The cleaning rags are a bit of a sham, really. The whole house needs a clean, a real deep clean. I keep talking about it, but I talk a good housekeeping. It doesn't actually get done. And yesterday was yet another takeaway. I would be ashamed to let anyone reading this see my home.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Spending Temptations

I made an unwelcome discovery yesterday.

My darling uncle kindly bought me a vast quantity of silicon bake ware, lots of sandwich tins and loaf tins. I threw my old (and rather shabby) bake ware out. It was in need of replacing regardless. However now I find that the loaf 'tins' (squishy silicon rectangular moulds) are all 1lb tins, and the recipes I have to use them for require 2lb tins.

This is not welcome news.

Now, I know that I could use two times 1lb loaf and watch the cooking times, or try overfilling the 1lb loaf tins. I could try finding different recipes.

Bet I end up buying some 2lb loaf tins. The only consolation is that Lakeland do not do them in silicon. They do them in tin, however...

Still Green Nosed

Poor little bear had a bad day yesterday. And he is all bunged up and horribly nosed today. And he doesn't want to eat and he doesn't want to sit and he doesn't know what he wants but he wants it NOW.

I have reluctantly decided not to take him to nursery. The cough that he is developing tipped the scales on that decision. I'm going to try and get him to the doctor tomorrow re the cough, just to be sure.

I would like to say that I realise just how lucky I am. Dear heart was on a course recently for Makaton sign language - because little bear is not speaking we were referred. He heard so many heartbreaking stories and saw so much courage in those attending. We have a little boy who is just not ready to talk yet. He has a minor cold. We are incredibly lucky.

Stopping the Shopping 2

It is 25 days to go before I have gone a whole month without spending on ebay. I confess, I have been checking out various wools for incentives.

I have all the presents I need for June sorted out. I know what I am getting in July. I am optimistic about the grocery shopping.

The big temptation is Lakeland now. I obtained an air purifier for dear heart's room. It has made a positive and significant difference. Now all I need to do is get one for the main living area and kitchen. And possibly just outside little bear's room (I wouldn't trust anything plugged in near him at the moment!). And in this short paragraph I have mentally spent nearly £60!!! Mind you, all I need to do is add a pack of bin fresheners (I love their orange fresheners) and I have free delivery and a free gift.

I wonder how long I can resist this temptation? I need to find a really good task to use this as an incentive...

My son the fashionista

I bought some welly boots from ebay. They are basic, with blue and green spots on that look just fine. Including postage, they were actually cheaper than the welly boots I had bought previously in a local shop.

I couldn't bring myself to pay extra for 'Bob the Builder' or 'Thomas the Tank Engine'. If he was old enough to make a choice I might, depending on the budget. At his age it seems silly to pay extra for 'names' - I am sure I will feel the pressure soon enough. At the moment he is not dressed by Gap, or dressed by Baby Gucci - he is dressed mainly by ebay plus donations from generous relatives.

I do give him options. I still melt remembering his first proper pair of shoes, for his Christening. We went into Clark's shop, and he was placid and calm as he sat in a basement full of shoes for the first time, after going in a lift for the first time, and we looked at all the little shoes. The nice lady measured his feet and then brought out several pair of shoes. Little bear just looked at them and pointed at one particular pair with firm assurance. That was the pair he got.

I have also stood in Matalan asking him which top he would like. At this point I usually get The Look which says, 'are you mad, woman, like I care - just choose one and I can go home and put my feet up with some juice.'

I have had to hide a fleece top which he decided that he HAD to wear and was crying until it was on. The room temperature was 24 Centigrade. Little bear, it appears, is prepared to suffer for fashion.

This morning, as I went to get him changed and dressed, he greeted me at the safety gate, immaculately turned out in a terry sleep suit and welly boots. And didn't have a camera.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

More yeurck!

Little bear's nose continues to be gruesome. It is really prolific, and now there is a tiny nose bleed adding some extra yeurck. I think any further description would be completely unfair to anyone who has just eaten. Just take my word for it - it is not pleasant.

Little bear violently objects anyway to his nose being wiped, and it must be sore at the moment, but it is getting something of a comedy. We have tried giving him a tissue to wipe his own nose. He just looked at me and politely put the tissue in the bin. I tried showing him in the mirror the before and after effects of a tissue. He was unconvinced. He did a perfect mime for dear heart - a wonderful swipe across the nasal area that never even connected. Then all in wrestling moves and vigorous wriggling occur while we try and get him something respectable in the nose department.

Now, being a mum, I am fretting. Poor little mite. This morning he had barely the energy to sit on my lap and watch Ceebeebies. Of course, after an hour or two he was happy to hurtle around the room to Boogie Beebies, so he is obviously not failing.

First thing this morning I was ready to drag him off to the Drs first thing Monday morning. Of course Monday is a frenetic day for any Doctor so I would not normally take him then, and now that he is obviously not about to expire, not even from the little cough, then I may hang on until Tuesday, depending on how he is this afternoon.

Also, will he be welcomed at nursery while he is so nasally productive? I do not envy the nursery carers with that problem.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The wonderful world of little bear

I think little bear has reached the developmental stage of having an imagination. The other night, when a teddy (not the teddy, but a teddy that he has in bed) was covered by the duvet he was upset and picked it up and gave it a hug. Of course I melted.

However I suspect he is using his imagination more and more, especially with the Numberjacks. One particular 'baddy' is called the Problem Blob which makes gross noises that are designed to appeal to little boys and drops blobs of slime on people who then are affected by the machinations of the Problem Blob. The last one I saw, those who were 'blobbed' were suffering from things being too big or too small - it is aimed at toddlers.

I suspect he has been trying to copy one episode where things that were blobbed could only move one way or got stuck when we were out, as some of his walking has been very erratic. Of course he has to stand on every grid and drain cover as well, which does not help a straight line of walk, but I am sure I can hear him saying 'blb blb blb' which is the best he can manage for the truly awful sounds of that Problem Blob.

He has also said 'blb blb blb' when pointing at a mole on my arm. I am not sure if he expects me to start acting like the victims of the Problem Blob, but I am not in a hurry to fill that role.

This morning when I was dressing him I used the vest I took off him to wipe the horrible green stuff from his nose. 'Look at that!' I said, showing him. It was disgusting, but he is a little boy.
'Blb blb blb' he said.

I am not quite sure what to expect next.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Green nosed again.

I think little bear is still teething. He seems to have been teething almost non stop since he was three months old. Well, there had been a lull, but I noticed a very sore patch on his gum, lower right, about the size of a molar. So it is teething time again.

So little bear is still little bear. He is not unduly bad tempered and he still has a keen eye for mischief. But he has nappy rash. He has horrible nappies. He is off his food. He is out of sorts. Worst of all, he has a very productive green nose. It is truly disgusting, even on little bear. It looks like it should audition for Dr Who.

So last night I had a disturbed night. I hardly have any of these, it is months since the last. But he was crying at 11.30, and needed a cuddle and a fuss. He went down fine, and I could here him 'talking' to his toys. But all through the night I could hear him coughing and every now and then he would give a little cry in his sleep. He slept through those cries. I couldn't.

I used to give him medised, which would dry up the runny nose, at least overnight, so he could get some rest. Of course now it has been reclassified as over six only, so I have one of those battery operated vapour thingies. I am hoping that will help.

But guess how tired I am? I think I may still have a lingering lurgy under the surface as I nearly passed out in the kitchen. I am just so tired.

I don't know what time it is tagged on the blog, but it is three pm here, little bear has just started another nap, and I am about to follow suit.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Positively negative

Little bear has learned to say 'no'.

He is managing some other words now. He does a very good 'juice', and 'blue' and 'yellow' are more or less recognisable. I am deliberately not understanding as much, and trying to encourage him to tell me what he wants/needs.

He still will not convey any information about the state of his nappy. However, that was when we first saw 'no' in action. 'How is your nappy?' I asked. Little bear looked furtive, in the sort of 'a big boy who I didn't know did it and ran away' sort of furtive. He shook his head, 'no'. The unease he showed as he said that led straight to the changing mat - the nappy was not suitable for description. 'No' is the standard response to any question about his nappy, and the amount of furtive guilt is directly proportional to the speed which I drag him to the changing mat.

Then we are getting the random 'no' which I believe all toddlers indulge in. 'Would you like an apple or a pear?' 'no'.

There is also the 'no' that translates into, 'are you mad, woman?' 'How about a nap?' comes under that, or 'would you like some more apple/pear/banana?' when he is more interested in his cars. The blank disbelief little bear can convey by that is amazing.

The absolute cutest is the printouts. Little bear is still extremely fond of Numberjacks, so I had the screen on Cbeebies Home page to print some out to colour. 'Should I print out Number One?' Little bear gives me a gorgeous smile and shakes his head. 'No'. 'How about Number Two?' 'No', again with a cute grin. And so on, all the way through the screen and all the other printouts on the page. And the smiles got more and more playful, he was teasing his mum (in the nicest way possible).

I find one thing very interesting. I am not as direct as my late mother who was happy pouring jugs of cold water over toddlers having tantrums. I don't think I could be so ruthless, though I would never condemn a mother at the end of her tether being pushed by a little one. However neither myself nor dear heart would tolerate much in the way of defiance. I always thought that the toddler spell of 'no' which all toddlers go through, would be a nightmare clash of wills. However little bear, operator that he is, has worked out that outright defiance gets him nowhere. Asking nicely or being calm gets him a lot more. If little bear threw a tantrum at being taken to the changing mat he would get very little sympathy from me. As it is, a furtive 'no' gets a lot more tolerance and cuddles and the usual games.

And it amazing the amount of 'stuff' he has obtained by 'asking' nicely.

I would also add that he is a Mr Mischief. While we visited darling uncle, little bear indicated that he wanted some banana. Now, he had been stuffing himself non stop for the previous two hours and I was sure it was greed and not hunger, so I told him no. After a minor grump, little bear put the banana back in the box. Then picked up a parsnip and took a swift bite out of it! The comedy timing was immaculate - and saved him from more than a token telling off as no-one could keep a straight face.

I don't stand a chance.

Stopping the Shopping

Well, I won two slinky tops for just under £10 inclusive of postage. So I am happy about that.

And I bought darling uncle's birthday present from little bear from ebay (arrived today).

I already have all the father's day presents needed.

Little bear has his welly boots.

So it is a mere thirty days to hold out before ordering the yarn.

I have to get a present for my darling brother for his birthday at the end of July. I pay a magazine subscription for him but I like to get him a little fun present from little bear. It may be socks.

I am carefully recording how much I spend on the groceries et al. I haven't spent anything on little bear this week. Poor little bear - or he would be if he wasn't deluged by toys, paper, crayons, pencils, dvds and cuddles.

I just need to keep my nerve.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Hair raising experience

Six weeks ago I suffered a major lapse of judgement. I have been going to a local hairdressers, approximately ten yards from our house. I have been going on Saturday afternoons, when dear heart is watching little bear. But at my last cut I said, will it be okay to have my little boy with me? That means I can come in when you are quietest and not take up a slot when you are busiest. They said it wouldn't be a problem.

I must have been raving mad. What was I thinking of? Little bear is, on the whole, by and large and in general, a good little boy. He is a placid little boy. The nursery said he was well behaved. Local shops say that they think that he is well behaved (though I suppose they would anyway) because he is not, under any circumstances, allowed to run riot.

I was in the hairdressers one hour and fifteen minutes. That is a long time for a little boy aged two and a half to entertain themselves, especially as he woke up out of sorts. He was working on extra mischief anyway before we even left the house.

I came prepared - a new comic, a finger of fudge, a drink of juice, his favourite toy car and his teddy. It was not enough. He wanted to play with the nail polish, he wanted to play with the hot tongs, scissors, tub of glitter, plugs, perming solution...

Being little bear I didn't have tantrums or destruction. I just had lots and lots of inquisitive mischief. Of course he wanted to take all the rollers out and play with them. And he did put the ones back he managed to get out when I told him to. He didn't complain when I was dragging him (again) away from the nail varnishes. He just went for another target.

It was definitely my fault, I asked just too much from little bear. He didn't break anything, or try and ruin anything, and was good natured throughout, but he was relentless. I can't blame him for any of his behaviour, but I shouldn't have taken him. I shall definitely book when he is at nursery next time.

The staff were very tolerant, but I think I shall have to take flowers.

And while I was out a parcel was delivered - drat!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Happy Smoke Signals

I have just set off the fire alarm. As I keep forgetting to check it, I am actually quite relieved that it works.

I am also feeling inordinately good. You see, I set the alarm off by cooking eggy bread for little bear and I for lunch. This is not haute cuisine, it is not something that I would garnish with a small curl of lemon peel and a delicate sprig of parsley but it the first proper cooked lunch that I have done for little bear in such a long time.

As I come out of the last bout of depression I realise just how bad things have been. Little bear has never been left to starve, but so often it has been philadelphia on toast, dippers (Sainsbury do a very good version with good quality cream cheese and bread sticks), little tins of sausage and beans, or something from the sandwich shop. I feel so good that he has had something a bit better today. I will load him up with some more fruit later. At least he has never gone short of that.

There is an element of 'how did I come to this?' as I look around and see the dismal lack of housewifery, the dirt and dust and clutter. On the other hand, for the first time in months it is getting less, not more. It is a strange feeling.

So the smoke alarm going off was definitely a good thing. And little bear very much enjoyed his eggy bread. Next time I will provide a dab of ketchup for him as well - now that is posh!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Stop the shop

Well, the Lakeland parcel has arrived and I haven't opened it. I haven't opened the Marks and Spencer parcel from last week yet either. This is giving me lots of warning signs.

Now, the Lakeland parcel has only arrived within the hour, and I will be diving in soon, but it is a concern if I can leave it like that.

I have made a decision. I am going to start setting targets to help me save money. If I can stay off ebay for 30 days, I get to buy the yarn I need for a blanket. That is target number one. I have just bought some welly boots for little bear from ebay and a mattress protector for my bed, as the only bed that didn't have one. I have placed a small bid on the tops I was dreaming about, representing what I would be willing to pay in a charity shop. If I win the tops I have thirty two days before I can buy the wool.

That strategy is hopefully going to stop me spending on ebay, because I can always find yarn I want to buy. It may also cut down some of the clutter.

The second strategy I am going to use is to set my grocery budget at £100 per week. I can hear gasps of horror at my extravagance at this figure. It covers all food, cleaning stuffs, toiletries, little bear's treats - everything! And everything I save from that goes towards a much needed new washing machine. Theoretically I should be able to save huge amounts.

The third strategy I am going to use is to put aside £20 per week for little bear. That is clothes, toys, shoes and nappies. He does not need, really, any more clothes this summer, and he certainly is not short of toys. I keep hearing darling uncle telling me about toys he has bought for little bear, or darling father has bought toys for little bear. This is far surplus to what he needs, but I am hoping it will build up into a small cushion for when bikes, xboxes and school trips rear their scary heads.

Now all I need to do is find the will power to stick to this.

Housework is a pain

Little bear is at nursery (no nap this morning either - I do not envy them!) so I thought - what can I do that I cannot normally do.

Well, the first thing I did was browse the internet and sample some of the approved food parcel that arrived this morning. There were phone calls, and the Lakeland parcel came. But finally I decided, after much iffing and butting, to clean the bathroom.

Little bear is a nuisance if I give the bathroom a good clean. He is either downstairs and thus up to mischief or upstairs across the landing to me and complaining. I do a half hearted swipe when I pay a convenience visit, but it doesn't really get deep down. I felt incredibly virtuous as I put white vinegar down the loo, wiped over walls and door, started on the bath... and then muscles in my back went into spasm.

I was so annoyed and so ashamed. It shows how little I do if a small amount of housework can hurt so much. So I am taking five minutes, closely supervised by evil cat, and then I will start getting all the approved food and lakeland goodies put away.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Evil cat did not destroy the vet.

The vet has had a look at evil cat. On the kidney problem side, she is doing amazingly well on special food alone, near miraculous apparently, almost back to fully functional. This is a huge relief.

As to the eyes, well, despite her mammoth begging sessions she is not a big cat, the vet described her as slender and she is only a little, slim thing. It is hard to remember when she has the personality of Attila the Hun. Well, the pads of fat behind her eyes are depleted and she is getting dehydrated, so we have to change the way we feed her a little, giving her plenty of options to eat away from little bear. We have to make water available to her in more rooms in the house. We have to give her an occasional meal of white fish (which I thought was virtually fatless!) because it has more fat than the medicated food and that should help replenish the fat (also the infrequent theft of eg pieces of chicken from little bear's plate).

Because of the lack of fat behind the eyes and because of the dehydration her eyes have sunken and the bottom lid is turning inward, due to this, and is irritating her eyes, hence the gunk.

If diet does not work then one option is a face lift, to pull the skin and thus the lower lids away from the eyes and reduce the irritation. So there you are. Cats can have face lifts.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Why evil cat is called evil cat

I had a late night last night, and little bear woke up at 6.30am. I was tired. We took him to get some new shoes (I can't get over how quickly he grows) and then we came home. I am so glad dear heart took us, because I was almost nodding off.

Well, little bear NEEDED a nap and when he went down I went to catch forty winks. You know that phrase - didn't feel their head touch the pillow. I don't actually remember my head touching the pillow. What I remember after taking off my shoes was being woken up by evil cat.

There is only so much you can endure. Over the years I have tuned out a lot of the hand washing, hair washing, kneading and prodding. But when her tongue touched my lips I was very awake - after fifteen minutes nap. And I couldn't really follow my instincts on what to say to evil cat, because little bear was asleep in the next room.

I tiptoed furiously downstairs, accompanied by evil cat, who would not settle. First she was on my lap, then my throat, then a spirited attempt at my head. Dear heart tried feeding her but it only counts if I get out of the comfy chair and do it myself. Then she wanted to go upstairs, so I had to open the creaky door to the stairs that led past little bear's room. We always keep the door shut when he naps to minimise noise. Of course, within five minutes she wanted to go up again, and down again and each time we ran the risk of waking little bear. And trust me, especially when she comes down, the noise she is creating is also a risk to waking little bear. And no-one who has witnessed what she is like will say that you can ignore her. You absolutely can't. Even using a squirt gun on her - the ultimate weapon against any other cat - is completely wasted on her.

Finally I realised that I was thirty seconds away from fricassee of evil cat and a new pair of gloves, so I left the house with dear heart in charge.

When I got back she had changed focus. She wanted to be outside. But could we please turn the rain off. And in. And out. Then she was sick on the dining room carpet - two feet away from the vinyl, easily cleaned kitchen floor.

Tomorrow she goes to the vet. I hope she will be annoying me like this for some time.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Lakeland... mea culpa

I confess, an order sent.

But it was all stuff that I really did actually need, like a full sized chopping board and a decent colander. And it was miraculously just above the cut off point that gets the free cloths and free delivery.

I haven't told dear heart yet. I am sure he will be understanding. He is actually really generous.

Perhaps it is just as well that the order went off before I found that the new washing up bowl (£3 from Matalan) was too small to take a dinner plate. What sort of washing up bowl is too small to take a dinner plate? Is it supposed to be just for mugs? It was probably designed by someone with a dishwashing machine, because surely they must have thought, what does this need to have in it? Dearie dearie me. However at least I didn't order one of those transparent washing up bowls that have caught my eye in the Lakeland catalogue. All practical sense says that there is absolutely no point and all I will see is the bits of gunk that usually coat the underside of my washing up bowl. But the transparent bowls somehow call to me.

So I must purchase a washing up bowl before it is too late and I order again! It's a conspiracy!

Another lurgy

I could cry.

For the past week or so I had been taking 'Boost your immune system' type vitamins but I had forgotten them for the last few days. Now from a relatively normal start to the day my throat hurts, my joints hurt, my head hurts and I have got a silly cough.

I am so cross, I have had more than a week of not having any lurgy, and now I am back to square one, and I could have perhaps avoided this if I had remembered the dratted vitamins.

I was actually starting to look at housework as a possibility.

Grumble, grumble, moan whinge, grumble.

Well, I have an appointment to see my GP at the end of the month and I shall emphasise my disappointment. Possibly with added emphasis. And with, as the Wee Free Men would put it, with the folding of the arms and the pursing of the lips.

Evil cat, evil eye

Evil cat's eye is still bad. I don't know whether I am helping or hindering when I keep hoicking huge lumps of gunk out of her eye, but it seems fair trade for not being able to see television/knitting/dear heart/book etc.

Actually I hope I am helping as both eyes have their fair share of gunk, coming out in chunks. She does not seem particularly distressed, and certainly doesn't stop me pulling the gunk out. Mind you, cats do hide their physical problems (mental problems are another issue) and it is so hard to tell.

She is certainly being more clingy. It has been impossible to do almost anything recently once little bear has gone to bed as she is lodged firmly across my throat and in the centre of my field of vision.

She is seeing the vet (poor man) on Sunday. I hope all is well.

I love Lakeland

The Lakeland catalogue has come. If you spend more than £60 then you can get two red anti bacterial microfibre cloths absolutely free! If I bought everything I wanted, I would have enough of those cloths to open a shop.

I love Lakeland - I adore them. All those wonderful gadgets, promising to make things easier for you, looking so tempting, solving problems that you didn't even know you had. Kitchen porn, I believe it is called, and I can see the connection - the impossible aspirations, the element of fantasy, the occasional need for batteries.

Seriously, great customer service and great quality products are an extremely tempting combination. You cannot find fault with them. But I do want to buy things from them.

For instance, their black washing up sponge - I think it is called jetz scrubz - is far superior to the sort of Madeira cake yellow with green lid ones I have been using. It is actually worth the extra pennies, as it seems to last so much longer as well.

I can see spending looming on the horizon. I really didn't want to, but there is one item that I actually really want and want it soon. And it would be a shame not to get free post and two free cloths...

Dithering again

Well, there are 25 days to go before I have gone a whole month without spending on ebay. I am not going to manage to go that long. Tomorrow we are going to get new shoes for little bear so I am going to get him a pair of welly boots in the correct size and have seen some extremely inexpensive, nice welly boots on ebay - still cheaper than the local shops including postage and ideal for bouncing in summer puddles. Also I think they look a little gorgeous. I will want some sturdier ones for winter, but obviously I don't need to buy those in June.

I digress. I am dithering again about spends. You see, I've also had a bit of a browse for some tops. I got a huge heap of tops just over ten years ago when the slinky material came in. I love that stuff - easy wash, dries quickly and it is non iron. However, regrettably, the heap is more like a small puddle. After a decade nothing looks the same, and stubborn grease spots, cats claws and tumeric powder have taken their toll. I need some new tops.

But I can't find any that I like. I think I am looking for tops that don't exist. I want long line tunic styles, with not too low a neckline, and none of this empire line or smocking. I want either slinky or jersey material, no buttons, easy care, plain and not patterned and in a limited range of colours. Not pink. Definitely not pink. I don't want to spend much money on them, as I still remember roughly how much I spent on the heap now puddle of tops and I am going to always be comparing the cost to that. I am going to be rummaging in the charity shops as opportunity arises, but as I am a 'fuller figure' my experience is not so good. It is amazing how many people do not slim down enough to donate lots of 'big boned' clothes to charity.

I have gone through the clothing stores on Quidco and there is nothing that I really feel drawn to, at least, not in the shops that I can afford. But there are two tops, slinky, in the colours I like on ebay. Currently they are inexpensive, but are likely to creep up in price as the auction nears its end.

Part of me is saying, well if I get little bear's wellies I might as well bid on these tops, I may not get them, and I will be starting again with my no ebay challenge anyway. And part of me is saying that I have at least half a dozen functional tops, I don't go to fashion parades, I can scrape by for a summer. And then I think how hard it is to get these slinky tops and how in winter they are ideal to layer under sweaters. And I could do what I normally do which is put my bid in at the (actually quite low) amount I am willing to pay and then walk away which is my attempt at being sensible.

I have a few days before the auction ends. Days of dithering here I come.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Another milestone

Little bear had two hours on his own this afternoon at nursery.

I was really worried because he hadn't had his morning nap, and that is usually a recipe for Mr Mischief. I managed to coax some lunch in to him, he was full of giggles and mischief, and I was full of apprehension.

Well, I left him there, walking away with a heavy heart and having to go back because I forgot his change of clothes. He was fine. An hour and a half later I returned and he was fine. I stayed with them while he had some crumpets and some fruit and then we came home.

According to the workers he had been very good, played with the cars nicely, done a painting, been well behaved, played out, and had been really smiley and happy. This is normal for little bear, he is a cheerful soul that doesn't 'do' stress, and it is nothing to do with me.

When we got home I gave him some juice, changed his nappy and then left him in his room where he was asleep within about five minutes. I expect I shall have to wake him up to do his bedtime routine.

I am so proud of him, though. This is the first time he has been left without mum or dad for over a year, and he was just fine.

As for me... I felt like I had been left on a desert island. Never mind, it will get better. From next week, two afternoons a week are his. He will love it!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Me being political.

I do sometimes more or less in general and by and large follow politics, and I have some understanding of what goes on from my youth involving political arguments within the family that would have left Lenin and Churchill scratching their heads.

For what it is worth, my darling uncle is somewhere to the right of Hitler (in theory, in practice he would help anyone, regardless, but he tries to keep that a secret, he just likes to come out with outrageous things to start a conversation), my darling father reads the Daily Mail, I am somewhere to the baffled left of centre and dear heart is disgusted by the whole thing. Little bear has been heard giving an oration to the teddy party (a da-da-da-da-da) but otherwise has shown no preference.

Even I have managed to notice that there is more politics going on than normal. Now, I am extremely fascinated by history and the current upset about the expenses and the MPs is worse than anything I ever remember reading about. So how on earth do you decide who to vote for?

I strongly believe that you should go along and vote. I feel that people have given up so much in the past that it would be in insult to their memory to not go and vote. People have suffered prison and privation to get our right to vote. I would perfectly understand anyone going along to the ballot and scribbling rude words all over the paper, but they should not give anyone an excuse to limit our right to vote.

Also, the less votes cast, the more chance that someone from the lunatic fringe will be going to Brussels as a representative of Great Britain. How you define lunatic fringe is your choice - I think this time you have a wide variety on the ballot paper! But if you don't vote then those who really freak you out when you see their name on the voting slip have a better chance of getting in.

I will be voting tomorrow, and I will also drag dear heart along as well. I strongly urge anyone who reads this to vote according to their conscience and how they would like the UK to be seen when the new European Parliament assembles.

And this is the end of the Wannabe Sybil Political Broadcast.

Little bear steps forth

After much contemplation, discussion, recommendation and deliberation, little bear will be starting at a nursery soon. I am a wreck already.

Well, we found a nursery from the local council website, so that is one bit of reassurance. It is registered with Ofsted, so that is another bit of reassurance. I had a look round. The little ones seemed fine, there seemed to be lots of staff, the rooms were stuffed with toys, it seemed very pleasant.

Yesterday I spent an hour there with little bear. I watched as they had a little play. I was impressed at the patience of the staff. The rules were clear, little ones were expected to apologise for being bad, there was no sense that the routine was in any way different because I was there. Then it was sun hats and sun cream for everyone and they all went into the little playground.

Well, they insisted that the little ones took turns with the toys. There were lots and lots of carers. Little bear, without help or prompting, went down the little slide, climbed on things, through things and generally had a marvellous time.

Two incidents made me a little apprehensive. The first was when little bear fell over. Now, on Monday he fell in a shop and I dropped money, purse, bag, everything to pick him up and give him a cuddle. If he is really upset he needs his mum. Yesterday it was just one of those minor bumps that toddlers get. The carers were ready to dash to him, except he picked himself up and hurtled round again. As I have previously mentioned, he didn't cry for his first nettle sting as the world was too interesting, he certainly wasn't going to pause for a minor bump. I hope he doesn't get grumpy being cuddled when he wants to play. Though, truth be told, I would rather that they were more keen to cuddle after a tumble than not keen enough. Also, little bear will pretend to fall over and then fake a cry and rub his head. Some of his dives have been up to Premiership standard. I do hope he doesn't take the carers in too much.

The second incident was a little more alarming. In the corner of the playground is a shed which is locked and is where they keep all the lovely outdoor toys. Of course little bear investigated. The padlock wasn't on because the toys were out, but the carer obligingly showed him the toggle that keeps the door shut. What do they expect to happen? I did warn them, they themselves mentioned that he was 'in to everything'. I also mentioned that dear heart and I have witnessed some very good misdirection and palming on his part. It was quite true, but I don't think they believed me.

Tomorrow I leave him on his own for the first time for two hours. Little bear was so relaxed yesterday that I am confident he will be fine. The carers are lovely, I am sure that they will look after him well. As for me - I will be sitting by the door with my phone in my hand, a complete wreck. Sigh.

Another parcel

I think I need to watch my spending. It is a bit worrying for me.

I think the big thing is the parcel from M&S. You see, dear heart's shirts are just about on their last legs (or arms, or collars) and I am struggling to get out some stains. So I decided to get some more. Half a dozen shirts for dear heart and some much needed jeans for me.

The parcel came yesterday. I still haven't opened the parcel.

This is supposed to be a classic sign of compulsive spending. It could also reflect the vast quantity of washing I did on Sunday and Monday and the reluctance to add to the ironing pile with six more shirts. But it is worrying me. I pop online, and pick up the groceries, father's day presents, a few more single sheets, I could do with the shirts... Of course, a lot is categorised under 'little bear' - he got some lovely little slippers, some great pencils, a huge bin bag of clothes and some chunky wooden cars that he hasn't stopped playing with. I couldn't face the shops for these. But I seem to be waiting in every day for parcels.

Most of what I have got has been an absolute bargain, an absolute necessity or something that I have desired for some time. I think what I shall do is make do and mend now for as long as possible. Little bear does not need any clothes, the next birthdays are in August and there is absolutely no need at all for more toys!

So I shall be blogging lots about my spending in the next few weeks, I am sure. Dear heart earns more than enough to support us, but I don't want to get carried away, even if the sums of money involved are comparatively small. All sorts of sums of money are comparatively small compared to MPs' expenses. The Victorians had the idea that the wife was steward of the husband's goods. Perhaps that concept will stop me frittering away so much.

And I have set myself one reward. When I have gone one whole month without spending any money on ebay I can treat myself to some more yarn to knit a blanket. I hope this works.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Little bear has standards

Little bear is remarkably placid. He takes so many things in his stride. His first instinct seems to be to see what is happening. He rarely pauses for bumps, nettle stings, unexpected dogs, first time he sees a horse, first time he sees a steam engine... He sometimes pauses but rarely gets agitated. However sometimes he feels the need to make unhappy feelings very clear.

One thing that will unfailingly upset him is taking off his shoes. A gentleman should wear shoes, he seems to believe, and no exceptions. So the normally calm and friendly little bear bursts into tears when we go to Clarks shoe shop - because he has to take his shoes off to have his feet measured. He has also been absolutely distraught when asked to take off his shoes to be measured by the paediatrician. He was inconsolable. And when it was so warm last weekend and I tried to take his t shirt off to leave him in just a vest, well, you would have thought that his milk ration was being stopped, he was outraged. Dear heart was stunned at the sight of little bear waving a t shirt at me with unmistakable intent - mother, get it put on! This is rather off putting because last summer I encouraged him to just wear a vest, and I was hoping that I could persuade him to do the same when it was hot this summer.

As far as I can see, little bear is concerned about being properly dressed. It is all about things being how they should be. I also think his toes are very ticklish so the shoes are a protection. This morning gave me an interesting conundrum. He was furious, with one slipper on and one slipper off. I took both slippers from him and put on his sandals. This, apparently, was not good enough. He wanted his tiger slippers, thank you so much, and would be obliged if I would replace them. We went to the shop with him in tiger slippers.

Darling Uncle

My late mother's brother is my darling uncle. He is the only relative on my mother's side that we are regularly in contact with. And as with all of my mother's family, he is something of a character.

He lives in a village, and everyone knows him. He has his own glass in most of the pubs. He talks to everyone, and lots of people make time for him.

He was an engineer on an oil tanker for years, and went to all sorts of places, and saw all sorts of things. He has sailed through all sorts of seas, but still fusses if we talk about coming over in even mildly poor weather. He has an adventurous spirit when it comes to trying new food and drink, and has a heart bigger than anyone I know. He keeps in touch with me and my brothers, he will do anything for anyone and wrecked his own health first looking after his father and then his aunt.

Now he is not in great health, and very creaky for his age, so I will hopefully be visiting most of the summer once a fortnight. I do worry about him. He lives on his own and I think he is a bit too frail, but he is happy.

A day out

Yesterday we visited my darling uncle. He hasn't seen little bear for nearly a year, so it was wonderful to make the trip. A visit to darling uncle involves a trip over the Pennines and in bad weather we usually do not bother.

Another factor limiting our visits is the weather. Darling uncle's house is far too cluttered to risk little bear in there - some of what is seen as clutter is also antique or memorabilia - things that couldn't easily be replaced. So we have a barbecue in the garden, and that demands dry weather.

Well, little bear thought it was wonderful. A lovely large garden to race up and down in, lots of people who were happy to indulge him, great food, sunshine, juice - what more could he want? He had bits of people's barbecue. He had tomatoes, strawberries, physallis, cucumber, satsuma, raw pepper, chocolate cake, breadsticks, crackers... I don't think I caught up on all he had. Most of it was 'good' stuff, you know, veggies and fruit. Actually most of it was sampled and then he moved on to the next new thing. He was like a kitten in a feather factory.

He also got lots of gold stars for his behaviour from other people. I am so proud. On the whole he didn't throw tantrums or demand things, though there were some heated moments when I was not letting go into the playhouse as we were going home. By that time exhaustion was starting to get to him. Darling uncle thought he had done very well.

Of course little bear's spirit of adventure was well to the fore. I don't know how I am going to keep in one piece till adulthood. He headed for the empty bee hives - now filled with wasps. He headed for the river. He headed for the hot barbecue. He climbed and raced and generally headed out into the wild blue yonder.

Darling uncle has bought little bear a summer house. Behind it is a stand of shrubby trees and weeds. I didn't realise, as dear heart and darling brother were the first to see it, but little bear was going round the back of the summer house for adventure, right past a large stand of nettles, much bigger than him. It was later, when we were starting to pack up that we realised he had been nettled. In a few years time I imagine that nettle stings will be almost de rigeur but little bear is only two and a half and the stings covered at least a third of his under arm and it was the first time he had been nettled. He hadn't told us, he hadn't cried or fussed. Dear heart only twigged when he saw him rubbing his arm. Of course there wasn't a dock leaf to be had! I wiped over with a Wet Wipe and let him get on with it - if he wasn't making a fuss I didn't want to.

I think with little bear, the world was just too full of interesting things to explore, and fussing about a sting would be wasting time. I admire his attitude. I just hope I can survive it.