Monday, 30 November 2009


Little bear has man flu. He had a little nap then around 10pm woke up because his nose was blocked and his throat was sore and IT ISN'T FAIR!

Fortunately a dose of baby nurofen and a big cuddle seemed to sort him out. I would hate for him not to go to nursery tomorrow - he would be unbearable if he was stopped from going!

Actually I am feeling fairly sorry for myself with what is just a cold, and nothing more at all. I have even had a lemsip which I normally regard with complete loathing. I hate the tissue season.

One thousand a day

I have started yet another novel. Not exactly sure how it ends, but I am confident I shall enjoy the journey. So far I have written 5147 words, mostly in the right order, and I am hoping to do one thousand words a day.

The writing is really helping my 'nerves'. A few weeks ago I was in a really bad state, but being able to write is making a huge difference. I shall post here on word count, and occasional dilemmas but I won't put too much in. You see, I know on the net there are places where I can publish on the internet only for free. So when I have finished this I will publish it there for anyone who is interested and I will try not to give too much away.

Of course, the target of one thousand words a day does rather depend on little bear's co-operation, but I am optimistic. One thousand words may sound a lot, but I have been timed touch typing at 63 words per minute when I was being slow to be accurate, and that means that if I don't use the back space much, don't try and work out exactly how to describe something, don't get stuck on an idea and don't have to spend ages looking back to see if I had described a character's eyes as blue or brown then one thousand words should take just over 15 minutes.

Little bear is chained up

Little bear has a safety gate across the door to his room. The odd layout of the landing and the house means that it is the only place it can go. He can now open this gate.

Dear heart was very sympathetic coming home to me in a state of complete nervous exhaustion, but on Saturday he witnessed first hand. Little bear would play with the cars upstairs (nice safe room full of toys) for a while but then he would utter 'downstairs' and I would next have him knocking on the door to the living room.

The hard part was the lack of nap. Little bear really still needs an afternoon nap or at least quiet time. From around Thursday he had not had this and he was exhausted! By 6pm he would be ricocheting off the walls because when he is tired he speeds up. The old plan of putting him in his safe, warm bedroom with his toys and letting him wind down for a nap didn't work, because before he reached 'nap' he was downstairs demanding dvds. All attempts to cajole him to nap on the sofa failed with an epic margin. All dvds were banned and classic fm was on. All sugar was banned. However little bear was refusing to sleep and refusing to slow down. If you had seen his pitiful, exhausted face you would have felt for him.

No matter what, no matter how desperate, little bear refused to go to his room for a nap. If placed there little bear would escape.

This is normal. What concerns me is that we have particularly steep stairs with no hand rail. And if there has been a slight lapse in concentration he could find the window on the top story of a four story house open. It is normally kept completely locked. I have moved all the chemicals I can find. I need to move the tools - I have just remembered them. And stash his presents elsewhere.

In short, it isn't safe for him to wander round upstairs. Even with all the precautions, the stairs are steep. We have never re-carpeted the perfectly sound carpet on the stairs but it is navy blue in an area without natural light (whoever chose that must have been insane!). I have dislocated three shoulders on those stairs (well, yes, one of the shoulders has been dislocated twice, but it hurts every time!)

So we bought a lock. It is a long cable which goes around the stair gate and locks into the piece fixed against the wall. But if you don't wrap it enough times round the gate little bear can open the gate, push it out a little way and squeeze through the gap. As he did 6am Sunday morning.

So poor little bear is kept chained in a safe warm room with his toys for over an hour in the afternoon and hopefully some calm will return.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Feel low

I just had a phone call - they are not discharging little bear from speech therapy after all. They want to monitor his sentence development.

I did say that his favourite phrase was 'Jon do it' and he repeatedly used three words and the therapist was saying how positive he was in using two word constructions.

Of course I said yes, but I do question why. He will be going back in a few months time.

They should have witnessed the heated and in depth discussion very early this morning when I was trying to convince him to stay in bed.


Little bear and I went to speech therapy today.

The day started far too early. I had unwisely told little bear that we were going on a bus the next day. So that is why at 4am I was explaining to him that we couldn't go into town yet because all the shops were asleep.

Then I had the wonderful circus of getting ready. Now that little bear can get out of his room, getting dressed is something of a challenge. I had a wonderful moment of terror when he found a forgotten spray of furniture polish and had it pointed at his face, about to pull the trigger. My acceleration is improving.

I was so glad to get out of the house, even though I had failed to bring spare nappy/gloves/pandy. It meant I had survived breakfast.

It took two buses to the speech therapist. She was impressed and couldn't stop laughing - little bear didn't want to be bothered with her silly questions and told her firmly, 'play cars' which were enticingly set out in the corner. He was discharged.

Then into town. Little bear was insistent. He wanted to buy egg custards and he wanted to buy pizza and he wanted to buy them from the shop where you went down the steps. This is not possible when you get to the shop an hour before they make the pizza.

So we had a snack in BHS and then we rode up and down escalators (to little bear's delight) and finally we had wasted enough time to get the pizza, and we arrived just as they came out of the oven.

Finally home.

I am exhausted. Little bear is exhausted. But he won't sleep and he won't stay in his room to wind down for a nap. I think it is going to be a long afternoon.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Knitting and know how

I have a knitting pattern that promises a sweater knitted in one piece. As I loathe making up, I thought I would dig it out and look at it again. Hmm.

Well, you start knitting at the left cuff and finish at the right cuff, and you leave a hole for the head in the appropriate place and pick up the stitches and knit the neckband as you would any other sweater. And it is in chunky, so quite a quick and easy knit.

Of course, I can always find fault. One fault is that it is only 23 inches long. I prefer at least 27 and if you are knitting side to side then I am not sure about increasing the length. But that is possible. The real sticking point for me is that I would need to knit the rib at the bottom separately and sew it on. My knitting skills are okay, but I cannot see any way that I would not make a complete mess of the sewing. I suppose I could pick up the stitches, but picking up is not my favourite form of sport.

I think, however, I will look into getting a pattern in for a sweater to knit over Christmas as a sanity saver. Darling father is visiting over Christmas and New Year which will be wonderful but a little more hectic than normal.

Evil cat is evil

I had a busy day yesterday. Little bear was an imp of mischief, but still gorgeous and I got some great cuddles. However I was really looking forward to a long bubble bath.

Evil cat can not only try the limits of human endurance but can get to those limits remarkably quickly.

I sank into the bubbles, sighed and heard evil cat's version of meow. It sounds like a swear word. It sounds like a really bad swear word. Well, I ignored it. Evil cat persisted. I heard the feline version of Foul Old Ron swearing and muttering outside the bathroom door. Evil cat was the wrong side of the door - not between the bathroom and the landing but between the stairs and the living room (with fire). However she decided not to call at the door on the stairs where dear heart could hear her and let her down. She decided to give it a full 'Buggrit Millennium hand and shrimp' outside the bathroom door, where dear heart couldn't hear her but I could. And she was not next to a fire that was on! This was important to her. She let me know how important it was.

I am extremely well trained. I was in the water ten minutes. Sigh.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A bumpy day

Little bear has been relentless today and persistently found me on the wrong foot. This is, I believe, normal for toddlers. I have not been able to blink.

And when I showed dear heart how I had had to pull out the bed in the spare room in order to forceably drag little bear out of the airing cupboard I noticed that evil cat had been considerably sick on my bed.

Not a good day.

tv thoughts

I have just been reviewing what we use the tv for.

Little bear watches his dvds on them. Cbeebies and Babytv have been dumped unceremoniously now that he has discovered the joy of repeatedly watching a single dvd until he and mummy are joining in the words. And he can tell mummy what is going to happen next. Every time.

We usually watch the local news on BBC and the start of the One Show. When darling father is up there is football, and more football. And when we roleplay or chat there is Classic FM. I also confess to a quantity of NCIS, The Mentalist and some documentaries but really I cannot see any purpose in purchasing a big tv.

I suppose strictly speaking that I don't really need to purchase a new one at all, but I am getting increasingly nervous about little bear and the tv - he has brought down a chest of drawers on himself before but that does not seem to have daunted him.
Just as an addition, I finished writing my post about the television, then as I published up came an advertisement for 32 inch tvs. I didn't click, but I did smile.

Spending again

Well, actually I haven't, but I can see it coming on. Little bear tried to scale the north face of the television, for mischief and to reach the monitor at the top. The television wasn't the best model in the world, and it is somewhat elderly. The sound is particularly poor as it used to belong to a late, deaf, great uncle. He had it on VERY LOUD and I think the not very good to start with sound took rather a battering. It is also very large and very heavy. I remember a news story about a poor toddler being killed by a falling television.

So I shall be wandering around the internet looking for the cheapest possible thin televisions, bottom of the range and not these 42 inch things. I shall try and hold out until the sales. I do worry, however, and little bear is full of energy at the moment. I daren't blink!


They're back - little bear is once again in boops, at his insistence. I thought I had got over that...


I shall always treasure the memory, however, of him cross, wet and wearing only boops and goosebumps stumping back to his room.

Monday, 23 November 2009

A Busy Day

Little bear had a very busy Saturday.

First he demonstrated beyond doubt that he can open the gate to his room - giving him free rein to lots of stairs, bathroom chemicals, tools, windows that are over forty feet in the air...

The windows are kept locked. Everything else is being rearranged and hopefully toddler proof.

Then we heard him sing Baa Baa Black Sheep all the way through for the first time on his own. I was entranced, but I am his mother and therefore entitled.

Then he looked me in the eye, and without prompts from anything or anyone said his alphabet all the way through! I am so proud.

Then he had his first spell on the naughty step for wilfully and repeatedly disobeying his Dad.

I just know I am going to struggle to keep up. He isn't three for another month!

Friday, 20 November 2009

All calm

We went in to town on the bus today. Little bear needed new shoes and got them.

Now there were the sort of incidents that mothers can fuss over, when the bus had to brake suddenly and little bear fell forward (and got a cuddle off a stranger - he is such a charmer!) and the unexpected detour into Marks and Spencers and the long wait at the bus stop to go home when he was really good

But all in all it was uneventful. We got on the bus, we bought shoes, we came home. I may try it more often.

We had just got in when Royal Mail delivered the fruits of my hunting on ebay - I had to yell out the window to leave it on the step as I couldn't find my keys...

And a Lakeland catalogue has arrived.

Little bear is now completely exhausted however, so I am predicting quite confidently an afternoon nap - much needed!

Well, my next guess...

Little bear is a little chatterbox now. I just don't always understand what he is saying. Sigh. He patiently repeats himself, humouring his mother, but the wild guesses are sometimes very wild indeed.

However there are more complications. I have absolutely no idea what little bear is thinking sometimes. He has just got very upset because I washed a box he handed me telling me 'wash up' (actually it sounded more like 'dhoosh oop' but I work with it).

He is now watching a dvd from Bee Bright for about the tenth time in twenty four hours. He finds it calming. Lucky him.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Spending again

I have bought some clothes for little bear. I bought four tops from Matalan at a very reasonable price, and I am sure that they will do well.

I also did some hunting on ebay. You see, if you are a private seller and put something on ebay for 99p you do not need to pay any fees. So I search for items at 99p, boys clothing, little bear's size, time ending soonest, and I have managed to get five long sleeve tops for little bear for just under £9 (inclusive of p&p of course), and a selection of jeans for him.

I really think that it is a good way to 'hunt' on ebay. The only thing is, you have to watch out for the postage, or it can be silly. Even so I am awaiting the outcome of my bid on a lot of four pairs of jeans - the postage is £5, but my maximum bid is 99p, so I will see if I win that. I think the postage is worth it in that case.


Another drawer has collapsed in our kitchen. There was hardly a thing in it, I think it is just wear and tear.

Before I get any more kitchen cabinets, I would like a new boiler, and a central heating system where I can switch all the radiators on. And even have the hot water on without the heating - that would be marvellous! And an adjustable thermostat!

And then I will be saving up for an open fire. Well, a stove thingy that will, I hope, heat a lot of the bricks in the house.

Then the new cabinets.

I think I need to work out how to motivate myself more to save.

Friday, 13 November 2009

HOW much?!!

Another knitting magazine - an early present from dear heart.

Another shock. This magazine is generally kinder to my blood pressure as more nearly aimed at my attitude to knitting which does not involve credit cards. However...

£39.99 for 100g of yarn. Yes, nearly forty pounds sterling for a small ball of wool. It's cashmere and silk with glittery bits. You would have to twiddle around with fancy stitches to get a scarf for forty quid. A normal scarf is likely to cost you nearer £120 - over one hundred pounds for a scarf!

I had to have a cup of tea to recover.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The things they say

Little bear has a new phrase. Instead of the 'oops' that I have been saying at every minor mishap, he now says 'oh dear me' which I suspect he got from nursery.

I think it is the most gorgeous thing. I am a completely besotted mother.

He is wanting lots of stories read to him at the moment, which sets off my coughing. Coughing and post childbirth weakness are not a good combination. But the cuddle I get while reading is worth it.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

HOW much?

I bought a knitting magazine - I shouldn't have. Apart from anything else I don't think I was in any way part of its target audience.

You see, I remember the days when knitting was a good way of making a cheap sweater and it didn't matter that it wasn't 'branded'. I also like knitting because I occasionally finish things and it is a way of producing a sweater that is comfortable, fits, is the colour you like and the shape you like. Sometimes it is hard to find that in the shops. I don't follow fashion, so getting the sort of clothes I want is a little bit of a trial sometimes. So I knit. However, now Catherine Zeta Jones is knitting, things aren't quite the same.

I can't remember the name of the magazine, but it was beautifully artistic. It ran a feature on buttons. This included some buttons that were £5.60 EACH! My reaction was quite predictable. I mean, how much? I was used to knitting sweaters, but you can get some very respectable buttons for a tenth of that on the local market, ebay is of course your friend and the buttons on some clothes in the charity shops are beautiful. Why would you want to pay £5.60 EACH for a button? I should add that these were the sort that were bought in sixes for a cardigan or jacket.

Then there was the garment - Knit this from only £59 it proclaimed. HOW much? It would make me nervous knitting yarn that expensive in case evil cat happened. And it was promoted as the cheap knit!

And the pattern for an apron. Who knits an apron? Why knit an apron? For me an apron is to protect your clothes and wipe your hands on when you need to in a rush. For me reused flannel sheets are ideal. And if you are going to knit an apron for heaven's sake knit it longer than 10 inches unless it is for someone in primary school. 10 inches is not an apron, it is a saggy belt.

And they did a feature on yarns. Now I tend to hunt the cheaper end of the yarn market if I actually need to buy yarn (I don't, I have a flock of sheep's worth stashed) and paying more than £1.99 for 100g makes me break out into a sweat. Of course, if you are knitting for a present and that present is a fancy scarf, then perhaps I could be persuaded to buy at £2.99 for 100g.

This feature had lots of different yarns, including Stylecraft which I have found inexpensive and easy to knit and wash. It also included one, I think I have repressed the name but the yarn was £26 for 100g - yes, twenty six pounds sterling! I nearly fell off my chair. It is 49% silk and 51% bamboo. At that price it ought to be spun by angels. To knit anything remotely the size of little bear would cost over £100!

I think I am missing the point somewhere. I suppose if you have the money you pay for what you like. And I look at the hand painted, hand spun, organic, bamboo, soya, wool, silk, cotton, banana fibre (yes, banana fibre!) offerings and think that what do you do with it, half of it you couldn't wear to the shops, a lot of it is wash with extreme caution, and what do you do if you run out of people to knit scarves for?

Spend spend spend

I have just spent a FORTUNE on books for little bear. Ebay is a very fickle friend sometimes. I have bought him five sets of books - two lots of ladybird fairy tale sets which include the enormous turnip which I adored as a child, a set of Dr Seuss including the cat in the hat, a set of Dr Seuss lift up flap books, and a huge set of ladybird phonics books.

And you know, I think they are the ideal present for him. He loves reading. At the moment 'bear hunt' is his favourite, but he loves dipping into books. Reading a story to him is at the moment impossible (cough!) but one of my favourite ways of sneaking a cuddle.

As soon as I can move without coughing, and little bear is in nursery, I plan to visit Headingley. Some may talk of the rugby there, some may speak of the cricket. For me Headingley is the place with the biggest concentration of charity shops I have ever seen! If you get off the bus by the church (can't remember which one) then you start with Mind, then a local hospice, then Oxfam bookshop and Save the Children, then I think it's Age Concern - it's been a while since I have been there, so I can't remember exactly the charity shops that share the arcade with the British Heart Foundation. I am fairly confident that one of them is Cancer Research.

Once I have reached charity shop heaven I shall be scouring the children's books. So many children get given books and the books are never even opened. Besides, the words are in the same order, so why fret if the book is in a reasonable condition. I plan to stock up!

I should add that little bear has his birthday four days after Christmas, and the books are split between the two celebrations. His other big presents are a huge 258 piece pen and crayon set (I shall be standing on the bits for ever) and a garage with cars - the cars were included in the rather steep price of the garage. We are considering which to give him for which celebration. I am currently favouring the garage for Christmas. I have also purchased a small set of dressing up hats.

I really don't want to get much more for him. I know he will have a lot of presents from various uncles, aunts and family members. I have the uneasy feeling that the house will go pop if too much is bought for him. Part of me thinks that I have already gone overboard with the presents, but from what I can tell, each one will be really appreciated and enjoyed.

Also darling father will be staying for Christmas, which is an added bonus! Because darling father will of course read to little bear. And little bear will 'read' to darling father. I am really looking forward to Christmas.

(Memo to self - need to sort out proper bookcase for little bear)

Friday, 6 November 2009

The things that occur to me!

I really need to lose this temperature.

Yesterday I spent quite an amount of time trying to work out whether you could stake a vampire through the heart with a bamboo knitting needle - because you need a wooden stake and bamboo is a grass. But it looks and acts like wood, but under certain circumstances so does formica.

I got a grip eventually - it would never get past the fancy waistcoat.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

And what I say is...

I have just taken a delivery from Mr S. I stood there in the cold air coughing, while the driver very kindly dragged all my stuff in. I carefully washed my hands before signing anything.

He told me that we had lost our culture, that it was all wrong and we should all go to church.

I nodded and coughed.

My personal view is that if you don't believe in God, don't go to church, don't have a church wedding and don't have a Christening. I do believe in God, I am very grateful for the good He has brought into my life. If you want to have a fun time at Christmas then you are following in a great pagan tradition which is an amazing party to help brighten up the darkest time of the year. I do not have any quarrel with that. Just don't send a Christmas card with a manger on it.

As for culture, I don't know how I would define being British (apart from 'not French') but for me the biggest threat is from American TV. Take Halloween - when I was a child it was an excuse for a project in school but the big fun was penny for the guy and bonfires with goodies. This is Bonfire Night that may have originated in the Samhain fires but we are having the American version of Halloween, and it isn't right! (yes, I am a hypocrite on that, I would have let little bear go trick or treating with sister in law, but it still would have been better for penny for the guy, which I haven't seen for some time!)

The man seemed a nice man, and was pleasant enough, as I stood and coughed, but there just seems to be too much sloppy thinking. And of course I didn't get into an argument with him - that wouldn't be the British thing to do at all.

Plague continues

I am not used to having a cough - honestly, I hardly ever suffer from it. I have one now, and a temperature, and I am not a well bunny.

Last night as I lay there wheezing, it occurred to me that it sounded like a dragon calling to her unborn children and I had an image of eggs nestled safely in the moss streaked ruins of a medieval church.

Then I decided that I really needed to get my temperature down before I got sectioned.

Little bear is feeling LOTS better. He is really better, lots of energy, wants to do things! I cannot tell you how happy I am. Fortunately yesterday it included watching a DVD. Six times. All the way through. And that is after a few times yesterday. Little bear was joining in with the words. This did not stop him asking for it again, and again... The DVD is an educational one, Once upon a time in Letterland. I would recommend it to anyone with a little one. Not half a dozen times on the run though!

Dear heart has been wonderful, but he is in work now and I have rather shamefaced put little bear for a full day in nursery. He can play, eat good stuff and generally be an energetic little bear. I can sit here and cough.