Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Dinner time

Little bear actually ate most of his tea tonight. Yes, there were tantrums, hissy fits and whining, but he actually ate some of his tea.

The trouble is, I have no idea how to get him to repeat this tomorrow. Darn.

Also, I tried to sleep this morning when little bear was watching tv for about fifteen minutes. Fifteen, nerve wracking, stress making minutes. I do not plan to repeat this.

Second verse same as the first

The nightly battle over dinner with little bear has started. I am frantically trying to keep him away from food to stop the usual battle over not eating his actual meal and then OH going ballistic and it all ending in tears - again.

So I have been trying to keep him off food and drink. Also there will be an almighty wail as his plate is placed in front of him. He will want milkshake. Which he will drink all of. Then he won't have room for his tea...

So I have said v firmly that the dried blueberries we bought in the market are for 'tomorrow' as 'after dinner' usually translates as after screaming match and giving in to calm everything down before OH has a coronary.

He has just come up, leaned against me and said sorrowfully, 'I lub blueberries'. I really can't wait until bedtime.

I am a bad mother

It was my turn to sleep downstairs. I don't like the sofa, so I sleep on the study floor.

This morning I woke up half way up the stairs. It was 6am and little bear was shouting 'I want my mummy!' I think he woke up with a jump, I certainly did as my conscious mind woke up well behind my legs.
'Want to get up - I had enough sleep.' little bear said firmly. And loudly. I was desperately aware of OH and darling father trying to sleep. So, downstairs we went and I explained that I had not had enough sleep even if he had, gave him some cereal and a bribery of a small packet of chocolate buttons and crawled back under the duvet.

Guilt hit me. I had left my poor child in front of Playhouse Disney while I slept. Or tried to sleep. What sort of a mother was I?

I couldn't help it, I was desperate to at least doze, but I was listening out for any trouble. Was that smoke I could smell? Someone, somewhere, was making very well done toast. But it wasn't little bear. He was watching Little Einsteins which is a programme with four irritating children who announce the plot to each other. I tried digging under the duvet. Oh no! The music for the day was the William Tell Overture!

Evil cat was not impressed by this whole business. I had fed her when I got little bear his cereal, but it was still far too early for her. Besides, she wanted to sleep on the pillow. It is very hard to sleep when you are trying not to inhale a cat's tail. I sat up to blow my nose and evil cat shifted slightly to claim possession.

I grabbed a spare cushion, adjusted my position and dug under the duvet again. I was trying to just doze, just a little bit. I was absolutely exhausted and the headache I have had for the past three days was making itself felt. I was almost getting there, despite evil cat's snores, when little bear started singing along to the theme tune.

I mentally groaned. Also little bear had had a late night, so I just knew that I would have a dreadful day with an overtired little bear. The chances of him having a nap in the afternoon were not good either - the kids keep knocking the door to see if little bear and his toys can come out to play. Particularly his toys.

Little bear came in to see what I was doing. I kept my eyes firmly closed, and tried to ignore evil cat's snores. He trotted out again. I listened. There was a long, unnerving silence, until he started doing the actions for the little Einsteins' rocket.

I was doing quite well, I could dimly hear little bear being safe, I was warm, I was gently calming down, then evil cat sat on my hair. There was a lull in the living room as well, so I staggered in (there is only a connecting door between the two, and of course it was open) and little bear was trying to climb over the arm of the sofa using the broom handle and wearing two silicone oven gloves. Which is, actually, perfectly usual behaviour for him. I decided to cut my losses and get up.

Of course then I had the fun of trying to persuade little bear that really he shouldn't watch mummy get dressed...

In short, I had a massive guilt trip about putting him in front of the tv while I slept - and didn't actually get any sleep.

Edited to add - I tried to sleep for fifteen minutes or so, less than the full episode - little bear wasn't at risk, promise!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Evil cat practises her art

Yesterday I was unimpressed. She seemed v thirsty (no idea what she had stolen to make her that thirsty) and had drained her water dish. So when I got up, checked the dish etc I filled it up. Evil cat drank quite enthusiastically so that the water dish was only half full, so I picked it up, topped it up again and went to put it down. That was when she bounced up towards the kitchen steps, head butted the dish and distributed the water widely - including over her!

Last night she was on top form around 4am. She was licking my arm, licking my hands, trying to lick my face, sitting on my hair... I think any judging panel would have given her at least an 8.2. I half woke up and checked the time. Then I sniffed - no trace of smoke. Well, I didn't care if anyone had fallen down a well, I was going back to sleep.

Of course everyone was fine this morning, apart from my lack of sleep.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Spider's brother

It was OH's turn to sleep on the sofa.

I followed evil cat's suddenly interested gaze, and yes, another absolutely huge spider is strolling casually along the wall. It was large. It was larger than an average mouse. It didn't have bovver boots on, but could have got a pair in her size.

'I'm not sleeping with that in the room.' OH says firmly. Dr Who and the Planet of the Spiders really does have a lot to answer for.
So I took a deep breath and took little bear's paper bag puppet of a giraffe and sort of scooped the huge thing inside it and started taking it briskly towards the door. Except it ran out of the bag and over the outside.

I wasn't brave. I gave a sort of muffled shriek (little bear was asleep at the time) and flung the bag, complete with spider hanging on the outside, into the porch and locked the door. The only reason I didn't lean with my back against the door panting was because I was scared of hearing a knock.

I am now waiting for number three.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I have been doing some research for little bear's autumn/winter wardrobe. In spring I spent £50 at George and got stacks and stacks of clothes for him. So I thought I would start browsing and get an idea of where to go next.

Hmm. George did not look so promising, but it is still August. Tesco did look v disappointing (can you tell I was targeting cheap shops through Quidco?). Out of curiousity, I checked Matalan. I can see Matalan from where I am sitting typing this. However, 5% cashback, free delivery if I spend over £50, and the chance of actually getting the goodies as the different stuff seems to fly through Matalan and they never get it again...

On the other hand, I am seriously considering what we actually need. OH had a £50 Next voucher as part of his Christmas bonus, so that was a fabulous winter coat and seven t-shirts. Plenty of sweaters still fit him. He does not need socks - at all - ever. Not only is there a minor sock mountain of current ones, but I bought some of the next size up for him. They would swamp him at the moment, but I can see the day when I am glad I bought black socks, 9-12 boys size in bulk, for when the holes start appearing. The odd ones will match up. He has plenty of jeans and some of them are a little long on him.

Actually, the only things we are likely to need before Christmas are pyjamas, and I can probably eke those out as well.

Sigh, money saved, shopping opportunity lost.


Little bear is very clear about things that belong to him. 'Is mine!' is a frequent cry. As the only child, a very indulged child and a very charming child, it is hard to deal with.

Today as little bear 'helped' me to put away his clothes, I pulled out all of his old vests that are all at least a year old. He looked very dubious when I told him that they were going away (actually, probably binwards - I bought cheap and he wore them to death). Because they were his.

The other problem is books. I suggested that to make room we should get rid of some books, perhaps to the Methodists? No, they were his, thank you. Even the cardboard ones. Even the ones that weren't proper stories.

I am going to have to try and think about this. All his relatives indulge him (me included) and certainly some of them are impossible to stop - darling uncle!

Also, I cannot guarantee that if things go missing he will not remember them. He could remember that two books were given him by his auntie, nearly a year ago.

Little bear is feeling better

Little bear is much better, thank you, after a fairly nightmarish week where he was not a happy little bear at all. He has now had two uninterrupted nights' sleep and is actually eating food, which was hit and miss last week - he was even not eating chocolate!

He has helped me hoover the stairs and helped me put away his clothes. It is (strange to some people reading this) the first time he has helped me like this, but because I have been a bit pathetic, I have not done things with him. Now I feel a bit more confident for him to help me. Or 'help' me. I am not sure of the state of the t-shirts pushed in the drawer, I will worry about it later.

Also we have a new hoover. It was £40 from Lakeland and it is amazing. It is reasonably powerful, has a detachable bit that turns into a hand held little vac, it plugs in, and it doesn't have a bag. It needs emptying quite frequently, but I am willing to put up with that as it weighs less than three bags of sugar and I can move it around. It is marvellous. I can now vacuum everywhere - once I have cleared the floor.

Friday, 20 August 2010


The number of books on little bear's bed last night - 201. And that is not all the books in his room, and there are even more in the rest of the house.

I need to cull.

One thing that bothers me. Do I involve little bear or not? It seems a bit arbitrary to get rid of books that I think he is too old for but he may still like. On the other hand, he isn't four yet.

I might do what I have done with toys. I took a load away and stashed them, they are ready to go to a new home. But I kept them for a while to see if he asked for them. He showed no indication that he had noticed that they had gone. I think I will do the same for the books. Though a less-than-four-year old with a minimum of 300 books is unlikely to miss some rag books and books about 'this is red'. Little bear can now spell 'red'.

Proud of my brother

My brother Ian, who occasionally comments on here, has just got his results for an A level sat as a mature student.

Not only has the academic stuff had to be done, not only was it a subject he had never studied before, but he also battled through loads of personal stuff and I am really proud and happy for him.

He not only took on an A level after years out of the learning system, in a subject he had never studied before and got through loads of tough personal stuff. He got an A.

I wish I could give you a medal!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Little bear likes his books and he likes to 'read' books before he goes to sleep. This afternoon, before his nap, he emptied the small bookcase onto his bed before his nap, and then napped in his chair.

OH was kind enough to refill the bookcase, and I had been the one that refilled it yesterday, and he started counting the books as he put them in. 108 books. That is how many were on little bear's bed. There is also a sort of thingy which some books live in and a large plastic box were the bigger, floppier books live. Still, the books were away and little bear had room to sleep.

OH has just gone to bed, going past little bear's room on the way. All the books are once again back on the bed.

I am going to do a prune. If little bear is ever well enough to get to nursery.


I am moderate about spiders - I don't get hysterical about them but I am not keen. However I am usually the spider wrangler as OH is really not keen. Dr Who and the Planet of the Spiders has a lot to answer for.

Today there was a large spider in the bath. My first instinct was not to send for evil cat, as I swear some of the mice that we had earlier in the year were smaller. I did not want evil cat coming second as she is not her usual evil self. Normally inconvenient spiders are the duty of cat disposal, but not this time. And I wasn't sure about the usual 'leave a strip of toilet paper hanging from the top of the bath to the bottom and hope it gets the hint' technique. I wasn't sure I really wanted it stomping around.

Regardless, I wanted a bath so I steeled myself and tried to scoop it out of the bath with a strip of toilet paper. There was absolutely no way I was touching it. It was not a spider that looked familiar, and I grew up in a Port, and we are no so far away from an airport. Also I have heard far too many stories about spiders in bananas. This didn't look the banana type, more a sort of Australian look, which isn't good.

The spider wanted nothing to do with this escape net chasing her round the bath, I swear the taps were rattling as it stomped around. Eventually I weakened. I hate killing spiders, but this one was going to have to go down the plug hole. I needed the bath - I really NEEDED a bath for the sake of those around me and also my own sanity. Little bear was complaining in the background, so on went the tap.

Now, you may or may not believe me, as all spider threads go on about size (something freudian here?) but this spider did not fit down the plughole. It was too big.

Well, I did the best I could with quite a few gallons of cold water and firmly snapped in the plug. I had a lovely hot bath and did not pull out the plug until I was on my way out of the bathroom. I have not been back in since.

I feel really bad about killing the spider, though probably not as bad as the spider. It serves me right if we are over run with flies. On the other hand, this one was too big to go down the plug hole so I feel better about it being in the plug hole than possibly in my bed!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Feeling a bit tired/ill and so desperately resisting comfort shopping - especially yarn!

Must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn, must not buy yarn...
Little bear is still poorly, and wonderful child that he is, he has shared his bug with me.

I'm still weighing up the doctor option. He is running a temperature and looking like a ghost, but it is under control with baby nurofen and I think a rest and sleep will sort him. On the cold/flu spectrum it is nearer flu, so I am encouraging liquids, letting him have far more sweeties than normal and being a cuddle cushion. However I am keeping an eye on it, and off to the doctors if it gets worse.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Poorly little bear

I am typing this as my eyes are nearly shutting with tiredness, but I need to get some words out and I am far too tired to write.

Little bear is poorly. It seems like a flu like virus. He was up a few times last night, calling for his mummy. OH was on official night shift, but of course I couldn't stay away. He is hot, and bothered, and I have spent plenty of time being a cushion. He is clinging onto his Ratatouille like a life raft.

Poor little mite. However it does look like nursery tomorrow is out, so that means no counselling which I was actually looking forward to and no brief trip into town. I feel rotten for being selfish, but I was actually looking forward to the time off.

Mind you, today I had nearly three hours ironing while little bear had a good long sleep - and yes, there is still ironing left, sigh. The room looks like something out of Kim and Aggie's nightmares with lots of things with no obvious homes heaped around. I won't be able to do a full sort until little bear is in nursery but I can get nearer, with a bit of luck and a long nap.

He perked up during the evening but I will be keeping a close eye on him.

Darling Father works too hard

Darling father has felt the need to Do Things, so yesterday he cleaned out the Dragons Den (the cupboard under the front steps where the dragon is supposed to live) and today he painted it.

And he was so exhausted that he barely had the strength to watch the Liverpool game. He was looking at his watch at 7.30 tonight, to see if it was nearly bedtime. I am a bit worried, because I have not yet found any way of getting him to slow down, darn it, but as a nearly octogenarian he can't do what he did a few years ago.

I am really grateful for all he has done, but I worry. And I can't always get to things before he does, to save him a job, as little bear has need of me, and besides, darling father likes to be Doing.

He has even been going easy on the whisky!

Frugal fail

I bought a bacon joint from Mr S for £3.99. I then put it in the slow cooker and cooked it all day with just a bouquet garni and some peppercorns. It was only a small joint, it wasn't even on offer, but the meat comes out beautiful and tender and not too salty.

Fail number one - I tipped the liquid down the drain. I hated doing it, but there is no room in the freezer for anything at all, and I know that cooking a pile of split peas and lentils in it would not get eaten any time in the next week. I was upset by that, but took it on the chin.

This bacon joint http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/groceries/index.jsp?bmUID=1281907801312 sliced up nicely for the first meal, with frozen veg (still no room in the freezer) and potatoes cubed, stirred around with oil and a sachet of morrocan vegetable spices from Approved Foods and then cooked in the Remoska. So far so good.

It was sliced up for the second time to feed four - it was still beautiful and tender. I was going to do it with mash and beans but I had a fail. Not only did I not really do enough potatoes, and OH doesn't like Smash, but I couldn't physically lift the pan of potatoes, that I had accidentally overcooked (little bear needed a cuddle) to a mush, and so I couldn't drain them properly so it was a sort of wallpaper paste effect when I added the butter...

Fail number two - I went to the Chinese chippy, and bought two portions of chips, and while I was at it I got a portion of mushrooms. The mushrooms were very nice indeed and they should have been. The total for that was £4 or 1p more than the bacon joint that was feeding four for a second time.

And the beans were boiled to tar when I got back as apparently they had to grow the potatoes for the chips, which is how OH likes beans but I prefer less sludge...

Must try harder.

Friday, 13 August 2010

I need to buy shoes

When darling father visits, we get to watch Liverpool FC channel, which can be really good and very interesting to a die hard fan. One presenter is a lady, who is incredibly knowledgeable, professional and capable. It's just her dress sense. You expect females involved in a football club to have a bit of WAG about them. This lady, who doesn't look much older than twenty five, just has her own style.

Actually last night I was envying her shoes. They are not the killer heels you usually see celebrities in, but nice heels, a lace up front, lovely and smart. I was racking my brains to think where I had seen them, and I knew I had, just not where...

They were from Matalan, I believe, and good for her. The money that is spent sometimes on clothes and shoes is, to me, quite honestly an obscenity. It just seems odd to see someone on television wearing things from Matalan. And because she is on television is no reason for me to expect that she should be wearing all the designer stuff. It does lead me to wonder where she got that rather nice top and whether I could get one for me...

Rain rain rain

Actually, I'm quite enjoying the rain. I don't have to water the tomatoes and the kids from next door but one only knocked twice while little bear was at nursery.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

More changes in the street

Due to Her Three Doors Down getting upset at Nice Mr Next Door and calling every official body she can possibly manage to make things difficult... and then not understanding why he is upset...

Our street looks a lot less like a scrapyard. I think Nice Mr Next Door is only currently working on two, which are more or less outside his house. And today the council workmen turned up around 8am to tow away the caravan (no notice). So we have no cars or vans across the road. Bless them, the workmen did let him empty the thing (his yard is full)and cleared away some of the rubbish which had piled up behind it.

They had to do this because the daughter of Her Three Doors Down had climbed the fence, fallen and hurt her hand and so the fence needs to be replaced... Poor kid, it looks really bad and she is only around 8 or 9.

That is another thing that I am dreading tomorrow. I am tired, I have been to the dentists successfully today, but I know that tomorrow I will feel crotchety and uncomfortable. However the little lads from next door but one (aged 6 and 3) will constantly be knocking for little bear to play out with them. So I will be sitting on the step, trying to not get too stressed when they trash the toys he is usually so careful with and generally cause havoc. The eldest in particular is polite, but the youngest can be, well, a bit rough and tumble. I know I won't have the energy to play with them, that I won't be able to get stuff done that I want to get done, because I will be sitting outside watching the kids. Which I wish was more general. And the main attraction, I suspect, is little bear's toys. I keep a box of the more robust and expendable ones to take out to play with.

As little bear is not yet four, I insist that he stays in the garden - the cars can race round here scarily fast, but not often enough to make him wary of the road. So at some point little bear will have his three warnings and then be dragged inside, screaming. And if I want him to have a nap tomorrow afternoon (he is still full of cold and was shattered this morning) then I need to hope that two things do not happen. That the kids from next door do not knock on the door and ring the bell every five minutes and that they do not stand in the street screaming his name...

And I wish that the kids from next door but one were watched just a little closer, as in another mum outside, and that they didn't run all over the road, because guess what little bear thinks is a good idea...

And I wish I wasn't such a sourpuss mum.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

More yarn

I have just seen OH off for a trip to the tip. We have been going through some things in the junk room, with a view to making room for me in there. It is a distant dream at the moment.

And I have found yarn - oh dear I have found lots of yarn! Lots and lots and lots - and it is all stuff I can think, yes, I can do this, or yes, I can do that...


A few days ago I put a bet on ebay, or at least that is how I saw it. There was no photo, but it said a bin bag full of wool. So, as the starting and postage was within my betting range I bid the minimum. Yesterday it arrived - a bin bag crammed with odd balls, ideal for a lot of things, including around 300g of fluffy pink angora which I can think of uses straight away.

One or two things I may donate or even sell. There was some 1oz hanks of fingering wool that I am tempted to donate to a museum, they must be thirty years old! And there are lots of bits and bobs that I am sure that nursery can use.

It was actually quite sad, because I could tell a little about the lady (or gentleman) in question. There were lots of oddments of white, for baby clothes. There were some yellows and creams, I guess for the same. There were oddments of pink and purple, for the lady or her friends, and there were balls of blue and grey, from knitting for the boys. Many of the labels were old, and I recognised them from my grandmother's favourites. There were none of the weird stuff that I enjoy, it was all very straight forward yarn. There was even a tiny scrap of black fun fur - to make noses for knitted toys.

I intend to knit at least one hour a day, because my name is Wannabe Sybil and I am addicted to yarn...

Friday, 6 August 2010

Proud mother

Little bear woke me up this morning shouting '10 plus 10 equal twenty!' I was very dopey but I managed a fairly enthusiastic 'well done!' I am desperately proud, it will be six months before he is four.

Of course, he followed it up saying that six plus six was seven, which wasn't quite right, so I am not getting too carried away. Just desperately, honestly proud of him.

He is currently very concerned with giants, after watching Playhouse Disney where Willy the Giant lives on a cloud on top of a beanstalk. He very seriously told us that all the giants lived on all the clouds, and they were hiding. I reassured him that the giants will not come here because of the dragon under the steps (where does he get his imagination from? Must be his father). However he is stomping around quoting the latest ladybird Jack and the Beanstalk shouting, 'Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum, watch out everyone, here I come!'

As I went upstairs last night to join him and OH, I said, 'Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum, watch out everyone, here comes Mum! Where's little bear?'
'I here, under mine hat.' is the direct quote. And he was. The gladiator helmet OH got him from the Armouries at Leeds is a bit big for him so he sort of hangs under it.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


I love Sherlock, the new series, well, I say new but this week is the third and final episode in the series. I just really love the whole thing. I think the writing is phenomenal, the acting is top notch, the atmosphere is dark and smokily evocative and the last episode with a Chinese connection made me hear echoes of the old Limehouse district in Victorian times.

Also, I confess, the two lead characters are extremely pleasant to look at...

Second verse same as the first

I have a cough - so I can't move because I can't breathe.

It is not serious. OH's cough is serious and needs antibiotics. Mine is not serious according to the doctor - and I agree with the doctor. It will be gone in a day or two, it is inconvenient, keep up the liquids etc...

But it is another, dratted, stupid, silly minor infection that I am dragging along. I am so fed up of it.

On the bright side, I can see, and I am about to try my first thousand words for some time. I suppose I ought to get along to an optician, but now I can see it has lost some urgency...

Monday, 2 August 2010


Darling father is visiting, here and the local pub. He likes it there, he chats with the landlord, he gossips and watches the football. And he comes home with a full carrier bag of cherries.

I have never cooked cherries, I don't actually like them that much. I do not know what to do with them except not waste them.

I took a deep breath and left them around and some of them disappeared. Little bear lubs cherries. Actually I would have preferred if Darling Father had not just handed my three year old cherries with stones in and let him get on with it. I would like to have been able to 'risk assess'. Of course little bear is alright, but it would have been nice.

Then I painstakingly sat and pitted enough cherries to fill two IKEA kilner jars, added sugar and covered with brandy. At Christmas we (mainly darling father probably) will drink the brandy and the cherries will contribute to a spectacular fruit cake. If I can find a recipe.

Then finally I made a ginormous cherry crumble which did two days.

I am actually quite proud of myself at the lack of waste. And with the crumble, well, all things were aching and I was sick of the sight of the kitchen walls so I thought I would buy some crumble mix. I was ashamed, but decided I could live with the shame. Well, I would have lived with the shame if anywhere local had sold crumble mix and I ended up making it myself after all, which took all of two minutes and tasted very nice, actually.

I have quite impressed myself.


Where to start...

I am not good at the dentist, and it has always been the dentist that has insisted on sedation. I don't know much about teeth, anyway, and I am not entirely comfortable with the dentist in one way. He never says anything. The procedure is that he looks in my mouth, I wait in another room and then the dental nurse tells me what is going to happen. I am frequently baffled.

The last sedation I woke up with a sort of spike in my mouth, apparently they didn't bother with a temporary crown. I had no explanation or instructions. Then I was told that I had to go back on a particular day. So darling father rearranged his social life, I booked little bear in for a full day at nursery, and we travelled for an hour on the bus to get to the dentist.

Who said, sorry, we can't do anything because you haven't been to the lab. 'What lab?' I asked. 'You were told about it.' 'No I wasn't.' 'Then the person who you were with was told.' 'No they weren't'.

It seems that due to holidays and people not being entirely sure of what was going on, no-one told me about going to a dental lab in a not posh area, to get my teeth matched. I was told to take a taxi there, it wouldn't cost too much. They did apologise.

I would be far more calm about the whole dratted thing if someone had not called me up the evening before to confirm I was still coming, and that everything was alright. Surely they must have had some sort of clue that there was something else to be done? Or am I just expecting too much?

So the whole social life/day at nursery/messing around has to happen again! And I will have been around a month with a spike in my mouth instead of a tooth because I have to wait until everything is aligned again to have the dratted procedure.