Tuesday, October 28, 2008

twist and shout

Ah me. We’ve had some visitors here at camp spud in the last few days and that means that we’ve had to turf the spud out of his room and into ours. Oh yes, the slippery slope of sleeping in the big bed has been slid right to the very bottom. 5 days of sleeping with his parents, 5 days of waking up with direct access to the power of pester and 5 days, crucially, of not having to sleep in his own bed, his prison cot out of which he cannot climb.

Interestingly, he has not attempted to climb out of the big bed at all. In fact, he has gone to sleep like a blissful little cherub with nary a chirrup of complaint, no demands for milk and no crying of poo wolf ('Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Poo Mummy, Poo!! Poo!!' ... 'Have you done a poo, Spud?' 'Yeth!' 'Have you really?' 'Yeth, Poo!!'. No poo. 'Do you need to poo in the potty?' 'Yeth' Twenty minutes of pottering about the bathroom ignoring the potty later and it's back to bed. No poo the next time either. Or the next. Sometimes, five calls later, poo happens, but by that point we are so fed up of jumping up and down that we've closed all the adjoining doors and are eating our freezing cold dinner with our feet in a mustard bath.

This new easy bedtime is possibly only when he's put to sleep in our bed, so, now that our guests have gone, we hit upon the wizard wheeze of putting him down in our bed and then moving his sweet little sleeping self into his own bed. Which works for about two hours which is when someone from upstairs comes home and slams the door, or a car honks out in the street, or a helicopter flies over or a siren goes off. You know. And he wakes up. And realises he's been tricked. And will he go back to sleep? Will he hell. Not, you understand, in anything other than our comfy bed. Between his parents. And not under the duvet either. No no, that's just too hot.

Instead, he kicks and complains in his sleep until the duvet is crumpled up below foot level, ie, around our waists somewhere. He then stretches his little fists and once he's thumped both of us a good one he frog-legs up to the headboard where he bangs his noggin and wakes, briefly, to whinge a little. He then rolls over, trapping one arm briefly underneath him and struggling energetically to free it, ending up with his pajama-clad bottom in the air and one or both of his parents teetering on the edge of the mattress, leaving no room for an elderly and very disgusted cat.

So, yes. We are currently being beaten by the proverbial rod we have created for, you know, our own backs. And stuff. There are benefits however. To all this bed sharing and twisted musculature. Namely, once he's contorted himself into position, that's it. Lights out. No waking. No, in otherwords, getting up in the middle of the night to give him a cuddle. I'm not sure I can remember the last time I had a week of uninterrupted nights.

Perhaps we should just buy a bigger bed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Twinkle twinkle little... wha?

We have singing! Proper singing with almost words and everything! I know, I know, sign us up for X Factor already, my son's the next Frank Sinatra. Or something.

Forgive me for over-reacting a little here, it's just that we've recently had our parent meeting at the nursery and it seems our little bear is lagging in concentration skills. The fact that his motor and spatial awareness skills are advanced doesn't appear to be wiping the earnest look of concern off the face of his nursery worker however. She kept uttering phrases like 'it's nothing to be worried about' and 'we've had much, much worse' but I could barely hear her as the spectre of ADHD rose up in front of me and went 'BLEBEDDYBLEBEDDYBLEH!' until I realised that he is, after all, only two and has clearly demonstrated his ability to concentrate on the things that really matter. Like, for example, how to get Mummy to give him an ice-cream AFTER she's said no. Several times.

I submit the following. Today, after attempting to win me over with his new hysterics, he decided that he would forgo his spaghetti and have ice cream instead. The flaw in this plan is that in order to get said ice-cream, someone else has to get the stuff out of the freezer which means firstly, the same person has to agree that having no spaghetti is a good idea and secondly, has be asked nicely. Simply pointing at the freezer and shrieking 'In there! In THERE!' then bursting into hysterics is, frankly, not the way to win this one.

So, my little bundle of so-called attention deficit decided he would trick his mother out of an ice cream. Firstly, he calmed down and asked nicely for some water, asked for a straw, drank it through the straw, put the cup on the counter. Diversionary tactics, you see. Then, he toddled gaily over to the tupperware cupboard. Now, what does one find in there? Tupperware? Yes! But... but... what is this? What? Is it... an ice cube tray?

Yes folks, you got it. He had an actual plan in mind. He held it up and said 'Water? Water Mummy! Water!'. I tried putting it back in the cupboard (hysterics), I tried putting it in the sink (hysterics), so, I filled it with water. Once full, he pointed to the freezer 'In there! In there!' and so I had to put the ice-cube tray into the freezer. This, as you have no doubt intuited, involves the opening of the freezer door and suddenly he was using his cute little squeaky surprised voice. 'Oh! Oh!! Mummy!' he said, as if to say 'Wow, did you see that?' Who'd have thought? Ice-cream! Do you think... maybe... that? That there? In there? That? There? No? Mummy? Ice cream? Ice...?

I closed the freezer. He went back to the cupboard and pulled out... the popsicle mould! 'Juice Mummy, Juice! In there!' So, we made popsicles. And put them in the freezer.

He still didn't get an ice cream, but he tried REALLY hard.

Bedtime is also succumbing to his new hysterics and he can concentrate for up to two hours on not going to sleep. Last night I tried to sing him to bed - quite an act given that normally my singing is met with 'NO Mummy, NO!' I did, however, hit upon Twinkle Twinkle and lo and behold, there he was, singing along. 'Tee to tee to taaaaaahhhh' OK so it didn't quite scan but there it was: 'Tee to tee to taaaaaahhhh... tee do tee do di do diiiiiiiii... tee do tee do di do diiiiiiiii.... tee to tee to taaaaaaahhhh....'

Lacking in concentration indeed. Today 'Twinkle Twinkle', tomorrow... well, ice cream, I suspect.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heinz means...

I have tried very hard with my little pudding to give him nutritious dinners every day. He's not afraid of a bit of brocolli, my boy and he'll happily snack on raw red peppers and slices of root veggies. He likes salad and I think he believes that pasta is always cooked with spinach. OK, so he knows the words for 'biscuit' and 'ice-cream' and he'd prefer to eat bread than nearly anything else in the world but in general, his diet has been pretty healthy.

Recently, however, things have slipped and personally, I blame his swank new nursery. It's not that I'm getting lazy, I mean, it takes as much energy to cut and pan-fry potatoes as it does to cook something more healthy, it's just that recently it's been a little more difficult to get the fresh veggies into him. So, I've been playing that old Mum's game 'hide the vegetable' by making vegetable fritatas and home-made rice cakes and spaggheti sauce loaded with veg and then pureed. This, of course, makes him even more resistant to the idea of non-processed food and down we go. It's a slippery slope, and last night we squelched noisily to the bottom with me delivering him a dinner containing 2 fish fingers, 2 courgette frittatas and a pool of baked beans. And how did the spud greet this fast food fat mountain?

'Oh WOW!!'

Yes, that's right. The first time my son has ever greeted his dinner with anything better than a smile; 'WOW!!' he said again. And then, I kid you not, then, he actually said 'Yay!!'

We have never had baked beans at home before. I have nothing against them, in fact I quite like baked beans. It's just that they come in bloody great big tins that we never finish and after a week we find them going a bit sort of fatty and hard at the back of the fridge. Yesterday, however, the availability of tiny tins of beans was revealed to me on the supermarket shelf. I know, I imagine they've been on sale since I was 8 but trust me, I've just never seen them. So, I thought 'why not'. Once home I was anxious to try them out so I opened one up, spooned out half, heated up the beans and inadvertantly unleashed the Power of Two on them as my toddler practiced his new fork skills until there Were No More.

The spud's new nursery is teaching him all sorts of cool things. It's Montessori and so every game has some sort of practical value and there are lots that involve transferring something from one pot to another. Water gets poured from one jug into another or squeezed in a dropper from one bottle to another and beans, beans get spooned from one bowl into another bowl and this, combined with the inevitability of beans for nursery lunch, has clearly taken our little spudlet's imagination by storm.

He leaned into his dinner, swooped the fish fingers and courgette aside and began vigourously forking up his beans. He was squishing them on, pushing them on with his knife, stabbing them, scooping them... he had a whole raft of new skills which seemed designed solely for the purpose of getting beans onto fork. Once in a while I, armed with a sneaky second fork would slip a piece of fish into his mouth and he would accept then give me a withering look as he choked it down and went in for more beans. 'More! More! he said when they were done and God help me, I went back, heated them up and gave him The Rest of the Tin. That's right, a whole 150gm tin of beans went into his maw. It was astonishing.

Now, I'm all in a dither. I mean, I know that baked beans are not the devil - I bought them, after all. It's just that they ARE fatty and full of sugar and now he expects to see them at home, on his plate and, eventually, around his ever-expanding midriff. The only solution I fear is a return to fresh steamed vegetables... Tomorrow, it's off to the market and, from now on I'm afraid that beens means greens in this house.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

... the whites of its eyes...

I have seen the enemy mouse, and the mouse is... cute! And brave. The little bugger strutted out from the kitchen bold as a monkey's bottom and did that Tom and Jerry move where it saw me, froze, and then tiptoed backwards into the skirting board. Actually it ran for its life, so quickly I barely saw it move, it just sort of evaporated...

Anyway, so I haven't been hallucinating, dreaming or otherwise making it all up, it really is a mouse and it really is in the apartment. Since the first night of major chewing however we've not seen or heard any evidence... beyond of course the sight of the damn thing taking possession of our living room. We have no idea where it's based itself beyond the vague suspicion that it is living in the kitchen and so tomorrow the kitchen gets cleaned torn apart.

It appears also that now the creature has been in the house for a few days, it is finally leaving enough of a scent trail for our old puss to get a whiff of, however our suspicion that he was once a pampered show cat is gaining legs as it is clear that while he can smell something, he's not entirely certain what to do about it... I suspect that he and real mice have never had the pleasure, so to speak.

The upshot is that Teddymouse, his ancient lump of spit-stiff terry-towelling filled with something that might once have been catnip, is getting some renewed abuse as his instincts battle it out with his manners. Sammy is now strutting about the place as if he really has done battle and I swear the whole thing is actually doing him some good - perhaps some ancient pheremone receptor is pumping him full of energy. Or something.

The spud, now he is old enough to understand what Teddymouse is about is now putting life and limb at risk by trying to tempt Sammy with Teddymouse and Sammy is again proving what a gent he is by not lifting a paw while the spud is holding on... the result however is that my little boy, who REALLY wants Sammy to play with the toy the way he does when I drag it about, is getting very frustrated.

Anyway, we are no further ahead in our quest to evict our mouse, however our rickety old grey bone-bag is now a lionesque hunter, long may he roar.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Gnawing regrets

I guess we should have realised that this day would come and, with the onset of winter, it seems in retrospect to be something for which we should have really been prepared. It's just one of those things that one doesn't particularly want to contemplate, no matter how inevitable it may be.

I know we shouldn't be surprised. We adopted Sammy a year and a half ago and he was over 16 then - in the intervening time he has not grown any younger, nor has his hearing improved.

This, then, is the lamentable outcome of adopting an old, deaf cat.


Oh, Sammy's fine. He's polishing off great bowls full of food and has bravely managed to overcome his distaste for the fairer sex by sleeping ever closer to me over the past six months until this week, he is actually sleeping in my face.

I have a handy hint for those of you with dry lips: don't use chapstick if your cat is sleeping in your face. Two words: Caterpillar Lips.

The upshot of all this hair in my nostrils is that I'm not sleeping brilliantly which means I spend a great deal of time lying very still (well, he is a Very Old Cat) listening to the sounds of our flat. Last night, this included the sound of the flat being chewed to pieces by what I have since confirmed as, by the size of it's little droppings, a mouse. A very loud mouse. A mouse which was yesterday having a gay old scramble across our wood floors followed by some vigourous chewing and then another scramble.

Now, most cats of my past aquaintance would at this point be wide awake, ears swivelling, planning their decimation of the enemy. Most cats, in fact, would merely need to inhabit an apartment to keep the mice behind enemy lines. Not Sammy however. No, Sammy was actually snoring. I prodded him awake and we lay there, him no doubt wearing his disgruntled face (I couldn't see in the dark but he was hunching his shoulders in a Very Meaningful Way) and me poking him at every scuttle. Did he perk up? Did he sniff the air meaningfully and emit a low growl? No. No no no. No, because our dearest darling Sammy is Too Deaf to hear a mouse and, I realised this morning after showing him The Evidence, he is probably also 'hard of smelling'. And, possibly, a little dim in the old eye department as well.

Poor old boy, he's a simply marvellous cat but absolutely bloody useless when it comes to warning off a mouse. I wonder, has there been a surveilance team of them under our floorboards rating Sammy under some sort of mouse threat assessment? 'This one is a zero, I repeat, zero, gnaw at will'. Have they really dismissed him as harmless? Or, is he, in fact the Dalai Lama of cats - fully aware that there are mice in the place but allowing them their mouse rights under a buddhist live-and-let-live policy?

Either way, we are going to have to get in some humane traps and let our little friends loose deep in the park where they pose no threat to the wiring. While we don't intentionally leave out any food which would otherwise attract them, we do have the cat's bowls, not to mention a two year old who stuffs half-eaten biscuits into the furniture so I suspect that now they've found us and our neutral cat, our little housemates are going to be disinclined to leave without a little prodding.

Bedtime now, I'll be the one with the ear plugs in and my finger in the cat's ribs.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Wake Up and Smell the Coffee has tagged me for a meme... I'm rubbish at meme's but will have a go at this one as it seems fairly easy. The job is to write 6 random things about me and tag 6 people. Given that this one has been around a while, I think everyone I know has done this one already (some more than once) so I hereby tag anyone who reads this and hasn't done it yet... just let me know

1. I... I... I... ye Gods it's hard to pick random things. I mean, by picking them they are by definition Not Random, they're chosen. This really requires one to stand in the middle of one's life spinning a bottle. I think possibly the first thing on this list ought to be that secretly, I am a terrible pedant.

2. We are watching a movie at the moment. I have proved to my husband what a truly tedious individual I am by yet again correctly predicting the plot. I think this says more about the quality of films on late night TV rather than any sort of intelligence on my part. That being said, possibly don't invite me around to your house to watch telly. I think that's reasonably random.

3. God I'm tired. Are you tired? I'm tired. The cat is tired too, he's tried sleeping on both of us in the last ten minutes and has given up and slunk off to his water bowl. He's crouched over it right now like Dracula over a old lady's neck, looking all cowled and fangy and put out. This is because yesterday we purchased a tin of clearly inferior cat food and he's on a sort of hunger strike, the sort which excludes his cat bowl but includes our dinner, the spud's dinner and pretty much anything that's not marked 'cat' on the packet.

4. The spud lost a wellington in the middle of nowhere today. Finding it involved 40 minutes of hilly walking in the rain during time I was hoping to spend napping. This is why I am up at IS IT TWENTY PAST MIDNIGHT OH MY GOD.

5. I replaced the clutch lever on my motorbike in the dark this evening. Gratifyingly, this act of bravery and sheer coolness was witnessed by several people however I am certain they were all convinced I was a loony bike thief. During this time spent role-playing Steve McQueen, the spud tore his room apart and left his father in a trembling heap on the nursery floor.

6. It really is 20 past midnight. Mother.