Friday, March 31, 2006

I can't grow squat

... everything I touch DIES. Every. Damn. Thing.

We planted some tomato seeds and they grew like they were on steroids - hundreds of them - everywhere. As soon as I try to pot them? Instant death. I even managed to drop the damn pot ensuring any survivers were well and truly done for.

We planted some strawberry seeds and they are fussy. Got nothing for weeks until three teeny tiny seedlings popped up. Now, only having three you'd think I'd treasure them - but I forgot to water them and one died - the other two were hanging over the edge of the pot begging for water from passing insects. I saw them just in time and watered them, and as we all know plants just *love* to be dowsed in water so hard that mud splatters out of the pot and their 'ickle leaves flatten and wither. Hm.

Grass. Even grass under my loving care dies. I need to re-pot the pot garden. And you think I am exagerating view, if you will, photographic evidence:



Yes, people. I am so bad at gardening that not only do plants die before my very eyes they actually implode in on themselves before kicking the bucket.

Now, given my track record you'd be wondering what I was doing at Notcutts garden centre today? As well as looking for the unkillable plant (it was cactus and something made of plastic) I also thought it would be nice to get Boss a pet fish. The benefits of pet fish cannot be innumerated enough 1) Boss really into animals right now, whales and aquatic life in particular hence the Whale Project (sounds like a code name for my diet), and a goldfish is as close to a whale as he is likely to get without being stranded at sea (God forbid *spits over right shoulder and throws salt in the air*) 2) unlike other pets fish don't bite 3) unlike other pets fish rarely smell. Unless left out of water 4) they are cheap and cheerful and are relaxing to watch.

Right, so I ask the lady at the store, "How much would a basic pet fish and tub thingy cost?"

"For a small tropical water fish you would want a *names a fish and might as well have said WIBBLE because I had no idea what she was talking about* and a tank with filter with some de-cholinater, fish food and *lists a hundred things that sound like something an aviator might find in a cockpit*"

Me: "No I'm sorry, my fault, you misunderstood me. I don't want one of your star-fangled, super-dooper, all-singing, all-dancing, neon-light-flashing, sequin-spangled man-eating fish - I just want your basic, common or garden orange variety and a bowl, please."

Her: *Looks at me as though I'm retarded* Yes. That's what I'm talking about.

Me: So how much is a bowl then?

Her: I'm sorry, but we just don't sell fish like that anymore.

Me: Oh really. When did you stop selling fish like that then?

Her: 1979

Me: Okaaaaaaay. So bring me up todate, because the last fish I had when I were knee-high to a sparrow was orange, opened it's gob a lot, swam round and round in circles in a plastic bowl ooh about this *shows with hands* big and we cleaned it out once a week.

Her: *Stares at me* And how long did that fish last exactly?

Me: Hm... well I'm a bit fuzzy on the detail because I was only four....

Her: Roughly speaking?

Me: A year? Ish? Give or take?

Her: Well they are supposed to live for twenty.

Me: Funk me.

Her: And without a filter you would have to clean the bowl out every twenty minutes by hand using a 10% ratio of water reduction until the bowl was sufficiently clean, and before added the water you would have had to de-chlorinate it with these *shows me a packet of de-chlorinater and anti-bactirial stuff* meaning effectively you would have been emptying the bowl continuously none-stop.

Me: Right. Well we just used tap water.

Her: Once a week?

Me: Think so yeah.

Her: Wasn't it dirty?

Me: Well I remember once or twice some green crap around the bowl but nothing that bad. Looked OK to me. I mean, you know, I wouldn't have drank it but for a fish it was clean.

Her: Well, actually fish deficate quite a LOT and produce toxic chemicals into the water and unless these are purified the fish literally poisons itself to death so we couldn't possibly sell you a fish without the proper equipment.

Me: So which is the cheapest bowl, er I mean, tank there is?

Her: You are looking at £40.

Me: Funk me.

Her: and then you'd need this this and this.

Me: OK. And I could take this *points at a nice gold fish* with me.

Her: No.

Me: *begins to think I'm living in a bad dream where fish rule the world have devised a cunning plan to make us worship them* why?

Her: For a fish that big which will grow to about 5 or 6 inches you'd need a tank THIS big to give it sufficient room *points at a tank worth more than my car*

Me: So what fish could I put in the smaller tank?

Her: These, these and these.

Me: *looks* I can't see anything.

Her: There they are.

Me: *looks really hard* I'm sorry I can't see any... ohhhhhhhh... that tiny bit of floating plankton??

Her: yes. You could have five of those. Six maximum. We couldn't let you have more.

Me: *looks really hard* they're a bit small....

Her: for the tank these are the fish that are appropriate. If you want to take them you'll have to take the tank today and come back in 2 weeks time for the fish

Me: WHY???

Her: Because it will take that long for the tank to be ready

Me: And for the read carpet to be laid out? and the canopes to be ready?

Her: What?

Me: *leaving* nothing. Long live the 1970s......

Why I email everybody instead of ringing

Some people have asked why I never ring them and just email instead. For those of you without kids I will try to give you the scenario, as played out in my children's heads:

Ring Ring! Ring Ring!

JAWS: *Ears prick up like a lioness out in the Serengeti* Hark - I hear the phone. That means someone is trying to communicate with our resident butt-wiper. This could spell disaster! She may get ideas above her station - give her some breathing space and she may begin thinking she is entitled to talk when she likes - she might taste freedom and demand more time to herself. Ye Gads - she may stop worshipping us with less than 200% undivided attention. Quick! A Plan. We need a plan!

*bolts over to Mum's legs and begins whining*

Me: What is it Jaws? Sorry what were you saying? Sorry? What? I'm sorry - I can't hear you ... I think... he wants the phone. Or maybe he's done a poo. Hold on *lifts Jaws up and smells bum* No, he's just whining for the phone. Speak up and carry on.

Jaws: Damn. My cunning plan has failed. Double damn it all. That was my best weapon. But I shall not be thwarted so easily. *bolts over to a wall socket and tries to stick his tongue in*

Me: yeah.. yeah... so.. OH GOD wait there he's trying to kill himself. Just a second. *picks Jaws up and puts him in his walker* Yeah what were you saying?

Jaws: DAMN! She's good. But I will not be foiled. *trundles over to the desk and begins throwing books and eating paper*

Me: yeah? and.... OH FOR GOD'S SAKE! Wait a minute please *grabs books etc and pushes Jaws away* Carry on

Jaw: That was just the beginning butt-wipe *begins to wail til tears drop off chin end*

Me: Look, I just can't hear you. Speak up. Sorry? What??

*Boss runs in and joins the affray* Jaws: Ha! My allies have arrived! I knew I could rely on him - he comes in very useful. Must remember to keep him sweet. Brother! To arms!!

Boss: *begins monkey/donkey/airplane/car/bus/fog horn/wildebeest/lion/snake/blue whale/fighter plane noises*

Me: SORRY?? WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU SAID?? WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU - BOSS - please be quiet I'm trying to TALK *they ignore me and the window panes begin to rattle, wine glasses several streets away shatter, dogs within a two mile radius begin to whimper and my ears begin to bleed, I lose the will to live and consider sound-proofing my children's gobs* LOOK - I'M SORRY - I JUST CAN'T HEAR YOU - EMAIL ME - I CAN READ EVEN WHEN THEY MAKE A NOISE. OK BYE. THANKS FOR CALLING.

*I put the phone down and take some painkillers and the boys secretly do high fives when I'm out of the room*

You know, even convicts are allowed one phonecall.

There comes a time in every baby's life...

... when he *has* to come out of the sleepsuits. Goddamn it. The time has come.

Why can't we all just wear sleepsuits all the time anyway. Makes life so much easier.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Islamic site H just emailed me.

We Learn not so that we become great people it is so that we can survive on the Day of Judgement - Sheikh Muhammed Al Yaqoubi (Shaam)

Had a rather downbeat conversation with some Mums and Dads at NA today and it left me a bit full of heart-ache. Today the Mums and Dads of the nursery group there were asked to leave their little ones with staff to get them used to be left without Mum (preparing them for pre-school and ultimately school). I was talking to one woman and she sounded like such a nice decent lady and it was tearing her apart that she had to leave her son in there and kept taking peeks inside to see if he was OK (the other parents had driven off to get an hours peace). He wasn't crying, but he just sat there quietly looking at the door. It was tearing her apart and she didn't know how she was going to do it full-time like her other kids. "But" came the inevitable one-liner, "they've got to get used to it sometime". Then other parents returned and they all shared their loathing of having to leave their kids - some were honest enough to admit they couldn't wait to leave their kids at school all day and get their life back, but without questions they ALL said "They have to get used to it sometime. The sooner they get over it the better. It's for their own good". So I innocently asked, "Have any of you considered homeschooling?" Silence. Except the woman I was speaking to admitted she had thought about it. The rest didn't not want that comfort zone intruded upon so I shut up (yes I actually shut up - amazing innit - I must be learning something in my old age!). And it physically hurt to think about all these children being torn from their Mummy's arms to be tended to all day by strangers when they didn't WANT to be. And being pushed away by people they depend on for protection. And when these little kids came out, my God, they were half the size of Boss and were just babies - literally toddling everywhere. It makes you think what chance do these people have when they are thrown in at the deep end to literally sink or swim? And the parents calously saying "it's for their own good - they have to get used to it sometime" with stupid grins on their faces. They are just babies for crying out loud. It took all my concentration not to tell them all about what I learned as a sociology student - that kids who are pushed away are more likely to be LESS independent rather than more!

It broke my heart.

And it got me thinking again about how much I contribute towards things. Someone once said you can't change the world and you have to take baby steps and I think sometimes that's my problem - I want to be able to do so much that I end up doing nothing because it's too much. I think I want to go back into counselling (doing it, not receiving it LOL.... although maybe I need it?!) again, specialising in bereavement counselling for children. I have looked into this before and out it on a back-burner, but I think I need to do something constructive that I felt was actually helping people. I was so dissatisfied with teaching simply because it didn't impact on anybody's life - it was just one big game - teaching lab rats to jump through hoops.

Anyway - we got to see frogs and frog spawn there today which was just an amazing thing to see (can you believe I have never seen real live frog spawn before?!). Boss, who is quickly becoming a fan of David Attenborough, was enthralled. We may to film his next commentary about frogs very soon ;-) We also went to see the smelly animals and it was quite amusing to see the tiddlers find the only muddy puddle there are ruin all their nice Next gear - one lad even managed to lay flat out in it - twice! I may be being too smug for my own good, but I was relieved it wasn't Boss.

Had a good clear out today of where my bookcase should be (but isn't because I don't have one). I needed to get some books from the bottom to the top and sorted through that. Found loads of books appropriate for Boss right now and spent much of the afternoon pawing through them. Also watched some blue whale web casts and heard the song of the humpback whale - Jaws immediately imitating it.

Also received some parcels from my beloved eBay - some whale and dolphin pop-up books - Boss very happy, and The Screwtape Letters for me.

I have also discussed the idea with DH that I need to leave Boss with him in the afternoons as I try to salvage some friendships and have conversations with adults without having to peel Boss off other peoples' kids and nagging him all the time. He agrees that he just can't be taken anywhere so I'm glad he has agreed to watch him occasionally so I can get out more. Because of how Boss is I have limited myself so much and turned down so many invitations simply because they are untenable propositions with him around. I don't think that is fair to either of us. So we'll see how that pans out insha'allah.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Boss is still ill and coughing and spluttering in my face every three seconds. Greeeeat. Yum. Didn't do much.

Our Charlotte's Web arrived - hurrah! except not a real hurrah since I bid on it and someone gazumped me so I bid on another (and won) then someone retracted their bid on THIS one (are you still with me?) and so I won it aswell. Grr. So now I have two. Anyone *out there* want a Charlotte's Web gratis??

Anyway, Boss eagerly thumbing through the book and can't wait to start it. Looking at all the illustrations and trying to figure out the plot. Nearly finished WIW, tomorrow I'd say insha'allah and he's enjoying that too. It's nice to have children who *want* to learn isn't it? It must be very disheartening to have children who cannot be engaged.

So read another chapter of WIW and then we decorated some boiled eggs with wax crayons and food colouring. We smashed about half *rolls eyes* but he really like doing this - the colouring, not the smashing, although I think he liked that too TBH.

We continued our whale project today by finishing off the introduction and covering beached whales. He now knows what beached whales are, what a whale tail is called, the various position that whales swim in and has cursory knowledge of the fact that whales communicate through noises - baleen through low-frequency songs and toothed through a series of clicks and whistles, insha'allah we will go into this a bit more, and he knows that groups of whales are called pods - baleen preferring the solitary life. We then listened to various whale songs on the net.

The printer isn't recognising the cartridge so the whales look blood red and pink *shrugs*

Tomorrow insha'allah we will begin studying each whale in turn. Starting with the Blue and he wants to do the Minke whale after that (he calls it the Inky Whale - too much Jolly Phonics I think...)

Would like to wrap up the spring theme by making some lambs with some fabric I have and round it off by going up to the farm either on Sat or Sun to see lambs and chicks etc.

Went food shopping this afternoon which seemed to take four hours and left me exhausted. And yes the till stopped moving as soon as I started piling my food on the conveyor belt AGAIN *rolls eyes*. I am going to have to start shopping online. I can't physically do this every week. I am drained and have lost the will to live.

I'm pooped. Night kids.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

We got up

... at 10:30 today. Yeah, I can't quite believe it myself. Boss is ill and Jaws just seemed to want to sleep in. Made doing anything constructive a bit hard - everyone a bit mopey.

That said, we read further on in Wind in the Willows (WIW). Almost finished that and Boss in awe that we are reading so much and completing so much. He is proud that he has almost finished another "big" book.

Then continuing our spring theme we looked at baby chicks and discussed nesting and eggs and the like. We made a chicken, with feathers, an egg with eggshell and a chick with yellow fluff. Very good.

Then we read a book called "Cock Robin" which I had from childhood working through the seasons through the eyes of a robin, from winter through to spring, nesting, raising the young, summer and onto autumn. This stirred his interest in birds and we spent an hour or so reading another book about British garden books, pointing out the ones we generally see here, and then onto the different types of bills and feet.

In the afternoon we continued our whale project. We typed what we knew to Word - which won't print because the printer is sulking, so here it is on the screen :P

Dictated by Boss, typed by me (obviously).

We then covered the various postures in which whales can be seen, breaching, spyhopping, logging and lobtailing and watched some webcasts of it in action. Then did this to add to the overall book:

Boiled some more eggs for some craft tomorrow insha'allah and that's all we managed to do today. Much reading. Lots of cuddles.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Want to try this recipe found over on All things Creative

No Bean Hummous.

2 medium zucchini
1/4 c. olive oil
4-8 garlic cloves
2 tsp celtic sea salt (or use dulse flakes)
1/2 c. lemon or lime juice
3/4 c. sesame seeds
3/4 c. tahini
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin

Process zucchini, olive oil and garlic first in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth!! Yummy!

From Sad to Raw

So the clocks went forward

and everyone is all over the place with their sleep patterns. Boss is ill. Jaws I think may have teeth coming *shriek* judging by the amount of tongue waggling over his bottom jaw he is doing.

Had parents and sister down at the weekend. Presented Mum with her basket, bouquet and choccies. Boss loves the new jeans and books she brought him and keeps saying "these are my BEST books/jeans EVER - much nice than the ones YOU get me Mum"... what makes him think *I* buy him stuff???

So we tried to start our whale project with me working with only half a brain (oh wait I already had half a brain so this must be HALF half a brain.... ) tanked up on caffeine and him with snot running down his face. We read about different whales, watched a few web casts, saw the David Attenborough footage of the Blue Whale again and printed off some pictures. He cut them out and we stuck them to some sugar paper and made a front cover of (hopefully) a booklet.

Yeah I'm not impressed either, but I just hadn't planned anything and he was ill so *shrugs* that's what we got up to. Also wrote an introduction on Word.

We read another chapter of Wind in the Willows, he played with his Mein Kleine Dorf that his nana brought him yesterday and then pretended he was David Attenborough commentating on a bird. I filmed it and he watched it and wet himself. I may put it on YouTube for friends and family later once I can ascertain that no one else can see it.

Then he assed about again. I am finding this stressful. Unless he has one-on-one attention every minute of the day he is aggressive and destructive and innane. He won't entertain himself at all and I am just wondering if this is because Jaws trashes everything??

Friday, March 24, 2006

I have a friend. She has girls. They want to visit. And herein lies much stressing out, for although the girls are lovely they are, at the end of the day, girls. They have no testosterone and little patience with those who do. It will end in tears. There will be much apologising on my part and much frenzied assing about on Boss' part. I find having girls and Boss in the same room a complete nightmare. And not because of either party - I like the girls, they are lovely and I am jelous of people who have girls simply because they seem so keen to do things and have no problem at all at sitting down, holding a pen, listening, doing creative things or not hurting people *all* the time. I love Boss too - OK he quite clearly has certain energy level issues and thinks pulling hair is funny, but he is better than he used to be and one-on-one I can just about handle it. But put them together?? Do I need that headache? Do I need those tears and heartaches? I think I will decline the offer, thus declining another chance at talking to a real live adult (again). Will I have any friends left at this rate once my children have flown the nest???

I have also irked another friend. She lives in Bradford. Once again I spoke before I thought and instead of saying what I really thought and answering in a way she deserved I lashed out and tongue-lashed her through unthinking reflex of old habits and character traits. Lord, it is hard to change yourself, and just when you think you might have a handle on it, wham! some more crap rises to the surface. I remember reading a hadith that states that what we say can come between us and heaven on judgement day. I think from now on I will simply try to do dhikr ALL the time - that way I can't get anything wrong. I am going to have to ring her up and grovel. I am so lucky that I have such forgiving friends; if I was them I'd have drop-kicked me by now. *sigh*

Anyway, I have just bid on some Roald Dahl books on eBay - Danny Champion and Charlie Chocolate... should be amusing when we read one of the characters is called Willy Wonka ;-) Still haven't received our Charlotte's Web so made a start today on an abridged Wind in the Willows. It is going down very well so far. Boss telling everyone he meets that he's read LW&W. Aw, first big book....

Continuing our spring theme I presented Boss and Jaws today with their egg and egg cup - very good. We all enjoyed the egg and Boss walking round holding the cup all day like it was his new best friend, "I love you Mummy because you gave me this at breakfast time"...

Then we made a nest out of chocolate and Shredded Wheat and he was amazed to find some chocolate mini eggs there a while later. "A magic bird has laid some magic eggs!!!"

We did little else. Watched some David Attenborough DVDs on whales and sealife. Did you know that a Blue whale has veins so wide you could swim down them? And it's tongue is as heavy as an elephant? Clearly, you haven't lived and Boss *will* be informing you of these things very shortly...

My turn

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Went to NA and beautiful spring-like weather made the morning seem to fly. It was an open day there so there were more people than usual and Boss had a good time with two other boys. He even ordered various Mums around to show them ladybirds and other things of interest...

Played in the garden in the afternoon. Jaws in the swing.

Managed to clean the garden up a bit after a winter of real neglect. Need to sort the flowers out a bit more and I would like to change the end bit of the garden for Boss to dig and muck about in.

Then Boss made dens in the living room, we finished off LW&W - hurrah - and that was it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm tired. Is it compulsory to feel this tired? Is it?

Had a nice walk to the group today. Ib told Boss about the time he nearly got knocked over whist they held hands, and Boss being an attentive listener managed to squish the punchline with "LOOK - A BIN LORRY".
Did the circle time (which looks more like a really long rectangle at the moment) and they had a snack. Nattered with Aunty N and came home. Boss managing to impale himself on a thorn bush on the way back *rolls eyes*.

Dyed eggs which had varying degrees of success; I think we might paint them tomorrow instead insha'allah. We looked at birds and nests on the net then made our own nest to put the eggs in.

Read LW&W and only have one chapter left. The witch is dead and Boss can't believe how much we've read :D

I have ordered a Charlotte's Web. I have a Harry Potter around here somewhere. The thing with books is, and perhaps this is prudish, but I don't want to get books which celebrate bad behaviour. I really don't need help in that department. And I'm clueless with books as we never read very many when I was a child. Hence my loathing of books? Well, after a sound "education" I think it has part to do with it. I remember reading Roald Dahl's stuff - BFG is OK isn't it, but Danny Champion just celebrates bare-face theft. Things which innocent can give quite the wrong message sometimes. I may need to shout out for help when it comes to books in the future so please bear all this in mind ;-)

For 4D, some help with abbreviations:

jzk - means 'jazakallah khair' and means 'may Allah reward you'
i.a. - means 'insha'allah' and means 'if Allah wills/allows it to happen'
subhan'allah - means 'glory to Allah' and is a term of praise and amazement
masha'allah - you say this at something nice and means 'it comes from Allah' ergo is good because of that.

Have nothing interesting to say.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Food shopping is always fun - nowhere else do you get the experience of having to manage balancing various items from food to apparel while at the same time coochy-cooing a cross baby and systematically restraining a human dynamo and apologising to various wronged individuals. Thankyou to the lady who stopped the shelf from falling down on Boss - I am indebted since I could neither afford to replace lost stock nor handle the embarrassment of having to have the fire brigade called to release child from the clutches of household necessities. I didn't quite like the look you gave me which read "what kind of mother are you", but as I am by now used to it, I'll let that slide. Of course it is *my* fault that he behaves the way he does - because I really *love* having to deal with his innane nonsense from morning to evening. I specifically *ask* him to behave this way. Go on - give me MORE dirty looks. I lap them up.

Anyway, managed to forget some essential items *rolls eyes* and couldn't fit all the shopping back into the trolley once it was all in bags. I don't understand how this could happen unless the cashier was secretly putting extra things in my bags when I wasn't looking... who knows. Luckily I had found a really good car parking place really near the store so was feeling a bit smug about it. Until the car decided it didn't want to start. Hmm... Oh well. Got there in the end. Started the car eventually and Boss said "phew - good job I just prayed to Allah then isn't it??!". I reckon.

Got home and boy it takes a long time getting the shopping sorted. It tires me out. Ate lunch, cleaned the house, then resumed our daffodil thing. Today we worked with soft pastels and watercolour - wet on wet.

We had a huge picture of a daff to inspire us and I taught him how to see various colour changes in the composition and to draw what he sees not what he thinks he sees. Went well until he saw some other colours he liked and he just drew, well he says it's an Indian elephant, but behind it is something yellow - that's the daffodil.

I worked beside him doing one too and I think the benefit of working like this is twofold - firstly it allows me time to do something creative, which I have not done for about a decade, and secondly it gives him a model to imitate. The resulting artwork isn't the point right now, but he has a chance to sample different things and see what should be done.

My offering


Then we read LW&W - he's in awe that we are nearly at the end. I think he feels a sense of accomplishment in that - and so do I. It is the first "big book" we have read together all the way through, and I am happy that he could follow the plot and remember what has been happening.

Next we observed our growing things and made notes to the notebook.

We put the pictures to the wall and cupboards.

We made some flowers for the sake of it.

And we cut the grass in the pot garden. And we're done with daffodils now.

I am tired after a long day of Boss being "full on". I thank Allah for the strength to manage and to serve my family, and even though I am tired I am grateful too. Boss in bed, everyone's veins on the side of their temples are slowly returning to within normal paremeters.

I'm pooped.

Monday, March 20, 2006

First day of Spring!

Can you tell?? Hm...

HV was supposed to turn up today but oops I didn't hear her knocking on the door and she just left a calling card instead. Damn. I really enjoy meeting up with community nurses as I find their insight into child-rearing invaluable, and as Jaws is quite clearly underweight I am indebted to their weighing scales as well. *rolls eyes*

Right. Did circle time, read LW&W - Aslan died, Aslan lives. Boo- hoo then hurrah. Good stuff. Am wondering what book to do with him next. Have an idea it might Charlotte's Web - I've never read it - is it any good - age appropriate etc?? Waiting for 3rd April when Narnia is released on DVD - rented it from Amazon - hope it goes down better than the dinosaurs. Sleeping *much* better now that all trace of dinosaurs are gone.

I am fed up of his assing about. I have had just about enough of it. He needs more direction. We have decided to do a whale project. He's vey interested in whales all of a sudden (they are the BIGGEST thing on earth etc etc). So instead of dinosaurs we'll do that insha'allah.

Made the baskets for the flowers today. Still needs a few finishing touches, but here they are, one for my Mum and one fo DH's Mum. Mother's Day *check*:

Ready to be filled with flower and choccies.

Then Boss did Duplo. Being very inventive with his vehicle-making: This is a street-cleaner which sucks the dirt into the back of the trash can.

Until Genghis Khan - He of the Search and Destroy missions found it:

I had intended to more with him today, but too much head pain interferred with anything productive. Insha'allah perhaps tomorrow...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I'm sorry

but you just *have* to read this. Tell me you don't PYRFLOL....

Click to read

Did nothing much today. Some people had to come from the landlord to fit draught excluders on our front and back doors which was exciting... thereafter we played cars and read animal books.

I have decided to cut dinosaurs out of our lives for the time being. It is obviously stressing him out. He doesn't need to know about things that are ferocious and deadly and monster-like and huge and death-defying and terrifying. Making a conscious effort not to expose him to anything ugly and frightening at this stage of his life. He needs reassurance and a confirmation that the world is a safe place full of beautiful things.

So the dinosaur books are gone and the DVD has been sent back. He was very understanding about it and didn't quibble. I think he actually wa relieved that we made that decision and we read animal books instead. I have told him that next time he finds something frightening he has to tell us then we won't do it again. He seemed more relaxed.

He watched some wildlife DVDs instead today which were beautiful.

Then we counted to hundred and he surprised me by counting further than I knew he could. He understands the sequence but falls down on the number change, so we worked on 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 and used snap cubes to understand the number in relation to a concrete 'thing'.

Then we played with the buttons I got at Re-Store. He decided it would be our money and he gave me some "because I know you're poor" and that he would buy me a Bentley, but he was going to buy a Hyundai *shrugs*. Sorted beads and basically role played.

Then he assed about too much for my liking. It's getting inane again and he's obviously bored so we sat down to make more flowers. He scrunched the tissue and I did the pipe cleaner:

Then he wanted to look at the carrot and avocado seed:

The root is longer but the leaf seems reluctant to leave the nice, warm niche of the seed...

Leaves doing great but the roots aren't interested in putting in an appearance...

Boss then dug out an old workbook/sticker book which I never really like but seem to be fulfilling a purpose. He can pretty much do them without much input from me now so long as they are basic pre-school stuff. Actually I think I under-estimate the value of these things - he really concentrates on them - loves putting the stickers where they go, and colouring some things in. In fact, books are the central resource of our lives - Boss is just transfixed upon books and Jaws makes a bee-line to them also. And when he grabs one and we let him hold it for a bit (before he cautiously tries to shove it in his gob) he really knows he has something special. Boss is just transported to different worlds through them.

We then read some LW&W and that's it.

The Post where I think my son is actually a teenage midget

or an alternative title: The Post where if I had sent my kid to school and owned a TV I would be ruing that day....

My son, the dynamo, is showing signs of maturity. Not in a good way. Not in good stuff like being able to wipe his own bum and make his own meals. I mean, he has forwarded in attitude ten years whilst being held captive inside the body of a four year old. He is bigger than his boots suggest. I had thought that the teenage years would come when, you know, he was a teenager. But no. They have come a decade early in this house and he is practising with unrelenting enthusiasm his precision one-liner throwing - the darts of his mouth. Sample, if you will, the attitude problem which, heaven help me, can only get worse as he learns more words:

Me: Boss, do you mind - you've knocked that on the floor.

Boss: Yeah? And?


Me: Boss I don't like your behaviour. Would you like to goto your room?

Boss: Whatever.


Me: Boss you've dropped that book and you've ripped it.

Boss: So.


Me: Oh look, you've made Jaws cry

Boss: Who cares.


Me: Eat! Eat it now. Now!!

Boss: I am *not* going to do it. And you can't make me.


Me: Do you want me to help you do that?

Boss: No. You can't do it. You're a girl. Girl's can't do *anything* they can't.

Me: Yes they can!

Boss: No. They can't. They really can't. They just cry.


Boss: You pretend you're the doctor - no - wait - you're a girl, you be the nurse.

Me:, girls *can* be doctors too.

Boss: No they can't.

Me: Yes. They can. My doctor is a lady.

Boss: *ignores me* Girls just aren't as good as me - because I'm a boy and boys are brilliant, it's just unbelievable.


Me: If you do that again I will send you to your room.

Boss: Do I look bovvered?


Me: Boss, please pick that up for me.

Boss: You dropped it. Pick it up yourself.



Friday, March 17, 2006

OK normal service is resumed, almost...

... taking my extra med and feeling *way* too spaced out. I'll give it a few more days and either cut it back or space the med out a bit.


So we did circle time. Surahs and action rhymes. Jaws slept and then we continued our daffodil theme. Using the egg containers we painted the other day we made three cards/pictures of daffodils.

Then using pipecleaners, the rest of the egg cartons and some tissue paper we made a possie of "real" daffodils.

Then we painted the pipe-cleaners green and did some others in advance for another session, as the idea is that we will insha'allah make a few more flowers with cleaners and tissue paper to make a pretty bouquet, then place these in a basket which I would like to make with him out of a plastic tub covered in strips of coloured paper adding a garlanded handle out of paper, adding some sparkle here and there, and ta-da, that's mother's day sorted. I've just re-read that and can't believe it's me talking. What have I become?? - like Margery Proops on a Blue Peter Fest. Where has all my youthful anti-establishment rebellion gone?? Bleedin' hell....

Next week I'd like to move onto the eggs and this ties in nicely with dinosaurs (?!) and as well as dying some it would be cute to make some nests too, and maybe some confectionary nests out of shredded wheat and chocolate and some miniature eggs in when he isn't looking as a surprise. (?)

We washed our hands of the glue and then I gave him the dinosaurs we painted the other day and he finished off the detail with oil pastels.

Which lead neatly onto watching the first of the DVDs I rented from Amazon (they have a free trial offer for three DVDs) and yes, I know it isn't Waldorf and I'll probably regret it, but anyway, "Walking with Dinosaurs" disc 1. Covered the time of the dawn of the dinosaurs, then episode two was diplodocus with a few stegasaurus and allosaurs thrown in for good measure. Enraptured audience.

I can see now I have to clean my screen... hm... anyway, this instigated a LOT of dinosaur role playing this afternoon. He was really proud to have been given a tail

He wore it will pride and took it very seriously, so much so that Jaws kept trying to grab it. So we gave him one too :P

Then we undid the flower press. Squished flowers. Very good.

We read some more LW&W and just read dinosaur/pterosaur books till my eyes bled.

Then bed and he screamed again. I think it is dinosaur related, though I can't be sure. Have to reassure him lots and lots from here on in. Have to leave the landing light on *rolls eyes* is this normal for a four year old? I suppose it is. *sigh*

P.S. Jaws has been furniture walking (and furniture falling off and smashing his skull) for a week now. SHRIEK

Farley’s recalls one batch of soya formula due to contamination with milk during processing

Thursday, March 16, 2006

To the Lady in John Lewis

Yeah you. The one with the furry Trilby sitting on the shop mobility scooter.

Dear Madam,

It may have escaped your notice that there are other people in the universe. We share the same air space and you can tell us apart by the way we move - Hello! we're over he-re!! Count our legs - we all have two. Except you. You have wheels. If you are ever in doubt as to what and what is not stationary, unfeeling mounds of marble or wood you only have to count the legs. Shop counters have NO legs and people have two. Let me repeat that: shop counters have no legs (and don't generally move around saying "ooh" and "ah") and people have two. Or at least they do when you're not around.

Should you wish for me to further illustrate this point then let me take you no further than to our own encounter whereby I made the mistake of standing to look into a counter top and you, either through wilful neglect, madness or accident ran into me. Several times in fact. In fact you even reversed a little before taking a second pop at my legs and saying in a loud voice "will she ever move?" so I am guessing you could see me. I mean, you're not blind, right? They don't let you drive if you're blind, surely? I politely ignored you because I have my own worries which preoccupy me even when the blades of Boadicea take chunks out of my lower legs. But you know, even as dumb as I am, even I cannot ignore being ran into seven times with greater velocity and persistent pig-headedness. Had you only asked me - either rudely or politely, to move I would have instantly moved out of your way. But you didn't. You didn't ask, because obviously I am pond life who deserves no such niceties. Instead you rammed into my legs over and over again until such rage enveloped me and such anger overtook me that had you not been in a shop mobility scooter I would have put you in one. So forgive me for being stubborn. Forgive me for not moving an inch. Forgive me for pretending to find fake jewelry rivetting. I did it all to annoy you. I stood fifteen minutes when I didn't really want to, just to wind you up and take up your time and irritate you as much as I could. It wasn't a nice thing to do, but neither is driving into someone whilst shouting "will this woman never get out of my way???!" I am sorry you had to reverse and find an alternative route. I am sorry you had to learn the hard way that I don't budge an inch when I'm bullied. I am sorry you had to endure my pig-headedness too.

So for future reference let's go over what we learned today: the magic word is 'please', people don't move when you run over them, things with legs are not to be driven into and most importantly the last thing is this:

take a good look at my face, because if you ever do that to me again - I'll take you down.


I hate going to the doctors, because I hate being ill. I hate the necessity of having to go. I hate the walk there. I hate the walk back. I hate having to sit in the waiting room clenching my butt as Boss picks his nose and points at people and tells me what they look like.

Woah! articulated truck almost toppled over right outside our house. How cool would that have been.

Anyway, we began the day by beating a path to my GP and sitting in their waiting room which is so small you have keep your knees and elbows squished in. This isn't a problem unless you have a four year old who does circuit-training (nothing beats multi-tasking when you're waiting to see if the men in white coats are ready to abseil in through the windows screaming GO GO GO), standing on peoples' toes, knocking into their bags and trying to sit next to them looking out of the window. There were a fair amount of people, as observed by Boss. The usual crowd - a mixture of young and old, normal and crazy-looking. I always end up sitting next to the crazy-looking guy and if I don't they always manage to sit next to me as I pretend I can't see them and think that arguing with yourself is normal. I think I'm a magnet for society's dregs - it must be my karma or something - I have this knack of accumulating nuts and they follow me around like the end scene of a Benny Hill show.

Well there was a guy, and no joke, he was so huge that he would every right to finish off every sentence with "...puny earthling" with a voice that made Barry White sound like a schoolboy. Enormous doesn't come into it - I have seen oak trees smaller than this man. He looks like someone out of the CIA on a recon mission - and yes he has sunglasses on (hello - take a look outside - either you have serious eye damage which necessitates total black out or you are famous or trying to look as though you are, because it is *raining* and *grey* and how can you see a damn thing with those things on... I'm getting old aren't I... yeah). So they call his name, at least I think they do, the intercom in our GPs is just a phone nailed to the wall and it's really hard to hear anything. Especially if *someone* is making diesel noises. So he gets up after hearing his name, which seems to be "Zorkon" or something like that which means he either comes from Mikon or Vulcan or the planet Plog and I half expect him to walk straight through the wall he looks *that* mean. But instead he walks to the door and again I half expect him to pull out his laser gun, fire at the door handle, boot the door open with his size 270 big, black boots whilst bellowing "Take me to your leader.... puny earthling" or "Give me big tub of white man medicine before I rip out your still beating black heart and make you eat it.... puny earthling!!!" before pointing his AK-47 Soviet assault rifles at the man's head. And who wouldn't like to see *that* happen.... but he didn't do anything remotely Terminator like and we were left with just a few people, one of whom was a boy in school uniform who just sat there quietly with his mum not fidgeting or talking or pacing up and down. Obviously on Ritalin.

Then thank God it was our turn and Boss ran into the office like he was meeting a long lost friend. How are you? How are you today? Well, I'm just fine and dandy thankyoueversomuch for asking Doctor. I just dropped by to see how YOU were. How you keeping? How's the kids, what did you do at the weekend? Isn't it cold for the time of year?

How am I???!! I’m ill! Tell you what, if you look at that really big calculator you got there with my name at the top, you know, the one that if it was in real paper would take up two or three drawers of a filing cabinet you will see it tells you I am ill – I’m cuckoo, ga-ga, nuts, crazy, loopy loo, one bolt short, some wires are wonky, the lights are on the gate is down but the train just ain’t coming, the sparks are misfiring, I’m cracked, gone, coca loca, the craziest insanest citizen of crazyville, *ta da!* That’s me!

How am I?? Please. *roll eyes* Then in the distance I hear my DHs voice calling to me and as I turn my head I can almost see him, just like Obi-Wan (ben) Kenobi talking to a young Skywalker, all fuzzy (he needs a haircut) and I hear the last thing he said to me before he left the house: “Tell her, D… Tell her … Tell her you’re nuts and need stronger medication. TELL HER. AND DON’T COME BACK HERE TIL SHE GIVES YOU STRONGER MED – I MEAN IT! MAKE SURE SHE GIVES YOU SOMETHING - MORE ADs, VALIUM, LITHIUM, ELECTRIC SHOCK TREATMENT – A LABOTOMY – ANYTHING - ANYTHING THAT WILL PUT YOUR WHEELS BACK ON THE TRACK AND STOP YOU TAKING US DOWN WITH YOU!!!”

So I pour my heart out while she oohs and ahs and the short story is she ups my dosage to 20mg escitalopram oxalate and tells me to come back in four weeks time. And here’s guaranteeing that when she sees me again I can pretty much guess her reaction will be “Oh God, you again??! NOW what??!” You wait and see.

Then we goto Tescos, because I love that type of pain, and we buy things I can’t carry: milk, apple juice, more milk, jars of stuff, milk, yoghurts, breeze blocks, milk, loft insulation, iron girders and more milk. I really should go vegan now that I think about it. I wouldn’t get through half as many breeze blocks… I also bought my sons two chocolate eggs each which comes with a cute little egg-cup with a picture of a hen on the front (I wonder how they came up with the idea of a hen – and so life-like too) with a lovely little plastic spoon. I thought I’d give them it to celebrate the start of spring. I haven’t given them it yet. It would be nice to dye some eggs first. DH giving me that look again OK, D, so we’ve done the pagan sun worship solstice, now we’re celebrating EASTER, if I find you butt naked in the garden hugging the trees next week you will be frog-marched for the electric shock treatment, make no mistake about it.

I look for daffodils because the ones in our nature corner are dead, and funk me, there are none to be found. Not one. I mean, hello, it’s SPRING, people. SPRING. No daffodils – what is this – Russia?? Who doesn’t have daffodils??? Who??? You, that’s who! I am irked. I get some over-grown daisies instead which smell nice…

Then we make it to the check-out aisle and I have the same knack with check-out aisles as I do for picking up crazy people – no matter which aisle I pick, it will be the wrong one. Every. Single. Time. You know, you find the aisle that has only one old woman in front of you and she only has one thing in her basket, like a lemon or a pair of stockings, and you bristle with smugness as you look around you and see the twenty foot queues snaking up the booze and bottled-water aisle, until you realise that the woman in front of you is brain dead, deaf, retarded, comprendes non englis, has Alzheimers, is wearing her slippers and has her coat on back-to-front and the items she has are broken/ squished/ have the top missing/ on sale and the sticker doesn’t come off/ on sale and the sale price won’t run through the till/ has no barcode/ doesn’t exist in the till memory/ doesn’t exist/ the item is from another shop/ universe/ she is attempting to pay for her library book and when she finally understands what is going on (or wakes up) she doesn’t understand the question about the store card and has to be asked three times then needs someone to explain what it all means and even then she doesn’t GET it, then she remembers she has vouchers, no wait, that’s denture cream and those vouchers are monopoly money, she still doesn’t understand that they don’t work and even when the man (I say ‘man’ but looks like half man, half Brylcreem monster) takes her “voucher” and pretends they work she insists on paying for her one item with one. Pence. Coins. which have fallen out of her purse and are right at the bottom of her trolley with wheels underneath a mountain of Kleenex and bus tickets and sucky-sweets and knitting, and she scrabbles around until it gets to a point where you are chewing on your fist out of sheer frustration and end up screaming OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – HERE!! I’LL PAY – WHAT IS IT 18 PENCE??? – TAKE IT – TAKE MY PURSE; TAKE MY BANK CARDS; TAKE MY CAR KEYS – OH WHAT THE HELL: TAKE *ME* JUST HURRY THE HELL UP!!!!!!
And it really doesn’t matter which aisle I pick, whichever one I choose it is like alarms go off somewhere and people come running and brains start exploding and common sense is put on stand-by and we enter a parallel universe where nothing works, or the till melts down, or is struck by lightening, the cashiers change shift and lose their keys or the computers stops working or the drawer jams and they have to get the manager who is really a relief manager and the hair bleach has seeped through her skull and blanched her brain and she doesn’t know where the keys are, how the computer works, who she is, or what to do… then someone DIES in front of you…. You get the picture…

Anyway after three hours of standing in the queue it was my turn, and I try to balance household masonry and milk as Boss decides to break dance and lunge at people whilst making stupid head movements and loud dinosaur/monkey noises as he crashes into other peoples' bags and shopping and shins and toes and their children (in or out of prams) *find my happy place… find my happy place…* and they all pretend that they find this cute instead of annoying, and say things like “Oh he’s so cute and full of energy, ‘ello mate, you bored” instead of “Look, just f*** off and get off our toes” whilst either wanting to either drop kick him or rip his eyeballs out. No? Just me then.

And for that experience I get to pay money.

We make it home and have lunch as Jaws stares adoringly at the PC screen. And here’s why.

He thinks she’s looking at him and he starts coo-ing and giggling and making “sch sch” noises to try to get her to talk back. He’s such a flirt. He doesn't understand why his entire reportoire of acts fails to get her to coo back and he stares and stares a bit unnerved and then starts all over again. He never smiles at me like that. I am beginning to wonder if I should wear a face mask to try to eek some affection out of him. I mean, come on – throw the dog a bone, Jaws – I have brain damage because of you, do you think you could cuddle me once in a while so I can pretend it was all worthwhile??

We read LW&W and that’s it. I run away and hide because I am in a grey-day mood. I think Boss senses when I retreat and goes loopier. Which makes me retreat more and vicious cycle escalates.

Anyway. A day in the life of… nothing creative or fun.

But we have milk.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Good God


Well, no group again and Boss was very sad, but it was such a lovely day and a great chance to get in the garden after such a long time. The garden is in a MESS and that will take a bit of clearing and de-cluttering.

We perused the scene and saw what was growing. The daffodils are up, although small this year - Boss very animated about them ;-) And the bluebells have sprung up too. We cut a couple of branches off the trees and placed them in our season corner. I showed him the buds and so insha'allah it will be nice to observe the leaves opening in front of his eyes. He was very anxious to know if they would grow and whether we would be squishing them. Relieved to learn we may replant them if they grow.

Budding branches... in case you don't know what they look like...

Daffodils in situ

Stuff growing

Boss got a little playmate today in the form of his brother. I dug out Boss' first shoes and although they are a tad too big they did the job and I put Jaws in the walker outside.

First shoes.... aw...

The great outdoor adventure

Boss was chuffed, "I have someone to PLAY with now!" Jaws sat there blinking in the sunshine not knowing what to make of it all. Then grinned and took off, skittling up and down the garden with gusto. Yikes.

Exterminate! Exterminate!

They ran up and down the garden a few times and hid round the shed and Boss showed his brother where he parks his tractor and all the things in his garden. He taught him some letters of the alphabet and did big brother stuff.

Springtime and gusty, brisk whether is the right time for bubbles and I unveiled a pack of Tesco bubbles and bubble-blowers that I bought the other day to squeals of pleasure!

Loving it

Jaws was a bit unsure of them and sat looking terrified and bemused at the stream of floating missiles aimed at his head. Eyes like saucers and a trembling bottom lip. Kept looking at Boss for re-assurance - but he was giggling so Jaws was OK. It's so sweet to see them bonding.

Then as Jaws slept in the house I made Boss a streamer out of branches and ribbon and he ran up and down the garden with it.


Assing about

Thereafter we placed it on the hanging basket frame and watched it blow in the wind which was quite relaxing.

With some extra ribbon we decided to spruce up a tree and decorate it with some happy spring colours. Boss liked it and in the sunshine they really shimmered. Beautiful masha'allah.

Then we had lunch (OK Jax :P) whilst we looked at the budding branches and he talked non-stop about dinosaurs.

We read some more LW&W where spring arrives! Spring! Good, looks like I'm planning all this rather than just bumbling along. Next chapter I think we actually meet Aslan and I can't wait ;-)

Planning ahead (OK OK yes I know - planning ahead I know - scrape yourself off the ceiling again), I got him to paint some egg cartons yellow. Can you guess what we're going to do with them???

These look green, but they are Crayola yellow

Well he can't so it may give him something to think about for our next daffodil session. He painted some dinosaur cards which I would like him to finish off with oil pastels when they're dry, I showed him how to stencil with the cut outs, which he did nicely and then he painted a car and made a mess.

I'm still having fun with my new web tool of uploading video to the blog as you can see. Unfortunately my memory stick has hardly any space so I'm on the lowest possible setting for video AND photos meaning the film is grainy. Sorry. If I upgrade to a gig memory stick it would be better. Or if I can land a camera with 7 megapixels instead of 3.2 that would be good too. Never mind. These snippets of film always play better a second viewing as the film has already cached and doesn't need to download straight from the web. So go on - watch the streamers again! LOL

Got GP appointment tomorrow. See what she says... or even if she carts me away :S

H.O. I still have your books which I intended to return today. Do you want me to drop them off sometime?

Anyway, I have some lovely textured paper/blind roll which is perfect for soft pastels which I can't wait to try - whether he's interested in it or not. Might broach the subject of still art with him and see what we get - guessing a few squiggly lines and representations of dinosaurs... might do some dyed eggs for a test run then do a batch for mother's day, as family are coming down on Mothering Sunday insha'allah and it will be a nice blast from the past to dunk some eggs ... I have red cabbage and onion skins and old teabags. I cannot find white eggs for love nor money. Not that I offered love for them....

And bedtime is becoming somewhat tiresome as Boss starts screaming like he's on fire as soon as I'm downstairs. I know I should immediately rush to his aid and cuddle him until he's better etc etc, but I'm peeved at this sudden onset of tears and I just scream at him instead. Baaaaad mother. Yes I know, I know. I can hear the therapist talking about these moments thirty years from now. *sigh*

Must try harder....

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