Monday, 29 September 2008

A Picture to Warm a Grandfather's Heart

I have to post this for Angus's Grampa. Since before I was born, my Dad has owned a steam engine. He bought a second one several years ago, a roller, although that is still being restored.

Look what I saw when I came downstairs the other day: Angus is already showing an interest in the family steam business. The picture he was studying so carefully is a line up of thirteen Burrell Showman's engines from a magazine that he has learned the contents of by heart. A lovely thought for a Grampa with more than a passing interest in steam!

The picture below is my Dad showing Angus his (now more correctly my brother's) engine at a steam rally last summer. Look how proud his Grampa is!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Vegetables and Fruit

I love Freecycle! Check out the link and my previous posting Clearing Out the Clutter, March 26th.

Freecycle, if you haven't met it before is all about not having to buy new stuff and not having to throw out old stuff just because you haven't got a use for it anymore. It's about not buying in to the idea that you have to have new, just because you do and just because there is no useful forum for getting hold of second hand. It's very liberating! You know the scenario, you need clothes' hangers, for example, and just know that someone down the street will have a superfluity of them but you don't know who, and so you go and buy some. It's stupid, because that person down the street will be throwing them out next week to create more space.

So, I put a posting on their website asking for toddler toys. Angus has been getting a bit bored with his toys and needed a bit of stretching and some more age appropriate stuff. I asked if anyone had toys that their child had outgrown. I had a couple of replies and ended up with the world's ugliest but Angus loves it rocking horse, and a Little Tikes kitchen unit with two carrier bags full of fruit and veg, plates, pans, cutlery, the whole lot! Needless to say, the rocking horse has been cleaned and will need to be spruced up, but he adores the kitchen. Ken has been given cups of tea, his soft toys are being fed a very healthy diet and Angus has learned to make a very delicious casserole of mixed veg, watermelon, cheese, grapes and fried eggs. Yum.

This is Angus the morning after he got his kitchen. He refused to come down stairs for his breakfast and insisted that he wanted to eat it in his kitchen at the breakfast bar using one of the chairs which came with a little red table also from Freecycle!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Daddy Mark Blue Walk

Angus has been really funny with Ken being away. The first evening when Ken was away he insisted in sitting in Ken's chair for dinner. He then proceeded to test every dinner rule we have: singing Old Macdonald at the table, throwing food, tipping his water on the table, getting up and walking around, and lots of "bam bam" (hitting things with his spoon - or anything else he can get hold of). Dinner was not peaceful and ended up with Angus being moved away from the table and then finally being strapped into his high chair.

He cried.

I felt guilty.

I didn't give in.

He went to bed without a struggle but did ask after Daddy.The next morning he woke up cheerfully at 7.30. He wanted some milk. I went downstairs to get some and by the time I came back up stairs he was standing beside our bed saying, "Up, up!" So I lifted him up. He crawled over to Ken's side of the bed, grabbed a cushion and then did an imitation of Ken getting comfy for a cup of tea (a Saturday ritual when we are all at home). He sat on Ken's pillow, cushion behind, pulled the duvet over himself, tucked himself in, said, "Daddy," rearranged the cushion then followed this with "Milk - pease (sic)". Hhhmmm. Dad's away and now I am man of the house?

Everything followed reasonably uneventfully until last night - Monday. He had asked after Daddy earlier in the day and I told him that Daddy would be coming home tonight after he was asleep. I don't know how much this registered but I do know that he became really excited and didn't sleep until after 11.00! At dinner Angus also looked at Ken's chair (he had been put back in his high chair - no arguing!) and I reiterated when Ken was coming back. He looked at me and said, "Daddy, Blue Mark walk."

Ken arrived back at 11.30. He was really tired, unpacked his kit, put a load of washing out, and went to bed. Angus woke up unacceptably early for a child who hadn't gone to sleep until after 11.00. Ken was awake at 6.30 to catch an early bus for work. Angus woke up, I took him downstairs to see his Dad. He looked at me, said, "Down" and walked straight over to Ken, patting his knee. "Up," he said, and then gave Daddy a hug.

Happy son, happy Daddy.

Ken left for work; Angus said, "Bye", then turned to me and gave me big hug too.

Happy wife.

Then I tackled the laundry.

And the wet tent.

And the pans, water bottles, thermos, sleeping bag, dog bedding, ....

Angus went and tackled Mark in bed.

We did do some proper cooking while Daddy was away! In case you are wondering, Angus is mashing spuds.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Life With a Toddler - 3

Old Mac now also has on his farm:
a paint brush
a window
a bath
some lights (useful!)
a buggy
a roller
a steam engine
a tractor
a train
a red van
a biro
dirty laundry
a wet nappy
a nectarine stone
a raisin
an elbow
- and a penis. Last edited 8th October

Hhhmmm - suggestions for sound effects? I have given up on those and just go for a descriptive phrase. It's a lot easier.

Being a Single Mum - for a weekend.

Ken is away this weekend. He went on Thursday afternoon and isn't coming back until Monday evening. He is walking in Scotland with two of his friends and they have decided that it should be a boys' weekend and so Angus and I aren't invited. Although Angus is a boy of course, it's just that his mountaineering skills are a little bit limited for what they are doing.

This has left me and Angus on our own. Blue was invited as he is also a boy (dog) and his mountaineering skills are up to scratch - and he carries his own stuff now that he has doggy panniers.

Thoughts on being a single Mum (for a long weekend).
  • The house is too quiet.
  • Is Ken okay? There is no phone reception where he is walking. Am I going to get a sympathetic, nervous knock on the door? It's okay when I am walking with them as I know what is going on and whether they are being too risky, but my imagination is somewhat vivid and too well informed (a symptom of being on a Mountain Rescue team for seven years).
  • I don't feel the need to do the washing up for some reason - unless I know there is a friend coming round.
  • It's great knowing that things will be where I left them and not randomly left lying round.
  • I don't have to clear up after Ken leaving his stuff lying everywhere.
  • I fluctuate between housework apathy and obsessive tidiness.
  • I can leave my scrapbooking stuff out and spend a lot of time indulging myself and not feel guilty.
  • I don't feel so inspired to do my scrapbooking - see first point.
  • I miss being hugged.
  • I like having the bed to myself - sort off. I like having the duvet not being pulled off me.
  • I miss not having the duvet being pulled off me.
  • I like the undisturbed sleep.
  • I find it difficult going to bed on my own.
  • I can cook random food and don't feel the need to cook a proper meal.
  • I feel like I am cheating when I don't cook properly and miss the need to cook healthily.
  • I miss not having Ken coming home and taking over looking after Angus for a while.
It's just as well that this is only for a short period of time. I have been thinking a lot about my friends who have husbands on Really Long Business Trips. They both have small children as well and their husbands are away for a Really Long Time. Could I adjust to that? Maybe, (see point 2) but I am really glad that I don't have to. I can see that I would have to keep my days well structured in order to keep the momentum going. I can also see that it could be too easy to stagnate and become a slob. Just as well that I have a little bundle of energy running around wanting to be entertained. He keeps talking about Daddy and Blue. Fortunately he saw Mark arrive to collect Ken and he also remembers Mark, so it has been easy to tell him that Daddy and Mark have gone for a Really Long Walk - with Blue.

Hhhmmm - what shall I do tomorrow? Ah, Sunday. Church followed by what, I wonder? No dog to walk, no housework needing doing, no laundry, paperwork up to date. I shall scrapbook. Excellent. Hope the sun shines and I feel inspired!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Life with a toddler 2 - Old Macdonald

There is a popular children's song in England about what Old Macdonald has on his farm. I have no idea if it has any equivalent in any other country, but it goes something like this...

Old Macdonald has a farm
And on that farm he has a (something e.g. horse)
With a neigh neigh here
And a neigh there
Here a neigh, there a neigh,
Everywhere a neigh neigh.
Old Macdonald has a farm,

So why the lyrics?

As anyone with a toddler will know, they tend to get obsessive about things sometimes. The experts tell us that toddlers like the same things repeated as it gives them a sense of control and understanding. Here is something familiar that I know about and understand as opposed to all the other stuff that I haven't yet got a clue about.

With Angus this has been singing Old Macdonald. And asking to have it sung, sometimes at really inappropriate times. And then asking again. And again.

The funny thing is that we have realised that he often asks when he wants OM to have something really weird on his farm - and then you are left inventing some sound effect for whatever it is that he now has on his extremely wide and varied homestead! OM is clearly into diversification!

Some of the things Old Macdonald now has on his farm:
Dog (quite normal so far!)
Crocodile (more wild life park than farm)
Blue (the colour, not the dog, although he has been requested too!)
Yellow (somewhat abstract)
Love (cute)
Hug (just as cute)
Water (in England after all this rain, more like flood water)
a Sneeze
An axe
Chainsaw (those were during Scout camp)
Guitar (this was after listening to the radio and Angus asking what they all were)

and my favourite - poo (yes, probably lots of it...on a normal farm)

Now, what sound effects would you come up with for some of those?

Oh, chocolate has appeared several times too. Yum, yum.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Birthday Train Stopped by on Saturday...

Yes, Angus is now two!

On Saturday we celebrated his two-ness with a breakfast (to keep the Granny happy), opened presents, lit the birthday train and Angus singed his eyelashes getting too keen about blowing them out! We then spent the day with friends who have a boy a few weeks older than Angus. We visited the fishes and they surprised us all by presenting Angus with a birthday cake made by their older daughter. On Sunday we had a little party and remembered with affection our house in Theuern, which lent itself much better to parties than this one does.

All in all, we had a lovely weekend and Angus thoroughly enjoyed himself. He keeps talking about the sharks, the waterfall you could sit under, and asking for more wine and beer. He also seems to have decided that now he is two, he is equal to his Dad. After his party on the Sunday, his Dad was running his bath and Angus was running around upstairs shouting "Ken! Ken!" HHhhhmmm. Maybe when he is 18.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Life With a Toddler 1

I was going to the loo yesterday morning, when Angus opened the bathroom door and walked in carrying a toy cow. He gave it to me and insisted that I hold it.

He came back a few seconds later carrying a toy mouse. I had to hold that too.

Then he came back with a large teddy bear; then a smaller teddy bear; then a soft dog; then a polar bear; then a green frog and finally a soft monkey called Baba.

I asked him what I was meant to do with all these toys whilst sitting on the loo. He just pushed them closer in to me - I was meant to hug them.

I have never sat on the loo, that I can remember, hugging a plethora of soft toys:
but then, I have never had a toddler before.