Archive for June, 2010

>My new perfume? Yes, it’s eau de cat pee…

>I have just been out with Glamorous Friend and her chubby little godson for a coffee and a toasted fruit teacake at the local garden centre. We had a lovely time catching up and playing with baby H and all was rosy. As usual, Glamorous Friend was looking good – eye make-up and accessories matching subtly with her pretty summer top. She looked good. I looked alright, it was just a bit upsetting that I had pink arms from wrist to mid-forearm where I’d accidentally caught the sun on my gothically pale skin yesterday. I’d been painting the shed and got carried away, forgetting that I should be wearing Factor 4000 and hiding under a parasol…

I got home from the garden centre and sat down to check the post and noticed a strange aroma rising from my shirt. Surely not…

The Cat had been hiding in the wardrobe a couple of nights ago and M didn’t realise and closed the door. We were watching the World Cup downstairs when I heard a strange thumping noise coming from upstairs. Thinking it was O, I galloped up the stairs. I realised it was The Cat trapped in the wardrobe from the accompanying wails coming from the bedroom. I flung open the door and was greeted by The Cat hanging from my clothes by her claws and with a wee-soaked tail. The poor love had panicked and lost control – all over my hanging clothes. I removed the offended garments and bunged them in the washing machine, pausing only to wipe the mortified cat free of her shame. I thought I’d got it all…

But no. There it was rising in a fetid cloud from my flowery shirt. I stripped it off, my vest too smelt of wee – surely not my bra! Sadly, the bra appeared to be the source of the wee – I had basically been out of the house with my underwear drenched in rank feline urine. Surely this is the epitome of social shame…


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>Two front teeth…

>Five year old O’s top two front teeth are super wobbly. He’s already lost two from the bottom, but these were quickly replaced by the new teeth and you really can’t tell they’ve gone. I am in premature mourning for the top two teeth – they seem to represent the difference between his babyhood and him growing into a big boy. I don’t feel ready to say goodbye to my boy’s baby face just yet.

Every night we’re doing a ‘wobble check’ and I have been teasing him that I’m going to glue them back in with super-glue if they come out. Ho, ho, we have such a giggle about it – I really have to rein myself in, as I really do think I will be glum when they go.

What is driving this dental misery? I think it’s that I did so want two children, a younger sibling for O so that they could grow together and hopefully be as close as my sister and I, or his big brothers, Tiddles and Mosh. Then breast cancer came along and made me feel far too precarious to go ahead and have another baby. The thought that my only child is leaving his infancy behind is sometimes hard to think about even though I enjoy watching him grow and change. I do yearn though. Babies are all around me at the moment, friends are pregnant and others replete with new babes. I often feel cut off, like the clock stopped back in 2007 and I’m an anomaly, a freak and not quite a proper woman.

All this because of two wobbly teeth. I look at O and do know I’m blessed to have him. It’s just that there’s always going to be the thought of how it could have been and I think I need to mourn it to let it go. I’m still here, I’ve got a great man, a lovely boy, wonderful friends and family, but still I sit and brood.

I just need to know – will this yearning ever leave me? Or is it something you just learn to live with in time?

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>Or to give her full title, Sno Hey Noods Fansant Hey Meanchod Sackad Hey. She is a cuddly polar bear and was once called Snowy and once had pure white fluffy fur. Now she is grey and ruffled and has the most bizarre name ever given to a bear…

I’ve picked her  for Tara’s Gallery prompt which this week is Creatures. I had a really fab pic of a snake sticking its forked tongue out and one of some cute baby meerkats from our recent trip to Tropical World in Leeds. I pondered posting them and then thought of a creature closer to home – not quite as exotic, but very well loved.

Sno is not O’s toy – she’s mine. She was given to me by Glamorous Friend when I was poorly and is one of those toys that is supposed to go in the microwave and heat up and soothe all aches and pains. Sno once smelt sweetly of lavender – I fear she does not smell as sweetly now.

I am not ashamed to say that Sno sleeps in my bed – she is very comforting and I often wake up with my head on top of her squishy tummy. O adores Sno, but is constantly mean to her and over the two years we’ve had her, he has created some cruel and unusual punishments for this long-suffering bear. She has:

  • been thrown into red-hot lava (the bedroom floor)
  • mashed in the Special Machine (a cardboard box with a poster tube acting as the masher)
  • endured a particular torture known as ‘World Squeeze-Nose’ which kind of explains itself
  • been trapped in an underground pit in a cage (under O’s bed in a shoebox)
  • denied food and water and been put in an aeroplane to Australia where it is ‘far too hot for polar bears’

The list goes on and on and Sno endures these torments with the cry of “do you like it, Sno?” ringing in her ears. Sno’s best friend (and often arch-enemy) is O’s bestest toy friend, Pups, who wrestles and karate chops and scratch-bites her until she squeals for mercy. Every morning, O pounces into bed with me, clutching Pups and before I’ve even got my eyes open, I am instructed to ‘do Sno’ and the games begin.

He can be tender with Sno too, feeding her imaginary fish and wrapping her up in a muslin so she can be a baby. However, these softer moments are few and far between and Sno is usually hurled around in the air and sat on and forced by O to “smell my bottom, Sno!”

This morning ritual of Sno abuse has become a favourite game of O’s, something to start the day off properly. If it is a work day or he’s slept in and I’m up before him, we can have hot tears and wailing at the prospect of no ‘Pups and Sno’ show. It really is part of our day – even though my eyes are still closed when I have to ‘do Sno’ and I long for peace and quiet, I think I’ll miss it too when O decides he’s too big to play. One day it’ll be just me and Sno and no World Squeeze-Nose in sight…

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>Motherhood – The Gallery

>This week, I didn’t think I was going to do The Gallery – I’m doing this so late, I’m almost wondering why I’m posting. The theme is Motherhood – emotive, precious and guaranteed to whirl up a maelstrom of emotions. I looked through the photo archives – there are so many photographs of my boy, but not so many of my boy and me. I remember sobbing on Friend from Way Back’s shoulder a few years ago as I lamented the lack of photographs of me and O in his babyhood. I was too tired, too fraught, too caught in the headlights to want to be in photographs when he was tiny. And now I wish I’d just said ‘sod it’ and poked my weary face into the pictures a little more.

There is one photograph that I love and to me represents that early motherhood. It’s of me breastfeeding O and he’s got his little hands clasped together in front of him as he feeds. It’s a tender moment captured forever and given what happened to the breast he’s feeding from a few years later, it is all the more important and poignant. I don’t have a digital version of this picture – it’s a real live photograph, taken with M’s old Olympus SLR. I’ve taken a pic from my phone of it. Look at those little hands (please try not to focus on the mammoth bosoms)

That was early motherhood – the whole time seems tied up with wild and crazy see-saw emotions for me. I loved my baby, but I was a bit of a state and seemed to sleepwalk through the first two years of his life. Much as I love this photo, it is not the one I want to represent my motherhood.

I am much more with it now that I am the mother of one soon-to-be-six-year-old. I often look at this bouncy, funny, stroppy, dreamy, intelligent and beautiful boy and wonder if it is possible that I will ever be able to tell him how much he means to me and how my whole self aches with the intensity of my love for him. This is my entry for Motherhood – this picture of this fabulous boy. He is comical and cheeky, but lately sometimes so brave and wise and caring beyond his years when his mummy’s struggling to keep the difficult stuff from breaking through. I love him more than he will ever know – he is my gorgeous boy, my only child and his happy face in this photograph makes me smile and reminds me how lucky I am to be his mum…

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>I am an insatiable reader and always have been. I was the kind of child who was always being urged to ‘go out and play, it’s a nice day’. All I wanted was to sit in my room and read about Darrell and her adventures in Mallory Towers, or hide away up in the bower with Katy and the rest of the Carr children and drink weak vinegar-and-water. I lived for Thursdays when my Mandy and Judy and Tracy comics would be delivered by the paperboy.

Five year old O has inherited this love of reading, which thrills me no end and he’s really rather good too, which makes my little librarian heart sing.We sit and read to each other, I share some of my childhood favourites and discover new ones with him. Sometimes I catch him sitting quietly in his bedroom with his head in a book, totally engrossed and I grin to myself, remembering the pleasure of childhood reading.

However, there is a downside to the reading child. A few weeks ago I posted this photo on Twitter. It’s a political cartoon strip by Steve Bell from the Guardian. It was a school morning and O was getting ready for school. I was polishing his shoes and he was putting on his coat and reading the comic strip. All was well until he got to the final panel. Obviously, due to the excellent phonic learning he has received at school, he was f****** word perfect…

Hmmm. I quickly removed the offensive cartoon from the area and chivvied him off to school. There was not a mention of this impromptu reading in the homework diary…

A few weeks later, we were upstairs. I was in the bedroom, O in the bathroom, supposedly brushing his teeth. All was calm and peaceful as I put away the ironed clothes. I stopped in my tracks as a clear little voice was heard, piping up from the bathroom:

“Light to medium flow, medium to heavy flow, heavy flow…”

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