Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mixed bag

Today I did something I never do, took a bath at lunchtime! What made it even more shocking was, I was extremely short of time. And when I say shocking, it probably isn’t to a lot of people, but it felt totally out of place for me and I did spend the entire morning debating whether I would dare (sad, but true ;o)).

Unfortunately not an act of sheer indulgence, but because I’m ill. It’s my chest. Had the sniffles for days, and on Monday it moved to my chest. Woke up at five this morning barely able to breath, and when I was doing the shopping (several hours later) I realised I was getting a fever. But I didn’t have time for that! So I dosed myself up, took a bath and faced the remainder of the afternoon at least feeling warm.

Thursdays aren’t supposed to be this busy, but with the end of term coming things are hotting up as usual.

The nursery had their Easter Service first thing (normally late morning, and I think they’ll revert back, as saying goodbye to your mommy twice before eleven makes lots of little darlings cry!), but the Church is out of action for a refit. Parents had to form sardine lines along the back wall of the nursery, which was fun, in a pluck your eyeballs out sort of way.

Can you believe I had a perfect view of every child there, except MY child?! They put S behind this girl with a huge hat, and every bloody photo I took gave S a flower beard. And then the woman in front of me was wearing a furry coat (weather’s still crap!), so half the photos included a bear about to pounce.

Luckily the man next to me made my day as he realised the problem and offered to swap places. I adore people who are so thoughtful! And thanks to him, here’s a picture of my littlest darling (and the hat closest, the beard) :

Oh and talking of littlest darlings, I heard a rumour today. About me.

Apparently, some of the mothers in P’s class think I’m expecting another. I only found out because I was commenting to a mother that a woman I know is up to her sixth child, and she obviously took the conversation as an opening, as she commented that one of my friends had told her I was expecting my fifth. WTF? News to me!

I started laughing as I shook my head. But stopped somewhat suddenly, and looked down at myself wondering if I look pregnant. She must have read my mind because she quickly told me the root of the rumour.


He told his classmates I’m pregnant! And of course, they told their mothers. And mothers talk. Geeze-louise, am I supposed to ignore it? Hope the mother I put right, puts others right? Call everyone to forestall further rumours? Because you have to wonder! Some of those mothers know it would be a medical miracle if I got pregnant, by my husband. But none of them have called me (I suppose because one of the mother's already provided that particualr gossip novelty.)

(I’ve just asked P when he said it, and he says today. Hurrah! Let’s hope so, but the boy can’t even tell the time and is pretty crappy at working out when things happened, so I’m not totally convinced!)

Earlier I asked him why he said it, have to say I was a tad surprised when he said it’s what he wants to happen! Goes to show I needn't worry so much whether the kids will love or hate me for having so many, at least one enjoys the numbers!

And in case you’re wondering why P isn’t in my bad books tonight, he can’t be, he’s done so well at school.

We had a parent teacher meeting this evening. Funny things those meeting. The first of each child we approach with caution, unsure what we’ll hear. From then on, the course is oft set, as is the love or hate of them.

I can’t say P’s first was a huge shock, as the school had already threatened report cards for his behaviour. But a year or so ago, a sliver of light appeared in the form of his love of reading. If nothing else the boys loves his books!

But tonight, tonight was unbelievable, I’m so proud of him! He’s had a personality transplant! I might have often thought he was a good lad at heart, but it hasn’t been easy persuading others of it ;o)

Apart from always trying his hardest, managing to control his urges for chatter, and working well in a team, what his teacher most likes is his sensitivity and helpfulness (Hahahahahahahhahaha! sorry, still in shock). She also pointed out that in the last couple of months, he’s also stopped having so many sick days. (If I’m honest, I’ll admit that I hadn’t noticed until she mentioned it, but I think she’s right!) Certain areas of his studies still require attention, but he really seems to have cracked his moods and outbursts, and even travelled beyond.

And as coincidence would have it, he also completed his star chart today, and his teacher awarded him a rubber. He’s very pleased with it. As well he should be :o)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A new day

What a long week it has been! Or rather it’s been a quick week, but so much has happened, last week feels like a distant memory.

Ryker is still going and cheered me immensely this morning on the beach, by bouncing around like the puppy he was just a short while ago. And we saw the vet this afternoon…and he agrees Ryker is looking better!

Well actually, I suppose if I’m honest, he didn’t use the word ‘better’ but he was impressed that Ryker’s weight loss has slowed and he commented how happy Ryker appears. And the best bit was, when he handed over more boxes of pills – he gave us two boxes! That’s four weeks worth! I’m taking it as a positive sign.

Though I did think the vet was worried I didn’t understand what is happening to Ryker. He stopped his smiles and made of point of saying Ryker will never be healthy again, and that toxins will continue to build in Ryker’s blood. But I know that, and I think I’ve accepted what’s going to happen – but I don’t see why I shouldn’t take some joy that things appear to be slowing! My biggest fear now is that lack of food will take him before the kidneys. But the vet and I had a long chat about what foods he can eat and I’m planning on working through them till we find something Ryker likes again.

On the job front, I’ve also sorted out my head in the past few days, and have decided I’m thrilled about it (I don’t normally get so detached from reality for so long, but I guess that’s what happens when life hurls an unexpected brick at me ;o)). I’ll be doing the accounts for a property developer. But (don’t you love the buts?!) he hasn’t mentioned things to his present lady yet, so although it’s been said it’s all definite, I’m not holding my breath until everyone knows what’s happening.

The reasons why I wasn’t thrilled at first are many, and complicated! Here’s a few in no particular order of importance:
his wife is a good friend of mine, and I was worried it was a favour (and though I’ve since decided it probably IS a favour, I’ve realised it’s because his wife has so much faith I can do the job)
I can’t stand the accounts system the present woman uses but as it was new in only January I don’t feel able to ask him to spend more money on my software of choice (have since decided I am changing the accounts system (and he said he didn’t mind how I did it) as I’ll be happier and more confident! Even if I have to pay for it myself.)
And as I mentioned confidence…I think that’s the biggest hurdle of all! Though I’ve had several jobs from home in the last dozen years, they were either for people I had worked for previously, or voluntary.

The fear of something new was almost paralysing, and hasn’t totally passed, but as it lessens enthusiasm takes it place and I’m almost looking forward to starting! In fact if this trend continues, by the time I do start, I’ll be keen as mustard!

And apart from those two things, I’m trying to think what else has happened this week – which kind of goes to show where my head has been! And with that in mind, I shall also take this opportunity to promise this will be the last mention of Ryker, until things change. Apologies if I’ve waffled on about it, but the upside is I feel a lot more prepared at the thought of what’s coming. Thank you.

Anyways, I don’t think anything much else happened. Except I discovered I'm a terrible mother! I'd noted down that J had a ballet rehearsal, then heard they wanted S as well. So I dropped them off, met up with two other mothers whose little darlings were also rehearsing, and we went off to the pub for the hour (I swear if there had been a café nereby...). It was over a week later I discovered S and her group were requested for only fifteen minutes. Apparently at the time, the chaperone was panic-struck (and probably horrified!) that one Little Mermaid’s mother hadn’t shown up to collect her child. (And in case you’re wondering, S is going to be a Little Mermaid ;o))

Oh well, having the memory of being forgotten twice, hasn't done me much harm.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I’ve been thinking about posting…

And there has been lots to post about. I’ve no longer got long hair, or can call myself a blond. Ryker is still with us, and for one brief day the sun shone, and we enjoyed a nice walk. In fact on several occasions I planned to tell you how much better he’s been! But then, things keep changing so quickly, and I lose the moments of hope before I’ve had the chance.

By Friday I had pretty much cried myself out, which was a good thing as a job interview fell into my lap somewhat suddenly. Ironically it was the days I was crying the hardest, which I felt the most optimism that Ryker might recover. I think I’m beginning to accept it isn’t going to happen.

And I think I’m also starting to understand why so many people have suggested moving things along. It’s hard watching him die. Most of the time I can look at him, and though you can see his skinniness, I can imagine him jumping up and being the dog he was. But then he has a bad moment, when he stumbles or gets the shakes, and the panic wells up. Not sure if the panic is from the thought it will soon be over, or that it won’t be.

And it doesn’t seem right that things can be happening so fast. But maybe that’s the positive bit I’m always trying to find. I’ll let you know if and when it feels like it.

Anyway. As you can see, my thoughts are still consumed and I’m a laugh a minute. Just what you wanted to read about on your lazy Sunday afternoon! I’m assuming it’s lazy simply because you’re reading this, but then maybe it’s mid Wednesday morning for you now, and you’re at work procrastinating.

What am I waffling about?! Oh yes, I’m having a lazy afternoon. But I’m allowed as I’ve finished my annual filing weekend (phew!!), and it’s Mother’s Day. I got some lovely cards, beautiful flowers and a tea-bag (peach and passion-flower). I’ve also been a good daughter and visited my mom bearing chocolates and card. Did have hopes of a family walk this afternoon, but it’s been raining for hours.

The clocks also changed today, we lost an hour. First time in years the day hasn’t felt squiffy! I suppose that’s what you get for being exhausted. Which I am.

I can’t relax. Too much on my mind.

I got a job. I think I’m pleased. I’m not being positive enough, it’s a good job, better than I hoped for, and I am pleased!

And I’m definitely terrified. Quite why is a complicated business, though I’m thinking I’ll try and make sense of it here, as I find this place helps. (Don’t worry - another day! Though I’m wondering if I should be adding something at the end of that sentence, but then, I figure a lot of you will understand ;o))

Thankfully I don’t start for another month, so there’ll be time for talk, and probably tears, before I have to face that hurdle.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wrote a post.

Deleted a post.

Instead I’ll tell you I saw a cat today. On a lead, with a coat. Why?!!

I’ll stop there. Sorry, I need some time, because I’m not coping too well, and you don’t need to hear it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Days you don’t forget

Why is it, the mind stores bad days, so much better than the good ones? Take my wedding day, it went in a blur, and though I can remember plenty of it, nothing is clear and vivid to the point of taking me back, conversations forgotten and no odd details stick out. But when I think of bad days, I can recall what I wearing, what I was doing if the day suddenly became bad, words spoken and stumbled over, peoples expressions, and all the details that felt so unwelcome. And they stay so clear.

Or maybe that’s just *my* mind. That’d be about right, getting stuffed in the memory stakes.

Today isn’t a good day, though I guess it’s not as bad as the one that’s coming. And as I keep telling myself, it’s not like a person died, and I knew this day would come. I’m just not ready yet.

Which is kind of ironic, as I swore I’d never feel like this again. Never let myself get so attached to a dog, that their demise (not even occurred yet) makes me sob.

I think for the first few years I managed to stay distant. I think that’s why Ryker’s so obedient, always trying to please. Because I wasn’t a very nice mom in the beginning. Not that I was nasty, I just held back and didn’t love him as much as I could.

In fact maybe it was for more than a few years. I lost my last dog, Simba, just after he turned seven, and his death hit me really hard. Ridiculously hard. And I remember breathing a sigh of relief when Ryker turned eight. He wasn’t Simba, and he wasn’t going to die so damn suddenly on me.

And I realised I was glad he wasn’t Simba. As much as I loved my last dog, he was a bugger. As a puppy he was always getting car sick and I was always apologising to people for the way my car smelt. Then there were the walks – though ‘walk’ may be stretching it, as that bloody dog used to take off at high speed the minute anything interesting appeared on the horizon, he didn’t give a damn whether I was chasing or not – he was the boss.

But not Ryker. Four months of dog training every Monday evening, and the snip, gave my new dog a new attitude. And me. In his life Ryker has twice threatened to walk in the other direction when on a walk; the first time he was a tiny puppy and wanted to join three little dogs playing, but they were a closed group and turned on him when he bounded up. Even today I can laugh at the memory of him hurtling back and past me, tail between his legs and yelping, to the safety of the baby buggy! The baby (R) wasn’t in it, but the buggy had a tray on the bottom, that when he wedged himself in, it offered protection.

The other time was a just a couple of summers ago; Ryker was pissed off with me because we got to the beach late and you have to be off by 10am, so the walk was all of ten minutes. I headed back to the car, but in a moment of defiance he ambled the other way, pretending he didn’t hear my calls. But he shifted pretty darn quick when I started the engine and began backing out the car park!

Now Ryker’s eleven, but it seems he won’t make twelve.

I suppose I should be glad of the warning, and being given the time to say goodbye. Except I’m not. Because this time, the decision’s falling on me.

Not that I plan to make it. The vet said kidney failure wasn’t painful, so I don’t see why I should have to put him down. In fact, it seems downright absurd as to why the vet would suggest it. And then my mother suggested it. It seems strange to me. Surely that’s what you do, when all else has failed? Anyway I’m not going to dwell on that, after all, if the day comes when I feel I have to make that decision, I guess I’ll have reasons to be considering it.

We’ve started him on tablets. For cats. I have no idea why, just doing what we’re told may give him a few more months. And he’s taking human stomach ulcer stuff, and I think that’s to help with keeping his food down. Poor old sod is looking like a bag of bones. But at least he ate tonight; half a tin of some non-protein stuff the vet gave us, warmed and on a plate (as I have a theory he likes being treated as a human ;o))

The children have been told. R asked stupid questions, though they probably weren’t stupid, just irritating when you’re trying not to cry. P recounted some gruesome stories about other peoples’ family pets, to the point where I had to tell him to be quiet. J bit her lip in an effort not to giggle, right up until she realised I was ultimately saying Ryker is about to die, then she said she’d say a prayer and not stand on him anymore. S sang. And I let her. If it bothers her, she’ll grasp what’s going on when it happens.

Goodness, I’m tired tonight. So tired I’ve even stopped crying. How silly is that, to weep over a dog. But then, I realised something today, Ryker and I spend more time together than any other members of this household.

Have I ever mentioned he suffers from separation anxiety? He was diagnosed before he was a year old, and I giggled when the vet told me. Sounded ridiculous that dogs could suffer from something so human as anxiety. But we did listen and adapt to the advice, mostly because we were heartily sick of the destruction Ryker caused when left alone. Two lino floors, two sash windows, back seat and seat-belts, dog cage, several sets of remote controls, numerous door frames and doors, and the camcorder. I’m not counting the shoes and underwear as we couldn’t keep up with the count. At first we tried drugging him, same sort of stuff they give hyper-kids, but he still destroyed things with the added bonus of him peeing everywhere too.

So instead we adapted. Never left the house without him, and chose parking spaces based on shade value. He follows me everywhere, though he knows to wait outside the bathroom and bedroom.

What will it be like when he’s not there? I must remember he’s just a dog. I keep looking at him thinking there must be some mistake. He doesn’t look that ill! He looks tired is all. And skinny, he’s much too skinny. Hard to imagine it was just a year ago I was thinking he looked tubby. But then I think that every Spring, due to the mixture of less walking time and my baking fests, which I don’t tend to do in the summer. Not that I feed him many treats mind, but he’s a great vacuum-cleaner and smart enough to follow the children around when they’re eating. The summer popsicles just don’t have the same fat content.

Blimey I’m going miss the old fart. Though maybe not the farts. Then again, who will I blame now?

That was a joke by the way. Honestly, it’s very rare I’m that ashamed.

That was also a joke.

I like jokes when I fee like this. My humour changes and I find myself amused at the silliest things. Guess I should take that as a good thing, laughter cures all and all that.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Boys might be noisy, but...

I’m traumatised. Today, after ballet rehearsal, J and I went into town.

Of course I’ve been into town with her before, but today was different. We met with one her godmothers, so they could choose J’s belated birthday gift together. That went well as the godmother opted for a book store, and J left smiling and skipped along to the coffee house where we ate lunch and said thank you to the godmother. But after saying goodbye, I made a mistake.

I didn’t know it was a mistake at the time, and even now my words sound innocent enough ‘Would you like to go to Next and spend the birthday voucher your Uncle gave you?’

She asked if she’d be allowed to choose what she wanted, as she had in the bookstore. I nodded with the naivety of a woman used to girls under five. But she’s no longer an itty bitty, pliable, angelic four year old.

Can you believe for the first five minutes, I thought it really cute the way she led me around the racks of clothes, squealing at all the choice? I was busy thinking how much fun it was, to be on my first shopping trip with one of my daughters who was now old enough to know what she liked. I was imagining the years ahead, and sighing with the hopeful daydream that J, S and I would be doing this lots in the future.

Stupid, stupid, stupid woman! Why on earth would I want to do it lots? If I’d thought shopping with female friends was hard work, then why hadn’t I worked out shopping with a daughter would be even more stressful!

She saw a dress. A totally unsuitable summer dress. With a ridiculous price tag too.

I don’t think I have the energy to explain the experience in full, but it went something like this:

J pointing to the dress: I want that.

Me: Yes, it’s very nice, but look at these jeans J, they’ve got fairies on them.

J: I want that.

I took a closer look at the dress: It’s pretty, but you wouldn’t have many opportunities to wear it. Jeans and tops are what you need. Look at this top, isn’t it a nice colour?

J: I want that.

Me: What about this skirt?

J: I want that.

Me: Have you seen their shoes? They’re very nice.

J’s got a bit of a thing for shoes [no doubt a reaction to me not having a thing for them] and did have the grace to take a good look.

J, pointing to some summer sandals: Can I have them?

Me, wishing she’d consider the trainers, or even the court shoes: Well, if you really like them, I suppose…and you'd still have enough for trousers if you wanted.

J, looking back at the dress: As well as that.

Me: We don’t have enough vouchers for everything.

J: Okay, I’ll just have the dress.

This went on for twenty minutes with me trying to persuade her away from eye catching and back to practical, and no doubt you get the idea.

But it seems my daughter isn’t like me, least not yet, and practical just doesn’t have the same appeal. I was finally defeated in my efforts when she refused to stand with me any longer, she said she wanted to look at her dress but I wasn’t saying anything nice. She actually wanted me to go away!

I know I’d indicated that she would be able to choose her own thing, but seriously? She’s five! What do five years olds know about clothes?! At this age, they really shouldn’t care that much! I mean, sure, they’ve got things they like and favour, and my girls have always liked their dresses, but to refuse to consider anything else?? Especially when you’ve only got two pairs of trousers and like to run around like a mad thing…oh I feel so worn out!

A part of me seriously wonders if this is normal, or whether I’m to blame with my avoidance of shopping and wearing dresses and skirts, as maybe it's a reaction? It’s not that I don’t like them as such, but things are cheaper at eBay and jeans last and are easier to move in…

Anyways, it’s over now (hopefully for an entire year!), and I’ve proved I’m a wuss who can be brow- beaten into submission by a five year old with a determined attitude, and after all that, you may as well see the dress which has caused my daydreams of the delightful shopping trips of the future, to evaporate.

And I’ve decided. It cost that much that we’d better get good wear out of it! We’ll keep it for special this year, but next… she can wear it night and day, riding her bike and trekking in the woods, climbing rocks and rolling down the lawn, on the slide and feeding the ducks…

Hope your weekend proves a little less stubborn!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Twenty four little hours

When the BH arrived home from work yesterday, he found me crying at the sink. At that moment it was because I couldn’t get the damn pots to fit on the drainer without the entire collection collapsing.

I don’t usually cry over the washing up (as let's face it, if I did, I'd never stop!), and as I tried to explain to him, it wasn’t really down to the drainer. My fight with the drainer just happened to be the final straw.

Within one hour yesterday afternoon, I got three pieces of bad news I wasn’t expecting. None of them alone are dramatic or overly horrendous, but it was a horrid hour on my busiest day of the week, and it broke me.

Of course I stopped crying when I saw blood flowing from the BH’s head, but that’s a whole other story, and he wouldn’t thank me for sharing!

One thing that stopped me in my tracks yesterday was the mother I’m avoiding for a get together. I feel bad, as I think I’ve misjudged her. Yet again she suggested tea, and I felt almost joyous being able to say I couldn’t make it (as I have a real commitment that day) but she persisted, and I found myself at a loss to know how to keep putting her off. So I agreed. Then she started talking about her son, and something that had happened which had really upset her. I was shocked, not at what the lad had done (I’ve got two, and I wasn’t hearing anything I haven’t heard before!), but at her reaction. She’s usually so composed and there she was falling apart in front of me. But she saw my surprise, and immediately clammed-up. And so now I feel awful, as I don’t think she would have shared if she didn’t consider me a friend. I’m left feeling obliged to make a bigger effort with her, but have yet to decide if this is a good thing, or bad.

And last night was a busy one, or at least felt like it!

At around midnight, if you could be a fly on our walls, you would have seen me on all fours patting the carpet and moving toys, in search of the lost pee. This was after J came into our bedroom and stood in the doorway looking confused, and blinking at the light. We asked what the matter was, and suggested she go to the toilet. When she said she’d already been, the BH and I exchanged smiles with the ridiculous notion that maybe she is starting to get over her bed-wetting. Unfortunately she then informed us, she couldn’t remember where she’d peed. She was adamant that she hadn’t been into the bathroom, so I checked her bed but that was dry. Then checked everywhere and everything that could possibly be mistaken for a toilet, when in dim light and half asleep. But all to no avail, still haven’t found it. Bet I will.

Then at five this morning, I awoke to a barrage of kicks to my stomach. Oh the joys of small children! Why can’t they sleep straight in a bed?! This time the culprit was S, who apparently woke the BH at four to say she’d wet her bed. Except it was dry, so I should probably be on the look out for two pee patches! And then, against what would have been my judgement, the BH let her come into bed with us.

At the time (5am) I decided to get up and wash the kitchen floor, but I must have closed my eyes, because the next minute the alarm was going and I was struggling to remember what day it was.

I had a moment’s joy! It’s Friday! TF! And it gets better, as my friend and her boys cancelled coming around after school – not usually a cause for celebration as I do like her company, but on this occasion I’m seeing it as a blessing as my house is a tip! And what am I doing about it? Sitting here telling you ;o)

Having said that, today I’m determined to get a grip on things with the bigger picture in view. I’ve cleaned out some bedroom drawers so we can move the linen in there, thus freeing up some cupboard space in the hall for more kitchen stuff, that way my kitchen will be tidier, and I can think about doing some practice cakes! Also spoke with the mom who I’m doing a Christening cake for, and we’re getting together next week to discuss details.

And a friend said I made them smile this morning. Glad they didn’t say laugh, as I might have taken it that I’m a joke. But they said smile, and I like that, made me smile too :o)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen revived!

Thirteen things that make me Me

1. My favourite drink is tea (with two sugars), I’ll take this over anything else, – unless it’s fancy, Earl Grey is too smelly (and I have a poor sense of smell!)

2. I have a problem with shoes, I don’t like them and thus have trouble choosing them. As I child I lived barefoot, but this doesn’t work so well as an adult (though I still have feet of leather and can walk on anything), stable 3” heeled boots are acceptable as they make me feel sexy (stable, because my sense of balance is squiffy – but not clumpy, as I also dislike clumpy), but you’re most likely to find me in walking boots.

3. Most mornings I wake confused. Some days it can take me a full six seconds to work out what day of the week it is, and when it is. And I’m not one for lying in bed. Once I’m awake, I like to get up as lying around just makes me tired again, and I don’t like drowsing as I get even more confused!

4. I like to see the moon as I fall asleep. At night if the moon is up but not in view of the window, I’ll angle the mirror so I can at least see the reflection.

5. I don’t eat breakfast as I don’t get hungry before lunchtime (probably due to all the tea and sugar ;o))

6. I twiddle my hair a lot, hard to say if it relaxes me or whether I do it when relaxed.

7. When nervous I either pull on a pendant (if wearing one, see next comment) or flick my nails off of each other.

8. I rarely wear jewellery, excepting my wedding and eternity rings.

9. I detest being called ‘Love’ or ‘Darling’ by strangers.

10. I rarely find men attractive based solely upon their looks, I need the interaction of a good personality before thinking a man gorgeous.

11. I cannot drive forwards into a parking space without mucking it up, but can reverse into the tightest, most awkward, near impossible, parking space with no problems at all!

12. The sound of someone brushing their teeth brings me out in goose-bumps and makes my toes curl, though I’m okay when doing my own.

13. I believe some essence of me has lived before, however I don’t believe in reincarnation as in the generally used term.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Undercover Angel
Helen's world

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

But I made an effort!

Today’s verdict: she says I look frazzled. Why do people feel able to be so honest with me?! I mean, if someone looks less than great, I don’t tell them. At this rate, I’m going to have to start avoiding school in the morning, as I was sure I looked okay today, but now…? Now, I’m reaching the stage of ‘Why bother?’ Maybe that’s what I should do, turn up without make-up and really give this mom something to comment on.

At least yesterday morning was a bit more soul lifting. Yesterday morning a mom sought me out to ask if I would do her son’s Christening cake in May – so I guess, whether I mean to or not, I’m getting into the cake making business. Though I have to admit at the time, instead of being thrilled, I was rather lost for words as panic started to build (though I did manage to smile and nod!)

I’m not really ready for this. Not yet anyway. There’s so much else I’m behind on – and I could start listing things, but that would take up time I don’t have, and anyways as I lay in bed last night, I decided I can get there, and instead of bleating I should just DO IT. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that the panic has gone, but ignoring it seems like a good way to start (as I should that mother who comments on me each day!!)

Typically, I can’t make a stab at clearing the backlog today, as Wednesdays are a busy day, as are Thursdays, and Friday afternoons, and this Saturday is already spoken for, as is Sunday morning. Dammit, I need to live on a planet with thirty hour days!

But enough bleating, things to do ;o)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Things that set my mood.

I wish I was in control of my moods. Wish I could predict them. And before any sarcastic bum asks, no, it is not my time of the month! And my mood isn’t exactly bad today anyway. Just, twitchy. Or maybe, annoyed. At nothing in particular, just everything in general.

I know that things like the weather and stupid drivers who cut me up in traffic can affect my mood, but the weather wasn’t so bad today. I have a hunch my dreams play a part, though I have been sleeping better of late. And I don’t think my dreams are bad at the moment, as I haven’t been shouting or screaming recently. Of course it could just be the BH has finally learnt to sleep through my dramas, but some mornings I catch glimpses, and I think they’ve become pretty average in the general weirdness stakes.

And certain people wind me up. Not in a nasty way, but what sort of greeting is it, to say someone looks awful, first thing on a Monday morning? If she was a really good friend, that would be sort of okay (with the theory they noticed and spoke aloud, because they cared ;o)), but I think it verges on rudeness otherwise. And it didn’t put me in the best frame of mind when another mother suggested we get together.

I can’t write what I want to write, because what I want to write isn’t very nice and I can’t explain in full… But for the life of me, I’m wondering if I’m missing something, as the mom who asked, regularly makes me feel stupid. The first time I left her house thinking it was me. The second time I figured she had decided me dim, but as we had a specific cause to be together, reasoned that I had only to get through another half hour and kept smiling (no doubt reinforcing her belief!). But I had to see her again, and after the third occasion I was narked enough to mention it to a good friend, who in turn confided I wasn’t alone. Now we have no real reason to get together, but she wants to. I don’t get it. Maybe she doesn’t realise how she makes me feel. Or maybe she does, and this is what cheers her up on low days.

But trying to think up excuses not to go, is giving me a low day! I should have said no immediately. But she threw me off guard. And it wasn’t really a request, more of a ‘Right, we must…’

And I’m not good at saying no. Bugger. I’m going to have get brave. Because I bloody ain’t going! Last time the low she put me in lasted three days!! This woman ruins my mood, destroys any mistaken belief in myself I may have had before I walked in. But why do I end up feeling guilty?! I mean about not wanting to go. Like I’m being ungrateful for not wanting her company. Actually I think I’ve just figured it out.

I don’t believe mean people, mean to be mean. At least, if I’m ever mean, I don't mean to be. Unless you’re cutting me up in traffic, then I probably mean it at the time.

And I’ve just figured out what I should do. I should be brave and tell her when it happens. And if we were friends I might.

But we’re not. So stuff that! I’ll just tell her I feel awful and probably have something contagious, apparently I look awful enough to be believed.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I’m going to sleep well tonight.

Another mountain peak scaled! J’s birthday party is officially over and done with, except for the thank-you cards, but the hard work is done, my share’s been paid, and the party girl is happy.

Though she wasn’t earlier. For the first half of her party, she just lay around watching everyone else doing daft things (care of the incredibly expensive entertainers), and people kept commenting how pale and glum she looked, but to be honest I was just glad she was there.

Yesterday afternoon, after bringing a friend home to play, J walked in and announced that the sun had given her a headache and she felt sick. Then she promptly was sick. Thankfully my girl knows of my can’t do/won’t do policy, and had the sense to keep her mouth closed until she reached the bathroom. Then my mom walked in with S, and was kind enough to take over for me.

By seven last night the poor girl had asked to go to bed and I was wondering if I would be hosting a party without my partygirl. And worrying whether she’d let me take her cake for her friends to eat ;o).

Because she so loved her cake. And I guess the other kids did too, as the girls all begged for the ponies and flowers to eat (it was supposed to be My Little Pony theme).

It all went very well. Considering. By that I mean it was containable and no one ended up having their mother called, whether it be for behaviour or hospitalization. But blimey I’m tired!

Dread to imagine how the entertainers are feeling. They jumped about, blew whistles, shouted, danced and organised games from the moment they arrived (that was twenty minutes before the party began) until after the kids left. And they made me realise lots of people are happy to pay lots of money for these guys! They were good, they earned their money. But if people are willing to pay that sort of money for their kid’s party, then they might not find a character birthday cake, at twice a shop price, so bad. After all, not everyone is as tight as me!

Between that, and one of the mom’s asking if I’d do her daughter’s cake next month (though it’ll only be at cost, which will at last make me add them all), it’s got me thinking that some people might really be willing to pay me to do this.

But I have to get a bit better first. The friend’s birthday cake will help, and there’s a morning’s sugarcraft course on at the local college in a couple of months. And then maybe… with a bit of practice, and no problems from the Public Health people, I could do this.

But. Isn’t there always a bloody but?! I shall have to get quicker (as well as better!) as this cake took me about seven hours all told, and between that and the ingredients, I might be ending up paying people to take them!

Hoping that minor detail will be overcome with some more practice, and I’m planning on smuggling some plasticine into the house, so I can play at making things like ponies in the hope the sugarpaste sculptures will become easier (and better looking! And in case you're wondering, the things supporting the ponies heads were just there untill we got it to the venue.)

But I’ve sidetracked, this was supposed to be about J’s party. Bad mommy, as J would say. Yes, she tells me when I’m not a good mommy, which happens mostly when I say no to the third chocolate biscuit. But today I’ve been a good mommy, and said she could eat the entire front pony, though I was much relieved she only managed the forelegs (but I’m still a good mommy in her eyes! Ha!)

Anyways back to the party. Did I say I’m exhausted? My feet feel like they’ve been Christmas shopping. In fact I’m so tired I’ve just written this sentence three times and had to delete each for not making sense.

To finish, J was happy and felt fine, a fool boy volunteered to be cream pied, and after the other two moms had thought we were finished tidying and left, I discovered some little sweetheart had wallpapered the toilets with toilet paper (almost makes sense when I write it!) and stuffed paper towels down a loo. Aren’t I glad I we had this party in my Church’s Hall and there was no skipping away pretending I didn't know? But not to worry, an hour later it was all done, and J was sitting in an avalanche of strewn wrapping paper and wondering what was for dinner.

Did I mention I’m tired? I’m not doing rugby tomorrow, I’m on strike and deserve a lie in. Bad Mommy. Goodnight.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What I’ve done!

After my low of Tuesday, the usual happened… I bounced! And some of your helpful and motivational comments really helped, *thank you*.

Yesterday morning, after a traumatic trip to the supermarket (wrinkly discount day! Nothing against wrinklies, but should be avoided when in large groups and contained in small areas, bit like teenagers) and then a frustrating trip to my stupid bank (where they can’t tell the time and opened seven minutes late, because after all, they’re busy doing important stuff and what the hell does my time matter?! Oh and I was only there, because their stupid cash machine only gave me half a twenty pound note!), I was fired up and ready to put the world to rights.

Can’t do a lot about the supermarket discount day for OAPs (though I think they should just give 10% off to OAPs every day, and stop making Wednesday a misery for us ALL!) But the bank, well, they don’t seem to care I’ve been with them twenty years, so why should I?! Decided to find out which banks had real live people answering their phones, turns out only one, and I made the poor chap stutter by immediately demanding to know where he was (as I’m also sick of talking to people with hard to understand accents in Indian call centres), but that was joyous too, as he was local. Have decided there’s definitely something shady about an organisation who won’t allow you to call a local office, and if it was anyone but THE BANK I would have looked elsewhere long ago! So… have to make sure I can leave the mortgages where they and that my present bank can’t hunt me down and make my life even more miserable, but assuming we can do as we please, then we’re jumping ship for warmer waters and service with a human smile!

I also called our Public Health Department, to find out how many hoops I’d have to jump through to make birthday cakes for other people from home. The information arrived today. Umm, here’s another organisation who could do with listening more. I asked for details on what my kitchen would have to be like, instead they sent me a form details who’s exempt and an application to register. What I really need to know is, will I have to wait until Dingbat (my cockatiel) and Ryker (the dog) are dead, will the jukebox have to go, am I allowed to have flowers but no extractor fan, and does it matter half the drawers need a clear out – that sort of thing. But no, apparently I should run before I can walk and should apply first, that way someone will come out to inspect my kitchen, gasp in horror, and then provide a detailed list of why my kitchen is a health risk.

Phoned the local college too, for their prospectus. That also arrived today…and I’m left thinking…I’m hard to please! It’s useless. One huge sheet, folded like a map – except a very badly folded map as I can cope with them, but this…! Ended up just spreading the thing out on the kitchen table. Wow. There’re two catering courses, but I have no idea what’s involved as they use all of thirty words in one paragraph to entice me (and hundreds of teenagers) into signing up for the next year or two of our lives. No mention of anything remotely cake originated, just a short spiel about learning what the hospitality industry wants. (If you were sitting next to me, you would be hearing a heavy sigh.) But I’m not put off yet – their evening courses prospectus is out on Friday and I’m hoping that might provide some more information (as I’m presuming the individual lecturers write them, and at least one might have the insight to suppose I want to know what they’re offering!)

But I won’t hold my breath. This is the problem with living in such a small place, lack of choices. But if all else fails, I'll bloody teach myself to decorate cakes properly! Though of course, I might not be able to sell them…;o)

And after all that, I now know what I would be excellent at – telling companies what they’re crap at!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

That sinking feeling

I don’t think I’m a hard person to please. Of course I could be wrong, as it’s unlikely hard to please people know they’re hard to please. But give me a drop of sunshine, and something pretty to look at each day, and on the whole I can find some joy.

Yesterday was good day. Even though it was a Monday, I felt happy because the sun shone and I got loads done. The highlight was hanging my washing out – which I know makes me sound really sad, but I can remember the first time I hung laundry outside last year, and the year before. It’s become something special, though obviously minor, and I think I must see it as the end of winter.

I’m glad I got two loads washed and dried yesterday because today is HORRID.

Not having bedroom curtains means I get no anticipation when I awake as to what the day might bring (and no, I’m not organised enough to listen to the weather report the night before!). Today I opened my eyes and groaned. Grey. Bleak. And wet. In fact it hasn’t stopped raining yet, and it’s lunchtime already.

Then P came in our room. Guess what? Oh don’t bother. I’ve had my one day without children at home this week, what did I expect? But I must admit it hit me worse than usual and I wasn’t a very kind and understanding mom. After feeling so positive yesterday, it felt like I was being smothered, like someone had put a bag over my head and had started laughing at me.

I’m tired of it. Really tired. And I hate it when I feel like this. I have a voice inside that often tells me how lucky I am, reminding me that these are the sweetest days of my life. Well, today, if that voice dares to utter a bloody word, I swear I’ll kick it into next week! I don’t think I’d be so irritated if P was properly ill, with temperature and actually being sick, but with all the bugs around this winter the school is being over cautious, and parents get called immediately if their child so much as pulls a face and say they don’t feel right. So what was the point of pushing it? To start my day, leaving a miserable child at school, only to get a call to pick him up forty minutes later. No bloody point at all.

And I know it’s no one child’s fault. Just the law of averages when you have four. But please, no one tell me it’s my own doing, my mother does that constantly and there comes a time when you want to cry and never admit anything to that person again. Having said that, I have to be grateful today, as she’s taking S swimming.

P’s also getting a rough day with me feeling like this. I refused to cancel my plans, as I had a meeting with the other two moms hosting the birthday party this coming Saturday. We had to sort out the food, who was buying what, and I don’t have enough days left in the week to put it off. So P had to sit in the car with a bowl on his lap for an hour. Then I had to go shopping, because again, there aren’t enough days in the this week to put it off. The poor lad was shivering by the time we got home, and will probably get a cold and be off the rest of the week!

Plus I haven’t got any nicer now we are home. I’ve said no TV and he has to go to bed, though he’s allowed to read – the idea is, he won’t cry wolf unless he really feels awful in future.

So, gone is my positive disposition, and today I feel like a hateful meanie. And a pretty useless one too, after the meeting with the other moms. The food is going to cost me more than I would have liked, as neither of them want to cook anything, just buy it all prepared in fancy packaging with fancy prices. I suppose I can’t complain, as time is probably going to be in short supply this week.

But I feel let down. Like I took a step forward, but today got pushed back two.

I know none of it matters in the big picture, but I also keep thinking about this job I’m supposed to be looking for, and feel like the idea is just a joke. We need the money, but who in their right mind would employ me? Would I ever make it into work? Which leaves a job from home. Create my own so-to-speak, because let’s face it, without any qualifications I can’t compete against the army of career mothers who’s also like to do this.

So what am I good at? Not a lot (work-wise speaking ;o)). Accounts are what I used to do. Manual, would you believe?! Can cope with some basic accounts packages, but again, I’m not exactly a catch. The BH thinks I should consider teaching other mothers how to use the internet, and I guess I could do that. Except. The idea of having strangers look at me and ask questions fills me with terror, even just a couple, even in my own home. There are some things I’d like to learn more about, such as web design, or cake decorating, and the Open University has some excellent science courses I’d love to do. But science won’t get me a job around here or at home, and making birthday cakes from home probably comes with strict health and hygiene rules (like no dog at your feet!). I suppose I could try and do some child care courses, like the nursery teachers suggested, and maybe taken in other peoples children while they work. But honestly, I have no enthusiasm and want to get away from kids occasionally. And anyway, courses cost money, which if we had, I wouldn’t need to do the course in the first place!

I though typing this out might provide me with a solution (hey, it happens sometimes!) but instead I’m feeling stuck within the vicious circle.

You see what happens when it rains all morning? I turn into a right miserable mare! I think I’d better go bake something, or continue on with sewing the bedroom curtains. What I should really do is tidy the girls’ bedroom, but BLAH to that! Maybe I’ll make lunch, and then have another cup of tea and catch up with some of you. Hey, you’d better be cheery today! I need it!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

My head is spinning

You remember the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland? Always zipping about, too hurried to remember where he left his tail, or was it his gloves, no matter, the point is, I’m him!

Don’t know what happens at weekends, I get this daft idea to take it easy, and then come Monday morning I remember all the things I should have done last week, but didn’t have time, and now I have this weeks things to do, plus all the things I didn’t get done last week.

Day has started well though! ALL the children packed off to school, been into town, cursed the library for lending out the book *I* wanted (don’t suppose any of you have Debbie Brown’s 50 party cakes book, do you? I’m after her sugarpaste recipe), popped to the supermarket so now the family will eat tonight, got a wash on, hoovered the house, tidied and swept the kitchen, and AT LAST remember to call the insurance agent.

Almost pleased with myself, except I should have called the agent last Wednesday. It’s all a bloody mess and I did post about it last month. But I forgot to open a new account and now the payment is late again and when I called they tried to add a surcharge. Being that I’m in the wrong, I could hardly get shirty and instead resorted to asking for the same sweet man who knows what a pain in the ass this whole business has been and until this month, knows it hasn’t been my fault. After I gibbered on about sick children and half terms, I begged, BEGGED, him waiver the surcharge. He’s one of four himself, and he obviously recalls his mother going insane and retains some sympathy, because he did! Can you believe it? What a sweetheart! Don’t find many of those these days, and so instead of sitting here ranting about my own forgetfulness and hating my bank (which I do!) I get to say, he’s made my day!

Right, must dash, washing’s finished and needs hanging out (yes! The sun is shinning and for the first time this year I think it’s nice enough to hang the laundry outside! Today just keeps getting better!! But I must wash down the whirligig) and the kitchen floor needs scrubbing, and I really must do the filing and see what else I’ve forgotten to pay, mustn’t forget to get petrol, and I should have gone to the bank, and if I find some time, get back here and write a proper post (wouldn't that be a novelty?!)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Highs and lows of Momdom

Happiness is… a Jedi outfit. At least, it is for P!

Expressions of his happiness include:

Today was the first time in weeks that the boy didn’t want it to snow, for fear school might be cancelled.

Last night, in anticipation of the final try-on, he jigged manically while clapping his hands like a seal. (Umm, do seals clap? You know what I mean, right?)

Though once the outfit was on, he stood straighter than I ever seen him do, and called me Master without a hint of humour.

After everyone was supposed to be in bed, he thought I couldn’t see him standing just outside the door, watching me sew the finishing touches.

He asked if he could wear this outfit for special occasions, like weddings. (I said No!)

This morning, once dressed, his demeanour again became serious and he took out his light sabre to check he could perform his moves.

And I have to admit, it’s a shame Jedi Knights and their training isn’t real, as I swear he’s found his calling!

Should be interesting to see what sort of day he has, especially as there’s a boy in his class going as Darth Maul – which in itself isn’t amazing, but the boy in question has a history with P. Can’t say I worry about P and this lad though, as they’re an even match, and if truth be told I think P would like him, if I didn’t. But I do (he’s my favourite out of his school year), and it drives P bonkers. In fact I once had to remove P from a party because these two kept punching each other, and not in a little boy fashion either! But I’m sure the teacher must see the friction and with any sense she’ll remove the light sabres when they go out on break. And if she doesn’t…well, maybe it’s time Maul and Anakin settled their differences once and for all.

As you can probably guess, I’m feeling pleased with myself (as I always do when I make the kids happy!) but my elation at waving P off to school was unfortunately, short lived.

S has been off nursery since Wednesday. On the first day, she just said she felt sick and didn’t want to go. If it had been one of my other children, they still would have had to have gone, but S adores nursery and the simply fact she didn’t want to go had me thinking she must be feeling terrible. And she didn’t seem right in herself, off her food, and quieter than normal. So yesterday when she said she still felt poorly, she stayed home again.

But then last night, she was bounding around with the others and I asked her if she felt better and she said yes. So this morning I put out her clothes for nursery, expecting her to go. But her complaints started, she didn’t want to go, she felt sick, she didn’t want breakfast – but at the same time, I was convinced she wasn’t actually ill.

So after the boys left we had a sit down and I asked her if something had happened at nursery. For a few minutes, she said no, but I kept pushing knowing that even when ill, she’s always wanted to go before. And sure enough, she burst into tears.

Between the sobs (and I mean really loud heart-wrenching SOBS) she managed to tell me that another girl had called her a silly gaspsob little gaspsob girl!


Whilst this didn’t sound like the end of the world to me, I could also see to S, it was. And having a three year old cling to me (she does it better than a koala, suing her legs to grasp just as tight as her arms!), and begging me not to make her go back, really turns me to jelly. But the longer she delayed going back, the harder it would be.

By the time we got to nursery we were late, and I promised S that she wouldn’t have to stay today if she really didn’t want to – though I was thinking all the excitement would draw her in. But I was wrong. She wouldn’t even get out the car until I agreed to carry her (clinging to me).

Somewhat luckily the culprit wasn’t there today and so that did help me get S to stand on her own two feet, but she then moved her clinging to my legs and I had to stand explaining what the problem was to the Aunties as I tried not to topple over. And S wouldn’t agree to stay, unless I stayed.

Forty-five minutes later I managed a bargain with her – let mommy go do the shopping, and I’d be back to collect her right after. Which is what I did. So I got a whole hour to myself today!

She’s alright now, and knows that come Monday everything must go back to normal, and she can’t stop going to nursery as she has to get ready for school in September. And reminding her that the other little girl won’t be at her big school helped. That and J, the Aunties, and I all telling her she isn’t a silly little girl and that the other girl shouldn't have said such a thing.

The odd thing is, I’m sure J or the boys must have said worse things to her over the years, but this incident really seems to have upset her.

Which is almost a worry in itself, as it’s hardly the worst thing she’s ever likely to have said to her! But at the same time, I find the whole thing kind of sweet, though I could do without the clinging.

Oh and I just heard on the radio that today is Kissing Friday (the Friday after Shrove Tuesday), apparently*, boys may kiss any girl they like and cannot be refused. Have fun boys!!

* Anything which starts with ‘apparently’ should be taken with a pinch of salt ;o)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Weird weather!

It’s snowing. Again. What the heck is going on with our weather?! I know I said I wouldn’t mind living somewhere that had a proper winter, but this continual snowing then thawing just makes the place look messy! And it’s getting dangerous.

In fact I had a fright this morning. Almost loathed to tell you about it, as the BH will read this and roll his eyes. He said I shouldn’t attempt my usual hill to get J to school, but after making it down the driveway and onto the road, the thought of sitting in traffic was so unappealing I decided to attempt my regular route.

And it’s only a little hill! But I guess my car is big and heavy, and it’s safe to say I learnt a lesson. As well as scaring the girls. I got half way up, then the wheels just kept spinning. Which wasn’t so bad. Except once the car had come to a standstill, it started going backwards. And I started screaming.

Sounds pathetic, but I’m not used to driving in these conditions and when I put my foot on the brake, or use the hand brake, I anticipate my car obeying. Unfortunately I discovered the power of gravity over wheels on ice.

To make it worse we had just passed a woman on foot, slowly edging down the hill (and the road is only one and a half cars wide with no pavements), and I had visions of my car crushing her as we glided (at increasing speed) down the hill, backwards. So I put my hand on the horn in the hope she would realise I was heading straight for her, and dash into someone’s driveway. She tried. But performed a dance before collapsing in a heap. Poor woman.

By the time we reached her, I had realised neither brake would work and sticking my car in Park probably wasn’t a good idea. Sheer luck stopped my car inches from the wall. And her.

Not sure which of us was more shaken up, but I did offer her a lift (as I was now going to go in her direction!). She turned me down, not because of my driving, but because it was her third fall of the morning and she’d had enough and was going home. Not sure how. But I managed to get us to the bottom of the hill and turned around, just to sit in forty minutes of traffic.

And J got to school literally as the bell sounded. She was a happy Little Red Riding Hood!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Some weeks move so fast,

that when I look at my last post it feels like ages ago!

This is one of those weeks.

R’s pretty much back to normal. Normal being, answering back, questioning everything I tell him, butting in on conversations, sighing when I ask him to do anything, and fighting with his brother. We got him back to school yesterday, and for one whole day I didn’t have any children at home!

Of course, today is a new day. And S is home after complaining of feeling sick and asking to be kept home (unusual as she normally fights me even when sporting a raging temperature and crippling tummy ache!). But I don’t mind so much as I really don’t have time for all the school runs at the moment.

Bet that makes it sound like I have a busy life. And I suppose I do, in a backward sort of way. Backward because I’m not getting out, or doing anything very meaningful. This week’s rush is costumes.

On Thursday J’s school is celebrating World Book Day (unsure whether the World actually celebrates, but I guess it’s okay to use the term as the Americans have the World Series ;o)). J’s going as Little Red Riding Hood. Which is no problem as I had weeks to prepare and apart from the ribbon on the front of her cloak, her outfit is finished.

But I have the feeling P must have missed a notice (being off with all his sick days!) as he came home on Monday with a reminder that he should come into school on Friday in a favourite character outfit.

He decided upon Yoda, which is almost funny as his father used to say he looked remarkably similar when he was a baby, but I digress. Back to Yoda.

The problem is the boys don’t have too many dress up outfits. Certainly no Jedi Knight outfits. But at the same time, I feel I have to make an effort as he forgot to tell me about a pirate day last summer, and I sent him into school with a very weak attempt.

And I do have an old brown double duvet cover, no longer used. So for the past twenty four hours I have been manically sewing. The Jedi cloak is finished (he adores it!) and I’m now working on the tabard (tunic undergarments which you see when they throw off their cloaks to have a fight. We have a problem with the boots – as he doesn’t own any, but I’ll figure out something.

But I’m still trying to persuade him to just go as a knight, and not especially Yoda. I can cope with the green complexion (green paint mixed with sun cream turned my eldest into the Hulk many years ago) but the daft ears are just too much for me. And I have a cunning plan should he persist with the demand – I’ll get out my clippers and say it’s time to shave his head to look like Yoda!

Oh and I have to borrow a light-saber (my boys did once have some, but knocked so many things over, they mysteriously vanished), lest he end up looking like a monk.

Right well, my tea-break is over, and the sewing is calling. Wish me luck!