Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thank you

Plagiarism week = complete!

I kind of want to do a nice long post about my weekend, which has been lovely, but I'm very tired and need to go to bed. It's my last evening as a stay-at-home-mum; I go back to work tomorrow. I can hardly believe that a whole year has passed, it seems have gone by in the blink of an eye. I don't want to dwell on it too much or I'll start crying, but hopefully I'll be able to arrange some lucid thoughts tomorrow and get some more catching-up posting done.

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Jamie for doing my comic strips; they're absolutely perfect and it feels amazing to cross 7 things off my list. Even though it is a little tiny bit cheating ;)

And also thank you for looking after me so well over the past year, I know it hasn't been easy, and cliched though it may sound, I absolutely couldn't have done it without you.


96. Put up hooks on back of door in hallway cupboard

At some point during this hundred-days process, I attempted to do this. We bought the hooks, I got the drill all charged ... and found out that the hooks wouldn't fit across the back of the door. I've looked and looked, and haven't been able to find any sets of smaller hooks. Plus I couldn't really remember why I wanted them there anyway. Maybe for hanging J-cub's coats up.

We'll see, anyway. I'll keep on looking for those elusive hooks.

91. Repaint garage door

This is the back garage door, rather than the large slidey metal front door thing. We haven't repainted it since we moved in, and most of the paint has completely flaked off. However, the sun doesn't hit the back of the house and garage at all at this time of year, so there's no chance of the door drying out in preparation for painting, or of the paint drying once painted.

Another one to leave for a beautiful Summer's day, when J-cub is running around chasing bees, helping with the gardening and playing in a sandpit. I can't wait for summer.

83. Put up shelves in study

Yet another item where I didn't think about the magnitude of it when writing the list. As far as I'm aware, putting up shelves is a two person job. Otherwise they'd be all wonky. The only time when there are two people available in this house, the baby is asleep, and any drilling/arguing/cursing would therefore wake him up. So we'll leave it until someone else is available for baby-wrangling duties.

74. Put up pictures in hallway

See previous post. I can't put up pictures if I haven't decorated, right? That would just be silly.

73. Decorate hallway

There's not really an awful lot I need to say about this. We can't decide on a colour, and it'll take AGES. The coat rack needs to come down, all the skirting and stairs and banisters and windowsills and NINE doors need to be masking-taped round, it needs an undercoat or two, then two coats of nice paint. It'll take forever, and I don't have forever. I was thinking that for the next list, I should break this item down a little bit, make it more manageable. But for now, procrastination is the way forwards.

70. Clean out cupboard under the sink

I hate the cupboard under the sink. It's where all the cleaning stuff lives, and it's one of those corner cupboard where you can't reach half of it. It's also a bit damp, and as I can't pinpoint where the damp is coming from, I get panicky about the house falling down if I don't do anything about it, and so I just don't do anything about it. In fact I go so far as to not use the cupboard as much as possible, preferring to leave all my regularly-used cleaning products out on the worktop next to the sink. Which is just stupid, when I stop to think about it.

There are also boxes of Stuff in there, and I don't know what Stuff is in the boxes, and I think that when I get round to cleaning it out, it's going to take me forever as I'll have to decide what to do with all the Stuff.

I'll do it one day, maybe in the summer when it's dried out a bit and I won't panic so much when I get in there and see quite how bad it is.

16. Take videos to charity shop

I do feel guilty about not having done this yet. We bagged them up ages ago, but had a surprising FOUR binbags full. The charity shops near us are of the extremely-small variety, so I feel a bit bad lumping all that much possibly-unmovable merchandise on them (do people still buy videos?). And then there's the baby problem. If he's in the buggy, there's no way I could carry heavy binbags and push him at the same time. If he's in the sling, I don't think I could carry heavy binbags in addition to 27lb of weight on my back.

And I live in fear that I'll finally manage to get there, and they'll turn me away. What I really need to do, is go down into Swansea, and try bigger charity shops there. Or freecycle them. Hmmm that's an idea.

Anyway, it'll be on the next list, honest.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Plagiarism week

Plagiarism week is now over, according to Well I didn't find out about plagiarism week until this afternoon (due to hiding my head in the sand about doing blog-updates and list-items) so I say, no it's not. Leeway please, fellow hundred-dayers?

I'm lucky enough to have been plagiarised by Lizzie Poulton, who did her own list for a week. That alone makes me more than eligible for plagiarism week.

I've selected 7 list items which I am highly unlikely to complete for various reasons, and which would therefore be substituted anyway. Taking inspiration from Edward Ross's 100 tiny moments, I will be presenting these items in comic strip fashion. I've loved following Eddie's blog, in which he has illustrated moments from his past, present and future.

My 7 items will be shifted onto my next list, and therefore they are moments from my future. And I get to strike another 7 items off my list, which has filled me with more glee today than you can possibly imagine.

I'll include a brief explanation of why I can't currently complete each item, just to hammer home the point that I am Not Cheating.

My plagiarising takes on an extra dimension, seeing as I can't draw for toffee, so my darling husband is frantically wielding felt-pens under my instruction. He'll make a far better job of it than I would, as he is amazing at drawing, and I'm only feeling a slight bit of guilt about sitting him down to draw 7 comic strips after a full day at work.

Oh and finally, I'm not going to be able to post them tonight as the scanner is upstairs (near the nursery) and noisy (so might wake the baby up). I'll do it soon, I promise.

I might even get caught up at this rate!


The longer I go without posting, the harder it gets, and the more pressure I put myself under.

Over the last few days, I haven't been visiting fellow hundred-dayers' blogs, or friends' blogs, or blogs I follow, just because I feel so very guilty about not having updated here. I'm trying hard to learn to give myself a break, and realise that it doesn't matter. And I know I've said this all before, in all my previous catch-up posts. I just feel like I have to justify myself each time. I think what I need to do, is to allow myself to blog when I haven't done a list item, so the updating of the blog doesn't become such a mammoth task (I've been doing it during J-cub's naptimes today, and as a result, the house looks like a bombsite as I haven't had time for tidying).

I've only done 4 items over the last 10 days or so, so I now have a hell of a lot of catching-up to do. I think it's safe to say that I'm not going to make it (have I already said that?), but it doesn't matter. I'm still learning the discipline of getting things done, and as this project as about Making Me a Better Person, I think from that perspective, I am succeeding. I'm less lazy than I used to be, and I'm learning the most important lesson of all (for lazy people) - procrastination just makes you feel twice as guilty tomorrow.

J-cub's been poorly for the last couple of weeks, he's had an awful cold with a cough that's stopped him sleeping at night, and knocked him out for hours during the day. As I've been up with him during the night, I've used those nap times to catch up on my sleep, so have had to spend all my other free time trying to keep on top of the housework. He's starting to feel a bit better now, and can fall asleep without hacking coughs waking him up again. It's been a very tiring couple of weeks, especially as its my last two weeks of maternity leave and I wanted to enjoy them a bit more fully.

That's right, I go back to work on Monday. I'll be working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and right now I can't really imagine how I'm going to cope. It's hard enough to stay on top of things when I'm at home all the time, so thinking about laundry and housework and cooking after I've been at work for 9 hours just seems impossible. I'm sure we'll get used to it though.

Anyway, enough doom and gloom. Let's have some positives.

-I finally succumbed to peer pressure and bought a Baltic amber teething necklace. Despite not being able to find any evidence that these work (or even an acceptable explanation of how they work), I was at my wit's end with J-cub's teething and bought one. It's made such a difference. If I forget to put it back on after his bath, then the next morning he'll be rubbing his ears, chewing on his finger and crying constantly. With the necklace on ... nothing. No Calpol, no teething powders, no teething gel, no cold teethers from the fridge. I'd recommend it to anyone now ;).
Hippy chic

-J-cub had his first go on the swings. Our tiny play-park has a sign on the gate saying '3-8 years only', so I hadn't taken him. I keep seeing pictures of friends' babies on swings though, and thought J-cub deserved to know what it felt like to have the wind in his hair. He found it quietly amusing, and so relaxing that he fell asleep. Ahhhh.
Swing-swoo, Marjorie-doo

-J-cub has started to understand how to be funny and make us laugh. He started copying us when we looked at him through the gaps left by his large foam numbers, and discovered that if he pressed his face through the hole, we laughed. A lot. He's now mastered pushing the number out of the hole, and pushing his face all the way through and grinning. It's very cute.

-J-cub climbing the stairs then crawling into his room ready for bed at nap- and bedtimes. When it's bedtime, he'll go into his room and wait for us to undress him, then crawl to the bathroom for his bath.

-J-cub starting to sign 'more' with confidence. I changed the sign a couple of weeks ago as it was too similar to clapping, and having shown no previous interest, he suddenly wants MORE ;).

-Settling in at nursery is complete, and has gone well. They're happy with him, he's happy with them, and yesterday he coloured in a picture of a rainbow for me.

That's all I can think of for now. We haven't been anywhere much (apart from away for our weekend) because he's been too poorly. No swimming, no baby groups, just cabin fever again. But he's a joy to be with, most of the time, he's happy and chatty, and loves bringing me things to look at, and trying to say their names. He loves giving Tilly cuddles, and giving Maeby a wide berth. He's learnt that if he bangs the television with his fists or palms, it mysteriously turns off. He's learnt that if he makes enough of a racket at 5am, he gets an extra bottle. And he's learnt that more than anything in the world, Mummy loves cuddles.

93. Arrange J-cub's birthday party

I can hardly believe that there are less than 3 weeks until J-cub turns one. This time last year I was on my maternity leave, in hospital having J-cub turned around because he was breech, and the alternative was a c-section. It hurt like hell, but was successful and I was allowed back home to tentatively sit in a fully upright position so that he didn't turn back round again.

We've been to-ing and fro-ing about his party for weeks, and have finally booked the village hall for his friends party on his birthday, and a pub lunch for his family party on the following Sunday, which also happens to be Mother's Day.

I'm hoping to have an invitation for you to see before too long, so I'll update with that when it's available.

Mission complete.

77. Celebrate Valentine's Day

Following a string of disastrous Valentine's Days when me and Jamie first started courting, we gave up on marking the day in any sort of celebratory fashion. Plus the cards and trappings are so ridiculously expensive.

This year though, wasn't just about us. J-cub was being sent to stay the night with A, to whom he's been betrothed from the moment the sonographer said to us at my 20-week scan: "Well we can't be 100% sure, but that looks like a scrotum". How romantic.

J-cub expressed his desire to do something romantic for A, and we hit upon the idea of making heart-shaped cookies. I followed some half-assed recipe which seemed to miss out ingredients, seeing as how I was left with something resembling breadcrumbs, rather than anything I could roll and cut out. I made some hasty amendments and ended up with lovely shortbread-type biscuits. I then learned that piping letters and names is HARD. Perseverance paid off and I was rewarded with a lovely box full of love.

We delivered them when we dropped J-cub off on Saturday, and munching on cookies broke the ice between J-cub and A a little (and gave J-cub his first sugar rush).

On V-Day itself, we had our lovely breakfast in bed, then drove back to Cardiff to be reunited with our one true love. We took C, N & A out for dinner as a thank you, then packed J-cub and all his stuff back into the car. As we left, A stood on the doorstep with the cutest smile on her face, waving and calling "Bye-bye Jacob!" and blowing kisses over and over again.

I think Cupid has well and truly struck gold there.

Mission complete.

77. Scrub patio

You can pretty much read my previous substitutions post about cleaning the decking, and change the word 'decking' for the word 'patio'.

Substituting for the same reasons. It'll be pressure washed in due course.

71. Go away overnight (without J-cub, obvs)

As I said, this is a slightly frivolous substitution. It was much needed though, and for that reason alone, I definitely think it contributes towards making me a better person. I do have a similar item on the list (#98, Go out for an evening), but going away overnight is so much of a bigger step, that I thought it deserved its own list item.

On Saturday 13th February, we dropped J-cub off with friends C and N in Cardiff. They have a daughter, A, who is almost a year older than J-cub. We've been friends with C since University, she's a fantastic mum and we were so happy that they agreed to cope with J-cub overnight. We were a bit worried about going, as he's had the most horrendous cold and cough for a couple of weeks, and seemed to be getting worse and worse as the weekend approached. Having a non-refundable hotel booked, and gig tickets bought, made it really difficult to know what to do. C said she was more than happy to look after a snotty, coughing baby, she was used to it and it was just one night. So we packed up his things, and our things, and drove to Cardiff in the afternoon.

We stayed and played for a bit, to settle him in. He got stuck straight in, playing with A's toys, while A stood on a chair and pointed everyone out to me.

"That's Mummy!"
"That's Daddy!"
Me: "And who's playing on the floor?"
(A peers over the back of the chair and lets out a delighted giggle) "It's Jacob!". A loves J-cub.
We eventually tore ourselves away, and I was sobbing before I'd even got into the car. I managed to drive to Bristol despite the tears streaming down my face and the feeling that my heart had been ripped out. When we were checked in and had started getting ready to go out, we had text reports that J-cub was fine, and happy, and getting ready for bed. I realised I was being a bit silly and if he could cope without me, then I should do the same.

After getting dressed and knocking back a few drinks (first time drinking in 20 months!), we headed out to the Thekla, which is a boat doubling as a live music venue. It was SO COOL. I had had maybe one too many drinks by that point, as I was already swaying around proclaiming "It's just like a boat!". We met some friends and moved down into the hold (that's right isn't it? Like the belly of the boat) where the stage is, to see the first band: The Lovely Eggs. They were brilliant, and funny, eliciting as much laughter as applause from the audience (I say audience, sadly there was hardly anyone there). The singer Holly used to be in the band Angelica, who we put on in 2000 when we ran an Indie club here in Swansea. I was crazy about Angelica, and was very excited at the time to meet them and go out for dinner with them. I have a photograph somewhere of me standing with them, wearing a tiny black miniskirt and a homemade bright yellow Angelica t-shirt. I was so cool ;)

More people appeared out of thin air to see Everybody Was In The French Resistance ... Now! Eddie Argos (Art Brut) and Dyan Valdes (the Blood Arm) recorded an album correcting the mistakes of pop songs from the past. We've been so excited about this for months. Years. Since I was pregnant, and we went to see Eddie in his glamrock side project Glam Chops, and he gave us our first baby-present, and a secret copy of the EWITFR...N! album. It's a great album, and I've listened to it pretty much non-stop since then. When I was stuck in hospital after J-cub was born, and they wouldn't let me go home, and I couldn't stop crying ... I listened to the album on my MP3, and laughed, and felt a bit better.

Anyway, I'm crap at writing gig reviews, so I'll just say that it was brilliant and just a shame that there weren't more people there. Afterwards our friends drove us to The Lanes, which is a bizarre venue comprising bar, dance floor, stage, private karaoke rooms, and a ten-pin bowling alley. There were some bands playing, including Tender Trap who I liked at the time but can't remember anything about now.

We spent lots of time talking to Dyan about her amazing Cuban heritage, discussing baby-rearing with a 19-year-old dad, dancing to Kenickie and bumping into people who we didn't expect to see (bearing in mind we live more than a hundred miles away, we see far more people we know when we go out in Bristol than when we do in Swansea). We ran out of steam about 3am (yes, really), and walked back to the hotel via a chip van.

It was blissful collapsing into bed at 3.30am and knowing that we didn't have to get up in the morning. Lovely Jamie did get up in the morning, walked around to find breakfast, and returned with apple & cinnamon and Nutella crepes for us to eat in bed. Mmmmm.

Mission complete.

71. Clean decking

The decking across the back of our garden enjoys growing a lovely black algae over the winter months. It's slippery, and nasty, and a pain to remove. I didn't do it last year, being all pregnant and unable to bend down. The year before, I did it by hand using some sort of deck-cleaner and a scrubbing brush. I took all the skin off my knuckles in the process.

My sister-in-law, Nurse Rachel, asked why I didn't just use a pressure washer. A) I don't have one, and b) I hadn't thought of that. She offered to bring hers (well, her dad's) down next time she visits. However, she's not coming down again until after the 100 days is up.

This item doesn't need doing until then anyway, as we don't tend to use the garden much in the winter months. So I'm shifting this onto list #2. There is a list #2 by the way, and it's growing all the time. And I'm going to be much better at doing it (because I'm not going to overestimate my abilities next time round).

I'm substituting for something nice and frivolous. Read on.

36. Clean mildew from shower curtain

Mmmmm mildew. Lovely.

J-cub's bathtime antics have got so vigorous (he likes to like on his back and slam both legs at once into the water, sending waves all over the place) that I now have to have the shower curtain pulled almost completely across, tucked into the bath, to prevent him flooding the whole place every day. In so doing, I realised that having something covered in mildew trailing into his bathwater probably wasn't terribly healthy.

I googled useful hints for removing mildew from shower curtains, and the general consensus seemed to be soaking the whole thing in a bath of bleach. I don't like bleach. It's far too deadly, and it's made and tested in nasty ways, and in the same way that I don't want something mildewy trailing in his bath, I don't want something bleachy trailing in his bath.

So I took the whole thing down, scrubbed it by hand using good old washing up liquid, and put it in the washing machine with some vinegar, bicarb and lemon juice. Result: good as new.

I don't have any recent pictures of J-cub having bathtime fun, so here's one of him months and months ago, sporting a little beard:
Mission complete.

36. Fix lounge door handle

You know when you get a new car, and you haven't quite adapted to its width or length, and you can't judge which gaps it'll fit through? Well I had the same problem when my pregnant body suddenly ballooned, and I found myself hitting my stomach on worktops, and catching my hips on doorframes.

Unfortunately, I managed to do just that on the lounge door frame, breaking the strike-plate in the process. This means that whenever there's the slightest draught through the house, instead of nestling snugly into its frame, the lounge door bumps against the frame with a regularity which will slowly drive you crazy.

This was actually one of the first list items I tried to do, but it turns out that one of the screws on the strike-plate is completely broken, and I can't get it out. I've investigated lots of gadgets which are supposed to solve the problem, but I'm not sure which one will actually work, and I'm loathe to spend money on things which might not work in our current penniless state.

So this item is going on the back-burner for now, as a wedge of cardboard stuck in the frame prevents the annoying bumping, and I'll get to it when I'm back at work and have more disposable income.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Apologies for my absence

I don't seem to have had any time for blogging this week, and I've really missed it. It's as addictive as writing a diary, and I find myself composing incidents into blog-posts in my head. I think that's a potential worry - when the blog becomes more important than life, or when you start doing things just so they can become posts. At least I am aware of that potential pitfall now, so can do my best to avoid it ;)

I've just posted some of my list items from this week, but I'm a bit blogged out now so I'll have to finish tomorrow. I've been working in the garden as we've actually had some days of sunshine, and seem to have got loads done. It has left me simultaneously longing for summer - imagining days of picnicking outside with J-cub, and him toddling around while I garden - and dreading it - imagining days of falls on the stone paving slabs, slips on the decking, J-cub designing his own menu of slugs, snails, stones and mud ... I suppose it's just something I'm going to have to get used to.

A few notable moments from this week:

- J-cub going down for both naps and bedtime on Tuesday without a peep. He drank his bottle, I put him in the cot, and didn't hear another sound. No frantically trying to stay awake when he was shattered, no being practically asleep when I put him in the cot but wide awake and giggling 2 minutes later, no kicking and punching me, just blissful silence. Lovely.

- Having a lovely BLW-style lunch with a friend who's just started up her own blog. She's been having some troubles with weaning her lovely daughter Poppy, who is about a month younger than J-cub. Not wishing to offend, I made some gentle suggestions about trying a more BLW-style approach to solids, and it's been working really well for her. J-cub and Poppy enjoyed pitta bread/rice cake with houmous, chopped cherry tomatoes, nectarine and plum for lunch.
- Being brave enough to try baby group again, and having a lovely time. There were only 5 of us there, which made it not so intimidating. We talked birth stories (again), baby-wrangling on long journeys, setting up a book group, getting some padded flooring for the hall, and general baby nonsense. J-cub was a bit grumpy when we got there, but crawled around for a while until his requests for cuddles got more and more frequent, at which point I strapped him in the buggy and pushed him in circles (followed by the sole toddler there, who stayed so close to my heels that I nearly fell over him countless times) until he fell asleep (yay!). He slept for 35 minutes, then bounced back to life, playing happily until it was time to go. He happily transferred his requests for cuddles to the other babies, slightly baffling (or scaring) the little ones and cementing a new friendship with the toddler M by cuddling and kissing him whenever J-cub could catch him.
J-cub (left) and M (18 or so months old I think)

- Having an older (first-language Welsh) toddler come up to J-cub in the changing rooms at swimming saying "Babi, babi!" (baby, baby), J-cub turning to him and throwing his arms round him for a cuddle, with the toddler saying "Cwtch! Cwtch!" (cuddle, cuddle). So cute - and we had to prise them apart when it was time to get in the pool. We spent the whole lesson with shrieks of "Babi babi!" every time he came near us.

- J-cub eating a whole pear for his snack, leaving nothing but a tiny section of core and pips.
- Realising that J-cub now understands the meaning of the words: where, ball, catch, Tilly, Maeby, cat, duck, Jemaine (his giraffe), go, up, hello, bye-bye.

- J-cub very clearly saying "Duck!" when confronted with a duck. All other animals are "Ca!" (cat).

- J-cub climbing the stairs, bottom to top, entirely unaided. Over and over again ;)

- Receiving a lovely postcard and hand-drawn picture from Tammy at The Heartful Blogger, which she kindly sent me even though I didn't win one during her giveaway week. Her son, Jake, had an operation yesterday, and I'm so happy that it went smoothly and his recovery is going well.

All in all - a very good week.

49. Cut back the garden

Leaving the garden to die down naturally in the Autumn, rather than cutting it back (as a good gardener should), seems to have worked in my favour this year. All the dead leaves and foliage have provided a mulch across the borders, and protected the dormant plants against the un-customary snow.

When I started clearing it all away, I found fresh new shoots forcing their way up, and whole new plants under a pile of a large clematis which fell off the fence, and 15 salvageable strawberry plants (I'd given them all up for dead), and bulbs growing all over the place.

Spring is most definitely sprung.

Before (this is only a bit of a garden, I did the rest too!):

The resulting waste for the compost collection (I climbed into these bags and jumped on them to thoroughly squash everything down, so as to fit more in.):
Mission complete.

48. Prune Flamingo Tree

When we first planted this Salix integra, it was small and neat, as ornamental trees should be. We bought it more for the price (cheap) and the purpose (to fill a gap in the corner of the garden), rather than for any sort of design reason. My garden design ethos is what you might call slapdash. I love gardening, but am not very patient at plotting and planning. I'd rather buy something, and put it in a gap regardless of how big it's going to grow or what colour its going to be. The garden would work much better if we lived in an old cottage somewhere, rather than on a new estate.

I think my neighbours hate me.

The flamingo tree grew and grew, and I always missed that window of opportunity for pruning, so instead of the small, neat, ornamental tree it should be; it now overhangs the fence into next-door, and gets tangled up in the washing line. I've seen my next-door neighbour patiently clipping back the bit that hangs over the fence all summer long, and have felt very sorry for him.
On inspection, I found the branches were so thick that any pruning shears I had weren't going to make a dent on it, so I got the saw out, and hacked away until it was nowhere near the top of the fence. I then had to hack all the pieces I'd sawn off into manageable sections which would fit into our green-waste collection bags.

It looks much better now, and I can't wait to see it in bloom.


Mission complete.

48. Sand and paint wooden edge to back door

I've been eyeing this one up for a while, because I love painting wood. However - the prolonged cold, the snow, and the current wet weather means that the wood is thoroughly saturated. I would like to see it bask in full sunshine for several days before I consider painting it, and at this time of year, the sun doesn't hit that part of the back garden at all.

So I am substituting this item for now, but it's going on my Next 100 list, so that I can do it at some point over the summer.

I had a look round the garden for other bits and bobs that needed doing, and settled on pruning the Flamingo Tree.

47. Weed patio

I've got a scary but effective tool for weeding the gaps between the patio stones. It might have been better just to use my fingers though, as the cold weather seems to have done something to the patio, and the edges of the stones started crumbling away as I worked.

I'd therefore like to open up this post to welcome rich benefactors, or patio/decking/playground manufacturers who are avidly reading this blog, and who would like to provide me with a new patio surface for me to 'review'. And by review, I mean have installed at your kind expense, and then let J-cub loose on it when the summer comes. Of course you'd also get a nice write-up.

That's it really, there's not an awful lot I can say about weeding between patio stones. A new patio surface though, I could wax lyrical about that for pages.

Mission complete.

42. Chuck out rubbish from garden

The rubbish in the garden seems largely to stem from the curse of the Post Office red rubber band. Around the local sorting office, these rubber bands spread out in a carpet all over the road as you approach. I can't see that they make any effort to pick them up there, and certainly our local post people think nothing of discarding them as they go.

Our cats have an obsession with them, in the same way that previous cats Chokki loved cocktail umbrellas, and Poppy loved emery boards. Tilly and Maeby (thankfully) don't bring us home presents of dead things, but they do make approximations of that behaviour by bringing home these rubber bands and yowling at the back door until you go and congratulate them on their kill. They then spend hours making sure they're completely dead, before depositing them in a pile outside the back door.

I collected up as many as I could find, and went round with a bin bag searching in the corners for windblown pieces of rubbish, and plant labels which have lost their plants, and other general garden debris.

Mission complete.

Monday, February 1, 2010

41. De-clutter and tidy downstairs toilet

Today was a bit of a wobbly day. J-cub had his first settling-in session at nursery, which in retrospect is probably why I can't remember anything about yesterday, since I was worrying about it all day. He got up really early, had his breakfast early, and then was tired and wanted his milk just before 9am (when we had to leave) and slept in the car on the way there. I think that was good, as it meant they didn't have to worry about giving him his bottle or trying to get him to sleep.

I took him in and sat down on the floor, where all the other babies were playing around. J-cub gave one of the nursery staff a high-five, then crawled off to look at the toys without a backwards glance to me. I left without saying goodbye to him, as I didn't want him to notice I'd gone. And I don't think he did, until I returned and he burst into tears and gave me that Look, the one that rips my soul out of my body.

He was okay though, as soon as I picked him up, and I was okay while he was there. I ran some errands and then went home, as my mobile had run out of battery. I rang the nursery and they said he was fine, and had eaten some raisins for a snack (which doesn't really surprise me, as raisins are #1 on his list of yummiest foods EVER at the moment). I left him about 2 hours, and he was absolutely shattered when I picked him up. They said he'd been really good, except for when they changed his nappy (which he hates at the best of times). They were still a bit baffled by the baby-led weaning, but I'd printed out some info sheets for them which they'd evidently read as they had lots of questions and asked if they could keep the sheets. Fingers crossed it all works out with them doing BLW with him, as I'd hate for anything to mess up his eating now he's doing so well with it.

We came home, had lots of cuddles, I made him promise never to leave me again, and then we had lunch and a nap. This afternoon he's had fun playing, and scaring the life out of me when I stepped out of sight for a couple of seconds, during which time he crawled about 3 metres from the kitchen door to the far end of the sofa, climbed onto it, knelt UP on the very edge, and started to bash the laptop which was balanced on the arm. I managed to catch him before he fell, and have now put his squishy-number-floormats in a line along the front of the sofa to cushion the blow if he does fall.

I started cleaning the downstairs toilet and realised I may as well do this item while I was at it. I attempted to take photographs but it's so tiny that it was impossible to get a shot of the whole room, so you'll just have to imagine it (or not). I went through the medicine cupboard and threw out old medicines which I can't envisage using - drops for the conjunctivitis J-cub developed after birth, drops for the thrush we passed back and forth between us while I was breastfeeding (why do I keep this stuff?), old gammy nail polishes, empty blister-packs of various pills, empty suntan lotion bottles ... there was so much rubbish in there.

I tidied and sorted all of my make-up, jewellery and hairbands (which I really need more of, since Tilly found out where I keep them and has been slowly squirrelling them away every time she gets the chance), cleaned the skirting board and door, weighed myself (woo hoo! That was a pleasant surprise) and dusted.

It now looks nice and organised and much less cluttered. I'm awful for buying lotions and potions, although I have seen the error of my ways since my new-found parent-frugality kicked in, and I'm now working my way through my stash, rather than buying new stuff.

I think it'll probably last a couple of years at least.

Day 63: Mission complete.

28. Make functional stereo area

This item was done yesterday, and I'm sure we did plenty of other things as well, but at the moment my mind has gone completely blank and all I can remember is having a nap. Blame it on the baby-brain.

The stereo (and by stereo, I mean crappy living room stereo, not lovely-upstairs-study-separates-stereo) used to living in the old TV table, but it was usurped by the Wii and its accoutrements. We dumped it, along with the downstairs-CDs (you can see the upstairs-CDs here) on top of the 2 cabinets which now reside under the stairs. It's pretty much the only place that's out of the way, and which J-cub can't reach, so it's become a dumping ground for broken things, dangerous things, expensive things, and things-we-don't-want-J-cub-to-eat.

All it really needed was the stereo setting up (including having a special pluggy attachment for my MP3 player, thus rendering CDs entirely obsolete), the CDs sorting out, a couple of boxes and baskets to tidy away bits 'n bobs, and it's done.

I know it seems like an easy list item, but quite frankly, I need an easy list item or two to keep me going. And (drumroll please), it is absolutely the last thing which needed sorting in the lounge so .... lounge complete! Hurrah! Now I just have to keep it like this ;).

Day 62: Mission complete.

28. Put up shelf in nursery

This is going to have to be my second substitution. Yesterday I was all geared up and ready to put up the shelf in the nursery, the purpose of which was to put the monitor on, and a few toys which are not yet age-appropriate.

When I came to do it, however, I was really uncomfortable with putting it where we'd planned. It was going to go above the cot, high enough that J-cub couldn't reach when he's standing in the cot. Standing there looking at it though, I thought about how much he's grown, and how difficult it is to predict what he will be able to reach in a few months time.

Plus, we have a nifty little blue Ikea stool which stands next to the cot, and which the monitor sits on. There's nothing wrong with that, it works perfectly well, and J-cub can see the nightlight (part of the monitor) from the cot. He loves looking at the nightlight, and when he's crawling around on the floor, he likes to pick the monitor up and press the buttons. I don't want to deprive him of the evident pleasure he gets from that.

So we decided the shelf was unnecessary, potentially hazardous, and might get in the way of any future furniture when J-cub grows out of his cot. This item is therefore being substituted for sorting out the stereo area in the lounge - pretty much the last thing that needs doing in our all-new, all-singing, all-dancing lounge. Yay!