Archive | September, 2010

Homemaking, with a vengeance

28 Sep

It’s almost the end of September. And we’ve been in this house since the middle of June some time. So three months? Obviously (!) we have unpacked. We’re settled. This feels like “home”. But there are still one or two things. Niggly things. Pictures not hung. A guestroom full of things that don’t fit anywhere else. The garage still has boxes and your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what is in them. All these things can wait. There’s life to be lived. Figuring out where to hang pictures can wait. I mean, there must be an average number of walls in this house, as it is still standing, but there are more windows than average or something. I’m not sure. The living room has half a wall, the dining room too. The kitchen? Nothing. Almost all of the walls are white too, making it a bit bare (but as bright as can be). Anyway, back to my point, which is, we’re here, we’re home, we’re settled. Pictures or no pictures.

But…don,don,don(ominous music)…the in-laws are coming! The in-laws are coming! So there has been a frantically mad dash to get those niggly things done. One part of me is going “Thank God for visitors or nothing would ever get done” while another part of me seethes quietly about having to do things. Honestly though, would I have taken down the net curtains and watched the water turn to tea as I washed them if no one were coming? No, I would not. But the curtains obviously needed washing. And the windows needed cleaning. And if I can muster up the energy I really need to do the outside. Really badly. And empty a box or two in the garage. While I’m out there I really should empty the suitcase, which has been out there since our trip to D.C. (3? 4? weeks ago). It’s just clean clothes and random bits and bobs, but meh! (I thought the Hubby would finish emptying it, but he’s not as O.C.D. about these things as he used to be!)

Other than that, we’re ready. I even “gussied up” a pair of uninspiring brown curtains for the guest room (being in a strange bed and not being able to sleep because of a random sliver of light is a nightmare!) and made matching pillowcases that more or less coordinate with the quilt (but we’re having a heatwave and the big quilt may be unnecessary even if “old people are always cold”). Still though, it looks nice. I’m dying to show it off, but the camera is broken  (I suspect sand is the culprit).

So we’re ready. But there will be more mad dashes around the house. Many, many more. What is it about the imminent arrival of in-laws that makes you feel entirely inadequate?

Aha!

25 Sep

Mornings around here have been a little fraught, fractious and flippin’ nightmarish of late. And I couldn’t figure it out. The Turtle is usually such an easygoing little fella. But the Hubby has been working long hours and try as I might I cannot get everything done on my own. Previously I had sh@g all to do in the mornings. Well, there were things to be done, but nothing obvious. And when things don’t obviously need doing, I leave them until nap time. But now there are dishes and laundry and sweeping and all manner of things. So I have been haphazardly trying to get things done before they overwhelm me and come crashing down around me. The Turtle does not like This. At. All. It eats into our fiddle faddling around time. He wants to read books and play with puzzles. He doesn’t understand Mammy’s “Just give me a minute” growled though gritted teeth. If anything, it makes him more fractious. Which makes me? Well, more of a growling menace. Then we both end up in tears. And nothing gets done. Nothing.

So, I am resolving to spend at least an hour every morning doing Turtle-led things, before I start looking around, twitching at all of the things that need doing. And I will not lose my marbles when he is under my feet, clamouring for attention (not as much as I do now anyway). I will play with him and go back to whatever I was doing later. Unwashed dishes do not suffer from a lack of attention. Small children do.

I started this regime this morning. I was playing with stickers at 6:30 this morning. Afterwards the Turtle went off about his business and I got on with mine. Goodness but things were easier. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up. Hopefully!

Crafty hiatus

22 Sep

We haven’t been doing much crafty business here in the Turtle house recently. Honestly, he eats the play dough, he eats the paint, he eats the crayons. Everything. Now, I was being all calm about it, going “Aww, we don’t eat crayons” and “if you do it again there’ll be no more x”. But it gets wearing after a time. Especially when he looks at you, with pure devilment in his eyes and takes a huge bite.  Then there are tears. And so it goes, every time. It used to be cute. Now it’s a bit annoying. So we’re taking a break because I don’t want to be one of those people who goes into a meltdown every time he picks up a crayon. Randomly shouting before he has done anything wrong. Feeding the cycle. Is that what they call it? Perpetuating the cycle? I think that’s it.

We do some crafty activities at a playgroup (he doesn’t eat their stuff!!) Yesterday we mad some bracelets and necklaces out of pasta and fruit loops (think cheerios, but coloured and packed to the gills with sugar). I say “we”, but in fact I, made the necklace and the bracelet. He ate the pasta and fruit loops (which may in fact be called “froot loops” Gah! Another reason not to like them!) And that was fine. Who can object to a small child eating “food”? Not me!

One of the fathers there could. Honestly, one of the sentences out of his mouth was “Stop eating those. I can’t make the necklace!” And the child cried. As if the point was to make the necklace. I mean what are you going to do with it? Anyway, it made me think that maybe crafting in the Turtle household should be given another second chance. And if he eats all of the materials? So what! I’ll just have to make sure that we’re working with small amounts. Or perhaps with things that “can’t” be eaten, like pipe cleaners. Or things he doesn’t think of eating, like leaves. Hmmm. Lateral thinking. That’s what we need. And more patience. It’s a pity they don’t sell it in a shop.

Bleurgh!

21 Sep

I have a small boy who has puked all over me today. I honestly did not think it possible for a small boy who ate little more than some grapes and a slice of apple for the whole day to produce that much vomit. A quick wash in the sink, a movie on the TV and all seems right with the world. But despite having had a shower I can still smell it, back there, at the back of my nostrils/roof of my mouth. It’s wreaking havoc with my concentration. So all thoughts of breaking out the sewing machine are out the window. As I said “Bleurgh!’

In other news, did you know that it’s National Alpaca Farm Days this weekend? Seriously. Who knew? See, here! I want to go! Not just to see what it entails, but think of all the yarn! But the hubby is working. Oh well! I’ll just mark my calendar for next year!

So long as there’s no puke, I’ll be happy.

Busy, busy, busy

16 Sep

Today is Thursday, and we have been to three play dates this week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Monday we went to the beach. A kindly Mom took pity on us and picked us up because it’s miles away. And we had a great time. We saw dolphins (or porpoises) and, best of all, a train! The Turtle could not be kept out of the water. He got soaked. As did I, the fool wearing jeans to the beach. The water was freezing. Absolutely perishing. And I couldn’t get him out of the water. He was wandering around in his nappy (which had a pound of sand in it) and his jacket, like an orphan. There was sand crusted on to his face, because he lay face down in it and ate a mouthful. Like a savage. A savage having fun! (who would not eat the food I had brought, organised, for once). We came home and he slept for FOUR hours. Conked. I was able to have lunch and shower and knit and nap (we were up at 4am that morning. 4am).  And thankfully dinner was in the crockpot, bubbling away, because a small boy who eats sand for lunch is very hungry when dinner time rolls around!

Tuesday was a church playgroup. I would guess that it’s not everyday you find a lapsed Irish Catholic kicking their legs up and singing about Brother Abraham and his many sons. But the Turtle loves it. And it’s free. And they provide lunch. And he falls asleep on the walk home (always a bonus)! So while he was napping, I got to clean up, with the Hubby’s (supervised) assistance because…

Wednesday, I hosted a play date. I don’t know what I was thinking. Well, I was thinking the Hubby could go to the library and study for the test he has today and not worry/feel guilty/wonder about what we were doing. I was thinking it might be fun. And I was thinking I wouldn’t have to worry about going anywhere. All true, as it turns out. But I did worry about whether the house was clean enough (and the collection of dead bugs and spiderwebs I amassed during my cleaning spree leads me to believe it wasn’t), and what to feed them (having a slight inkling that there might be a vegetarian in the pack), and whether the Turtle would have a meltdown, seeing people play with his toys. He didn’t, in fact he didn’t care a jot. He was just happy to have the “kids” over. We had spaghetti (a la Jamie Oliver) with a jar of pesto available for the vegetarians (I tried! A bit. I don’t know any vegetarian recipes that kids will eat! Ahem). And watermelon for “dessert”.

9 kids and 5 adults, not counting myself and the Turtle. Man. It was hectic. But I’ll probably do it again. Someday. When the memories have faded. After that I wanted to lie down. But instead the Turtle family hopped in the car and went to the nearest Dutch village (how random is that?) in search of a fabled, perhaps mythical 99cents a yard fabric store. 99cents! And it’s not mythical. It’s just closed Monday to Thursday. So we’re going back on Friday. Hurrah! and we managed to stumble onto a Farmers Market. Where we bought some rather expensive peaches, strawberries, blue berries, blackberries and raspberries. The strawberries had a short life, demolished in the park we went to on the way home. The other berries probably would have went the same way, had the Hubby gotten them out of the car! The strawberries were so good though. So good. That’s the end of supermarket strawberries for us.

I’m just going to see if there are any left….

Five minutes…

13 Sep

We have been giving the Turtle a “five minute warning” before we leave somewhere, especially somewhere fun, like Walmart ( 😉 ). We plague the toy section there, pressing buttons on all of the toys and reading the books and whatnot. Now, I used to think the “five minute warning” was a load of airy fairy nonsense. What do small children know of minutes?  Or numbers? “What’s the point?” I thought. “It’s stupid” I said like a sulky teenager to the Hubby, who agreed.

But then I thought about it.  What would it be like to be a small child, playing away at the park or something, then all of a sudden you’re scooped up and away home? I imagine it would be very frustrating. If someone did it to me now, at the ripe old age of 30-something, I would almost certainly pitch a fit. So I gave it a go. And do you know what? It works! Granted, the words “five minutes” will prompt a bit of a moan, but just a slight one. And the best thing about it is that “five minutes” can be a mere 20 seconds long!

In fact, it’s working so well that the other night we were out having dinner and the Turtle was done and wanted to go. And what did he say? “Five minutes Mammy. Going five minutes” with the most earnest look on his face. So cute! And when a two year old adopts your parenting strategies to try and use them on you, well they must work.

Washington D.C.

9 Sep

Too, too many photos. Truth is, I took ten times this many.

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