Friday, 30 April 2010

Three, five, four, five, six, five, six, Baa Baa Black Sheep, yessss

1. Cats

(Disclaimer: don't judge me please, this is just my ramblings about our cat situation at the end of a very long day, after nearly 2 years of this stress).
Our cats are strange little creatures. They were weaned too early, although we only discovered this by accident when the lady who sold them to us inadvertently told us their date of birth (weeks after we'd bought them), and when we counted back it made them only 5 weeks when we took them away from their mother. We're not sure whether their mum and dad were related, but they're definitely kitties with additional needs. Not the sharpest book on the train, as my sister would say. Anyway. They stopped using an indoor litter tray when they were about 6 months old, and went out the cat flap and enjoyed time outdoors as well as lots of lap time and cuddles. (As an aside: I know there are lots of differing views on letting cats outdoors, but in the UK this is the norm, in case you're reading this from another country and are appalled.)
When Pearl was born they began going to the toilet in the house - in protest, because they were stressed, whatever - and we ended up having to keep them shut in the kitchen, because I became overwhelmed with having to look after a newborn and clean up after two cats. Since then we have trialled giving them full access in the house lots of times, and they always end up fouling in our home again. We think that there are some neighbourhood cats who haven't been helping the situation, chasing our cats around. Although from what we can gather talking to our neighbours, our cats do their fair share of terrorising as well! We took them to the vet, who basically confirmed what we'd suspected: that they are probably stressed because of Pearl. I can deal with the neighbours' cats but I can't get rid of Pearl! We let them loose in the whole flat this week, and today I came home from shopping with Pearl to find they'd shat at the bottom of the stairs, and pee'd at the top of the stairs. We've already had to remove a huge section of carpet because they'd urinated on it so often we just couldn't get rid of the smell. We've managed to remove the offences (cos if they smell it and that can make them go in the same place again) as much as we can but I am at my wits' end now. I know that we could just get a litter tray, but when they are shut in the kitchen (with access to the garden) they go outside to go to the toilet. I don't want a litter tray in our small kitchen - literally enough room for the cats beds, scratching post, the hoover, and a bucket. I can't take the risk of letting them in the house again, and that breaks my heart.
I love our cats so much because they were our babies before Pearl was our baby. We got them not long after I had the first miscarriage and they were our everything. It is not fair on them to be confined to one room in our house. It is not fair for us to try and re-home them. Pearl loves them so much too! I'm in tears typing this because I don't know what to do. I hate that I am that awful person who had pets and then had children and pushed the pets out.

And together as one giant fluffball of gorgeousness:

2. Carriers

Today we got our new Boba carrier. I could not be happier! We have already used it for over an hour today. Since she was no longer able to be worn in the Moby wrap, we'd had no alternative to her sitting on my hip for most of the day. My back was getting so sore and the Boba is just what we needed. I am one happy Mama. I tweeted a picture this morning if you want to see what a happy toddler looks like!

3. Cocksucker

I think I've mentioned before that our flat was previously owned by a total cock, who must've done all the work himself and has done a totally shitty job. The latest thing to come to light is the plumbing under the kitchen sink. Two weeks of hell with backed up pipes has somehow culminated in the washing machine getting emptied into the cupboard under the sink. The pipe that sends all the wastewater outside into the drain became separated from the plumbing under the sink. Most of the kitchen was flooded: all under the cupboards and the floor tiles. Of course it happened just as we were going out the door to Tumble Tots - I'd just nipped back in the kitchen to grab Pearl a snack for afterwards, and lucky I did otherwise the flooding could've been much worse. I shoved a giant tub underneath the aforementioned pipe, which is now filled with wastewater. It occurs to me I don't know how we'll lift that thing out from underneath. Nevermind.

4. Career

Bobby is so busy at work! So busy! It is amazing for him, for us, to have everything we worked so hard for finally coming to fruition. But I didn't account for the loneliness I would experience in the evenings when he is working late yet again. Some evenings I don't mind, and I just get on with some housework or ironing, or watch a film, or waste time online. But evenings like tonight I just want a hug and some adult conversation. I was meant to be going out actually, to a card making workshop, but had to cancel because he told me this afternoon his appointments were running over. He didn't even start his last appointment till nearly 8pm. It's good, it's so gooooood. I am looking forward to getting 3 whole days together as a family this weekend before he jets off to Rome to work the tattoo convention there. I am so lucky to have such a talented hard-working husband. Now we just have to find the time in his schedule for him to tattoo me.... heh. One day!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

On and on

The garden is coming along beauuuuuutifully. I couldn't be happier with it! We're still getting out there most days. Pearl is getting very good at watering everything in sight, and at digging, and planting seeds. Today I let her loose with a packet of sunflower seeds. We managed to plant a few intentionally, but she got quickly bored of that and wandered off pushing them in the soil randomly around the garden. I'll be interested to see how many of them actually grow! Today we planted our new lavender plant, and a teeny starter rose bush, and some other things I can't remember the names of but that looked and smelt glorious. We also planted some chives and rosemary seeds. I've never grown either of those herbs before, so I hope they are successful. We've got some gorgeous golden thyme and sweet marjoram growing in an old sink, that Pearl loves sniffing. When getting her undressed for bed this evening I found a load of pulled sprigs of thyme inside her vest... that must've been itchy but she smelt lovely!

Other things we have been up to this week are documented below. (The pictures are from my phone; camera is still hanging in its bag in the hallway, charger is officially lost.)

Organising our living room bookshelves by colour (which is the most impractical thing I have ever done - before they were organised by subject/type, now I have NO idea where anything is!):


Took Pearl to a beautiful Park with our beautiful friend Monique, where she forgot briefly whether she liked swings or not:


Found a bargain at a jumble sale - a lil table and chairs for Pearl for just £2.50!

Got Pearl's name printed on the back of her Tumble Tots t-shirt. Chose a super girly font and I'm not even sorry:


And finally, my favourite shot, taken this afternoon. We'd just spent 2 hours working in the garden, and when we came back inside she wanted her shoes off and she climbed up there and laid back. She asked to watch Peppa Pig, and then she ate her snacks and chatted with me about our day, and then she chose her favourite book at the moment (one of the Alfie series, this one in particular) to read together. My baby is growing up.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

All change, please!











The picture quality really needed to be infinitely better than that of my phone, but at least I remembered to document this transformation in some form. (Bob had his camera at work, and my camera is still hanging in the bag in the hallway, with a completely dead battery.)

So, yeah, my family are amazing, and this week they all rallied round. They turned our shoddy, overgrown, rubbish tip of a garden into a useable beautiful outdoor space that we have already spent hours and hours in. Pearl loves being outside, but the garden was so overgrown before that it just wasn't an option. Everytime we go outside she squeals with sheer delight. She loves running around on the poor freshly laid grass, and digs in the soil, and pulls the plants out of the pots, watering everything in sight with her child sized watering can... toddler heaven!

My whole body aches from digging and from lugging giant bags of compost around, and I have gathered numerous freckles and even slightly sunburnt my head. My fingernails are dirty and I can't seem to get them clean. I have swept an outside concrete path more than I ever imagined necessary. I am so excited at the prospect of spending this Summer outdoors, watching our little garden grow.

My head is full of ideas for things to grow, and we have plans to paint the fence, and put up a new gate and and and...

I am so happy right now!

Monday, 5 April 2010


Pearl's first proper Easter has been a success. Somewhat. She isn't a chocaholic (unlike her mother), so while she was very pleased to have people giving her gifts all day, she seemed disappointed that they were all just chocolate underneath the boxes and foil. Like I tweeted (with some incredibly poor grammar - one must not tweet while distracted) earlier, she ate more peas than chocolate yesterday. She opened up all the eggs and put them in a little bucket, and just carried it around. She liked playing with the toy bunnies her grandparents bought her. She loved the egg cup and the plate and spoon, and the set of books. She loved the Easter ring that her Daddy gave her:

Pearl pointing to her 'classy' easter ring! on Twitpic

She enjoyed baking the chocolate fudge cake for dessert on Sunday, and making the chocolate nests. Making biscuits in the shape of bunnies was the highlight of her week. But, yeah, the chocolate thing confused her I think! People were very generous, so I think she'll be living off Easter's supply of chocolate for a good while yet.

My friend Alex blogged about her feelings about Easter and its mixed meaning and messages. That really got me thinking. I grew up in a Catholic family where Easter was the whole shebang, starting on Ash Wednesday and going through lent until He rose again. It wasn't that my family were overly religious, but we went to Catholic schools where it was hammered into us. We'd have new dresses to go to Mass on Easter Sunday, but when we got home my mum had always got us Easter baskets with some kind of gift and chocolate combo. I know what Easter is meant to be about, but I know what it has come to be about for most modern families. One of my friends (in fact, quite a few) posted on Facebook complaining about how children these days were taught that the Easter bunny came like Santa to leave chocolate. And how nobody understood the 'real' meaning behind it.

Like most people I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things; but it's only been very recently that I've begun questioning the things I was brought up to 'believe'. My feelings about religion change almost weekly, depending on what I've read, my frame of mind, or who I've been talking with. I know that I made the conscious decision to stop going to Church, and not to get Pearl christened. I know that I am probably closer to Atheist than the Catholic that I was brought up. But still the Easter debate of Jesus vs. Bunny did cause my brain to go into overdrive for a moment or two. I quickly told my brain to shut the hell up, and just did what I knew Pearl would enjoy.

We bumped into the Easter bunny in M&S the week before the big day, and he gave Pearl a chocolate egg, so when we gave her the eggs on Easter Sunday she made the connection herself that the "bunn abbat" had sent her the chocolate. She is too young to understand anything about Church, we have never taken her to Church. I will explain it all to her when she is old enough, but for now it was enough that she enjoyed the time with all her family gathered together. Running around with her cousin, eating peas off everybody's plates during Sunday lunch. And of course, unwrapping all that bloody chocolate.

Hope everybody else had a lovely extended weekend.

(Re-reading this, I find it noteworthy that while I can try and enlighten myself about all sorts of things, it's hard to change your habits about capitalising words when writing about religion!).