Monthly Archives: March 2004

How that child squirms

It’s painful when Smudgelet has a bad night, much easier when it’s Tiddles. Tiddles nestles into your arms and lies there content and comforted until he falls asleep, but Smudgelet does nothing but squirm. All knees and elbows whether awake or asleep. I was wakened from underneath him by the phone ringing and found him so deeply asleep I couldn’t move, with his head rammed under my chin so it was impossible to talk to my friend on the phone. Waking him was well-nigh impossible – he’d seem to wake slightly and readjust as if ready to stand up and walk back to his room, only to snuggle in deeper and go back to sleep. I began to despair of ever being able to move again as he contentedly dug his knee into my stomach with a sleepy sigh. I do so love him.

So, what do you think of the new hairdo? You haven’t said how lovely it looks! I am really pleased with it. In fact, it’s been a fantastic day today. A morning of warm sunshine spent sitting on the patio with dad and giggling at the antics of the cat who decided to investigate the tunnel made by the rotary washing line cover and crawled in to the far end, where he found he couldn’t turn round and had to reverse all the way out again. These good times with Dad are what make it all worthwhile. I’ve emailed work and told them I want to go part time. I have to be less stressed and able to relax and just enjoy being with him.

My lunchtime session with my counsellor was really good again today… and it was rather moving to look up and find her crying with me at one point. It was good to talk through with her my feelings about God and to look again at how he fits into my picture of my current life and how he’d change that picture if he were to hold the pen. I told her of the dilemma of feeling there are lots of hints that I should consider the ministry and wondering what God’s driving at because I don’t want to do it and, what’s more, I don’t feel in a position to do it when I’m currently doing so much (all of which I feel God calls me to do). Then, when I told her about supporting a friend through a difficult day yesterday (in the context of me learning to take my own advice), she suddenly said "Smudgie, you’re already in the Ministry and doing a good job of it too". Wow, what a feeling! It no longer feels as though I am getting mixed messages. On the other hand, she berated me for making a definite decision to concentrate on enjoying life as it is and not acknowledging the deep longing I have to share it with someone who cares simply for me, her view is to enjoy life but to hand the deep desire of my heart over to God and let him do as he will. Scary! Not sure whether I can do that one, but I’m working on it.

From there, straight to the hairdresser. Two solid hours of pampering! I love my new hairstyle and it looks really good (she says, modestly). The Smudgelets were wonderful and greeted me with an obviously sincere "Mummy, you look really lovely" when I got home, repeating it at bedtime as well. I must remember to slip them the bribe tomorrow. I wonder which looks nicest, the hair or the relaxed face from sharing a good talk with my counsellor, two hours talking to God while having my hair done, and the lovely unexpected hand massage from one of the girls at the hairdressers who was practising for an exam on Saturday and wanted some hands to practise on.


Next time you read this you may not recognise me. It’ll be the new look Smudgie. This afternoon, in an attempt to beat my annoying hair into submission – flat-iron straight, fine, and disobedient – I have arranged to have a perm this afternoon. I used to wear my hair permed, so I’m not sure why I am quite so nervous this afternoon. Maybe it’s simply that I feel sorry that Smudgelet will no longer be able to brush my hair (well, at least, not without causing even more pain) and put ribbons in it, though this is in many ways a good thing. Maybe it’s because I’m getting even more cautious in my old age. Maybe it’s because of the impact on my bank balance. Who knows.

Tiddles will get a shock when he comes home from school because he doesn’t know I’m having it done. Smudgelet is pre-warned and not impressed with the idea at all. Dad is more concerned about the fact that he is going to have to look after the boys for half an hour after school.

Beautiful day today. Maybe I’ll just sit in the garden instead!

OK who stole my afternoon?

I am going to have to get myself back to work… I am started to get hooked on Neighbours, of all things! Where’s the :rolleyes: smilie when you need one?

It’ll all come out in the wash, they say

..including, it seems, the printer ink on my favourite bed sheet. (Don’t ask, just don’t ask!) Although not the strange bright-blue stain on Smudgelet’s bedding which seems as bright and beautfiul as ever. It’s the bits of plastic that I particularly hope will come out and not clog up my machine again. I ask you, however did a whole three handfuls of shredded plastic padding material in pink and green manage to find its way into my washbasket… and more to the point, how on earth could I not have noticed it as I put the washing into the machine?

Also emerging from last night’s wash, and now merrily drying in the spring sunshine outside, eight PAIRS of my socks; one single larger size school sock, and one tiny sock with a skateboarder doing tricks on the side. Also, a week’s worth of undies for me and… well… NO UNDIES WHATSOEVER for boys. Dare I go in that bedroom to investigate?

While the washing was washing, I’ve also managed to rediscover another huge area of bedroom floor. I’ve filled another bin bag with things I can throw away (although to my frustration the boys found the binbag of "things not to be thrown away but to have a home found for them" and put all their rubbish in it). My biggest dilemma as far as decluttering is concerned is my conscience. I have so much accumulated junk (of the sort that will definitely come in handy one day) that I haven’t room to store it all or even to sort it properly into piles which I can give to the charity shop or carboot. Flylady (yes, that bossy email get-your-life-more-organised website) says to bite the bullet and throw it all away, starting your saving the planet from a position of strength having already got rid of most of it, because otherwise you won’t. I know she’s right, I won’t do it unless I can actually bring myself to bin it all and start again, but somehow I can’t reconcile that with my conscience about waste. So instead I just move things from one place to another and get more and more frustrated by it.

Still, seven bin bags in total have already gone to the tip, so I’m doing well! I’ll have this place looking habitable if it’s the last thing I do…… you can come and visit in 2042 and see if I’ve achieved it!

I knew it

I just knew it. When he said for me to do the meat and he’d do the vegetables, I knew he’d forget. I just knew he’d forget. There are enough left over veg for him to have those and I’m just waiting for my emergency pasta to cook! Thank heavens for pasta – what would we do without it?

Good news, social services may be able to help me go part time. No promises, mind, apart from a sincere promise to push for it, and push for more support from the other branch too. And it was rather nice to have a good old natter with my social worker again. She’s brought Tiddles a present from his birth mother, so that will need some careful handling tonight. Smudgelet never hears from his. Luckily I had the foresight to keep back a present from Christmas for each of us from my friend so that we’ll all have something to open tonight.

A gorgeous spring day – I have put the washing out on the line for the first time this year. Dad’s had a go at mowing the lawn, much to Smudgelet’s probable disapproval as he insisted Dad wait until he’s here to help. But it’s the sort of day that makes you want to be outside.

Tiddles has a long hike planned with the Scouts tonight. Heaven help us tomorrow night!

Change of plan

Well, we missed swimming! I just couldn’t face getting up at what was, in reality, before five o’clock, so I turned over and went back to sleep. None of us was heartbroken at the chance of a lie in, even if it wasn’t really one as far as the number of hours slept was concerned.

I had been dreading playing the organ at church. Five rather complicated hymns which I knew I could get through but wouldn’t enjoy playing. I wasn’t quite expecting to get out of it the way I did, though. As I drove to church I was aware of a strange sensation. I felt just like one of those moveable stickers in a sticker book. As though I was in the scene but not part of it. I was safe driving, but had to concentrate really hard and could feel myself thinking. Then as I sat at the organ, I noticed the music was all in 3D. The notes were there, and the staves were there, but there was about three inches between the two. Hmmm….. something not quite right there, I thought. So I had to enlist a fellow organist to take over the keyboard and went and occupied my pew, with my eyes firmly closed for most of the service. Must have looked rather odd to anyone watching – the preacher probably thought I’d nodded off. I certainly drove very very carefully on the way home and was straight off to bed for a couple of hours.

I did think it was an impending migraine – I get them about twice a year – but a read at the leaflet with some tablets I’m taking said that they could cause peculiar effects on your vision so I’m putting it down to that. Hope that doesn’t happen again or I’m not going to be very safe driving.

The afternoon was a quiet one. Homework passed without incident, although he didn’t do any science revision. The two of them cooked the dinner again, which was wonderful, and without too many injuries – just one minor burn which gave Tiddles chance to revise his first aid knowledge – and a close shave with the back of my knuckles and a knife wielded by a potato-peeling son. He finally seems to be getting the knack of it, though – peeling the potatoes, I mean, not removing a layer of skin from the back of my hand. It’s amazing how it makes you have to work out precisely how you perform a mundane task like that before you can teach someone else to do it. Especially when that someone else is left handed.

Nice to have my PC home again. Shame it’s not working right.

Checks and Cheques

Heaven help us, the Smudgelets are tidying their bedroom. This is a rather tense time, of course, because it invariably ends in tears. Tiddles usually ends up begging me to let him tidy the room on his own without Smudgelet helping – an entirely understandable emotion as Smudgelet is far more of a hinderance than a help…. generally deliberately as he plans on it getting him out of doing anything. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the time-honoured phrase "I’ll tell!" coming from behind that door. This morning they put all their washing in the washbasket as the first step towards this grand spring cleaning – I wonder where all those random dirty pants and socks appeared from which are all over their bedroom floor this afternoon.

The good news is, the prodigal returns. I have my computer back. Hooray! There were.. wait for it… nearly 700 emails awaiting me. Thanks Flylady, I love you too. The best news was, however, they let me off paying for the repairs, saying that it only took them an hour and I’m a valued customer, and they were apologising for me waiting so long for them to bring it back (mainly because they lost my phone number and every time they called round, I wasn’t in).

Halfords are kindly doing a safety check on Tiddles’ bike in preparation for his "Cyclist of the Year" competition next week. The check is free, but I ended up buying two new cycle helmets. Tomorrow it looks like we’ll be off out for a practice cycle ride. We also went into the building society to open accounts for the boys. The woman who did it was brilliant with the two of them, and they are delighted to have been given a money box and a kit bag as a free gift, especially as the money box is one of those where the coins roll down a slope and are sorted automatically into the correct denominations. The reason for this is the Post Office clearly do not value their junior customers. A short while ago they declared that they would no longer accept a child’s pocket money as the minimum deposit was to be £10, and then this morning a letter arrived to announce that the accounts were being changed. They now apparently have to keep a minimum of £100 in their account and access is to be by card and PIN number. Imagine Smudgelet with a PIN number! Even worse, imagine Tiddles. The card would be lost within a week and the number forgotten. So there was nothing for it but to open an account elsewhere, somewhere where children are made welcome. Stupid move, disenchanting the savers of the future.

Sleeping on the sofa again tonight. The progress made so far in tackling the bedroom has involved relocating everything from the floor to the bed. Was this a good move, I ask myself?

Ladies who Lunch….

Hmmm… elevenses/lunch turned out to be not the healthiest meal I’ve eaten in ages, but I’m not particularly complaining. Time simply ran away with us in the morning, and by the time I thought of having something to eat, it was too late. I had to leap in the car and go flying off to meet M en route. Still, they sell hot dogs at the cinema, I thought, I can get one there before the film starts. No such luck, the hotdog stand is closed until 12.30! KFC is next door to the cinema, but by now it’s midday and you’re not allowed to take food from KFC into the cinema. What was I to do? My stomach was threatening to accompany the sufferings of Christ with extremely loud complaining. Well, needs must, I suppose. Lunch yesterday consisted of a Twix, a Double Decker, a tub of choc chip icecream and a cheese scone. Well, protein, calcium, vegetable (chocolate is made from beans, after all) carbohydrate… what more could the body need?

I’m still not sure what I made of the film. It’s infuriating when you watch a film knowing that there’s been controversy behind it so you’re trying to judge what you think of it rather than just sitting back an experiencing it and forming a judgement subconsciously. I was surprised to find myself feeling immune to the violence and the suffering of Jesus, although I think the actor who portrayed him was perfect for the part. I felt for Pilate’s dilemma, and I was especially moved by Mary, a person I’ve discovered a lot of empathy for over the last couple of years. I thought the bit with the crow was unnecessary (won’t say any more here) but over all I am glad I went to see it and I might take Dad later this week.

I was ready for a sit down, anyway, as I’d had an industrious morning. The cleaner was here and the two of us decided to abandon the ordinary cleaning and actually tackle the veranda. It’s a part of the house that frustrates me as it’s the first bit you see and yet it’s doomed to becoming a dumping ground for toys and shoes and things-with-no-homes and bags of rubbish the children are told to bring in from the car and inevitably just leave inside the door rather than carry them to the bin. We filled six bin bags! The place looks much tidier now, and I have found several things which had gone missing. The reason for all this industry? Well, there wasn’t room in the kitchen for all the plants!

My challenge for today is the bedroom. How far will I get, pushing back the tide of "stuff" ? Can I enlarge that 2 foot square of standing room on the floor? If I don’t blog again, you’ll know I’ve been buried under the avalanche. Either that, or the temptation of testing the pillows and duvet has become too much and I am asleep in the middle of the chaos with a book on my nose. I’d better have another coffee first and build up my caffeine levels.