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Linnea spent the morning using her new computer screen (no longer hooked up to the high-mounted telly) and doing maze after maze after maze; I assume she's done them all before because she makes very few errors208, but because I can't stand the TV screen for the computer I haven't watched most of her edubuntu use.

Emer did building and reading and getting dressed209.

When they were both finally ready to leave the house at the same time, after I'd done two loads of laundry et cetera et cetera et cetera, we went out and got the train to town. And they were lovely while waiting for the train210 and held hands together beautifully walking through the station211. We stopped off to check out meal deals in Boots and M&S and found that Boots had no non-dairy sandwiches and M&S had just changed the rules of the meal deal and confused their staff terribly. But the children waited beautifully while I got that sorted out212.

We brought the food to Eclectic Games and bought a copy of Uno213; Becky wasn't there so we left and ate our lunch on a bench on Broad Street. We could hear the pancake races while we were eating but they were over by the time we had finished.

While we ate we listened to a busker playing a piano accordion, and Linnea ran over to give him all my cash, which was about 38p. She was very pleased with herself214.

Then we went to try shoes on, because Linnea's outgrowing her current ones. The queue wasn't very long and there was an interesting thing on the telly while we waited215. The assistant was very helpful and we got canvas runners, leather Mary Janes, and wellies, all for less than the cost of Emer's patent leather Mary Janes. Hurrah for waiting until the sales for your feet to grow216.

On the way home, Emer and I saw some crocuses217, and after we got home Freya delivered a party invitation for the second Sunday in March218. Linnea apologised for her frankly hideous behaviour and I apologised for getting cross, so we were friends again219. And Emer had a nap220.

Now we are going to eat a small dinner and then go out for a pancake party. With any luck, tomorrow will be better.

Janey mac

Feb. 24th, 2009 09:35 am
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Linnea has developed a big WHINE thing. She's tired, partly - our household agreement to start eating dinner at 5 pm or 5:30 at the latest is under severe strain and so Linnea's bedtime is getting later and later; the traditional fix for this is for me to sort it out and Rob to sulk and do nothing, but we're trying to change that dynamic.

I read some old posts, from 2-3 years ago, and it's amazing how much better we're doing in re internalised sexism nowadays207.

But this whining drives me up the wall. It makes me whiny myself, and shouty to boot, and the temptation, early in the morning or late at night, to cave in and pacify is very great.

However, I am Strong and I have been Disciplinarian Of The Year and the children had to resolve their whiny whingefest by being polite, asking nicely, and making compromises.


We are only now finishing breakfast, which is part of the problem with the late dinner and bedtime. But we'll get it all under control. We must.
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And actually, it is. Someone has lit a round tuit under Rob's bum and he's been doing stuff like whoa. He's emptied one side of the attic into the spare room, incidentally agreeing to get rid of a lot of stuff meanwhile, and started finishing the railings from the loft hatch to the stairwell below, a task begun before Linnea was born. We are well on the way to being able to insulate and ceil half the attic206, and once the ceiling is up, we can start building the cupboards under the eaves.

I'm amazed. And delighted.

Spring, huh?
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It's spring!201

(Linnea: "Will it still be spring tomorrow?"
Ailbhe: "I hope so.")

I had fever dreams and couldn't wake up but we left for the farmer's market about tennish anyway. We had a lovely walk there because the weather is gorgeous202 and then we ate sausage-inna-bun and bought food. I was served by a girl possibly in her earliest teens. I do like seeing children doing appropriate work like that203.

When we got home my clothes from Nomad had arrived and they all fit204, so I will be wearing them soon. We're also trying to work through a lot of laundry today, while the weather is good. And Rob has started emptying the shed; we hope to get rid of it and use the space for something large enough to store bikes in, ours and the kids', and maybe even the kids' scooters and outdoor toys like the seesaw and trampoline and so on. This means we want something with a larger footprint but a lower top, I think.

I talked to the cake lady about possibly buying Linnea a birthday cake this year205. If it's too expensive I'll make one myself. But I'd like her to have a nice one that didn't mean I ended up hating my lack of skill. It's the icing I find so hard - the art part, not the taste part of the cake.

I'm seriously considering throwing a Mother's Day party this year. We don't usually do anything at all, and I like parties, and we know a lot of people who either are or have mothers, so that's appropriate, right?
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Linnea and Louis went to HIS house for their sleepover198, since Linnea loves sleepovers and doesn't need us. She sent me two heart-shaped cards with personalised messages inside (one penned by Rob and one by Maria) because I said I'd miss her ("I love you. I miss you. I don't miss Louis. Ailbhe you are very tired. Now you have to look after Emer as Dad is here. from Linnea.") Rob brought them home with him after dropping her off.

Emer went to sleep instead of eating dinner, then woke up and deflated like mad. Stinky.

Then we had a bath and she washed my back, to pass the time199.

Now she's wide awake, which isn't as bad as it sounds, because Rob is up anyway because his work has gone pbth.

Rob and I miss Linnea like a hole in the house.

And I found various online clothing sales and bought some things for the children200, who are growing, and myself, who are shrinking. Now I feel terribly guilty, because I'm not entitled to clothes. Hmph.

But Emer did representational drawing. It's so cute.


Feb. 19th, 2009 06:46 pm
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Linnea tried very hard to be so naughty no-one could come to visit this morning, my tonsils are the size of marbles, Emer's nappies smell of vomit, and the sleepover child wants to go home.

HOWEVER the grandparental visit went unusually smoothly196, difficult and emotionally harrowing conversations and all. So that's progress.

And Rob bought catfood.

Oh! And Emer painted HER VERY OWN ELEPHANT197 and I must take a photo of it so you can all see. Real Soon Now.
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I ought to look up my Swedish dictionary sometime but I'm too lazy.

This morning Rob saw that Emer was sleeping across the head of the bed and I was lying diagonally below her, so he moved her over to let me stretch out for a proper sleep. If he'd only woken me first I could have told him not to - it woke her up, as it had every time I'd tried it in the night, and she woke me up. Ho hum. The corridors of Hell are paved with good intentions, and the piped music is "Shrieking" from Ailbhe's debut album, You woke me too damn early you insensitive clod.

Then Linnea said she had a headache and tried to refuse to get up. I opened her bedroom window and judging by the bouncing and hopping, the headache passed off quite quickly if it had ever existed in the first place.

Today started properly when I phoned the two local swimming pools to get their opening hours, and texted Helen, and arranged to meet her at Rivermead186 (the warmer, posher, filthier one) at half past eleven. Then I had my coffee187, got the children dressed, did some laundry, tidied up a little, argued about breakfast, and got them into the trike with a banana each. We went to the Post Office to get cash out and then cycled leisurely to the pool188.

At the pool we queued for half an hour to get in - half-term, local lagoon pool with wave machine, obvious really - and then got changed hastily. I disgusted someone by changing in the communal changing area (adults are supposed to sneak into cubicles) but it was too crowded for me to care. We stayed for about 45 minutes, so got two sessions of wave machine, and lots of goes on the toddler slide189.

It's the first time we've been swimming in ages; we stopped early in winter to make sure we didn't all get ill again. Linnea isn't as good as she was a term ago but is still very confident and cheerful and just goes out and swims places, and Emer was happy as anything and didn't mind getting her face wet at all. She had a float-suit on which flipped her over until I deflated the tummy floats a bit; her buoyancy has obviously changed in the intervening time. When she swam with me during Linnea's formal lessons, she never had any float aids, because she had my full attention.

After swimming and lunch (ew, burgers and chips from a pool canteen, yuk) we took the trike to the recycling centre by the car park and the three older kids (almost 5, almost 5, and 4 in August) stood in the trike and threw bottles and jars into the recycling bin, and I lifted Emer (3 in August) up for her turn. So they had fun smashing glass and I got my recycling done190.

Then we played in the playground191 in the mist until it turned into heavy drizzle, and then I cycled my kids to the library and Helen took her kids somewhere else.

Linnea booked her first Library Internet Session192, but got tired of it quite quickly, and we read a few books and she played on the story-telling computer for a while193. Rob met us outside as we were leaving194 and we took a sudden detour past Eclectic Games, bringing them coffee as a sort of apology, and spent about an hour there looking at games and talking about nothing in particular195.

And then we came home and had dinner and the kids went to bed and I caught up on everything I'd missed on the internet and we started the housework.

I'm tired, but it was a lovely day, really. Tomorrow morning I'm taking the kids to Singalong and then Farmor is coming - if the weather is ok we'll go to the playground and perhaps do more glass recycling if I can rustle up some glass.

With any luck Rob can open the CD player up tonight and find the CDs Linnea posted in the other day. And my bread should have risen - time to knock it back again.
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Strange, but nice183. I'm incredibly tired - we had kids other than our own here from 2-7pm. And their parents. There were several last-minute cancellations, which is just as well, because I was unwell enough yesterday that we basically had to do all the prep this morning and I spent the first hour and a bit of the party washing dishes so that people could have something to eat off.

Also, I was up for four hours in the night with Emer, who napped for a chunk of the party and is now awake and eating a large apple.

We have quite a lot of food left. I think I will eat lots of it tomorrow, though.

Oh, and we're going to run out of coffee. But I like coffee and so do my friends.

We know a lot of nice four-year-olds184. Most of whom will be five in a few weeks' time.

We also are beginning to know nice two-year-olds, so Emer will have a social circle which overlaps but is not reliant on Linnea's social circle185.

For my next trick, I'll see if I can't find my own again, but the kids' social lives do eat a lot of my social energy. And, truth to tell, I like it that way - I'm not willing to sacrifice that for the other.

Perhaps I need to set a goal of one non-kid social thing every other month, or something. I dunno.

(Also, I keep wanting to smoke. No!)
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It snowed in the night179, and when Rob left this morning he woke me to say that both children were sound, sound asleep. I adjusted my position (which had been in don't-wake-Emer crampy style) and had a half-hour of quality snooze before Emer woke me up again, but this time, not with coughing or crying or scratching, but with a big grin and a demand that I drink my coffee.

So I had a mug of coffee in bed180 and she found a folded sheet of paper which she said was a plane, and we threw it around181, and then she found Little House in the Big Woods in a basket of books and she immediately said "Yéya book!" and took it to Linnea.

Emer had been able to see the roofs of houses from the bedroom window by standing on my bed. "Look! Sow a all de how-heh!" So she told Linnea it was snowing, but Linnea was more interested in reading her book (she still officially can't read, and stopped as soon as she spotted me). Then I followed Emer in to the girls' bedroom and we crowded around the window to look out at the back garden - and I saw mould growing black on the rubber seal. Ew. Vinegar has cleaned it up nicely182.

While Linnea and Emer had a little wash I hung the big red rug over the three-cornered clothesline in the garden, and that was how I found the rain. So we won't be making snow angels today. Since Emer was coughing all night (woke slightly more than hourly) and Linnea is coughing a little, that's ok. We have no visitors scheduled, so we can have a pyjama day. None of us is dressed yet.

Rob walked to work, bringing two spare inner tubes for the trike with him; hopefully he can put them on today and cycle home.

And Linnea and I are going to draw up a timetable for tomorrow. I need a website with lots of pictures of clock faces. She can't tell digital time yet - it doesn't register with her as a clock.
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I washed so many dishes, surfaces, children, paintbrushes, and also etc, today.


I washed so much that when I got into my bath, the skin on the backs of my hands went bright red and stung, like burn skin, or a chemical irritant. Which I suppose it was.

I had a very very hot bath177 until I stopped shivering and then fed Emer to sleep. I also tried and failed to get a deep splinter out of my foot.

Tomorrow I must bake bread and hopefully take the children out, if it's not too slippy. Fresh snow will help in the short term but it might be too short. We want to see the sweetshop and the toyshop and the bookshop and the playground and a cafe, I think, just the three of us. And not in our house.

And now I must eat a ton of bara brith178.
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I'll make it if I swear.

Anyway, we stayed up until 1 am cleaning up teeny weeny fragments of broken glass. Naturally the thing smashed in the front room where all the toys and baby stuff is, and what's more, it smashed before we tidied them away, so we hoovered all the toys and blankets and whathaveyou as well as the floor and furnishings. So then Rob was late to work this morning and when I got up I had a mass of clearing to do in the dining room, kitchen and bathroom. I got the bathroom sorted and the children more or less dressed, and a load of laundry hung, and the dishwasher filled, and was partway through clearing the dining room floor when the first BfN person arrived, so she read the kids stories while I cleared the breakfast table and made us a place to work in. Then I checked email and found that no-one else was coming, so we did our thing.

We got one-and-a-bit assignments done174. I think it will be easy enough to finish the second one now it's started. Homework groups are basically about motivating each other to actually start, dammit.

Since hardly anyone came, we opened the pack of luxury choc chip cookies175 that come with nine to a pack; there were three kids and two adults, so it was almost two each.

We've had lunch now and I've put another dishwasher load on, of casseroles and saucepans and things. I have a headache. And I need to do laundry and remake Linnea's bed and finish clearing the kitchen and start prepping dinner, because we have someone else coming at four for an after-school playdate.

Tomorrow, no-one at all is coming176. I think I'm relieved.
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This morning I called Maria to tell her we'd been exposed to hand, foot and mouth disease, and also had a morning grumble about the fact that we had no coffee in the house. So she brought me a takeaway coffee in passing. Then some lowlife threw a lump of frozen snow at the front door and I spoke to Nicki on Facebook about it and she popped around with a couple of bars of chocolate172. And then everyone came to play173.

Then Rob went out in the snow to get the groceries, and observed one crash and partook of none, and while he was out I had a bath with Emer and got us out and wrapped us up in towels and turned on the light and blew the fuse in the front room. So then I stumbled around looking for candles and matches and found them and got Linnea into bed and read her her story and so on. When Rob came home he fixed the fuse while I kept Emer busy and now both kids are in bed and we need to clean up for the BfN people coming tomorrow morning.

Oh, we still need to replace the bulb in the front room. I tried but couldn't find a live bulb which fit. Perhaps Rob will have better luck.
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A few minutes ago the doorbell rang and Maria handed me a cup of coffee from the Workhouse Coffee Shop169. She didn't come in as they were on their way to the post office and we are grossly antisocial today, but she is my hero.

I just finished mixing today's bread170 and now I'm sitting here with the coffee, feeling luxurious and liked171.


Feb. 2nd, 2009 09:59 am
ailbhe: (lillebo)
169Here too, enough to go out and play in. We're thrilled. Linnea woke at 8 and begged every five minutes to phone people after that until Maria phoned us at nine, and then we phoned Alison, and there will be people to play in the snow with, definitely, but no-one is ready yet.

This includes Emer who doesn't want me to look at her this morning.
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We cycled to Meeting this morning in flurries of snow and shearing winds167. Emer begged to go on Rob's bike in the child seat and was allowed only because his shoulders are so very broad. I was worried about her, because the wind blew into my face and gusted into my mouth, so that my eyes streamed and I couldn't breathe; I actually had to pull off onto the footpath to get my breath back. I usually cycle in eighth gear, on the flat, and was down to five or six most of the way.

When we arrived I was too cold to take my coat off for ten minutes or so.

Both children were absolutely fine.

There was a sort of active, interactive thing today, an all-ages shared bit, with grannies and babies, and we all made masks, or drew pictures, and talked about facets of self.

Linnea didn't want to talk about her masks, and didn't want me to tell about them either. But this is what they were: Two-sided masks to show different aspects of oneself.

Linnea's own mask had one happy side, and one very pleased side. And the mask she made for Emer (there's a lovely little facet sparkling away by itself) had no expression, so that Emer could be anything she wanted.

Excuse me, I have to go collapse from pride over here, I'll be up in a minute168.

Emer drew her own mask, separately from her sister's caretaking; one side herself, with eyes and a nose and a mouth, and directed Rob and a woman whose name I forget to draw the other side, in far greater detail.
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We have a DS Lite and three games and we're actually very pleased with it163 in spite of expecting to be somewhat disappointed but find that the kids liked it well enough.

We had a lovely day164.

We had a fairly lovely weekend165.

I'm still too tired for words but if I don't have to leap out of bed in the morning that might help.

I have several emails to respond to.

We have lots of visiting planned, to and fro166.

I must phone someone in the morning to beg for childcare.
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I've been incredibly tired. The kids are still brilliant (Emer says, "No, dat mine, hilly," when I try to use her spoon157) and Rob is lovely158 and the house is a pit of squalor and doom and the train-and-ferry holiday is being booked159 as tickets become available and I ought to take more photos and I'm very very grateful that the weather has improved160 and Emer has new shoes161 which are patent leather and I have no idea how to keep them nice because she WILL climb in them and they WILL get scratched but she wanted hiny back soos so she has them.

Linnea got to go to ERAPA and had a good time162 so perhaps will want to go more often, which would be good, as I'd feel a bit better if we went out more, now.
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Well, I just read six Malory Towers books in about ten minutes flat, and thoroughly enjoyed them155, and hated them intensely. They are rollicking good reads (I like a good rollick) but my word they are frightfully up themselves.

Still. They were jolly rollicking.
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Well, although last week was mostly featuring ill children and ill me (I didn't have time to be ill during the week but did spend Saturday in bed, which helped) 142we're a little better this week. Linnea is all better, I am almost all better, and Emer has a trace of a cough but not much else.

I haven't yet counted 143President Barack Obama as a good thing, so I'll do that now.

The 144spice bread I made turned out well; 145I made it again today, without raisins as per Linnea's request, along with a loaf of wholemeal and oats, and one of white and rye with Svensk Brodkryddar Malda, and a 146batch of banana muffins, almost all of which have been eaten, because 147we had guests this afternoon.

Yesterday 148we went to Meeting and 149I got to sit in the whole hour while Rob watched the children. A lot of the ministries (terminology?) were about children, again, and one was very close to the bone and I wanted to get up and tell all about Nollaig and Tadhg, but felt I couldn't, so I sat there streaming tears instead. I think I might spend a lot of time streaming tears in Meeting for a while; I don't often get to sit and think about anything much, there's always too much going on.

150There were a few things said about Israel and Gaza, too, which were good to hear, at least for me. There's such a lack of vitriol.

And I may try to dye my long winter coat red or orange. It's a very respectable beige at present.

After meeting 151there was a party with some very organised games and some shared lunch. That was nice; we brought a few things, so we knew we had foods we could eat, and only one of the unlabelled things we ate was dodgy (as I ate it it tasted unsuitable), and I think it must have been soy, because I got sick but no-one else did.

152We had a massive tidy-up in the front room when we got home and I spent this morning tidying the kitchen after my Saturday off. It was grim, but is now more or less done. And 153for lunch we had hot leftover shepherd's pie; Rob makes an excellent shepherd's pie with real organic shepherds.

154I've booked both ferries (two return trips) for our long journey and am working on the trains, but the tickets aren't on sale yet. Perhaps tomorrow. A lovely callcentre man worked very hard on the Reading-Harwich route and found one which avoids both the Tube and the rail replacement buses, so future phonecalls can at least be shorter. We're very excited.
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131I had two flasks of coffee this morning and got to drink them both before noon. 132Today was very productive, domestically, especially as regards decluttering and laundry. 133Emer showed us that she can name a triangle. 134The boiler was serviced and is in good nick. 135I had a lovely hot bath. 136Linnea drew on the window high up with window crayons, so that Emer couldn't spoil the picture. 137She also put all the crayons back in the box and delivered the box into my hand. 138Someone who isn't me organised a Sling Meet. 139I didn't lose my temper at all. 140The kids and I made a den from a laundry frame and some blankets, and they hid very loudly in it for ages. 141Rob was a great superhero, solving problems at home and at work.

It was, overall, a good day.

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