The children and I have been to visit B's parents this afternoon, whilst B has been working. It was okay. I feel a bit odd about it - she had bought toys and books for them to play with up there, which made me feel guilty for not having more contact with them. I know it's not my issue to feel guilty about - it's just the situation, and if anything, *she* feels guilty and is trying to propitiate them with gifts. But still - I feel sad and lonely inside on Kate and Vic's behalf, somehow.
It's probably because I'm knackered. Eleanor has another cold and hasn't slept at all well the last two nights, whilst I've been on my own. I have been trying to sleep and rest as much as possible; but sometimes it's just seemed as if they are waking up alternately just to taunt me.
Also, the rain has been blowing in to the coal cellar and all the coal is wet - so the fire is never getting up to the point where it could be described as 'roaring'. My feet are cold.
On the bright side, B is due back in an hour or so. I am going to wash the baby bottles, make up the fire and go to bed and read for a bit I think.
Tomorrow: Do you need to be a little pig to build a house out of straw?
This evening I drove the children home from Welshpool screaming simultaneously for forty minutes. Them screaming, not me. Although I was inside.
Children are such a joy, aren't they?
They were tired and hungry rather than any more serious issues, but isn't it amazing how much noise a tired and hungry baby can produce? Talking to them didn't have any effect at all, so in the end I turned on the radio and started singing, which seemed to stun them in to silence. But when I stopped and started talking to them again, the yelling restarted. Instead of just buying milk at the Spar, I bought a bottle of wine and three giant bars of chocolate; I managed to get them in to bed and have merciful silence descend before I cracked the merlot, but only just.
I have had a lovely day, though, all alone. I went back to bed after B left with the children at 7am and didn't wake up until gone mid-day. I woke up in a lovely, snoozy, warm, slow way, instead of jettisoning myself upright in to the cold and the dark to the sound of baby-screaming. As I lay there, I realised that the scratching noise I could hear was the cat using the carpet in the spare room as a toilet in a dirty protest at me not leaving the kitchen window open; so that idyll didn't last long.
Tomorrow; me, two babies and a whole day to fill without going mad. I may do some putting things in to folders. Leo likes putting things in to things and I reckon with a bit of encouragement I can get him to be fully conversant with my filing system by the age of two. And I might try to clean out the chickens if there is simultaneous sleeping. I am very grumpy about the chickens - the *bloody* horse is back, having now completely flattened the fence in a number of places. Our landlady is not very keen (or, I suspect, financially equipped) to repair it. And when I spoke to Mr Horse to ask him to come and reclaim his animals, he was very rude to me. So they don't give a damn about them, either.
I've spoken to the RSPCA who can't do anything unless there is 'clear evidence of neglect'. Which chasing my chickens and putting them off lay isn't. That's the bit I'm grumpy about. It took me a while to get there, sorry.
I go, to fill the coal bucket with wet coal and find some kindling to dry out in case I need to relight the stove tomorrow morning. Oh, and to wash baby-bottles.
Today B went off to work just before lunch, leaving me on my own with both children for the first time, er, ever. It went quite well ... partly because a friend dropped in on the off chance and we spent a few hours drinking tea and chatting, whilst the babies alternately slept, cried and tried to eat the cat food.
I've just done bedtime - they have both gone down. I couldn't face a bath; but never the less, I feel quite pleased with myself. Tomorrow they both go to nursery all day; and then on Saturday and Sunday I am flying solo again and B is away overnight. I'm can't say I'm looking forward to it, really, but I think I'll cope now. Six weeks ago I definitely wouldn't have.
I have a dozen jars of marmalade that look lovely. I am not entirely sure about the taste. 'Bitter' would be one word you could use to describe it, possibly because I chucked the lemon and grapefruit peel in as well as the orange peel. I didn't use Sevilles, just ordinary oranges, so that should make up for it a bit. I'd just had a cup of sweet tea when I was tasting it, so perhaps that was the problem. I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to have another go.
I'm trying to get back in to the habit of blogging each day. Some of it is going to be more tedious than usual until I get my hand back in, for which I apologise. And I definitely want to steer away from the 'mommy blog' which this seems to have become over the last few months. Tomorrow, I am having a lie-in, because B is taking the children to nursery on his way to work ... and then I am going to go and help a friend clip her dog's toenails.
Today our Health Visitor Baby Sitter has been for the two-and-a-half hours a week she is allocated to us. She is absolutely lovely and arrives with a BIIIIIIG bag of Exciting New Toys each time she comes, which keeps Leo busy for ages. B and I retreated to bed and slept. Eleanor was up at six wanting a feed - she has a cold again and it is effecting her feeding, making her very tired so she is only taking about half her normal amount for about half the feeds. She woke because she was hungry, took seven ounces and went back down until 8.15. EIGHT FIFTEEN!
In other news I am trying to do the tax return for 2008. It has to be in by the end of the month. Oh the fun.
It's been a fun-filled fortnight - in an ironic way, I hasten to add.
We are both exhausted and are taking some time to continue to fall apart and then gather ourselves back together, with the support of the Health Visitor and GPs and all their crew. It's working, I think.
And (sorry, Earthenwitch) ... Eleanor has started sleeping through the night. Sweet relief. She goes to bed with Leo at about 6 or 6.30 - they get a bottle and then bed. Then we feed her before we go to bed, some time between 9.30 and 11.30. She then sleeps until 7-ish. Or, this morning, 8-ish. Please don't hate me, EW. During the day she is wanting a seven ounce bottle every three or so hours ... so I am starting to give her a little bit of baby rice. At three and a half months that is quite early; but she is sooooo hungry, bless her. On the downside, she is drooling in that 'I am about to start teething' kind of way.
In the meantime, the chooks are laying well - I am keen to start a hatch, once I can afford to run the incubator. I did think that Blackbeak The Wonder Mother was about to go broody ... but she seems to not quite be there, yet. The incubator costs about a quid a day to run, which is all very well; but it focuses the mind when you see it ticking down on the pay-as-you-go electricity meter. I am going to do a fertility check and then start auctioning the eggs on eBay as I did last year.
We have had some serious talks with each other and Ma and Sister Natalie about us moving to Somerset, in some sort of independent accommodation on the smallholding. We are going to apply for outline planning permission and see where we get to. Our lease here is now up for renewal and we can roll on to a month-by-month contract, so that is what we have decided to do. We are finding out about eco-building design and Ma is talking to the local councillors about planning permission. Ideally we would like to do some kind of strawbale build; but it depends on what might be allowed.
B is watching the Obama Election Carnival and I am going to go and make marmalade.
Eleanor went on antibiotics again the Monday before Christmas, and a ventolin inhaler thing. I took her to the GP in the morning then brought her home and fell apart completely. B loaded us all in to the car, screaming collectively, and took us down to Ma's two days early. On Christmas Eve we were referred to the local hospital by Ma's GP, as Eleanor was getting worse. They gave her a good going over and then sent her home with open access to the ward - which thankfully we didn't need. On the way in to the hospital I got caught by a speed camera - I am just about to write a letter pleading mitigating circumstances.
Despite all of that, we had quite a nice time. We had a collective weepy moment on Christmas Day, thinking about Pa.
My bestest present was Amazon Vouchers. 'Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps' anyone? B's bestest present was Ma getting up at 4am to help him feed the baby. Leo's bestest present was a toy train made up of wooden blocks. Eleanor's is a dangly toy thingy that attaches to her travel seat. She talks to it for hours.
Then, dear reader, we came home.
The day after we came home we had a huge, exhaustion-induced row which culminated with me sitting in a pile of dirty washing in the hall sobbing that I couldn't cope and they were going to take the children away if they found out and that I wanted my Pa; with Leo trying to put his dummy in my mouth.
At that point, the Health Visitor arrived.
I have mentioned our Health Visitor before, I think. She is fab. She gave us a collective hug and started being practical.
I am being referred to speak to someone about attachment issues - I am better, but still a bit peculiar about picking the baby up sometimes. We have one person coming in one morning a week to look after the children so we can sleep and they are hoping to find funding for another half day. We have arranged for Eleanor to start at nursery next month, the same two days as Leo.
On Friday we went back to Somerset and Ma helped with the kids so we could get some more sleep. And we discussed various coping strategies, including moving back to live with her.
More on that later.
I have never been so relieved to see the back of year as I am to finish 2008. I only have one resolution this year - Not Get Pregnant :).
Today, I am going to plant my garlic; and make pheasant casserole.