Monday, November 16, 2009

Mijn mannetje (or My little man)

N. and I spent last weekend in Holland to celebrate Sinterklaas' arrival from Spain. Sinterklaas stays in Holland until 5 December when he hands out his presents and then returns to Spain for his birthday on 6 December. For the past five or six years I have taken both children to see Sinterklaas arrive on his steamboat, but this year I. wasn't too keen on coming along. I suspect that at 10 1/2, she has stopped believing, although she hasn't said anything yet. I had had a few days with her and my mum in Yorkshire recently, so it was quite nice to have some time with N. on my own. When you look after two children on your own, it's sometimes hard to take time out and just be with them. There is always something that needs to be done and a lot of the time you are just looking after them and you forget to actually enjoy them.

So that is exactly what I did during the last three days: I just enjoyed spending time with N. He's 7 1/2 and he is so different from his big sister. He chats from the moment he wakes up, which is usually early, until the moment he goes to bed, which is usually early too as he wears himself out. He is constantly on the go - he jumps, he runs, he skips, he hops. He sings, he wonders, he asks. He is a bit shy, but gets over it very quickly and also brims with self-confidence. He is funny and makes people laugh - and he knows it and uses it to charm them. He is enthusiastic and loves learning new things. He is happy with very small things, like going to the nearby station and just watching the train arrive. He's even happier if you go on that train, even if it is only for one stop.
When I first had children, I never thought it would be the small things that give so much pleasure. But seeing his happy face when we get a ticket, feeling his hand in mine as we board the train, listening to him chatting about the different types of trains and the level crossings we pass, that is exactly the sort of thing that makes me love him so much. I found in the last three days that he is growing up very quickly and as he is quite tall already, I am certain that one day he'll tower over me, but for me he will always be mijn kleine mannetje.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pure frustration

I have just been told that I should stop knitting for a few weeks :-((( I've probably got something called phlebitis in my upper arm. When I knit, I hold my left needle under my left arm, pressed against my body. When I knit with short needles which don't fit under my arm, I still hold my arm against my body. I have knitted much more in the last 6 weeks or so than I normally do, so chances are this is what has caused it. It's not serious and will heal just with time, but to be on the safe side, I should stop knitting for a bit. And as knitting equals relaxation for me, what am I going to do...?! We're off to Holland tomorrow evening for a few days, with quite a bit of hanging around with the ferry and all that. Perfect knitting time. Not for me! ARGH!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy day

For me undoubtably the worst part of having been through a divorce, is having to share the care of my children. Suddenly you go from caring for your two children with the two of you, to doing it on your own and having to 'hand them over' every few days.

We have all long ago got used to the practicalities of the children having two homes. Yes, it does happen on a fairly regular basis that a pair of school shoes have been left at the wrong house at the wrong time, or that one house has all the trousers and the other doesn't. The kids seem to be settled and know where they will be on what days of the week. They seem to spend equal times with their father and me. They seem happy and I think we're doing a good job with them.

I have long ago got used to looking after them on my own. But as they get older, I am finding it harder to have to share them. From when I was young, there never was a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I was going to be a mum one day. Motherhood was very different from what I had imagined though - I probably saw it through very rose-tinted glasses. They didn't sleep all day (or all night for that matter) and the early years were often very hard work. I was not an 'earth mother', which I had expected to be. But now they're getting older, they're 10 and 7 now, I am enjoying their company more and more. It has taken me a long time, but I finally feel I am being a good mother and I finally really enjoy motherhood properly. It seems so unfair that just as I have reached this stage, I only get to see them for half the time. Don't get me wrong, my first priority after my marriage broke down, has always been that the children shouldn't suffer and have as much contact with their father as possible, and I still feel that. But from a purely selfish point of view, I just wish that there wasn't every year the discussion of who they're going to spend Christmas with, who is going to have them for New Year, where they are for school holidays.

Because of that, having an unexpected day with them is like having a little present. And yesterday was one of those days. J. had to work, so I picked them up early in the morning and we spent the Saturday together. We didn't do anything extraordinary, just the usual Saturday jobs - swimming, shopping on the market, icecream and a cup of tea in the park - but it was just having a bit of extra time with them which I hadn't expected to have, that made it a happy day and a bit special.

And I suppose it is exactly because I do have to share them, that I value my time with them more than anything else.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Retail therapy

Nothing better to cheer you up when you're suffering the grey days blues other than a bit of retail therapy (okay, maybe chocolate...?)

The grey colourway actually lifts my grey mood. Another merino purchase from the Yarn Addict, this time custom dyed, destined for another Ishbel. Thanks Anni, I think you did a great job!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Several FO's

Presenting several finished objects! I've been knitting a fair bit the last few weeks and have finished several things. And 10 year old I. is turning into a very willing model.

First up is Ishbel. (Photo above is unblocked version) I have knitted lace in the past, although years ago. I've never found it particularly hard, it's just a matter of keeping an eye on your chart and more often than not, lace patterns are easy to memorise. This one escaped me though. I lost count of the number of times I had to unpick it - the pattern doesn't become obvious until you're several rows in and I had to refer back to the photos in Little Whimsical Knits several times to see if my pattern was turning out as it should be (more often than not, it wasn't). As it is, there is an error in it, but I found it at the very end and there was no way I was going to unpick it again. I had to make it a bit smaller than the pattern specified as I was running out of yarn, which means that it's ever so slightly too small for me - I wear it the way I. wears it in the photos but it keeps falling off! Despite all the drawbacks, I absolutely love this pattern, I knitted it in about 10 days and have yarn coming for a second one, and a request from I. for a third one (she pinches my one regularly as it is!). The yarn came from the Yarn Addict and I love the colour - several colours blue which remind me of grey clouds scudding across a blue sky. Perfect for Yorkshire where we were staying when I took these photos.

Secondly is a scarf that I. requested. We went to Sewing for Pleasure together back in March and as I now knit more than I sew, I enjoyed the knitting stands the best. We found a ball of yarn with bobbles at regular intervals and knitted up into a really soft, cushiony fabric. It wasn't the sort of thing I'd ever buy for myself but a 38 year old doesn't necessarily have the same taste as a 10 year old, and I knew she loved it. So I got her a ball for her birthday and promised to knit her a scarf with it. Casting on wasn't easy, knitting with it wasn't particularly easy either! I put it down several times in favour of more interesting projects but began to feel a bit guilty, and last weekend when we were in Yorkshire, I forced myself to get on with it and finished it there and then. And I'm glad I did when I saw how happy she is with it!

And last but not least, a baby hat for the new arrival of an ex-colleague. We keep in touch via email and recently she told me she was 36 weeks pregnant, taking me completely by surprise. I did want to send her a little something, and had seen the Cisco baby hat on Brooklyn Tweed's blog in two colours rather than multicoloured. I like the multicoloured look but there was no way I was going to find nice yarn in those colours, so I chose a purple and a lilac for the trim. The ears didn't turn out as bear ears, I had a bit of trouble with their instructions and think I've done something wrong somewhere, they're more like cats ears now... but I still like it and hope she does too!

I have several new projects lined up and Yorkshire obviously has several wool shops. I was quite restrained and only came back with 3 new balls of yarn, but could have bought a lot more!

I'll leave you with a photo of the stunning view we had from our cottage in Coverdale