Category Archives: Children

Boys’ dinner party – updated

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I started posting this last night but it was supposed to be on the children’s blog so I deleted it, but not before accidentally garnering some interest.

So for the Roaring Kate record, this is what the conversation between five children aged 5-7 goes like over a gourmet meal of fish finger sandwiches (and beakers of water, which I said they didn’t have to finish):

  • Heidi: My mummy says I have to drink all my water at the table. It makes your poos soft.
  • Jonny: Yes, you don’t want hard poos. I have a medicine called syrup of figs to keep my poos soft.
  • Sam [J’s little brother]: Yes, Jonny sometimes does very big poos. [Cackling and gesticulating wildly] Sometimes they are even like a LOG!
  • Jonny bristles with pride at this.
  • Charles [7 going on 57]: Do we really have to discuss this while we’re eating?

At which point the conversation returns to a contemplation of who loves who, and how Jonny can negotiate back a particularly desirable Pokemon card that he’s given/surrendered/swapped with someone in Year 6.

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A day in the life of a mother (typed one handed and unproofread!)

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I have bargained for 10 mins at the computer in return for In the Night Garden, so am typing V fast. Here goes.

As far as an outsider’s concerned (and that includes DH, for reference), today was a pleasant day going to a Christmas party in a SureStart centre, followed by the nursery’s carol concert, where DS1 would actually be singing. In practice it was a maelstrom of tears, tantrums and the odd high:

  • After being woken several times through the night by DS2 with undefined ailment, wake again at 6 with some racket playing into the bedroom. Spend 40 mins cursing the neighbours before realising OUR TV had turned itself on and we were getting CBeebies right from the beginning. Stormed down to turn it off.
  • DS2 sleeps in until gone 9 which theoretically would make for a relaxing start to the day but in practice means writing 25 Christmas cards, and then breakfast, when he finally does wake up, has to be rammed down him. Make the mistake of feeding him in his vest, which is now engrained with sultanas and fruit toast and now even I wouldn’t put him in it again, which means it hits the wash at an unscheduled time.
  • DS1 spends the morning DESPITE ENDLESS LECTURES TO THE CONTRARY taking all the decorations off the Christmas tree and leaving them scattered around the floor for DS2 to pick up and put in his mouth.
  • We eventually get into the car; originally planning on an RV with Friend at 11, in practice we end up getting there at 12.20, not helped by…
  • At least half an hour going round a tiny carpark trying to find a space, and when some complete Arse with a car full of tottering ladies out for a Christmas lunch screeches ahead of me to bag the last available one I do have to try hard to avoid mowing him down.
  • Next hour or so spent in a soft play area organised by the gallant and highly appreciated (sincerely) SureStart people, with the added bonus of a Quality Street as we left.
  • Unfortunately having chosen that hard caramel one I suffer lockjaw trying to chew it.
  • Friend (with 3DDs) and I finally escape to brave the High Street with our buggies and toddlers down to Costa Coffee. For the next hour or so we take up residence in a corner, avoided by anyone who recognises us, for a chaotic lunch where sandwiches get thrown around, glasses of water get knocked over, straws disappear irretrievably into drinks cartons etc etc.
  • At one point Friend takes her brood to the loo; my DS1 decides to come too. A while later I hear vaguely recognisable cries, so lugging DS2 with me, I knock on the door to find her DD3 in the process of being changed, her DD2 in tears for getting the door knocked in her face, and my DS1 wandering around without his trousers. I’m about to take him back to the seats when I realise he doesn’t seem to have any pants on either, so Friend’s DD1, my DSs and I meander around Costa looking for a pair of pants. Returning to the place they were last seen, our search in vain, it turns out he did actually have them on but had put both legs through one hole and had pulled them up round his waist.
  • [Interruption as I go into living room to rescue wailing DS2 who is squashed underneath DS1]. Anyway, so very briefly,
  • I make the mistake of ordering a coffee and a tiffin even though I know I have to go soon
  • The queue is suddenly v long and it takes ages, but I do talk to another local mother who says how [now with ds2 on lap typing one handed] lucky we are to have them. i agree.
  • rush off not wanting to be late for concert
  • time to get to and pack car always longer than expect
  • get to concert location on time to find no parking
  • spend 20 mins trying to find place to park
  • get to concert to find ds1 nursery chums at front just coming to end of song
  • start to walk him down to front to join them when leader says’ ,and that.s all, everyone, thank you for coming’
  • another mother finforms me rather uncarinly i think that i have missed it all
  • burst into tears in front of another mother with a newborn who surely has bigger things on her mind
  • eventuaslly slink off blaming parking situ on anyone who.d llisten
  • 5 mins down road ds1 wants wee so we have to go back
  • set off again, make it to shop, bavk to car, another wee in boot, then home
  • cup of tea and put soup on
  • ds1 in steppimg back from cupboard when choosing soup bowl manages to trip over and sit down in open dishwasher which levers the kickboards away from worktop
  • fix it then have tea
  • start this
  • jut found ds2 who is squirming on lap has done massie poo up back which i have been holding.

just another day at home…

Baby-led weaning: 2 weeks in

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Now that the initial shock and horror of the mess has worn off, we’re back to enjoying this BLW business. Tonight, for example, DS2 ‘had’ (in the loosest sense) sweet potato and spinach curry, with rice & pitta bread (the latter swiftly exchanged for the former), yoghurt, and half a satsuma (v popular). I’ve found that if I spear solid food, for example a chunk of sweet potato, with a fork and give him the fork handle to hold there’s sometimes a chance it’ll get near his mouth.

For breakfast he gnawed his way toothlessly around a low-sugar Farley’s Rusk and enjoyed some strawberries I found in the fridge (left over from Friday night). For lunch he had.. oh, nothing, I’m afraid he slept through that. So milk is still v much his staple diet, but very occasionally (only parents will be interested in this) his poos are thickening up suggesting that something’s getting through.

To be fair, though, that’s still clearly only a very small something, bearing in mind what’s left when it comes to clearing up…

I’m still not remembering to clear up immediately after mealtimes, preferring to leave everything to set like concrete, and this evening as I was on my hands and knees scrubbing away on the floor I remembered a tip I’d read from another BLW-er of covering the floor with yesterday’s newspaper before you get going. That’s a Learning Point there. Maybe tomorrow.

Baby-led weaning: day 4

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I am not quite sure why, in The Bible on BLW, they say that it often happens more easily with child #2. It’s all very well to spend hours dining and clearing up when you’ve only got one to worry about, but not as easy when you’re sitting between two little individuals, one desperate to test your boundaries as to how much ketchup he can eat at one go, while the other keeps flicking globs of yoghurt all over himself, the floor, you, etc etc.

So whilst I am perservering, out of stubborness more than anything else at this stage, my observations by day 4 are:

  • I have ignored all my own guidance to clean up quickly, and have consequently had to spend 20 minutes this EVENING scrubbing this MORNING’s Weetabix off the table, which had set like pebbledash
  • I must remember that I now have 2 mouths to feed rather than 1; this lunchtime it was only when DS2 woke up wailing that I realised DS1 had eaten EVERYTHING in the snack box, including all the things I’d vaguely thought DS2 might enjoy
  • Trying BLW on a child with reflux is not as amusing as it was on a non-reflux child; poor DS2 can only go about 10 minutes in any one position before needing a good period of wailing (see pic), carrying, and finally a sick. Unfortunately being upright in a high chair has not resolved this issue; my tolerance level with the yoghurt-throwing would have been far higher if he had not been having a hissy fit at the same time
  • A plus discovery is that teething means that he quite likes chewing a spoon; which if we’re really lucky is coated in food
  • When they say that BLW often happens by accident with child #2 because child #1 is always ramming things in their mouth, I can see that being true, but I don’t think they’d recommend chilli-coated seeds as the optimum kick-off food.

Basically I am quite fed up with weaning altogether and am now going to take a very passive approach on the assumption that somehow, between now and the day that DS2 hits Freshers’ Week, he will have learnt to use a knife and fork, and be able to keep food in his mouth. So that’s that.

Baby-led weaning: day 2

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We did baby-led weaning for DS1 a couple of years’ ago, and the whole experience was an absolute joy. Still at 2 and a half he is built like a rugby player and will eat absolutely anything. I remember sitting in Carluccios with my antenatal girlfriends when the babies were just 6 months; most of them were having puree shoved down them, while DS1 was sitting on my lap helping himself to penne giardiniera.

We’re now 48 hours into BLW for DS2 (who hit six months yesterday) and the practicalities of it are now coming back to me. I think I had wiped them from my mind!

  • It is EXTREMELY messy. I am pretty militant about making sure the baby does everything himself, but when one well-placed sweep of the arm lands all his food on the floor this can get quite frustrating. I end up spraying Dettox on the floor just before the meal though, and by that I can justify picking all his food back up again and putting it in front of him. And again. And again…
  • All this bending down must be good for you, including the 10 minutes under the table at the end of each meal cleaning up.
  • Ensure that you clean up AS SOON AS the meal is finished. It is amazing how hard food can set if you leave it to dry in situ; and then you then spend twice as long scrubbing away at the table with industrial cleaner and a Brillo pad in a panic just before your mother-in-law comes through the door. If you do this too often you end up actually wearing down the table where the baby sits. This can be a handy way of ‘retiring’ a piece of furniture you never really liked, but this time around we have a new table, so I think I’m going to invest in a laminated table cloth instead.
  • TASTE is good. This evening, for example, DS2 met pasta with ambivalence, tuna and mayonnaise with a bit more excitement, while a Fruits of the Forest Activia yoghurt made his eyes pop out of his head*. This to me is one of the key aspects of BLW; it engenders a real interest in food and a delight in complex flavours. Have you ever actually tasted baby rice? It’s like wallpaper paste. I cannot imagine anything less likely to excite a baby about eating than that.
  • GAGGING is, to some extent, what’s meant to happen at the start as the baby gets used to having food in his mouth and moving it around with his tongue. It can be a bit of a fright the first time, and I’d forgotten how dramatic it can look when a child is heaving and wincing (see pic). However, even over the six ‘meals’ we’ve had over the last couple of days this has improved. A good thing actually as yesterday a piece of carrot was finally cleared by DS2 accompanied by a projectile vomit of milk right into the middle of the table. Apple is probably the worst culprit for getting stuck. It’s worth ensuring you feel comfortable with what to do in the event of proper choking, just for peace of mind.
  • Meals become a real activity in the day. I was looking through my diary of a typical day for DS1, and I’d set aside 2 hours for lunch. This would be somewhat suboptimal if you actually had something else worthwhile to do, but on days where you’re maybe at a bit of a loose end as to what possibly-just-slightly-mind-numbing activities to get up to, Lunch can be a real benefit. I also noted that it was a real incentive to eat out, as that would entail both a journey to and fro, plus the possibility of a wider range of cuisine than you might be bothered to knock up at home.

So, so far in his little life, DS2 has had banana, carrot and apple flavoured rice cakes, carrot sticks (raw and steamed), an old Farley’s rusk left over from when DS1 had hand, foot and mouth disease and couldn’t eat anything else, a stick of Jarlsberg, a finger of Vogel toast, a bit of potato, a tomato-flavoured breadstick, and the afore-mentioned pasta, tuna and mayonnaise, and a fruits of the forest yoghurt. I say ‘has had’ but obviously in most cases they ended up in his mouth by accident rather than design, and left quickly afterwards.

IMG_0374Nevertheless, if he ends up eating even as remotely well as his brother, we’ll be just delighted.

Fingers crossed…

* This, admittedly, will hopefully be a bit of an exception – for DS1 we used plain greek yoghurt flavoured with sugar-free jam as I was a bit anal about ensuring he didn’t have anything sweet. His father and I both have HUGE sweet-teeth (?) so I’m sure the boys will become chocoholics at some point in the future; there just didn’t seem any point in expediting this…

10 minute treat.

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How hopeless. This was supposed to take the place of a handwritten daily diary, instead of which it’s becoming as much of a chore as doing the laundry or paying the bills. And the more time passes, the more there is to record, and the longer it’ll take, and the faster I just get paralysed.

So while also updating my son’s blog, and downloading photos from the camera of his belated (yes, 3 mths’ late) Carol concert this afternoon, and checking emails, I’m treating myself back with my own blog, just to note for the record that:

  1. I really need to change theme as the thing looks so dour it doesn’t really make attending to it terribly creatively inspiring. [NB this has been addressed with the gorgeous Matala theme]
  2. I’m now 3.5 weeks into the post-partum life, and tomorrow is my first day looking after both boys without any help whatsoever. Accordingly I started today to try to instill some kind of routine (instead of non-stop feeding from 6am to 2pm, which wasn’t doing my humour or my bosoms any good), and with the diligent repeated shoving-in of a dummy, seem to be getting somewhere.
  3. I had 24 hours from hell last week with a false alarm on the baby’s temperature resulting in me having to spend the night on the paediatric ward at the local hospital, at one (very low) point, me dripping in tears (I just wanted to go home (as I wailed at a nurse)) and milk (it was literally spurting out all over the place from my glass-boulder-like bosoms), while holding my baby on my lap with his nappy off as I tried (in vain) to catch some urine for a sample in a plastic pot. In the end I only got that an hour later when I decided to change him and he decided to do a wee vertically, which fell over his face. I got one drop.
  4. Otherwise things have been going nottoobadly; the baby is a v sweet little chap; his sleeping, after the first few nights, is pretty good – at least better than DS1’s was. I like that opportunity to check Facebook or play Sudoku at 3am anyway. Only trying to update my blog on my iPhone using just my thumb to key an entry in is asking a bit too much, which is a shame as that’d be the ideal time.

I’m now past my self-allotted 10 minutes so back to finish the other jobs. I’m boring myself. I think I can safely say that I’m not quite at the stage where this blog is going to signal my rise to fame and fortune (Julie and Julia style). But that’s OK as it’s Not the Point. And anyway I desperately need to go to bed.

Over and out.