Thursday 24 November 2011

The Wise Words of our Parents

I keep catching myself recently saying the phrases my parents used when me and my siblings were children. Then I groan – I’m turning into my parents?

The phrases I’ve found myself using in the past:

  • Don’t make me come over there
  • If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times
  • How many times do I have to tell you…
  • I’m not going to tell/ask you again (there’s a common theme then in the last three)
  • I’m going to count to 3 (it took a while to adopt this one but when I found out it worked…it has been not too often but often enough!)
  • It’ll end in tears
  • Don’t come crying to me when you hurt yourself (Stuart tells me its “Don’t come running to me if you break your legs” – seems to have got lost in translation somewhere down the line in our family)

Its not just me, I hear other parents do it too – whether I know them or not, you know they must be using the same phrases that were said to them, you can just tell!

  • If the wind changes direction, you’ll stay like that (I haven’t used this yet but can’t wait to do so!)
  • I’ll wash your mouth out with soap & water (my parents said it to me, hope I will never say it but did hear someone else say it the other day!)

I am sure I’ve said and heard more!

I wonder whether they will be passed on to our children or what knew ones there will be by then!

And, is it so bad to turn into my parents? I don’t think I’ve turned out that bad *twitch* *dribble* *twitch*.

Where Do You Blog?

Eek! The meme I’ve been dreading – to show where, exactly, it is that I write my blog, to decide whether it is saintly or slatternly - and I have the lovely Tales of a Twin Mum to thank (Love You! Sarcastic smile). So, here it is!

I’m actually scared to publish the picture and all I want to do is precede it with apologies and excuses! And to think it is actually looking fairly tidy at the moment!!! Although I could give many, I’ll just give you the one excuse – this is our temporary home before we buy our new place and we don’t quite fit in this one!! As for the other excuses, I’m sure you can make up your own as if you have kids (little or big (as in husbands)) and/or pets, you will know where I’m coming from!

OK, so I’ll stop stalling and just paste it in…


The first one being where I sit and my laptop the second being my view – Celebrity Masterchef at this precise moment in time! 

I guess it suits me as most of my blogging is done in the evening in front of the TV. We don’t have a proper ‘office’ space for me to sit at but, even if we did, I wouldn’t sit there as I like the comfort of the living room and company of my husband, cat and TV of an evening.

The sofa normally has a colourful (sick) blanket covering it – affectionately called a sick blanket, not because of its appearance or because it is covered in sick, but because it is the blanket my Mum crocheted when we were little and it was used to keep us warm when we were poorly! However, the cat completely misunderstood this sentiment and was actually sick on it!!! So it is currently drying by the radiator just out of shot to the right of the sofa after being washed!

Looking at the second photo – I’ve decided I can’t stand the curtains being open that tiny bit to make way for the flowers so have since moved the flowers and closed the curtains properly – that probably says a lot about me! I am trying my damnedest to ignore the coat hanging on the door as we don’t have anywhere we can put coats so it’ll just have to stay there!

There I go with the excuses again! I’ll stop now and hurry up and press the publish button before I chicken out! I’d call me slatternly!

Although, before I go…”TAG, YOUR IT!” (not all of you, don’t worry, just the victims I’ve chosen below – check out their blogs if you haven’t already!)

The Perfect Bad Mummy

Pie and Bear

Hopes, Dreams and Morning Sickness


Monday 21 November 2011

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Supermum!

Glancing at my Netmums East Dorset email newsletter, I notice the “Homemade Hampers” article and my heart instantly sinks as I imagine all those Supermums (and Dads of course but I have only come across Mums personally) that have more than one child who are busy in their kitchens and such like happily making gorgeous homemade Christmas gifts and hampers a la Kirstie Allsopp style! It sinks because I know that’s something I could never do!

I see them with gorgeous country wicker hampers with gingham ribbons and cloth, biscuits, jams,chutneys, patés, pickled this and that! *sigh*.

My first thought is, how I’d like to be like them!

Then I see myself surrounded by ingredients, unfinished ‘treats’, mess, stress, and a manic child (singular) putting his fingers into every pie (literally) while I’m crying on the kitchen floor and think no, that’s not to me, I don’t want to be like them but I am in awe. I’d like people to see me in the same way as I look upon them – that’s different to wanting to be like them…well in my logic it is!

Some may say (and including or even especially those that do it) that it is just to save money but, to me, the time, effort, attention to detail on the presentation, the forward planning to get all the little jars etc that it takes and, being miles away from something I could ever do, takes heart and soul, thought, love. I think you are amazing!

Truly, I salute you, if you are that person. Personally, there would be nothing I would treasure more than receiving such a thoughtful and heartfelt gift (reading that back, that’s not a hint by the way…but if you have one spare Winking smile).

And how much do I have to pay you to do it for me and put my name on the from label????

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Today is THAT day!

It’s happened! That day that every parent dreads and hopes that maybe, just maybe, it wont happen with their child. Today was the day my child said “Why?”. The sequel to “”What ya doin’?”. In fact, today, it went hand in hand with that other parent’s favourite “Are we nearly there?”.

The conversation in the car on the way home from feeding the ducks today went like this:

Callum: Are we nearly there? (as soon as we had left the car park)
Me: Not yet, we’ve still got a way to go
Callum: Why?
Me: Silence (hoping it was just a random word and had no context)
Callum: Why?
Me: *sigh*, because we have only just started driving and we live quite a way from the park.

1 minute later:

Callum: Are we nearly there?
Me: No, Callum, we are only slightly further than last time you asked and still have a way to go to home
Callum: Why?
Me: *giggle* (it dawned on me that my child had turned in to a stereotype aged 3)

So, this is it, the battle of wits between child and adult begins. Who will outsmart the other first?

I have thought quite a bit about how I’d handle the “Why?” phase. I’ve had 3 good years to prepare. At least that is one advantage to Callum being a slow speaker, I’ve had 3 years without it to think and prepare. Three whole years of watching my friends’ frustrations as they battle with their child(ren) striving to always find some kind of answer to appease their ever curious little one and ending their barrage of whys before settling on “just because” or “because Mummy/Daddy says so and Mummy/Daddy is always right” or variations thereof. So, this is my theory:

I’m a trainer – surely, I can use my skills as a trainer on my own child’s development, yes? Of course its going to work!

As often as possible, when Callum says “Why?” I will ask him to first suggest a sensible answer of what he thinks the answer is. Only after I have received a sensible suggestion from him will I offer the correct reason (assuming there is an answer). The best way to learn is to find the answer ourselves, that’s what I’ve learnt in my own training…so this must work on a pre-schooler too? Yes? It will work wont it?:It has to work! I have no other ideas and I don’t know if I will cope with the constant repetition of the ‘why’ question!!! *takes another large glug at wine to subdue the grips of panic*.

Actually, I do have one other theory but it would only work for a slightly older child – look it up! That’s my theory – telling them to look it up! Google it! We are not breeding the Google generation for nothing!

But I am really, really hoping Callum will have grown out of the “why?” phase by the time he can read. If only he could read now!

Right! Time to step up the reading lessons!!!!! Its time we moved past “Curly C for Callum”!

Monday 7 November 2011

“Mummy, I want Broccoli”

The words I never thought I’d hear my son say! And if you’re a long time follower of this blog, you’ll remember the earlier days and will understand why!

Seriously, he disappeared to the kitchen and I heard him open the fridge. The next thing he was calling me saying “Mummy, I want this”, I went to see what it was expecting it to be chocolate buttons or yogurt or such like. When I got in the kitchen there he was holding up said vegetable and said “Mummy, I want Broccoli”. Now, not normally one to refuse my son fruit and veg but it was less than 30 minutes to bedtime and he’d already eaten dinner at nursery plus a snack or two since being home. I didn’t now fancy cooking up some broccoli, so told him so and went back to sit in the lounge.

He comes into the lounge then holding a punnet of mushrooms “I want these”. Now,after all that stress before about how he was never going to eat a vegetable and now my son has gone the other way and turned into a vegetable fiend! So, again I say no, and I look in the fridge for something more suitable. I see a tin of beans in the fridge and think great, a minute or 2 in the microwave (still 1 of your 5 a day) but no, he didn’t want beans, He finally settled on a handful of black pitted olives! A 3 year old eating a bowl of black olives!!! Well at least I didn’t have to cook the broccoli!

So, how did we get to here.

For those that don’t know the past, we did Baby-Led Weaning with Callum. It is meant to bring many benefits, one of which is your child is much less likely to be a fussy eater as they are more open/willing to trying new things. Though, for this to be the case, you have to trust your child’s instincts to try food when they are happy to and to trust s/he will know what food they need at any time. It isn’t uncommon for babies/children to only eat one food for ages then suddenly they’ll reject it and start something else. If you don’t push them and trust them to do it in their own time, they will grow up to be much better eaters (or something like that).

That is easier said than done – when you are a parent and you see your child not getting a balanced diet with nowhere near their 5 a day (even though you continue to ‘offer’ a balanced diet) you start to feel guilty and worry that they are going to get ill or never going to eat a vegetable if you don’t do something, don’t start getting tough!

Callum was also a much better eater and tried a lot more foods before he went to nursery. He went to nursery full time at around 18 months and for the next year to 15 months he had the same meals every single week (a weekly menu that did not change ever week to week). We tried to offer him a variety at weekends but kids like routine and if they find routine they tend cut out everything else. We struggled to get Callum to eat a lot of the foods he was happy to eat before because they weren’t offered at nursery. This was different to him just not wanting them at that time and that he’d like them again later – the only foods he continued to enjoy were the same that were offered at nursery (with the addition of meat, he still liked meat).

Anyway, I was slightly less worried than I could have been because at least Callum still ate fruit regularly. In fact he was (and still is) a real fruit bat! But it was frustrating that he wouldn’t eat a single vegetable (again, even though he ate some, like asparagus, spinach and red pepper, before he went to nursery) and I didn’t want to make up his 5 a day with just fruit (and baked beans).

So here we are now. He happily eats carrots, broccoli, runner beans and peas. In fact, as you can see, he asks to eat them. He’ll go to the fridge, grab a carrot and chomp away.

So what did we do differently, what changed? We went back to the BLW way! We realised that if we were eating something enthusiastically and Callum didn’t have what we had, he would want it, so we would let him try it. We would offer him foods but if he didn’t want to eat or try them, we didn’t push it. I remembered my childhood - I was a very fussy eater. The more people made a fuss about what I didn’t eat, the more they teased me, questioned me, “just try it” they would say over and over again, the more I refused. “You’ll like this when you’re older” my Dad used to say. “No I wont, I don’t like it” I used to say. Now, my Dad was right, but if he knew this, why didn’t he just let me get on with it. I’d like it eventually so what did it matter that I didn’t like it right then. I’d probably have tried it and/or liked it a lot sooner if he hadn’t kept pushing. So we stopped worrying and stopped pushing Callum.

The other thing, I have always encouraged Callum to help me prepare food and cook. This isn’t something that changed but, since he stopped nursery full time and I’ve been a SAHM, he is able to help me a lot more often with preparing and cooking dinners – in particular, he’s own. He loves it and when he is helping me he is keen to try the ingredients we are using. He tries raw foods, he smells herbs and he tastes the cooked food (when I’m checking it for seasoning etc). Because he has been involved with the cooking of it he is usually happily eats it all up. Take spaghetti bolognaise. He helps me cook it and then gobbles up a huge portion. There is plenty left over so I put it in the freezer for a later date. Some time later, I take it out of the freezer for his dinner – he wont touch it!

Remember the basic rule of parenting. The more we stress over every step or milestone, the less likely they are to get there and all that happens is we get a few more grey hairs and knock a few more years off our life. If we have faith that they will get it in their own time, it will all just full into place. So why should food be any different. All I will say is have faith, trust they will get there in their own time, don’t ever stop offering them a wide range of foods but don’t push them, they will get there!

Oh, and don’t forget to look up how much counts as a portion for kids – it really did help to relax me when I found out how little it was. I had thought it was a lot more – probably thinking more in terms of adult portions.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

"People Seldom Notice Old Clothes If You Wear A Big Smile”

(the title is a quote by Lee Mildon)

Sometimes I have to envy my son. Every season, he gets a near complete wardrobe change – with just a few items kept over from last year/season. Admittedly, we are only talking Primarni’s finest, but even a new wardrobe from Primark would be welcomed by me.

What is with this? What is with this guilt I feel that stops me buying that winter coat (only £45) when I don’t own another. If I don’t get it, I’m going to be pretty damn cold when the predicted very cold winter arrives. It isn’t even as if I can just layer up with lots of jumpers – I took the tough decision to throw out my 7 year old tatty jumpers when we moved (along with my 3 year old winter coat) to force me to buy new ones when they were needed.

Fair enough, Callum is growing and so when I saw this morning that the trousers I had put Callum in had turned into peddle pushers (and they weren’t the first pair I’d noticed do that), after I put the last pair of PJs in the wash bin, wondering what he was going to wear that night, pulled out the last long sleeve jumper from his drawer, I decided to accept defeat and head to the shops. When buying new trousers I checked the label of the old ones – 18-24 months (he is 3!!). No wonder his trousers were resembling shorts more than winter trousers!

So, it had to be done – Callum did need new clothes. The wardrobe change wasn’t just for the fun of it.

The quality isn’t great but it is good enough for one season and all he would do is stain them with mud, grass, chocolate etc and get holes in them so why spend money on them – and if I paid for the quality, he’d be wearing the same outfit every day for the next 3-4 months. I got 4, no recounted, 5 pairs of trousers, 2 t-shirts, a gillet type thing (?), 3 jumpers and a pair of PJs for £49.

So there it is – that is that winter coat I need. The truth is, adult clothes cost a lot more than kids clothes even in the cheap shops! That’s why I can’t justify it.

I’d like to say that its because I get this warm glow from ensuring my child is clothed (along with fed, watered, safe etc) – and yes of course there is an element of that – like there is nothing better than giving someone the most perfect present – better than receiving one yourself. But I want new clothes too goddamit!

I hear all my friends going out and buying new clothes and they all look so glamourous so why can’t I bring myself to do it???