Thursday, 22 January 2015

Life’s Too Short to Ice A Mushroom


Kids lick the icing off cakes. Fact. Some may eat the cake too, but there are many, like mine, who would go through a whole tray of cakes if they could, just skimming off the icing with their little filter-feeder mouths. So I got to thinking, as we were baking the other day, what if I just iced - something else? Like a stone. 

Would they really lick the icing off anything - even a rock? But then one of them would probably crack a big tooth and turn my little experiment into a disfiguring reminder of my guilt forever more. I don’t know how it came to me, but I thought - a mushroom! It’s the right kind of shape, I had some in the fridge - and the kids loathe them!

Some claim that life’s too short to ice a mushroom, (I paraphrase) - but actually, for parents, I find there are lots of little pockets of time where you can’t really get anything particularly useful done, so you might as well do something silly and ultimately pointless. 

Like when they’re playing nicely, which you know won’t last a nanosecond if you start putting away laundry, for example, so you start straightening up your ancient jam and pickles area in the fridge. Obviously there is not enough time to make the momentous decision to finally part with a kindly gifted homemade preserve, scrape the (probably very mouldy by now) contents into the bin and wash out the encrusted jar for recycling. Or when there is two minutes till the pasta is ready and you have squandered the other eight doing who knows what, but you can’t really capitalise on those two minutes because it’s too short a window. So you hover paralysed by the stove, vaguely thinking, “Will I ever move out of this sink-stove vortex?”

But that ten-minute lull between the children finishing a meal and asking for “something to eeee-at” is just long enough to do something daft. And there was the leftover icing just sitting there. So I did indeed ice a mushroom. Three, in fact.

How did I make them stand up so they wouldn’t drip everywhere, I hear you cry. I stuck 'em in a basil pot, of course. 


I scattered on some hundreds and thousands for good measure, enjoying myself surprisingly much - amazed and amused at my own idiocy. 

I popped them in the fridge to set and closed the door, rubbing my hands together a bit like Mrs Twit in Roald Dahl’s classic tale of domestic prankery. “The look on their faces when I tell them they licked a mushroom!” I thought to myself, tittering inwardly.

But as if to punish my lunacy, those lurky mushrooms wiped the smile clean off my chops. When I got them out again, they had - there can be no other description for it - spitefully drunk all the icing. So instead of a nice set glaze to trick the children into mouthing a mushroom, there were just some sorry hundreds and thousands clinging on to a revolting sticky mound. Porous little pesks. Needless to say, the children clasped their hands to their mouths making vomiting noises as soon as they clapped eyes on them.

The moral of the story?


Be thankful to your children, for they give you the interludes
 you need to be creative.

or

Don’t ever think you can fool your kids.
Until I think of some other way to test my “will eat icing off anything theory”, I will continue to make cakes.
Luckily, they are always happy to help…

Speaking of people who just lick the icing off cakes,
a very happy birthday to my darling sister!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Baking With Babies - A Recipe for Disaster: WickedWednesdays #3


My toddler's signature style: the squeezed cupcake. Usually the children get bored after I've let them hold the whisk but this time, oh no! They had to be involved at every step. Still, they were for immediate consumption, not a bake sale, so where's the harm? (Still treading in hundreds and thousands after a double clean-up...)


brummymummyof2

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Sofa Slug



It's 4.45am. Outside it is pitch black. The heating hasn't come on yet. On the sofa lies a barely discernible shape. A small creature seems to be alternately lolling and bouncing on the lumpen object, which occasionally emits a kind of grunt, crossed with a groan. It is a beast endemic in houses with young children: the Sofa Slug.

In the flickery light cast over the scene by the TV, we can get a closer look at this force of nature. it seems to be draped in something - is it a blanket? or a medley of children's fleeces that happened to be close to hand? No distinguishing features are visible, except its antennae, which are propped up at all times in case its young, the oozeling, decides to crawl or toddle back upstairs and wake the rest of the family. The only other protrusion from the protective layer is a solitary hand, which blunders out every ten minutes to press play again on the remote. It is too early even for 'Me Too!'

If the oozeling is really poorly and not just being annoying, he will be tucked up in the folds of the 'sofanimal', only his little head sticking out as he feverishly follows the progress of Thomas the Tank Engine. As soon as the Calpol kicks in, he will commence kicking the beast that enfolds him. If he was just waking up for fun, he'll already have been doing this. One by one, the other oozelings tiptoe in, guided through the gloaming by the beacon of the screen. They see with delight that there is an extra comfy cushion / punchbag lying ready for them on the sofa and set to work immediately. The lump gives no sign of feeling any of this, it just burrows further under its cover. An intermittent hiss, "Just don't wake Daddy!" can be heard by those on the right frequency.

As the sun rises and it becomes, indisputably, day, a miraculous change comes over the mound. A stirring, a shaking, a stretching, a tipping-off of oozelings and coverings. It snaps into action, serving breakfast, dressing children, checking book bags, wiping bottoms, kicking a tea towel around the spilt milk, showering and dressing, changing a last-minute nappy.

It becomes, in short, a mother.

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Related posts: The Mummy Shark Dead eyes, grey skin - we have more similarities than you'd think to the deadly beast.
The Meerkat Mother - like a Tiger Mother. Only more cuddly.


And then the fun began...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Love in the Snow

There's a whole lotta love going on at #GetYourCraftOn #GYCO, a monthly craft challenge set by either Anthea at ZingZing Tree, Maggie at Red Ted Art, Ali at Kids Chaos or Liz at Me And My Shadow. My piece is not strictly craft-y but it's certainly LOVE-y, and as I was kindly invited to join in by Anthea, I jumped at the chance! 

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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Ingenuity of Children: #WickedWednesday 2


Never fear, Tortilla Boy's here! Both a snack, and a disguise! For a moment I thought I'd found the perfect car snack - look no crumbs! Until they started tearing them apart and rolling bits into tiny balls...

brummymummyof2

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

We're Going On A Job Hunt


We're going on a job hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,

We're not scared.

Oh oh!



Guilt!


“Bad mummy” guilt.

We can't go over it,

We can't go under it,

We've gotta go through it!

“We love you, kids, this is for you”.

We're going on a job hunt,

We're gonna catch a big one,

What a beautiful day,

We're not scared.

Oh oh!



Doubt!



Enormous self doubt.

We can't go over it,

We can't go under it,

We've gotta go through it!

“We can do this, we used to do this”.


We're going on a job hunt,

We're gonna catch a big one,

What a beautiful day,

We're not scared.

Oh oh!



No smart clothes!


Just PJs and hoodies.

We can't go over it,

We can't go under it,

We've gotta go through it!

ASOS, Primark.


We're going on a job hunt,

We're gonna catch a big one,

What a beautiful day,

We're not scared.

Oh oh!



Childcare costs!



Big, off-putting childcare costs.

We can't go over it,

We can't go under it,

We've gotta go through it!

Move near parents, think long term.


We're going on a job hunt,

We're gonna catch a big one,

What a beautiful day,

We're not scared.

Oh oh!



Overqualified!



Too out of touch, expensive.

We can't go over it,

We can't go under it,

We've gotta go through it!

Persevere, fight back.


OH NO IT'S A REJECTION!!!

Quick!

Through the guilt, “Love you, kids, this is for you”,

Through the doubt, “We can do this, we used to do this”,

Through the “no smart clothes”, ASOS, Primark,

Through the childcare costs, move near parents, think long term,

Through the overqualication, persevere, fight back,

Run to the house, run up the stairs,

Oh oh, forgot to shut the door!

Run back downstairs, shut the door,

Run back up, to the bedroom,

Jump into bed, cuddle your family,

YOU’RE THE BEST MUM IN THE WORLD!

Adapted from and in homage to the wonderful children's poem by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, We're Going On A Bear Hunt.



Mama and More

And then the fun began...

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Can Your Marriage Survive Dry January?


What if my husband turns into Fun Bobby?
It was one of those awkward moments. My husband announced, “I’m going to do dry January,” and looked at me expectantly. Just as, many moons ago, heh said “I love you,” – the statement that in films usually marks a pivotal moment and the hero/ine dashing off to find their real love. I had no hesitation in responding appropriately to those three little words (“I love you too. How’s that pint coming?”). I was equally spontaneous in my reaction to his declaration of abstinence: I guffawed.

Once we’d established that he truly meant it (I don’t know about yours but my husband vows to give up drinking almost every time he’s hungover), that expectation was still hanging in the air – that I should do it too. But I don’t want to! I’ve done several years of dry-dom with pregnancy and breast-feeding so I feel like I’m all stocked up with virtue, - in this arena anyway.

My husband, however, has never done a proper dry period of more than a few days. While he barely drinks at home, his job is very social, and like many people, a couple of drinks after work now and then helps dissipate the stresses of his day. And I like to have a glass to get over doing kids’ bedtime. Our relationship doesn’t depend upon booze – but it certainly helps jolly us up on a knackered Friday night. Our courtship was mainly spent in the pub, and even since kids, we always mark occasions (and many non-occasions) with a beverage. I'm hoping he'll become a DIY legend, as early B&Q visits have indicated, but I am concerned he will become Fun Bobby. How will we cope as a struggling sober-ton and a devious drinker?

In the interests of good wifeship, I am doing my best to support him.

Recommended ways to help your partner stick to dry January

Do it too. This is the obvious – and nicest - thing to do. But, as mentioned, I’m just not up for it. I’ve given alcohol up for a month here and there at other times, when not pregnant or breastfeeding – I feel I have nothing to prove and everything to gain from mellowing the dreariest month with the gift of the vine.

Buy “treat” soft drinks: For many of us, it is the “treat” of having a special drink at the end of the day that drives us into the arms of Madam Sauv Blanc. But often a soft drink would do the job if you just get over the mental leap – as anyone who’s been pregnant knows. My husband is a cheap date and craves only fizzy water.

Reduce drinking opportunities: Don’t cram the diary with social stuff. And whatever you do, don’t go getting a new job / pay rise / winning lottery ticket when he’s not allowed to celebrate in accustomed style.

Research the benefits and remind him of them when he has moments of weakness: sobriety is good for your health and for your wallet. Then expunge them from your mind: these are the kinds of facts you only like to think about when smugly on the wagon.

Coach him about dry social survival. Again, my pregnancy training comes to the fore here. I’ve gone through the tactics of surviving a night out without booze a few times with him now: the key is starting as you mean to go on, on soft, and letting it be known that you have some unspecified fitness event which you may or may not be training for.

Nag him while he’s out. Oh, heaven! My husband actually asked, nay begged, me to ring him at regular intervals when he’s out in the evening to remind him of his goal. Licence to nag! It’s like Christmas came late!

Plan a fab February 1st. The guy deserves a reward, even if it is a Sunday night!

Slightly naughty ways to support your husband during dry January

Drink booze in front of him, but in disguise. I’ve tried this with a water glass and a mug and he didn’t bust me either time. But, I have to say, I felt a bit cheap. Wine doesn’t really taste as nice out of a weird vessel, and being that devious made me feel a bit like…well, like an alkie. So I’m not doing that any more.
Subtle, huh?
Hidden in plain sight
While the cat’s away… While he was out the other night, I invited round a friend whose husband is also off the grog. Just as they had felt the need to drink for two when we were pregnant, we seemed to be compelled to make up the deficit by putting away far more than we normally would. A mistake we felt heavily on the school run, next day.

Go out loads and make him drive everywhere. Payback for all those weddings where I’ve carted everyone home despite being beside myself with exhaustion and bump-ache. Unfortunately, everyone keeps a low profile in January so the opportunity to claim full recompense is limited.

I’m pretty sure after getting through the big bangs of having one, two and then three children in just under five years, our marriage will survive dry January. The question is, will my liver?

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On the same theme: Do You Drink Out Of Synch?

Picture credit: friendswikia.com