Sunday 31 October 2010

Supper slackness

Late yesterday afternoon I was merrily chatting away to a friend of mine on the phone, whilst my children were brawling over some stickle bricks, when I realised it had gone way past their supper time. 'The kids are hungry and monstrous, I've got to go,' I said. My friend asked me what I was cooking them for supper and I told her cottage pie. She told me that she was so knackered she was going to give her child a carrot and some ricecakes with humous. 'Outrageous neglectful parenting,' I said, and put the phone down.

I dished up the cottage pie, and although both girls were starving neither of them would eat it. Betty wouldn't even try it and said just the look of it made her tummy hurt. Dolly, being the trooper that she is, had about three mouthfuls before pushing the plate away angrily.

They both looked at me expectantly, awaiting something edible. So, feeling a little bit annoyed (I thought the pie in question was perfectly ok) gave them a digestive biscuit and some ice-cream. I thought about giving them the trusted pasta and pesto combo, but frankly could not face yet more washing up, and also Betty saw me looking in the cupboard where the pasta and pesto are kept and said: 'Pleeeeease don't give us pasta AGAIN.'

Later on, when the girls were asleep, I phoned my friend and confessed about the biscuit and ice-cream dinner. She told me that I had made her feel so guilty that she had practically whipped up a roast dinner for her boy.

Friday 8 October 2010

Baby haze

One of my best friends has just had a gorgeous little baby girl, and she's in that hazy period of baby sick/poo, lack of sleep, and constant feeding - a period of not really knowing what's what in the outside world, and one that we all go through.

It reminded me of a time shortly after Betty (now almost 4) was born. I had braved going into town with her for the first time, and was feeling pretty euphoric about leaving the house, but also terrified that my uterus might drop out. Tom, Betty and I were wandering down the street and something caught my eye in the window of Woolworth's.

There in the window was a full set of Gracco baby equipment: pram, pushchair, carseat, highchair and baby bath. I stopped and stared. I blinked and stared again. Tom had wandered off. I called after him and said: 'Look, you get this whole set for just £40! - we spent a fortune on all our stuff, if only we'd known about this - it's unbelievable!' Tom looked at the set on display, and then looked at me. 'What are you more surprised about?' he said, 'the fact that you get the whole set for £40? Or that each item is so small?' I looked again and realised that the set was for a doll rather than a human baby.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Little boxes

We took the girls out for an evening meal last night. After our recent camping trip, Tom and I are thriving on the fact that Dolly (now 17 months) can now cope with being up later than 6.30pm, so we thought we would take the bull by the horns and dine out. It was a much anticipated dinner date with our children. We had heard that the food was good and that there was a lovely family atmosphere. As we pulled up after a hard afternoon's den-building on the beach, we were very excited to see a well-designed sign outside the pub-restaurant.

Despite our slight nervousness that the evening would descend into chaos, and knowing full well it wouldn't compare to an evening out with just the two of us (ie relaxing and indulgent), the girls behaved pretty well thanks to a few bribes - crisps on their plates before the meal arrived and felt tips and toy cars to shove across the table.

With hindsight (perhaps we were too busy trying to distract the little ladies to notice), the carpet should have sounded the warning bell. It was pure McPub. That and the soundtrack, which either was, or was the equivalent of, Best Love Songs Of The 80s Ever, on repeat until the end of time. When the food arrived, it was horrible. No more to say about it, just horrible. Even Dolly turned her nose up at it. I had two glasses of wine to numb the pain, and Tom (who was driving) had half a cider and kept shaking his head in despair at his overcooked trout. We were guttted, and the children cried.

It was the drive home that made the whole outing worthwhile. It was late, so both girls started moaning and whingeing. Clutching at straws, I turned on the stereo full volume, and out blasted 'Little boxes' (by Malvina Reynolds). We all laughed, and clapped along and heartly sang 'Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky...' all the way home. It was a memorable moment and one that I won't forget. Our car was a very happy and jovial place.