Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The One with the Ice Cream Cornet

Sunday saw us all go out for a meal for Father's day. Myself, hubby, the boy, Nanny P and Granddad Atu. 

We chose a very nice pub near to where my parents live which is now run by twin brothers and the chef I know as I'm friends with his other half and they all in turn know Ken, Barbie and Earthquake (the pub is The Plough and Sail in Snape if anyone is local and wants to go along, the food is fantastic).

The boy seemed on good form and had slept in until 8am so a 12 o'clock reservation seemed perfect timing and the last thing I thought he'd be was tired.

But there he was sat at the table, eventually, arsey as hell and rubbing his eyes!

We ordered starters and asked for his pasta to come with those, which it duly did. It was very tasty. The boy wasn't having any of it!

As Granddad Atu didn't have a starter he took the boy outside for a run around and a walk. A long walk. So long in fact that Hubby had to go and find out where they were.

No matter. The boy likes his food stone cold. Really he does. 

Our main course arrived. Still he refused the pasta.

My Mum chipped in

"Can he have a sandwich?"

"Mum they don't do sandwiches. If he's hungry he'll eat this pasta. I'm not ordering him anything else"

"No I mean I've got some sandwiches here. In my bag. I've done him some just in case."

Now I carry snacks. Rations. Emergency supplies. I'd got breadsticks on me and even one of those squeezy fruit pouches - which by the way he had devoured so he wasn't adverse to all food that day - but Mum had a full pack up about her person.

"Mum! He eats this or nothing at all. I am not giving him a pack up in a restaurant. He's 2 now, he can eat what we eat."

"Don't make a scene dear. What will people think?"

And that has always been the trouble - what will people think? It used to worry the life out of me too but not anymore. He's my son and if I say no, I mean no and I'm not giving in just because we're out in public and to spare other people the short lived inconvenience of hearing the boy go off on one! 

It will be dealt with my way.

Or so I thought.

I had promised the boy ice cream if he was good. He clearly wasn't being good as the screaming and physical pushing away of my hand every time I tried to force tomato pasta down his throat was testament too. However he had become fixated with the ice cream.

"Ice cream cornet. Ice cream cornet" he kept repeating.

He had clearly forgotten, blocked out or just used his selective hearing and missed the first bit about being a good boy and all that would calm him was ice cream.

The pressure to appease the situation was pretty intense at this point.

I ordered ice cream.

Two scoops, one strawberry and one chocolate swiftly came. (god bless those lovely waitresses)

They were in a bowl with a spoon. The boy still mentioned a cornet.

"It's ice cream honey. In a bowl. With a spoon. Like a big boy."

"Does he want it in a cornet?" asked my Mum routing around in her handbag like Mary Poppins. "Because I've got one here!" 

And then it happened.

My mum produced from her bag an ice cream cone perfectly preserved in a polythene food bag secured at the top with a twisty tie. 

"Oh my god" was all that I could muster from my already open mouth.

"Well I thought he might like one and they often don't have them in restaurants. They just have ice cream in bowls. Don't look at me like that. I know you think I'm silly"

But that's just it. I don't think she's silly at all. I think the woman's a genius. Or bonkers. Or both.

I can't decide how I felt. If I was in awe of Nanny P's organisational skills or if I was a bad mother for not packing one myself.

My Mum has always been prepared like the most ultra efficient boy scout there ever was. She has paracetamol,ibuprofen, tissues, wipes, plasters, nail files and needle and thread for ever conceivable emergency. But...


The boy sat happily with a scoop of strawberry ice cream wedged into the top of the cornet, licking away. 

Peace at last...

But at what price?

I mean, whatever would people think.....? 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The One with the Emotions

The boy has started to express himself!

And I don't just mean by screaming, although he is still doing an awful lot of that, but actually by communicating needs, wants, desires, emotions - call them what you will. 

He's always been very good with his language and single or maybe two or three words together but recently, when he's been stressed and in the middle of a tantrum, Hubby and I have both taken to saying

"Tell us what the problem is. What do you need? Use your words."

This is a combination of a few things. The Baby and Toddler Calm course we went on to learn how to deal with tantrums (which isn't surprisingly chuck jam tarts at them until they shut up which is what I was always led to believe), the middle expression which is something Lemon Cake Lady uses and the last one which is something Vixen uses on her little boy, who can now say whole sentences and has been for ages. 

And you know what? It works!

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't work straight away. This is the boy we're talking about here. He still cries, screams and bangs his head on stuff (really wish he wouldn't do that, he bruises easily like I do - hello social services).

However when he does eventually calm down he can now "use his words' and express "what he needs".

Evidence of which became apparent the other night when we put him to bed.

A combination of a solid bedtime routine and sheer beginners luck has meant that 9 times out of 10 bedtime with the boy is pretty hassle free.

On this occasion we said all the usual night time stuff. Sweet dreams, we love you, settle down, see you in the morning, don't wake up until at least 7 o'clock or we will be forced to ignore you & shut our bedroom door to drown out the incessant screaming for a Thomas DD (DVD). You know the drill. When, just as I was leaving the room a little voice said

"No Mama"

No! No, no, no. What is this no you speak of?

"Not tired."

Oh god. He understands the concept of not being something. Before it was always expressing a need for something, like food, juice, milk or Fireman Sam on continuously but never that he was "not" something.

We offered a compromise. We left the landing light on and his door open and said he could look at his books until he was feeling tired then he could go to sleep.

A bright and positive "Ok" was the response so we sneaked out while our luck was still holding!

When we came downstairs Hubby and I couldn't decide if we were proud or terrified.

"Ahhh he can understand and tell us when he's not tired" we said dreamily, very proud of another milestone in the boys life.

"Arggghhhhh he can understand and tell us when he's not tired" we screamed at each other!

Bedtime may never be as calm again. 

Let battle commence.....

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The One With the Cake and the Celebrity Crush

It's been a little while since I did a foodie blog and as today I've been somewhat of a domestic goddess I thought I'd put that right.

Today I made a cake. Not just any old cake but a cake from the new book by "The Great British Bake Off" winner Jo Wheatley "A Passion for Baking". I'd treated myself to the book last week but hadn't got round to looking at it properly yet. As I had three over ripe bananas in my fruit bowl goading me into doing something with them, other than throwing them away, I went in search of a recipe for Banana loaf. 

And here it is

Me being me I mucked about with the recipe a bit as my cupboards dictated. I used golden caster sugar instead of demerara and dark soft brown sugar instead of light. I didn't have any pecans so I just left them out and I put the cinnamon in the mixture rather than sprinkle it on top.

But the results were great. The boy devoured a whole piece at tea time and has been hyper on the slow release energy of bananas and a tonne of sugar ever since. He's been bouncing off the walls like Tigger and is currently in bed and, from what I can gather, is narrating to bear, bunny and monkey entire episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Ahh at least he's happy! 

I tweeted about my success and the lovely Jo re-tweeted it and then sent me a message back. 

I got a bit star struck as I do in these matters. Well she's off the telly from a programme I really like and her book is great.

I know I'm lame! What can you do? 

Jo Wheatley tweeting me back also meant I was only one degree of separation away from one of the hosts of  "The Great British Bake Off", Mr Paul Hollywood.

Lemon Cake Lady and I have complete and utter teenage style crushes on "the Silver Fox"!

All you have to do is mention whipping up icing with your hand to LCL and she melts into a puddle on the floor.

Clementine has suggested I apply for The Great British Bake Off as a contestant. I'd be hopeless. Yes I can bake. A bit. But not to the standard they require and also I'd be a gibbering wreck. All it would take would be for Paul Hollywood to announce that the technical bake was iced fingers and I'd be a goner!

Although it might be worth it  to go on and say my signature bake was chocolate rice crispy cakes and just see how Paul and Mary Berry coped without laughing or chucking me out the tent? 

Instead I am taking Lemon Cake Lady to the Good Food show in November for her birthday present. I have booked the tickets with Gold seats for the food theatre on Friday to see Mary Berry and the afore mentioned Silver Fox Mr Paul Hollywood doing The Great British Bake Off LIVE! 


We'll be within touching distance!

Well row D, which is certainly within icing flicking distance should his hands get too over enthusiastic whilst whipping up a batch. 

To say we're excited is an understatement. We are grown women. With husbands. And children! Yet we are giggling wrecks. Like teenagers with a crush on the teacher. 

Lets just hope we don't muck about so much we get detention..... 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The One With the Bunting

I'm a bit in love with my bunting!

I think bunting everywhere has been the best bit of this Jubilee weekend. It's just so... cheery.

We've had rain, wind, sun, more rain, choirs and orchestras in the rain, people floating down the Thames in the rain and the Duke of Edinburgh giving himself a bladder infection by not going for a wee in the rain!

Amazingly we've had a massive open air concert in the glow of the evening sunlight so no singing in the rain (or the sound of someone scratching their nails down a blackboard in the case of Cheryl - I used to be Cole but now I'm not)  but pretty much everything else was in the rain.

We're very good at it in Britain. We've got used to it. Picnics in the rain, BBQ's in the rain, street parties in the rain - you name it and we've done it... in the rain.

So for your outdoor activities you need a study water proof bunting. Plastic and tied on tight to withstand the gale force winds so associated with June and the height of our British Summer. 

Flaming June! Yeah flaming rain in June.

But the bunting I bought was cardboard that I'd picked up in Sainsburys which I thought was pretty. Which indeed it is. 

So because I'm British and we are not to be defeated in such matters as mere inclement weather,  I've hung it up inside! 

And do you know what? 

I'm keeping it up all summer long. For the Euro championships and the Olympics. So I can keep this feeling of national pride and cheery optimism going whatever the weather.

So keep your bunting up good people of Britain and lets keep this lovely atmosphere of national pride going for a bit longer.

We don't care that the country is broke we're British and we've got our bunting up!

And keeping your bunting up doesn't cost anything does it! 

Until the bastards decide to tax it that is.....