Tag Archives: feeding

And What Would Madam Like to Wear Today?

Butter Wouldn't Melt...

Butter Wouldn’t Melt…

It’s no good – I’m going to have to admit defeat.

I am no longer the most stubborn person in our household.

Who have I lost the crown to?

Mini of course. That sweet little girl, who has just turned two and a half, has a stubborn streak that is wider than she is.

It all sneaked up on me.

It started innocuously enough with a preference for wearing a certain hat or coat. I put it down to her having a thing about hats and thought it was cute.

Then it progressed and things got a little more serious, spreading to her entire outfit. Now, trying to get her to wear something she doesn’t want to is akin to trying to dress an octopus whilst blindfolded, and a belligerent, drunken octopus at that.

Consequently we have been known to venture outside with her wearing her brother’s underpants.

Over her jeans.

Or her Halloween costume for three days in a row. In December.

I have found a tactic that seems to be working. I catch her just as she’s waking up and present her with a choice of two pairs of leggings. She’ll wave a sleepy hand at one of them and I’ll move swiftly on to a top. For some reason she always takes longer choosing her socks. We could have several drawn out moments where she’ll stroke her chin and point at first one pair then the other, umming and aahing as she does so, before she finally chooses. I’m not sure if this is because she’s more awake by this time or she has a thing about socks.

(I think she might have inherited my thing about socks.)

I’m making the most of being able to direct her choice of attire, at least a little, since I don’t expect to be able to do so when she catches on, probably, oh, about the middle of next week.

She also has very clear idea about the way she wants some other things as well. She’s a bit of a neat freak (I think that must be one of those weird characteristics that skip a generation or two because she certainly didn’t get it from me or the Other Half), so she has to be the one who wipes the table down before dinner. She also has a thing about emptying her plate in the bin, normally the one in the living room. This isn’t usually a problem, since she eats an awful lot of toast, although I’m glad I managed to catch her just in time last night after she decided she didn’t want the rest of her mandarins and custard.

I’m also glad we have laminate floors.

Part of her neat-freakishness is having a clear idea of where things should be and woe betide anything, or anyone, in the wrong place. One of her first sentences was “You sit there,” delivered in a stern tone with suitably imperious gestures. She’s just as bad when I’m feeding her. I have to be in the right seat and sitting (or lying depending on her mood) in exactly the right position. She’s just as bad with her dad and brother (about where they’re sitting, not the feeding bit) and they are both remarkably patient about it all considering. Bedtime can be entertaining as she has to arrange all her toys to her satisfaction before I can tuck her in. I’ve tried to discern a pattern in how she does this but it eludes me and she’ll give me a telling off if I try to help her, mostly I think because I always get it wrong.

I know she’s growing and that developing a sense of independence is important, as is her having an opportunity to be involved in some of the decisions that affect her, even if those decisions are about clothes or food.

I am pleased she’s found her independent nature and that she’s not letting herself be overshadowed by Motormouth who is much more exuberant and dramatic, showing instead that she is determined and not to be swayed once she’s decided on her course. I will admit that sometimes I wish she was a little more compliant, especially when I’m trying to get us all out of the house in the morning, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that sometimes the only way I’m going to win is by getting her to think that my suggestions are really her ideas in the first place. Either that, or I’m going to have to grit my teeth, grin and bear it and put up with a her wearing purple trousers with a green T shirt and her brother’s yellow socks.

That and be grateful that the one thing she isn’t really fussy about is what she has to eat.


Don’t Drink the Bathwater


What's wrong Mummy?

What’s wrong Mummy?

You know when you feel like you’ve almost got the hang of this parenting thing?

Your children do as they’re told and listen to you?

They seem to have developed a respect for you and your wishes?

And you feel like it’s going to be smooth sailing now?

The smart part of you, which has usually gone into hiding for self-preservation reasons, might finally stick its head up over the parapet just a tiny, little bit to point out that it’s the lull before the storm, or, more accurately, that pride comes before a fall.

Mini is just at that age when she has started picking up bad habits and she seems to be getting them from her big brother, who is just starting to stop all the gross little habits he’s accumulated so far.

Like investigating the contents of his nostrils, presenting them to me with the proud flourish of a fait accompli. (It is of course mandatory for this to take place in public.)

Or eating food off the floor. Without application of the 10 second rule (a moot point in Mini’s case since she can’t count to 10 yet).

She takes her nappy off when she wants it changed and presents you with the offending article. We then have to play hunt the contents around the house. This is a Mini special and, fortunately for the carpets and furnishings, not one we had to face with Motormouth.

She also licks the railings. This is one habit she hasn’t gotten from her brother and I have no idea where she got the idea from but her assessment seems to be that the hilarity of the situation is proportional to our reaction to it. It is really hard to pretend not to see it, believe me.

Our general reaction to this sort of behaviour has toned down since Motormouth, but you know what they say “Your first child eats dirt, you rush them to the doctor; your second child eats dirt and you clean their mouth out; and your third child eats dirt and you wonder if they still need dinner.”

So we carry on, trying to break her of the bad habits without making her so stubborn she carries on the behaviour just because she can, and we try not to worry too much.

There are things that we still get aerated about; we have the “dog poo alert” chant to the Octoalert theme from Octonauts (don’t get me started on people allowing their dogs to foul pavement and verges); we still clean bottles when they’ve been dropped; and we’re very strict on hand-washing after going to the toilet.

I think we’ll just have to put up with what can until Mini get out of the habit of having bad habits.

I almost forgot. She drinks the bathwater as well.

Food, Glorious Food

Mini and her dinner

Mini and her dinner

I was wondering what to write about in this week’s post but then I looked over at Mini, systematically demolishing her Marmite on toast (yes, we are a Marmite family) and thought, yep, food is something that takes up a fair bit of our time and concentration.

Fortunately Mini is still at the stage were she’ll eat pretty much anything that’s put in front of her; and in front of her is considered to be anything within arm’s reach.

This includes her brother’s dinner, especially his cheesy mashed potato.

She also eats vast quantities. Vast by any standards. Tea the other night consisted of 4 rounds of toast and an entire tin of baked beans, minus the two spoonfuls of beans her brother had before he decided he was full.

Then she had desert.

Then she had about 20 minutes of milk.

True, her belly was bigger than her head and was full enough I was worried she was going to pop. The Other Half was also under strict instructions not to make her laugh.

Just in case.

The thing is, she eats like this every day, yet can still fit into trousers designed for a child half her age. (I know they vary widely in sizing, but still!)

I also want her metabolism.

You can inherit things like that, right? I mean, I know you can inherit insanity from your kids, so why not something useful?

I watch her sitting there, having finished 2 slices of toast (the crusts), now attacking a couple of rich tea biscuits (don’t criticise me too much, I’m trying to keep her fairly clean before we go out later), which she’s put together like a sandwich so she can eat them at the same time. Next she’ll probably have some fruit, or some cheese.

And this is just breakfast.

I shouldn’t complain since it makes it easy when we eat out. We can order pretty much anything off the menu and she’ll systematically plough her way through it, even if she does eat the baked beans with her hands.

Motormouth is a whole other creature, in so many ways.

We know he eats cheese. And mashed potato. And sausages.

As for anything else?

It seems to be worked out on some algorithm known only to toddlers.

One day he won’t eat anything but grapes, the next they’re yuk.

He’s even refusing mince now he’s sussed that I cook it with more vegetables than mince. The next step was to make the sauce and blend it. Then he stopped eating pasta. Unless someone else cooks it.

I’m trying not to take offence at that.

Weirdly, he will eat vegetable soup, knowing it’s full of vegetables, with plenty of bread and butter, but there’s only so many loaves we can go through in one meal.

I know toddler’s taste buds are still developing and are different to ours. I know that this is only a phase but please let it be over soon.

In the meantime, the bin men will carry on assuming, based on our recycling, that we eat nothing but beans, cheese and bread in this house.

Camels, Cakes and Manners

It was time for the traditional trip to Mainsgill Farm, obligatory when we visit family in North Yorkshire. Mini and Motormouth love the place for so many reasons.

There are the huge cakes.

The child-sized pedal tractors.

The sand pit.

And the camels.

I like milk too!

I like milk too!

That’s right, camels, in Yorkshire, and this time they even had a baby camel to coo over.

Mini found the llamas funny but decided the goats needed a good telling off for being curious about her. One poor goat kept sticking its head through the fence to get a closer look at small girl in a tasty-looking red coat only to have a finger wagged in its face accompanied by a stern “No!” I’m not sure how the goat took it, but we were pretty impressed by her channelling of.. well… me, I suppose. (Not that I can see the resemblance.)

Moove over, lunch is here

Moove over, lunch is here

It’s always a joy to see Motormouth and Mini getting excited about seeing different animals. Mini in particular loved the cows and kept wanting to go back and see them. I think the cows were more interested in lunch. As adults, we were most interested in the camels. And the cakes.

Have I mentioned the cakes yet? Meringue roulades as big as your head, cream cakes the size of grapefruit and slabs of rocky road that the Romans would have found useful when they were laying their streets (in a good way).

It’s also slightly scary to see how high Mini wants to go on the swings (head height for the Other Half). All we could hear was her screaming “whee” at the peak of the swing. That and my gulping as I try to ignore the height thing.

It was in the restaurant where we had an interesting experience (in a less-than-positive sense of the word). I was standing with the Mini and Motormouth at a table waiting while the Other Half got a high chair for Mini when an older couple decided they wanted the table we were at, so they came and sat down there, telling us to move out of the way, admittedly with a superior sort of smile.

I was so gob smacked I didn’t say anything, plus I’m always conscious of the example I’m setting the kids. So we moved to another table rather than cause a scene.

That’s the question though, isn’t it? Do we show our kids how to stand up for themselves and risk starting a public argument which can so easily descend into something more than a civilised, if heated, exchange of views? Or do we take the moral high ground and move on with grace? Is that the same as giving in and rolling over?

And what do we do when our children ask us why they have to wait their turn and be polite when their elders seem to feel it’s their right to push their way to getting what they want? Today was just one example, but it’s not uncommon for it to happen to us in supermarket queues.

Today I decided not to push the issue, mainly because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to remain polite in the face of the oily rudeness we experienced. And I don’t want my children to see me behave like that. Not after all the hard work we’ve all put into developing their understanding and skills about interacting with others. It’s not fair for them to have a hypocrite for a teacher. It’s hard to explain to Motormouth that some people just don’t understand, or care, what good manners are. Or that they fail to grasp the concept that if you want respect from others you have to show respect to others.

I’m still not sure I made the right decision.

All I can do is put my faith in karma. Someday they’ll push in front of someone who won’t hold back.

Newsflash – Toddler Averts Taste Disaster

Photo from archive

Photo from archive

It was a pleasant family meal that almost descended into disaster, a disaster which was only averted by the quick-thinking intervention of Motormouth, an alert preschooler who happened to be on the scene.

The Other Half was in an expansive mood and decided to start cracking jokes. The only problem was most of his jokes were so ancient they pre-dated the pleasant old pub the meal was taking place in, or they were dangerously bad puns.

The Other Half was about to launch into another joke when Motormouth bravely piped up, saying “No one needs to hear your jokes Daddy!”. The Other Half, slightly taken aback, stopped his tale and those within hearing distance heaved a sigh of relief.

When interviewed later, Motormouth was uncharacteristically modest, simply asking if he could have a second desert.

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O is for On the Go


O is for On the Go

O is for On the Go

All of the bloody time!

As I sit here, it’s getting on for 7.30 in the evening and I’m actually sitting down to start work about an hour or so earlier than usual. Both the kids are in bed, though I’m not holding my breath about it staying that way, not given Motormouth’s new habit of getting into our bed and changing his mind every couple of hours about which side of the bed he wants to sleep on.

Anyway, back to being on the go. Even when you’re sitting still, your mind is still on the go.

When is the latest I can go to the supermarket to buy the nappies without running out completely?

Have I got enough clean clothes for them tomorrow, bearing in mind it’s been raining so no line drying and I haven’t got the crayon out of the tumble drier yet? (I think I’ll put that particular story in a newsflash.)

Why does the washing up have to scream quite so loudly at me?

Will Mini develop the dreaded chickenpox rash now her brother is getting over it?

And the other 976 thoughts that rattle around in my head (and let’s face it, there’s plenty of room in there thanks to the famous “baby brain”).

What does this mean to us as mothers?

We. Never. Switch. Off.

Even when we’re asleep we’ve got half an ear open in case the children start crying (and a plea to all fathers – please try to develop this talent).

We develop the ability that allows our eyeballs to swivel independently (though this doesn’t kick until Number 2 arrives).

We can undertake most daily tasks whilst simultaneously corralling children. We even develop a dexterity that would make our craft teachers punch the air with glee.

And yes, it is possible to open a stair gate with your foot whilst you’re carrying two oddly-shaped plates of food with a “favourite-favourite-beaker-but-only-for-today” for each child wedged into either armpit.

What does this mean to us as mothers? Well, I can only speak personally, but the adjustment has taken a little time. It’s taken me a while to get used to it and to stop thinking of myself as an adult with small dependent beings tied to me with invisible wires and to start thinking of myself as a mother.

And now I’m here?

I think I need to learn to start thinking of myself as a mother who has occasional outbreaks of being a single-unit-entity, and that it’s OK to like those rare forays into a state of no-dependents.

I know I haven’t mentioned the physical activity but, to be absolutely honest, that’s what my body goes through. Since my brain and body are barely on speaking terms at the moment, anything physical is passed on in only the most basic of terms like “tired”, “achy” or “sort of hungry but don’t know what to eat” (that’s why I have a default setting for eating the kid’s leftovers). I think my body got a bit fed up with having its basic needs ignored and has sent my brain to Coventry. Or Leeds. Or Aberystwyth. I’m not sure where really but wherever it is, they don’t have any loos there, or at least none that I can find. (No offense is meant to Coventry, Leeds or Aberystwyth, everyone knows my sense of direction is dire.) Anyway, my brain’s retaliated by closing down all avenues of communication. I think my bladder may be taking this ACAS soon if they don’ reopen negotiations.

Now excuse me, I think I heard the thud of toddler feet heading from the bedroom…

Battle of Equals?

...and the winner is...

…and the winner is…

Siblings will be siblings and often want the same thing at the same time, whether it be a toy or space on someone’s lap or food. And neither one wants to back down, which can be a problem, especially when you have two who have inherited their mother’s stubbornness in full measure.

And Motormouth and Mini have.

Mini is, by definition, smaller than Motormouth, after all, he has a good two years on her.

You’d think that would be that wouldn’t you? That she would lose all the time?


It isn’t.

In fact it can be quite the opposite.

I’ve noticed that Mini has her own unique way of getting exactly what she wants.

And she does it with such style that I’m going to start taking lessons.

First of all she uses her size to her advantage. She can worm herself into the tiniest of gaps and once there she expands outwards, mainly through judicious use of elbows, to give herself enough space. This can and does include edging her big brother off someone’s lap.

Today we had a classic.

Mini decided she wanted to snuggle with Uncle Greenfingers.

The only problem was Motormouth, who had already appropriated the best spot.

So what does she do?

She starts stroking Motormouth’s hair, then giving it subtle little tugs.

Not ones that hurt, ones that he could complain about legitimately, just annoying little tweaks.

It doesn’t take too long before he’s had enough and moves away and within seconds she’s claimed his spot.

It’s so subtle, you wouldn’t know she was doing it unless you were looking for it.

Or you didn’t see the triumphant little smile on her face.

Of course there are times when she doesn’t win, like when Motormouth is dragging her across the floor by the foot, mind you, that could be down to her getting the giggles as much as anything else.

Most of the time they play nicely together and Motormouth is usually good at sharing.

In fact he almost has me in tears the other day. Mini dropped her snack on the floor. Being a good mother I picked it up before she could eat it (having first done the calculation, you know the one, where you work out the last time you cleaned the floor and factor in what the foot traffic has been like.) Anyway, I head into the kitchen to get her another snack but in the meantime she’s sitting on the floor, sobbing like it’s the worst thing in the world, which to her it probably is.

Then I hear Motormouth…

“There, there, Mini, you can have some of my cheese.”

To put this in context, there is nothing that Motormouth likes more than cheese, except perhaps yoghurt, and for him to voluntarily give his sister any of his cheese, well…

I did give Motormouth an extra sticker for that.

He’s decided he’s working towards a trip to the dinosaur museum.

Maybe he’ll offer them some of his cheese as well.