Tag Archives: food

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.


I’m Going On a Dinosaur Hunt!

We're working our way round the evolutionary spiral.

We’re working our way round the evolutionary spiral.

For the past few weeks Motormouth has been obsessed with dinosaurs. You might already have guessed this from previous posts and Face book updates, but it is definitely an obsession that shows little signs of waning.

We’ve got used to being told that the reason the toilet roll is not only all over the bathroom floor but the landing as well is because the velociraptor was bored.

Or that a passing ankylosaur made him drop his sandwich on the floor. (Apparently ankylosaurs don’t like Marmite sandwiches, or tidy up after themselves.)

I went though my own phase of being into dinosaurs, in fact, I’m pretty sure I still have a few of the books tucked way in Nanny Nutjob’s loft. (I’m planning to give them to Motormouth when he is a little less tyrannosaurus rex-like with his more fragile books).

This morning I had to tell him all about a documentary about Megalodon that his father and I had watched last night. He had the usual Motormouth run of questions. You know, the sort of things a 4-year-old boy will come out with?

What did it eat? (Smaller sharks and whales.)

When did it live? (Millions of years ago.)

Is it still alive? (No. It’s extinct.)

Why did it die? (They think it didn’t adapt well to the loss of the large prey it ate when an ice age hit.)

Is it related to the Great White shark? (They don’t think so but opinion is divided – it’s something to do with the spine apparently.)

And so on.

And on.

And on. As only Motormouth knows how.

It’s great that we have a son who is interested in learning and I hope he never, ever loses that. I also hope we’re setting him a good example. He knows I’m going to college and always checks to make sure I’ve done my homework. I have a dream that one day, when he starts school, we’ll all sit around the table doing our homework. (Yes, I know that’s sad and just a little weird.)

I’ve also been doing my homework on dinosaurs to give me at least a little bit of an edge. (There’s only so many times I can take him rolling his eyes and saying in a very patient voice “No Mummy, that one was a mammal but it lived in the sea”.)

Typically for Motormouth, he’s not just interested in tyrannosaurus rex, stegosaurus or brontosaurus. Oh no. His particular favourites this week are dunkleosteus, sarcosuchus, icthyosaurs, ankylosaurs, orthocones and lots of others I have to look up. (Knowing the name isn’t enough, I get tested on habitat, diet, size, enemies, fighting styles, methods of defence and reason for extinction.) Plus I have to know odd facts.

Did you know that velociraptors had feathers?

That tyrannosaurus rex and stegosaurus never met (there were millions of years between them)?

That dinosaurs were around for about 165 million years? (I doubt we’ll make that long before we become extinct – look at how close we’ve come and how often in only a few thousand years!)

That suchus means flesh eater?

I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to bore you.

I could also mention the slightly unnerving habit he has of creeping around and muttering to himself. When you can get close enough to hear what he is saying you realise he is basically re-enacting the script from Walking With Dinosaurs, complete with waving arms and crouching walk. He also keeps producing sticks of varying sizes for consideration as fossil bones, classifying them by species and subspecies.
Still there are worse people he could emulate. The other day he told me that Nigel Marven was the coolest zoologist around and he wants to be a zoologist when he grows up.

Or a builder. He quite fancies that as well.

It can be exhausting keeping up with it all, especially as, like most kids his age, he wants to go over the explanations several times to make sure he understands.

I’ve noticed that he wants it more frequently when it’s something that’s worrying him.

There was a burglary in the next road, so we’re making extra certain we lock all the windows and doors at night (they broke in whilst the occupants were asleep). Motormouth was there with his usual questions and we’ve explained what we’re doing, why and how he’s going to be safe. He has shown an interest in the subject before and spent days asking us at regular intervals what burglary was and that was just after seeing an advert on the TV (thank you alarm company I shall not name). Now he knows it’s happened for real near us. This all happened last night and I was preparing my mental notes for “explaining what burglary is eight different ways”. All he wanted to do today was look at the house, not possible since I didn’t know which one it was, and besides it was morning and we’re always running late in the mornings.

So it is with some relief I left him at playgroup this morning. He wandered off without a backward glance at me, on a mission to find some pens and paper so he could start drawing today’s batch of dinosaurs.

And me?

I’m reading up on the Triassic era. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a test tonight.

Newsflash – Rainbow Outbreak

Rainbow Tummy is not thought to be contagious.

Rainbow Tummy is not thought to be contagious.

An experiment had some unexpected results yesterday. Motormouth was introduced to Rainbow Drops as the Other Half had a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

At first all seemed to be progressing normally, then, when Mature Mother arrived at the test site to receive a verbal update from the subject, Motormouth, she was informed that not only had he ingested Rainbow Drops but they had made his tummy feel funny.

Emergency protocols were instigated and after further assessment, Motormouth decided he felt funny because he now had “rainbows in his tummy”.

Discussions are taking place to determine whether or not this particular side effect should be considered positive or just an aberration.

Motormouth has shown no further ill effects.

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.

Mini Me

Follow My Leader

Follow My Leader

We have a problem.

It’s not a serious problem, but it is proving to be a problem none-the-less.

I suppose we should have seen it coming. Maybe we were lulled into a false sense of security? Started to take it all for granted?

The problem?

Mini has started copying Motormouth.

And when I say copying, I mean the exact actions and within seconds of him doing it.

Motormouth does a mad dance around the room, then Mini does a mad dance around the room.

Motormouth jumps on the bed cackling like a lunatic, then suddenly there are two of them. I’m more than a little surprised that our bed has survived it so far. (And I really, really wish this would all start some time after 6am.)

Motormouth climbs onto the back of the settee and the next thing we know, Mini is trying to drag herself up there to be with him.

So, as you can see, we have a bit of a problem.

We’ve been trying to curb Motormouth’s natural tendencies (that’s a bit like trying to train a cat to roll over and beg for food).

We’ve tried explaining to him that, as the big brother, he has a responsibility to think about the consequences of his actions, he needs to think about Mini’s safety. He’s still struggling with the concept of thinking before he does things.

He’s a creature of instinct and impulse is our Motormouth.

In the meantime we’ll just to have eyes in the back of our heads. And the sides.

And think of a way to see around corners and through walls.

And when we’re asleep.

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.

If you would like to get all the updates to your email inbox then please sign up here http://www.tracyenright.co.uk/wordpress/ (entering your email address in the box in the right hand margin)