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Parenting Fails No.289

20170327_110007In a world where we can find out the weather forcast for the week ahead, cure horrible diseases and ask a computer the answer to any question that pops up into our heads,  how can parents everywhere be stumped by the mysteries of children on a daily basis?

 

Questions I have had from Toddler Boy this week…

• Why can’t I have chocolate for breakfast? After Easter it’s actually pretty hard to justify this one. One day it’s OK to be ravaging a Lindt bunny at 8am; the next day your being told that even coco pops should be saved for the weekend. It’s a cruel life lesson.2017-04-27 09.01.26.jpg

 

• Why can’t I go outside with no trousers on? Explaining to a small boy who thinks his willy is the best invention on the planet why everyone else doesn’t want or need to see it is tough. He wants to pull his trousers down everywhere and ‘helicopter’ to show off his grandest possession. They grow out of this right?!

• Why can’t I get a dragon to blow on our dinner to warm it up? Don’t think I even came up with an answer to this one.

• Why won’t our cat talk to me? After a few years of watching kids tv shows it’s no wonder that they get confused! Talking animals, magic fairies and superheroes make it hard to explain the boring world we live in!

•  Can we swap the baby for a rabbit because they are more fun because they poop chocolate eggs?…..just no. Sod off Easter and all your confusion!

 

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FML moments from the last few weeks

• Discovering Toddler Boy climbing into the bath to have a pee when he was going to the toilet because his daddy had said it was ok to pee in the bath! Ffs daddy he doean’t distinguish it being ok when he was actually in the bath and needed to pee to save getting out you said it was ok he now thinks its fine to hose all over the tub!

• Baby Girl screaming blue murder for a solid four hours the night I had been out with a few other mums and had a lovely few glasses of vino. Husband deciding after 5 min that only mummy could sort it so having to pace around the livingroom rocking a teething baby until my hangover kicked in at 3am! Only bonus to this was no hangover next day only raging tiredness.20170407_225105

– Husband having the cold at the same time as me, no sympathy or offers to make dinner. Him managing to spend 3 days at home doing no housework I’m actually still wondering what the heck he did all day!

– Toddler boy managing to work the hoover so he tells me that he’s cleaned the mess up…what this meant was that he had hoovered up everything in sight! Including half his lego, a toy cow, 3 pairs of socks and all my jewellery I’d stored in the hall telephone table. Emptying out a hoover To retrieve said items was grim!2017-04-27 09.01.59.jpg

– After witnessing his first lamb being born a few weeks back, Toddler Boy has been a bit obsessed with babies. He kept asking me if i had a baby coming out! Him saying this to me is fine. Him saying this to a porty gentleman in Morrisons is not.

 

So what gems have your littlies had for you this week? One thing is for sure life is never boring right now!

 

Pam xxx

 

 

How to babyproof your home.

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So back when I was pregnant with my first and we were shopping for things like highchairs and bibs, we came across the section with stair gates and cupboard locks. A little look at each other and an eye roll. Surely if you are looking after your precious bundle then you won’t need all this safety equipment? Surely only overprotective parents go to these lengths to secure their home? Well fast forward to when first baby was 6 months old and pulling himself up on the furniture. ‘Oh my god he was just an inch away from cracking his head off the corner there!’ Cue racing out to buy foam corners for the tv unit, a fireguard, playpen and cupaboard locks! Our house was like Fort Knox I’m not afraid to say that I am definitely one of those mums that errs on the side of caution!

Once he was up and about he started getting into the bathroom so a lock went on the bathroom door. He pulled out every bit of food from the kitchen cupboards so safety locks went on every door. I had left the window open to let in some air and he was up in the couch trying to get out! Safety catches were purchased and affixed to every window in the house. Some people laugh and tell me I am way too over protective. Some people tell me in a snidey manner that they just didn’t do stair gates/safetey locks. Some people even have the cheek to tell me that I am clearly not in control as a parent as the kids need to learn what’s right and wrong and so making everything safe teaches them nothing! That’s fine. It’s a completely personal choice and I’m sure one that is determined on your experience with your child.

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You see I have been to peoples homes whose children are not inquisitive, who have fear inbuilt so they do not attempt the crazy shit that my son does,so they would have felt no need to go to any lengths to secure what has not been a hazard. Or else their kids truly learn from one fall and don’t attempt it again.  Not so my child! If he falls and hurts himself he just tries a different way and I’m sorry but I’m not willing to take the risk of him seriously hurting himself when there is something I can do to minimise the risk. (Overprotective mummy!) When my son went into a toddler bed at the age of 2 we moved the chest of drawers out of his room as I knew at some point he would attempt to open the drawers and climb them. So next year once we decide on a theme for his grown up room, the drawers will be put back in and possibly secured to the wall!

With my daughter it was different, we had got a bit lax and forgotten the extent you hav to have eyes on the back of your head. We also broke the playpen so now have a stairgate across the livingroom door! She is taking far too many lessons from her brother and tries to keep up with him. He is also an added danger as he tries to lift her or run into her with one of his many toys!

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So yes there will be those who think that I should be glued to their sides and then I wouldn’t need to worry so much about risks in the house. There will be those who call me paranoid or morbid for thinking the worst. But when you hear in the news about toddlers getting strung up in blind cords, breaking bones falling down stairs and having furniture topple onto them, I will always be glad I have done as much as I can to make them as safe as I can. Of course they will attempt to find other ways to harm themselves!

Lessons learnt from experience…

• Never leave knives on the kitchen worktops once your children are on the move. Put them away or if dirty to the back of the sink behind the taps. While making lunch I’d left everything lying one day and my son took his plate through to the kitchen and came back through holding a massive chopping knife. Me and my mum were sitting on the couch gobsmacked as I crept towards him slowly to retrieve it before he hurt himself.

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• A playpen is one of the most wonderful things a first time mum can own. Once the baby starts moving things get tricky! You cant leave them to go for a shower or make dinner like you used to. We got a playpen for the livingroom and I could put all his toys in it when I needed 5minutes. It gave me peace of mind that he couldn’t hurt himself and gave me time to get on. I couldnt leave him unattended in the highchair after 6 months as he would rock it about so much that I was scared he would knock it over.

• Top tips- if you are going to use stairgates then put one across the childs room door instead of at the top of the stairs and do it before they can get out of the cot then you will be used to it.

• Start keeping matches, medicine and scissors in high cupbards well before baby is on the move to get used to putting them away up high-not the matelpiece as they start using stuff to climb on and the last thing you want is for them to start cutting chunks of their own hair because they got hold of scissors! (And even when you think there is nothing they could use to climb on you would be wrong-my son stacks cushions from the couch on top of one another to get to what he wants!)

When you’re going away, take hair bobbles to use as cupboard locks and gaffa tape to put over plug sockets. Great for lodge and hotel breaks.

• Start locking your front door and put a hook up close by for the key. Dont leave keys in the door as one day your child will either learn to open it and try and escape or else pull the keys out and post them through the letterbox leaving you stranded..yes it has happened!

So we have drawn the line at making them wear full face helmets and padding – although I won’t deny it has crossed my mind!

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In the space of two minutes (the time it takes to run to the toilet/answer the door/run upstairs, a toddler can unleash serious carnage that often leaves you wishing they could put that energy to better use.

So how do you approach safety? What have been your experiences?

Any tips?

Pam xx

PoCoLo
Lucy At Home
Mummascribbles</div

Spring into Summer

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Things I love about the summer…

•  Everyone’s a bit happier. Is it the vitimin D? I’m more inclined to think it’s the added beers in the garden! But whatever, everyone is definitely happier when the sun is shining.

• Days off are amazing. Going anywhere is a treat when the weather is nice. Weekends can feel like holidays going to the beach, parks or just nice forestry walks.

• Ice Cream! Need I say more. It tastes good all year round but when the suns out it’s extra special licking that cone before it melts!

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• When the kids go to bed/When you get home from work, it’s not game over any more. You can get the chimnea on and sit out in the garden with a glass of wine. Closest thing to heaven. Also into this bulletpoint goes daytime drinking! Not only is it no frowned upon to be sipping a Pimms at 2pm – it’s positively encouraged!

• You can get the kids out into the garden. They are happy playing outside and you can sit with a cuppa. This has the added benefit that the house stays tidy because all mess is outside, my little boy always wants to eat outside when its nice too which means my kitchen can stay cleaner for longer! . Another added benefit is that the kids are much more tired and sleep much better! Win Win.

• Whenever the sun is out the menfolk start stripping off – I’ll hold my hands up and say I don’ mind this at all! Any excuse to see hubbys gorg bod!

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Ok so all these things have a flipside. Things I hate about summer…

• The only topic of convo is the weather, the sun or lack of which gets a bit boring.

• I get fed up of summery food and crave roast dinners but it’s too hot to stay in and cook.

• Any park or beach is full to capacity as soon as the sun shows it’s face meaning you are cheek to cheek with other families. Days out in the summer involve sitting in an over packed car because you have had to pack lots of stuff incase the weather changes, changes of clothes, parasols, picnic baskets and a coolbox.

• Suncream. Applying suncream to children is on a par to trying to bath a cat – difficult is an understatement. Now you have to re-apply throughout he day so it’s the gift that keeps giving…naat! Also I haven’t got the kind of face that looks great au naturale so suncream and no makeup is not a winner for me!

• Getting the kids to come in at night is not easy. It’s light they are having fun so they don’t understand why they have to go to bed. It will end in tears. Probably yours as you watch the time slip by where you could be drinking wine but instead are trying to wash sticky, dirty children while they scream that they want to go back out to play.

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• Body pressure! Legs and armpits must be constantly shaven incase of a warm day where you are wearing summery gear. Flabby arms, legs and tums which are easily hidden in jumpers and jeans over winter and hard to disguise in flowy summery material!

So there you have it…swings and roundabouts.  For all the negatives I will still always love the summer!  I look slightly less pasty in the sun and look fabulous in a floppy hat!

Are you a summer lover?

Pam.xxx

One Messy Mama
Lucy At Home

Mug Cakes

2017-03-21 09.06.25

Just wow!

I am an obsessive baker as you all know, but even I can’t pull off the impossible and whip up miracles after 9pm!  Sunday night and hubster gets the munchies…’just go and make a little chocolate cake’ he asks!  Eh no it’s late and by the times it’s ready it will be really late! Cue sulks. So after a bit of  a search (thanks Mr Google and the wonderful people of the interweb) I discovered Mug Cakes! Pop all ingredients in the mug, stir, microwave for a couple of minutes and magically you have a real live cake! Our first attempt created a monster that overtook the microwave and was a little dry – remedied by the addition of custard it did the job. But it got my creative juices flowing and I’ve been playing about so here are three fail-safe recipes that even the worst of cooks among you can pull off. You will thank me when you are chowing down on the most perfect cake in 2min! Note-you may have to adjust cooking times and depends on mug size to get the best cake. Have fun trying new flavours!

Chocolate chip

3tbs plain flour

2tbs caster sugar

2tbs cocoa powder

1/4 tsp bakimg powder

3tbs milk

3tbs oil (sunflower/vegetable)

2tbs choc chips or chopped up chocolate

Mix everything in a jug as it’s a bit easier to get it thoroughly mixed – you can just stick it straight in the mug though to save washing up, just use a fork and mix really well.

Microwave for 90sec this is with a 750watt microwave. Keep an eye on it to check it’s not overflowing too much!

Leave to cool for a few minutes before topping with cream, chocolate sauce, ice cream or custard whatever you have.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter

30g butter

30g choc

1.5tbs peanut butter

1 egg

1tbs sugar

5 tbs flour

1/2tsp baking powder

Extra tsp peanut butter

Melt butter and chocolate in microvae for 30sec. Stir and leave for a minute. Then add peanut butter, egg, sugar, flour and baking powder. Stiring between each. Once mixed microwave for 50 seconds. Remove and push a spoonful of peanut butter inyo the centre. Microwave for a further 20 seconds. Leave to cool for a minute as it will be scorchio!

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Jammy Donut Mug Cake

30g butter

5tbs plain flour

1 egg

2tbs sugar

2tbs milk

1/2tsp baking powder

2tsp jam

Melt butter in micro for 30 sec. Cool for a minute. Add sugar, egg yolk and milk then mix. Add flour and baking powder and stir. Add1 tsp  jam to centre. Microwave for 50 sec. Top with teaspoon jam and serve.

Your welcome….

Pam xxx

Link up your recipe of the week
Mummy in a Tutu

Are you not entertained?

2017-03-14 05.54.18Keeping a baby entertained consists soley of meeting their basic needs. This moves on pretty rapidly at about 12 weeks when they start needing gentle stimulation in their waking moments to when they hit 6 months and require a horrendous amount of attention as they can’t cope on their own. That horrible stage where they can’t move and get frustrated lasts only a little while before most start crawling and so can get to other things to occupy themselves. But alas this is again only a stage because then they want to explore further, especially if they have an elder sibling as they will want to run about with them and because they can’t, frustration sets in – again! It is a never ending cycle and only at the age of 3 are we finally seeing a light at the end of the latest tunnel as our eldest can now watch a film all the way through, play with his farm or lego on his own for quite a while, or be trusted with crafts without eating it all! But even at this age they get bored easily and need ever changing activities to combat the sulks and strops setting in.

I thought I would do a list this week of things I do to entertain my two during the week. It can be pretty daunting facing the week as a parent when you feel a certain amount of responsibility for making sure you are getting the kids to meet their milestones and offer stimulating play…and believe me you do not need to be Mary Poppins every minute of the day! It’s ok to watch tv in your jammies all day. It’s ok to do nothing other than put some toys out in the livingroom. It’s ok to bundle them up and take them to softplay/your friends house/to feed the ducks for the fiftieth time just to get out the house! More than ok! But sometimes you want to DO something. It is nice to offer a bit of one on one time with the kids every now and then and you will be amazed at just how much they appreciate and respond to it.

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1/ Arts and Crafts. Not everyones bag, I get it. But you don’t need to go full scale Neil Buchanan (too old school for a few of you?!) Firstly get an old towel on standby and shut any doors leading to your livingroom and nice soft furnishings. Secondly fill up the washing basin with hot, soapy water and get kitchen roll on standby.

Thirdly get your camera handy – rookie error to ever leave them unattended to retreive anything once you start! And finally get the kids and yourself ready, don’t wear anything good! Old t-shirt and joggers only. I usually have the baby stripped to just nappy and toddler in pants but they can wear old tshirts or already stained vests. Have some clean stuff laid out in the livingroom to make life easier afterwards.

For a simple ten minute craft you could just get some kid friendly paints and some coloured paper. Do hand or footprints, cut up potatoes and use them as stamps (toddlers love dinosaurs so you could cut out a rough shape and say it’s a dinosaur footprint the love that) anything can be used.

Homemade finger paint for the more adventurous – 1/2 cup corn flour, 1/4 cup cold water, 1 cup boiling water, food colouring.

Mix cornflour with cold water then whisk in boiling water halfcup at a time reallh thoroughly to a custard consistancy. Add colouring. For much easier method (but only if diet allows just use natural yogurt with colouring),if any allergies then you can use fruit purees which are a great first way to introduce baby to exploring, they can get stuck in and plaster it everywhere – and they will! Be prepared for the mess and embrace it. For the over 2’s just use shop bought washable paints. They love guddling so will end up covered. Other craft ideas once they are a little older include gluing stuff onto card, my son is obsessed with prit stick at the minute he likes doing it himself and sticking different textures.  Making paper plate face masks or any topical crafts like leaves in the shape of animals for autumn, glitter creations for christmas, egg boxes cut out and painted for spring time. Use your imagination and transport yourself back to schooldays when you loved art in primary and got excited for that one hour a week making a mess! Also have a look in Pinterest for inspiration there are some highly creative folks out there. At the end  put any paints and stuff up out of reach, use the old towel to wipe up as much as you can then literally dunk children in the sink! Make sure theres no paint or anything on yourself before you head to the livingroom-had a lot of paint and glue on the carpet and couch incidents to know better now!

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2/Messy Play. For the more advanced among you this is honestly one of the best things you can do it is so much fun and teaches them about texture, colour and taste. You can use anything you have in the cupboards at home. Jelly, angel delight, cooked spaghetti, rice crispies, torn up tissue paper, cotton wool, a plain old basin of warm water. Place whatever your using in flat trays (or rip up an old cereal box and use that to put stuff on, it can then jut get put straight in the bin)  and hide little toys in for baby/toddler to discover. Make sure you put a big sheet down to stop them slipping on the flooring and have towels on standby. As a rule they can only handle about 10-15 min until the age of one, then they can manage up to half an hour maybe. If you are feeling extra creative you can move it up a notch and make your own moonsand and playdough.

Moonsand

2 cups plain flour – but will work with self raising if thats all you have.

1/2 cup sugar

100ml oil i used sunflower but again it will work with any.

You can add some food colouring if you like.

Just mix all ingredients and run oil through until it resembles damp sand. Add more oil if required.

Playdough

250g plain flour

50g salt

150ml water

2tbsp oil

Colouring if using

Mix flour, salt and oil then slowly add water, mixing with your hand until it comes together. Knead on worktop until pliable consistancy like playdough. If using colouring add with water

This is really good for toddlers but just keep a close eye to make sure they don’t eat it because even though it’s not toxic it is definitely not good to eat!

For another texture mix cornflour in water and you get a suprising liquid that’s also solid. Really amuses them. 2 parts cornflour to 1part water. Again follow the clean up regime, get the most messy stuff up out of reach and bundle evrything else up to deal with once kids are cleaned up and away.

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3/Baking with kids can be a lot of fun-says no one ever! Sorry no I said that once way back when I was a mum of one and my baby was still in a highchair! When they can move and grab stuff and pour a whole bag of flour over themselves and sneak so much raw cake mix that they get the runs so they can’t be trusted to fart for the next three days – yeah that’s not fun! There are some easy recipes that you can make together though if your patience reserves are high- you have to be in a Mary Poppins kind of a mood and def wait till kids are in good form-this kind of applies to most activities though. Simple cookies are best the ones you can roll into balls and press down with a fork.

Simple cookies

150g plain flour

100g unstalted butter softened

50g caster sugar

Beat butter and sugar and add flour and bring together, you’re looking for a playdough consistancy (add a splash of milkif you need to). Now get kids to roll golf ball sized balls and place on a lined baking tray. You can then get them to squash these down with a fork. My son really enjoys this bit so sometimes our biscuits are very oddly shaped! Bake at 180°c for 12 min until golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 5min on tray before transferring to a baking sheet.

Other good baking suggestions are crispie cakes-200g choc melted and 100g rice crispies stir together and put spoonfuls in cupcake cases then refridgerate until hardened. Scones – 80g softened unsalted butter or margerine, 350g self raising flour(if you only have plain then use it and add and extra tsp baking powder), 3 tablespoons caster sugar, 50g sultanas, 175ml milk,1 tsp baking powder. Rub butter into flour, baking powder and sugar until resembles breadcrumbs and then pour milk in and bring together. Kids enjoy getting their hands in so these won’t be the best scones you’ve ever eaten but they will have fun. Dust the worktop with flour and turn out dough and flatted down with your hand until about 2inch thick, cut out rounds with a cutter or plastic beaker works just as well. Place on lined baking tray and brush with a little beaten egg or milk. Bake for 10-12 min at 200°c until when tapped they sound hollow. Cool until you can’t wait any longer to eat one!

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4/Dressing up. Have a raid about and if you have old stuff like pillowcases that can be sacrificed then you are on to a winner! If not then you can use tea towels, your own tshirts and the kids bedding to make capes, head pieces and silly costumes. Once they get over 2 their imaginations really take off and they will constantly be telling you there is a gruffalo or dragon hiding in the house and they want to fight it! Make funny costumes and endulge them for half an hour. My top tip is to forego the swords if you can as toddlers bloody love inflicting pain and can be suprisingly strong for their size!  Again have a google for ideas.

5/ If you’re not prepared for a messy day (and lets face it that’s all of us 99% of the time!) Then a great activity for under 1’s is music. Get the radio on and have a crazy dance around. If you have youtube on the tv then search for nursery rhymes and do all the actions they absolutely love it-as do older ones. My 3yo loves the music channels and is starting to get his own taste in music. Our fave nursery rhymes are Row Row Row The Boat they pick it up quickly, Old Macdonald Had a Farm-E I E I O, was our sons first song he picked up , Wheels On The Bus is another classic and Head/Shoulders/Knees/Toes. You will be amazed how much they enjoy just being silly and it has the bonus of knackering them out! Don’t worry about getting the words right everyone has their own versions. Another non-messy activity is reading stories. The are never too young to love storytime. Our book collection is vast but they quickly get favourites and soon you will be able to read them all without the books!

So there you have it my comprehensive guide to entertaining the troops…oh I forgot the best one and the one that usually means a guaranteed half hour on your bum without interuption-just let me grab the quavers and the remote, hello Peppa Pig/Paw Patrol/Blaze/Ben and Holly! 😂

Have fun guys.

Pam xxxx

3 Little Buttons

”Blog

Blog Crush linky on lucyathome.co.uk

 

Mug Cakes

2017-03-21 09.06.25

Just wow!

I am an obsessive baker as you all know, but even I can’t pull off the impossible and whip up miracles after 9pm!  Sunday night and hubster gets the munchies…’just go and make a little chocolate cake’ he asks!  Eh no it’s late and by the times it’s ready it will be really late! Cue sulks. So after a bit of  a search (thanks Mr Google and the wonderful people of the interweb) I discovered Mug Cakes! Pop all ingredients in the mug, stir, microwave for a couple of minutes and magically you have a real live cake! Our first attempt created a monster that overtook the microwave and was a little dry – remedied by the addition of custard it did the job. But it got my creative juices flowing and I’ve been playing about so here are three fail-safe recipes that even the worst of cooks among you can pull off. You will thank me when you are chowing down on the most perfect cake in 2min! Note-you may have to adjust cooking times and depends on mug size to get the best cake. Have fun trying new flavours!

 

Chocolate chip

3tbs plain flour

2tbs caster sugar

2tbs cocoa powder

1/4 tsp bakimg powder

3tbs milk

3tbs oil (sunflower/vegetable)

2tbs choc chips or chopped up chocolate

Mix everything in a jug as it’s a bit easier to get it thoroughly mixed – you can just stick it straight in the mug though to save washing up, just use a fork and mix really well.

Microwave for 90sec this is with a 750watt microwave. Keep an eye on it to check it’s not overflowing too much!

Leave to cool for a few minutes before topping with cream, chocolate sauce, ice cream or custard whatever you have.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter

30g butter

30g choc

1.5tbs peanut butter

1 egg

1tbs sugar

5 tbs flour

1/2tsp baking powder

Extra tsp peanut butter

 

Melt butter and chocolate in microvae for 30sec. Stir and leave for a minute. Then add peanut butter, egg, sugar, flour and baking powder. Stiring between each. Once mixed microwave for 50 seconds. Remove and push a spoonful of peanut butter inyo the centre. Microwave for a further 20 seconds. Leave to cool for a minute as it will be scorchio!

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Jammy Donut Mug Cake

30g butter

5tbs plain flour

1 egg

2tbs sugar

2tbs milk

1/2tsp baking powder

2tsp jam

Melt butter in micro for 30 sec. Cool for a minute. Add sugar, egg yolk and milk then mix. Add flour and baking powder and stir. Add1 tsp  jam to centre. Microwave for 50 sec. Top with teaspoon jam and serve.

Your welcome….

 

Pam xxx

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Growing your family

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We are quickly approaching my babys first birthday – where the hell did the last year go! Before she was born I was filled with a million questions;

• How would I cope with two?

• How would my son deal with the new competition for my time and affection?

• How would I get anything done?

• How would I manage going back to work?

I now have the answers to some of my questions, but have been filled with lots more!

For those of you getting ready to welcome a new member of you clan or thinking about adding to your brood then I can tell you some of what I have learnt.

1/  Don’t stress too much. (Easy for me to say now hey!) It isn’t such a massive bomb like I thought it would be. You actually have  a while to adjust. Babies really don’t do very much, apart from the obvious time taken to feed them. Don’t worry about everything that might happen – the shit will hit the fan! But every bad day is a day you will learn a massive lesson.

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2/  You will have nights/days spent crying in those first few months. ‘What have I done to my firstborn?’ Was my only thought some nights. I kept thinking back to the days when he had me all to himself. Now he had to deal with being to told to wait – a lot. We had a rough first couple of months with a screaming, unsettled baby. I was knackered, I had forgotten just what lack of sleep does to you. I couldn’t be bothered with a hyper toddler when I was in the middle of a a code brown (poonami/exploding bum whatever you call a nappy leak of epic proportions!) When I finally got the baby to nap I wanted to sit down, but then I would be overcome with guilt and anguish that I was denying him my time and attention so I would put myself all out to be there for him, leaving me even more tired. I found it easier as long as you keep including your other children in whatever ways are appropriate for their age. My little boy was 2 when baby was born so he was able to bring me bibs and nappies and wipes, that was about the limit of his help, he loved – and still loves – being asked to help, sometimes it’s more of a hindrance!

3/  People will offer to take your other children – to give you time with the baby. This left me so upset. After the third week I broke down and explained to hubby that I didn’t want anymore time with the just the baby, but could I have a few hours alone with my son?! He hadn’t realised, neither had well meaning family and friends. So they started taking the baby for a walk in her pram for 30 min so I could take my toddler boy for a walk just me and him or to sit reading stories with no interuptions! It was so important for us to have that time and I’m very glad I did break down and admit how I felt. It’s hard splitting yourself in two and ultimately something has to give. Just try to be honest about how you feel, no one will judge you. It’s all about finding your feet.

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4/  You will be amazed at what you can achieve – and just like when you had your first, wonder what the hell you did with all your time before! You have more washing than you can imagine, you will feel like you are constantly tidying up and doing dishes! How can there possibly be no clean towels or bedding?!  Invest in a tumble dryer and get your other half on board. Washing needs sorted and put ON! Not jut stuck in the laundry basket! Dry stuff needs put away or ironed. I do a mass ironing night abut every three weeks and get enough clothes put away for the kids to last me a while. It’s taken a lot of nagging but we get there most weeks between us. And if you have nothing and the baby has to stay in a sleepsuit it’s not the end of the world. Don’t try and live up to any unrealistic expectations. If you have made it to the end of the day with happy (ok with alive) kids then your doing great!

5/   It does get easier. Or you become better at adapting. My son and daughter already have an incredible bond, she looks to him whenever she hears his voice. He is the only one who can raise a smile from her some days and if she isnt’t around he asks for her and wants to see her. Yes she annoys the hell out of him now that she is moving and touching his stuff. Yes we have a lot of fights coming up and probably periods where they won’t get on. But I also hope that they will grow back together when they are older and always be there for each other.

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I will never regret our decision to have another as it has brought so much happiness to our lives. It has changed my son in ways I couldn’t imagine. Taught him patience ( well as much patience as he could ever have!), brought out an incredibly caring side of his character and made my heart ache for the man he is becoming. My daughter is growing up with a companion and ally. She will learn to share far better than my son did. She is learning to stand up for herself and fight her corner. And for me, I have learnt that my heart has a relentless capacity to love. I worried how I could love someone else? But like when my first child came along my heart just expanded to make room for my love for him. I am suprised that I can love in different ways. I love them equally but differently. And seeing my husband become a better person with every day he is a father. It has changed him massively making him more generous, less selfish and bringing out the inner fun guy that sometimes got overshadowed by work and life in general. As a couple we are growing and learning everyday. Our relationship is so different to what it was 15 years ago but what we try to keep is the laughs. It’s what brought us together and what keeps us going.

Pam xx

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Food for thought..the feeding journey continues

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Anyone else worry that their child may be 80% sausage, 20% potato waffle some weeks?! (Asking for a friend! 😂) Never fear I try not to get too bogged down or upset if I miss the mark some days on nutrition. I try my best but some days you just don’t have the time or energy to make dinner from scratch-or else the kids are in the kind of mood where you don’t want to waste valuable time cooking when whatever you make will be turned down so you just stick to Captain Birdseye! Tip Number 1 – don’t get too disheartened it happens to the best of us (except Annabel Karmel, I bet she doesn’t have an emergency pack of chicken nuggests stashed in her freezer! 😂)

With an 11 month old who gave up milk at 7 months and eats a crazy amount of food, along with a constantly hungry 3 year old, I struggle most days trying to think of decent snacks and meals to give my kids. Fruit and veg is always a great choice.. but you have to think of the fibre (and the horrendous nappies if you give the baby too much fruit) also sometimes you just dont have any fresh fruit left after a mad blueberry/grape binge (toddlers take notions for stuff and will gorge for days and eat you out of house and home) and then other days refuse to look at anything remotely healthy.

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Recently I started menu planning and it hasn’t only cut my food bills but has made life a lot easier. This is Tip Number 2! Spend a little time sorting out meal ideas for the week and it makes the weekly shop a bit less stressful and you have way less 4pm dinner hassle. Now we have one motto at meal times, if they dont like/want what I have prepared that’s fine, I will try and persuade them but if that fails then they get nothing else-no substitutions. I try not to get overly worked up over dinner (shouty mum does come out some nights though and I find myself screaming ‘it’s  only a bloody tomato and you liked them yesterday’ at a huffy toddler!) Baby girl is still at that amazing age when they basically eat whatever you give her so I’m rolling with that for as long as I can!

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Snacks I have given the kids this week…

•rice cakes, for some reason they love them

•toast/scones/pancakes – we go through way too many carbs in our house

•cherios – an actual godsend as I make myself believe they are a decent snack because the box says they are multigrain and fortified with vitimins!

•fruit (if I said veg I would be lying as toddler boy hates all veg right now and baby girl has no teeth!)

•mild cheddar cheese cubes

•popcorn

•quavers/wotsits/skips

As I said before it’s all relative. Obviously ‘bad snacks’ aren’t the best choice but some days they are the ONLY choice! So give yourself a break and move on.

Tip Number 3 is to avoid getting bogged down in recipes. If you don’t have all the ingredients it says you need could you adapt it? Could you substitute something you do have? If you don’t like something in a recipe leave it out. And change the quantities to suit the portion you need.

Egg Cups (makes 6)

3 eggs. Splash milk. 6 pieces of bread with crusts removed. Filling of choice – grated cheese and chopped ham/cheese and onion/red pepper and feta/grated carrit and corgette.

Oven 170°c. Roll out bread with rolling pin and place in a cupcake tin like a liner. Whisk eggs and milk and pour into the cups. Add filling. Bake for 20-25min or until egg fully cooked.

Fish Pie

Potatoes peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed. 4 fillets of fish,I use smoked haddock but use whatever you enjoy. 500ml milk. 2 carrots grated. 1 corgette grated. 50g butter. 1tbsp cornflower. 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Put fish in a bowl and cover with milk. Microwave for 2-3 min. Take out fish and flake into an ovenproof dish-reserve milk. Put butter in a pan and melt then add cornflower and cook for a minute, whisk in leftover milk and add cheese to make a cheese sauce. Pour over fish and add grated veg. Leave to cool then top with mashed potato. Oven at 180°c for 30min.

Cauliflower and Broccoli soup

1 large cauliflower. 2 broccoli. 1 onion. 1.5pint veg stock. 1/2 cup grated cheese. Splash milk.1tbsp oil.

Chop and fry onion in oil. Roughly chop and add cauliflower and broccoli. Add stock and simmer for 10 min, add a bit more water and cook for further 15min. Once all veg fully cooked remove from heat. Blend with hand blender or potato masher. Add cheese and splash of milk and stir over low heat. Serve with crusty bread.

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Tip Number 4, next time you are in the supermarket spice aisle then look out for ‘ras-el-hanout’ it’s an incredible spice mix that you can put on grilled meat and veg or add to soups and stews if you like a Moroccan flavour.

2 chicken breasts. 1 onion. 1 butternut squash. 2tsp ras-el-hanout. 1tsp cumin. 1tsp paprika. 2 garlic cloves. 1 tin chopped tomatoes. 1/2 pint veg stock.

Chop and fry onion. Peel and chop butternut squash and place in ovenproof dish. Add diced chicken and crushed garlic to the frying pan. Add spices. Add tomatoes and stock and simmer for 5 min. Transfer to ovenproof dish with lid and cook at 180°c for 1 hour. Serve with cous cous and pitta.

This is food with beef or lamb too, just adjust the cooking temp to 160°c and double cooking time.

If all else fails..raid the freezer! I am passionate about cooking but understand the stress that parents face when they have to come up with 7 lunches and dinners every week. So it’s time to help each other out. Share recipes with friends, give them your tip tips an time saving hacks. Or even share the number for the nearest take away in your area!

Hope you are all well this week.

Pam xxx

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I did it my way!

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Why are we all so angry at each other? I hear working mums slating their stay at home counterparts, saying that they shouldn’t be complaining about having too much to do when they have all the time in the world. I hear stay at home parents deride the working mums for chosing career over family. Is there no compassion? I have tried to look at this from all sides, and base it on stay at home ‘parents’ as I now see so many more dads finding themselves in this role. But it is hard as everyone has such different outlooks..

Having spoken to lots of parents about their ‘choices’ (and I use that term loosly, as many parents’ decisions are completely out of their hands) I have realised that we are all just doing what we can. So why can’t we respect each others decisions? I hold my hand up to having shared opinions on others lifestyles, at looking negatively at how others choose to live. Haven’t we all?  But after going through a pretty hectic few years myself and from watching a lot of my friends lives change and some them suffer. I am now trying to look at the bigger picture. Some people made mistakes after their first baby and when they had their second they were more comfortable deciding what was the best way forward. Some people are just limping along.

We have the stay at home parents. Split into two tribes, the first tribe are the parents for whom raising a family is something they excell at and it is definitely a choice to stay at home. Then we have the people with no family close by and/or previously in a low paid job? No chance you’re going back to work just to pay someone else to watch your kids and come out with nothing. You may have believed pre-children that family would step in and help out and have been sorely let down – I hear it all the time. Childcare is crippling and I can see why people would decide to stay at home rather than work just to pay for it. I would certainly think twice if I didn’t work shifts. So you are at home full time with the kids trying to make a weekly routine and maybe find something for you. Some take active roles in baby groups, some try their hand at a work from home position and some find thst they truly love being a homemaker so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Whatever way you came to be at home, for you the guilt comes from feeling the need to provide enough stimulation for your children, from trying to justify your day to your partner, from feeling like you are a glorified skivvy some days. Not all of us but the majority. A stay at home role is really a calling I believe, and I can understand the resentment that could builds up if you are forced into this role if it maybe wasn’t on the cards. Yes you choose to have children, but do you as a parent also have to choose to sacrifice all the other parts of yourself?!

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There are those who go back flexi or part time. An ideal senario you might think as it’s the best of both worlds. But you often find yourselves doing just as much work as your full time counterparts while still doing all the housework. At work your employer still expects the same out of you,just in condensed hours so you have work guilt for the feeling you aren’t pulling your weight as much as before. While at home everything still needs done and you have the dreaded guilt of not seeing the kids for a few days, so you spend all your days off doing stuff with them. You might have family that help out to enable you to work which means you get back a little bit of yourselves and a break from being mum but at the same time don’t feel you can ask any more from the family so don’t get any time as a couple. You do get the financial benefit of being back at work that enables you to afford to pay the bills and enormous mortgage you took out to enjoy the lifestyle you aspire to, but are you really having it all?! Most days it won’t feel like it.

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Then there are the full time workers, most derided sometimes for their lack of maternal care. You work 40+ hours a week at your job, spend evenings preparing meals and doing housework so you can spend every minute of your day off with the family trying to ‘make memories’, because you suffer mummy guilt the most. Jesus it’s a never ending hamster wheel. By working so much you are able to provide well for your family but for most of us the reason for going back full time isn’t financial, sometimes it’s not a choice but a case of necessity as your employer doesn’t offer an alternative arrangement. You feel guilty for missing out of the social aspect of parenting when you can’t make classes or events at school. You feel guilty for not being there at school drop off or pick up every day. You even feel guilty at work for not focusing 100% on your job because you are thinking about your kids. Personally I would love to work part time if I was able. But for some individuals it’s a need to be that person they are at work and they truly enjoy the full time position as opposed to being at home. But if they are honest is this the life they really thought the would have?

We would all be lying if we said we enjoy working – win the lottery and see if you would still get up at 5am for your commute!

So do we place any higher respect on the parent who chooses to stay by their childs side or the one who works and sets a different example to their children?  I am constantly torn.

On one hand I abhor anyone who is workshy so for me going back to work was a given (but I was lucky enough that my mum can help out with childcare and I work shifts that make it easier for me than most). But staying at home everyday and raising children is harder work than anything I can ever imagine (And yet…while staying at home you cannot contribute to your pension or get a paycheck!).

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I believe that in the end we are always going to be jealous of each other. A massive case of ‘the grass is greener’. Those who stay at home are a little jealous of the lifestyle of the working mums while those at work are jealous of what they perceive the stay at home parents are up to. You have idealised views of what they get up to, and if you could live one week in their shoes would you stay?

If I knew 5 years ago how my life would be would I still make all the decisions I have done? I’m not honestly sure. But hindsight is a great thing. It’s all relative. Ultimately not many of us would trade places so we should start owning our lifestyle.

If you are currently at home and loving it (well at least mostly!) then I salute you! If you are stuck at home and hating it, the good news is that they do get older and move out (and whos to say our 50’s can’t be better than our 20’s!) If you are juggling work and family then I raise a strong gin in your honour – you most likely need one most nights! We only get one chance at this and I want to look back and think I did it my way – permenantly exhausted, limping through like a sloth on weed but my way!

Pam xx


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The (parenting) Oscars

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The (parenting) Oscars

 

Best Dramatic Performance Nominees

•Toddler stropping because his sock fell off

•Toddler because the wrong tv show came on

•Baby because her breakfast wasn’t ready within 3 seconds of her deciding she was hungry

•Husband for realising he had no work clohes because he didnt unpack when he got home on friday

 

Best Soundtrack nominees

•Baby crying endlessly as she’s teething

•Toddler screaming because you said he had to stop pouring his cereal through the radiator to warm it up

•Cat having a fight with the neighbours cat

•Husband snoring like a freigh train

 

Best Picture nominees

•A lovely fresco in Crayola on my kitchen wall 🙈

•Spaghetti hoops flung against the door by raging baby

•Finger painting in poo when baby got her nappy off

•Scatter arrangement of wet towels and dirty clothes after hubby uses the bathroom

 

Best Actor goes to..

•Toddler boy for his incredible performance when he was told he couldn’t go in the washing machine to have a wash..he did try and get in!

 

Best Actress goes to..

•Baby girl for losing her shit when I try to dress her – every single day!

And as always the winner in the Best Supporting role goes to Mummy!  For her endless dedication to the role and for really immersing herself in the character.

Hope you are all ready for the new week. Happy Monday everyone!!

Pam xx

One Messy Mama