Just a lovely day

I was thinking I’d write a blog about those little things that make parenting particularly joyful. But today was one of those unexpected, unplanned, wonderful from start to finish Mummy-Son days. So I’m going to tell you about today instead.

Before I prattle on, I think I can safely acknowledge, in the company of friends, that when you are a parent to a young child (I can’t give an age range as I simply don’t know. Maybe under 8?) days rarely go to plan. Particularly if you have meticulously planned a day out somewhere, figured out how you get there and where you will eat and all the MARVELLOUS things you will see. Because your child is not plugged into your brain, does not know the emotional importance you have placed on this marvellous day, does not realise that they should shut down the tantrums, or the refusal of food they usually accept, or the rejection of things that up until the moment they woke up that morning, they adored. And even if it is not a momentous day, if it is just a day where you have planned to pop to the park, or the playbarn, or to a friend’s for a cuppa; it still won’t quite go as you’d envisaged. Your child will fall out with another child at the park or the playbarn, or with your friend’s child who they have previously been inseparable from. Or they will wee themselves on your friend’s sofa, or throw toys, or just sit and look sad. Whatever it is that happens, it won’t be what you’d pictured.

And then a miraculous day like today will happen, a day when you have planned nothing at all and wonder glumly what you will do with yourselves as the sky makes yet another half-arsed attempt to snow and the wind slices a layer of skin off your face as you peek out of your door.

And then your child will unexpectedly decide he feels like doing craft, which he normally HATES, and you will spend a happy half an hour colouring in a picture of a fire engine together until your Husband calls to say he has left his insulin at home and you will roll your eyes and bundle your child into the car and pootle off to Brindley Place.

And your child will decide the walk from the Brindley Place carpark to Daddy’s Work is in fact the most joyful adventure of his life and will run and laugh and jump and at one point dance in the middle of the bridge crossing the canal so happily that strangers laugh with him, and then you will get to Daddy’s Work, and you will spy Daddy at the end of a long atrium and point him out to your child who will enact the kind of reunion seen in films, sprinting down the atrium wooping MY DADDY MY DADDY before throwing himself on his Dad.

And you will hand over the insulin and trot back on the walk of joy to Brindley Place for an impromtu lunch at Carluccio’s where your child will be an absolute poppet and unexpectedly colour in the nice little kiddy colouring pack that is usually ritually flung on the floor as soon as it is handed over while he waits for a lunch that he will absolutely relish to arrive, and you will want to burst with pride at how well behaved he is while you tuck into your  own Vegan (I know, I KNOW) lunch.

And then in the car on the way home a little voice will trill ‘Mummy, can we go to the park’ just as you approach the Botanical Gardens, so off to the Botanics you go, which is sunny and cold and deserted and beautiful (I realised today how desensitised I am to how lovely the Birmingham Botancial Gardens are – see photos to follow) and you will spend a happy hour exploring together before reaching the playground at which point the heavens will open with an almighty hailstorm. You will dash to a little wooden cabin for cover and turn round to watch your child dancing and shrieking with delight at the first hailstorm he has encountered.

And then tea time and bath time and story time will pass easily and uneventfully and happily, and you will sit and reflect on the nicest Friday you can remember in a while, made all the more pleasant for its total unexpectedness.

Excuse the haggered state of myself in the first photo. Tired. Long week. All made better by today. Have a great weekend.

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dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused

Today is the day: Mon 19th January 2015 (it’s a rant)

Is there always an aggressive bint at a fitness class? Because this is a thing I have observed to be true.  Even in the old Spinning class days, there was always one. Clearly fiddling with the nob to keep the resistance low because even the hyper fit pentathlete was knackered at the end of that class, there she was in her stupid pink fingerless gloves, whizzing along without breaking a sweat and grinning merrily at the instructor while the rest of us struggled not to vomit. If she could, I’m fairly sure she’d have sat in front of a wind machine just to toss her hair about like a tit whilst she pretended to work out.

There was one in Yoga too – wrapping one leg six times round her neck and then flicking the Vs quietly over her shoulder at the rest of us as we toppled over and tried not to fart (because yes, Yoga does that to you.)

And now I am down to just the one fitness class a week, Monday night Zumba, and there is still an agressive bint. Now this is Zumba. This is a room full of ladies fannying around trying to get a bit fit. This is not elite fitness, or body combat, or circuits. We were dancing to Uptown Funk tonight. It is a brilliantly barmy class, lead by an ex-pro who has danced for the likes of Take That and The Killers. Man she can dance. Man, none of the rest of us can. Everyone there is fighting their own little battle – the middle age spread, the post-baby bumps, the New Year Resolution, the recouperation from injuries. You work hard, you look like a dickhead, there’s not much more to it.

Except this silly cow thinks she owns it. Whilst most of us punch ourselves in the head at least twice during the class ALRIGHT THAT’S JUST ME, she is there flinging her arms about and having no qualms about invading the small amount of personal space you have in a dance class. She nearly took me out tonight and we were SHIMMYING IN A CIRCLE for the love of Darcy Bussell. I really don’t care to compete in this environment. I am just trying, desperately and with a crippling lack of grace, to get over the latest neck injury and to have a bit of fun while I’m at it because this one hour a week is my only regular hour off and I’d rather spend it laughing than doing star  jumps in my front room. And she is spoiling it.

And to make matters worse she is no better than the rest of us so why she feels she must inflict her demented passive agressive, territory encroaching, misplaced smug faced shit (sorry Mum) on us all is beyond me. She must be the only person ever to take herself seriously in a Zumba class.

If anyone wants a really good cardio workout, with lashings of laughter on the side, do come to Sherene’s Zumba Class on a Monday Night at Moorpool Hall, 6.15-7pm. It is excellent.

dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused

The Voms

I’m sure you’ve all been hanging onto your seats waiting for just such a delightful blog as this. Well I cannot imagine or bear the thought of disappointing or denying you, so here we go.

We have survived the first sickness bug.

I have been dreading the Voms ever since we marched Blake through the door at Nursery on a mild October morning, sat him on the floor and then rocked quietly in the corner of the corridor while he howled. Everyone, every last single solitary person knows that the first Winter of Nursery is awash with sickness. Your child gets every single sodding bug going as they toddle round their assigned room, licking the floor and sneezing into each others mouths. You claw and crawl your way into March dazed and confused, having survived a raft of fevers, infant coughs and more often than not, sickness bugs. Not to mention The Pox.

Except somehow we survived two Winters at Nursery without a sickness bug. This is probably a lucky break from having found a lovely small Nursery for Blake with only a handful of children trading germs. And so I knew in my waters that we wouldn’t manage a third lucky Winter.

I’d have preferred the chosen time for said stomach bug to not have been Boxing Day, but having spent that morning with James at A&E the day had already gone off piste.

I had quite the mental block on the Voms. I am not good with the Voms. If James or I show the slightest sign of being sicky I go all out Dictator on the house, setting up a quarantine zone in the spare room with enough Sprite, bowls and rehydration sachets to see us through a clear week, all the while shrieking DON’T BREATHE ON EACH OTHER GET INTO SOLITARY!!! And so I was terrified about how I would cope with a small, puking child. Because grown adults can generally take themselves off to their own little pit of misery and be sick discreetly and fairly neatly and be done with it. Under 4s, I suspected, would not be quite so sophisticated in their approach.

I will say now, we were lucky. This time, it was not Noro, although that will no doubt come. This time was a 6 hour, once every 45 minutes, batch of the Voms and Blake quickly grasped the concept that one ideally aims for the bowl and not the pillow. And the universally recognised truth of parenthood hit me smack in the face again  – when it is your own child, the laws of logic and hygiene go out of the window, along with your normal adult reaction. When it is your child, you put all else to one side and knuckle down and find that frankly, you care about nothing but them being alright. Oh well done me, I thought, as I calmly hauled Blake up into a sitting position at 4am, held a bowl in front of him and rubbed his back. You are so much calmer than expected. You are normally such a total pillock, this is quite unexpected. You must brush that sick out of your hair later, but never mind. There we go, he’s done, lets wipe his little face and kiss his forehead and settle him back down.

Don’t get me wrong, I was really worried, I know the risks of a little one becoming  dehydrated and I by no account mean to belittle something that can be serious and scary.  But at the same time – if you can’t raise an eyebrow at this funny old game of parenting, and grin and call a Vom a Vom, what can you do? We press on. It’s not all toy trains and whole milk and mini Boden.

So in a rare show of maturity *snorts* I  found a quiet place of calm inside myself and a bit of grit and determination that saw me climb into bed with my child and watch over him through the night until he was through the worst. At which point I reverted to normal and dragged my weary limbs around the house alternately moaning quietly and snarling at anyone over 3 who came too close.

So there we have it. Another parenting first down. Bosh.

dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused

We interrupt this blog to bring you a recipe: Fri 9th January 2015

I’ve been feeling mightily sorry for myself this week. I have a recurring neck problem that cripples me for days at a time, and have spent the majority of this week drugged up to the eyeballs, hobbling round like Gollum, on the verge of tears with a heat pack duck taped to my neck.

It’s been a pretty horrible week in general with the Charlie Hebdo attack. I can’t even begin to figure out how to write about this. I am horrified by it, but also feel hopeful at the dignified, sensible reactions from people the world over. And we’ll just ignore the right wing f*ckwit brigade who use any terror attack as an excuse for racism, bigotry and ignorance shall we? Everyone good with that? If not please just piss off.

Anyway, in the Week of Rubbish, this little recipe has been a small, insignificant triumph in the ongoing battle to get Blake to eat a more varied diet with some sort of vegetable content. And so I am sharing it for all the Mums out there quietly fretting about their child’s eating habits.

Blake and I are locked in a constant power struggle over food but this went down like a chocolate bar and won me multiple mummy points. I think I may have cribbed the base recipe off something on Twitter from some time back, so if it’s yours then thanks for planting the seed and I acknowledge that the copyright for this does not belong to me.

Fussy-toddler ‘pie’

Peel and chop up a jacket spud. Shove it into a pan of boiling water, wait til soft, mash with whatever the hell you like (butter AND cream here because the fatty in me adores the fact you can get away with cooking with such things for a child) and set to one side. Or if clever, do this whilst doing the below. I am not clever enough for such multi-tasking.

Take one smallish red onion. Hack it in half and chop/throw a sharp knife at it until it is blitzed into smithereens. Or just a size that your fussy toddler will tolerate.

Shove a pan on the hob at medium heat with a bit of oil. Smugface over here used coconut oil because ALL THE HEALTH.

Peel and grate a small carrot.

Grate half a small courgette.

Shove the veg into the pan and cook out gently until soft.

Cut a reduced salt Oxo cube in half. Question why you bothered cutting it as it disintegrates. Crumble about half the cube over the veg and then wang in enough double cream to cover the lot.

Let it bubble for a few minutes as you realise you forgot to turn the oven on.

Turn oven on to 200 deg.

Throw into the creamy veg mess whatever frozen veg you feel like. Peas and sweetcorn here. Cook out until no longer frozen – only takes a couple of minutes.

Now – this next step will depend very much on your attitude to the combination of toddler + salt. If you do not expose your child to salt, STOP READING NOW and skip to the next line. Or, if you want to add a little bit of seasoning into the creamy looks-a-bit-like-vomit mixture, season to whatever level you are comfortable with. I did a little grate of pepper but no salt due to already having used stock.

Transfer mixture to a oven-proof bowl.

Slop mash onto the top, spread out obviously EVER SO NEATLY and stick in the oven for about 15 – 20 mins until it is bubbling and mash turns golden.

Serve to your child and watch in amazement as they eat something nutritious.

I think you could easily throw in some diced chicken or fish, or lentils, to up the protein quota.

*internal high-five*

dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused

Today is the day: Thurs 1st January 2015

Oh hi there 2015. Happy New Year. Hope you enjoyed whatever your chosen celebrations were – we’ll gloss over the rather chronic attack of heartburn that happened here and left me pacing the house shortly after midnight whilst my husband was doubled over on the floor complaining about tightness in his chest. All is well thank goodness.

And I write, smugly, having already smashed one of my resolutions! I spent the last two New Years Days in a very sorry state having over indulged on nice wine in a flurry of you’re-no-longer-21-you-haggered-moron forgetfulness and was adamant I was not making that mistake again. And here I am, fresh faced (alright, tired looking) and bright eyed with not a headache in site. #virtualroundofappluase

Which puts me in a positive frame of mind for Resolutions. For the past few years, if anyone asked about NYReses (as I’m cribbing them), I adopted a harassed expression and muttered, like an arse, that I was a working Mother and had neither the time nor the inclination for such silliness. What an idiot. This year, I feel quite differently about them, because I feel like they are an opportunity to be realistic about changes I can make that will make things better. And so I’m sharing them here to set me on track for this year.

1. I will not get smashed on New Years Eve, make a dick of myself and spend the first day of 2015 hating myself

2. I will continue trying to live well. This means making healthy choices 80% of the time. I would hope I’ll be able to crack running this year but if my tired old knees decide that is not to be I will continue to fit in the exercise I can around the free time I have. And I will continue to have a sensible approach to food – to cook for us whenever possible and live by the mantra that if it’s cooked from scratch and does not have a load of additives and preservatives squashed into it, it’s generally a good option even if there’s a bit of cheese or red meat or whatever in it.

3. I will go with home-made where I can. Home-made Christmas was much more of a slog than I’d anticipated. I burned serious midnight oil getting it all prepared and packaged and distributed out to friends and family. I was exhausted (what’s new?) and adamant I wasn’t doing it in 2015. But then people received their gifts, and loved them, and virtually everyone commented on the fact they were thoughtful. And it felt really nice to give something a bit different, that meant something to people, and so I’d like to try and keep going with it this year. (This involves learning to crochet). Here are some pictures of my Christmas wares: *smugface*

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4. Which leads me nicely to this: I will run my house better, be more organised and free up some time (to crochet!) At the moment it’s all a bit haphazard – things get done but I always feel a little bit like chaos is nipping at my heels. I’ll do things a bit differently – little things like always emptying the dishwasher in the morning, doing a wash every day rather than neglecting it on work days and then drowning under it at the weekends, and planning out meals for the week.

5. Where I can’t do homemade, I will wherever possible try to support Independents rather than lining the velvet pockets of national/multinationals. For Christmas, I bought a few pieces from the brilliant Clare Gets Crafty, and it was lovely to support a small, local business and gift some lovely, quality, unique things.

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6. I will continue stumbling along, trying to be a good Mum and the Mum Blake deserves.

7. Lastly, I will wear more lipstick. Because everyone should have a frivolous NYRes! I’ve always been a bit scared of lipstick – it’s seemed too grown up for me, but I bought a nice MAC Red one in duty free on the way to Singapore and I have trialled it out recently and found two things 1) people do not gawp at you like you are an alien if you were lipstick to take your child to the park, 2) I feel a bit better, a bit less like my face will scare small children, with a bit of lipstick on. Forgive the shallowness, but it’s nice to have a little pep-me-up when you’re tired and wrinkled.

Whether you’re NYRes-ing or not, I wish you the best for 2015. X

dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused