Toddler Love

Pre school run this morning. First time in two weeks. 

The Girl: Mummy, I feel a bit sad. 

Me: That’s a shame, why?

We have just established how very excited she is to see everyone at preschool and she has rehearsed saying “Happy new year” for an entire 10 minutes…

Me: Will you miss me? 

The Girl: We have had a lot of time together over the holidays. 
Me: Yes so it will be sad to be apart again? 

The Girl: Mummy…it was a lot of time. 

I know, I know, it was indeed a lot of time…

Parenting is One Thing, Pets Are Another…. 

“Mummy we need to talk about Santa”

It’s November, The Girl is 3.5 years old and just like in the film Love Actually, Christmas is indeed all around us. So, unlike when this was suggested to me in October, I agree to engage in the discussion. 

“I would like a pet please mummy” my heart sinks. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of other people having pets and completely understand why people do, but it’s just not for us. Phil and I just aren’t really animal people. 

We tried. We once had a house rabbit called Clive, he lived in the dining room of our pre-baby house. He was fab, he was toilet trained and would jump in to his cage when the bell was rung. 

He also chewed everything in sight, malted hair everywhere, grew viciously long claws that were impossible to cut (it was definitely easier to anaesthetise a person than to snip his talons) and would sprint into the back corner of his cage the instant you tried to show any affection toward him. 

We put in the effort, I read every book about caring for animals, I googled house rabbit questions like a new mum googles “how to make my baby sleep” but Clive just didn’t want to play. All in all, perhaps not the most rewarding of pets. 

When the Girl was about 8weeks old, I was upstairs trying to feed her in to a milk induced coma when Phil comes in and in a panicked whisper says “I think Clive is dead”. 

“What do you mean you ‘think’ Clive is dead?” 

“Well he isn’t moving, breathing,responding or opening his eyes” And there speaks a doctor, someone who can confirm human death with certainty but stands in front of me questioning the vitality of our 4 yr old rabbit despite all the signs suggesting, with absolute certainty that Clive is dead. 

So our ‘dwarf’ rabbit who was nearly 2ft long when stretched out, with his feet behind him and his ‘hands’ in front (his favourite position to be in) had died. In said position. Meaning he was twice the size of a shoe box and the small animal carrier, and bigger than any other box we happened to have in the house. We didn’t know what to do, we had never before been in this position, we didn’t know what to do with a dead animal. 

So we called Clegg. Our friend who lived about 200 yards away and is some sort of animal whisperer (although not once they are dead it turns out). With her history of having had several rabbits who have lived and died she was the woman we needed. Phil explained the predicament of an appropriate vessel to take the recently deceased Clive to the vets in (and the fact phil was freaked out by dead Clive and didn’t want to touch him) and Clegg came to the rescue. With a large box. A box to transport our enormous, dead and fully stretched out rabbit, to the waiting room of the vets. The waiting room which would be filled with passionate animal lovers and their very much alive pets. So Clive’s final journey was in a Kenwood food processor box complete with pictures of raw meat on the side.

I don’t think Clive would have minded- sure he was a vegetarian and sure, any contact with a food processor in his living days would have been some sort of terrifying torture situation and clearly not the path he was meant to take, but I like to think he was fairly open minded and ultimately a box is a box. Or that’s what we told Clegg as she heroically volunteered to take him to the vets, as I was only just capable of leaving the house with The Girl, never mind The Girl and an oversized food processor box containing dead Clive. 

So with this experience in mind I know The Girl is going to be disappointed as Santa will not be bringing her a pet, but I entertain the discussion for a little longer asking what sort of pet she would like…

“A crocodile mummy, and if I can’t have a crocodile then 3 caterpillars please” 

Well, unexpected options but perhaps possible, and she did say please….

Domestic Bliss

It’s Sunday morning. Phil is on call and hasn’t been seen since Friday at 7am (although the evidence suggests that he did make it home to reheat his dinner on Friday night at some point) and it is November. And, being the domestic goddess that I am, I know that we should make the Christmas cake.

During the week I bought some ingredients I could remember we needed but it’s going to be a bit hit or miss. The problem is that I have said to The Girl that we will make our Christmas cake, therefore it needs to happen. And it needs to happen now. Right now. 

So we get out the Delia Smith complete cookbook. This is the only recipe I have ever made from this book and I have done it 3 times before. It seems to have worked in previous years so I persevere with the same one. 

This year however, The Boy introduces a new dynamic, he is “dairy free” – not because it’s trendy, but because if he eats dairy (including through my breastmilk) then he poops blood, which even as a trained medic I find somewhat alarming. So, I’ve introduced a “baking block” – a generic non-milk based butter alternative – something I am 100% sure Delia would not approve of…Much like my lack of fresh nutmeg would no doubt not go down well, nor would the lack of orange rind (which I have rather cunningly substituted with slightly ‘past it’ satsuma skin  who knew it’s not that easy to grate the skin of a satsuma? It just sort of peels itself). It also turns out my candied peel’s use by date was last year and my eggs are not large. 

I could, and perhaps should, nip to the shop but it’s 10am, I was up 3 times in the night, none of us are dressed and I can’t be bothered to take the gang to the supermarket (this would also mean my trip to the butcher’s yesterday to buy the most expensive chicken in the world “it is grain fed and free range” was entirely avoidable as I could have bought one at the supermarket for half the price). So I don’t, I crack on with the cake baking, with all of us in our PJs. Well, I’m in my bra and dressing gown as The Boy did some sort of epic projectile vomit down my PJs before we got out of bed this morning, and I’m yet to locate some spew free clothing. 

But it all goes rather well, The Girl sneezes, narrowly missing the mixing bowl and The Boy requires 2 nappy changes mid-bake. At one point The Girl describes my slightly curdled butter, sugar, and egg mix as “looking like a nappy- but smelling nicer” which I accept as a charming compliment.  

She does however temporarily bamboozle me when she informs me that the treacle “looks like Mike”. The only Mike we know is Caucasian with mousy brown hair and a fairly solid rugby player type, so I’m unable to see how she is making this association. But with further discussion “it’s Mike that daddy spreads on toast”. Marmite. She means Marmite. 

Anyway after an hour and a half of prep (with a very much preheated oven, as at Delia’s request we turned it on at the start of this venture) the cake goes in, and half a day later comes out resembling a fruitcake. 

A fruitcake which is now going to be heavily laced with booze for the next 6 weeks to disguise its short comings, a fruitcake which is definitely not chocolate flavoured (despite what The Girl is insisting) and a fruitcake which is not to be eaten for the next 6 weeks. A concept that The Girl is having significant trouble understanding. 

Next year I’m just going to brave the supermarket, buy a reasonably priced free range chicken and a ready made Christmas cake. In hindsight, the better option.