Monthly Archives: May 2011

Fussy Eating.

It would appear I now have a bit of a fussy eater. (Child – not other half.) The little girl who once would eat anything, including lipsticks and soap, now pushes away my lovingly prepared home made meals without even trying them.

“Nope” we get with a firm shake of the head, and the plate is carefully picked up and placed to one side. (This is actually quite good though, as I hear a lot of toddlers prefer the throwing-it-straight-on-the-floor method of refusal.) I nonchalantly push the plate back, y’know, playing it cool.

 “Nope.”

 Plate is replaced – again very carefully  – to one side. I play aeroplanes. This is met with a delighted smile until the spoon actually reaches her lips, where upon smile turns to frown in a nano-second.

“Nope.”

I try a bit of reverse psychology. “Oh well, Mummy will eat it then if Grace doesn’t want it . . . MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmm! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooh! DELICIOUS! Woooow! Grace, try a bit more? . . .)

“Nope.”

Another bowl of food in the dog’s bowl. It’s no wonder we have a greyhound with a flatulence problem is it? Now this has gone on for a few weeks now, and along the way, I have cultivated a few top tips that work for me, and a few recipes that can sometimes, just sometimes, make life a little easier. They don’t always work, but sometimes they do, so I thought I may as well share them. (Any tips in return are more than welcome!)

  • I no longer offer alternatives/favourites I know she’ll eat when she refuses her food. This is tough love, but I feel it’s now necessary. (Although we will cave and give the ol’ fail safe of a banana/rusk/yoghurt ONLY if it’s her last meal of the day. This is a bit of self-preservation in force as she’s more likely to sleep through the night.) After continually relenting at first, we now find she will eat a bit better if she’s hungry enough. A “no-brainer” I hear you cry, but it is so tempting to fall back on the favourites when you know they’re hungry.
  • Most research suggests that toddlers are fairly self-regulating. If they have a day not eating much, it’s ok. The intake over the space of a few days is what counts. I try to remember this on a bad day.
  • Keep trying. I have been, and will keep on offering Grace the meals I would like her to eat, even when I’m pretty sure she’s going to “Nope” it and when she does “Nope” it, I try to shrug it off. We all know the more of a big deal you make it, the bigger an issue it’s going to become. One day,  she might surprise me and just try it.
  • Give them time. I got carried away on the phone one lunch time, leaving Grace happily in her high chair with her pudding. Pud finished, and  long after she’d pushed her cauliflower cheese away, she started shoveling it in! I couldn’t believe it! If the phone hadn’t rung, I’d have cleared it up way before.
  • Not for everyone this, but personally I don’t ban the pudding if the main wasn’t eaten. I don’t want sweets to be a big deal, a huge treat, or used as a punishment. (This one may be subject to change though when she’s older and wants chocolate and ice-cream over home-made apple crumble or fruit salad!)
  • Talk to other Mums. Even your own. My brother was the fussiest eater on the planet by all accounts and guess what? HE’S TURNED OUT OK! (ish) also, there’s the Fussy eaters support club over at the marvelous Bodfortea‘s blog (or click the badge on the left)
  • Watch Fast food baby. A BBC 3 documentary that will make you feel like mother of the year! Might be on iplayer? (I kid you not – a 19 month old on 5 cans of coke a day and KFC’s!)

Also, here are just a few very quick and easy ideas for getting a bit more fruit and veg in the diet:

Fruity Cheese on Toast:

When you make them cheese on toast, grate the cheese and also grate some apple or pear in with it before grilling. I don’t even bother peeling!

Chocolate spread and sliced banana butties.:

As they sound really. I use biscuit cutters to make them more fun shapes 🙂

MMMMmmmmm . . . chocolate!

These sarnies have the added bonus of getting to laugh at their messy face afterwards!

If they won’t eat any veg as finger food, try giving it a coating of honey mixed with a bit of oil before bunging  in the oven for 5-10mins. I do this after I’ve boiled/steamed/microwaved them, and sometimes finish with sesame seeds. It’s a bit hit and miss with Grace, but definitely ups the likelihood of her eating a few.

Mango Pops!

Whizzed up mango mixed with some fresh orange juice makes AWESOME ice pops! Little un loves these and the coldness is good for teething. I put them into any little food pots that are available and freeze them with lolly pop sticks in. Have to hide them from the husband though.

Any veg that needs using up, I cook, blend with some tomatoes and freeze in tiny pots/ice-cube trays. Not to give as a puree but to mix in with things she’ll usually eat without too much fuss, ie – spaghetti hoops, beans etc.

Make you’re own flap jack – most recipes will do, but I put in raisins/dried apricots instead of sugar. There’s usually some syrup or honey in most recipes to make it a bit of a treat for them too.

That’s all for now. Apologies to my non-Mummy subscribers as this one was probably a bit boring, but hope it gives fellow parents of fussy eaters a few ideas?

P.s Honest to God, as if he sensed my musings  needed hard evidence, the dog has just dropped a stinker! I am writing this with my jumper pulled up over my nose.

Laters x

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“WASSAT?”

Vlad the Imaler, Richard the Lionheart, Edward the Confessor . . . Grace the Easily Impressed.

 It’s so true, and so sweet, and yet so annoying that everything; EVERYTHING impresses my daughter at the moment. Husband and I tried having a bit of a lie in this morning, being bank holiday and all. I got up, fed and watered The Giblet, and got back into bed with a nice brew for us, and having baby-proofed the upper floor, we thought she could amuse herself whilst we had a few minutes.  Amusing herself consisted of finding treasure on the bedroom floor. Off she gibbles back and forth around the bed when something catches her eye. She crouches down, examines and carefully extracts said treasure from the carpet, and holds it aloft triumphantly. It is a small clump of dog hair.”WOOOW!” She exclaims in wonderment. Either that or we get  “OOOOOooooh, aaaaaaaaah”  (Yes, she actually says “Ooooh” and “Aaaaah.” Where’s she got this from? Surely no one outside a panto audience says this?) She passes her Dad and I the pieces of tat she finds alternately, and we pretend to be suitably thrilled by the gift of the dog fluff, the old receipt, the barely-visable-to-the-naked-eye scrap of tissue, and the earring back.

Next on the agenda: Sit nicely between Mummy and Daddy and let them watch the news? Play quietly in the nursery with toys? Don’t be silly. Next on the agenda is the “Wassat?” game. Since learning to ask what things are, there’s no stopping her. Out she runs from the bedroom and re-appears back through the door having selected an object of choice and demanding immediate identification with the word of the moment “Wassat?”  On the plus side, she’s always happy with the first answer given. On the minus side, she does not return the object to its proper home, but dumps it unceremoniously onto the bed with us before going to select the next mystery item. It goes like this:

“WASSAT?”

“It’s a shoe, Grace. Mummy’s shoe. Oh thank you”

(Runs out the room. 30 seconds peace. Runs back in)

“Wassat?” 

“Book. That is a book Grace. Ta.”

(Exit once again. 60 seconds peace. Enter Giblet stage left.)

“WASSAT?”

“That is the special stand for holding the toilet rolls Grace. Oh, you’re passing Mummy ALL the toilet rolls from it are you? Ta. Ta. Thank you. Ta Goodness me what a lot of toilet rolls. AND the stand too? THANK you Grace.”

(Objects on bed now beginning to obscure view of the telly)

“WASSAT?”

“Daddy’s pants.”

“WASSAT?”

“A sponge.”

“WASSAT?!

“That’s a hammer. OO SH**, GIVE TO MUMMY GRACE! QUICKLY! TA!”

You get the idea.

Tedious as this can be, (and uncomfortable! Sharing your bed with hammers and toilet roll holders, a realxing lie in, does not make!) when you stop and think about it – how absolutely brilliant. I write this on my super fast broadband lap top, whilst watching my high def, large screen TV, mobile to the left of me, cappuccino from swanky coffee machine on my right, and yet I can’t remember the last time I “WOOOOW” -ed at something that wasn’t meant sarcastically. Yet our little ones find joy in the simplest of things. Bless ’em.

I resolve here and now to revel in my baby girls excitement at the mundane. After all, how long untill she’s whining for the latest games console, or pair of shoes, or lap top of her own? Yes. You go little girl! Find treasure in the carpet, find fun in the bathroom, find magic in all things plain. I am happy to share my bed with the equivalent of a car boot sale for as long as you like!

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Review: Peter Rabbit Organics Juices.

My Peter Rabbit Organic Juices arrived yesterday. I was very chuffed to review them as my 18 month old daughter, Grace has a real love for her juice at the moment. The problem being though, I like most Mums am very conscious of the sugar content of a lot of drinks on the market, and I usually end up juicing fresh fruit myself and diluting it. (Get me . . . earth mother.) This approach may give me a warm fuzzy glow inside, but it’s faffy and time-consuming.

First off, the packaging. Lovely. Colourful without being gaudy and no mental cartoon characters screaming “SUGAR IN A CARTON!” leering at me. Just charming Peter Rabbit, bless him, assuring me of the lovely things inside. Also, a handy 150ml size so perfect for little hands, for lunch boxes, and for ‘on the go’ Mums and Dads. 

Next thing, ingredients. Are they as wholesome as they claim to be? Absolutely. Water, juice, vitamin C, and no nasties. Finally a guilt-free shop bought drink.

Attention to detail is impressive, with a very user-friendly, extendable little straw that’s easy to pierce the carton with and thicker at the drinking end. (This also caused a moment of great excitement as for the first time with any carton, Grace managed to put the straw back in all by herself!) Here is Grace showing you, dear reader, said straw with such zeal that she couldn’t actually keep it still long enough to get an un-blurred photo!

CHECK IT OOOOOUT!

 

She is still a little young for cartons really and the straw was in and out many times as well as a bit of spillage due to squeezing the carton out of sheer excitement at this little juicy adventure. That said, we have had the odd carton before when stuck, and this one is by far the one she’s managed the best with.

Straws can be tricky, but I shall overcome!

All this is academic however unless the taste test proves successful, and boy, was it successful. I  handed her the little box, and she absolutely wolfed it down! Loved it. Even her Dad commented how much she was enjoying it, when he’s usually pretty oblivious to mealtime activity and wouldn’t notice if I put a bowl of dog biscuits and a pint lager in front of her. She clung to her little carton long after it was finished (which didn’t take long.) I also tried a bit myself and the flavour was reassuringly gentle and refreshing.

Peter Rabbit Organic juices are available in three flavours: Apple and Grape, Pear and Blackcurrant. They are already diluted, wheat, dairy and gluten free and made in a nut free factory – so ticks all the allergy boxes. They are available to buy in the baby isles at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Booths, Waitrose, Ocado, and Whole Foods for an RRp of 55p each.

I can honestly say with conviction that we humble three of the Barlow Clan were impressed. Peter Rabbit Organic Juices would be a great treat, handy on days out, and will be a cupboard staple here from now on.

     

For more information, take a look at their website: www.peterrabbitorganics.co.uk

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Giblets and Gibberish

Why is it that having children suddenly affects your ability to speak proper English? Why is it that we deliberate for hours on end for the perfect name for our offspring and then inevitably end up calling him or her a stupid nickname? Why do we ask our infants endless mindnumbing questions we know they can’t answer and don’t just speak to them as we do anyone else?

 ***annoying falscetteo***

 “Are you having some toast Gracie Boo Boos? ARE you?” 

“Is that your special Ted baby girl? Is it? Is it?”

 It begs the question that surely, if the GracieBoo Boos and Baby Girls of this world could understand us, they would inevitably assume they had morons for parents. “Of course it’s toast you ridiculous woman, you only made it a minute ago!”

And why do we start saying everything twice? “Want a bic bic? MMMmmmm choc choc!”

Now we named our daughter Grace. I love her name, it’s perfect. Sweet for when she’s younger, sophisticated for when she’s older, not too fussy, not too long. However, upon realising very soon after she was born that her initials were GIB she has now become Giblet. Or The Giblet. Or Gibby. It has even spawned its own adjective: “You’re being very gibbly today, Grace”  it’s own verb – “What’s she doing?” “Oh- just gibbling about” and in short has revolutionised grammer as we knew it in the Barlow household. I was christened Elizabeth and the yet the world knows me as Minty (since chocking on a polo as a baby. True story. Must tell it in full some time) and I know there of more of you out there  (you know you who are – how is The Pook-a-tron Ghostwritermummy?!) so SPILL and make me feel better.

I was determined not to overdo the baby talk thing. Nothing  more cringy thought I than some gibbering idiot giving it the “HEWO liccle man! Are you smiling? Are you? ARE YOU? hassawaasawaasa peek-a-boo, WHERE’S DOLLY?!” etc etc. And yet here we are, Peek-a-booing with The Giblet like the best of them.  There’s also something to be said, I’m sure, for simplifying words to make it easier for them to replicate. Graces vocabulary now includes “nana” (Banana) , “Baba” (Baby) “Gabar” (Badger, dog#1) “Fizzywawawa” (Fizz-dog #2) “Arse” (meant to be ‘eyes’) and “yessir yessir” in response to “Have you any wool?”

 In addition to the words learnt previously covered in the blog post “Welsh train stations and French Generals” we’re getting one chatty little madam, all be it mostly gibberish still. Do you know what else? when random strangers are bending over her pram and baby talking away, I only have to look at the delighted beam on her face at the attention of this friendly face and guess what? Don ‘t find it so cringy any more.

Don’t get me wrong – I still think their are those who overdo it a tad, but equally, I do think “Where’s Dolly Gibby Gib? Where gone? Mummy find it” is preferable to “It would appear you have misplaced your novelty item,  Grace. I shall begin searching for said item forthwith.”

We all do it . . probably more than we realise. Who gonna fess up?

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Rein ’em in?

Reins. I have mixed feelings about them. Now Grace is getting frighteningly independent, they are of course a much better option than her running off. My Mum always swore by them and I can just about remember having them on and no psychological problems have manifested as a result (although friends may query that statement!) There is however, that nagging little feeling in the back of my brain that keeps telling me I have my child on a dog lead which feels a bit wrong. But what do you do when the second you put her down she’s off at a million miles an hour, always in the wrong direction? We call out and encourage her to follow us as she stands and looks blank from the scary amount of distance she’s managed to cover.
 
 “Come on Gracie, this way poppet! Over here! Yey! Come on there’s a good girl, with Mummy and Daddy, this way!”
 
We wave, we head off in the direction we wish her to follow, we bang our knees encouragingly, beckon her
enthusiastically and in general, look like a couple of d****. All the while Little Miss stands and stares before laughing blatantly at our futile efforts and running off in the opposite direction.
Wrist straps would appear to be the work of the devil. We tried them and it resulted in a stroppy toddler sitting herself down on the floor and refusing to move until it was removed. The over the arms and across the chest ones are ok, but only if you can get them on her (a task on a par with putting Spanx on a jellyfish.)! The best compromise we have managed to find is a little lady bird shaped ruck sack that she LOVES wearing which has a strap and handle for Mum or Dad to hold that she doesn’t really notice if it’s needed.

We have also discovered a way to make her hold hands – something that you can  NEVER usually get her to do. It’s a handy trick, but it comes with its own inconveniences. Husband and I have to take a hand each so she’s in the middle, and do a “OOOOONE, TWOOOO, THREEEEE, WEEEEEEEEEE!” and swing her up and forward on the “WEEEEEEEEEEE” This is THE only way she’ll hold hands with us and it makes conversation pretty difficult. On a walk the other day it went something like this:

 
Me: So how was your day, babe?
Hubby: Bit crap really
Both: ONE, TWO THREE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Me: Why what happened?
Hubby: Nothing in particular just. . .
Both: ONE TWO THREE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Hubby: . . . just same old sh**
Both: ONE TWO THREE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Me: Ah, bummer.
Hubby: Yeah, sick of dealing with a load of c…
Both: ONE TWO THREE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
 
You get the idea. What can we do? I guess the ruck sack shall prevail. Incidently, I never have tried to put Spanx on a jellyfish – in case you were wondering.
 

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Men are from Mars, women are mental.

There has been many a wise quote from those more learned than our good selves on the complex and varied differences between men and women. I however,couldn’t find a good one off-of Google  have decided not to patronise you with that sort of showing off , and thus my introduction to this blog post is somewhat less learned than I originally intended.

I am sure the likes of Wilde and Churchill have put it far more succinctly that I, but, having discussed the subject at length with fellow Mums, friends and colleagues, I believe some of the fundamental differences between men and women are as follows:

  •   If a man with a small child has free time – it is his time. Computer, TV, ( or in my husbands case air guitar practice) whereas a Mum will have free time and tidy/iron/cook/clean/hoover etc. God, the 18-year-old feminist me would cringe if she read those words.” Not I!” she would cry with defiance! Sorry 18-year-old me . . . it seems you’ve fallen into the domestic hum drum you always thought would be so dreary (turns out it’s not that bad though . . . shhhhhhhhhh!)
  •  Cans of fizzy pop. Men can drink them at infinitesimal speed. Women can make them last hours, even all day. I know not why this is so. It just is.
  • Men aren’t as hard on themselves. (Something they’ve got right!)
  • Men seem to lose the art of complimenting you after a certain amount of time together. (The time I though I looked like a funky goddess of gorgeousness in my skinny jeans and brand new – uber-cool, trainer booties springs to mind. I descended the stairs fully ready for the flood of compliments and the dropping jaw. I was asked instead why I was wearing orthopedic shoes.)
  • One we all know but still so true. Communication. We just do it so much better girls.
  • Women over think and analyse things WAY too much.

 

Now my husband couldn’t really be described as a typical bloke. He hates football, he cries at Secret Millionaire, and he LOVES Louis Spence. (Honestly – he isn’t gay) and yet in other respects, MAN he’s such a . . . well . . . man! Untidy, finds his own, and his daughter’s farts hilarious, and thinks that a box of Mingles is an acceptable mother’s day present. Whilst I am painstakingly trying to teach our little girl to say useful words like “Mummy” “Cat” “Thank you” “Ball” etc, other half is equally as painstakingly trying to get her saying “Shabba” and “High-ya” (kung fu style, with karate chop.) Unfortunately it appears the wee one is mastering his choices a little more easily than mine. Damn it!  

However, to be a fair, impartial and responsible blogger, I shall now list my husbands response when I asked him what he feels the fundamental differences between the sexes are:

  • Women are mental

(and several minutes later after further pondering:)

  • And men make better ‘car breaking’ and machine gun noises.

And thus he beautifully illustrated the last point on my own list. And yet, despite all these differences  ***mushy bit alert**** I honest to God think he’s ace. Funny, caring, a fantastic Dad and a smile that makes me melt. I love that he makes up his own songs for Grace (current favourite is “Oh he always stays inside his house, cause heeeee’s agoraphobic” to the tune of Viva Espana. I have no idea what inspired this but the wee one likes it. I love that he’s entered the National Air Guitar Championships. I even love his tattoo of the “Ozrich Tentacles”  has blurred over time and looks like “Ostrich Testicles”

Sometimes I’ll get tired, grumpy, and feel like I do everything. Then I remember, I really don’t. Just having that person to shout out too to pass you something , or a “just watch her a sec while I have a shower/phone a friend/do my hair . . . (delete as appropriate) is something we shouldn’t take for granted. At times like that I take my virtual hat off to the incredible job all the single parents out there do. Dunno if I could do it to be honest, and some of the Mums I know bringing up children on their own genuinely leave me in awe. (Fully appreciate there are single Dads too – just don’t know any!)

And that, good people is my musing upon the battle of the sexes. There isn’t one really unless you make one. As my wise Mum once told me, “Mr Right does not exist, but Mr Right-for-you just might”

Disclaimer: Please note that the author of this blog post is fully aware that observations made are not applicable to all individuals, and that there may indeed be many men with superb communication skills, and many women expert in the field of car breaking noises. The opinions expressed are those of the writer only and not intended to cause offence, or get millions of comments correcting said observations. (Actually I take that last one back – millions of comments would do in any capacity!) 

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