Thursday, 12 June 2008

Cold Tea, Moon cells and Purple playdough

Cold Tea
I seem to spend my time these days drinking cold tea. It's actually quite a thirst quenching drink which is necessary with all the breastfeeding. However, I would like to drink a nice hot cup of tea at least once a day. The problem is I keep getting sidetracked. The kettle has just boiled. The tea bag is waiting patiently in the mug alongside the milk (my grandmother would flip). I pour the water and am just about to fish out the teabag when suddenly there's a "Mummy I need you". So there's a trip upstairs to the toilet with someone too scared to go alone, a horrendous nappy changed which is so bad it requires a complete strip off and dunk in the bath, a tiny toy rescued from behind the sofa, a story read, 15 questions answered about where does paper come from, the front door answered, the post collected, a spilt drink wiped up and a fresh one given... then I finally return to my tea and guess what, it's an hour later, the tea stewed beyond edibility and stone cold. This little scenario goes on all day. It used to be that I couldn't do a thing in the morning until I'd had a brew. Now, I've changed nappies, made breakfast for my daughter (usually a full blown dippy egg not just a bowl of cereal!) and fed my 10 month old son, done a load of washing and hung it out before I even get round to filling the kettle. I remember someone telling me once they get up at 6.30am every morning before anyone else wakes up so they can have a nice cup of tea in peace. I thought she was mad at the time, now I see why.

Moon cells
Once when my daughter had fallen and hurt her knee she got very upset about the fact that she had a bruise on it. Crying inconsolably she said " How will it ever go Mummy?" I started to tell her all about these special cells inside her body called immune cells. I said it's their job to fight the germs if she gets poorly (a big demonstration accompanied this with me shaking my fist at pretend germs saying Get away germs!) and they work hard to take away bruises and cuts. So a few days later she said to me "Look Mummy, my bruise has gone. It was my Moon cells wasn't it? They've done a good job haven't they?" Since then anytime she has a cut or a bruise, she tells everyone how it'll be OK because her Moon cells will fix it. Cute.

Purple Playdough
I have been making playdough for a good few years now. I got my recipe from one of the first parent & toddler groups I went to which was run by an old lady. She had made playdough for the children and I was so impressed she'd made it herself. I asked for the recipe and she wrote it down on a piece of paper using a big red crayon! The good thing about making your own playdough is you can make unusual colours. Pink is always requested, black is groovy and good for making spiders (singing Incy Wincy of course!!) but my own personal favourite is purple. I could spend hours, and sometimes do, kneading, rolling out and cutting shapes out of purple playdough. It's very therapeutic.
Here's the recipe I use:
100g flour
150g salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp veg oil
8 floz water
a few drops of food colouring
Put everything in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it comes together.
Leave to cool. Knead and then store in an airtight container.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Things I love about Summer, a trip to the dentist & making orange juice lollies

Things I love about summer
Blue skies, sunshine on your face, the smell of suncream & cut grass, buzzy bees & butterflies, strawberries & cream, going on bear hunts through long wavy grass, sticky drippy homemade ice lollies, humming lawnmowers, making daisy chains & blowing dandelion clocks, getting wrinkly-toed in the paddling pool, running through the sprinklers & slipping on the lawn, picking home grown pea pods and eating them striaght away, picnics in the park, going to the beach loaded up with deckchairs & windbreakers & buckets & spades, tea in the garden, light mornings & evenings, BBQ's & bouncy castles, camping trips with campfires, drinking homemade lemonade with a mini umbrella in it, trying to get to the mirage and watching baby birds learning to fly.

A trip to the dentist
It was time for my 3 year old daughter to go to the dentist for the first time recently. We spent the two weeks before:
  • reading books about going to the dentist
  • watching the episode of Peppa Pig where she goes to the dentist
  • playing dentists (I was the frightened little girl who didn't want to open her mouth, she was the dentist complete with two chopstick tools trying to persuade me)
  • talking about the great things about going to the dentist such as the special seat that goes up and down when he/she presses the button, the pink drink that you swish & spit but don't swallow and the fact that you might get a balloon or a sticker if you let the dentist count your teeth.

I felt she was prepared for the day. We arrived at the dentist (the smell knocked me sick but no sign of this was shown) and she was as good as gold, only concerned about whether the balloon would be pink or not because pink is her favourite colour. She sat in the chair nicely, let the dentist count her teeth and was duely rewarded with a pink balloon, her very own toothpaste and a sticker. It was big smiles all round.

I on the other hand was not prepared to be told that she is going to need a filling in the front. I felt I had failed as her mother. I was completely floored as the dentist went on to ask me if I ever read food labels and monitored the amount of sugar she had. He informed me that the decay was most likely due to holding & swishing her watered down apple juice in her mouth, asked me if I knew that childrens cereals & yoghurts contain whole bags of sugar and told me that food after 6pm at night was an absolute no no. Well, I could hardly speak. I wanted to tell him that I've spent the last three years worrying about what she eats (is she eating enough?, has she had a balanced meal with all the food groups covered?, is she getting her five a day). I wanted to say that there is no such thing as a quick trip to the supermarket because I carefully read all the food labels trying to make sure they don't contain artifical additives. I wanted to say that she's never been allowed to have coke or fizzy drinks except for a really special treat maybe for a birthday party, that her teeth have been brushed morning and night since they came through and that I thought giving her watered down apple juice was a nice healthy drink. I didn't say anything though, I doubt he cared about the constant worry a mother goes through and I feel lucky we even have an NHS dentist. Just when you start to feel like you know what you're doing and you've got this mothering lark sussed. Bam, something like this happens and you feel like you're just tredding water to keep afloat. The first few days after that I only gave her water to drink, gave her weetabix (low in sugar but becomes thick sludge if played with and not eaten immediately) for breakfast and brushed her teeth after every meal. Since then I've chilled out a bit. I went to the supermarket and checked out all the childrens cereals. I managed to find one that is still appealing to her -Chocolate hoops but that contains a respectable amount of sugar. I still give her watered down apple juice with her breakfast and her tea but only water the rest of the day. I gave myself a good talking to. I said you have done your best and that some people just have more susceptible teeth than others. Now, I just have to get through actually going for the filling. I can feel the worry building up in the pit of my stomach already. How will I explain it to her? How can I make it as stress free as possible and make sure she's doesn't develop a phobia about dentists? I'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. Another day, another mum dilemma!!

Making orange juice lollies
It was a beautiful summers day today - cracking the flags! So our special activity was to make our own orange juice lollies. I already had some organic sicilian red blood oranges in, perfect for the occasion. We squeezed out the juice, made funny talking mouths with the orange skin halves, picked out the pips with a spoon, licked our fingers and watched in amazement as the spilt juice soaked up through a piece of kitchen towel until the whole thing was red. Then we washed the plastic ice lolly makers in the sink ending up with more soap suds than is needed for a weeks worth of washing up and water sloshed all over the floor (good for doing skids). My daughter carefully poured the orange juice into the lolly maker making me smile at the way she points her lips when she's concentrating so hard and was holding one arm with her other hand to keep it steady. We topped them up with water, stuck the top bit with the stick in and then had to re-arrange the contents of the freezer so that they could be placed in upright and the drawer still be shut. We waited and waited and waited for the lollies to freeze with at least ten checks in between just to see if they were ready yet. Finally, our sticky drippy lollies were ready to suck sitting in the sunshine. They tasted so good we had two. I gave myself a pat on the back for that one!