Thursday, December 31, 2009


It’s New Year’s Eve, and yet it’s also just another day. Paul went to work and Jake and I got on with our day, eating, playing, going to Sainsbury’s and sharing lots of cuggahs (cuddles). Jake’s been asking for them a lot, and seems to be going into a second stage of clinginess, wanting to be held a lot, crying as I leave his side, even if I’m in the same room. I used to be ultra keen on Resolutions. But I was usually unrealistic. What I need most is to give myself a break. I wish I knew how.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Heard yesterday that a Mum from the forum lost her child. She was two. She was put to bed a bit under the weather and was found dead by her mother the next morning. This was my biggest fear when Jake was newborn. Still is. I used to have intensely vivid nightmares about all the freak accidents that could happen, as if we were being stalked by an invisible malevolent force and I was completely powerless to protect him. Then P was attacked. In the midst of our joy of new life, fragility, vulnerability, and fear of the ultimate loss.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


29.12.09 (Two entries for today...just cos...)

Jake woke at 5:30am today. After numerous cuddles and walks round the flat, he still couldn’t get to sleep. So I let him wriggle out of my arms and watched as he proceeded to the door, pointing to go out. He was doing his baby Jake talk and then started drumming, accompanied by the dum dum noise. I was touched. He must have noticed how happy I get when he recognises the drum in his book and makes the drum motion. It was as if he was saying, come on Mummy, let’s play drums, I know it makes you happy.
Jake’s been sitting down lately. On something as opposed to the floor. He backs up to something (our laps, a stool, the edge of a basket), slowly lowers his bottom and rests there with a sigh. After 5 days at home with us, Paul went out for some time to himself. Made me realise how much of a break I get when he’s around – he’s been doing most of the childcare and Jake loves spending so much time with him. And what have I been doing with my time? Cleaning, chores and sleeping. The sleeping has been good at least.

Monday, December 28, 2009



It was sunny and mild so we went into town. I got a sketchbook from Cass Arts for £2.50, looked at the xmas tree in Trafalgar Square but it wasn’t as pretty as the one in the private garden in Bedford Square which was lit up with indigo lights. Had a picnic lunch in the British Museum, Jake taking huge bites out of a spinach and tofu quiche and a vegan pizza. He didn’t want any of my tuna sandwich or sausage roll. He was so happy running around there, playing around the pillars and hugging mine and Paul’s legs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


My deranged looking baby - it was mostly blind contour. 


Jake making funny faces at me, like he’s straining at something. I do them back and he laughs. Jake wandering round the flat saying Daddy, Daddy, Daddy and Yommy Yommy Yommy. Jake having whiny periods, and quiet, focussed playing periods. Playing with the bucket, the stool, his water cup – pouring water over everything – his blocks, the shelf, the carpet, his legs, the sofa. He feeds himself porridge, yoghurt, beetroot, lasagne. He wants to be picked up a lot. Smiles beatifically. I finally get a chance to put up the new shower curtain, saving the old one for finger painting sessions.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Enjoying Mummy's Chocolate Cinnamon Cake and the general festivities...



“Like many love stories, this one begins with an act of foolishness…” So begins March of The Penguins. A heartwarming story of survival, majesty, endurance, fluffy chicks and DEATH. I don’t know why I watch these nature programmes – it’s always the same. You get attached to the furry babies and then along comes a predator to peck it to death or swallow it whole or thrash it about for sport. Still, I like the ‘love story’ line. Boxing Day has been a day of quiet and meandering pleasures. Oh, and walking around looking like a dickhead in my new hat.


Opening presents – Jake laughed whenever I put my funny hat on. Paul got me thermal underwear in L because he thought M meant massive. Found out Paul used to love Heidi stories when he was little. I spoke to Mum & Dad who were very happy to hear from me, Mum was particularly excited and laughed a lot and said she prayed for Jake’s health and for our happiness every single night. She kept wishing me all the happiness and everything we want in life. It touched me and jarred me from my usual perception of my relationship with her.


~ Merry Christmas ~

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Another one of Jake's melancholy looking wind-up toys.

Christmas Eve

I love Christmas Eve.  When I was a child, we stayed up till midnight on Christmas Eve to open our presents.  To me, Christmas Eve was always the special day.  I think I still enjoy the anticipation and buzz of preparations better than the day itself.  Although, now that I have Jake, that may change, as I watch his little face when he gets to open his presents tomorrow.

Anyway, I spent the whole morning baking pepparkakor (traditional Swedish xmas cookies).  The recipe I found did not state how many cookies it would make.  I was bloody surprised when I realised I could turn out at least 75 of them, and still had a bit of dough left over for Jake to play with.

The dough had to be rolled really thin, so lifting the star shaped cookies off the counter to place on the baking tray was like helping exhausted star fish get up from the scene of an accident.  I'm happy to report that most of them made it.  I only burned one batch.


Loved Where The Wild Things Are, followed by a luscious pizza with three types of mushrooms, creamy cheese and crispy speck ham. Spent this morning baking xmas cookies, the dough easily made 6 dozen. Threw Jake up and down, complete with sound effects. Resulted in great tummy chuckles and him throwing up his arms and saying “woo woo” when he wanted me to do it again. The friend who’s been ignoring me for two months suddenly got in touch, apologising and sending gifts. I’m still angry though, because I know it will happen again.  I don't know what to do.

Edit: Forgot to mention the lemon tart!  The best ever.


Anxious misletoe (copied from a wrapping paper pattern)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Made my first batches of pepparkakor cookies while Jake chirruped “Cookie, cake-o, cookie!” and played with some of the dough. Then braved the ice and snow to get some last minute groceries and Jake fell asleep in the pram for an hour and a half! Later, fished a lit torch and cement truck out of a kitchen cupboard and rolled the ball pool round the flat. It’s hours later and he’s still saying cookie, cookie, cookie. Tonight I’m out for “Where the wild things are” and dinner. Then Paul’s off for six days and it’s just two sleeps till xmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



I never imagined I’d nearly be undone by the making of cookie dough. Or rather the impossibly precise act of measuring cinnamon onto a teaspoon with a bad wrist while a toddler hangs onto my leg and pushes me at the same time. On the other hand, he said juice for the first time, or “doof”, while mimicking the action of drinking complete with a lip-smacking “ah” afterwards. And said “moe” to porridge and olives. And later on, the cutest chocolate covered face and lots and lots of kisses and cuddles. And the creamiest, yummiest pea and pearl barley risotto.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The shortest day

The day ended better than it started.  The shortest day, but so much happened.  We got proper snow!  And I did get to see one of my oldest friends and her family who were on a fleeting visit to London on their way to Holland.  Even if it was far too brief, it was wonderful to see our kids playing together and it feeling like the most natural thing in the world.  Then our lovely neighbours popped round with fruit and gifts.  Then Paul & I took Jake out in the snow, which he really enjoyed.  And I'm meeting another friend on Wednesday.  These days, my friends are like buses.  You wait around for ages to see one, then they all come at once. 

Still, it's times like these, rare times, that make me painfully aware and wonder why it is that I am so far away from so many of the people who are closest and dearest to me.  Apart from my immediate family of Jake and Paul, most of my oldest, closest friends and family live in other countries, other continents even, scattered all over the place, even virtually.  I grew up like this, nomadic, scattered, never putting down roots, always the new kid, never having a best friend.  Maybe I'll never shake that off.  How different will it be for Jake?


Because I got to see one of my oldest friends today, and she came bearing gifts for bubba Jake...for which he spontaneously deposited a kiss on her nose :-)


I’m tired today. More than physically tired. I’m also tired of carrying around these old unwanted feelings. I just want to let them go – negativity, bitterness. Particularly about people and inconsiderateness and the fickleness of friendship. Wondering whether people really have changed so much, have become so busy, too busy to stay in touch beyond a superficial level, or if it’s me, whether there’s something about me that makes me forgettable or drives people away. I’ve never been much of a party girl. Maybe people associate me with seriousness and heaviness and stay away. I just wish I didn’t care.

Sunday, December 20, 2009




It’s been awhile since I’ve had an afternoon completely to myself. Still - like space has opened up inside and around me. And the beautiful clean light. I have a lot to do but I’m not focussing on the doing. At least, not until I am doing it. The silver birch tree outside is bare, the sky a crisp winter blue. The flat smells of my tomato and cheese omelette and the taste of sweet tea is still on my tongue. Impressions, memories, flit past like dandelion seeds. My breath is smooth and slow. It is Sunday. It is now.


Hayley’s yoga classes always get me in tune – not only with my stronger, peaceful inner self but also with the rhythms of nature, in a quiet, real way. The sun salutation became the welcoming of the return of light to our lives, as we approach the winter solstice. The postures had meaning, were natural, beautiful. A candlelit chocolate meditation and a thoughtful intention sent out to the world – our hope for the coming year. Simple prayer without the forbidding religions connotations that usually come with it. Our acts, our thoughts, our lives – however flawed - one graceful and hopeful prayer.

Friday, December 18, 2009


A blind contour drawing of a jar, the top of which I honestly did not intend to look like a penis head.


Jake’s got the go-ahead for his reversal. The results of his loopogram were good and there’s nothing they can do now but reattach his stoma and hope for the best. Jake’s consultant makes a face when he talks to us, like he’s just said something insulting and we might slap him. “Are you ready for the next step?” [Face] “The operation will take about 1.5 hours and best case scenario, [Face] Jake will be admitted for a minimum of 3 – 4 days.” [Face with raised eyebrows] It’s like his face is treading on eggshells but he doesn’t realise it shows.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Toddler Jake & the space hopper


I still have a headache and Jake’s still tugging at his stoma. He did it during a bag empty and I saw it bleed. Thank god we’re going to see his consultant tomorrow. Despite this, we did have some good moments. We went out for some fresh air and blue sky and he fell asleep in his pram. Then we played with bubbles and I taught him to blow kisses. He also discovered the word drum, miming the motion of playing a drum and saying “mum-mum”. Still can’t say Mummy yet though! He still wanders the house calling me Daddy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I bought this pair of sandals for Jake during the summer but they were too big for him.  They'd fit him now but they aren't great for snow and one of them has gone missing.  The last time I saw them as a complete pair, Benji the Lion was wearing them.


Finally heard from S – her baby boy was born after 53 hours of labour. She managed to hold out that long and avoid a c-section. He’s perfect and she’s deliriously in love. There’s nothing like those first days with a newborn. Made me envious. Then it started snowing and my usual headache from bad shoulder tension cracked my skull open and Jake had major tantrums when I tried to put him down for his nap (twice). Third time lucky, but only after crying myself. Some days everything just seems like crap trying to break you down. Life goes on regardless.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



A small person flashing his cheekiest grin while bouncing up and down on his mattress and honking your nose is impossible to resist. Even if he is trying to delay his nap. So I didn’t resist. I let him bounce and play until he fell asleep on his own. After the morning we had, changing his stoma bag twice, having no food in the house, dashing madly to the shops followed by a cold, unhappy playground trip, it was the best thing for both of us. Still no word from S about her baby. Hope she’s not still in labour.


Despite the doorbell going mental at 2:30am, P’s parents didn’t hear it. Jake woke briefly, when P came back from pulling it off the wall, said Daddy, and zonked out again. His parents complain but do nothing to change things - the broken doorbell, being hot but not turning down the radiators or the thermostat. P also overheard his Mum complaining about him, about a joke he made about his Dad’s deafness, something she does all the time anyway. He’s a good son and she has to be so petty? Why does it still surprise me when people are two-faced?


After a crappy morning at a cold car boot sale and forgetting Jake’s food, we abandon plans for afternoon play and take a very tired and grumpy toddler home. We can’t get him to sleep so P takes him out in the pram and it does the trick. He slept surprisingly well last night – a solid 10 hours without waking, barely made a peep. In a fit of stubborn determination, I unravelled the knotted metal balls contraption that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do. They were duly impressed and ate their words. Later we all ate curry.


Travelling up North after a hectic morning buying picture frames and a laminator and wrapping presents at the last minute. Can’t shake my irritability though. Jake didn’t sleep on the train but fell asleep in the car after giving his Grandpa a great big smile within a few minutes of seeing him. Very unusual. Heard from S – she’s 11 days overdue and going to be induced this afternoon. Makes me think how lucky I was with Jake. Even though P’s parents aren’t the easiest people to be around, I’m happy to be getting out of London and our usual routine.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm away for the weekend and without internet access till Monday night, so won't be posting any drawings till then, though I will still be doing them.

Have a good one.


Jake's new wind-up tiger.  It flips over as well as looking melancholy.


All good today: Jake waking up this morning, seeing me and saying, Daddy!; Jake taking his dungers and putting them in the washing machine when I told him they needed washing; Jake running up to me from behind and hugging my legs and squealing with joy; Jake chanting Daddy, Daddy, Daddy in the pram all the way home from the shopping centre (I don’t know if he meant me or Paul); Jake playing with potatoes and wind-up toys, Jake talking to himself. He’s always been good company but as he gets older and understands more, he’s better company than ever.

Thursday, December 10, 2009



It isn’t always apparent, what the truth is. Sometimes I sit here and write and it's all surface blah blah blah, the kind of thing, if said out loud, that people nod to without really listening. Stuff that comes from somewhere that says, this is waffle, take no notice, just let me be and pass me by. It takes a while to stop, breathe, settle down and listen to the tangle of noise and find the strong, quiet thread beneath. Some days I never find it. Other days, it’s all I can hear, screaming inside my head to get out.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Based on the same photo, the semi-blind contour one was done very quickly (a few minutes) and isn't great - but I like the looseness of it so am uploading both here.  Apologies for the quality of some of the photos, I'm using a digital camera to take these rather than scanning them in and sometimes the lighting is a bit crap. 


I put our beloved fake tree up with Jake this morning and was very impressed that he instinctively knew what to do with the tinsel. I now feel slightly better. Just need to get baubles that don’t hang with giant safety pins. Have also decided to buy charity xmas cards. The handmade recipients will receive an additional new year’s art print – after all the xmas fatigue and just as post-glutton depression sets in. It’s not ba humbug – it’s a reality check. Unless I can make my lame design look a little less "mental institution art therapy" and more “outsider art”.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009



We’ve already received our first xmas card!!! Instead of sending cards, I made tomato and cheese muffins; took Jake to the playground; watched the simple joy of him throwing and retrieving his ball. I let him walk part of the way home until he was lured by the road. I only have pockets of time to snatch to do anything on top of being a mother. I won’t even have the weekend to catch up as we’re away. Such stress! I blame the adverts. Must remember what really matters about xmas - Jake’s little happy face. Everything else can wait.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Outgrown baby shoes
(bottom drawing semi blind-contour)


So far I’ve written a week’s worth of lunch and dinner ideas for Jake. This is an accomplishment. I made tuna and chickpea spread on wholemeal muffins and he ate one. Another accomplishment. Now the weekend is over, I’m left with a gnawing sense of anxiety. For spending so much time doing something for myself? As if I should always be labouring under some responsibility and suffering for it. I was not brought up to enjoy life. Fun was considered immoral. Only now, in retirement, do my parents tell me that all they want is for me to be happy.

Sunday, December 06, 2009



Flooded with ideas today – starting a family xmas tradition of making a snowflake or ornament for the tree, covering the windows in snowflakes, elaborate plans for a play town for Jake, making a list of other 100 day projects that can be done, wanting to transfer my blog to wordpress. And still need to make the cards I’ve been planning for two weeks, do Jake’s foot and handprints, do today’s drawing, go to Ryman’s and get a laminator, try and track down some sugar paper, make a decision about pressies, get out of my pj’s and go to the loo.

[NB. I'm living proof that having a zillion ideas does not equal getting them all done.  Especially not in one fricking day!  At least I got to go to the loo and out of my pj's.]

Saturday, December 05, 2009



After a week of short naps, Jake finally had a long one, a whole two hours. Good timing too since he woke up at 7:30 and Paul was frazzled. While they both slept, I drew and made pancakes. The quiet felt peaceful, as if it was all around us, outside too. I’d shaken off the emotional heaviness I’d woken up with and got back to yoga today. It felt tough, my wrist is still hurting, but by the end of it, I felt as good as I always do. I even managed a headstand – my first ever – with Hayley’s help.

Friday, December 04, 2009


When all else fails, bake something

Especially when it makes your flat smell lovely...

Vegan banana bread.


Bad shit: crappy crappy mood. Wrist still painful. Falling down the stairs, twice. Bruised and sore arse. Snapping and shouting at Jake. Toddler tantrums. Feeling forgotten by certain friends.
Good shit: baking banana bread, magic grandma with playground bubbles, watching Jake chase bubbles, shouting, “Bubbles” all afternoon. Jake smiling at me. Jake handing me a legless zombie. Jake resting his head on my shoulder as we watch “Come Outside” together. Fab forum friends coming to the rescue yet again. Knowing a few people are actually checking this blog from time to time. Friday afternoon already and good shit outweighing bad.

Thursday, December 03, 2009



After yesterday, today can only be better. And so far, it is. I’m making a play town out of a cardboard box for Jake’s cars and he’s helping. He’s much happier today and went down for his nap with a lot less crying. And he made me ridiculously happy and proud when (of his own accord) he picked up my empty breakfast plate and mug from the floor and placed them tidily on the dining table, the top of which he can’t even see and can barely reach. Now I just need to cook him something he’ll want for lunch.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I miss breastfeeding.  I know Jake had a good run but there are times, like yesterday when he cried almost non-stop due to teething pain, that I wish I could just pop him on the boob like the good ole days. 

It's only been a few months since I had to stop but already I'm forgetting what it felt like.  I know I used to complain cos Jake literally took hours to feed and for the first 13 months of his life took all his daytime naps on me, as I never minded him sleepfeeding in the least.  I miss those snuggly times now, even though my arse doesn't.  Apart from the first few weeks, breastfeeding was relatively easy for me.  I know I'm one of the lucky ones, but it was all down to Jake.  He latched on within an hour after he was born and that was that. 


No matter what, I can’t seem to avoid having at least one bad week a month. No matter how positive or happy I might be feeling, it always hits, it’s always hell and I’m always plagued by the same feelings – starting with vague dissatisfaction and grumpiness to feeling drained to varying degrees of irritability, anger and kicking myself in the head. The same old tired annoying voices – I’m so pathetic, my life sucks, nobody cares, nothing I do matters. CRAP. I have no armour for it. All I can do is hold my breath and hope I come up swimming.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


So here it is, my first drawing for the 100 Days Project.  Clearly these are not going to be masterpieces.  I've decided to keep to the same format for the drawings, doing each one on a page of my 12cm x 16cm kraft paper book from Paperchase. 


I nearly had a meltdown in the 99p store. Jake was crying, queue was endless, people were rude. I wanted to fling the polystyrene plates and sponges on the floor and walk out. But I didn’t. Instead, the cashier dropped my change and didn’t help me pick it up. Then my wallet and bags fell on the ground outside and I had to take Jake out of the pram he was so upset. Thankfully, a croissant calmed him, we found poster paints, and I signed up to do a drawing every day for the hundred days project. I am insane.

One Hundred Days

I've just signed up to this:

The idea is to commit to doing one thing a day for 100 days to make you a better person, starting from today, 1st December.

I don't really need to add something else to my to do list, but I couldn't resist.  At first I was going to pledge to write 100 words a day, but I was already doing that and I don't know how it would make me a better person.  So I've pledged to do a drawing every day and give it away.*  Obviously they are not going to be masterpieces, but I'll post them up and whoever is reading is very welcome to ask for whichever drawing they so fancy.  If there are no takers I'll choose one of my friends / family at random and send it to them. but I will be focussing on the process as much as the end result.

So what do you think?  Fancy it?  There's still time to sign up!

*EDIT* - As of 2nd December, I've decided not to give away my drawings.  It seems kind of pointless to give away drawings that might not be wanted, especially as hardly anyone reads my blog and hardly anyone is bothered about my doing this project anyway.  Doing a drawing every day for 100 days will be character building (and challenging) enough.  It also takes the pressure off a bit - that way I can draw for myself and not with the feeling that I have to draw something that someone might like.  I hope it doesn't sound like a cop out, if it does - please feel free to tell me so. 

Monday, November 30, 2009


Jake had his ileal loopogram today. The contrast went all the way through this time and everything looked normal but he sobbed through it. It was cold and he could only wear an open gown and his socks and it got messy. He was probably more frightened, cold and tired than in pain but he cried for awhile even after it was over. He looked so small on that table. He wanted me to hold him today. When he’s scared he wants me. I’m so grateful I’m not working right now. I can be there for him every single day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Am tense about xmas already and don’t know why. We don’t have to entertain or be forced to endure anyone else’s agonising version of xmas. P said, “When you get grumpy about xmas, just remember that we almost lost Jake.” It’s still unreal. Have noticed that when P goes to leave the room, Jake cries and throws his arms around P’s legs. Then toddles after him, screaming Dada Dada, crossly flinging objects with his little toddler arms. Odd to see this new separation anxiety with P after months of it with me. I feel a mix of envy and relief.


I’ve been eating non-stop. Unfortunately, Jake’s fattening up diet is fattening me up too. I’ve developed a butter & bacon belly. But got to feast on “larp gai” today – the real deal made by M at the warmest Thai family gathering I’ve been to in awhile. I don’t know how I could’ve doubted that there would be food – when Thais meet up, there is ALWAYS food. Keeping Jake’s hands out of the chilli laden dishes provoked tantrums. But a singing lobster and dancing cousins saved the day. Jake smiled and applauded all afternoon, then got home and napped till 8.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Tried new playgroup at nearby church. First person we met was openly hostile and to the rest we were invisible, even though we’d seen some of them at other playgroups. I might as well have smiled at the walls. But just before going home time, someone kind introduced herself and her daughter. Jake played with kitchen stuff, dollies and cars. And toddled round the hall banging on the doors. Strange adapting to unspoken rituals, like stopping and sitting down for snack time. Jake wasn’t interested so I followed him as he explored, oblivious to the rules of the adult world.


Turned away from LH playgroup, Jake pointed to other kids playing and wailed as we left. Heartbroken to disappoint him and not be able to explain. Went to playground instead and all was forgotten as he toddled up the climbing frame. Tears as he tripped and trapped his foot. But he got up and tried again. Amazed and proud of his patient persistence. Happy legs kicking on our trip up the High Street. Steel band playing outside newly opened Wilkinson’s. Walthamstow buzzed with excitement. Jake loses his red balloon. Another new word: bubble. Could be bottle, football, or indeed, bubble.

Finally...some crafty stuff

Here's what I've been up to, making some rubber stamps to decorate xmas cards which I've decided to make myself this year.

It took less time than I thought too.  It's nothing fancy though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toy Exhibit

Took Jake to the Southbank yesterday and saw that The British Toymakers Guild has a toy shop exhibit on at the Oxo Gallery.  It looked very enticing, but ironically I couldn't take Jake in as he wouldn't have been allowed to touch anything! 

If you've got older children and are on the Southbank, you may want to pop in, could be an idea for xmas presents too.  Click on link below for more info:

Toys at Oxo Gallery

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These are incredibly easy to make and very very yummy...

Found the recipe in several different places on the internet.  Here is the version I used:

Makes approximately 24 medium sized or 12 large cookies. 
(The ones above are medium to largish - I got 22 cookies out of my dough.)


2/3 cup of sunflower or rapeseed oil
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 TBSPs applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda or bicarb of soda (not baking powder)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips or smashed up chunks of chocolate

Preheat oven to 190C.

If using chocolate pieces - place in plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin.

Stir together oil, sugar, syrup, applesauce and vanilla. Then add the flour, baking soda, salt and then the chocolate chips or chunks. Stir together, using your hands if needed to make the chocolate pieces stick to the dough. If the dough is too dry, add about 2 - 3 tsps of soy milk until it holds together.

Drop by the spoonful onto a lightly greased baking tray and flatten slightly - they do spread so you can do about 3 - 4 very large cookies or about 6 - 8 smaller cookies on a tray at a time. The flatter / thinner you press the dough, the more crispy the cookies will be. (If you leave them quite thick, they will turn out nice and chewy and stay chewy for up to a week.)

If using a cookie cutter, you'll need to press the dough into the shape for each individual cookie as the dough is not the type you can roll out. 

If you are making star shaped cookies, keep an eye on them while they cook as the edges will cook faster than the rest of the cookie and could burn.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

My two favourite people in the whole world

Jake takes his first walk outdoors.  It had been raining and he soon found himself a puddle in which to soak himself.  I've since found him some toddler wellies and a waterproof suit so he can splash to his heart's desire.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Embracing the chaos

I never realised what an utter and absolute control freak I was until I had Jake.  Having him has made me see the flimsy, non-existent logic behind needing to have things a certain way. One of the wonderful things about watching him grow up is the unabashed joy and enthusiasm with which he approaches everything.  Thankfully, it's infections.

One of Jake's FAVOURITE pastimes is to rearrange the contents of our fridge and cupboards - sometimes he systematically takes things off the shelves and puts them back exactly as they were, other times he just likes to throw things all over the kitchen floor, maybe kick them about (especially cherry tomatoes) and then leave them there.  There's still a rogue tomato out there somewhere.  He's oblivious to the concept of mess and cleaning up.  And you know what, that's okay with me. 

Just look how happy he is!! 
Besides, I take perverse pleasure in tidying it all up when he's sleeping.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Does it really matter?

I've been watching Jake play and I noticed a while ago that he is more interested in things he can find around the house than his own toys.  His latest favourite thing is to play with things he can see in the kitchen.  Often these are things on the counter that he can't reach, so he'll ask to be held while he can touch things like the bottles in the spice rack and empty jars and things like that.  Today, he wanted to play with the things in a little basket we keep on the counter - it contains some old packets of organix biscuits, some garlic, some used foil, and some boxes of unopened herbs.  I put the basket on the floor so I wouldn't get back ache from holding him, and sat down with him as he played.

Soon, he wanted me to open one of the packet of biscuits.  I knew he probably wouldn't eat them so I hesitated.  I noticed that they were actually out of date so I opened them.  As I predicted, he didn't want to eat them, but tipped them out on the floor and played with them.  He did chew on one and then took the empty packet, stood up and put it in the recycling bin!  He then picked up a second packet and asked me to open that one.  Again I hesitated, but opened it anyway.  He tipped it out and played with those biscuits too.  So the kitchen floor was a mess and two packets of biscuits were wasted.  But, did it really matter?  The biscuits were out of date so needed throwing out anyway.  And mess can always be tidied up.  Wasn't it more important to let him play and explore and be happy?  Some things just aren't worth struggling over.  But it does make me wonder if what I did would be judged by some people as being too lax, or spoiling him. 

When we were in the playground yesterday, there was a clearly harrassed Mum there with two children - a toddler and a baby.  Every two seconds, I could hear her angry voice shouting at her toddler to NOT do something, DON'T PICK UP THAT LEAF, DON'T TOUCH THAT, DON'T DO THAT, DON'T SHAKE THAT, and most bizarrely, DON'T RUN.  Don't run??  In a playground??  While I followed Jake round as he picked up, touched, explored and played with every leaf and bush and bit of dirt he wanted to. 

Am I too lax?  I don't think so.  Parenting isn't just a choice between being lax or being prohibitive.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What to say

I know that being a Mum isn't just about feeding your child.  And yet, I can't seem to decide what to write about apart from the food I've been cooking.  It's because the extent of the cooking I am doing now is still new, it's a novelty.  But I'm enjoying it and I'd rather cook than feed Jake processed rubbish.  But there is more to it, lots more.  Which aspects of it do I write about and what can I say?  Sometimes it feels too overwhelming, too complicated, too much to say.  Other times it feels as if there is nothing to say, as if it is all too mundane and who'd be interested? 

Last night I spent an hour and a half making meatballs.  I missed the beginning of Dr Who and got really grumpy about it.  Adding that on to the irritability I was already feeling cos I was tired and had to get up just as I was falling asleep (during Jake's afternoon nap), because he woke up after only sleeping for an hour.  I also spent much of the day thinking of things I could write on this blog and not being able to sit down and do it.  Now those ideas are mostly gone. 

Sometimes it feels like the more you want and need something, chances are, you're not going to get it.  Is it fair to say that motherhood is a lot like that?  Maybe life is like that.  But because most of my life now is being a mother, they're the same thing to me.

I have to fight hard not to sink into and dwell in negativity.  When you're at home so much, it gets all too easy to become too introspective and lose perspective.  It can be easy to fall into negativity and follow those slime trails into a downward spiral.  One thing motherhood does, especially for a me as a currently full-time mother, is magnify all your faults and demons 1000%.  On the plus side, it's also brought previously unimagined depths of joy into my life.  Watching Jake grow and being with him is magical.  In many ways, it has broadened my horizons and I didn't expect that.  Maybe not in an external, physical way, but in subtler, deeper ways.  It's taught me the beauty of slowing down and paying attention.  And it's shown me what really matters.  Part of me wants to keep a foot in the "real world" - go back to work part-time, have regular social contact with people that doesn't involve hurried, unfinished conversations at playgroups, have a lunch hour and the freedom to be an adult for three days a week and of course earn my own money.  I've never been an ambitious career woman though, preferring to work at a job that engages me, but won't stress me out.  In that sense, I have the ideal job (from which I am currently on a 6 month sabbatical, tagged on to the end of an extended maternity leave). 

But that part of me also suspects that the novelty of that could wear off rather quickly.  More quickly than the "novelty" of making meatballs for a gorgeous, growing 15 month old who may or may not eat them.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Salmon fishcakes

So it took me several hours to make these - in between cooking the salmon and the mashed potato, chopping the parsley, shaping the cakes, etc, I was running after a grumpy / hungry / tired Jake.  I usually wait till he's napping to start cooking, but I think he's dropping down to one nap a day now and I just decided that I needed to break out of that habit.  Anyway, they came out great!  My first ever fishcakes.  I adapted a recipe from the cbeebies show "i can cook".

Hope he likes them better than the scones!

Edit: Yay, he liked them!!  They are also rather tasty with hummus.