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.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Vegan Scones

I don't know why, but I don't feel quite like a proper Mum unless I'm baking something.  I'm hoping it has something to do with the deeply satisfying feeling of making something yummy from scratch with your own hands, and nothing to do with any outdated notions of motherhood. 

It had been at least a week since my last baking episode, so I made some vegan scones today.  Although I am not vegan anymore, Mr P still is, so there's more chance of food being eaten if it's vegan.  Surprisingly, I found a recipe on the BBC Food website, which even has a vegan baking section. 

I rolled my dough out a little too thin so they didn't rise very much, but they are still yummy!  Not bad for my first ever scones.

Of course the acid test is always whether Jake will like it.  We'll find out when he wakes up from his nap.

Edit: It is a tad disappointing when your child spits out and makes a face at something you've made, not once, but three times!  Never mind.  He might like them tomorrow! ;-)