Friday, 26 November 2010

Feeding little ones

Small children need food.  That's one of the facts of life.

It also seems to be a very contentious issue.  The parenting forum that I am a member of had long debates and discussions about when to wean, what to feed, how hot or cold or lumpy it should be.  There were posts seeking ideas for what to make them.  Others debating whether or not it was ok to give them sweets, or tomato ketchup or....  Now our babies are toddlers with their own minds, the debates have moved on to how to get the child to eat who is refusing everything.  Should they be offered something else?  Is it ok to just give them what you know they will eat?  Why do they keep batting the spoon away?  There are guilt trippers out there who want "to give their children the healthiest start" so will no way ever be giving their child chocolate, or McDonalds, or anything from the potato smiles/fishfingers/chicken nuggets/waffles selection.

Here's my take on feeding a baby and toddler:
  • Start the weaning process as late as possible, and as much as possible allow them to feed themselves.  I read the Baby Led Weaning book by Gill Rapley and I liked a lot of what was written, it does make a lot of sense.  Practically though, while I felt that the "Food is for fun, until they are one" mantra, along with allowing them to explore food and play with it, and not worry whether they ate anything at all for a few months seemed like great advice, it sat much more easily with mothers who planned to respond at any time during the night to their child and to breast-feed until the baby wanted to stop.  I got to a point after he was about 8 months old where I was being woken for a feed every hour and a half in the night, and decided that we needed to do some sleep training.  As a result I wanted to make sure that he ate well during the day (both breast feeding which we did until his first birthday, and food) so that I would be reassured that he wasn't waking hungry.  I've never pureed anything for him though, and have never bought anything from the baby food aisle in the supermarket.  He has always eaten the same food as us right from the start.  It just meant that I would ensure there was at least something in the meal which either he could eat easily, or we could spoon in to help him. 

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


FlyLady's FlyToon

Aaahhhh, at last.  A moment to sit down and wiggle my fingers on the keyboard!  This week a combination of my writing assignment and a sudden flurry of tasks and a training course for my role as Assistant District Commissioner (Adult Training) for The Scout Association has left me without much breathing room!  I'm not complaining - I'm one of those scary people who relish being busy and who thrive on a deadline.  I'm also one of those people who likes to make lists and have timetables and routines, but also likes to be flexible and go with the flow.  I like to be relaxed about housework, but also find that if it isn't done and I can see mess beginning to pile up around me then I get stressed and start to feel overwhelmed and a bit of a failure.

So... in view of that last sentence... I'd like to introduce you to FlyLady!

FlyLady is a website: with all the tools you need to take back control of the domestic part of your life.  It's completely free, though there are books and other bits and pieces that you can buy from the shop.

Here are the general themes of FlyLady:
  • Basically she recommends that you take "baby steps" to gradually build very simple routines into your daily life, starting with keeping the sink shiny and clean, then building in setting out your clothes the night before, and then getting completely ready first thing in the morning.  
  • For the first month you are given a task to do every day, some of which are new habits, which you try to do every day.  
  • She also advocates the use of a timer.  Do as much work as you can for a limited time and then stop.  
  • Don't rush around in the first week trying to get your house into a palace, when it took a lot longer than that for the clutter to build up, and all you end up doing is wearing yourself out, getting despondent and giving up.  

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Rock Buns

Little C and I made rock buns together.  I'd let you have a taste, but I'm afraid that there aren't any left - a combination of Little C, Big C and me, well... they didn't last all that long.  I was brave enough to offer one to a guest though, even though I did feel the need to warn them that a toddler had had his paws in the mixture all the way through the process.  Actually, I didn't mind him grabbing at the margarine and raisins/sultanas all covered in flour, but I was a teensy bit concerned at munching on the mixture once I'd added the egg.  I decided though that I had licked out enough baking bowls and spoons in my childhood, many with raw egg in, and I'm pretty sure I came out OK at the end of it - debatable I know!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Knitted cardigan for toddler

I am very proud of myself.  Up until Little C was born a year and a bit ago I think I had only once had a go at following a knitting pattern.  Since then I have gradually started doing more, from little booties and a hat, to a tank top, then two knitted dolls (see earlier post) and now I have completed a hooded cardigan for Little C!

Here is the finished article:

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A writing assignment! A family autumn weekend and a long to-do list.

Yippee!  A writing assignment!  I get them sporadically.  I'll be honest, I do nothing pro-active to go out and get them because I find myself so busy with Little C, the garden and the house.  When I get them land on my plate though I am always delighted, and so far have never turned one down.  Partly because it stimulates my grey cells, gets me thinking and writing and creative within a given brief and time scale, partly it's nice to feel wanted and partly because there's the prospect of a little injection of cash at the end of it!  This one is for Sainsburys and The Scout Association.  Sainsburys give Active Kids vouchers when you spend money at their store, shoppers collect them and donate them to registered schools or youth groups, including The Scout Association.  The collecting group then gets to spend the vouchers on sports or cooking equipment and much much more.  The two organisations produce a resource pack, full of activity ideas for getting kids active and eating healthily.  This will be the fourth year in a row that I have written the Scout and Explorer Scout resource pack.  Watch this space to see how I'm getting on, but this year it's more amendments and additions than a full scale creation, and the time scale is short, so I should be finished within about 10 days.  Here's a link to last year's resource:

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Cooking up a stew

I watched the delightful "Julie and Julia" last night.  A Nora Ephron film starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

It reminded me how much I enjoy cooking.  It tends to be one of those activities that I just get on with, usually while also involving Little C as much as possible, which doesn't make it any easier.  Watching this film reminded me that the process of creating something delicious in the kitchen, while sometimes stressful, is also immensely satisfying.  Getting Little C involved is teaching him a huge range of skills, as well as eventually nurturing his own creative outlet.

Yesterday we made Liver and Bacon Casserole (which by the way was delicious!).  Here's how we went about it:

Recipe for creating Liver and Bacon Casserole with mashed potatoes and carrots (with a small person)