Happiness to me #spreadalittlehappiness


What makes me happy? My little boy, growing up, makes me so happy and so proud.


We seem (fingers crossed, touch wood) to have turned a corner with food. He’s not eating pasta yet but he is being a bit more adventurous and is eating sweet potato and baked beans again, which he had been refusing. He also ate some yummy soup for the first time on Thursday. This makes me happy. He loves feeding himself with a spoon too, which makes both he and I happy! 🙂


He’s also been really brave and been trying new things. It may sound daft but for as long as I can remember he has hated being in a ball pool, but on Friday, he wanted to go in the ball pool and loved it! Made me so proud and happy.


In the same vein, he has never been a child to go in a ride-on car, or sit on/in anything you move with your feet, he always kicks his legs massively if you tried to put him in/on one, he just hates it. Not sure if he felt too confined or what. But this week, for the first time in a long time, he sat inside a car for ages and tried to figure out how to make it go. That made me really happy.


Being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but watching him grow up is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced. People always say that, but I didn’t feel it when he was younger, now though I am truly starting to appreciate how rewarding being a mummy can be.

What else makes me happy? Toddler giggles! It is just the best sound in the world to me!


Ethans Escapades


Baking with a toddler – messy but brilliant! – 19 months

For quite a while now I have been thinking about doing some baking or cooking with Monkey but honestly have been too scared by the thought of him being in the kitchen around sharp knives, hot ovens, you get the idea. I may have mentioned once or twice that Monkey is a Fussy Eater, and in my extensive reading about ways to help with that I have read that getting them involved in the kitchen is a good way to go. For example, Supernanny’s Little Chef Technique, but, at risk of repeating myself, knives, hot ovens… aaaagh.

WP_20140115_15_50_45_ProThen one day I was getting dinner ready and he was so unhappy at me being in the kitchen that I let him come in with me. He played on the floor to start with with some cake tins and spoons, then he got interested in the sweet potato I was peeling, so I sat him on the step stool so he could see the worktop and he helped me put the chopped sweet potato into the steamer and the peelings in the bin. Simple things of course but it gave me confidence to try baking or something.

One afternoon after a short nap, I decided to go for it, put his lovely pinny on, and we made a very simple Victoria sponge cake. Unfortunately I am a bit of a control freak and didn’t want him to ruin the cake – no matter how much I told myself it didn’t matter how it turned out, I just couldn’t do it! So he helped me grease the tins etc. then I set him up with a mini bowl and all the ingredients (apart from the raw eggs) and he absolutely loved it.



I let him stir the ingredients for the cake too and he loved licking the spoon and bowl once the cake was in the oven.


He had so much fun and then helped me with the washing up.


He’s been dying to do it again and keeps pulling the step stool up to the worktop. It went so well the first time that I thought we should do it again, this time with some yummy biscuits. I’d made them once before and you can see the recipe here.

Again I’m afraid I got a bit freaked when he was grabbing the ingredients as I measured them in so again he got a little bowl of his own, which he loved so I don’t feel too guilty about it! He helped me stir it all up though and again he loved eating the mixture off the spoon.



The greatest thing about this baking experience was how much he enjoyed it!

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He carried on playing way after the cookies were in the oven. I love these pics as he looks like a proper little chef!

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He was still playing at the worktop once the cookies were baked and I had washed everything up and even cleaned up around him!He had a brief play at the sink then wanted to get back to ‘his’ square of worktop where he was then happy playing with bowls and spoons… and then had a hilarious moment where he realised he could see his reflection in the food processor. So cute as he was pulling lots of funny faces! haha


It was so much fun and I think the first time ever that we have spent an hour and half on an activity! So I have now overcome my fear of having him in the kitchen (not completely of course, a healthy dose of fear for his safety is permanent I think) and am looking forward to making lots more things with him in the future. Whether it helps his fussy eating, only time will tell.

Oh and the baking resulted in this yummy cake


And these yummy biscuits


Do you like baking with your toddler?  What do you like to bake with them?

Ethans Escapades


Post Comment Love

Sensory play with spaghetti – 19 months old

WP_20140107_13_08_05_ProAs you may have read, we are having problems at the moment with Monkey’s fussy eating, and one of the things he refuses to even touch, let alone eat, is pasta. He loved it when he was younger but now won’t go near it and I think he doesn’t like the texture. It doesn’t matter if it’s plain or in a sauce, we’ve tried adult pasta, baby pasta, spaghetti, star and moon shaped pasta but nothing tempts him. I’ve seen people using spaghetti as sensory play and it got me thinking. We play with dry spaghetti but have never tried cooked and I wonder if I can get him happy playing with spaghetti, maybe he will be more tempted by it at the dinner table?

After hearing about a Tuff Spot from mumturnedmom, I bought one, as I am hoping it helps me be braver with messy play in the hopes it will contain the mess! Anyway I was eager to try it out so one day when Nanny was here I decided to give it a go. My Mum thought I was bonkers, you could see it on her face from the moment I suggested it! Ha ha she really thought it was a daft idea!




But nonetheless we had a go and I think judging by Monkey’s face here that he thought I was bonkers too at first!! hehe But he soon got into it.







He is such a little scientist and he really studies things, the spaghetti being no different. He had lots of fun with it, moving it around, treading on it, pulling it, all sorts so I am really pleased.



Whether it will help him want to eat it I have no idea but it was a good playtime anyway. He like hiding it in the tuff spot box too!


Fussy eater update – feeling full of anxiety and guilt – 19 months old

You may have gathered from my recent blog that we are still having issues with Monkey’s fussy eating. I haven’t written about it for a while as I don’t want to go on about the same thing all the time, but it seems to be consuming my waking hours (and keeping me awake at night) at the moment so I need to get some of these thoughts down on paper. At the end of my last post about mealtime issues, things seemed to be on an upward trend… but somewhere along the line things have gone downhill again. I’m not sure even how really, these things happen quite gradually I think.

We just suddenly realised we were really struggling at mealtimes again so hubby and I had a good chat about it. We realised that we had been subconsciously pandering to him and his eating whims. For an easy life we’d been cutting out meals that we knew he wouldn’t eat and eating more of the things we know he eats well. It’s not all junk food or anything, his favourite meals are curries. An Indian one we make, and a Thai yellow curry. He loves dried fruits and nuts ( I think maybe he wants to be a child of the forest!) and he will always eat peanut butter on toast. But he hasn’t eaten pasta in over 6 months now, and some of his recent favourite foods are now losing their appeal. He won’t even eat baked beans any more which he loved until recently. He will only eat eggs scrambled – not boiled, fried or even in an omelette.

So we re-read loads of advice on the subject to work out how we can help him grow out of this phase. We don’t want to get to the stage where he is eating the same meal day in and day out because let’s face it, it’s not healthy. It also makes things hugely difficult to ever eat at someone else’s house or go out for dinner or have a life and you run the risk of it extending into childhood and adulthood and you end up with an adult who never eats fruits or vegetables or who has an eating disorder or something. Maybe I am worrying too much about extreme cases but I just want my little boy to grow up healthily. So as of this week we have decided to be firmer and follow the advice we have found. To offer him a variety of healthy, tasty food, and leave it up to him whether he eats it. No attention if he kicks up a fuss, no cajoling, persuading and definitely no force feeding. Also, no alternatives. If he doesn’t eat his meal he doesn’t get anything till the next snack/mealtime. It sounds simple but I am finding it really hard.

I’m not talking about forcing him to eat food he doesn’t like but the problem is that he refuses to even try food. Even foods he absolutely loved a few months ago now he either prods in disgust then pushes it away from him shaking his head, or won’t even look at or touch and just sits crying until we let him down. The problem is that my mummy instincts kick in and I just want to give him some food he likes so that I know he has eaten and will be happy. But I can’t, I have to be strong, it’s horribly hard right now but surely it’s for the best in the long term?

We never normally have much of a problem at breakfast but lunchtimes I have recently just been giving him food that he likes, taking the easy route, to make sure he has had enough energy to get through the day really and to make my life easier. This week though it has to change and I have been giving him a few different things, including some things he used to love but now won’t eat. We’ve also been cutting down the amount he eats for snacks, as he seems to have taken another step in his development and his appetite isn’t quite what it used to be. He used to not manage without regular snacks, whereas now he eats a lot less. We can’t expect him to eat his meals if he is full up from snacks and he needs to get his nutrition from his meals really. So this is how our week has gone so far…

Monday actually got off to a surprisingly good start and he scoffed all of his lunch. I was prepared to be strong but he ate it all! Curried rice with bits of turkey, broccoli, cauliflower and carrot. Result!  Dinner was sausages and pasta in a tomato sauce. He ate the sausages with no sauce on but wouldn’t eat anything else.

Tuesday lunch was pasta risotto, which he used to love but as expected he didn’t want to know. He didn’t eat a bite and kicked off massively. I was prepared for it though and actually he coped for the rest of the day much better than I expected. We went for a walk after lunch then came home and did some play-doh play, he had a nap at a normal time and slept really well. I was really surprised. We had Thai curry that night with added veg and he scoffed loads. Lovely day.

Wednesday we visited a friend for a play-date and so it was an easy lunch and a favourite, peanut butter sandwiches. He loves it so of course scoffed it and we both had lots of fun at their house, Mummy chatting with my friend and Monkey playing with his. Wednesday night was another dinner Monkey loved – until recently, breaded chicken breast with sweet potato, peas and green beans. Again, would not eat a bite. Was very tired all evening and woke up a few times in the night so I guess maybe he was hungry?

Thursday was a very difficult day. Even at breakfast he didn’t eat as much porridge as usual, and barely ate any snack either. Lunchtime came and he was really hungry. We had the same lunch as Monday but he picked and fussed and I broke. It had been a difficult morning after a difficult night and I got really cross. He tipped his food out everywhere and was sifting through then eating one grain of rice at a time. He wouldn’t take any off a spoon and I lost it. It’s just so frustrating that he won’t eat something he liked even a few days ago. I think it’s because I wasn’t prepared for it. And because maybe the week so far is taking it’s toll on both of us. Anyway I got really cross and broke my rules, tried to persuade him and then because I knew I had lost my cool I tried to walk off and calm down but that just made things worse so it ended up with both of us sitting and balling and I just felt like such a bad mummy! He ended up going for his nap earlier than normal because he was just so tired from lack of food.

He slept longer than I thought he would and has snack that afternoon was some dried banana and raisins, which of course, he scoffed. That night was beef meatballs with pasta in tomato sauce. He ate maybe half a meatball when we broke it up into crumb sized pieces but that was it. He was happy enough after tea though and slept better overnight.

I think in hindsight a lot of Thursday’s issues were my fault, I overreacted ta lunch because I was tired and in a bad mood myself. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though and I just hope I haven’t taken us back a step!

Today (Friday) we had a play date and unfortunately Monkey fell over and got himself a very nasty split lip, poor monkey 🙁 Anyway he did really well and ate his toast for lunch but not the scrambled egg. No idea why, he wouldn’t even touch the egg, but I have resolved to have a much calmer attitude about it and not to let it get to me again like it did yesterday. I have to have faith that he will eat when he is hungry and will hopefully grow out of this phase. I can’t be stressed like I was yesterday otherwise that is going to cause more problems.

Anyway, that is the plan, I will keep you posted! Have you ever struggled with a fussy eater? How did you get past it? Or did you not get past it?

BaSAHM Survival Kit – A little Perspective

This is the first in a new series entitled the Becoming a Stay At Home Mum’s Survival Kit. All the things I have found you need if you are going to survive becoming a stay at home mum! First up, A little perspective.

Picture the scene: A Saturday morning play date for a little one’s first birthday. There are 4 mummies and between us we have 6 children aged between 9 months and just under 3. Chaos but lots of fun. Monkey, still chronically shy has clung to me like a limpet ever since we arrived. If I tempt him off me to play with a toy he is no more than arm’s reach away and if I shift position even slightly he reattaches to me, terrified I am going to leave. Lunchtime comes and Monkey is already sat on my lap at the table doing some drawing. On the menu is perfect simple party fare, a cheesy pizza. I sigh with relief because I think that as Monkey likes pizza, that he will eat and enjoy it and then he may relax.

Instead he touches bits to his lips, and puts it down, turns it around in his hands and then looks at it in disgust. Here we go again, but with Pizza? What? Another food to add to the list of foods he won’t eat?? Same goes for the chips that come next. Then, because he is hungry, the ear rubbing starts and then the wailing and screaming because he is hungry but doesn’t want to eat the food in front of him. I can feel my blood boiling and set my face and try not to react to him or get upset. My lovely friends are hugely supportive and share similar stories to reassure me. I try to ignore it for a while, which really doesn’t work. So I take him out of the situation and give him big cuddles and try to calm him down, but if anything the wailing gets worse! Back into the kitchen where, after quite a lot more wailing, he gets distracted by magnetic fridge letters next to us and the crying slows to whimpers while he starts to play.

Cue lovely support from my friends and more sharing of tips and their experiences, it helps so much, and then one of my friends shifts the subject slightly to their recent issues with getting their little ones to sleep, and suddenly I have the thing I have been missing throughout the previous trauma, perspective! Time to count my blessings. Yes we have issues with Monkey over food sometimes (not always, last night for example he scoffed chicken, potato, chickpeas and rice in a lovely curry which was actually quite spicy!) but on the whole we are very lucky and he is a good boy. I know things can change all the time and I am probably tempting fate by even thinking this, let alone writing it down and sharing with the world! He sleeps solidly overnight and has done since he was only a few months old, bar the odd poorly night or bad dream now and then. In general he is well behaved and listens when mummy and daddy tell him not to do something (within reason, I don’t expect him to be perfectly behaved and if anything I like the strong willed times too as it shows strength of character), he’s not a crybaby and doesn’t create a fuss if he bumps his head or falls down unless he has really hurt himself.

So in that moment, where I had felt tears pricking at my eyes and my blood boiling, I suddenly felt a wave of relief. That doesn’t mean that the problems with food aren’t worth worrying about, of course not. But what I realised in that moment, is that at those times, when it feels like the end of the world, I have to remember that it isn’t. It’s a challenge yes but hopefully not one that can’t be overcome. When I feel like a failure as a mother because I just don’t understand why he won’t eat sometimes, I have to remember that I am doing my best and that all mums feel like this, even if not about the same issue. Just because another child eats well, they may not sleep well, or may other ‘issues’ to overcome. As my friend went on to say, they can’t be perfect all the time.

I hate to give in when he won’t eat perfectly good food, the rule at home is eat what is there or eat nothing. But at someone else’s house, I have to soften the hard line a little, mainly for my sake so I can relax a little. So he ate some sultanas, dried apple and dried cranberries, because he will always eat dried fruit, no matter what. Honestly I think he would live off fruits and nuts if I let him, which while isn’t the worst food in the world, it isn’t exactly a varied diet and wouldn’t solve the problem. But it cheered him up sufficiently and he did enjoy the party a little more after that thank goodness!

The point I am making to myself is take a breath and look at the problem/challenge in perspective. Whatever the worry at that time, it won’t last forever and things could always be a lot worse so I need to count my blessings rather than picking faults and worrying too much.

If you enjoyed reading, why not have a look at the other posts in my Survival Kit series?  Resilience, Confidence and Creativity.


Playing with a Pringles tube and much happier mealtimes 16-17 months

This was another idea I got from Pinterest actually, but again I cannot find the place where I found it initially. So annoying as I don’t want to take credit for other people’s ideas! Oh well though anyway, the idea is that if you take a Pringles tube, (or any other tube of crisps, with a lid) and cut a rectangular slot through the lid so that business cards etc. can be posted though. This helps with fine motor skills apparently! Monkey loves it though anyway, he loves it putting the cards in the slot, and he really loves shaking the tin around afterwards!

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He pretty soon discovered how to take the lid off the tube and that it was much easier to get the cards in… and lots of other things.

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He basically loves this tube, but he also loves posting thing everywhere. He has a tunnel that granddad made for the brio train set, which he loves posting things through, and he spent ages posting crayons down an old wrapping paper tube with his Nanny the other day!

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He also loves to post things under the sofa, behind cushions, under my legs, behind my back, through the bars of the door-gates, through the fire guard… you get the idea! The good thing about the Pringles tube though is that it is handily arm sized so he can get things out again, some of his other posting favourites lead to a lot more frustration, so I try to give him the Pringles tube whenever he is in a posting mood hehe!

In other news we have had a whole week of Monkey eating his dinner! Woohoo!!! I know that these things can change at a drop of the hat  but please, please, pleeeeease let him be growing out of that phase! Even if not though I have enjoyed this week as it has made it so much less stressful that he has eaten his meals. Don’t get me wrong I have had to put in a lot of effort to get this to happen but at least it has paid off, so I am v happy 🙂

Mealtime issues, what has worked (and what hasn’t) for us… so far anyway!

I know I have written quite a few blogs about mealtimes and the ups and downs so I am writing this blog over quite a long period to try and have, in one place, what we tried, and what worked and what didn’t. I have looked for a lot of advice, and found many people on various forums saying “My toddler won’t eat! What do I do?” So I know I am not alone with these struggles. Friends with older toddlers have also assured me that they have been through this stage and come out the other side and their toddlers are no longer fussy eaters, at least not all of the time!

One thing that I have heard over and over is that if they won’t eat their dinner you shouldn’t make another meal as you are encouraging the fussiness and showing them they can get what they want by kicking up a fuss, and that they don’t have to try food. This worried me so much as Monkey was only about 13 months when the battles started and seemed so young to be not having a meal! Plus I knew I was the one that had to deal with him really cranky and miserable because he is hungry and tired and hasn’t eaten. So I held off from this tactic for ages, out of fear. Maybe I prolonged our problems, maybe I didn’t, who knows?

For ages we had Postman Pat on the TV for every mealtime, even on our phones in restaurants or when we were out, because then he would eat without a fuss. But we knew this wasn’t a solution in the long run. So we stopped using the TV, and moved his chair round to the end of the dining table so he can’t see it during meals. Sometimes were more successful than others, though generally he seemed fine with with the no TV part but was still hugely fussy with foods other than his favourites (fish fingers, baked beans, peanut butter, toast). Occasionally we will put some music on to help keep him occupied as boredom can affect how long he wants to stay at the table. We try and mix it up with nursery rhymes, classical and pop (he really likes Katy Perry haha).

One day we decided to go for it and if he didn’t eat his dinner then we wouldn’t give him anything else. This was a big step for me but Monkey went to bed without tea and no harm done, he was a bit cranky that night but no worse than he has been before at bedtime. He slept through the night and was fine in the morning. One of my biggest worries was that if he didn’t eat his dinner then he would wake up in the night hungry or something, but I guess he really isn’t a baby any more!   It made a huge difference to my train of thought as I stopped trying to force him to eat and I calmed down a lot at mealtimes. Let’s face it they feed off of stress and it only makes situations worse so having a calmer environment is definitely better. Plus I now know that he isn’t going to starve if he doesn’t eat his dinner one night. It’s basically take it or leave it and if he wants to eat then he will, if he doesn’t he won’t.

I’ve also read about offering food you know they like alongside new food. If it’s just new, or something I’m not sure of then he won’t try it. If he has a small portion of something he definitely likes – like sweetcorn fritters, then he is more likely to try the newer food. This definitely helped for a while. The same goes with having either a slice of bread or Pitta Bread with the food. As he likes that and will start to eat and then will usually eventually try the other foods. He eats all sorts of things in pitta bread, our homemade veggie burgers, risotto, curry, anything really! It’s just so weird, I read a lot about toddlers his age being scared of new foods, but for the most part we aren’t trying to get him to eat new foods, it’s meals he has eaten loads of times before, and generally loved. I just don’t understand it, but I am trying really hard not to let my frustrations show as I know that makes things worse.

Like one night, for example, it was a thai curry and I make a really mild one for him. He used to love it, but now it’s like I am trying to feed him something awful. So I gave him a slice of bread which got him started. I then dabbed a bit of his bread in the sauce, and eventually after a lot of screaming and wailing he ate that bit of bread and it was like ooh yeah I do like this, and then hey presto he scoffed the whole plate of potato, chicken and carrot. I don’t even give him the rice anymore as I know he won’t eat it, but he did well! I try to give him a lot of praise when he eats well and then he gets like a yoghurt or some fruit or something if he’s still hungry, I just wish it wasn’t so stressful getting him to try something in the first place! aaaah!

Our rule is that if he tries his food, then we are happy and he has done well. He is allowed to not like things and he will get something else if he tries it. If he won’t try it, then he doesn’t get anything else. I hate doing it but if he really won’t eat any of his food then we let him down and he usually runs off to play while daddy and I finish eating, Though sometimes he tries to take us with him or brings toys for us to help him with and then it is really hard but we have to be firm and make him wait till we finish eating. We really try not to give him any attention when he isn’t eating (so no shouting or telling off or cuddles) but lots of praise when he does eat well.

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Urgh since writing the above, I feel like it is 2 steps forward, 1 step back. He hasn’t properly eaten his dinner any evening this week and both hubby and I are getting stressed about it again. Need to try and be stricter on the snacks, or try and change times of eating or something because it is just not working anymore. Even some of the things we knew he liked, such as pitta bread or sweetcorn fritters, he now doesn’t like. So bang goes that plan. It’s just a battle of wills at every mealtime again with him screaming while we try to carry on some semblance of conversation and pretend it isn’t happening, until we eventually let him get down to play. He puts the teeniest bit of whatever it is, into his mouth then spits it out without trying it. We don’t give in and he doesn’t get any pudding or anything else if he hasn’t eaten his dinner but it doesn’t make me feel better.

Hubby doesn’t get in until just after 6, and I know that is quite late for Monkey to be eating but I also like us to have a family meal together. Even at weekends when we eat at around 5.30 we have the same problem. We have lunch at 12, which isn’t usually as much of a problem, (though today it was a nightmare) then a snack at 4, after his nap as he is hungry by then. Then I have to keep him busy as by 5 he seems to want to eat more, but I don’t let him eat after 5, so that he is hungry in time for dinner at 6. He is usually chomping at the bit, crying at the doorgate into the kitchen, or trying to and something to eat at the table, then he gets in his chair, sees what is on his plate, and most of the time he then cries more and tries to get down from his chair. I encourage and coax and talk about how yummy the food is etc and occasionally if he tries something properly, then he will eat it all up. But most of the time, he tries a teeny bit (not really tries, just puts it to his lip and then spits it out) and then screams to be let down. When I eventually let him down he then screams and pulls at me until I go and play with him. Which I don’t do until I finish eating, but it is horrible and stressful trying to eat when he is screaming at me and pulling my arms and clothes.

I try really hard for all of his snacks to be healthy foods, like dried fruit, fresh fruit, cheese, biscuits/treats made with wholegrains and oats etc. He doesn’t really like chocolate so never has that, and only occasionally has some pom bear crisps (which are really low salt). I have been trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter if he eats a lot of snacks because at least they are healthy snacks (or at least not unhealthy) but the dinner does need to be the main event, and a snack should only be quite small really, so I need to try and be a bit stricter in limiting those maybe.


Right, after the uphill struggle of the weekend which I have written about above, we seem to be back on level ground again. Not sure what happened, whether he was just trying to assert his will, or if he was feeling rotten (he had had a cold for a week or so) but today was so much easier. I didn’t really do anything different… maybe being strict with him over the weekend paid off…. who knows! But he had his normal snacks (he likes sweetcorn fritters again so had those this afternoon, I make them with added veggies to get hidden vitamins in :)) at pretty normal times, and we had a mild curry tonight (which I always give him with bread and milk in case it is too spicy for him) but he did really well. He ate his chickpeas, potato and chicken and a lot of his bread so I was happy with that and he got fruit for pudding. He seems to have had an attitude switch over night… who knows, maybe it will switch back tomorrow!

Other things I have tried include:

Shaped food – for example he has star and moon shaped pasta. He is definitely more interested in this pasta than normal pasta but I can’t say it makes him eat it more often!

Eating from our plated – I know it isn’t ideal but sometimes, randomly, even if we are all eating the same thing (which we do 99% of the time) he will like it if he can eat from our plate, but not from his own. This isn’t always the case though!

Getting him involved in food preparation –  I have read quite a few things suggesting you involve a fussy child during the food preparation stage, so they are more interested when it comes to eating it. I feel Monkey is a bit young for that though and it would be way too dangerous having him involved, maybe I just worry too much I don’t know, but I wouldn’t let him loose with a cheese grater and if I tried to get him to stir something I think it would go everywhere!  Sometimes though if he is hovering around me while I am trying to sort dinner I will try and give him a little taste of something we are having – like a piece of sausage, or pasta sauce. He will generally reject it initially but sometimes he will go ooh yum, and gobble it up, then it can make mealtimes a bit easier. Emphasis on ‘can’ hehe.

Being massively enthusiastic about the meal – My mum did this actually and I had never really thought about it – I am usually feeling pretty harried and am a bit brusque with him – come on Monkey, dinner time, etc. When you think about it, not really the best way to start a mealtime. So now I make a real effort (and it can be an effort) to be more like ‘wow, look at this yummy food! Mmm this looks so tasty’ as I take it over to the table. It really works if he is paying attention and gets him going mmm mmm along with me.

Tonight we had a combination of all of the above and it was the first time he has happily eaten pasta in sauce in months, so I take that as a small step towards success. I’m not sure there is any easy fix that will stop the problems forever, maybe not until they grow out of this phase a bit, but in the meantime I will just keep trying anything I can think of! I might do a post soon about some of the best recipes I have found to get those veggies and vitamins in them sneakily too!



The rough with the smooth… and good samaritans

We had a pretty miserable day yesterday and Monkey was not happy no matter what we seemed to do. We had so much whining (which I am afraid to say really grates my nerves) and it all built up to a huge battle of wills at lunchtime. He has been getting fussier and fussier with food again over the last few weeks, I won’t go into too much detail here I have written about mealtime battles before and am writing a longer blog about dealing with food issues so it is all in one place, rather than boring you all with endless blogs about the same thing!

But anyway, yesterday lunchtime was a screaming, wailing nightmare with him refusing to eat his falafel, which I know he loves. We ended up taking him out just to get out of the house, hoping for a change of scene to help. Eventually, after realising he really wasn’t going to get anything else, he took a tiny bite out of the tupperware pot I had transferred it to, and then scoffed the lot because oh yes I really like this. Grrrr Why we had to have half an hour of screaming before this I do not know.

He was really fussy all afternoon after his nap too, though we were definitely being stricter with his food intake yesterday, and he scoffed all of his dinner (yay) but then by bathtime and bedtime he was a real misery guts again. By the time he was in bed both hubby and I had had enough.

This morning he woke up much happier and actually coped pretty well as I carted him around various shops. Unfortunately I had a disaster as I lost my purse this morning, it was in my coat pocket and all I can think is that when I was putting Monkey in the car to come home it must have fallen out as when I got home I could not find it anywhere. I was devastated at the thought of having to go through all of the hassle of cancelling cards and getting a new driving licence etc. So after his snack we dashed back to the last place I knew I had it and checked with the shops and with the security guard who patrols the car park, nothing, I was gutted.

We came home again as my parents were coming round, opened the front door and ouila! My purse was staring up at me! Some lovely lovely good samaritan found it, saw my address on my driving licence and brought it back for me! I was amazed and just couldn’t believe it! She had put her name and number on a little piece of paper so after I had calmed down from the stress of it I gave her a call and thanked her profusely.

The funny thing is that it was like a turning point in my day. After yesterday, and with the miserable weather and with the purse drama I had been feeling so low. But pretty soon after we go home my parents arrived and from then on we have had the loveliest day! Monkey was on top form and back to his old self again, having so much fun with his Nanny and Grandpops it really warms my heart. He then ate his lunch with no fuss whatsoever (yay!) and went out for a play with his grandparents as it stopped raining for a little while. This meant that I got a load of jobs done in the house which made me feel better. I think there is really something in the whole, tidy house, tidy mind thing.

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Anyway then home for a bit more of a play and then down for his nap. He was lovely all afternoon and we popped over to his other grandparents house for a brief visit to return a collection of things we had at our house (including Granny’s umbrella, which she must have been missing!). He had a lovely lovely play with them and then he came home for tea and he ate so well! He still spat a few things out and was a bit silly (he has recently discovered sticking his tongue out and one of his favourite things today has been blowing raspberries), but on the whole he ate really well and and tried everything.

We had a lovely bathtime and he was so cute reading stories with his daddy both before and after and well I had to write this blog post because honestly I could not feel more different to how I did yesterday. There are always ups and downs in life, and especially I am finding, as a parent, but the stark contrast of today and yesterday really hit me. Be thankful for the good days and just get through the bad days as they won’t all be that hard!

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A very trying day…

Urgh, today has not been the best day in my ‘stay at home mum’ journey so far. On the whole I have been enjoying being a stay at home mum, the monkey is very fun and I’ve been keeping us both busy and happy, but today is a real low point.

It started at about 630 this morning, pretty normal wake up time, but instead of a happy chattering monkey he woke up crying for some reason and took a little while to cheer up. After that he was ok, but as his Granny would call it, he has been very eggshelly (fragile) all day and the slightest thing has made him upset. I think I’ve done well most of the day and been understanding that he’s having an off day. We all have them after all!

We had his 7-12 month developmental check this morning too, and although it went well, you can’t help feeling a bit judged being cross examined on what he’s doing, how much he’s eating, what he’s eating etc. I don’t think monkey enjoyed it either, being stripped off and weighed, measured and looked at, then being watched by a stranger while he played. Not today anyway, other days he may have taken it in his stride, but this morning he was pretty grumbly. He was also really tired most of the morning which didn’t help!

We got through lunch, which wasn’t exactly fun, then he had quite a long nap though it was a bit restless sadly, and he woke up happy. Great, I thought, maybe he was just tired? But the afternoon hasn’t gone that well either, reaching a low point at teatime.

Unfortunately after a day of being understanding and coping with the random upsets and crying I am shattered. Going over everything the nursery nurse said this morning hasn’t helped, worrying and feeling guilty over the slightest thing she said, about what cup he drinks from and how we serve his food and just, well, little bits and bobs that just generally leave you feeling like you’ve been scored and given a ‘could do better’ grade in the subject of motherhood.

I thought teatime would go well as he loves the meatballs I make and his steamed potato and peas…. but apparently not today. Today he is spitting everything out, not wanting to know then crying and gagging so he throws up the little bit that he has actually eaten (and he had seemed to enjoy the odd few bites).

At this my façade cracks and I lose my cool. I tell him off and throw the cup he is playing with, rather than drinking from, on the floor. Yeah, I know, who’s the parent here? Throwing things in a tantrum isn’t exactly the best example to set, but how else do you vent frustration to a 10 month old baby who can’t tell you why he suddenly doesn’t want to eat the food that he has liked every other time before? The food that you have spent ages in the kitchen preparing while he sleeps?

I try to tell him he needs to eat his food or he won’t get anything else, that’s all there is, but then I’m feeling awful because I know he’s hungry, he needs to eat. And if he doesn’t eat his tea then surely he won’t sleep well tonight and that isn’t good for any of us.  How do you teach them to eat what is in front of them while still making sure they go to bed full? Is he too young to be worrying about that? Should I just give in?

I realise I have to walk away and take a breather so because I don’t know what to do I give him two of the oat and apricot biscuits (that I made at the weekend but usually try to ration so he doesn’t just eat biscuits all the time), dump them on his tray with some raisins and walk out of the room. I sat on the stairs, text my husband because I needed to vent (lucky hubby coming home to such a happy home!!) and had a little cry. I then go back in, check and yep sure enough he is eating the biscuits and raisins, so not off his food completely. I turn the TV on and walk out again because I can’t be all smiley and serene yet.

Thankfully, hubby is now home to help for the evening and there’s only an hour or so to go before bed.

I know it’s not his fault, maybe his teeth are coming through and hurting, maybe he’s just feeling under the weather. Poor little thing can’t exactly tell me what is the matter. But honestly, days like this are not fun. Days like this are not easy. Days like this make you feel like a really bad mother.

Thank goodness not all days are like this! Tomorrow will be a better day… at least I really hope so!