My Contribution to the Obesity Epidemic?

I have a confession to make.

A deep, dark confession.

Today I gave my son a piece of Rocky Road.

It was just a tiny piece.  OK, two tiny pieces.  No, three.  But they were no more than bite-sized.  He had three bites of Rocky Road.  He is eighteen months old.  Am I a bad mother?

I thought he wouldn’t like them.  I thought he would taste it, savour it for a moment and then spit it out with a look of disgust.  That’s what he does with most new foods, after all.  Instead, he tasted it, savoured it, murmured a sound of overwhelming approval, and asked for more.  Yes, he asked for more.  Like a pre-verbal Oliver Twist communicating solely through hand gestures.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I started off with such good intentions.  I had all the weaning books, I made all the recipes.  I dutifully perused the fruit and vegetable aisle looking for new and interesting tastes for him; a selection of seasonal red berries, a mango here, a passionfruit there (a word of advice: Don’t bother giving an eight month old passionfruit.  They rarely appreciate it, and the mess is biblical).  Sometimes he would try them out, squeezing strawberries so hard that he shook, the juice oozing out of his little fists.  Other times he would turn his head away and purse his lips, indicating that no Mummy, there would be no green beans today, or ever, thank you very much.

The thing that never wavered was my resolve.  I had all the data.  Fruit drinks caused tooth decay, chocolate was for adults, a solitary slurp of ice cream was the start of a slippery slope that would inevitably end up with my darling child being lifted out of his bedroom with a crane and transported to hospital in one of those extra-large ambulances in the kind of scenario you see in Jeremy Kyle-fronted Channel 5 documentaries with tabloid names like “Bodyshock: Britain’s Fattest Man.”

Then Piglet turned one.  A bit of Sainsbury’s finest birthday cake was sourced, and the rest, as they say, is history.  It wasn’t even a homemade cake.  

A Sunday treat here and there, a little bit of ice cream and maybe the apple bits from an apple pie…

A bite of a cookie every now and then, as and when he requests it…..

And now Rocky Road.  A veritable feast of marshmallow, biscuit and chocolate all wrapped up in a tantalising but lethal package.

I knew that sooner or later this day would be upon us.  He is onto me.  He knows I eat cake, and cookies, and chocolate, and he knows that they are good.  He knows what a cup of tea is, and has added it to his expanding repertoire of known vocabulary.  He even dipped his finger in the dregs of a cup of lukewarm tea the other day, swirled it around, and tried a bit.  How long now before he is putting in his drinks order, and it’s a large latte?  And while I’m at it, I should probably hide that bottle of wine in a locked cupboard somewhere very, very high up.  I am now faced with a stark choice.  I either accept that my control over his diet is loosening, and give in to packets of Wotsits eaten inside the shopping trolley before reaching the till, or I can give up all unhealthy food for the rest of my life, and hope he follows my saintly example.

Which will it be?

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Piglet’s Top Ten Thoughts

Sat here with Piglet lying next to me on the bed while I type, as it is the only way I can stop him from yelling at me.  He is, as ever, showing absolutely zero signs of being ready to go to bed.

sleepless nights
“You can bang on about this “beddy-byes” all you like Mother. I AM NOT GOING.”

OK now he is trying to kick the laptop off me.

 Sometimes I wonder what is going through that little head.  Probably what an awful mother I am with my laptop and my sometimes needing to leave him in his pram for a few minutes while I go to the loo, and when the parents were being given out, why didn’t he get Brad and Angelina who would surely at least have a nanny to keep him occupied when they’re off making films and giving speeches to the UN.
In fact, here is a list of what I think probably are Piglet’s Top Ten Thoughts.
1.) BOOB.
2.) ANOTHER BOOB.
3.) Why sleep when you can large it up drinking milk all night?
4.) What is that glowing rectangle thing Mummy is always playing with and talking at?  I WANT IT.
5.) WHY WON’T SHE LET ME HAVE THAT THING?  I WANT IT.  AARGH.
6.) Why am I in this chair again?
7.) Look at my amazing kicking legs!
8.) NO!  NOT THE SNOWSUIT!  ANYTHING BUT THE SNOWSUIT!
9.) Where is Mummy?  Want Mummy!  IF I SHOUT REALLY LOUDLY SHE’LL COME BACK.
10.) What is this?
It is number ten that has become most prevalent of late, as we have just started solid food.  Well, Piglet has just started solid food.  Mummy’s intake of solid food consists mainly of Nutella.
Well, I say started solid food.  I’m not entirely sure any of it has actually got past his lips.  Most of it ends up either on the floor or smeared all over his face.  It has caused no end of consternation with my mother.
“WHAT?  You fed him chilli?!”
“If you had started earlier and fed him purees…”

Why does one always need to justify one’s mothering choices even when following the guidance of the World Health Organisation to the letter?

Earlier on today I decided that it was finally time to use the baby hand and foot moulding set that one of my friends had given me as a gift, before Piglet’s hands and feet get too big to fit in the frame.

As you can tell, this is in no way a disaster waiting to happen.

I had decided to wait until Piglet was old enough to find this fun and, after watching him sort of enjoy the experience of throwing spaghetti about at lunchtime it occurred to me that he might be ready to stick his hands and feet in a plaster mould.

Big mistake.  After the obligatory two minute wait for the mould to set was spent with Piglet wriggling around and attempting to dance on it, all that appeared in the frame was a big blob with no discernible shape, and the entire flat, including both Piglet and I, were covered in blue gel which then had to be hosed off in the shower and wiped down.  Note to self: do not attempt any form of messy play or anything that requires a baby to be still for even a nanosecond.

You Baby Me Mummy
A Cornish Mum

Household Emergency: TV Not Working

How does one overcome this dilemma without making one look as though one is incapable of dealing with electrical malfunction?

Last night I made a decision.  I decided that I was spending too much time checking the internet on my phone instead of looking after baby, so I decided that from now on I would only check the internet on my phone if the baby was asleep.  Or if someone had texted me, as one needs to be able to check texts immediately, as may be very important (case in point, this very morning I received a text from a friend telling me that she had just got engaged).

This has all been going very well.

What has not been going so well, however, is that in celebration of my decision to spend less of my life looking at a screen and not at Piglet, the television has decided it is no longer working.

I got up this morning, laid Piglet down on his play mat, made myself a cup of tea and some toast with a nice bit of Nutella and sat down on the sofa to watch the Andrew Marr Show, Saturday Kitchen Best Bites, or whichever other Sunday morning television programme which I don’t even like happened to be on, and nothing.  Nothing.  Just a message saying “weak or no signal.”

Aha, I thought.  It’s on ITV at the moment.  I switched it off last night after X Factor.  Clearly what has happened is that there has been a ferocious but very localised storm which has blown over the main ITV transmitter.  Let’s try BBC.

Nothing.

Aha, I thought.  I know what’s happened here.  There has been a huge solar storm and the Earth has been buffeted with electromagnetic waves from the Sun which have knocked out all the power lines and consequently there is currently no television across the whole of the UK.  This happened in Canada once.  I saw it on a documentary about the aurora borealis on BBC4.  BBC4 which has now been obliterated by cosmic rays.  Or perhaps there has been a terrorist attack and the TV stations have all been taken over by crazed fundamentalists who believe television is the work of the Devil and so have attacked all the transmitters.  Let’s go to the BBC website and have a look.  Surely there will be a message like “TV transmitter problem causes widespread disruption” or “TV down across the nation after hostile takeover.”

Hmm.  The main headline on BBC News is “Deal reached at UN climate talks,” but then, they would say that wouldn’t they?  The terrorists have cunningly taken over the website as well and replaced the real news with an innocuous headline about the UN and climate change to make us think there’s not really been a hostile takeover and it’s all business as usual.

Upon looking out of the window I then spotted that the television in a flat on the other side of the building was noticeably on, and appeared to be working normally.  Oh God, maybe there’s something wrong with my TV, and it’s JUST ME, and I will have to figure out what’s wrong, and then fix it ALL BY MYSELF.  I am just going to have to step up to the plate and be a Capable Woman.

“Help!” I texted my brother, who lives 125 miles away, “my TV is not working.  And yes, it is plugged in.”  It says this:

“There must be a problem with your building,” came the reply.

Oh Christ, I’m going to have to climb onto the roof and start fiddling with the aerial, like Rod Hull and Emu.

There are two potential solutions here: 1.) assume there’s a problem with the entire building and go and ask the concierge if anyone else is having problems with their TV, or 2.) assume that the problem is your TV and you’ve either unintentionally done something to cause the problem, like accidentally pull out the aerial despite the fact that after checking it multiple times, it definitely looks plugged in, or the TV/aerial is broken (the latter v. bad as have to purchase new one in time for X Factor final in four hours, with no money).

The first one is easier, but is clearly going to result in me looking like a total idiot, bumbling down to the reception desk, explaining to the concierge that my TV isn’t working, and him giving me a withering look before asking if it is plugged in, before telling me that I am an idiot woman who doesn’t understand how to operate the most basic of electrical appliances.  This is what always happens when trying to explain any kind of technical malfunction to a man.

The second one is of course terrifying but, given previous experience with technicals, most likely correct.  However, I must be Capable Woman and Resourceful Mother and not let any man know about this, as must prove to Piglet that women are just as capable as men when it comes to operating television, so that he grows up to be liberal, progressive, feminist man, and Mummy does not need to go running to her nearest male relative whenever there is TV problem, lost internet connection, dishwasher malfunction, broken lightbulb or any other type of household emergency.  I decide to start exploring the many buttons on the TV remote to see what they all do and whether any of them will solve the problem.

Aha!  There is TV button called “troubleshooting.”  This is what I need.  Thank you, O holy TV remote.  Ah, aerial is set to “air.”  Clearly this is not the problem as it was working yesterday with identical settings, but maybe it needs to be changed to “cable” now, even though I do not have cable TV, as TV is, like, digital now.  Maybe BBC website has something to say about this.  Maybe there has been whole-country changeover to cable television and all aerials need to be reset.

Go to BBC website.  Headline is still “Deal reached at UN climate talks.”  Perhaps this cable TV changeover is so universally known by everyone except me, that it does not even merit a mention in national news.  But I read the Guardian Online every day, and nothing has ever been mentioned.  Perhaps the Guardian is too interested in worthy news stories about social issues and feminism and why I should be able to work my own TV, as a Capable Woman who does not need the help of men, to mention small thing like entire country cable TV changeover.

Right, let’s reset all channels by tuning television again.  I know how to do this.  This is easy.

Argh have lost all TV channels, possibly permanently.

OK let’s see if there is whole-building TV aerial malfunction.  Definitely not going to climb onto the roof like Rod Hull, so will just have to bite my lip and ask concierge.  Will need to go to Cafe Nero first, and purchase latte to steady nerves.

After peering through door into reception area, it turns out that it is Nice Concierge on duty, and not Smug Concierge, who once previously gave me withering look in relation to not knowing how to read the electricity meter.  Breathe sigh of relief.

“Er, you wouldn’t happen to know if anyone has reported a problem with their…”

“TV signal?  Yes.  The whole building’s down.  Everyone’s annoyed because it’s the X Factor final tonight.”

THANK THE LORD.  Am Capable Woman.  TV is not broken, and I have not unintentionally forgotten how to plug it in.  Compared to this, not being able to watch X Factor final is minor inconvenience.

Ten Things I Have Learned About IVF

1.) I am thinking of looking for a role in the circus as the Astonishing Human Pin Cushion.  

2.) Everyone is telling me what to eat: Drink milk, eat eggs, don’t eat cheese, eat tofu, don’t eat tofu, sugar is bad for the eggs.  It’s enough to drive anyone to a life of cupcakes and wine.
3.) The sole reason that most people who have IVF are married is so that there is someone to remind you that you are actually mental when you are hopping around the bedroom terrified that you have overdosed on Menopur and are going to drop dead right there and shouldn’t you be phoning an ambulance right now, or at least NHS Direct?
4.) The best thing about work is having other people there to tell you that you are actually mental when you brandish a syringe at them, yelling, “Do you think I took the right dose?  I took THIS MUCH!”
5.) The most important question facing the world right now is this: If Menopur is made of “the urine of menopausal women,” then who is donating their wee to science for this to happen?  Are people in lab coats secretly raiding the cisterns of the over 50s?
6.) I am seriously thinking about starting a business selling my mother’s urine to make IVF drugs.  I could be the Walter White of fertility medicine.  
7.) The best thing about downregulation is the lack of bloating.  If this is the shape of what’s to come in my menopausal years, then I will be still wearing crop tops in my sixties.  This is BRILLIANT.
8.) After getting off lightly with no depression or mood swings throughout downregulation, things have  taken a sudden turn for the worst during the stims phase.  Today I almost cried at the News.  While they were talking about a teachers’ strike.  During which I got A DAY OFF WORK.
9.) I have started believing in acupuncture to promote fertility.  And visualisation.  And foods that look like soggy grass.  And the power of wearing orange.  
10.) Drinking coffee and eating Nutella have started to seem like the sort of terrible vices that can only be cured by attending a 60 day detox programme at a rehab centre in Arizona and wearing a sensor that immediately administers an electric shock when going within one hundred yards of Costa Coffee.
You Baby Me Mummy

Hair dye: hated by right wing American conservatives everywhere.

So I decided to do something productive today.

In fact, I am contractually obliged; i.e. by my new year’s resolutions, that Contract of Doom I have of course made with myself yet again this year, despite the fact that the previous twenty years’ (TWENTY YEARS!!!!!!  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?) vague promises to “be more positive” have so far yielded nothing but an ever-deepening well of cynicism to do at least one productive, life-enriching thing each day.  There are some exceptions to this.  Work, for example, doesn’t count.  Not even if you do it at home.  Nor does loading and unloading the dishwasher, although other varieties of housework obviously do, since they need to be performed less frequently-at least in the den of filth that passes as my home-and have a less immediately obvious expediency.  For example the dishwasher needs to be emptied in order for me to re-use the dishes that are housed within, whereas I can still sleep in my bed even if the sheets haven’t been changed for six months.

Anyway, as well as going to work and unloading and reloading the dishwasher, I decided to dye my hair.

This was mostly an excuse not to go to the gym.

The gym also counts as a “productive thing” but I am as yet udecided about whether it could also be classed as “life-enriching,” unlike dyeing one’s hair, which is of course a sublime experience.

At least my grey hairs will be covered.

I hope.  That was the aim anyway.  I shall be much affronted if I spend the next half an hour on my knees on the cold, hard bathroom floor rinsing rancid brown liquid from my hair, colouring the entire bathroom walls in the process and more importantly, missing the whole of Miranda, only to find that I am left with the same four hundred or so stubborn wiry bright white hairs sticking out of my head at odd angles.

My hair can stick out at odd angles all it likes, as long as it isn’t grey.

Righty ho, just returned from lengthy sojourn crouched over bathtub.  Ten minutes left of Miranda.  Not bad going.  No crippling neck pain either.  I am liking this Garnier stuff.  It remains to be seen if the Evil Greys have been banished forever.  Well, they always say “forever” on these hair dye things, don’t they?  Or at least they imply it with their “permanent” moniker.  Nothing is permanent.  All life is impermenent.  And in Hair Dye Parlance, “permanent” just about covers two months.

Still, I am hoping that those two months will buy me some brown-haired time well into the first trimester of my phantom pregnancy with my would-be baby that is due to start in about four days’ time.  It may help you to know that I am conveniently calculating pregnancy the same way a staunch American conservative would, not from conception or even the maturation of the egg, but from the beginning of the development of the dominant follicle.  In other words, day one of my period.  Yes this is too much information, but believe me you are going to hear a lot worse over the next few months I guarantee it.  Or at least I virtually guarantee it.  Leaving a bit for margin of error-e.g. what if the test results I’m waiting on before I can go ahead with treatment show that I have some hideous disease, like one of the many brands of hepatitis, or worse, and this turns into an “oh no I have a horrible disease” blog.  That would be truly awful.

Anyway, I digress.  Life is too short to be worrying about whether I have any of the many brands of hepatitis.  I have hair to dye.

And The Internet isn’t sure if that’s safe in pregnancy.

In fact, such is my state of absolute paranoia that I have even pondered among my many musings on the state of my egg cells, whether hair dye might not only *possibly* be unsafe during those tortuous days of the first trimester, when virtually nothing appears to be certified safe and one may as well be wrapped in organic cotton wool and placed in a warm oxygen chamber for three months with a drip feed of folic acid, but even in the stages the precede it.  The stages that I desperately hope I am currently in, e.g. those precious few months pre-conception when my body is a temple to the god of the maturing egg.

What if hair dye is the cause of all chromosonal abnormalities in human egg cells?  What if declining egg quality in older women is directly proportional to number of grey hairs and consequently amount of dye used trying to disguise them?  WHAT IF GARNIER NUTRISSE IS A FANCY FRENCH NAME FOR CONTRACEPTIVE????  Any of these things could be true!

I bet the US political and religious right have something to say about this.  Probably something like “Evil Beautifier of the Female Head Belies Deadly Secret” along with some pictures of aborted foetuses.

This is all too much to bear.  I’m off to eat Nutella out of the jar to make myself feel better.

OH NO NUTS AREN’T ALLOWED EITHER.  God preserve us.