Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Look at the size of this!

When Betty called to me earlier and announced that she had done a 'little poo' in her potty, I was not expecting this.

For some reason, it made me think back fondly to Emily from Maternal Tales from the South Coast's post about her daughter, Edie, doing a huge poo and she even photographed it to show her loyal readers.

This photograph is for you Emily (and you Stuart, because I know you love hearing all about my tales of child/baby poo).

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Betty at three

Betty is three today! Although the last year has passed by in a flash, she has changed and grown-up quite unbelievably. This time last year all Betty could (or would) say was ‘Da. Dadada. Daaaaa.’ etc. And although her little character was emerging and she was fully capable of making herself understood, she still very much had a baby-ness about her.

A year on, she now, rather scarily, often demonstrates teenager tendencies, like: banging on the bathroom door if someone is in there and shouting ‘GET OUT, I need a wee!’, and burying her head under the duvet when I am trying to get her out of bed in the mornings and mumbling ‘Noooo I need more sleep, go away’, or answering a question with ‘Yeah’ in such a way that you feel that all that’s missing is the gum.

A year ago it used to terrify me taking Betty to the shops with her on foot, but now she is a great little shopping companion. She will bring her little red shopping basket and carry it on her arm, as I do, and help me look for items in the shop and make (sometimes helpful) suggestions about what we should buy. Although at times it is rather nerve-racking when I turn round and she is wielding a bottle of wine in my direction and bellowing ‘YOUR WINE MUMMY!’ I grab the bottle, and as long as it is under a fiver and has a screw top, I put it in my basket and go with her choice.

Despite my best efforts in the last three years of dressing Betty in neutral colours and dungarees, she has become a real girlie girl. Her favourite colour is pink, and she loves to look pretty in dresses and hairclips. She always notices and comments if I am wearing a new or different item of clothing, and although she doesn’t say anything I can see the look of distaste on her little face when I come downstairs donning tracksuit bottoms and maternity top. She almost fell off her chair (she was flicking through Heat magazine at the time) when she saw me in a dress the other day.

She has well and truly left toddlerdom behind her. In the last year she has gained incredible negotiating and mediating skills - if I am giving Tom a hard time about not taking the recycling out, or leaving teabags in the sink, Betty immediately steps in and says: ‘Say sorry to Daddy, Mummy, say sorry now’; and she has become a real comedian (I particularly love her impressions of Tom).

Happy birthday, my darling, gorgeous girl. Enjoy your much anticipated special day with all your balloons, and your requested big pink heart birthday cake, and your presents, and your smoked salmon breakfast in bed…

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Pumpkin overload

I thought it would be a nice idea to invite a couple of Betty's bestest buddies round for a little Halloween playdate. Something very low-key: a few sandwiches, and maybe some fairy cakes if I had time. With Betty's pumpkin costume at the ready, and still five days until Halloween, I felt there was nothing else to worry about, other than a quick dash to the shops to buy a bit of bread and cheese.

As the week progressed, so did the ideas. The recipe books came out, Google was consulted, and there followed several trips to different cook shops and supermarkets to track down things like pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters and orange food colouring.

I became so caught up in throwing the halloween party of the century that I forgot I was catering for just three children on a mere playdate. With 48 hours to go, I made the toffee apples and the pumpkin soup, and Betty and I made some decorations: pumpkins, witches, spiders, ghosts, 'welcome' signs, spooky bunting etc.

On the morning of Halloween, I got up at the crack of dawn and frantically began baking. Intricate spider fairy cakes were created, hand-shaped chocolate chip cookies were made, and gory finger sandwiches, and fruit kebabs. Pumpkins were gutted and carved, and several oranges were hollowed out to resemble mini pumpkins, to use as vessels for the green jelly; decorations were hung, pumkpin-themed balloons were inflated, the house was tidied, and last minute alterations to costumes were made. Standing back and looking at everything laid out in all its glory, I suddenly felt embarrassed at the efforts I had gone to. So I instructed Tom not to laugh at my casual reply of ‘not long at all, it was nothing’ if anyone asked how long it had all taken me.

At 3pm, me, Tom, Betty, Dolly and their two grandmothers (who had been drafted in at the last minute to help eat all the food) sat expectantly in the decked out room, awaiting the arrival of our guests. Both of them arrived right on time, also dressed as pumpkins. The three pumpkin pals quickly joined forces, and began gaily throwing breadsticks around, and generally trashing the room. Meanwhile I had collapsed in an exhausted heap on a chair in the corner of the room and was unable to muster up the energy to be all halloweeny. Tom desperately tried to think of ways to entertain the pumpkins and decided to do some apple bobbing. But he dislocated his neck whilst doing his demonstration and the pumpkins watched on, looking perplexed.

We played musical bumps, and then took the pumpkins trick or treating to our next door neighbours (each one was given a small plastic pumpkin receptacle to hold the treat). And again the children had a look of bafflement on their little faces, when sweets were willingly and freely handed out to them.

Then it was pretty much time to finish the playdate, so we quickly ate all the food, and I brought out the pumpkin soup in a big scooped out pumpkin.