Roslyn’s Photo Shoot

When Sandy was a little younger than Roslyn is now we took him to Stuart’s work for a photoshoot. They have brilliant photography facilities there so a perk of his job is getting some excellent pictures taken for free!

I think they turned out brilliantly. Some of Roslyn on her own will certainly be going on the wall and we will be blowing up one of the joint ones to canvas. The only problem is picking which one and where the canvas will go. We’ve only had kids for 2.5 years yet already have no walls left without photos on, and I can’t see any I could bear to take down! Unless they get significantly less cute in the next few months we are going to have a problem!

Here are a few of my favourite pictures. I will be back soon to give a proper post on my new job (!!!) but I’ve had a full week of training AND (typically) illness. Plus I formally started “Sandy & Rozzie” with my Mum – our own business, more on that to follow as well – so hectic is an understatement. So enjoy the pictures for now and I will be back with more soon…

img__7914

img__7940

img__7915

img__7942

img__7925

img__7945

A Day at the Races

I think it was around about, oh, one day before Stuart’s Dad’s birthday where my ever-prepared husband declared the well heard phrase “oh, it’s my -insert family member here-‘s birthday tomorrow…” and I was required to use my wifely powers to arrange a present at the last minute. Luckily for him I love sorting out presents.

IMG_8150

A month or so ago I’d noticed the advert at Garrion Bridge for the point-to-point steeplechase and we had planned to go, but it was cancelled due to the weather. I remembered that the next race meet was on soon so we decided to take Shug for a day at the races and gift him the entry and some betting money.

IMG_8167

And what a fabulous day we had for it, couldn’t have wished for better really!

IMG_8170

Roslyn was in her element crawling around in the grass. I think had it been wet and she wasn’t able to go on the ground, that she’d have been pretty cranky stuck in the sling all afternoon. You barely heard a noise from her as she explored and snacked and played with her grandparents.

IMG_8191

Sandy was pretty chuffed with the GIANT tractor parked near us and even at one point fed his square sausage to tractor. Kind, sharing boy that he is.

IMG_8198

Note to self: buy new sun hat for Roslyn as size 0-6 months isn’t exactly forgiving on a 10 month old.

IMG_8206

IMG_8222

And of course aside from the excitement of tractors and blades of grass, there was adult entertainment in the form of horses galloping. I thought Sandy and Roslyn would be taken with the fast horsies, but Roslyn didn’t notice them and Sandy was far more concerned with running around the field throwing sticks.

IMG_8223

I took £10 to bet, fully expecting it all to be gone by the end of the day. My first few were losers but the second last race I picked the winner (Flash Garden – who could deny a bet to a Queen reference?) on his first time out, and at 4-1 I got £10 back. I spent the final £2 in my pocket on ” Aw Man”, a loser of the last race and came home broken even which I was pretty chuffed about!!

Anne and Shug made money which was fabulous and very sweetly shared the winnings with the kids, so next time they want a treat when we are out it’s on gran and granda!

Stuart came home down a little, despite a win on a horse called Rossini’s Dancer which he picked, along with Anne, after the similarities with Rozzie’s name.

IMG_8232

IMG_8236

We had a fab time and already have plans to return with more of the family and bring a picnic and such.

IMG_8237

IMG_8245

Roslyn spent most of her day crawling over to try and make friends with this dog, only to be plucked away by one of her parents at the last moment, over and over.

IMG_8253

And aside from the tractor Sandy spent all his time “up high on the mountain”.

IMG_8258

IMG_8259

IMG_8269

The cutest grin.

IMG_8275

And the sweetest face.

IMG_8283

Turns out I make daredevils in girl and boy form. Sandy was flinging himself down sheer drops covered in thistles while Roslyn took a leisurely crawl under the belly of the beast. They like to keep us on our toes.

IMG_8289

IMG_8293

IMG_8294

IMG_8304

IMG_8310

IMG_8320

I had such a lovely day with my three loves…

IMG_8326

IMG_8332

…and I think Granda really enjoyed his birthday present!

IMG_8342

Garden Update – It’s been a while!

It’s been a while since I updated on the garden. Winter came and babies were in hospital, then there was christmas, more hospital, and of course the ever so challenging 9-12 month era began. Not to mention the ridiculously long winter we’ve been riding out. BUT on Saturday we woke to frost and the promise of sun and it delivered in style.

IMG_8050

So we spent the morning in the garden and took advantage of a spontaneous visit from my parents to get the bulk bag of gravel we had sitting in the driveway sorted out.

IMG_8052

While these two were occupied with eating (biscuits for Sandy, mud and pegs for Roslyn) we took turns shoveling and barrowing the stones round to FINALLY (it’s only taken two years) get round the side of the house sorted out.

IMG_8059

I put the loungers out on the lawn last weekend in rather pre-mature fashion but it turns out I timed it just right as Friday night Stuart and I lay out on them in sleeping bags with a fire on the chimnea watching the stars. Then the next day they were in use again!

IMG_8065

IMG_8077

IMG_8088

Roslyn is LOVING the garden. I’ve doubled up her clothing and let her just have at it. She loves crawling around the grass and trying to copy Sandy.

IMG_8098

Recently Stuart extended Sandy’s climbing frame to “big boy” size *sob sob* and we got his slide from his Gran and Granda up too. He’s almost big enough to be trusted to do it himself without falling.

IMG_8101

Mind you this one can’t be trusted not to climb the slide while he’s coming down so supervised they stay.

IMG_8106

The skies were so blue that there was time for lots of helicopter and plane spotting for our little lad who is still obsessed with anything that goes.

IMG_8109

IMG_8111

Sandy was so helpful with the gravel, putting handfuls of stones into his own little bucket and helping to push the wheel barrow round.

IMG_8113

He even raked the gravel into place! He is just too much!

IMG_8120

So as you can see this piece of the garden is now in some semblance of order, and next weekend Stuart and my Dad are going to put up my greenhouse! This is a life long dream being fulfilled and I can’t wait to get to summer with tomatoes and melons and cucumbers growing all around me in it!

As for other gardening I will do a full post soon, but Sandy and I cleared the vegetable plot a few weeks back and I added some compost and fertilised it last week so should be starting to sow in the next week or two. The space in front of the greenhouse (to be) and the wasted strip of land behind the hut will be used for veg too. Definitely potatoes and whatever veg can withstand shade the most.

IMG_8128

I can’t wait for days with weather like this to become more frequent so we can spend hours outside. They really are in their element outside and we are so looking forward to the real start of spring, and maybe even sunny birthday parties this year, you never know!

IMG_8135

Back at the Park!

Last wednesday we had a morning in, as we were heading to Stuart’s work for a free family photo shoot (more to come on that!) after nap. But for once it was neither raining, nor freezing, nor blowing a gale, and it felt perfect to hit up the park for the first time this year.

IMG_7772

I popped Sandy in the buggy and Roslyn on my back (in a borrowed connecta baby carrier which we are trialing and loving) and humphed them up the hill out of our estate, then on to the little park which is park of another (fancier) estate just next to us (Stuart calls it millionaire’s row, I the mansions).

IMG_7792

IMG_7807

Only a little wiping down of wetness was needed and the kids had a blast. There were no numb fingers and it felt properly like spring. You forget how demoralising being cooped up all day is.

IMG_7810

I can’t wait until every day is nice enough for this kind of stuff, or just lounging in the garden, because it gives you a sense of well-being, and ferocious toddlers a good run.

IMG_7839

And now I get the joy of views like this. My two smiling faces, beaming at me from the simple pleasure of a swing, then beaming at each other, their laughter infectious.

IMG_7843

Sandy kept asking to be pushed faster, then demanded that I push Roslyn faster each time too. He never forgets about little sis’s welfare these days, and everything he wants and needs, he deems her to want and need too. It’s adorable. She will never be left out with a brother like him.

IMG_7866

Roslyn had a great time learning the life lesson that is don’t just eat crap off the ground.

IMG_7890

And when I say she learned it, I lied. Because I’m fairly sure there will be a few bits of bark in the next nappy I change. Along with the red chalk she scoffed the other night, giving Daddy a fright as she frothed red goo from her gums.

IMG_7909

IMG_7920

IMG_7924

IMG_7925

Ah, the love little boys have for things with engines. The man waved back and made his day. And then when we were on our way home the postman said hi and remade it. “Mummy! It’s Pat! Postman Pat! Hi Pat! Hi PAT! PAT!! PAT’S VAN!!” Bet he gets it all the time.

IMG_7938

IMG_7948

IMG_7965

IMG_7971

IMG_7980

IMG_7982

Anyway, in conclusion, and briefly, as the sleeping-ticking time bombs are zzzing away upstairs, the park is good, spring is good, life is good. Things are about to get very, VERY real around here as I start my new job next week. I’m still waiting on official confirmation (references, disclosure and the like) but as soon as it’s a done deal I will fill you in on my entrance to the job market, finally, after dodging it for ten years.

IMG_7985

Giant Bourbon Biscuits

I was out at Dobbies Sandyholm the other day and saw giant bourbon biscuits and giant custard creams on sale. Seeing as Sandy had already got an empire biscuit on the tray and was asking for hot chocolate I by-passed them. But as usual my penchant for something the same as usual only much smaller or much bigger (travel sized toiletries? YES PLEASE) kept me hankering for the giant biscuits so today we made them.

IMG_7999

Obviously it’s just the same as making regular bourbon biscuits but you cut them thicker and bigger in dimension. Luckily I have a fool proof bourbon biscuit dough recipe so it’s really simple to make them.

IMG_8003

For the biscuits:

Beat 2tbsp caster sugar with 85g soft butter, then beat in an egg, 1 tsp vanilla and 1tbsp milk. Then stir in 200g plain flour and 4tbsp cocoa and bring together with your hands to form the dough.

Roll out the dough to 1/2cm thick and cut big rectangles roughly the size of a deck of cards. Decorate how you like, I used icing letter cutters to write bourbon, but they were too big to fit which actually looked perfect, giant writing that doesn’t fit on a biscuit that doesn’t fit in your mouth.

Bake at 180/160fan until they just start to darken on the sides. Cool.

IMG_7997

For the icing:

Mix 3tbsp icing sugar, 60g soft butter, 3tsp water, 2 tbsp cocoa and 1/2tsp vanilla to a thick icing. Spread between two biscuits.

IMG_8004

This recipe will make roughly 5 GIANT biscuits, so, you know, double or triple away and spread the love!

IMG_8007

Why make mere biscuits, when you could make giant biscuits?

One of Those Weeks

I’m glad to see the back of last week. And I probably won’t be all that disappointed when this one is over either.

Roslyn’s been ill. AGAIN. Nothing major, but once you have a toddler you forget just how hard it is to keep a minorly sick baby relatively happy. I mean, if you are sick (as I am now, thanks for that darling daughter) you rest, right? Well babies don’t. They don’t get that they are sick, so they don’t think oh I should rest. Instead I reckon this is what runs through their little brains:

Oh, I feel rubbish, wahhh wahhh. Oh good Mum is here, she will make it better and- OH LOOK AT THAT ON THE FLOOR! Wahhh I wan’t down. Oh Wait! I feel AWFUL! Wahhh! Up! Up! MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA! Thank god, she’s here agai-WOOOOW look what my brother’s doing, I must get to him! WAH WAH DOWN NOW! Hi Sandy, hi, let me see, oh wait I don’t feel good, and I’m tired, WAH WAH WAH! Phew, it’s Mum. Oh wait… naptime? No way! I wan’t to explore and make cognitive developments WAH WAH WAH…. and so on.

So what does a desperate parent do when this goes on all day long? She cracks open the bubbles.

IMG_7461

IMG_7490

They kept her from crying for about four minutes, a 100% increase on the pre-bubble scenario, so WIN, I guess.

IMG_7513

Amid all this illness (and the inevitable toddler misbehaviour that is a result of relative neglect) Roslyn turned 10 months old.

IMG_7618

Happy ten months little doll, and how is it now only two months until you are ONE?!?

IMG_7623

Anyway she perked up at the weekend, just in time for me to come down with it, which is always the way isn’t it?

IMG_7655

Still we soldier on don’t we? Because let’s face it, there’s little else to do. There are few things I miss about my pre-children life but there are two main ones: Sleep and being able to be ill. Of course I still get ill but I can’t be ill, you just have to do the same old crap you always do only feeling like someone’s armpit at the same time. And considering that this illness usually follows a child’s ill period – and thus a period of no sleep – it’s extra rubbish. I suppose I am lucky that I am ill today when my Mum has them, but then I am spending today resting (and blogging while on a brief paracetamol high) at the expense of my thesis. So yeah, that feels good.

IMG_7659

Anyway, enough moaning about things one can’t change and more cute pictures. Do you see this boy? My god I love this boy.

IMG_7663

He’s the sweetest little thing and he runs round the supermarket saying “get the mummy! get the mummy!” then he grabs my hand and kisses it and it’s just TOO MUCH LOVE.

IMG_7672

IMG_7685

IMG_7689

And this girl, crankiness and sleeplessness aside (aka the 30 whinge-less minutes each day brings at the moment) is also pretty top notch. She’s constantly sticking her tongue out at the moment, to get attention and at funny angles. So sweet.

IMG_7717

It’s lovely to be told by friends about how dainty her little face is and how lovely she is because I really couldn’t agree more. Plus we took her swimming yesterday (FYI swimming when you feel dizzy is not a great idea but I digress…) and you should have seen her in her first little cozzie. Oh my! Check instagram for that one cause not only are DSLR cameras not waterproof, they also make you look like a big ol’ perv when brandished poolside.

IMG_7726

IMG_7745

IMG_7750

Ok I’m going to stop now before I run out of energy from sitting up (oh god I hate being ill more than anything) and try and preserve some for a bit of phd work after a rest lest I feel like a complete bum.

Bye!

P.S. I got a job, and I will fill you all in soonishly.

The Kelpies

We visited the Kelpies last weekend. I’ve been meaning to go for a long time and finally we did.

IMG_7247

The highly safe in car wide-angle DSLR selfie.

IMG_7253

IMG_7260

IMG_7263

Sandy was very taken with all the little pathways by the water and insisted on jumping whenever he could. Not good for his Daddy’s nerves!

IMG_7272

IMG_7274

IMG_7281

Poor Roslyn didn’t enjoy the trip that much due to teething woes and being hungry but unwilling to eat at this point. Plus we went with the buggy not the sling and, my, that girl is so a sling baby.

IMG_7284

KELPIETASTIC!

IMG_7300

Gratuitous fact 1: A kelpie is a Scottish shape-shifting spirit that emerges from a pool of water

IMG_7311

Gratuitous fact 2: The word Kelpie comes from the Gaelic ‘calpa’ which means colt (a young male horse)

IMG_7313

Gratuitous fact 3: You will have heard of the Loch Ness Monster before, but did you know it is a kelpie?

IMG_7320

Gratuitous fact 4: Most kelpies take equine forms, but some are human.

IMG_7329

Gratuitous fact 5: Most of Scotland’s bodies of water have an associated kelpie in folklore.

IMG_7335

I won’t keep going! But I can’t believe I’m Scottish and didn’t know all this interesting information. You learn something new every day and all that.

Anyway, they are magnificent and well worth a visit as the pictures just don’t do their majesty justice.

IMG_7356

Following that we hit up Frankie and Benny’s where Roslyn perked up and Sandy ate a burger and I felt all squishy on the insides probably on an oxytocin high as per about how amazing my wee family are. Sop sop.

IMG_7358

IMG_7360

And I ate a full rack of ribs, so, there’s another reason to smile!

IMG_7403

:)

When Does It Get Easier? Life With Babies and Toddlers

I remember meeting a friend with her older baby before I had children and her telling me that she read that it was okay to not enjoy your baby’s first year, and that many parents didn’t. It seemed a bit odd to me, not to enjoy a baby if you had wanted to have one, but she seemed validated by this.

IMG_7140

I met her again when Sandy was an older baby and I remembered she had said it and that now understood. That it didn’t mean that there weren’t enjoyable parts, but that on the whole it was hard and a lot of it was downright miserable (sleeplessness, teething, crying and the rest). I asked her when she thought it had gotten easier with her daughter (who was at that point four) and she said “hmmm… probably about two and a half, when she could communicate well”. Again I was shocked. Sitting there with a six month old Sandy thinking I still had TWO LONG YEARS to wait until I was happy.

IMG_7149

It wasn’t quite like that though. Sandy is now not long turned two and a half and I can assert with vigour that in the past two years he has made me ridiculously happy, and that it did get easier. As much as I’m not an advocate of the “this too shall pass” school of thought (/head sand dunkery) it is true that it did improve.

IMG_7156

I think for us it was around the eighteen month mark that things just got much more relaxed. It was after Christmas 2013, and spring was close, and Roslyn due in a few months. Sandy just started to fend for himself. We would do things together and he would enjoy them, and I would be able to get stuff done. Seriously, not having a crapload of chores constantly hanging over you helps so much. He would pass me things from the dishwasher, or help me dig the garden with his little spade, or play with the radio buttons while I hoovered the car. It made a big difference.

IMG_7170

Part of it though was probably circumstantial rather than development related. It was a calm period for me, physically and mentally. I was over my morning sickness, and my panic attacks had gone. It’s funny how they pick up on things, after all, in the grand scheme of things he was barely that far from literally having been part of me. It was spring too, and there was a world of opportunity to go in the garden or out for a walk, that helped too. And I had finally learned the skill of multi-tasking a child and other objectives. Learning how to get stuff done with a child in tow is a steep learning curve, which I am still mastering. All I can say is it is sooo much easier second time round. I imagine mothers of five are probably pretty much superhuman.

IMG_7200

And here we are at two and a half and I can see why my friend found this era revolutionary. There is independence and thought, and humour and preferences, and speech and self-sufficiency. And for us, there is a friend (Roslyn). I am so glad I had them both close together (21 months apart) because not only is it getting the miserable bits out the way with an overlap (sleeplessness, teething, crying and the rest) they get eachother. I think that helps most of all.

IMG_7204

IMG_7239

Another Catch Up Post

Lucky you!

Like I mentioned before, things have been a tad hectic recently due to it being my transition month comprising the finishing stretch of my phd full draft and the job hunt for when my funding runs out at the end of march. All my free time has been going to these pursuits so the blog has been a little neglected. But that’s the way with these things. Life etc. So here’s what has been going down at what Sandy now officially does call his castle recently…

tumblr_njtg8j5Pgl1qcjh8ho1_400

A trip to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants, narrated by Chris of Chris and Pui on Cbeebies. What a great time we had. Sandy loved doing all the actions and Roslyn could not take her eyes off the orchestra (and some of them couldn’t take their eyes off her either with all the cute clapping and waving she was doing). We got some swag after in the form of a signed Chris and Pui card and posters. Sandy was extatic to find the poster in his room and now everyday I hear “mummy! mummy! look! this way! scalwag and gold pants poo!” (Don’t ask about the poo bit)

tumblr_njwz0aAd4B1qcjh8ho1_400

We’ve been to toddler athletics again which is great fun. Best of all Roslyn joins in for free (SCORE!) and last week adored the parachute.

tumblr_njwyugjmoD1qcjh8ho1_400

There has been a lot of Sandy/Babee loving going on up in here…

tumblr_njygz88Aq21qcjh8ho1_400

We were upstairs and they were in Sandy’s room while I was gutting Stuart’s wardrobe (wife o the year, right here) and I heard her chatting so decided to take go get her and bring her next to me. As I lifted her Sandy pipes up “no, mummy, babee back here”. Later I found him on his bed as she stood against the side of it, reading his mog book to her (“look babee, mog babee”). Heart = pile of goo on the floor.

tumblr_njwrszUN7W1qcjh8ho1_400

And speaking of standing up it’s all she’s been doing. Bring on when she learns to sit back down herself so I don’t have to rescue her every 11 seconds.

tumblr_njz23s2CTy1qcjh8ho1_400

We also unearthed the 9-12 months wardrobe which is funnnnn! Looking at all the spring outfits to come. I never thought I’d say it but wow I love dressing babies.

tumblr_nk1a1fa7Kf1qcjh8ho1_400

We met some net friends at a soft play in Edinburgh recently which was great fun. Sandy brought tractor (“tractor come to soft play too”) after not thinking my idea of leaving him to “guard the car” a very wise one. Fair dos young man.

tumblr_nk1a70HPVJ1qcjh8ho1_400

Despite charging £2.50 JUST TO REGISTER (wtaf??) it was a good soft play. The awesome light tunnel of selfiedom and free carousel with neenaws were highlights.

tumblr_njz153KTow1qcjh8ho1_400

The other thing we’ve been sorting recently is sleep. Again. Roslyn was down to one wake up a night at the end of January and self-settling for 2.5hour naps. It was BLISS. And just when she lulled us into a false sense of security she reverted back to her old wakeful ways. Sigh. It was either the teeth, or the cold which necessitated steroids from the GP and much inhaler-ing (but thank god not hospital this time) or maybe both. Anyway the night of SIX WAKE UPS demanded a bit of tough love (nothing too harsh I promise) and having passed through night two there is progress so maybe I will be back to tell of her wonderous sleepy nights again soon (I hope. Please.)

tumblr_nk31ynANcK1qcjh8ho1_400

I’m loving exercise at the moment. My classes on a Wednesday night (HIT, Pilates and Circuits) have done wonders for the belly tyres already and have helped my running. I just achieved 5k in 30 minutes for the first time ever, and most of it up blinking hills too. Quite chuffed I am.

tumblr_nk321uzNLY1qcjh8ho1_400

Sandy’s eating improvements have yielded fun family dinners which has been lovely.

tumblr_nk45xvUchr1qcjh8ho1_400

And I really feel like Sandy is in such a happy place right now, perfect little lad that he is.

tumblr_nk345z02Bh1qcjh8ho1_400

This is a gratuitous birthday suit shot of Rozzie with no narrative to accompany it…

tumblr_nk6flsICK61qcjh8ho1_400

… and this is just because SHE’S A GIGGLESAURUS.

Surely it doesn’t get much better than that? (Check back to see if my job hunting is productive for a follow up on that!!)

The Fussy Eating Era

When Sandy was a baby and we started him on solid foods it was a great experience. Not only did it begin to allow my bottle refuser to spend more than two hours away from me, it witnessed him try and enjoy everything. Everyone commented on what a good eater he was and how nice it was to see him wolfing full portions of food. I made him my own purees and the meals. It was all very healthy and enjoyable.

tumblr_mhfug8TfxA1qcjh8ho1_400
Pureed Squash, delicious…apparently

I remember distinctly thinking before I had children that I would never let them dictate an unhealthy menu. It was one of oh-so-many arrogant musings of the childless adult who has severe disdain for the masses of parents who must just be dense because they are doing it all wrong. It couldn’t possibly be that they were letting their children eat just chips at meals because that’s all the child would eat, no, they were obviously just awful parents. Ha ha ha. Oh how I laugh at my former self and my wrinkled nose at the thought of chicken nuggets.

tumblr_mgo0zlJOFv1qcjh8ho1_400
AVOCADO!!!

Anyway, Sandy ate everything in that glorious 6-12 month phase. I mean, I even remember him happily scoffing boiled and pureed red cabbage, for goodness sake! (For what it’s worth, if you mix that with baby rice it goes blue and makes for delightful messy face baby photos)

tumblr_mi9mapmZkw1qcjh8ho1_400

Then his birthday came. He sank his face into that cake and we laughed and laughed without realising that it was practically the last time he would eat something happily and without a battle or deep suspicion for, well, another year and a half. For 18 months our boy barely ate. Well, obviously that’s not entirely true from a nutritional point of view because he was entirely healthy and, apart from a fair few low blood sugar tantrums, pretty happy in himself. But he basically survived on a diet of cow and gate my first museli, toast and strawberries for that whole time. I doubt he even ate enough protein in a month for what he should have had as a RDA in a day. Meat was non-existent in his diet and don’t even mention the V-word, because not a single legume passed his sweet little lips. Perhaps you think I exaggerate with hindsight? No, no I do not. Parent-to-be, you would not believe the tenacity of these little souls! The stubbornness that enables them to literally starve themselves and cry with hunger for hours in the face of anything you offer them, only to be ended if you give in and let them eat butter out of the tub with a spoon.

tumblr_mqw6znMNxG1qcjh8ho1_400

For Sandy, I’m fairly sure food because a control issue. If it hadn’t been food it would have been something else. Other children become incredibly picky about what they wear for example. Well I believe Sandy was growing up, and seeing a world in which he had literally no say, yet his own point of view, and nowhere to express it. And then Mummy starts shovelling something healthy into his mouth around his first birthday when he knows there are sweeter, better tasting things to be had and click suddenly he takes some control of his life in the only way he can and clamps that jaw shut.
For this whole period anything served in a bowl may as well have been turd-casserole in his eyes. We tried every finger food imaginably but unless it was bread or biscuits it was a no-no. He was so very suspicious of us. Anything we wanted him to eat was a guaranteed fail. So we tried the age old, “oh, YOU wouldn’t want THIS, it’s horrible” trick, whilst passing a plate with cheese and orange slices on to him. He was waaaay to wise for that, he saw right through it. Around 18 months old I got inventive. I cut bananas into the shape of little people, and apples into stars, and he looked at it and smiled. “Mummy! Star! Man!” I smiled too, “Yes! You try one! Eat the star! Eat the man!” “NO!” .

tumblr_mydfnx2toT1qcjh8ho1_400
Eating nothing but bread at his second Christmas dinner

Of course there were times he did eat something vaguely healthy. At my Mums for example. Or my mother-in-laws. Or with my Dad. Or basically anywhere except at home. So he would scarf down a full portion of chicken supreme, or a Heinz jar, or three of Granda’s saugsages, and them come home filled for several days, full of energy from a proper meal, energy to be used to resist every piece of sustenance that we could provide him with. Very occasionally, hunger got the better of him and he would eat something here. He would latch onto something he found in the cupboard, or on our plate, and eat the whole thing and I would rejoice. “He ate! He ate! Quick! To Asda! Buy every single babybel they have! We’ve cracked it” Of course these items were immediately shunned and the logic of “but you loved it yesterday” scorned as more toast was rolled out. I think for this year and a half he pretty much survived by filling up at relatives houses and tided himself over on toast until the next time he could let his guard down. Oh, yeah, and he’d guzzle bottle after bottle of milk allllll night long too. That was another perk.

tumblr_n1rln7jm3B1qcjh8ho1_400
Out and about, eating….bread

Ok, so I paint a bleak picture. Maybe you think this is an extreme case and ok Sandy is quite a strong willed child, but as much as I got so down-heartened seeing other children his age tucking into lasagne and filled sandwiches and bloody vegetable sticks, I know that even from my circle of friends we were not alone. Fussy eating a la Sandy was common and just as extreme and I took solace in that. And suddenly all the parents joyously watching their littles tucking into plates of chips and tomato sauce in restaurants made sense, because last summer I was that same parent, instagramming a picture of sandy in ad-lib with a fist full of fries and a ketchup moustache captioning “OMG HE ACTUALLY ATE SOMETHING!!!!!”

And now for the happy turnaround. You knew it was coming, I mean, otherwise this post is just one big downer and provides no hope for anyone reading it who is going through the same. I’ve wanted to type this for so long but I’ve held off because I knew he couldn’t not eat forever, he had to improve, and he did. It was around Christmas time, when he was 28 months roughly, when he started to try a few new things. I don’t know what it was. I have suspicions that his sister’s weaning helped – seeing her trying things. I also think the constructive eating digger shaped cutlery and plates with the snowman (his obsession) on were positive. Perhaps giving him his own big boy seat at the table was useful too. But to be honest – and I know this is so not what anyone wants to hear – I think the main thing that aided it was time. Time and patience. That is to say, he came to it on his own terms, which further backs up my belief that it was a control issue. It started with those chips, and though he failed to repeat the performance the next day, he did start to try things more. He sat at the table with us – having chosen to join us, not having been placed there – and he played with the food we offered. He licked it and declined it and we said “good try” and brought his toast. And gradually – oh so gradually – he began to actually ingest it. He became attracted to certain concepts. Dipping, for example, and sauce became a regular feature of his meals. Pasta and sauce where he squirts it from the bottle himself. Square sausage in a roll, because Pa gets it at the café. His breakfast heated in the microwave, where he can press the buttons to “make the numbers dance”.

IMG_7384
Eating his burger and chips

I now have a son who eats. Not the way I would ideally want, but I feel that will come… that adventurousness. He eats a more balanced diet and I enjoy making his little lunches to send him off to his Gran’s with. He isn’t suspicious and we accept when he declines. Last night we were at Frankie and Benny’s and I was so happy to see him eating his burger and bun and chips and marvel at the big dent he made in the meal. So we are ordering from the Kids menu right enough – much to the disdain of my former self – but it’s a good thing. I feel like an idiot for not realising all those awful parents in my past were just clinging on for bare life. There was light at the end of the tunnel and there is so much more to come for my boy. All I can advocate is time, patience, understanding and never forcing the issue, and hopefully the issue will resolve itself in the end.