Food, Not so Glorious Food…

I hope everyone has had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas.

The Greenhouse festivities were quiet, but great as always & it was so lovely to have Tim’s other children Chloe & Josh with us, along with his Mum & Grandad (who is 93 years young!) sharing Benjamin’s first Christmas with us. I do love cooking the traditional turkey dinner, helped along with a good few glasses of Bucks Fizz of course. I think the best parts for me this year included watching the children all play together & seeing the genuine love they all have for each other, even though they’d never admit it. This was closely followed by Tim giving me a rare afternoon power nap: he took care of our guests & the children (even changed a nappy!) & shock horror, LOADED THE DISHWASHER! This is unheard of in our 1950s-esque household; I wasn’t entirely sure that he knew of the appliance’s location, let alone its use. Anyway, despite my mocking, I am genuinely grateful to my brilliant & kind-hearted husband.

I know it’s been a little while since I last blogged: we’ve been working on something big, specifically introducing Benjamin to solid food. I’m not really sure what I thought weaning would entail if being completely honest. I guess had visions of him sitting beautifully in his highchair, donning a pristine bib & staying immaculately clean, lots of smiles & him devouring anything I offered him. Hmmm…ahh, those rose-tinted glasses of mine strike again, just as they did with bath times in the early days. So it started a few weeks ago now, with the most British of dishes: mashed potato. Well I say mashed potato, but it resembled nothing like my usual go-to comfort dish. I excitedly read my new Ella’s Kitchen ‘baby weaning bible’ for how to prepare baby-stylie…“Reserve some of the cooking water to help with the mashing process.” Blurgh, no milk & butter?! I also didn’t realise how ill prepared I was for this whole feeding malarkey. I quickly improvised on a bowl; dusting off a heart-shaped ramekin from a Valentine’s meal a few years ago, dug out my free Bounty Pack Petits Filous spoon & started to frantically blow on the Maris Piper. Benjamin had no clue as to his role in this unfamiliar situation & I found myself pretending to joyfully chomp on the insipid mush, I mean mash. He wasn’t having any of it & this has continued to be our lunchtime ritual ever since: Benjamin happily lets me put on his bib in his highchair, humours me during the “Chugga, chugga, choo, choo” phase, even lets me put the veg in his mouth, gives the impression that he might be chewing, then pop! Out comes the regurgitated food, complete with dramatic retching sound just for added effect; which in turn sets off my gag-reflex & there we are fake-vomming at the kitchen table together. Joy. I’m genuinely terrified that the boy will never eat: instead opting for his trusty “Bot Bot,” while all his mates are downing pints & scoffing packets of crisps.

And so, what goes in must come out. Even though I originally thought that NOTHING was going in, I was seriously mistaken. I think our most eventful day was after a couple of spoonfuls of crushed avocado, which resulted in seven dirty nappies within 24 hours. SEVEN. The last episode conveniently happened just before I was going to bed myself: the now familiar deep gurgling of his belly, then whoooosh…you have seconds to decide whether to change immediately, or leave a moment or two longer, for the process to completely finish: running the risk of the fibrous & often luminous, nappy contents to soak into his clothes, or worst still, his Grobag &/or bed linen. How can anyone poo upwards for goodness sake?! Just how? Anyway, on this occasion, I went in quickly like a Nappy Ninja: tiptoed, gave no eye contact, no chat. Changed in situ of the boy’s crib, then quickly whispered ‘goodnight’ to Alexa & we were plunged into darkness once again. Benjamin promptly resumed his slumbers & I felt epic, albeit exhausted from the six other ghastly whole outfit changes previously. He on the other hand was still smiling & remarkably upbeat during the cleanup. If I’d pooped that many times in 24 hours I’d be done in, laying in bed feeling very sorry for myself with a hot water bottle on my tummy & glass of Lucozade in hand. (I swear the medicinal value is just not the same since they did away with the glass bottles & orange foil-covered lids.)

I’ve come to the conclusion that my benchmark of deciding whether I’ll scrub & soak starts at ‘an M&S’. Any supermarket labels, white items or even Next outfits are sadly often fated for the wheelie bin. Dear World, I can only apologise. If it has a cool or funky pattern I may consider donning the marigolds. Even then, after much vigorous scrubbing (with ‘Vanish Large Area Carpet Cleaner’, because I stupidly picked up the wrong pink bottle!) more often than not, things are never quite the same as they once were. A faded patch of yellow or green still sometimes lingers in certain lights, even though it was tackled immediately & left to soak for a good half an hour before going in the machine. Although, my silly product mistake is actually one of the best clothes stain removers I’ve ever purchased! And to think I was the woman who, whilst pregnant swore blind that I would only change a nappy with a gloved hand, ha! How naive was I?

Back in June I had high-hopes that by Christmas, Benjamin would be sat with us at the dinner table, eating virtually the same meal & enjoying it. But yet again, my optimistic expectation & reality were totally off. To be fair, he did sit nicely in his highchair & was as sociable as ever, but eating, no, I wasn’t even going to attempt it. Call me a coward, but I just couldn’t face the whole sorry charade & the inevitable aftermath, not on Christmas night. Something to tackle in January methinks. I never would have thought in a million years that one of my new year’s resolutions would be to establish my son’s eating routine. But it’s got to be one of my best ones yet. There will be others, but this is top of my list so far.

So I guess all that’s left to say is that; I wish everyone a happy, healthy & memory-filled 2019.

 

 

The Christmas Tree is up…so I should really be feeling festive now, right?

Usually I would have had our tree up for a few days by now, but this year I’ve been putting it off. I wasn’t sure why. Yes, I’ve got lots of things going on at the moment that I wish I didn’t, but with it being Benjamin’s first Christmas, I thought I might be a little more keen to ‘get into the spirit.’ This morning I finally bit the bullet & asked Tim to get the decs down from the loft. I make it sound like this is a straightforward, simple process, but every year it turns into an epic operation & we usually end up having an argument. This year was no exception. Long story, but basically we need a proper loft ladder. Any way, Tim went to work in a mood with me & I frantically began dusting, Dysoning & putting the tree together: not an easy task when you have a wriggly six-month-old monkey to entertain, but I did it, eventually. It made previous years seem like a walk in the park! I’d made a conscious decision that I was not going to use the same vintage theme as I have in the previous few years. I had loved finding the decorations of my childhood when sorting through my parents’ house a couple of years ago. They had served as a wonderful reminiscence of Christmases gone by; of decorating the 70s tinsel tree from Woollies (then real ones later on; when I managed to convince Dad that he’d well & truly got his money’s worth from the 20 year old artificial one, which had definitely seen better days), of watching Dad meticulously pin the crepe paper streamers to the beams in the lounge, & also remembering my wonderful Mum, who mysteriously always kept out of the way whilst we decorated, but helpfully told me if I’d neglected to decorate a particular area of the tree, just after I thought I’d finished. It used to make me so mad at the time, but I’d give anything to hear her say, “Lucy, you’ve missed a bit!” these days. I needed these memories after Mum passed away. I still do, but I also want to create new ones for Benjamin. So this year I went ‘modern traditional’ (if that’s even a thing?!) with red & gold ornaments with warm clear lights. We’d bought some little red jingle bells yesterday just to mix things up a bit & I thought I’d be ready to cheerfully decorate with my son quietly watching on. Unfortunately, I’d stupidly forgotten that to get to my newer baubles, I’d have to wade through the old ones first; along with the years of handwritten cards that I’d carefully kept from Mum & those from my best friend Claire, who also tragically passed away five years ago. Everything came flooding back & I guess with my heightened hormones, combined with seeing my beautiful baby on his play mat; whom I never thought I would have, made me crack. Then, not wanting to feel left out, my own personal little ‘emotional barometer’ felt he should join the party as well. So there we were, sat on the floor of our lounge surrounded by boxes, both sobbing: although he had no concept of why, except that his Mumma seemed totes emosh, so perhaps he ought to be too. And then I realised that Christmas, well specifically when I put up our tree, is the only time when I deliberately think about the year gone by, the good & the bad, what we’ve all achieved & wishes for the following year. Then this made me also realise that Tim was my Christmas Wish for a couple of years & Benjamin was another Christmas Wish for quite a few years: soon after Tim & I began our relationship.

So I guess, right there, in that moment of my complete sadness, it made me see what a truly powerful time this part of year actually is & that wonderful miracles really do happen. So yes, I guess after a very emotional day, I do feel a little more festive now!

I really hope that The Universe hears all of your Christmas Wishes this year & that you have a magical time with your family & friends. Merry Christmas everyone xx

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