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selective eating and my 7-yr-old

11 Jun


My 7-yr-old is on the beige food diet.

I’ve tried to explain many times why it’s important to eat brightly coloured foods but we just spend hours arguing the toss over yellow.  Apparently cheese is bright yellow and therefore counts.  So now we talk about green and red foods.  He definitely doesn’t eat any of those, preferring the general brownness of the sausage, the bread and the potato.

He went through the typical fussy stage at 2 alongside all of his other preschoolers.  Us mums used to giggle around the lunch table as our little ones screamed and squawked and refused to eat, happy in solidarity. But then all his friends got through that stage and started to accept a small amount of broccoli on the side of their plate. Or worst case on a separate plate. But Big Milk wouldn’t so much as hear speak of broccoli.

We decided pretty early doors that we weren’t going to fight him over it. He clearly wasn’t budging and would rather forgo pudding of any kind than eat even a tiny mouthful of something he didn’t like. So I started hiding the vegetables anywhere I could find to put them. Whizzed up in tomato sauce which he’d eat in copious amounts with pasta. Then I’d use the leftovers on pizza bases; nutrition masquerading as fast food. Carrots were grated into bolognaise and peeled courgettes went undercover in homemade fish goujons.  He was none the wiser and in quiet triumph we rocked family meal times relatively stress-free.

But recently he’s declared war on all those foods he used to tolerate, favouring a much more militant beige-food-loving approach.  Out with the pasta sauce and the casseroles and the homemade fish pie. Down with potatoes if they dare to advance with their dirty bothersome jackets on. For the past few days at school he’s eaten bread and potatoes for lunch. So much for “Fresh fruit and salad offered daily”. Clearly he responds no better to their authority than he does to mine.

But worse than the worry and the frustration and the guilt you can’t help but feel as a parent, are those mums that stick their noses in the air and with a whiff declare “My kids wouldn’t get away with that. They’ll eat what they’re given!”. Mentally at this point I’m smashing their heads into the glass panel on my front door as I bare my teeth in a snarl loosely disguised as a smile.

You see, I don’t cram my child full of sweets and biscuits all day long and wonder why they won’t eat their dinner. I do not give in at the first whiff of an uprising by declaring “Oh Archie, just eat whatever you want and we’ll move straight onto pudding.” (Clearly my child’s not called Archie, but you get my meaning).  I am not a push-over-marshmallow-mum.  My child’s food issues go far beyond mere fusspotting; they are borderline phobic.

He doesn’t respond to an iron fist, shameful bribery or promises of a million pounds.  He doesn’t wave the white flag, exhausted after a 4 hour pea-stand-off.  His only response is retching and choking and sicking up into his own mouth.  In fact my child would be a pretty awesome hunger-strike activist if they’d allow such a thing.

The truth is,  if your children do what you say it’s not because you’re some kind of super youobeymeordie mum, it’s because your kids just aren’t that testing. You are blessed with the holy grail of childkind – compliant children – and sadly those are given out only randomly when the sperm greets the egg.

So for now I’ll re-establish my motherly zen and claw back perspective by evoking the wise words of my dear friend Steph  “Send A donation to Oxfam, for they have real feeding problems there.”


Mummy’s dirty laundry: Day 4 with a dash of guilt

22 Sep

Well this wouldn’t be a week of guest posts by mothers if the guilt didn’t creep in somewhere would it? So here we have it. A big dose of mummy guilt from the lovely Kirrily at Sunny Side Up .

I’ve admired this woman since the first day I read her blog.  We’d bonded over a loss and the feeling of sitting in a cupboard of grief looking outside at a world busying itself around us.


I feel guilty about feeling guilty

 There was once a time when I could feel guilty unabated. That was before I started writing my guilts out on my blog, where people would cajole and tell me it was okay, that they felt like that too sometimes.

Now, I tend to feel guilty in private. I pre-empt the things that I know instinctively should be causing the guilt and do them anyway.   It’s inherent, inbuilt. It’s over things like letting my child watch 2 or 3 hours of television some days when, hell… I just can’t contribute any more to her life right now, so CBeeBees/ABC for Kids can be the entertainment for an afternoon. The joy on her face when she’s granted this is something I cannot deny – who am I to say no to something that she loves that much?

Who are “they”? The “they” I kept looking over my shoulder for as a new mum? “They” tell me that TV, for instance, is not good for my child. But they leave out the “okay in moderation” and the “it also won’t make your child grow two heads” part, so for the first two years I went into conniptions any time I just had to give myself a break by way of her watching an age-appropriate show on the telly. I ask you… what is more unhealthy?

I don’t even care who “they” are any more. That stopped when I began to hit my stride as a mum when my little LGBB (Lolly Gobble Bliss Bomb)… if you’re not familiar, it’s a delectable Aussie honey-caramel-coated popcorn-nutty thang) – began to show signs of being a really good sort, well raised, kind, caring… and prove that all the hard yakka, basically, was going to pay off. I could see it in how she conducted herself. I hadn’t broken her with my bouts of banshee-like screaming or letting her watch television. She had blossomed anyway, in spite of my stressed-out antics but also because of them.

Why are we, as a modern day species, so caught up on blaming and shaming (ourselves and/or each other)? Do we ever get that blame-shame pointy finger and turn it on ourselves, shining the light on the parenting things we think are surely too embarrassing to admit to? Are we satisfied being blissfully unaware that every judgement and generalisation we make on another’s lifestyle or way of parenting is detrimental to ALL of us?

You know what I did this evening just before the LGBB’s father was due home? I left her, merrily watching the tv, to duck up to the local shops (literally a 25 second drive, but still far enough to make me bristle with terror that “they” would find out) and buy some wine I felt deserving of today. I had spent the entire day bending to the whim of my five year-old darling, someone who makes my heart utterly SING (without her, I would be truly lost….. read my bio to find out why). We baked gingerbread ponies and we watched an episode of the very respectable BBC show, Lost Gardens together. We played Junior Scrabble. We hugged countless times during the course of the day. She cared less if I was home or not as she sat glued to Mr Maker, and she literally pushed me out the door when I said, “Mummy needs to go to the shop” (I left out the ‘bottle’ part, granted).

I had nothing to feel guilty about today. I brought it on myself. Perhaps once we stop being so hard on ourselves and refrain from judging others, “they” might pale into insignificance as a force in our parenting lives.

Diet drinks make you fat!

4 Jul

According to a study published last week diet drinks make you fat. Apparently results showed fairly conclusively that those that drank diet drinks over a period of 10 years put on considerably more weight than those that preferred their full fat counterparts.

Apparently the scientists aren’t entirely sure why this happens, but it may be something to do with tricking your body into expecting a large sugar boost and then not delivering it. Sorry, but D-U-H! Do you ever listen to reports like this and think “ummm, save those pennies Mr Medical Minister I know the answer to this one”?

If you’ve ever read my post The difference between thinnies and fatties you’ll see I’ve already got this one sussed. Diet drinks don’t make you fat any more than people tub up from too many ryvitas, just that only fatties drink them. Thinnies drink full fat coke, fatties drink diet coke. Simple. Look at any supermarket trolley on a Saturday morning and my hypothesis will be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s only overweight people that have low fat yoghurts, ryvita minis, diet colas, sweetener etc riding their belt at the shops. Anyone remotely sane (i.e thinnies) wouldn’t go near this sorry stuff. They eat exactly what they want, when they want, but the difference is they will stop when they’re full.  So of course they choose the stuff that tastes the best.

Fatties on the other hand, will stockpile these cardboard delights in the vain hope yet again of regulating their eating that week, only to send hubby out at unsociable hours on a chocolate run after a few wines have robbed them of their self-control. (That or raid their children’s biscuit tin of course). And they’ll eat these chocolate delights way past fullness, and right on into sickiness. And the diet drinks? Easy – only fatties will walk into a Macdonalds, order a big mac extra meal with quadruple size chips, and request a diet coke on the side. Why? Because we don’t want to waste the calories on a drink. There’s simply not enough fun in a 200 calorie drink to make the subsequent guilt and self-loathing worthwhile.

So why do diet drinks make people fat? They don’t. We just get fat eating all the other rubbish we get to go with them. (My pleasure Mr Medical Minister, I’ll take doughnuts for payment.)

Spare a thought for those worse off

14 Feb

When I was growing up and doing my fair share of teenage wallowing, people would often say to me “Look at so and so, they’re so much worse off than you”. And yes, they were, but it didn’t make me feel any better. I invariably still felt just as down, sad, panicked about whatever my worry of the moment was, however trivial (and of course they almost always were). I just felt guilty as well.

This kind of thing is of course grossly exaggerated in the twitter-cum-bloggosphere. It’s a space for extreme dichotomies. A lot of crap gets talked about – what so and so had for dinner, how Mr X’s bunion is particularly painful tonight, why Miss Y is feeling fat and down in the dumps. Juxtaposed against this frivilous, self-indulgent chit chat are people blogging about mind-blowingly traggic events. Suicide, domestic violence, poorly children. And yet, I’m not saying this with any kind of criticism. I’ve done, and I do both regularly, and I strongly believe that both are valid.

Some people responded to my post The arrival of my beautiful boys by telling me (albeit in a roundabout kind of way) to buck my ideas up and think about those that don’t get to hold their children at the end of it all. From the pit of my stomach I can understand the cruel contrast and can see why some would find my mindless wanderings offensive. But the notion that this somehow invalidates my feelings doesn’t rub with me. Should you never discuss your hopes, fears, sadness in case it offends someone worse off? Is it always an offense to wallow in self pity unless it is objectively, rationally justified? Because there is always, and will always be, millions out there that are worse off than us. Living in sin in our comfortable third world.

It’s really a nonsense. I’m not talking about knowingly offending someone in pain or fear. I’m not talking about refusing to spare a thought for the millions out there in life-threatening situations. You know well that I give this kind of thing a lot of thought, but experiences are not validated through comparison. We don’t win the right to feel them in some kind of tit for tat emotional tug of war. They are real, raw, profound, no matter how small or large, significant or self-absorbed they might seem to someone else.

Even now, amidst all this, I still stand by that.

The Big Issue

21 Dec

image courteousy of

I’m a scumbag.

Here’s why.

Last week as I left work I walked past a Big Issue seller that could have given the eskimo ice seller a run for their money. It was bitterly cold, and she was giving it all she had. Now, what i thought and did at this point makes me cringe.

I thought: “I can’t believe how bloody cold it is. I am f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! Thank god i remembered my gloves today. No chance lady, i’m not stopping today, too cold.”

I did: Hurried straight past and into H & M just to see if they had that gorgeous stripey top i’d spied the day before”.

A scumbag of the highest order.

And do you know what i also did last week? I gave a present to a charity that donates Xmas presents to those children that are unlikely to get any this year. And i was smug. Ooh, look at me, little miss charitable. “And it’s ToyStory. I bet my present’s the frickin’ best present this kids ever had.”

Had i gone out and bought this gift with my own fair hands, reached into my own warm pockets? Of course not. It was a double gift left over from my son’s last birthday.

What a schmuck.

If you want to see how it should be done this Christmas check out The Bloggess’s seasonal pledge. Now this little lady is most definitely NOT a scumbag.

Have you ever?

18 Jul
  • Gone to leave for nursery / the childminder / the grandparents and noticed rather an obvious smell coming from your littlest’s nappy, but muttered under your breath that you if you stop to change it now you’ll be horribly late, and in any case it’s probably just a very potent fart.
  • Thought to yourself that your son/daughter feels a trifle hot / is producing quite a lot of snot / generally not themselves this morning, but packed them off to school anyway, not because you have an important deadline to hit at work, but because you’ve been looking forward to this day to yourself for ages. If you don’t get this time to yourself your own mental health might be at risk, and just who on God’s earth would look after the children then?
  • Noticed a brown mark on some bedclothes where you last changed your littlest, and quickly turned over the pillow / pulled up the duvet telling yourself it was probably chocolate. You purposefully don’t check because if you did confirm it as poo you’d either have to change them (and you just don’t think you can bear to change them a-g-a-i-n, they were clean on a week ago) or if you left them, you’d be knowingly acting like an unsavoury fishwife and you just don’t think you can face having that on your conscious today.
  • Gone to heat up the leftover lasagne/mashed potato / a.n.other food stuff, noticed it smelt a bit funny (i.e. off) but told yourself you were probably mistaken, because if you have to cook another dinner from scratch the kids will certainly melt down this time, and you don’t think you can take anymore today.
  • Gone to stop yourself from flying off the hook at bedtime, and then secretly thought “Actually, if i do get angry about this now, i could use it as an excuse for no books /tv before bedtime which would mean they’d be safely tucked up in bed in under 10 minutes and i’ll be sat drinking a glass of wine within 15. “

You haven’t?


Things i’m feeling guilty about

27 Mar

It’s 8am and i’m already feeling guilty about:

  • throwing recycleable things in the bin
  • my eldest reciting adverts parrot fashion back to me
  • sacking off saturday morning yoga
  • letting my youngest play with my husband’s blackberry

4 and counting…..

Alcoholic mother in training

18 Mar

When I first saw these on bottles I had just given birth to my second son. Second time round it had been hard. I had found pregnancy pretty miserable – struggling 40 miles into work each day, coping with a demanding toddler, trying to stay balanced. Yes, I had enjoyed a couple of drinks here and there just to keep me feeling “normal”, less fed up about all the things i couldn’t or wasn’t allowed to do.

As far as i knew that wasn’t illegal… fact, I had pretty much followed the UK guidelines to the letter. (no more than one or two units a couple of times a week.) So when i saw this new labelling I was pretty annoyed. How patronising, condescending, sexist. Were women incapable of making their own informed, sensible decisions? Apparently not. Perhaps all those pregnancy hormones running around our bodies do turn previously well-adjusted, sensible women into irresponsible nutcases? In any case, surely it’s a question of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? Presumably by the time women see this label they’ll have already purchased the bottle, and as they say, once purchased always consumed. (or is that what i say?)

As far as i know under 18s still can’t buy alchohol, and it’s definitely illegal to give any to the under 5s, so where are the symbols of small kids with a line through them? And what about the fat-arsed, beer- bellied men who regularly put themselves at risk of heart attacks? Perhaps they couldn’t fit those on the label.

Apparently staying at home can make mothers drink. According to Dr Toni Galardi we are most likely to turn to alchohol to cope with the demands of children if we have previously had a successful career. Weary, dejected, we turn to alcohol to dull the boredom. No hope for me then.

So perhaps this drinking lark during pregnancy is beneficial after all. It must be good practise to have a few just to get into the swing of things for what’s to come.

Click here for referenced article.

In all honesty it is a pretty interesting article, and probably quite truthful, if only we had the time or energy to put the wine glass down and read it.

According to Karren Brady you can have it all

16 Mar

As if answering my post Having it all Karren Brady was interviewed in yesterdays Daily Express stating defiantly “My goal is to have it all” with a photo of her looking more than a wee bit smug. I read on hoping to be enlightened. Just how did one of the UK’s most successful business women (MD of Birmingham City Football Club at 23) manage to find a life balance between her high pressured career, and raising 2 kids (now 13 and 11)?

She talks passionately about wanting girls to believe they can do anything they want “brain surgeon, engineer, scientist” clearly believing, no doubt through experience, that women can succeed even in the most male dominated industries. Acknowledging that she has a “hectic family life” she goes on to boast that she “doesn’t have any full time help”. I am impressed.

Apparently the key, according to Karren, is to share the childcare with her husband (also a football manager) and to work as a team. Hmmm, no real insight here. I read on, hoping for some tangeable hints and tips on how she actually makes it work. However, this is where the cracks begin to show. She advises the reader that it takes sheer hard work to get to the top and sacrifices along the way like missing swanky nights out (ok could deal with that, not much of a party animal anyway), .. all the christmases …., the holidays, the….”. Hold on, did she say christmases? I can’t imagine missing one christmas day with the kids, let alone plural.

And so the truth comes out. In the end, it is still all about making choices. Work or kids. And as Karren finally admits: “If you choose work you can’t sleep at night, because you feel bad you’ve not been there for your kids”. Sounds like she’s got a lot of experience in that department. Thanks Karren for finally coming clean.

It seems even Karren Brady doesn’t have any real answers. You might be able to “do” it all, but that is still a far cry from “having it all”. I suppose, in fairness, Karren Brady did just say her “goal” was to have it all. She never said she’d succeeded. I stand by my original post.

Click here for article in full

Get confessing!

15 Mar

The first time it happened to me was during postnatal classes with my first son. I can’t remember the exact context but i recall offering up the following piece of personal experience. “I mean, I know I’ve really lost my temper with mine” I piped up “twice I’ve even shouted at the top of my lungs for him to “just shut up”! But, haven’t we all”? Rather than the chorus of agreement I was expecting, I can still remember the deadly silence. The blank looks.

This seems to have become a bit of a theme for me. Apparently noone has left their baby on the changing table unattended while they reached to get something, I am the only person that sometimes leaves the stairgate open knowingly, and I am most certainly on my own when it comes to frequently forgetting to brush my sons’ teeth . Now either I am the worst parent on the planet, or I am the only one being honest.

When I say honest, i do mean most of the time. Even I’m guilty of sometimes trying to be the parent I wish i could be rather than the flawed one that I am. I do believe that if we were all just a little bit more honest about our flaws and stopped thinking “should” all the time, how much less guilty would we feel?

So, in the spirit of being honest, here are 5 confessions (believe me there are many more!):

1) I almost never remember to wash my sons’ hands before mealtime.

2) My children have biscuits every day, usually as a bribe to keep them quiet.

3) I have called my eldest “stupid” to his face in frustration. Twice. (For which i am thoroughly ashamed).

4) I regularly use the tv to babysit my children.

5) I’ve never looked at the salt or sugar content on food packets.

In the end, don’t we all just do what we have to to get by?

Come on, don’t leave me out in the cold, add your own confessions below. Two fingers up to Supernanny!