Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sophie Pas-taaah!!

Parents-to-be face many conundrums from whether or not they should find out the sex to where to give birth. Not to mention what pointless baby crap to buy. As if the hours we spent debating which buggy to buy (Bugaboo Gecko, if you're wondering, although in retrospect I favour the Bee) weren't enough, I also stressed about which surname we should use and whether whoever popped out should eat meat. 

DJ might claim the surname was never in contention, but given that I never took his when we got married, I didn't see why it should automatically follow that our child would. Especially as far fewer people have mine, which makes it more interesting. Turned out he felt pretty strongly about it - something to do with it being the only concrete link to him, while I had the benefit of actually being the one to give birth - so in the end I didn't put up too much of a fight. But I did score a good deal out of it. If our child got his surname, then I got to bring them up vegetarian. Or at least start them off not eating meat - even I realise I can't control everything they do. 

Roll on nearly two years, and so far, so veggie. Or pescie, I should say, as he does eat fish. It isn't that I haven't ever offered him meat. There was the turkey he turned his nose up at Christmas, and I've tried him on roast chicken a couple of times, but he just doesn't go for it. (That's my boy!) At a friend's recent birthday party I shuddered as he grabbed a scotch egg, but he barely sniffed it before swapping it for a mini Babybel. The same went for the sausage roll, much to my delight. 

The upshot of his veggie roots is that he's really rather partial to vegetables, although I'm well away that what babies eat and what toddlers eat are completely different beasts and he's very likely to start hating the broccoli with the same passion as he'll chomp it down now. He even had all his Lego animals eating a vegetable feast this morning. (Although hang about, there's nothing odd about cows not eating meat!) 

But for anyone struggling with their daily greens quotient I'd like to offer this pasta recipe from Sophie's lovely mummy Katy. It was such a hit with Louis that it's now called "Sophie pas-ta". It's dead simple: all you do is fry a little garlic in oil, then add frozen peas and spinach (which I'd actually cooked in the microwave), some basil, a tub of ricotta, some oil and some parmesan. Oh, and I chucked in some basil. Whizz it up and there you go. Katy also added salmon to hers but you could always use chicken, or just serve it without. Stirred into the pasta of course. 

You can see how popular it was with Louis from these videos, which basically show him trying - and succeeding - to steal Sophie's lunch. (And me trying to make him ask her nicely for it!) They are extra poignant because it was their last lunch a deux before she flew back to DC. Sob. (And yes, this post was just really a long winded excuse for me to stick up these videos for Sophie's benefit. Although I do honestly recommend the pasta recipe.) 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Extremely obsessed

True dedication: reading and watching Charlie and Lola simultaneously!

I've spotted another gap in the market. Where is the 37-part animated series of Shakespeare? I speak selfishly of course: if it existed then perhaps when Louis springs a line from one of the "episodes" at me out of the blue I wouldn't feel quite such a fool quoting the next one back. I've lost count of how many scenes from Charlie and Lola we've reenacted on the bus/walking down the street/in the bath/at dinner/in bed etc etc. 

"What's that funny noise? That's not growling, Lola, it's drilling/ Is your daddy Mr Wolf? Is your mummy Mrs Wolf? And are you Arnold Wolf? A Wolf? I knew it, I knew it!/ Charlie! Mum! Dad! Wake up! It's all gone extremely white!" 

Not that I've got anything against Lauren Child's prose; it's really extremely charming. Which is just as well as it seems to be Louis' main source of new vocab. Whenever he comes out with something unexpected, you can bet it's something that Charlie or Lola have just done. This morning he pointed to my tea strainer and said: "That's Louis' tennis. Like Charlie has." And I couldn't quite understand his excitement at my new skipping rope, until I realised that Lola and Lotta are, of course, skipping queens. He is also a dab hand at somersaults and coping solo ("Louis do it on my own"). With thanks, again, to Lola. 

Last night his C+L obsession hit a totally new level when he declared, on climbing the stairs for "bubbles", that he actually was Lola, which meant I could be Charlie. I'm just waiting for him to have an imaginary friend called Soren Lorenson. 

Given how seriously he takes it all, I couldn't help wondering whether Lauren Child ever considers the implications of what she writes. My heart skipped a beat the first time he watched I will not ever never eat a tomato because I'm always waiting for the day he stops eating his vegetables. So when I wound up interviewing Child last week that was the question I most wanted her to answer. (Well, that and the real reason she doesn't have children, but I'm just not that kind of journalist.)

For some reason, I didn't end up including her answer when I wrote up the piece, but if you're curious, no, she doesn't. The other main conundrum she solved was DJ's: he's always been worried that Charlie and Lola lived in East Dulwich but it turns out their extremely lovely life is set in Copenhagen. Even better: it's 1970s Copenhagen. Which explains the funky fabrics. I now covet their sofa, not to mention several of Lola's dresses. Surely far more worrying than being able to recite the scripts?  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wait the bus no more

This, to the the casual observer, might just look like any old picture. Of a little boy, sitting at a bus stop. I didn't take it; DJ did. And then pinged it over to my phone while I was at work. They were off for their regular balloon boys brunch with Geoffrey-engine. But I digress. The reason it's not just any old photo is because it marks a watershed moment. Louis can talk. Yes, I know he's been chatting away for months now, but seriously, the kid can really talk. Properly. With prepositions and everything. DJ confessed that although he'd texted: "Louis sitting in the bench waiting the bus!" to make me think that's what Louis had said, the truth was rather different. And he didn't like it. Because it made Louis sound all grown up. What he actually - apparently - said was: "Louis is sitting on the bench waiting for the bus." Which gave DJ quite a shock. 

I mean, it was one thing when I finally faced up to the fact that Louis no longer said "didi" instead of "TV" or "Bam-ma" rather than "Grandma". But peppering his speech with prepositions is something else. I know parents aren't supposed to encourage baby talk, but I always liked it. I loved that he said stuff like "Mummy sit the chair" when he wanted his nighttime milk, or "Gessie" for "Geoffrey" or "Stee" for Steve". I always figured he had the rest of his life to talk properly; I just didn't realise it would begin so soon. Before I know it he'll stop holding out his arms and saying "Mummy carry you". Heck, one day he'll even stop wanting me to carry him. At least I guess he will......

PS: I hope it isn't a horrible cheat given that I'd already written it but I couldn't help entering this in the Gallery because I saw the theme was men and it just seemed so apt. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Election '10

It was heralded as the mumsnet election but it was frankly anything but. I'm struggling to think of any policies that got mums excited enough to skip down to the polling station this morning. Vote blue and you'll pay more for your nursery place; vote red and you'll be lucky if there's money left to keep state nurseries open. Vote yellow and, well, to be honest, I don't know what will happen. Not that anyone is likely to find out. 

With so many voters still undecided even today about where to mark their cross, I find it odd that neither party made more of an effort to address any of the issues that mums really care about. Okay, so I wasn't expecting anyone to solve the working mother's conundrum of how to hold down a decent job while bringing up a child who isn't a brat, but a little more support might help. 

Or perhaps I'm just making excuses for, whisper it, just not finding British politics very interesting. I can't help but compare this election to the one over the pond that featured so heavily in so many bwb posts. I have been singularly unmoved today, except to fear a future under David Cameron, even if I don't quite know why. And I certainly won't be dragging Louis out of bed at sunrise tomorrow to watch a new dawn

In fact, I'd say the biggest excitement of the entire campaign came this morning when we made a family trip to our local polling station to cast our vote. Louis was full of enthusiasm, mainly for "voting Daddy", although when we told him there was such thing as a "yellow taxi" party he quickly changed his tune. He was especially thrilled to find there was some "crayoning" to do in the booth. "Louis crayon, Louis crayon". I just hope he didn't deface my ballot paper! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Memory man

In Yoppy's buggy

Grandma-Stee's diggers

Okay, so I know it will only get harder to think of the right thing to say but I definitely boobed tonight. Upset, as ever, that I wouldn't give him any milk, my milk, that is, not the cow's milk in his red cup, I think I made the mistake of saying something like: 'There's none left. Maybe I can get some more." Why, I don't know. Five minutes later, as I lay in his bed with him (oh yes!), a little voice said: "Mummy, get more milk tomorrow. From the shop." And I know he wasn't talking about popping out to pick up a pint. 

It wouldn't matter but his memory is razor sharp these days. He only has to see or hear the most tenuous of triggers and something he did months ago comes pouring out of his mouth. Seeing Simon Hughes' yellow taxi drive down our street this morning had him chatting about the yellow taxis in New York, while just about any mention of a horse reminds him of "Harold the horse" in Central Park. As does spotting a carrot. (He fed Harold a carrot; it was the highlight of his trip.) Then there was the other night in the bath: asking him to turn round got him chatting about Katy and singing Hokey Cokey, which has been her song ever since he got him dancing to it at New Year's. Or there's any mention of Yoppy-chan, which has him prattling on about "Louis in Yoppy's buggy" because they swopped buggies once, aeons ago. 

For months, every digger we saw prompted a, "Digger, Dandad" because his first official sighting of one was with his Grandad. (I'd been walking quickly past them for months, hoping to delay the inevitable obsession.) Now, I fear "Dandad" may have been supplanted as an association: the pebbly beach outside Grandma P's house is a veritable digger park at the moment because they are rebuilding the beach, which had been in danger of disappearing into the sea. Ever since we popped down there last week for a peek (I felt obliged) every time Louis gets to the bulldozer page in his digger book (I didn't buy it) he goes on and on about "Grandma driving the red digger; Stee driving the yellow one." 

With that in mind, I fear I should be very afraid about what he might yell out if we do pop to the shops tomorrow......