We are home! To the house which smells of damp and fox-wee (which I fervently hope are unrelated) and which, to the Boy’s enormous delight, now harbours a – shudder – nest of earwigs in the groove under the back door. On the inside, natch. Still, it was good to be back (for all of four minutes, before the Boy discovered both his toy-box and the earwigs – “WOW, my big noisy truck! And, WOWEEEEEEE, CREEE-CHURES...” - and I forgot that the Girl is now quite proficient at moving, and was off in the fireplace in the time it took me to clamber up on a chair to escape the marauding ear-dwelling insects), mainly because the travel to get back here was so hellish. It was long (12 hours) and arduous (the Girl shouted the whole way), and I’m not quite ready to talk about it just yet. But watch this space; I’m sure I’ll drag a blog posting out of it somehow, sometime.
While we were away, I acquired a new toddler. For the next three months I will be telling anyone who listens that I have a two year old and a one year old. I suspect that this is something which I will feel is deserving of sympathy even when I’m saying they’re eighteen and seventeen (which no doubt it will be) but their being just a year apart is a seasonal occurrence, a rare, flesh-eating bird, spotted only from July to late October – and so complete strangers are just going to have to put up with me. (For the next thirty years.)
Yes, we remembered the Girl’s birthday. (Although only just. For a while I was a day out, which is fairly bad I suppose, but not as bad as my sister who got the day and the month wrong.) We even had two parties, just to cover all possible bases. This didn’t phase her at all; true to form she just looked a bit bemused and roared for food, then handed all her new presents (a doll, a phone, another doll, and – to obviate any gender stereo-typing - a big rubber spider) to the Boy, who was busy trying to pick molten candle-wax off his hands.
Anyway. I’m conscious that the Girl doesn’t get a huge amount of blog coverage (it’s nothing personal little mouse – you just don’t
torment me give me as much material to work with as your brother does) and so to right that unintended wrong, I give you:
The Girl: A Retrospective.
Little Avie. This is what I love most about you (apart from just general loving, of course) – in no particular order:
- When you eat you make this fantastic noise of pure food-love – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmuuuum rhhhrmmmmmm arghhhhmmmmm. Anyone who is within earshot stops and listens and smiles. It’s fantastic. Likewise, you LOVE eating. Which leads to:
- Your great big fat roly poly wobbly bits. Legs, arms, tummy, even underarms. If it was the 15th century, you would be Botticelli’s muse. There is nothing lovelier than a fat wobbly baby. (Except perhaps a fat wobbly baby whose jowls are covered in mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmummm-rrrrhm-arrrghm chocolate, or who is freshly out of the bath and wrapped in a white towel.)
- You have a dirty filthy laugh, which starts in the folds of your enormous belly and rolls its way up. I love it. It’s calling out for whiskey and fags and late night tubs of Ben and Jerry’s littered with tales of feckless wimps whose hearts you’ve broken.
- You are very very certain about what you don’t want, when you don’t want it. That is a good – albeit sometimes annoying - trait. Stick with it.
- You are already a HUGE flirt. While I’m not quite sure if in the long run this is a good or a bad thing, as long as it continues to be directed at your daddy, we will encourage it. (Although do you really need to forcibly push me out of the way when he walks into the room? Just remember who it is that feeds you.)
And some things that I don’t love quite so much (so if you could tone them down a bit, that would be excellent):
- You came out SCREECHING BLUE MURDER, and have managed to make my brain shudder and my skin stand up and walk off my body with that screech ever since. To begin with I assumed that as you were the fairer sex, and thus more delicate physically, you had to make up for it by being able to ROAR in defence. However you are neither delicate nor fair - in fact you are a total bruiser, and are commonly mistaken for a 2 year old boy. Why you need to yell so is quite beyond me.
- What’s with the refusing to sleep if you’ve done a poo? Ok, I get that lying in your own excrement probably isn’t terribly comfortable, but it never bothered your brother (quite the contrary in fact). Man up, girlfriend. And go the fuck to sleep.
- The hair pulling. And the face scratching. Please, stop it. You’ve got all of High School for that behaviour.
- Nappy-changing wriggling. It achieves nothing, apart from more laundry for me. Plus, there’s nothing on the other side of the bed, honestly.
On balance however, I think we’re on to a winner with you. You’re just very very good natured. Someone commented today that you have a lovely gentleness about you – which is fairly remarkable, for a one year old. Especially considering your occasional bouts of violence (see above). But she was right – you are a lovely, fat, wise old soul. We can’t remember life without you. Happy birthday sweet thing.
Easy Peasy Birthday Pancakes.
Now that I have a one year old AND a two-year-old, I can’t possibly be expected to find the time to bake a birthday cake*. I did, however, throw these together. (Which, considering it took about four minutes, isn’t exactly my biggest culinary accomplishment). Still, they were delish, devoured by both my toddlers (have I mentioned that I have TWO toddlers?) and we all know where the proof of the
pancake pudding is...
You need (for about 8 cereal-bowl-sized pancakes):
- Two mugs’ worth of self-raising flour. (You can use plain flour, but the self-raising gives them a bit of a lift in the pan, and makes them a bit fluffier, I think)
- An egg
- A pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar
- Some milk (no more than two mug-fulls)
- A banana, mashed (optional, but I never miss an opportunity to slip in some fruit unnoticed)
- Some butter
- Whatever you fancy. Butter, jam, honey, yoghurt, raspberries and strawberries all graced our table (and the Boy’s plate). State-side, you will of course be reaching for the bacon and maple syrup.
(Note – I appreciate these aren’t exactly precise measurements. Pancakes don’t need to be - it’s all about the texture really. In my experience two cups of flour is what you need for one egg, and makes enough to feed two adults and two children; if you go above this, you need another egg.)
Put the flour in a large-ish bowl – no need to sieve – crack the egg in, add the salt and sugar, and start to stir with a fork.
Slowly pour in the milk. Use just one mug-full to begin with, and if the mixture is too stodgy and sticky, then add more until you have a thick paste – about the consistency of clotted cream.
Add the mashed banana and stir through.
Have the serving plates ready by the stove-top.
Melt a tablespoonful of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Swill it around the pan then pour it into the pancake mixture and stir through. Keep the heat on under the pan.
Add a ladleful of batter to one side of the pan, then another to the other side. (If you want to be dainty, make the paste thicker, by adding less milk, and then dropping several tablespoons of the batter in the pan. If I did that in my house I’d be roared at).
When there are lots of bubbles on the top of the batter and the edges have started to sizzle, flip ‘em. (If your pancakes have Siamesed into one great big butterfly-(mis)shaped mess, separate them – with a knife, or a spatula – just before you flip them.)
They’re done about one minute before (one of) your toddler(s) starts shouting “Look Mummy, smoke!”.
Serve while you cook up another batch. (Remember to watch the pan, and not the feeding frenzy you’ve created.)
An added benefit of pancakes is that you can make them as big as you want to hold as many candles as you need, so this is a birthday recipe which you can use time and time again. At least until your elderly neighbours are mighty sick of hearing how you have a 40 year old and a 39 year old.
*Just to be clear, we bought her a cake. She isn’t so neglected as to be denied a cake on
the day before her first birthday...