1. Feeling a bit bleary-eyed at 5am? Want to shake off those early-hour cobwebs? Fall down the stairs! Naked!
2. When arranging your maternity nurse’s finishing date, always ensure that it coincides with your newborn getting her first headcold. Who needs sleep anyway!
3. Astound people you barely know (who are good enough to bring your child to school) with your parenting skills by roaring at that child to just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, while you give yourself whiplash dashing to stop another child tipping yet another child out of her bouncy chair.
4. Want to perfect your multi-tasking skills? Arrange for your 2 yr old to stand over you on your bed, while you’re feeding your newborn, demanding that you WIPE HER BUM. With any luck, it will be a really really shitty bum and bits will fall onto your clean(ish) bed linen.
5. Nurture your todder’s appreciation of technology by dumping her in front of You Tube for several hours. (Remember the golden parenting mantra: “It isn’t telly if it’s not coming from an actual television”.)
6. Make teatime fun! Feed your children unidentifiable “meals” from the freezer. Give Smarties to the first child who correctly identifies what’s beneath the layer of grated cheese, or who first finds a
frozen crunchy bit in the middle.
7. Feeling overwhelmed? As if you have so much to do, and no time to do it? Cheer yourself up by turning on the radio and having exciting Christmas songs blare out at you in mid-November! That’ll soon put “overwhelmed” in perspective.
8. It’s never too early to get children used to dogs. Start early by living next door to a house where the mutts bark all day. With any luck, the people who live there will have a special dog room, which adjoins your newborn’s. Before you know it, their happy little yaps will have her shouting along in harmony.
9. Unsure what to get your newborn for Christmas? How about a soother addiction? It’s cheap, (shockingly) easy, and something the whole family can enjoy.
10. New mothers should remember to wear a watch at all times. As well as reminding you on a constant basis just how little sleep you’re getting, it’s also the prefect torture device when snagged on the back of your newborn’s head.
And finally: Never underestimate the restorative power of potatoes and cream...
Gratin Potatoes (aka Potato Dauphinoise)
I know that really, the last thing anyone who has been celebrating Thanksgiving wants is a bowl of stodge and fat, but truly – Potato Dauphinoise is soothing balm for the soul. (Especially if that soul has been refereeing horrible toddlers all day, and frankly if she hears one more minute of newborn screeching she will LOSE HER MIND...). Pair it with a (pint) glass of wine for maximum benefits. Be warned tho – this dish needs at least an hour and a quarter of cooking, so for perfect timing, bung it in the oven just as you begin on the shit-show that is bed and bathtime.
You need: (for 6; or 2 shattered parents in need of calories and mollycoddling):
- 1kg potatoes
- 300ml double (heavy) cream
- 300 milk (full or semi-skimmed)
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper
In a large bowl, mix together the cream, milk, crushed garlic, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
Peel the potatoes, then slice them as thinly as you can. (Don’t rinse them – the starch on the potatoes is what makes the dish). Dump the potato slices into the bowl with the cream, and mix well.
Butter a large oven-proof dish; scoop the potatoes out of the cream, and dump ‘em in the dish. Ignore any recipes which tell you to layer the potatoes carefully at this point: complete time-wasting wankage. Just pat them down so they’re packed in. Pour over the remaining cream.
At this point you can either leave the potatoes to sit until you're ready to cook them, or cook them straight away.
Put in the oven, and check after an hour. If they’re browning on top, cover the dish with tin foil, then put back in the oven. Check again 15 mins later to see if the potatoes are cooked – you want them to be completely soft. This might take an additional 15 mins – but after 1 ½ hours they should be ready.
Leave to stand for as long as you can wait, then tuck in.
Serve with green salad, wine, and mutual shock with your partner at the carnage you’ve invited into your life.