Best laid plans

Miss Two was due to have a day with Granny earlier this week.  I usually take these opportunities to whip the house into something close to respectable, getting those chores done that are a bit tricky with a two year old who likes to ‘help’ with everything (floors and bathrooms are usually top of the list).  This week however, I had a different idea about how to spend the day, or the parts of it when Baby Good was sleeping.  I’m totally absorbed in the book I’m currently reading (post to come soon) and also wanted to cook a nice family meal from Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute Meals book.  So in order for me to have some reading time and cooking time without the ‘Oh God the house looks like a disaster zone and I really should be cleaning it’ guilt, I decided to do my whipping the day before.

This started with the grocery shopping, something I dread doing with both girls, but I hadn’t had time to do it on the weekend and the cupboards were bare.  Unfortunately it wasn’t the smoothest of shopping experiences, starting with Miss Two losing her dacks in the middle of the book shop (she has the tiniest waist and I struggle to find pants that fit at the waist but still have the length, obviously these ones did not fit the bill), next the supermarket I usually frequent had broken the key to unlock the baby-carrier trolleys so I couldn’t get one.  There was no way I was shopping without one of these so I had to go to another supermarket.  Once there I was introduce to the wonder (or so I thought) of trolley that had both baby seats and toddler seats and finally started the shopping.  It didn’t take long for me to witness the weakness of this trolley design, Baby Good had free access to ripping off Miss Two’s glasses and pulling her hair.  Needless to say, everyone knew we were in the shop and I lost count of the number of sympathetic or (worse) annoyed looks I got from other shoppers.  Despite this I did get it done and was home well before lunch.

The rest of the day was an improvement thankfully.  Baby Good had a nice long sleep and Miss Two spent the afternoon playing with her teddies in some sort of elaborate family game (listening closely I could hear so many of my own phrases coming out of her mouth!)  In this time I slowly pottered around the kitchen, dining area and loungeroom and got them all tidied up.  Bathrooms were cleaned and floors were swept, it looked AMAZING.  Mr Good was working late, so I had visions of getting the girls fed, bathed and in bed by the time he got home, leaving us to have a peaceful night (though sadly without him getting to spend any time with the girls).  The wheels fell off here.  Baby Good was sleeping peacefully and just as I was about to put Miss Two to bed, she tripped, fell on her face and put her teeth through her bottom lip.  We had blood everywhere and howls to wake the neighbourhood.  Of course this commotion woke Baby Good and for the next hour I was hopping back and forth trying to clam one child then the other with them waking each other constantly.  This is where being on my own just doesn’t work, how do sole parents do it?  Thankfully Mr Good walked through to door and took one of them off my hands.

Despite the start and the end of the day, I did get my goal achieved meaning theoretically I  could spend the next day reading and cooking between playing with Baby Good.  And the next day, started perfectly.  Baby good slept a little later than usual (as did I), had a lovely play for a couple of hours in the morning and then slept for two hours.  In this time I read, and read and read, enjoyed a hot cup of tea and a biscuit and had a wander around the garden.

The afternoon on the other hand, saw Baby Good sleep for only twenty minutes.  After a futile attempt at resettling (I’ve never been good at that) I got her up and attempted to get dinner ready and entertain a grumpy baby at the same time.  Given that the meal I had planned – Summer Veg Lasagne, Tuscon Tomato Salad and Quick Mango Frozen Yohurt – should supposedly take only thirty minutes to prepare this was do-able but a little stressful and I certainly wasn’t finished in the set time, especially given that I made three separate trips to the garden for pick herbs.  I had everything ready for Miss Two and Mr Good to come home and enjoy a special dinner, there was plenty of home grown vegetables included (broad beans, tomatoes, and loads of herbs) and a lovely summery dessert to entice Miss Two to eat.

Sadly Miss Two was in a major grump, having fallen asleep in the car on the way home and her carrying on woke Baby Good.  So what was supposed to have been our lovely family meal saw both Mr Good and myself eating while nursing a child, Miss Two refusing to eat a single bite except the “mango icecream” and the dog getting more of the meal than anyone else.  I was so completely disheartened by the whole affair that I haven’t cooked since – good thing I have plenty of meals frozen ready to be reheated.  I find there is nothing so spirit-breaking or frustrating than trying to enjoy a meal with my family at the moment.  It is a constant battle, reasoning with Miss Two over food is like trying to negotiate with the Middle East.  Please tell me this ‘phase’ will end.  For a foodie, dreading meal time is not something I thought would ever happen.  Incidently, the meal was very nice, the lasagne was a lovely, lighter alternative to the normal meat-based one, the salad was a real winner and dessert was very nice (but I added too much yoghurt so the mango flavour wasn’t as strong as it should have been).

And even more disappointing, I still haven’t finished that fabulous book.

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4 Responses to Best laid plans

  1. Liz says:

    A very wise person, I wish I could remember who it was, once told me that a child will not starve themselves. I do find the best meals we have are the ones where I completely ignore what my children are eating and concentrate on my own food. Personally I do find this takes a bit of willpower but it seems to work. Sometimes actively covetting their left-overs works too (its win-win really either you get to eat it or it motivates them to.). The other thing that I have just realised is that dessert bribes only work as a last resort – mention dessert to early (to Mr 2 in particular) and they just don’t eat anything as they think there is something better about to come along. Having said all that I think it does get better, then worse again, then better, then worse again but all in an upward trajectory.

    • Barbara Good says:

      It was my Dad who said the same thing to me. I have become quite good (usually) at ignoring how much she’s actually eating, it’s all the other stuff that is driving me mad. The insistence on sitting on my knee, climbing on the table, tears and tantrums because it’s the wrong fork or bowl etc etc etc. At this end of the day she is very quick to turn from a normal child into an intolerable ratbag (I really wanted to use another adjective there, but it just sounded too awful). Oh and the dessert thing is such a double edged sword, I rarely use it, but sometimes it’s the last weapon in my arsenal and I’m desperate.

      I’m looking forward to the upward part of that trajectory, so far it seems like it’s all down.

  2. Phoebe says:

    Oh you poor thing! I hope you get to finish your book! I must say that reading these stories, has made me more sympathetic to mothers with young children at the supermarket!! I hope Miss two’s lip heals quickly.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Never fear Phoebe, I got some greatly appreciated reading time today as the girls were so wonderful (it’s not all tears and tantrums) and I’m very close to finishing it. And I think I’m calling this the best book I’ve read in 12 months.

      And Miss Two has had a very impressive fat and slightly black lip for several days now, it made for great show and tell at playgroup, but is making it somewhat tricky to eat the cherry tomatoes straight off the bush – the juice stings a bit.

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