The Mummy Diaries: Two babies – Week 23

The Mummy Diaries: Two babies – Week 23

by Emma Hargan
article from Tuesday 27, November, 2018

ANOTHER WEEK and another new phase. The ‘I’ve decided I’m not eating anything’ phase. The thing I’ve learned with living with a toddler is, they do things or don’t do things – just because they can. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for my son having an opinion and letting me know when he doesn’t like something – but not when I’ve spent the last hour cooking a lovely dinner for us all to sit down and have. There’s a time and a place for having an opinion, and dinner time isn’t one of them! 

Before I started living with James and long before having the kids, I could have burned water. My culinary skills were, eh? Well, they weren’t great; despite my Mum’s best efforts at showing me how to make things from scratch, like pancakes or a white sauce. 

I always nodded and looked interested but as soon as she went home, I was straight down to Sainsburys and bought a packet of pancakes and a jar of white sauce. The problem was everyone in my family were very good cooks, especially my Mum, so you would think it would be in the genes. My attempts at making food from scratch pretty much ended in disaster and ultimately a takeaway – so I decided I would just skip the first bit altogether. 

The low point was when I made Mac and Cheese, I spent the whole time picking out the black bits from having burned it to the bottom of the pan. Well what was the point of spending all that time making something when you can buy it?! Ah the single life. I used to grab a takeaway on my way home from work and spent a lot of money on pasta. 

I thought I was pretty good at making pasta, so in an attempt to impress James when we first started going out, I invited him round for dinner and said I would cook. I had told James to call round for 8.00pm so naturally I started making the dinner an hour and a half before that – even though Tagliatelle only takes about 20 minutes to make. So, as you can imagine, the pasta was like a bowl of dried baby puke by the time James arrived – so I just added more milk. The poor soul ate the dinner and told me it was lovely. 

It was only after we had been going out for a couple of months I found out that James hates anything creamy or milky, let alone the toxic waste I had served up to him – but it was at that point I knew he was a keeper!

I managed to blag my way with the cooking in the years that followed until James and I got married. It was at that point I thought I better start to learn how to cook properly. Apart from the fact that it actually costs a fortune buying everything ready-made and, as I’ve discovered, once you have stocked up on the basics, it lasts ages and saves a fortune!

So, I started making Lasagnes, Cottage Pie, Roast Dinners, Stews and even managed a couple of Cheesecakes – which went down well. I practised and practised with James as my Guinea Pig, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but James usually told me either way. With every success, my confidence grew and I had a stab at different things. Now, don’t get me wrong, the only resemblance to Gordon Ramsey I have, is the roaring and swearing when it goes wrong, but I’d like to think I get by now.

By the time Jamie came along, I had mastered the basics and by the time Jamie was ready for solid food, I felt confident enough in cooking a few dinners without poisoning anyone. Jamie was a brilliant eater from day one and loved his food. In fact, the biggest problem I had with Jamie was getting him to stop eating. He was like a Labrador and would just eat and eat if I didn’t monitor his portions. He would scoff whatever I put down in front of him, from fish, to mushroom soup – and even Haggis!

This is usually how I can tell if Jamie isn’t feeling well. If he goes off his food, I start to worry as I know he’s really sick. This has happened a few times over the last few months as he’s had every infectious kid disease known to man or boy, but after a week or so, he usually goes back to his normal self and devours everything he sees. Until last week.

After having yet another cold, I thought I would make a firm Jamie favourite of spaghetti bolognaise. Easy enough, I love it too and it only takes 15 minutes or so to make. James regularly tells me that he’s not a fan of Spag Bol, but I regularly tell him that if he wants something different, the pans are in that cupboard and the big thing in the corner of the kitchen is called the fridge and contains most things he needs to make something else. This is usually followed by a dirty look and a comment of, “Mmmm, Spag Bol – lovely!”

After preparing the sauce and getting the pasta on to boil, I made Lily her bottle and got her sorted and fed before we could sit down to eat in peace. I shouted Jamie through and he ran to his chair and sat looking at me in anticipation. I put the bowl of pasta down in front of him, gave him his juice and got James’ and my dinner laid out. 

James and I were chatting about our day when I looked over at Jamie and he was decorating the radiator with spaghetti. Just lovely! I got up and looked into his bowl and he had at least eaten the sauce, which was something. I got him cleaned up and thought he must still be feeling poorly, so I got him a wee bowl of ice cream which he wolfed down without a breath. Oh, the poor wee soul must still have a sore throat, I figured.

It wasn’t until James took him up for his bath, that we realised he hadn’t eaten the sauce at all. He had fired it all down the front of his nappy in an attempt to hide the dinner. I had been duped by a two-year-old – again! 

The following evening, I made another Jamie favourite of Mince and Tatties. Again, Jamie came running over to his chair and sat with anticipation until I served it and he looked at me like I had just given him poison! The mince got fired across the room. I decided not to react and continue eating my dinner. That was until I heard Lily giggling and looked over and there she was, sitting in her bouncer in front of Jamie’s chair getting pelted with mashed potato. 

I’m ashamed to say I had a Gordon Ramsey moment and the air was blue. I didn’t just have Jamie to clean up, Lily was now in on the act as well! Ugh!

Another night and a last-ditch attempt at making Jamie one of his favourite dinners. Fish Fingers, Beans and Waffle. Always a winner! With Jamie sorted, I made James and I a curry and we all sat down to eat our dinner. Jamie spent 20 minutes pushing everything round the plate before he decided to mash it all up in his hands and make a nice wee pile of pureed mush on the floor. At my wits end and starting to worry that Jamie was going to starve, I fired a Chicken breast into the oven, boiled a couple of potatoes and laced it with gravy. Jamie just sat blowing raspberries.

“Right, that’s it! What bloody child doesn’t like chicken and potatoes?!” I roared.

James got Jamie cleaned up and went upstairs to get his bath sorted, while I cleared the plates away and started loading up the dishwasher. I went through to the sitting room to start clearing away the toys when all was quiet. You know what I mean – the kind of quiet where, you know, they’re up to something.

I went back into the kitchen and found Jamie sitting underneath the table with the nappy changing bag and a pile of empty Milky Way and cracker wrappers. Busted!! No wonder the wee monkey wasn’t bloody hungry – he was scoffing all the sweets I had packed for ‘emergencies’ whenever we were out!

I grabbed the bag and put the rest of the goodies back into the cupboard, whilst Jamie at this point was furious as he knew he’d been caught out. Unbelievable.

The following night, I made the dinner and called Jamie as usual to sit in his chair. Mac and Cheese. Well low and behold, he sat and ate it. 

Now, it could be coincidence, he could have just been feeling better – or he was finally out of sweets. Result! I looked over at James and he was pushing his Mac and Cheese around the plate.

“What’s wrong with it?”, I asked.

James replied, “Nothing. Pass me over that nappy bag, will you?”

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