Wednesday, 27 January 2010

TV dinners

George reached his eight-month milestone this past week and as he was born three weeks and four days early it means he has been outside his mummy about as long as he was inside his mummy. It's sort of hard to believe really, because those months when he was inside his mummy were inexorably slow – probably because we'd been waiting for him for so long – and the ones he's been outside his mummy have positively flown by.

The last two of those months have involved weaning. After catching the recent episode of Panorama about what children are eating (or rather are being fed) we're determined not to go down the route of packet food and ready meals.

Initially we bought four jars of organic baby food, but started by making our own meals so that we know exactly what's in them – there are still three jars of food sitting in the fridge, fast approaching their sell-by dates and if we don't have to use them we'll be quite happy.

Recently mummy was out with George and got in a bit of a quandary when the baby-friendly cafe said it couldn't blast George's home-made beef stew and pea and leek puree in its industrial-strength microwave. She managed to get hold of a couple of pouches of organic baby food (main course and dessert) that can be eaten hot or cold and that she'd seen other mums use. Well, George was having none of it and in the end mummy ordered a jacket potato with a little butter and cheese and they shared it quite happily.

Later that day mummy returned and brought home the almost-full pouch of dessert for daddy to try – mainly because she was surprised at how vile something with the word 'scrummy' on the front could actually taste... and she was right. Daddy squeezed a blob on his finger – it looked like 'No Nails' (that's the DIY super-strength glue), felt like 'No Nails' and tasted like, well, I haven't tasted 'No Nails', but I imagine it would be similar.

It's no wonder babies turn their noses up at healthy foods when they're made to taste so awful. We've been adapting the recipes we cook for ourselves and (I've made a list) in the past two and a bit months George has enjoyed quite a variety of ingredients:
aubergine, apple, apricot, banana, basil, beef, blueberries, broccoli, butternut squash, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cheese, chicken, cod, courgette, egg, gammon, green beans, lamb, leek, lychees, mango, melon, mint, onion, oregano, parsley, parsnip, pasta, pear, peas, plum, porridge, potato, salmon, spinach, strawberries, swede, sweet potato, tomato.

The only things he hasn't been keen on are the broccoli (no surprises there) and the lychees – which was down to texture rather than flavour, as he'd quite happily swish them about on his tongue before smiling and letting it all dribble from the corners of his mouth.

We tend to cook batches of meals and freeze them in large 'ice-cube' trays, popping them out and mixing and matching. The thing is, even though George is getting a healthy and balanced diet, it's generally defrosted or heated up in the microwave and as soon as the light comes on and the hum kicks in he rolls up in his walker flapping his arms and grunting with anticipation. I suppose when his eating routine falls more in line with ours he'll soon realise that meals don't appear with a ping from the 'magic food telly' in the corner.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Rabbits, meals and pots

Peter Rabbit – soft and cuddly though he may be – is having to get used to the fact that he's a rabbit. Rabbits come way down the pecking order in the food chain and George (whether it's in our DNA or not, I'm not sure) seems to know exactly how to put Peter in his place – and that's not in a hutch.

No, every time Peter pops up he gets a quick cuddle – a sort of "I'm sorry I have to do this" cuddle – before he is thrown to the ground and run over with the walker. The only difference between Peter and the pancake-shaped rabbits on the road is that Peter endures this fate over and over again.

There has been a bit of a debate going on as to who gets in more of a mess at dinner time – daddy or George. Obviously, it's George, who manages to get in this state at most meal times...

Daddy only lets himself down on the evenings spaghetti bolognese is on the menu.

Of all the toys George has been given for Christmas and over the past seven (almost eight) months, his eyes light up most when he sees his stacking pots – £1.99 from Morrisons. It doesn't seem to matter what he's up to, once he spots them he'll almost hyperventilate until he's banging them together or against the next nearest object (usually mummy or daddy). The trickiest part is trying to build them into a tower before he's noticed.

It was after lunch one day that daddy got the pots out and had just built his tower before George leaned across the fire engine and knocked it down. Moments later George did one of those burps – you know the ones, the ones when you just know the noise is a precursor to a little regurgitation – and daddy, quick as a flash, put a pot under George's chin and caught all the gubbins. Hooray!

The thing with these little pots is that they all have small holes in so you can play with them in the bath – and from the bottom of pot number five came five warm dribbles into the palm of daddy's clean hand. Nice.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A welcome addition

George isn't the only new face in our household – there are 43 of them (I counted, and that's just one more than the greatest number of bibs in one room at one time – I counted those too), and all cuddly and cute in varying degrees. There are monkeys, bears, lions, rabbits – there's even a cuddly crocodile.

One of these additions arrived on Christmas Day – a rather large (huge in relation to George) tan-coloured Big Ape who has been surprisingly helpful to mummy and daddy.

George has pretty much learned to sit up on his own now, but occasionally he topples over. If it's forward it's usually in slow motion until he wacks his head on the xylophone. It doesn't seem to matter how near we are, or how slo-mo things go, there's no preventing impact.
Mostly he lands face-first on his comfy playmat and usually starts to whinge after a few seconds until we sit him up again – he hasn't learned to roll over and we're certainly in no hurry to progress things to crawling.

If he topples backwards there is a bank of cushions to soften the landing – or there has been until Big Ape arrived. Now the cushions stay on the armchairs and Big Ape has taken over the protection racket. And in the
evenings, when George has gone to bed, Big Ape guards George's spot in front of the fire and watches telly with us.

Last week it was the iPod, this week it's a shelf on the bookcase. There has been a bit of shuffling and jostling for position, with daddy's 'Who's Who in British History' vying for prime shelf space alongside George's 'Tractor Trouble' (which daddy knows off by heart by the way – be far more impressive if I knew the 'Who's Who in British History' off by heart, but I have my limits).

Other recent developments include George's garbling noises evolving into a repetitious "da-da-da-da-da-da" which has only made mummy even more determined to get him to say "mom-mom-mom"...

And at bathtimes we have been getting a bit of a drenching. George's legs, constantly getting stronger, are capable of delivering splashes that slosh across the bathroom and spray the door and splatter the floor. Needless to say, George isn't the only one who requires a warm change of clothing after his bath.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The bells, the bells

New Year's Eve turned out to be very different from years past. The usual habit of partying until the small hours was broken on New Year's Eve 2008/09 when mummy's tummy was expanding at more of an alarming rate than daddy's.

This time round it was what was in that tummy that dictated how we saw in 2010 – and we decided it would be wise to spend it asleep. Which, didn't bother daddy who has always found a tinge of sadness behind the smiles of this passing-of-time celebration.

George, however, was having none of it and at about 15 minutes to midnight he woke up crying. So, for one night only, we switched on the bedside light, turned on the radio and brought George into our room to sit on the bed. The bells bonged and mummy and daddy sang Auld Lang Syne while all holding hands – and George smiled.

It may not have been the most exuberant or spirited way to see in the new year, but it was definitely more memorable than some of the blurry countdowns of the past – and there was certainly no sadness behind the smiles.

George has been getting used to being mobile this week. We bought him one of those baby walkers – the kind that you sit in with a wheel on each corner. At first his tip-toes only just reached the floor, even on the lowest setting, and much effort was expended with little movement.

Now, still restricted to use of his tip-toes, it's surprising how fast he can manoeuvre around the kitchen. One minute he's over by the lounge door and the next our ankles are taking a battering as we open the fridge.

The one thing he's having a little difficulty with though, is reversing out of a tight corner – must get that off his mummy.