Caroling.

On the first day of Christmas the market gave to me a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

custard

Day 2. I am growing a suspicion that the fridge is broken and it’s this turkey that is keeping the food cold. WHY are you still frozen, turkey, WHY? Better yet, HOW?

 

On the second day of Christmas my distant relatives sent to me, two “assembly requireds”, assembly

… and a turkey that won’t freaking defrost.

On the third day of Christmas my toyshop sold to me, three toys with batteries,

messy

Because we don’t have enough toys already.

…two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t bloody defrost.

On the fourth day of Christmas my family gave to me, four raging tantrums,

tantrums

…three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t flipping defrost.

On the fifth day of Christmas the discount store sold to me, five crappy crackers,

cracker

Because pour me another drink, dammit.

 

… four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

On the sixth day of Christmas my cupboard revealed to me, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

custard

Day 2.5, the turkey defies all known laws of thermodynamics.

 

On the seventh day of Christmas my post man left for me, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fecking defrost.

custard

Day 3 I believe the bird is attempting to make friends with me.

 

On the eighth day of Christmas some hipsters sang to me, eight boring carols,

hipster choir

…And a happy new beard.

… seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t sodding defrost.

On the ninth day of Christmas my wallet gave to me, nine maxed-out store cards,

calculamenting

…eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t smegging defrost.

On the tenth day of Christmas my fridge had left for me, ten types of custard,

custard

I’m at least 80% sure that those are all custard.

… nine maxed-out store cards, eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t bleeping defrost.

On the eleventh day of Christmas I basically engineered for myself, eleven panic attacks,

awake

Either I have managed to finish everything on time, or I have forgotten something important.

 

… ten types of custard, nine maxed-out store cards, eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t damn well defrost.

pizza2

Sod this, it’ll be pizza all round.

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Pope Gregory XIII arranged for me, twelve months of planning…

planning

 

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Food Fight

Food and children is a battleground.  Well, maybe not for everyone.  But certainly for my kids this is true.  I want them to eat properly, vegetables and everything, with a knife and fork.  They want to eat garbage.  With their hands.  On a beanbag.  While yelling at maximum volume.  Upside-down.  With their mouths full.

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Pictured: the natural state of a 5 year old.

So when the opportunity comes up to go out for dinner, I have mixed feelings.

See, at our house, I do almost all of the cooking.

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Takeaway pizza notwithstanding.

I have learned over the years that cooking for others can quickly become a soul-destroying experience.

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Even if it is something they actually like, there is always one fussy eater who won’t co-operate.

I drew your face wonky because I don't like what you are saying.

I drew your face wonky because I don’t like what you are saying.

This is why I love restaurants.  I’m not responsible for what everyone eats for a change.  That, and the hugely rare experience of someone else serving me.  Whenever anyone else brings me food I have to fight to hold back my tears of gratitude.  You could serve me tepid microwave quick-oats but it will still feel like I’m being served seared unicorn cutlets garnished with the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Actually in all honesty I suck at microwave quick-oats.  They always seem to climb out of the bowl.

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Is it cooked or is it… sentient?

But while I may love going to restaurants, I was still apprehensive, because I have memories of the last time we tried to take the kids to a nice restaurant.

leaving in shame2

It didn’t end well.

OK I’m exaggerating.  But not much.  So this time I thought we’d better get in some practice first.  Take them out for lunch at a regular café, get them practised at sitting still, eating with cutlery and so on, eating from their own plate and nobody else’s.  That kind of thing.  Things I am actually always trying to do anyway, but that become infinitely more important when eating in public.

We found a small fairly casual café, and were seated amongst other people.  Right there, that puts us at a disadvantage.

There were no other children in sight.  This is a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, other kids means other parents, who will commiserate and who understand and who won’t judge and hate us for ruining their day.  Probably.

The downside of having other kids nearby is that within about ten minutes this:

kid1

Becomes this:

kids2

So we sat, and opened our menus.  And our eldest daughter, let’s call her Sonia, starts getting antsy.  Not about the food, which is guaranteed to be a struggle at some point, but about the table (too wobbly).  Then the cutlery (too heavy).  Then it’s the seat (too high).  Then the fact that she has to sit still for more than 2 seconds at a time.

When her food arrives she eats about two mouthfuls then loses interest.  It’s impressive to me that my children never seem to eat anything throughout the whole meal, yet always manage to have their mouths full when talking.  I don’t know how they do it, it shouldn’t even be possible.  It’s as if the natural rules of physics are something you have to grow into.  Like, up until the age of 8 they are more guidelines than laws.  It rubs off on me as well.  I find myself saying nonsensical sentences like “I put nothing on her plate and it’s all still there, she hasn’t even touched it.”

So anyway.  She says she has “finished” eating.  She makes herself comfortable.

comfortable

While my lunch is going cold, we have an exchange of words.  She resumes her relaxed state.

comfy2

By now, the warmest thing on my plate is the salad.

Just to get her off the wall I suggest that my husband take her to view the cake display and choose a dessert for the kids to share.  This goes off without a hitch.  Until it arrives, with a huge mountain of cream on the side of the plate.

cake slice

Sonia doesn’t even blink, just dives on in and scoops up a handful of cream.  That’s not a figure of speech.  I mean an actual handful.

creamhandful

Even the 3 year old was shocked.

At some point in the carnage that was them eating cake, someone spilled a drink.

spilleddrink

The liquid streaked across the table, and began pouring over the edge, straight into my handbag.  I was holding the baby, and I think I shrieked, when I saw my bag filling up with juice.  I reached down and grabbed the handles, and swung it upwards away from the juice, straight into the back of the head of the man behind me.

bagsmack

Me, smugly saving the day.

He turned around to get angry, but deflated a little when he saw me.  I imagine it was seeing the  look of complete horror that was on his face, perfectly mirrored on mine.

It’s around about then that we left.  It’s possible the room applauded our departure.

Actually feel like applauding our departure myself.

Actually feel like applauding our departure myself.

So that was practice.

As a result, I am far more anxious about taking the kids to a restaurant.