The poor dog. He was the first baby. Gryffle (Griffle) aka toilet brush face, chicken, Fuzzbutt, Lil’ Jerk. Our Welsh Terrier. I’m his Mama too.


He was just skeetering along happy in his ‘only child dog’ status, until Big O arrived and eventually Little A. mamadaddyGryff02

He is a good boy, always gentle to them, though doesn’t seek them out. Sure, to him they have their perks. They don’t guard their food very well and their playroom furniture is pretty comfy; but we can’t deny, he’s had to adapt to a decrease in attention. He has to compete with the girls, and of course since he is a canine and not human, they come first. Still, we do love the fuzzball and remind him every day (mainly after 7pm when O and A are snoring).

So Gryffle, your sisters are bathed and combed every day and you…..Gryfflescruff

And finally they get round to sorting you out, and you appear to lose a few lbs:gryflesmart



Booking Parent’s Eve…

Big O’s second parents evening is approaching, and so as parents we are directed to book appointments. An email arrives stating your date options accompanied by a two page visual + descriptive guide on how to book your appointment. What it should really have said was “Log in via this link…..then refresh and click like a manic click addict who needs a hit desperately until you manage to book a totally inappropriate time that in no way suits you whatsoever”.parentsevesml

You sit there refreshing the screen until 9.30am arrives and booking opens. As it is Reception luckily it’s just 2 teachers, how I will simultaneously book more teachers than that and get a good appointment time I do not know. Booking screen appears,”OOOh check me out I’ve got the first slot, just click confirm, no its gone, ‘busy’ ok quick next one, confiiiirrrrrr- no now its busy.  Quick second teacher, book her instead, confirm YESSSSSSSSS, back to other one now (which in the last 4 seconds has had most of the slots booked) don’t be picky, just pick! CONFIRM, YESSSSSSS and done.”

I thought watching and waiting to click bid in the final 10 seconds of an eBay auction was stressful but this can definitely outdo it and instead of winning the item, you win a session of crossing your fingers that your child isn’t the naughty one, mean one, smelly one (all of which we have none in our class of course). Somehow I managed to book two not-so-terrible appointments (with a 25 minute wait in between) but I think I need a mindfulness session and possibly massage after those 3 minutes.


Bad Mama

So just the other day, I seemed to forget I had a 16 month old. I’m waiting to pick up Big O from her class, letting Little A have a wander around and talking about juice (juice!?) with another mum. Meanwhile others have arrived and have entered the cluster around the door.  And suddenly Little A pops into my head “Where’s A?”


So I start manically looking at the feet of other mums as I spin around “Where is she where is she??” Then I hear “Elinor?!” I turn round and A is through gate 1 (which is never closed behind anyone) and halfway up the path leading to another gate. She is happily standing with another mum as I grab her and I display a face declaring “Oh my G-d, can’t believe what a terrible mother I am!” whilst I’m assuming the look on other mum’s face meant “Oh my G-d I can’t believe what a terrible mother you are!”


That was probably less than 20 seconds.

I then ran back to the door to be greeted by Big O “Mama I don’t want to go to my swimming lesson” and Mama has to then calm down the inner anxiety and flusteration (wish it was a word) and get back to Mama business, starting with dragging both into their car seats and then escaping the dreaded school car park.

Of course I know this happens all the time. I also know I’m not a bad mum, but we have to have a nice stab of mum guilt to offset against the occasional buzz of confidence just to make life more exciting.



Pom-Pom Jar

pompomjarAt home we have a pom-pom jar (instead of a reward chart). Big O gets a pom-pom each time she listens well and does a task (the major ones like brushing teeth or whatever works for us at the time, really it’s just another form of bribery). When she gets to 10 she gets a small prize, when she fills the jar she gets a bigger prize. We try to keep it positive, more carrot than stick, but the threat of losing a pom-pom does come in useful at times. Suffice to say, it doesn’t always work.

For Example:

Me: “Eat your peas, remember you’ll get a pom-pom.”

“Eat 5 spoonfuls” (5 is her favourite number….as she is 5. Everything must be 5.)

“2 spoonfuls O”

“OK 5 peas”


O: “Do I get a pom-pom in the jar?”

Me: “You only ate 5 peas!”

O: “Waaaahhhhhhhhhh”

Then I bite my lip as I spoon the peas into her mouth whilst she watches some TV. “Wow look, you ate all your peas, good job, we can put a pom pom in the jar!”

O “Huh? Yeyyy, do I get a prize?”

Me: *sigh* “No, not yet, you need another 4”

O “Awwwuuu I wanted a prizeeeee.”

Me: “O…Pom-pom or no pom-pom??

O: _________

I can’t tell if the whole pom-pom jar concept is helpful or if it just adds more to the mental exhaustion!

Occasionally this also happens:


Me: “But you can’t get a prize unless you have 10 pom poms.”


Me: “Well if you were behaving nicely you could have a pom-pom and when you have 10 of them, you can have a prize”


Me:”The way you are behaving at the moment will not get you anything”



After deciding I really wasn’t helping matters I left the general area of the 5 year old, and after 10 minutes of hearing occasionally semi distant grunting “AH”, “PRIZE” I heard a different voice, “Mummy can I do Aquabeads?” and that was that.

I really try to keep this going. Pom-poms for prizes, no other surprise gifts or you end up with comments like, “I still get things even if I’m naughty” (as her eyes glow red). There can be nothing else to take the shine off the value of a pompom. But then the grandparents enter the scene!

Every time my parents (who live around the corner) see the girls they give them presents. Often just children’s magazines with free rubbish attached. Before O even says hello she usually says “Have you got something for me?”

Occasionally my mother’s answer is “just my love” to which O will say,

“No really, where is it?”as she peers into my mum’s handbag.

Eventually she accepts the gift of love, but looks forward to the promise of next time.

I’m thinking we have it the wrong way around. Pretty sure it’s mums who should get rewarded for good behaviour. We should be mature enough to know how to behave of course, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take great effort at times. Where’s my pom-pom? Where is my prize for not just staying in bed and refusing to move the entire day? I really think motherhood would be easier if there was some kind of reward concept. Of course “I love you mummy” and an unprompted cuddle is so very valuable, but I don’t mind a little bit of materialism now and then.

“Oh well done Mama you didn’t shout at me this time! Here is a pom-pom.”

“Oh well done Mama you didn’t throw my dinner across the room when I refused to eat it. Here is a pom-pom.”

“Well done mama, thanks for not just letting my teeth rot, here is a pom-pom.”

“Well done Mama good job, you got 10 more, here is a Mulberry purse.”

“Oooooh you really are a good Mama aren’t you, you filled the whole jar, here is a Chloe Handbag.”

Yes, I think I could tolerate that.pompomjar2






Smile. SMILE!

Today I was backing up some photos on the computer. I take far too many and now and then have to go through deleting the ones of the floor or set aside the best ones to print. So I end up with piles of photos waiting to go into albums I haven’t bought yet. Whilst I was there a photo of the girls taken in a studio a few months ago caught my eye, so I thought I’d change the cover photo on my facebook page. The little angels got lots of likes, ‘butter wouldn’t melt’.

I wish I had the outtake photos. It makes me laugh wondering how many outtake photos there must be for every lovely photo we put on facebook of our kids. I don’t usually think of taking a quick photo when Big O is having a mood or Little A is hanging off my leg crying, (actually mean mummy I sometimes do) but if I did I’d probably have a lot more of those than the lovely ones on my facebook.

Since I don’t have any outtake photos I sketched a couple.

The soundtrack was something like this,

“O smile… smile, no smile properly. Can you smile your best princess smile? No that’s your silly smile. Less teeth, smile with your eyes open…yep thats it. Oh, oh A just stay there, that’s it. No, no A look what’s that? Look, look at that! (take the picture take the picture) O hold her, no not so tight. Don’t squeeze her, no no no don’t let go….A, come back sit there pleeeeease. A, lalal lalalaa wooooohhh ooohhhh A, O keep smiling, take that hair out of your mouth, yep, smile. A doo beeee dooodddoooo lallaalaaa. Smile!”



Pancake Day

(I actually did this on Sunday as a school morning is not one on which I am happy to be adventurous with my children’s breakfast.)

This is far from being a foodie blog and I’m by no means a great cook or know much about food tech or nutrition, but it is pancake day and one of my biggest anxieties is how my kids eat…

As 5 year old O is a fussy eater (“I forgot to try it” being what she says every day about school lunch), I have to find ways of making things secretly healthier and just packing more nutrition in. It rarely works as she can instantly perceive a ‘weird taste’. Sometimes I prematurely jump for joy (inside, wouldn’t want her to see my victory of course) when I think she likes something as she is chewing and giving me me a thumbs up and little nod…….But this soon turns into a grimace as she swallows, “ew no no don’t like it, don’t like it!” The hidden ingredients sometimes betray me and reveal themselves in the post swallowing taste.

But at least it is too late to spit it out, so that’s something!

One of the few things she likes is pancakes. I’ve managed to make them by doing what everyone seems to have been doing the last couple of years – eggs and a banana. I add a bit of flour to firm them up (I don’t believe gluten is all evil, but I base that on nothing whatsoever.) I also try my best to not add refined cane sugar or I add something else instead as she definitely gets enough of that elsewhere.

The traditional method is great but this time I wanted to put more nutrition into them so I”d googled a few recipes and all seemed to use egg whites (extra protein) and oats.  Sunday morning combined with accurate measuring does not suit me so I guessed amounts….

Step One Make Pancakes


These aren’t particularly sweet but usually this doesn’t matter as we are adding toppings. I also put a tablespoon of a milled seed mix to put some hidden good stuff. I put it all in the nutri bullet an wiz up till its liquid.

Grease pan (medium heat) with coconut oil (or whatever you prefer), pour in batter till you have a pancake about 7 or 8 cm scross. Cook 1 side until firmed up round edges and little bubbles appear then turn over, less than a minute more and they are ready. Just don’t look away as they cook fast and can burn easily.

Please Note – I don’t flip or toss…

Step Two Place pancakes on table surrounded by an array of jars, maple syrup and chopped fruit.

Step Three Watch out of the corner of your eye as 5 year old tastes and actually enjoys your work.


The 1 year old who is not too fussy yet, but is developing likes and dislikes for sure, for some reason does not like pancakes. You can never have it all.


Daddy Caspi will always be happy with pancakes in any form.



Three out of four isn’t so bad!

Maple syrup goes down fine but at some point that word which we try not say as its connotations are as dark as speaking ‘Voldemort’ aloud, is squeaked out,


I’ve tried to find healthier substitutes but nothing has worked on her yet (hence not putting sugar in the pancakes) so pass the Nutella. A little in moderation is Ok….right?


It didn’t do me any harm did it?


Anxiety and iPads

Hands up, who suffers anxiety? Wow that’s a lot of hands! Me too. There are varying degrees and I’m very fortunate not to suffer with it as badly as some. It’s important we recognise when this crosses over from the usual everyday anxiety everyone experiences, to a problem that prevents us from living contented lives.

I’ve always had social anxiety and then there is mum’s anxiety. (And there’s the anxiety about posting this post about anxiety.)
arghsmlAll mums, all parents, of course feel anxious about their kids frequently for many reasons.
Many can brush it off and get on with their day, or set it aside to worry about later. Others are more plagued by worrisome thoughts and dilemmas. I have that occasional unhelpful inner voice which asks things like ‘am I ruining my child and turning her into a person who will be a completely terrible adult??’ The sensible part of my brain tells me  “no of course not” and I can logicise and convince myself. I do a lot of logicising. There are always questions, questions, questions. Whether its over what they eat, or don’t, how they behave or whether I’m behaving in the right way and setting a good example. Can I just get on with my life without my brain interfering??
 One of my anxieties is over screen time. Yes TV too but mostly Big O and the iPad.

One of O’s favourite things is watching youtube kids on the iPad. I do ration it but at times she watches more than I’m happy about yes I know I can just walk up and switch off but I’ve learnt to pick my battles).



So she was off school for 3 days with a virus, following half term (that’s being in the house – not out of it, for over a week, with a 5 year old with an ungenerous attention span and a teething 1 year old. Its a wonder we made it through!)  Sure we did the arts and crafts, the drawing, the reading, card games, watched a film or two, we even managed to sit in silence for a time whilst the calpol kicked in. But at some point, the iPad beckoned like a siren calling and it was impossible to resist. She was happy, I could do some work whilst the little teether had a nap. Most mums just wouldn’t worry about it, rightly so, its just the ipad and its a great tool. But my brain doesn’t work that way (we’ve all seen the facebook posted articles like ‘Why Screen Time will Ruin your Child’, one of those lovely articles there just to prey on one’s anxieties). I’m sure I, you too, watched a lot of TV growing up, and our parents didn’t agonise over it. But now we are so immersed in constant news/fake news, you can’t go a day without hearing someone stating “DO NOT DO THAT, IT IS BAD FOR YOU”.

I told myself to get perspective, “she wasn’t well and you all needed a break, so it did no harm.”

Until Daddy Caspi said he’d asked O ‘Why do you love the videos so much?”

She replied “Leave your answer in the comment section below.”

Maybe my child really has been brainwashed by YouTube kids channel!
Have I ruined her brain?

Am I totally overthinking this? (the answer to this is always Yes)

All I can say is thank goodness she got back to school!

(I”ll still be letting her watch YouTube…)