Edible dinosaurs…

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The current edition of Friends magazine includes a nice way of encouraging toddlers to eat their greens. We tried it out tonight.

Normally, when we cook together, my little girl and I make sweet things and, more recently, she’s started to look through the recipe book herself. It’s almost uncanny the way she picks out the most sugar-filled, cream-packed, butter-stuffed recipes in it.

(Note to self: buy a more healthy recipe book).

In fact, as long as she knows it’s a treat, I’m happy to oblige and, as a result, we’ve somewhat surprised the rest of the household with some quite ambitious challenges, and resulting successes – for example, I’d never have tried to make a sandwich-type biscuit without her pushing me to do it.

I feel like I really should do more to interest her in ‘proper’ food, especially as she’s not a very adventurous eater and, although I avoid making them a battleground, mealtimes are not my favourite time of day, especially when evening time comes and mummy’s patience is in short supply.

Anyway, we enjoyed making this green dinosaur together, substituting halved blueberries for the eyes (I’ve found mixing a bit of fruit in with vegetables helps them go down better).

A ‘rainbow’ is quite often requested, and eaten, at lunchtime – and it works out to be another sneaky way of getting brightly-coloured vegetables and other more healthy foods to be eaten rather than refused.

Unexpectedly producing a dinner in the shape of a funny face can also get a smile out of a tired toddler who is contemplating throwing their dinner on the floor.

Finally, in my experience, describing the dinner in the worst possible terms also seems to get good results. For example, (this evening), “I’ve got this out of the bin for you. Would you like it?” <Surprised look> <Quick check to see if mummy has finally had a breakdown> <Giggle> “Yes, please”.

Toddlers – the most demanding people on earth.

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‘Can I do making?’

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We made these!

My granny was a proper granny. She had the finest collection of hats known to humanity and a startling number of shoes accrued over seven decades or so.

By night, she wore plastic curlers in her hair and slept with a stick under her bed, ready to fight off assailants. By day, she sat in her rocking chair, knitting and watching black and white war films – that’s if she wasn’t gardening, decorating, cooking, baking, sewing, pressing flowers, making cards or entertaining her grandchildren with infinite patience.

I spent many happy Sunday afternoons perched on a stool by her side in the kitchen baking. We made butterfly cakes, coconut madeleines, melting moments, oat crunchies, eve puddings, apple tarts, jam tarts, toffee, jellies, doughnuts… I could go on, but my mouth’s watering already. My granny used heart-stopping quantities of golden syrup, treacle, sugar and Stork margarine, assuring me they were all good ingredients.

With such sunny memories, you’d have thought I’d have been delighted when my toddler started pulling up a stool of her own, standing alongside me in the kitchen and demanding to ‘do making’. But I’m ashamed to admit the opposite was true. Continue reading “‘Can I do making?’”