Food Parenting Photos

The effect of tiredness

Lack of sleep is having a noticeable effect upon [Karen][]. Allow me to illustrate using an example.


Today, I came home from work at lunchtime, as usual, to prepare a small meal, hang out the laundry, usual kind of stuff. The fridge was full of coleslaw, potato salad, and other similar items, so I made up a couple of platefuls and brought them back through to the sitting room, where Karen was sat, giving Bernard his milky nourishment.

I set down the plate in front of Karen and the change that took place in her face was remarkable. At first, her eyeballs glistened slightly. Then I noticed her chin start to quiver. Her skin reddened, and pretty soon there were tears streaming down her cheeks and wails were emanating from her mouth.

What’s up, sweetheart?

*(sob) There’s too much of it! (sob)*

This was the first time that I’d known someone cry because I’d given them too much lunch. As I wrapped my arms round Karen to comfort her, I was simultaneously crying along with her and laughing at this completely unforeseen situation.

She doesn’t know that I’m posting this. I hope that one day she’ll be able to look back on this and laugh.

In other news, my venus flytrap is currently digesting flies in *six separate traps!* This is a record, and I’m pleased that he’s getting the nutrition that he needs. I couldn’t fit all six traps in one photo, so I’ve taken two.

Snappy Meal (1 of 2) Snappy Meal (2 of 2)


Four weeks old

Yesterday I found myself casting my mind back to the first nappy change that I performed alone, and I pondered upon how much has changed since then.

In the first few days, I handled Bernard with such a degree of cautiousness that it must have been frustrating for him. That first nappy change was such an exciting experience, requiring focus and concentration. Nowadays, they are over in the blink of an eye. I make sure that all the necessary components are in the right place, and then in a flurry of soiled nappy, wipes, vaseline and fresh nappy (and about the same amount of time as it takes to type those words) it is all over.

We’ve used approximately 200 disposable nappies in these four weeks, and this has (by my estimations) been enough to fill 6 additional black bin bags, most of which are by now in a landfill near you. But the transition to washable nappies has begun, and hopefully we will now be able to return to only producing one black bin bag full of refuse per fortnight.

Prior to this transition, I used to marvel at how soft and fluffy the brand-new washable nappies were. I’d bury my face in them and walk around with them on my head, they were so addictively soft and fluffy. Seriously. But I can’t imagine myself doing that any more. Though they will still be as soft and fluffy when fresh from the washing machine, I know where they have been.

Bernard’s vocabulary has improved, to incorporate gurgles, hums, squeaks and the occasional “ah” noise (which is probably accidental, on his part). This is fantastic. When he screamed, and I screamed back at him, this used to drive Karen up the wall (wonder why). The new system is far more pleasant for all involved.

One of the most significant improvements is that we are learning more about his preferences. He likes certain levels of light, certain levels of noise, certain types of motion, certain temperatures, certain ways of being held. Knowing exactly what values to assign to these parameters makes the world of difference. For example, if we are in the sitting room with the curtains closed and he is whining, I know that there is a 90% chance that if I carry him into the kitchen (where it is brighter) he’ll calm down. If I am sat down with him on my knee and he is whining, I know that if I stand up with him, there is a good chance that this will calm him down (he just seems to like this position more). By knowing what he likes and dislikes, we can get him a little bit more comfortable, even if that involves a completely unnecessary drive up the road and back.

On another note, and I’m not sure whether my bias is overwhelming here, but I feel like this really is an abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous baby.

Bernard pulling a simply adorable face

Incidentally, I did actually write a post a week ago, but never managed to finish it. The bit that I *did* write said this:

> I can’t believe that I’ve been back at work nearly a week and a half already, and the house move is bounding over the horizon towards us like a large, overenthusiastic dog that’s going to cover you in loving but slobbery kisses sometime in a month or so.

> Returning to work feels like the aforementioned dog is actually a wolf, for now, and has just taken a huge bite out of your leg that actually has also encompassed the other leg, one arm, and 80% of your torso. The bit of your body that is left struggles to acclimatise to the new conditions, and generally just flaps around on the ground, oozing blood and gore, spurting bad similes that lead to somewhere undesirable, and thinking to itself “I can’t wait until I get my identity back.”

Gardening Photos

Return To Health

Return to health

After flowering last year, Snappy is finally starting to return to form, with some decent-sized, healthily-coloured traps.

Critters Gardening



The bees were working in the lavender with dedication, and wouldn’t stay still long enough for an obscenely close close-up.



Nobody told me about the hallucinations.

Well, hallucination is probably a strong word.

As a direct (and indirect) result of being in my first few weeks of fatherhood, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a baby in my arms. Only, it’s not. I’m actually holding a pillow, I just believe that it is a baby.

Never was this highlighted so starkly as a few nights ago. I was convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a baby was resting on my forearm. Karen informed me that Bernard was actually in the cot, sleeping. I sleepily argued, no he is definitely here in front of me.

This went back and forth for a few iterations. Realising that we were getting nowhere, I performed further tests on the baby. Upon poking it in the forehead and feeling my finger sink into what felt like a bundle of feathers, I had to concede that the item that I was holding was, in fact, a pillow.

These moments of confusion occur on an almost nightly basis. They’ve even happened to Karen once or twice. But I’m starting to get wise to them now, and I can now catch myself quite quickly. Essentially by poking the baby in the forehead if it is dark.

It’s not a highly technical method, but it serves my purposes well. It is primarily suitable because the probability of the item in question being a baby, and not a pillow, is probably about 0.01. In Karen’s case, the probability of it being a baby is much higher – I believe that she has a much less invasive method of testing. Probably sniffing his arse or somesuch.

**UPDATE:** The following night’s hallucination was also amusing.

*Me:* What would you like me to do with this baby?

*Karen:* The baby is in the cot. Put that pillow down.

*Me:* Okay. What would you like me to do with this grobag?

*Karen:* That’s a pillow. Lie down and go back to sleep.

*Me:* Right you are.

Ewan Food Guidance

Crumble With Ewan

*Ewan The Shark is currently on holiday in Peru, so he has given me precise instructions on how to create a fruit crumble.*

Hi guys. I’m here today to teach you to make a fruit crumble. First, kidnap its mother.

**Only kidding!**

First, preheat your oven to 180°C. Yes, that’s right – for the first time ever on CWE, we are actually going to use the oven, or as I sometimes like to call it, a hotness box.

We’re going to use an **old metal takeaway container** to cook this guy, so the quantities of ingredients are calculated using that size dish as a basis.

Watch as my assistant pours about **100g of plain flour** into a bowl.


…followed by about **40g of butter**. The butter should be at room temperature – any cooler than this, and you’ll have a hell of a time mixing it all together.


Use your hands to blend this all together. Experiment with your own particular technique, but be prepared that your fins will be all buttery and doughy by the end of this step. Wash them before and after. You are aiming for something that looks like this:


Parenting Peril

First Terrifying Nappy Change Tale

For those of you who aren’t interested in such anecdotes, I’ve done you the favour of leaving it after the jump.