Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Why Do Kids Leave The Crusts?

Both of my children from babies (when weaned at 6 months obviously!) have been brought up on wholemeal bread, and given their crusts (I never cut them off - it never occurred to me to do so).  Yet, now they leave them.
Today, I sat there watching Kieran eat his lunch of pizza (cheese on toast, with a layer of tomato puree) and would get to the crusts and leave them.  "Don't like them," he'd said, pushing his plate away.

He's eaten them before.  Used to eat them all the time.  But since he's got older (now just over three-years old and at preschool) he's seen that his brother leaves his crusts, so now he doesn't like them, too.

Ben was exactly the same.  He always ate his crusts.  However, he didn't have an older brother.  So maybe Ben was later with his fussiness, but it's definitely been since he's started school that he leaves his crusts.  I can guarantee his crusts will be in his lunch box when I open it up after school.

I know that it's because he's seen one child leave his crusts, so he's started to.  It's like everything else, a sort of peer pressure. 

I refuse to cut the crusts off.  Especially, as sometimes, when they're not concentrating, they eat the crusts! (Sneaky mummy).

I kick myself too, when I order a sandwich for the boys (on the rare occasion we are out and about for lunch) and forget to ask for brown bread (if there's an option).  It automatically comes out in white bread.  What is it?  Do they think kids don't like brown bread?  If you give it to them from the start they will.  They won't know any different.

Why is it automatic to give a child white bread?

There is absolutely nothing nutritious about a slice of white bread!  Don't get me wrong, it is nice with bacon sandwiches, or a fried egg occasionally (I'm a believer of everything in moderation).  Or a fresh uncut loaf, thickly cut, lightly toasted with butter melting.... mmm....  But really wholemeal bread (I actually won't buy 'brown' for fear that's its just coloured white bread) is better for you and your kids. 

Luckily my kids haven't piped up that they don't like brown bread.  Because tough! They're not getting anything else.

So there I was today wondering, where does the crust thing actually start?  Is it some vicious circle?  Surely with all the nutrition guidelines now you'd start your kids off on brown bread, and leave the crusts on.

Maybe, from now on, if all parents club together and feed their kids wholemeal/brown bread from the start, and don't cut the crusts off, we'll have less fussier children when it comes to eating a sandwich.

Crusts are the best bit for you.  Good for your teeth, so I got told as a child.... So of course that's what I tell mine.

I won't push the crust issue, just try to encourage the boys to eat them and hope they'll grow out of it.  As I said, I'm not going to start cutting the crusts off.  So for the time being, at least the birds get a feed.... 

Monday, 21 June 2010

Knee Deep In Washing... Is It Worth It?

I'm home, and boy, my washing machine hasn't stopped since I walked through the door Saturday night.

Our family holiday is spent in Polzeath, Cornwall, for two whole weeks.  (I won't go into taking my son out of school to do so, that's a whole other topic).  We've done it now for the last 6 years, staying in a static caravan which is situated so perfectly that we don't have to use the car to get to the beach.  We can walk.  No petrol costs, or parking fees, which can add to a holiday's expense.

We also love the site (Valley Caravan Park) because it's geared towards families and has some wildlife and 'pets' for the kids to see.  Regularly the ducks come to the caravan for their bread.  There is Chocolate Duck (left), Huff Puff (below), and Goose (right) who are there every year (thank God foxy loxy hasn't got them).  And if you're lucky a mummy duck might come along with her brood of ducklings, or you'll spot some rabbits (I even saw a squirrel this year!).  Just have to watch out for the cheeky seagulls while trying to feed the ducks!

Personally, I don't think you can beat British beaches.  North Devon and Cornwall have some beautiful beaches, with long stretches of perfect 'castle' building, golden sand, and white surf crashing on to the beaches.

I myself was dragged up on Woolacombe beach every year as a kid.  Dad (aka Grandad Ron) was never going to take us away on a plane! Crikey! That would mean getting a passport and enduring hell at an airport!  (It's not that bad, but I know it's something my dad would never have the patience for).

But to be honest, I'm grateful.  When the sun is out here, it's hot! (I've come back with a lovely tan, plastering factor 20 on me everyday).  And if you read the warnings on the back of suncream bottles, well, we shouldn't even be on the beach between 11am and 3pm!  So imagine going somewhere hot and trying to protect your little ones.  I know some choose to do it, but it's not for me.  Not with kids.  I'm not keen on taking small children on aeroplanes.  Gosh, the stress in the car with 'Are we there yet?'  I can only imagine it quadrupled on a plane with 300 other passengers glaring at you as you reply 'NOT YET! (It's just round the corner).'

I like Cornwall.

When the sun's out, Cornwall is great.  (I know the reason we do tend to go abroad is to guarantee the sun and I don't blame anyone who's not got kids - I did it before kids!).  And even on the days where it's not so bright, there are walks to do, and touristy things that are perfect for the rainy day.  This is Britain after all!  They prepare for rain, too.

Okay - so the sea water might be cold, (especially the earlier in the year you go) but you get used to it.  Honest!  And really, the kids don't care.  Kieran stood there shivering at the same time saying, "I'm not shibbering."  (His v's are b's at the moment.  Caraban, Nanny Sylbie... It's quite cute).  But could we get him out of the water?  What do you think?

And on our last day, as we walked around to Padstow, you would not believe how blue and clear the sea looked.  You'd think you would only glimpse water as beautiful and clean as that some where hot and tropical. 

Oh and a little tip, if you're going to holiday in the UK, do it end of May beginning of June.  (Touch wood), we've always had pretty good weather! (But please don't blame me if the sun doesn't shine for you.  Remember this is the UK, weather is not reliable). Plus you can make the most of the longer evenings.

Every year we try to do the beach as much as possible, purely because if you do too many day trips it makes your holiday very expensive.  The boys are more than happy on the beach with their trucks, rock pooling and 'swimming' in the sea.  (Swimming means ankle deep paddling for mummy).  We had Grandad Ron building boats for them (he camped for a week on the same site).  The boys always make friends on the beach.  They met a little boy called Paddy who was two months older than Kieran (though he looked more like a four year old, nearly as tall as Ben).  He had a cracking sense of humour, and for three days they played together on the beach.

Weather depending we do break up beach days with trips out.   For one it makes our holiday feel longer, and two, well, like I said, it's weather depending.  One day was too wet to go on the beach, and another was overcast and windy, so we went for a long walk and nearly made it to the 'humps'.  We realised the boys would be getting hungry (working out how long it had taken us to walk there, how long we were going to have to walk back....) so thought best to head back, otherwise we would have got there.

We love cycling the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow, and this year, because Ben was that bit bigger he could cycle with his dad.  Grandad Ron was most impressed how Ben cycled all ten miles (there and back), without moaning or stopping.  In fact, Dave would rest (stop pedalling) and let Ben carry on cycling!  Kieran was chauffeured by me in one of those trailers - lucky devil!

Lappa Valley is another favourite, and not too far away, situated near Newquay.  A little steam ride to the park, where there is enough to fill a day for two little ones and have a picnic.  I wouldn't recommend this place really once your children are over 7-8 years of age.  They might get bored a little easily.  It really is for younger children.

We never made it to Cornwall Crealy this year as the weather was just fab the second week.  But in the first week we did go to Bodmin station to see the steam train and to Newquay's Waterworld (for a swim in warmer waters).

So I have two weeks worth of bath towels, beach towels, bed linen (you have to take your own sheets/duvet covers), clothes, swimming costumes/surf suits.  But a change is as good as a rest, so they say.  So yes, it was worth it.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I Want To Hold Your Hand

I am supposedly a writer, yet I feel I have no words.

Sometimes you don't realise how lucky you are.  Don't get me wrong, we all have our troubles and strives in life.  And mostly, although they may feel hard at the time, they are dealt with.  And time nicely heals, and helps us to forget the pain (emotionally or physically) we felt at that time.  (I know, I've had an ectopic pregnancy that hurt like hell, emotionally and physically at the time, but I'm over it now).  Some are a walk in the park when you look back.

On Saturday, it was confirmed that my sister did have Leukaemia and it has been a frantic and stressful weekend for both my Mum and step-dad.  Tuesday (yesterday), she was admitted into the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton and will remain there for at least five weeks.

She is only 22.

I know that there are younger children that suffer with this, and actually, in some saving grace, at least Katie knows what is happening to her, knows why it hurts, understands what she faces, where a four-year old would not.

But she is still only 22.  And although she is 95% curable, this will live with her for the rest of her life.  And the next five weeks are going to be hell.  I actually can't imagine how hell like it's going to be.  She will be treated for Leukaemia for the next two years.

She has to endure this for TWO years.  It will be tough.

I sit here feeling rather useless.  For the past 5 days I have not really been with it.  Even if I wasn't thinking about Leukaemia and my sister, it still fogged my subconscious. Before that my back had been playing me up, but now it feels insignificant in the whole grand scheme of things.  And I don't seem to be able to lift this fog now. 

My whole family is shell-shocked really. It came so out of the blue.  Although when does Leukaemia not come out of the blue?  But this is something that happens to somebody else - right?

I live too far away to be visiting regularly, and my Mum told me not to come this weekend, otherwise I would have been there at the drop of a hat.  We go on holiday this Saturday, and my plan is to send Katie postcards, and letters, things from the boys (who love their favourite aunty very much), anything so that she knows that I am there, and hopefully it will decorate her 'space' by her bed (that will be her home for the next five weeks).

Hopefully she will know that I want to be there, holding her hand.  Because that's all I can do.

I can't even be a bone-marrow donor, if she needs it, as I'm only her half-sister.

She will beat this.  I have no doubt. It IS curable.  But there will be days when she will feel defeated and sick, and that's when, as a family (and friends), we will need to be strong, to reassure her, hold her hand, tell her that this won't beat her... Because this will not be a walk in the park.

I've certainly learnt this weekend, never take anything for granted.  Never think these things can't touch you.

I'm a realist and always have been.  And maybe the thing I'm having difficulty with is how young  Katie is.  I've had two grandads die of cancer, they were in their 70s and 80s - good innings we'd say.  You kind of expect it along the way.  But to be so young and have to face something like this... just isn't fair. 

I love you, Katie, and you are in my thoughts everyday.  You'll be coming home soon.

(I wasn't really sure how to approach this.  I've been telling friends as I've come across them, but how do you bring something like this up?  And I wasn't so sure how to tackle it on Facebook.  So I decided to dedicate a blog).