Tag Archives: wee man

My Little Pumpkin

It took some getting used to, but this Hallowe’en the wee man dressed as a pumpkin

“Noooo mummy, I wanted to be a racing driver”

On Sunday we followed very specific directions to a warehouse with a velvet rope in front of the door. It creaked open to reveal what can only be described as A Supersweet First Birthday… Soft play, disco, facepainting,Organix on every surface… The wee man had an absolute ball with all his wee pals from Buggyfit and beyond. He wasn’t even on too much of a sugar high to drive us home

“Left at the next junction, right Dad?”

The costume survived and was hauled out again on actual Hallowe’en as a surprise for my mum who looks after him on a Wednesday. She just about burst into tears, my sister burst out of the living room and much Instagramming and Facebooking ensued. He was still wearing it when I picked him up at 5.30pm. “I couldn’t get it off,” Mum admitted.

My favourite moment, though, in this week of celebrations, was the one I shared with my little pumpkin today. His streaming cold had made him cranky and clingy all morning. His lunch had been violently refused and he cried his wee heart out as I changed his nappy before his sleep. Distressed, I gathered him up in a big cuddle, wrapped a big cosy blanket around us and sat in the rocking chair, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He snuggled in, looked up at me and didn’t squirm once. His eyelids drooped and within four minutes he was asleep, snoring occasionally as the catarrh caught in his throat. Every time I decided to get up to put him in his cot I’d drop my nose onto his hair, press my lips on his wee head and promise myself a few more minutes. In the end I sat for nearly an hour. I had a million things to do but I couldn’t bear to break the spell. I was suddenly aware of how quickly he was growing up – in a few years he’ll be too big and probably too cool to snuggle up to his mum. So I just let myself spend the hour with my wee pumpkin and enjoy a special moment in a great week.

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Autumn Balm

My sister-in-law agrees with me that when the stress builds, a walk in amongst nature soothes your soul. She has three boys under five, so I’m glad for her sanity that she lives on the beautiful island of Arran. Until we can get over to visit, the leafy Glasgow parks are doing a great job of lowering my blood pressure. This morning, with Rod unexpectedly working all day, I took the wee man and I off to Pollok Park for a wander in the woodlands. Autumn has been stunning this year, I’ve been Instagramming my socks off (follow me at kimmca), but today I took my proper camera and reveled in shooting all the wonderful warm colours as the trees prepare for winter. The wee man pointed and shouted and watched entranced as I shook leaves down over the buggy. We are definitely feeling reinvigorated.











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Barcelona Baby Yeah!

I’ve had some funny looks, though mostly admiring, when I’ve told people the wee man’s first birthday present was a trip to Barcelona with his mum. He’s been showered with gifts of toys, clothes and books –  and experiences are always the best way to spend your pleasure pounds in my book. Plus our friends Tricia and Ruby were going to be there for a week so why not piggyback on their holiday?!

I was a bit nervous at the airport and had no choice but to hand the wee man to the security guard when he told me to collapse the buggy and strip to my tshirt, but we made it to Barcelona pretty much without mishap. The hotel was so much nicer than I expected (it’s always a gamble booking online) and within ten minutes Tricia, Ruby and Kika (Tricia’s best Barcelona bud) had all showed up. The two wee ones squealed in delight at seeing each other and 14 month old Ruby wasted no time in displaying her new talent – she planted a huge kiss right on the wee man’s mouth. He, in turn, grabbed her in a big hug while Tricia and I hung onto each other in a chorus of “Awwwwwww!” We found a roadside tapas bar, polished off a bottle of red and tootled off to bed.

Waking up in Barcelona, with my favourite little guy asleep beside me (it had been a rough night) and the sun streaming through the window was just bliss. We met in the shadow of the Sagrada Familia for coffee and magdalenas, then played in the swingpark, hoping we’d use up some of their energy. We wandered north until we reached Park Guell, one of my absolute favourite destinations for its whimsical turreted buildings and beautiful dichotomy of straight brushed paths and wavy mosaic walls. Obligingly they slept, allowing Tricia and I some peace to chat and soak up the sun and atmosphere.

I used to live in an apartment on Ronda General Mitre and so, after a stop for lunch, we headed in that direction. We lost Sophie Giraffe en route, reversed and found her, took photos of my baby and me outside the flat in which I was mostly drunk or hungover, and decided to window-shop our way down Gran de Gracia and Passeig de Gracia. We couldn’t resist the toyshop however, Ruby chose a Princess puppet and Finlay got a “Donde vivo?” animal book. It was time for the afternoon nap when we reached the cafes near Plaza Catalunya and so we found a table and ordered two glasses of red. The wee man had other ideas – I sat him on my knee to give him some juice but he was too quick for me. He grabbed the wine and dumped it all over me. The tourists around us found the whole thing hysterical – I tried hard to keep my strop to a minimum. He did finally sleep – around the time Ruby was chasing pigeons in Plaza Catalunya – and we managed to find another tapas bar in which to have our dinner before returning, wet of leg and dirty of foot, to the hotel for a bath and a very early night.

The next day wasn’t so warm and I was glad to have worn my jeans instead of my shorts. We wheeled the wee ones down to the zoo where they watched the monkeys playing and the bears pacing and the elephants weaving… Tricia and I got sadder and sadder, the enclosures seemed so small and the animals so unhappy. Snowflake the albino gorilla was still advertised, despite the fact he died in 2003 and together with the fact none of the food or drink outlets were open, the whole experience was a bit of a damp squib. We found a nice spot in the park to feed the wee ones lunch and play before we set off for The Borne district.

In my opinion, this is the true Barcelona. The narrow winding streets with balconies and laundry overhead, the tiny shops selling jewelery and clothing, the unexpected plazas with cafes and street performers and the beautiful gothic churches are just so intriguing. I could have wandered around for days, pausing for beer or tapas or to change a nappy on a bench (there are so few modern facilities for babies!). The wee man clearly loved it too – he was not interested in sleeping, he might miss something. I wondered why so many people were smiling at me and I realised it was because he was making faces and chatting to them. Whether it was being around Ruby or just the whole new experience, he was suddenly much more vocal. We found ourselves, completely by accident, in Plaza Real, a place dear to my heart for the many dinners in Quinz Nits and nights out in Jamboree I’ve njoyed. By a miracle, the cafe where we drank beers had a baby change, so we could sort them out and be ready for the trip’s highlight: dinner at Siete Puertas.

This is my third favourite restaurant in the whole world (behind Andrew Fairlie’s and La Cala in La Manga Club) because it serves the best paella I have ever tasted. As we were eating at 6pm we didn’t need to book (the waiter and Kika shared a gentle joke about the crazy tourists eating so early), so we ordered a bottle of Marques de Caceres and a paella de mariscos and simply savoured the moment. Until we noticed how red in the face the babies were and realised they had synchronised to such an extent they were even pooing in unison. Luckily there was a state of the art baby change – I even took photos. If possible, the restaurant now rates even higher on my list for bucking the Barcelona trend.

Fancy pants baby change at Siete Puertas

The weather on our final day was so wonderfully hot and sunny that we parked our asses and our babies on a bench at the port and didn’t move all morning. I don’t remember this part of the city being so beautiful, the walkway is the kind of decking that would wrap around a Malibu beach house and there are white sculptures bobbing in the water. Tricia and I watched the yachts and the men with nets scooping flotsam and jetsam from the surface and chatted about Ponzi schemes. We just fed the babies in the buggies and let them play by the bench. Another display of mutual adoration drew exclamations of “Mira que mono!” from the couple beside us (“Look, how cute!), they just couldn’t stop cuddling each other! We tore ourselves away as we had plans to meet a friend of mine from the Erasmus days who was still living the dream. Caroline appeared looking very tanned, slim and businesslike and we caught up over Russian salads and sparkling water in the sunshine. After she’d zipped off on her scooter I realised the wee man had peed on me through his shorts – so we nipped in to H&M for a new vest for him and changed his whole outfit on a park bench. Funny how Caroline’s and my paths have diverged…

There was time to pick up my bag from the hotel and feed the kids in Tricia’s B&B before I had to get my cab to the airport. I thought we’d board and Finlay would sleep as the flight left at 8.15, but the air conditioning unit broke and we ended up on the tarmac waiting for an engineer for two and a half hours. My sleeping baby woke up screaming, his wee face aflame and I had to strip him down and go and stand by the exit, trying not to cry myself. The surly steward’s prediction that we’d have to stay the night pushed me over the edge, I didn’t have enough nappies or milk for that. Luckily the captain came out and told me to stand outside on the steps to cool down and chatted until we were both calmer. My arms were aching holding him, so I perched in the doorway with the wee man wrapped in a light blanket asleep across my lap. The problem was fixed within five minutes of the engineer’s eventual arrival but there was no way I was waking the wee man, so I pretended he was strapped in under the blanket. Unlike at Barcelona airport, noone brought the pram to the plane so I carried him all the way, through passport control, to the baggage carousel where I sat unashamedly on the floor waiting for our bag and buggy. I have never been so relieved to see my husband – and although it was a rubbish ending, it had been a wonderful trip.

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Working Mum’s Guilt

I have a confession to make. I don’t…really…cook for the wee man. I mean, I make him scrambled eggs and spaghetti hoops on toast and fish fingers and stuff, but I don’t cook meals from scratch. At all. Some of my mummy friends put me to shame with tales of Sundays spent cooking up a storm and portioning into freezer bags ready for the week. I don’t do that. I used to cook and puree sweet potato and carrot and stuff, but when it got to the proper meals stage I just… stopped. I didn’t have time. I don’t have time. I’m running a business and raising a child and hoping my husband gets home from work before 7pm and doesn’t have too many nights away this week – so really Ella’s Kitchen pouches and Hipp Organic jars have been my saviour.

Not any more.

Last night, while ordering the online shop, I pulled out the Annabel Karmel book (the one I hid cos it was making me feel inadequate) and diligently added all the ingredients to my list. I even learned a new word: Passata. Yes I know you’ve probably heard of it. My smart-arse sister scoffed and informed me mum has two jars in the cupboard at all times. Well, I’ve made it almost to my 30th birthday without knowing what it was. Now I’m thinking, hmmm, I should have two jars in the cupboard at all times.

My husband is on jury service this week (a huge inconvenience for him but a boon for me, as he’s home at 5pm) so I took advantage of the unexpected childcare to do some chopping. It looked kind of small there on the board, so I decided to double up all the ingredients. If I was going to portion and freeze I might as well make a whole load. Of course I then forgot I was doubling up and panicked when I found half a sweet potato hiding behind the coffee machine. But I figured, hell, it’s getting pureed at the end anyway, I’ll just fling it in. I even washed lentils, something else I’ve never done as I’ve always been scared off by their after-effects.

Thirty minutes later, with Rod sniffing appreciatively and asking when dinner would be ready (eh, in like an hour) I lifted the lid and saw orange. Why is all baby food orange? It’s a bugger to get off their faces and out of their clothes. A wee bit was stuck to the bottom  – in my head I used the puree excuse again – grated in twice as much cheese and blended. I tasted some of the burnt bits and they were gooooood! I think the wee man’s going to enjoy his lunch and dinner for the next week.

Voila! Lentil & vegetable puree

(Wait – what? He can’t have the same thing for every meal? I need to go and cook some more? Hand me that butternut squash!)

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