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Archive for December, 2012

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This recipe is a quick and easy fallback for me when I’m stressing about what to give Sebastian that’s quick, fresh and nutritious. It takes just five minutes if the rice is pre-prepared, so I usually cook extra rice with some other meal, and hold onto it for a day or two until I’m ready to make a batch of these corn cakes.

Ingredients

1 cup of cooked rice
1 cup of self-raising flour
1 cup of creamed corn
1 egg
Butter/marg/veg oil for the pan

Combine ingredients in a large bowl until mixed. Heat a large pan with your choice of butter/marg/veg oil over a medium heat. Dollop big spoonfuls into the pan, allow to brown and then flip. Cool before serving to your toddler, and store extras in the fridge or freezer.

Variations

I use jasmine rice because it’s what I always have in the house, but you could try long-grain or brown rice too. I use self-raising flour because it makes the cakes nice and fluffy, but plain flour works just as well. Try adding different finely chopped vegetables like red capsicum, grated carrot or pre-cooked broccoli. My Mum has tried adding diced bacon, which was a big hit too. If the mixture is becoming dry, simply add another egg or more creamed corn.

 

My son LOVES these, and they make a great snack, or serve with fresh veggies for a really healthy dinner. When they’re hot and crispy and fresh from the pan, I add a little salt and wolf them down myself. They freeze well in freezer bags, travel in Ziploc bags and are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

 

What’s your favourite toddler recipe?

 

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I knew it. Pregnancy is my baby invading one cell at a time.

Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body […] It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals.

From the Scientific American, via a tweet from Blue Milk.

 

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Today Catherine Deveny’s Lunchbox/Soapbox address Pernickety Parents: Catherine Deveny embraces 70s parenting popped up in my newsfeed, via The Wheeler Centre. And yeah, I get it. It’s a humour piece, in which Deveny describes herself as practicing ‘detachment’ parenting and nostalgically recalls the often comically laid-back parenting style of yesteryear, specifically the 1970s.

But here’s the thing; Deveny doesn’t just highlight the inherent humour in politically correct language changes that have occurred in the last 40 years, or reminisce over the potentially dangerous activities that were supposedly common practice back then. She actively attacks contemporary parents as helicopter parents. You know, the kind that hover. It’s a common phrase that drives me fucking mental.

Here’s a quote, showing where Deveny crosses the line from satirising herself into attacking other parenting styles:

There has never been more time, energy and thought spent on the raising of babies, toddlers and children, and it’s detrimental, counterproductive and narcissistic. It’s suffocating our children and oppressing parents, particularly women. […] Attachment parenting is the epitome of this competitive parenting as an extreme sport. The parenting cult where you wear your baby everywhere, never let them cry and all sleep in a big bed together. It leads to dysfunctional co-dependence and is simply set up by needy parents to enable their own abandonment issues.

You know what? Fuck off. Fuck off Catherine Deveny, for writing a funny piece about the difference in generational parenting styles, and turning it into a sneak attack on those that don’t agree with you. And honestly, it’s not so much an attack on parents who do things differently than you do – as mothers are most often the primary caregivers, this is an attack on women who do things differently than you do. Because women don’t have enough shitty judgement calls heaped on them every day of their damn lives.

I’m sure your piece is supposed to be all ha-ha-ha-can’t-you-take-a-joke, but no, not this time. Because belittling women who try to balance their kids and relationships, and potentially study and working lives as well, is a cheap, easy shot. Attacking women who are doing the best they can, often under intense societal pressures to live up to certain standards of parenting behaviour, is fucking low. Your writing is funny. Your message is vicious – if I don’t like what you’re doing, I’m going to make judgement calls on you using psychological terminology like ‘co-dependence’ and ‘abandonment issues’ in a public forum. What a cool joke.

I hope you feel real good about yourself. Because this kind of article doesn’t let anybody who varies from your narrow worldview feel good about anything.

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It’s almost Christmas and I’m fighting the urge to yell with excitement in people’s faces about baking and decorating. I am one of THOSE people at Christmas. I have only resisted the urge to deck my house in tinsel and glitter this long because all our decorations are in storage at my parents’ farm and we haven’t actually bought a tree yet.

Christmas is a problem for me because I want to do Projects. I want to bake all the things, craft ridiculous Marth Stewart-esque decorations and produce elegant and unique handmade presents for family and friends with kitsch wrapping paper I upcycled from butcher’s paper and ribbon or something. The reality is that no matter how much time I seem to have on my hands, there is never enough time for this kind of crap. Plus I have other non-Christmas Projects on the go that I should probably not drop over the holiday season in case they never get picked up again.

Christmas is different now that I have a child – it’s exciting again, full of magic and hiding presents and hanging strings of gold beads on my defenseless son the tree. My first Christmas with Sebastian was one of the best of my life – Alex and I went to my parents’ farm on Christmas eve, and after 5-month-old Sebastian went to sleep we built a terrible gingerbread house, and Alex and I slow-danced to the soundtrack to The Singing Detective – Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters singing ‘Accentuate the Positive’ and ‘Don’t Fence Me In’.

Sebastian was too small to understand Christmas or Santa or presents that year, but we dressed him up in a silly Santa’s Helper outfit and took him for pictures with Santa. On Christmas day he just wanted to eat the wrapping paper. Ultimately it didn’t matter that he didn’t understand Christmas because we did, and it was special for us just because of all the Christmas’s to come.

Christmas 2010Sebastian 2010, ready for photos with Santa

Now Sebastian is starting to get to the age where he understands Christmas, he understands decorating the tree and presents and yummy food, and I want to make it SO. DAMN. SPECIAL. Thus, the Projects. I’m really having to limit myself to ideas I think can be done quickly and are feasible.

I would like to make gingerbread people with him, because gingerbread is like crack to him. I would like to bake reindeer cookies with him, the recipe for which I found in a Christmas baking magazine. I would like to make a felt Christmas tree that he can play at decorating:

Felt Christmas Tree for toddlers to decorate, click the pic to get to the original blog entry!

Felt Christmas Tree for toddlers to decorate, click the pic to get to the original blog entry!

And of course I would like to decorate a tree, and hang a wreath on the door, and cook a pudding for Christmas day, and possibly a thousand other things that are not terribly realistic. Not when I have other Projects on the go currently – curtains for the whole damn house, sewing maternity tops for myself and toys for the new baby, completing the decorations for Sebastian’s room (including folding 100 paper cranes). Not to mention there are presents to buy and wrap, cards to write, parties to go to and all the other things you commit to at this time of year that aren’t actually Projects but still take up huge chunks of time.

This year is about prioritizing – lovely, small Projects that I can complete in a day, take happy snaps of Sebastian with, and not leave lying around the house half-finished until next Christmas. I’ll keep you updated on how I actually go with this, keeping in mind how much time I can waste on Pinterest finding adorable crafty stuff I vow I’ll do.

What are your Christmas Projects and how do you keep from getting distracted? What gets priority?

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On Saturday I attended the book launch for Karen Adrews’ (of Miscellaneous Mum) book Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have my copy and even just the title resonates with me.

It was a fantastic afternoon for me, and eye-opening in a lot of ways. I was invited by, and attended with, Lily Mae Martin, who is not only a brilliant artist but a raw and honest writer too. Lily and I met briefly two years ago at a Swimwear Galore, of all places. I had no Mama friends, and Sebastian was flirting madly with her, so I asked if she would like to catch up sometime (her daughter Anja is only a few weeks younger than Sebastian). That catch up never happened, because a few weeks later she left for Berlin, and has only returned a couple of months ago after around two years there. But during that time we corresponded by email and Facebook, and I religiously followed her blog Berlin Domestic, where Lily writes about the joys and hardships and mundanities of creating and parenting in Berlin, and her subsequent return to Melbourne. Go look. Now. I’ll wait.

Here is why the day was eye- opening for me – I met lots of writers and mothers and bloggers who are going through the same shit of balancing parenthood and having a brain as I am, and they are out there working, creating, insisting on time for themselves and finding opportunities, while I have been sitting on my arse for 2.5 years feeling empty and tired. And you know what? Fuck that noise.

I haven’t updated my blog in weeks, and a big part of that was moving house and work and study and shitty internet and pregnancy, but an even bigger part of that was laziness. I have written a couple of dozen blog posts in my head and made notes on none. I have thought, Oh I must make time for this because I find it rewarding, and instead faffed around looking at pictures of cats. I have felt tired and resentful that I am not writing, and then continued not fucking writing.

I have felt sorry for myself because I do not go out to things, because I do not meet new people or see old friends, but I moved back to the suburbs two months ago and can no longer excuse this with the thought of a long commute for events/social activities. At a certain point, the problem stopped being lack of time and a 1.5 hour drive to anything good… the problem became me. I have fallen into old habits, habits that I learned as a sick teenager and continued as a sick adult – habits of isolation. I know isolation. I do fine with isolation. Sure I feel lonely, but loneliness is itself an old friend. I read my books and make elaborate redecorating plans and procrastinate about writing anything, because producing work would imply some kind of obligation to do something with it.

So here is my new plan: blog regularly, and not just incredibly long and verbose pieces on A Topic. I want to share the feminist articles I’m reading, the opinion pieces on parenting, the cool tips and tricks on making family life (cooking/cleaning/parenting/crafts/whatever) that I come across. I want to write my thoughts on this pregnancy – can you believe I’ve only got three months to go? And most of all, I want to make contact with other writers and bloggers and produce some damn work and put myself out there a bit.

There it is. I’ve written it in a public venue and it will just be awkward for everyone if I don’t follow through.

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