September 2006


Take: a couple of double handfuls of pasta; 1-2 cloves garlic; olive oil; about a cupful of passata*; black pepper; herbs.

[*I am getting to know and love ths ingredient – it is seived tomato, somewhere between tomato puree and tomato juice I guess, and very versatile. It’s inexpensive and available anywhere (well, at least, in Asda or Lidl) but you can use half an ordinary can of chopped tomatoes instead.]

1. Put the pasta in a saucepan to cook, covered in plenty of water.
2. Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic and fry this gently using a little olive oil in a large saucepan.
3. When the garlic starts to smell good and garlicky, add the passata, black pepper and herbs (oregano or basil is good, but you can use whatever you like), stirring the ingredients in together and heating them up in the pan.
4. When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it, then chuck it into the tomato stuff and mix it in thoroughly so that the pasta is well coated with the tomato sauce.

As a lunch, with a little cheese sprinkled on top, this will serve 2-3 people. You could also use it as an accompaniament to, say, a nice grilled lamb chop, in which case it’ll do 3-4 people.

COOK’S TIP
This is another one that needs a bib if you are sharing with a Little Person…

We all know now about the Pope thing. It’s even made Wikipedia.

Now a philosophy professor in France has gone into hiding due to death threats received by him, directed at himself and his family, because of an article he wrote linking Islam to violence and comparing Mohammed unfavourably to Christ.

It seems clear what we should conclude: one sure way to provoke Islamic violence, or threats of violence, is to make “unjust” accusations about how violent a religion Islam appears to be.

Which is all total madness, since the measured responses of sensible Muslims carry far more weight, to me at least, than the self-righteous shrieking of absurdly easy-to-offend fundamentalists. Funny how they can be offended at the words of a stranger, but not at the thought of lopping off his head, and the heads of his innocent children.

Sometimes, I really hate people, and the stupidities to which they can sink.

Another slightly random post today. It’s getting to be a habit.

This time, I want to remark that I have just spent a fortune on the Internet buying nice things for my baby, and I feel fab… that holiday feeling of buying new nappies!

We’ve got coming to us – a green fuzzi and a periwinkle swaddlebee; a merino wool blanket for Baby M to sleep on now that we’ve given up night nappies; some new nappy nippas (the only thing I truly needed); and some new cloth wipes (something of an extravaance to buy them, but the ones I made by cutting up an old cotton sheet are all frayed at the ages, shrinking and woefully inadequate in number now that I spend my life cleaning up wee but using up fewer nappies and therefore washing less frequently).

Oh, and a couple of little wooden peg-jigsaws now that she is just about clever enough to use them. They were practically free, too, as they were the top-up items I needed to get free postage and packing… 🙂

Mmm. This isn’t a good trend, this shopping frenzy.

Yesterday I bought Baby M some new clothes and some new shoes (which, in fairness, she needed) and at lunchtime today a little bag of plastic farm animals (a bargain at £1-odd for 10 animals). The fact that the Stuff isn’t really for me is no excuse is it?! No, not really. Thought not.
Must. Try. To. Curb. Acquisitive. Urges.

This is one of Baby M’s favourite songs, which she “sings” (yes, the inverted commas are essential to the meaning here) whenever she is on a see-saw or rocking horse.

Anyway, I have just looked up the words, because I didn’t until today know them properly, and generally mumbled after the first line. Here they are:

See-Saw, Marjorie Daw
Johnny shall have a new master
He shall have but a penny a day
Because he can’t work any faster.

There was no such historical person as Marjorie Daw. One place I found suggested that “daw” was a word referring to a lazy or slatternly woman, and another suggested that it referred to the jackdaw, a thieving bird. Marjorie was a common peasant forename. Whichever way you look at it, Marjorie Daw appears to represent a wholly undesirable employee, especially if she is forever enticing poor Johnny away to play on the see-saw. Mind you, that Johnny doesn’t sound like such a great employee either – but then perhaps he is a child labourer, earning a pittance to keep his widowed invalid mother in gruel.

My mind is clearly wandering. Time for bed.

Firstly, if you take the word VEGETARIAN and subtract the word VEG(-)AN, then what you have left is ETARI. Which is IRATE, spelled backwards.

(A friend of mine used to have a friend nick-named DrofTarts. His surname was Stratford.)

Secondly, why in the heck is the Creator God always assumed to be, whether existent or not, a man – when women are the ones with the power of creation and men are generally far more excited by the idea of destruction?

Oh, wait.

I know why.

I’m feeling slightly less pathetic today. 🙂

This morning, I showed the offending bottom to the doctor who pretty much agreed with me that it was just normal nappy rash, and nothing much to worry about. The fact that she is well in herself and not complaining much (except at nursery, that is) shows it can’t really be an infection, just a few sore bits of skin that aren’t healing because they spend a lot of their time hanging about in nappies. The only real cure is potty training!

Nevertheless, he helpfully prescribed some mostly harmless ointment to give to nursery (a moisturising barrier cream) which will hopefully keep them happy.

Next, I got a pack of disposable nappies – also for the purpose of keeping nursery happy, as I don’t believe for one moment that this will make any difference. I can’t find the link right now but despite what nappy manufacturers tell you and many people believe, the only independently conducted study comparing the incidence of nappy rash between cloth nappy users and dispoable nappy users showed that it made very little or no difference. For safety, though, and to salve the eco-warrior within, I bought the relatively chemical-free, less environmentally damaging version (Moltex), which to boot have alleged protective ingredients to help cure and/or prevent rashing. We’ll see.

[An aside – disposable nappies are stupidly expensive! OK, so Moltex are more expensive than most, but at over £11 for 38 nappies, enough for a week at most, how do people afford to put their babies in disposables full time? Especially if they are buying formula milk as well. Amazing!]

Finally, I happily bumped into my health visitor after baby club today and had a chat with her. She agreed that nursery are blatantly over-reacting and suggested a couple of things that they might be doing that might be making it worse e.g. using alcohol-containing baby wipes on her poor sore bum. So I will go on the offensive tomorrow morning… hehehe (evil chuckle).

Feeling much more in control of things, now that I have got a plan, and put the whole situation into perspective. Yay!

Don’t let the lighthearted title of this post fool you – it is a tale of woe and sadness.

On and off for a very long time now – I couldn’t tell you how long, months and months – Baby M has been having Bottom Troubles. Some nappy rash, then a healing period, a skin infection, then some more nappy rash, then a healing period, then more nappy rash. And on and on. It always seems there is something new on the heels of something old, before the last lot has entirely gone away. Every time she sprouts a tooth or even if she doesn’t it seems to end up with little bottom sores on her sore little bottom, sometimes of one kind and sometimes of another. Poor baby.

So, anyway, quite naturally this is my fault. When you’re a mum, everything is. And, quite naturally, I’m trying everything within my power to make it go away – short of zapping it with anti-biotics or fungicide which I don’t believe would fix it anyway, that is. And, quite naturally, the fact that everything I try seems to fail – or at least, nothing seems to work – is my fault. And this means that I am a Bad Mother. Ask any mum, she’ll tell you I’m right on this.

What’s interesting is that when she is at home it doesn’t seem too bad, and although she does complain a bit now and again she does not seem to mind overmuch. On the other hand, the staff at nursery report a sobbing, suffering child so distressed that she screams the place down and/or won’t let them near her. They tell stories of bright red skin covering the whole nappy area. The way they tell it you would think her bottom was about to fall off. Yet I’ve never seen anything to back it up, only their descriptions when they call me on the phone. At home she is more or less fine. WTF? I believe they are honest and well-meaning but what they describe does not fit what I have seen.

So today I was called before the Head (sort of) to be lectured on things I should be doing to fix it, on how my child is suffering, on how Positive Action is needed to alleviate her pain. They don’t seem to get it when I say that it isn’t like that at home, that it seems to be something THEY are doing that makes things bad for her, because it isn’t so bad at home. No. They obviously think I’m a crap mother. Maybe they are right. Today it was mentioned that if they are concerned about the welfare of a child they may feel that they have to contact my health visitor themselves…

WTF?

Part of me rages – HOW DARE THEY!!!!

The other part says – OK, I give in, you win. You want me to give her antibiotics and switch to disposable nappies and generally do stuff that won’t work… so I’ll do it. Whatever you say.

Just don’t call social services and have my baby taken away from me.

I don’t really know what to do, except that I will take her to the doctors tomorrow, make sure that the doctor has seen that there is nothing really wrong with her, and see if there is any powerful-looking ointment I can give them to use on her. Beyond that, I can’t think.

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