The Ancient Art Of Secret Eating

Let me make something clear before I start. This is not an advisory post. If you don’t already do this, then it’s probably not the best idea to start. If you do, then rest assured that you are not alone.

Right, well that’s the disclaimers out of the way.

This isn’t a problem when you have a small baby. You can sit down right in front of them with a cake, and they don’t even know what they’re missing. But babies grow up, and then they’re standing in front of you with reaching hands, saying, “Der ya go!” That’s when the secret eating begins.

The problem is, you make something like this:

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And you know that you’re going to want to eat at least six times the amount you’re prepared to give the children. Because you want them to be all healthy and shit. I want me to be all healthy and shit as well, but most of all I want to eat cake.

Plus, I’m exhausted. The days are long when the nights are spent settling a baby back to sleep and ridding big kids of nightmares and twisted covers. A quick sugar boost does wonders for that ‘slump’ moment, when all you want to do is collapse into bed and tell responsibility to get to fuck.

Still, the issue isn’t so great while they’re small. There’s always nap time. And if you’ve got a safety gate on the kitchen door, you’ve got plenty of time to stash the goodies before they see you.

I'm sensing that I missed something.

I’m sensing that I missed something.

Phew!

After a while, you have to be even craftier. Big kids have an inbuilt sensor to detect the moment you open the cupboard.

And worst of all, they can open the gate.

A head pops round the doorway with big, inquiring eyes and a salivating mouth. “What you eating?”

“Nothing!” I reply. I have acquired great skill in hiding something behind my back without it looking like I’m hiding something behind my back. Or dropping it. I’m unreasonably proud of this.

I can tell that they’re never convinced. They glare at me suspiciously and with such intensity that I’m almost certain they are activating the X-ray function in their eyeballs.

What do you mean, that’s not real? Show me the research!

Reasearch shows that X-ray vision is, in fact, imaginary.

Research shows that X-ray vision is, in fact, imaginary.

So you say only Superman has X-ray vision? OK, I’ll take your word for it. But I’m still not so sure.

Eventually, they work out that even if I am concealing something, I’m not about to tell them what it is. They retreat back into the living room, throwing one last searching look at me as they go. Once I’m sure they’re gone, I retrieve my bounty (not Bounty. Coconut <shudders>), and shovel it down me as fast as I can.

Because I’m not dumb enough to think I can get away with it a second time.

The other reason I secret eat is just simple maths. Let me tell you about it in the style of a school maths problem (sort of):

Q: Char has 1 piece of cake. She also has 3 ravenous hell-beasts (aka children) licking their lips around her. If she shares the cake with said hell-beasts, how much will she get?

A: Not e-freaking-nough!

You see, if the kids realised that I was snacking in secret, I’d have approximately 2.6 seconds before they were gathered around me, clamouring for a bit.

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Or begging like puppies, if you will.

What looks like an impressive slice will look, at best, a bit pathetic once they’ve had a go at it. Now, I will give anything to my kids. I will give them an essential body organ if they really need it. My time, my love, my pillow space. Even the clothes off my back, if it comes to it. But for God’s sake, not the cake as well.

I spend most of my life trying to instil into the children the values which I want them to have as they grow up. Determination, kindness, generosity…

But still, I don’t want to share!

Here’s a few pointers, to help you to achieve an optimal secret eating technique:

1. If it’s got a plastic wrapper, forget about it! Even a six month old can detect one of these opening from a hundred feet away.

2. Remember to pause the washing machine. You need to be able to listen out for people sneaking up on you.

3. Check your mouth for crumbs before you go back in. This is a crucial one. Forgetting this will be your downfall!

Follow these simple rules and the holy grail of uninterrupted cake-eating will be yours.

This is what failure looks like.

This is what failure looks like.

N. B. If you don’t like cake then firstly, what the hell is wrong with you? Secondly, sorry about that. Thirdly, cake isn’t essential for this. Just insert your favourite snack and off you go!

365 Days Of Squeak

Although I say it reluctantly, today Squeak is 1. It is unbelievable to think that, a year ago today, I was in labour with a stranger, of whom I knew nothing. And now a whole, complex person stands before me. Wow.

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As an aside, she is totally not standing before me. She is using her newly acquired door-opening skills to get as far away from me as possible. Or at the least, up a couple of steps on the stairs before I catch her.

OK, I got her. Now where was I?

I planned the morning carefully. Every minute of our pre-school time is already filled with sock-finding, child-wrangling and book bag-locating, interspersed with a smattering of weeping (mine). Where were we going to fit in presents and an awesome breakfast?

It’s cool, I thought. I’ll just get up early.

WTF was I thinking? I deeply regretted this at 6.30 this morning after a typical Squeak-night. Yawn.

Breakfast was where I started being awesome. (N.B. If you make something with flour, you’re being awesome.) I took some inspiration from Crappy Mama, from Illustrated With Crappy Pictures. I read her post about buttcakes a few weeks ago, and I knew they’d be a hit with the girls. Toilet humour is a big part of our household.

A big part. Big Girl is a veteran of this craft, but Little Girl is a relative newbie. She has just discovered the joy of replacing all of the nouns in a song with the word ‘poo.’

Hilarious.

So anyway, I made buttcakes. Nothing special, just a standard American pancake recipe. Oh, but I did add chocolate chips to really emphasise the whole butt thing. I DSC_7626raced through, and managed to finish them just as the alarm went off for the girls to get up. I finished of course, with the obligatory ‘Oh shit I flipped too quick and now it’s folded in half! Hmm, maybe I can fix it. Nope, it’s stuck’ pancake. Or is that just me?

I know this isn’t just me. I was possibly slightly hasty in getting my ingredients together. I did not realise that descending my stairs leads you into some kind of time warp, but it does. Well it must do, anyway, because it took me 10 minutes to get downstairs! So I was running a bit behind. I grabbed the flour, baking powder, etc, etc. And I may have dislodged something, somewhat. That something was the icing sugar.

Have you ever dropped a packet of icing sugar? It causes an explosion on the scale of a nuclear bomb. I could taste it, I was breathing it. It went all over the floor, up the table leg, all over my clothes, on Big Girl’s bookbag…

And a particularly large cloud settled right on top of Mark’s jacket.

Crap.

Despite the catalogue of fails, it was a success. According to the girls, they were delicious! They all agreed. Well, except for Squeak.

She threw hers on the floor.

Breakfast and presents were followed by a truly riveting morning of school runs, shopping and naps. Happy Birthday, Squeak!

She seems pretty happy this afternoon, though. Currently, she is running around with a new crayon, drawing on everything that isn’t paper. For variety, she’s also carrying her new wooden drumstick, and is using it to check if we are alive.

Repeatedly.

I guess the yelps of pain don’t give it away. I’m rubbing my knee right now.

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Homemade pizza for tea tonight. I’m sure it’s going to be a relaxing experience, seeing as I haven’t made the dough or sauce yet. Or chopped the toppings. Dammit. (You’ll be reading this in the evening, but I wrote it this afternoon. Therefore, I don’t know how wrong this will go yet. I’m scared.)

UPDATE: Totally nailed the pizza.

My mother in law has made a lovely cake for us to celebrate with. Squeak’s response when I showed it to her was to shriek, “Oh, wow!” We’re all looking forward to having a try.

UPDATE: Cake was epic.

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I’m feeling a little reflective today. Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time to just sit and enjoy your kids? One year flies by and the person that they were is gone. It’s sad.

One good thing, I suppose, is that there is an even cooler person waiting in the wings for you to get to know.

All you have to do is close your eyes to the dirty dishes, the piles of washing and the crumby floor.

Just don’t literally close your eyes.

That could get messy.

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Total side step alert! As well as Squeak’s birthday, today is also my one month blogiversary. Wahoo!

If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask for a wee bit of feedback. So what do you like? What do you hate? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see me blogging about? Let me know in the comments!