Regan's blog


Tonight in the bath.

Buffy: Look, Mommie. It's Herb!

Me: (confused) Wha?

Buffy: (grabbing shampoo bottle) See? Herb!

Me: (a bit slow on the uptake) Oh! Wow. Yes, that's Herbal Essences. Honey! Did you hear what Buffy just did?

Andrew: (a bit quicker on the uptake than I) Wow, Buffy! That's great!

Buffy: (ever patient) It's like my book. H-e-r-d!

Andrew & Me: (thinking) Dang. For a second there, we thought we had a genius.

What I Learned Today

1. I learned I am too old to do P.E.
2. I have no choice
3. All of my ball skills can be boiled down to the "Oops, Sorry" game
4. I can play Oops, Sorry for an hour straight and improve almost none at all
5. Others can play Oops, Sorry, too
6. One lady, in a mad effort to get to her ball first knocked me to the ground so hard I have a thick bruise and may have shaken the floor. Oops, sorry!
7. Before the heavy bruising, I had an awful lot of fun and learned a lot
8. I feel confident I can teach a PE class now
9. Yes, just the one
10. Unless "Oops, Sorry" is on the National Curriculum

Where Our Tuition Fees Are Going

Yesterday, following Buffy's first day of school, she explained to me how bees make honey. "First you need some water, then the bees fly around the flowers, and then you squeeze their bums and out comes the honey!"

Andrew got today's gem, which follows on very nicely from her spelling obsession, "Daddy, do you know what this is? A-R-S-E?" Daddy just looked at her and hoped she'd tell him the answer. She didn't, but he was spared having to answer himself.

I won't tell you what we pay in fees, because it would make your socks go crusty, but I think it's safe to say that whatever the price, it's worth every penny.

One Ice Cream Leaf

Buffy's getting pretty good at her days of the week. We credit Eric Carle and his Hungry Little Caterpillar. The days of the week she's got down pat. She can even do that really long spread of lots of different foods. It's the last page of munching that confuses her, so in our family's version on Saturday the caterpillar eats through "one ice cream leaf."

Knowing the days of the week has come in very handy this week. On Monday we showed her how many days/fingers it was until Thursday and the start of school. All week long she's been pointing to her ring finger and saying, "This is where my school lives."

Today was the middle finger, which means...

(cue threatening music)

Katie starts Year 2. Buffy starts nursery. It's her first day ever! For me it means one of my last two coffee mornings. I have so many anxieties about the first day of school, I hardly know where to begin. Of course the disappointing Summer Strallen would encourage me, albeit nasally, to start at the very beginning. Sounds like a list to me

My Top Ten Worries:
1. Buffy going from regular naps, lots of home and Mommie time to nine-hour days of nonstop excitement at school.
2. Buffy falling asleep on the way home, being unwakeable at home, going straight to bed, waking up at 2am hungry and needing to pee.
3. Buffy not waking up at 2am to pee and wetting the bed.
4. Katie jeopardising her friendships to care for (read: smother) Buffy
5. Katie ignoring Buffy
6. Turning up late to my course
7. Turning up late to pick up the girls after school
8. Not getting my homework done
9. Missing some terribly important piece of paperwork and getting kicked off my course
10. Getting so stressed that my marriage and family fall apart.

That last one makes me want to cry, so I guess it's the hot button issue. I know it's normal to be apprehensive before any major change. This is our biggest change since having kids. I never thought I'd be a stay-at-home-mom. It has been so undescribably wonderful. Easily the best years of my life. I think I'll always remember them as the best. Which means, rather fatally, that after today my best years are behind me.

It's not that tragic, really. The next few years will be enormously challenging, and quite possibly enormously fulfilling. Behind this heavy blanket of stress and anxiety is a whole lot of excitement about the next chapter of my life. I just need to mourn the end of this chapter. The chapter of bliss. All the coffees, plays at the park, swimming lessons, quiet naptimes, playdates, coffee mornings, parent association meetings, leisurely strolls, lingering chats with other mums, and did I mention the coffees? The coffee morning ladies are already missing their daily dose of Buffy, and the year hasn't started yet.

Oh shit. Just as I was wiping my tears, Katie just brought me her journal to approve. She's been keeping a daily account of her summer. Mostly, she's hated the project. I hope someday she'll appreciate it. It's been a good and necessary opportunity to practise her handwriting. Occasionally, she draws awesome pictures, too. She decided to finish her summer journal with a picture. It's Katie and me standing under a rainbow, facing away, looking at a setting sun.

I think I need a bigger tissue.

Separation Anxiety

Since Katie had her first sleepover party a few weeks ago, we've both realised she's ready for greater freedoms and responsibilities. It is so hard to reconcile this with our modern lives. I can't exactly give her my purse and send her down to the shops for odds and ends, as much as she would like that. Instead, we're taking baby steps. When we walk to the shops together, Buffy and I take the ramp over the motorway, Katie takes the stairs and then runs down the ramp to meet us. I know this doesn't sound like much, but it feels huge. If we went grocery shopping more, I'd send her down a different aisle to fetch something. As we're internet shoppers, we have to find other ways. Of course this shifting of boundaries has meant Katie needs to question every single boundary in our lives. That part isn't so much fun for us, but we're working through it.

Yesterday, Katie and two schoolfriends hosted a lemonade stall on our street. Loads of our neighbours came around for lemonade and slices of cake. The girls made their own poster, prepared everything, even drummed up business by making up a "lemony lemonade" song. Adorable! Most amazingly, they raised nearly £30! They only charged 20p per glass, so that's an awful lot of lemonade!

The very best part was how pleased Katie was with herself yesterday. Talking to strangers, making eye contact, and asking for payment were all very big challenges for Katie. Huge challenges. Also, dealing with the rejection of people who mysteriously didn't want a tall glass of fresh lemonade on a hot summer's afternoon wasn't easy for three six-year-olds. They handled it all beautifully.

I can't say enough about how proud Katie was of herself. She is exuding confidence today. She glows. In the words of my dear mother, she did something she wasn't sure she could do. It has been an amazing confidence builder on top of a confidence-building summer. Katie goes back to school in two weeks, and I hope they're ready. I know she is.

Recipe Challenge - Making Pam's Awesome Devilsfood Cake

Okay, I'm going to try to embed some photos as I go along here. Bear with me.

Last week my dear friend Pam challenged me to make her family's favorite Devilsfood cake recipe. I was quite pleased, because the recipe called for things I already had around the kitchen. It was an incredibly flexible recipe, as I used it three times in one. First I made it into cupcakes for Andrew to take to work on his birthday, second into a loaf for freezing, and third as a microwave cake to be enjoyed immediately. I am not patient with my cakes! All three ways worked out great, but oven baking trumps microwave every time. Must learn to be more patient.

My on-hand ingredients still varied from their American cousins.

Half a cup of Green and Black's cocoa powder. This is going to be gooood.

Pam said she doesn't bother sifting, so I tried skipping that step. I also have no electric mixer (note my trusty wisk in the corner), so lumpage is mine to deal with. Sifting it will have to be.

Ah, that's more like it.

I had *exactly* the right amount of milk!

British eggs often come with their own decorations.

Top tip! If you're an American in England looking for sour cream, this is what you want to buy. Don't buy "soured cream". It's really not what you want.

Kind of... ew.

What a difference a little mixing makes!




Verdict? DELICIOUS! Seriously scrummy cake. Adding it to my recipe book and will definitely make again.

Thanks, Pam!

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