Feeding · Food · Toddlerhood

Seriously, Annabel…… ?!

I’m sitting here trying to finish the draft I started 10 days ago about my daughter turning two but instead I feel more compelled to write about Annabel Karmel, the self-styled goddess of baby food preparation. I own three of her books. The one about purees, the complete baby and toddler meal planner, and my most recent acquisition – Annabel’s Family Cookbook.

My thought process is this. If I at least own the books, there’s a chance I might, at some point, open them. Which then gives way to me actually trying a recipe. And if I feed my kid something Annabel conjured up, I’m giving her some really good shit, right?

Well, that’s all well and good but Annabel, why does each recipe have SO MANY INGREDIENTS? And SO MANY steps? The nursery fish pie… freaking love it, it’s delicious! However I had to use all of my pans and even wash and reuse a couple all in the process of making one dish. So I’ve only made it once… I know what you’re thinking Annabel…. get more pans…. oh, that I would…

Have any studies been conducted on the correlation between time spent on making food for babies and toddlers and their refusal to eat same said food? I have conducted some preliminary research and the data collected thus far looks like this:


We’ve now got to the stage of toddlerhood where, if I dish up an unfamiliar looking meal (by that read anything that doesn’t have sweetcorn as the main component or fusilli pasta in some tomato based sauce – and it must be fusili – not bows, not penne, not spaghetti – fusili..got it?) the plate is politely examined, picked up and placed back up onto the table with a very sweet “no more dinner.” So then the cajoling starts. Some variation of: “just try it?” or “Just have three/five bites?” And eventually she eats. My preliminary research has also found that after having however many bites I’ve asked for, the plate gets returned to the table unless it’s an Annabel Karmel recipe. If it was an AK dish, whilst initially treated with suspicion, after one bite, it would be happily gobbled up. Unless it required excessive chewing… apparently chewing is tiresome….

As we were growing out of the baby and toddler meal planner I decided to get Annabel’s Family Cookbook. A section on quick and easy meals, everyday meals, prepare ahead meals… I loved it. She even gave the instruction, when making a club sandwich, to use butter and mayonnaise. I think I really love this woman…

I decided I’d make her Tasty Chicken Burgers to begin with as I had most of the ingredients. Well, I had turkey mince in the freezer, figured that would be a good enough substitute. It was in the Everyday Meals section of the book so I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult. Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 15-20 minutes. I wasn’t actually stupid enough to think it would take 35 minutes to pull together tasty chicken-turkey burgers. But an HOUR AND A HALF? Annabel, exactly when do you start your timer for your recipes? If you have to chop leek and onion and grate courgette, apple, and carrots before you do any mixing, forming of burgers or cooking how can you rightly say that the prep time is 15 minutes? It’s just the tiniest bit misleading….


When dinner time came around, I gave the kid half a burger. No examination, no prodding – she just started eating it, thereby throwing an outlier into my preliminary research. I offered her the other half after the first had been devoured but she said:


“There’s no pasta sweetheart. Would you like a pouch?”

1.75 Ella’s spaghetti pouches later…


Two handfuls of raspberries later she returns to the burger. I guess they were worth the time after all….but for now I’m more concerned that my bottomless pit of a toddler might have a tapeworm….


Feeding · Sleeping

It’s not ideal but just roll with it…

Apparently, I say this quite often. I’m considering having the phrase tattooed somewhere on my person – perhaps in mirror image on my forehead…

My kid keeps lulling me into a false sense of security. Last week, after coming back from holiday she slept for 6-7 hours straight at night, waking only once. This was a miracle. Then she did it the next night too and the idiot that I am thought this was the start of a new normal. Well, she called bullsh*t on that and for the past few nights I’ve been up with her between 3-5 times. Last night she was up almost every two hours. It’s not ideal, but just roll with it, everything’s a phase.

Then there’s naptime. There I was thinking we were getting in the habit of having one midday nap in her cot but no… lately I’ve had to hold her, keep her on me. That’s why there hasn’t been a new blog post in a week.  In fact, in the last few days, the only time she’s napped elsewhere was when she was in the pram and even then she wouldn’t go to sleep unless she was holding my phone. It’s not ideal, but just roll with it, it’ll be different next week.

The constant feeling of “I’m doing this all wrong” which normally sits in the back of my mind has been creeping forward, presumably because of the lack of sleep. And just because the universe is REALLY FUNNY, it chose this time to send me the latest Baby Centre email entitled “Milestones: is your child on track?”

The functioning part of my brain said “don’t open it,” – after all, nothing good ever comes of reading such emails but clearly the communication pathways between brain and hands were malfunctioning and I clicked on the link anyway. I know, I’ve only myself to blame when I read that by 20 months most children have mastered the following skills:

  1. Can use a spoon and fork – weeellll…. I suppose technically sometimes she manages to scoop a little onto a utensil and maybe that will find its way to her mouth, but generally no, no she does not use a spoon and fork.
  2. Can run – Yup.
  3. Can throw a ball underarm – she manages to launch a ball using her hands, whether it would be considered underarm or overarm, I’m not sure…
  4. Will pretend to feed a doll – fairly sure that she saw a doll for the first time last week and was entirely puzzled by it.
  5. Can take off own clothes with help – sort of….
  6. Will throw away on object such as rubbish, in imitation – yes, I guess? I can’t think of a situation when the above has occurred…

One out of six – not ideal but just roll with it. Of course my brain has fixated on the above instead of thinking of all the other milestones she has reached, like jumping, kicking a ball, fairly clear speech, making a tower of 4 blocks (oddly specific  ) and naming several body parts. Might have shot myself in the foot with the latter as I discovered that singing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes would stave off changing table tantrums caused by those evil buggers – sleeves…. Only as a joke I added “and bum” after toes and now she shouts “AND BUM” if I don’t add it myself when singing the song.

Am now concerned that mine will be the first kid to be thrown out of pre-school when she insists on singing her own version of said beloved childhood song. Or if not that, she will be thrown out for not using a spoon and fork. Got a year to work on it all – not ideal but I’ll roll with it….