TICK! I want another baby.
TOCK! Ridiculous! No-one has four.
TOCK! Ugh! You’d have to drive a people carrier...
In the end I bored myself shitless. It got to the point where either we had to do it, or I had to shut up about it.
A year later, my fourth child – my third girl – was born.
With four children, maternal guilt goes into overdrive. I didn’t have to wonder whether I had enough time for her, it was clear that I didn’t.
But I made some interesting discoveries.
Like, it is possible to make breakfast for three young children and breastfeed a fourth at the same time.
Or, by parking a baby on the knees of her TV-watching siblings and telling them not to move, you can get an awful lot done.
And, if your 4 year old goes to nursery with no knickers and is word perfect to Nickelback, (“Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial...”) it really isn’t the end of the world.
You won’t find that in a parenting manual, will you? Consider it a Pig in the Kitchen exclusive.
But here’s the thing; my youngest girl has not suffered. She is the most chilled, independent, confident child I own. From day one she has been cherished, loved, adored and had plenty of ‘me time’ (some might call it benign neglect). No wonder she’s happy.
But it hasn’t all been smiles. Chest infections, eczema and ‘failing to thrive’ were hallmarks of her early months. When her allergies to eggs, cow’s milk, nuts, mustard and about a million pollens were diagnosed, I wasn’t really surprised. It’s often the parents that work it out long before the doctors will agree, don’t you find?
She’s been on a strict exclusion diet ever since.
We moved to France four years ago and the specialists told me that if her allergies hadn’t improved by the time she was three that was it; they were ‘set’. I ignored them because an English specialist told me that she would almost certainly grow out of them by the time she was five.
By the time you read this, my girlie will be five years old. She’s still on an exclusion diet, still having horrible reactions to milk and eggs if she ingests them by mistake and, well, still allergic.
But it’s not the end of the world, is it? We’ve never let her be defined by her allergies; they are just a small part of who she is. Life drops plenty of crap on us and the trick is working out which crap is serious and which crap is just inconvenient.
For my girl’s first birthday, I had no idea how I would bake her a cake. Four years on, she has choice.
She thought long and hard about the cake she wanted. In the end she opted for these –omigod-those-are-good - cake bites rather than one large cake.
Once I’d made them, she changed her mind and wanted a giant-sized cupcake with yellow butter cream icing and pretty sprinkles. Being a soft touch, I obliged. Well, when you have allergies, you can never have enough cake, right?
Sweet E - with your infectious giggle and your ability to light up a room - these bad boys are for you. Without you, this blog and those cake bites wouldn’t exist.
Happy egg free, dairy free, nut free (and gluten free because, why not?) birthday!
130g dairy free spread/margarine
110g golden syrup or honey
60g GF, DF cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g chickpea / gram flour
¾ tsp xanthan gum
1½ tsp GF baking powder
1 egg OR:
1 heaped tsp of Orgran no egg Egg Replacer
1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds
4 tbsps rice milk/dairy milk/
To make these with wheat flour:
Use 175g wholemeal, self-raising flour
To bind the cake balls:
3-4 tbsps gluten free apple sauce (a GF apple sauce for weaning babies would do)
150-200g dark DF chocolate or couverture (but couverture is the best)
GF pretty decorations, like Carnival Sprinkelz, or yay! The Jelly Bean Factory gourmet beans, gelatine, gluten & nut free. Love it, love it!
About 12 Bamboo skewers/metal skewers for applying the chocolate (you’ll see)