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  • Writer's pictureRobyn


This weekend, without a play to worry about, I got to spend time with my children - and the washing machine.

Sally is generally a pretty nice daughter - to pretend she is without her foibles in behaviour would be a outright lie - but she is becoming more and more fun to do things with and the last couple of weekend we have managed to carve out a quick bit of baking while Pip's having his nap. She really loves the special time just focused on her, and is starting to work out how to actually help with the baking rather than just making an enormous mess and make the whole process considerably more stressful than it needs to be. It is finally actually nice mother and daughter bonding time!

I remember baking with my mum as being somewhat of an exciting treat. Mum was a Consultant Anaesthetist and took on increasingly important roles in the hospital as well as playing lots of golf, so was consequently pretty busy most of the time. Dad was the one who took a step back from working when I was about 10, and he was the one who did most of the cooking and running around after me and my brother and making sure the shopping was done and the house taken care of. Mum did the laundry and cooked Sunday lunch - roasting things has always been Mum's province. So baking with Mum was always a bit of an event, we had (still have, Ed won serious new boyfriend brownie points for fixing it the first Christmas we were together, I think some soldering was involved) an enormous orange/brown Kenwood mixer that shakes the whole kitchen when you set it to the highest speed. Now she's a Grandma and not running the hospital, Sally gets to bake with her on rainy days, but I don't think the Kenwood has come out yet. Pip will probably scream his head off, but Sally will clap with glee.

Now, the other key thing that has changed in recent baking endeavours is that Sally has worked out how yummy cake mix is. I think I might have to start adjusting quantities in future, I'm sure the poor rise on our sponge has something to do with how much went into Sally's mouth along the way. (She was also a tiny bit heavy handed mixing the flour in, so I'm sure I can blame her for my poor baking twice over.) Another comedy element of childhocod baking was the name given to the scrapings from the bowl - these were the 'licky likies' - it does not look good written down! According to Dad it was something his mum used to call the bits of food she saved for their cats, how it was then transposed to the mixing bowls I do not know. I do, however, remember quite clearly the half horrified and half bemused expression of one of my uni flatmates when I uttered the expression out loud when we were baking cookies. Up until that point I thought it was quite normal, I then found out otherwise. Whatever it ends up being called in our house - it is quite clear that Sally likes helping to clear up!

The cake - though a tiny bit flat - was very tasty, I had some butter icing in the freezer in an icing bag, and apricot jam from Ed's mum and Sally sprinkled some silver balls on top. Everyone enjoyed it in the garden, especially Pip, who went round the table seeing if he could pinch just a smidge more. Grandad popped round for a bit and I got a couple of nice pictures of them together - he's turning out to be a bit of a Granny's boy so when she's around he often doesn't get much of a look in, and it was very cute to see him insist on being picked up for a cuddle (and yes, the impetigo on his nose is finally almost cleared up).

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