Friday, 18 October 2013

Wriggly-man's adventures in Cake

My little wriggly-man loves a bit of cake.  I baked him a carrot cake for his first birthday.  He was unsure how to tackle it, even though the sweet taste had him interested.   Now, almost a year on, 'cake' is a favourite word and a catalyst for either happy giggles or violent tantrums.  Emotions run high in terms of cake.  

This morning, he woke early, settling into a snuggle with me and a drink of milk as he woke up.  Suddenly rejuvenated, he sprung up and clomped off towards the kitchen.  He cast a look back at me over his shoulder and said, 'Cake.'  He nodded his head in agreement with his own brilliant suggestion.  Unfortunately, there was no cake to be had and I decided that the day might be off to a better start with some eggs.  He didn't agree and cried, but we compromised with a hug.

He loves cake so much that it turns him from a lovely sweet boy into a monster.  When he goes to nursery, we are always told how good he is, except when cake is at stake.  We were informed that he threw a massive, inconsolable fit the other day when he spotted a trolley with cake but had to finish lunch first.  I would have hidden it from sight, and have even taken to spelling out the letters of the word rather than saying it and risk a tantrum.   I guess learning to see cake and hear about cake without eating cake is a valuable life lesson.  

So I am attempting to balance the tendencies of my mini cake fiend with some good nutrition and restraint.  But I do love his little glee-ful face when he's munching into a piece of cake.  Crumbs tumbling down his drool-drenched chin, exclaiming, 'Nice!' as he crams it in.  So I've come in from work and knocked up a carrot cake at quarter to ten tonight.   I guess its because I love him as much as he loves cake.  Probably more.  

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bend, don't break: essential flexibility for mamas

'Nothing in the world
Is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.'

-Tao Te Ching (translation by Stephen Mitchell)

I read this an eternity ago in Philosophy 101, first year at university.  I didn't really get it.  Now, it seems every aspect of my life attests to this truth - motherhood included.  

Whether I am trying to balance work and quality Ethan-time.  Or balance being a mother and being myself.  Or getting fitter and stronger versus resting.  I find that the more flexible I can become, the better it all is.  When I get demanding of myself and my circumstances - what I think I 'should' be - I break.  When I can be flexible, rolling with the punches and staying supple, good things come more easily.

Week on week, I ask myself  'Am I getting enough time with Ethan?'  and 'Am I working enough?'. Often the answer to both is 'no', so I have to find ways around.  Ways to meet the demands of the day without being so self-critical or disappointed that there is just really not enough time to everything I need or want to do.

Same principle goes for my body and fitness.  If I constantly drive myself and don't balance with rest and mobility, I will eventually break.  Strength only takes you so far without flexibility.

I am learning to constantly re-adjust, allowing myself to return to the drawing board as much as needed to find the right balance.  Like water, I have to flow with the terrain rather than butt heads with it.