Nous sommes en vacances!

ImageImageWe’re on a campsite in the Basque region of France and are having a ball!

Bedtimes are abandoned and consequently rising times have been way more parent-friendly too. Just the right side of civilised to head out for croissants and pains aux chocolat for our breakfast. Just the former for Ted but that’s not to say this trip hasn’t been treat filled. He’s eaten everything from croissants to crevettes (prawns), from paella en France – at the post wedding brunch of Paul & Emeline which brought us here in the first place, to tapas en Espagne – during a quick trip over the border to San Sebastián where some sort of black pudding proved much to his liking. He’s eaten far more delicious glace (ice cream) than his brother had at this age. I found a gorgeous homemade salted caramel flavour but a few spoonfuls of framboise (raspberry) was more to his taste. Mark’s new-found barbecuing skills have been called upon and I’m sad to say Teddy has also enjoyed grilled steak and salmon. This summer has been the summer of meat as far as I can see, on holidays and otherwise. Here I’ve tried to make up for it by making up side dishes like mash with lentils and such. Not the most inspired sounding but the same lentils made a good base for the salmon. Lovely cheap cans of flavoursome seasoned pulses abound here in supermarkets like Carrefour that I could spend all day in left alone with just a trolley and a pack of madelines for company

All the new flavours, plus carb loading on delicious baguettes mean Teddy is coming on in leaps and bounds. Literally. He’s discovered he can climb and stand up all by himself. He’s yet to take that first step but its tantalisingly close.

Snackasaurus

yep we're those parents now

We went on our holidays.  Again!  This time we kept it local (reasonably) and went to West Cork.   We stayed in a gorgeous cosy holiday home which belongs to the family of a friend of mine.  We did a mixture of eating in & cafes & restaurants.  However the presiding memory of Dominic for the week, was the ever present plaintive cry of  “sack, sack, sack” (snack).

slurrrrrrpp

Raisins, grapes, sawbrees (strawberries), organix cheese n herb puffs/carrot sticks and the new top favourite:  Ella’s Kitchen Smoothie Fruit pouches.  We did a big shop on the way to the house, and as I threw treat after treat into the trolley for grown ups (cake, wine, crisps, assorted fancy things that don’t feature in our weekly shop usually) I thought Dominic could do with a treat too.  They were only 85c each so what the hell.  We deployed these mostly when the parents wanted a treat too.  A big creamy pint of Murphy’s shaped treat.  Trouble was he sucked them back in about 20 seconds, and then harangued us for more and more and cue 2 desperate parents mere sips into their ale trying to get last drops squeezed out for de child.

nyom nyom

Everything was done for convenience this week.  Dinners for Dominic were simple frittatas, pasta & fresh pesto, potato cake from leftover mash, bits of our grub when out.

He seesawed & swung for Ireland, met donkeys out on long walks, splashed around the beach in his new wetgear, played with the neigbours doggie, crossed the new bridge at Mizen Head, and fed the local duckies (mostly fed himself while watching us feed them). And with that much fresh sea air, his appetite wasn’t lacking.

howyis lads

We’re trying to get into snack control though!  He’s starting in the morning with a few dry shreddies, that’s before he heads to creche and eats 2 weetabix there.  Then this evening he had leftovers for his dinner, then a kiwi, then I made parental dinner after I came in from work, at which point he sat between us begging like a puppy from our forks.  After that?  “Snack?”  I wouldn’t mind but his 12-18 month pants are still falling off his skinny bum!

– Jill

Ciao Dominic!

Well off we all trooped to Italy, myself, the babs, the hubbie & his parents for a friends wedding.  It was to a be a last hurrah before I abandoned Dom went back to work.  I had high hopes for the eye-talians (as my Great Auntie calls them) – they make the best finger food, and they love babies.

First up we flew to Bologna and stayed there 2 nights.  The hotel we stayed in (highly recommend, especially for the fact that they have a resident cat, who I named Luigi for the purposes of making up stories about him and following him around with Dom) recommended a local restaurant.  When we arrived and no highchair appeared I was a bit nervous – doesn’t scream family friendly. As soon as we met the waitress & waiter all worries were appeased as they “ciao’ed” and italian baby-talked away to Dom.  Italian food is very well suited to BLW – they keep things simple – something Mark appreciates, he’s not a big fan of me shoehorning extra veggies into stuff.  It means baby can try individual new flavours and stuff cools easily! So Dominic ate some of Mark’s pasta and mince.  Minced what I don’t know, but it was Bolognaise on the menu, um…beef?  Lamb?  Incidentally, Bolognaise never seemed to involve any sauces, tomato-based or otherwise at all.  Then, for a treat, cos he was 9 months old on the day, and because we were on our holiers, he tried pannacotta.

sugary creamy stuff…mmm

Big hit!  I gave him some of my baked pear, after sucking the choccy sauce off it. Not quite as interested, unsurprisingly.  I don’t mind giving him the odd taste of sweet things that aren’t fruit from around this age, just not as a habit.  Ha!  I’m such a hypocrite…

Olives! Incoming!

If all else fails, the Italian bread basket offers the king of fingers foods – breadsticks & olives.  He was distracted by flaky seed covered sticks and round hard crunchy breadstick-rings in several restaurants and at the wedding.  (I must buy some actually.)  Olives are great for the emerging pincer grip.  Obviously they’re de-stoned, and I might have been more nervous about them as a choking hazard up till a month or so ago.  Since then he’s been pulling out food he’s finished with, and we don’t really need to stick a finger in to retrieve half chewed mandarin segments anymore.  In fact he’s taken to rejecting grape halves after the most cursory of sucks, ready for a fresh one.  He’s like a mini decadent Roman emperor.

On saturday out in the hills of Fiesole where we supped prosecco on the lawn overlooking Florence, Dom played happily beneath our feet, and had a bit of craic with the other little kids.  Then we carried him about to show him the views and watch the jazz trio.  He seemed to be particularly fond of the sax & saxophonist who waved and winked when the jazziness allowed.  This is an aside to the main subject of the blog – but this was a great wedding to have a baby at (though its also our first).  Being outside in the warm autumnal sun instead of being a crowded hotel meant he could have a play and a good look about instead of us trying to shield him from swiping peoples glasses and knocking over stuff!  Kept me nice & relaxed about the whole thing anyway, but that may have been the prosecco too!   Then at dinner, where he had his very own placecard, he ate a good quarter of Mark’s wild mushroom risotto.  We’ve given him several risottos but none have been as well received as this one.  It was creamy but light rather than stodgy.

No trip to Italy could be complete without a pizza or 6.  We even returned to one place it was so good -ristorante DR OETKER.  No, Borgo Antico, on the square by the Santo Spirito over the river in the Oltrarno area.  Their ‘Borgo’ pizza had a basic tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and masses of milky buffalo mozzarella torn onto it when it comes out of the oven.  My selfish husband ordered a cured ham & gorgonzola topped one, so that he didn’t have to share with either me or Dom.  I didn’t give him too much mozzarella as I guess it’s not pasteurised.

Also, this place had a really cute highchair, just like a plain wooden woven seat chair, but tall with a simple wooden bar in front.  Actually, when we did get highchairs they were this ‘rustic’ like this one, those hook/clamp onto the table ones,  or the trusty Ikea Antilop.  No chunky slumpy seated chairs, and none with trays at all – he was always up at the table right with us.  This cements my view of Italy as a child friendly country.  Despite the fact they’re a low birth rate themselves, they totally dote over babies (maybe from novelty value). Italy with baby FTW!

hotel living FTW

At home when I have breakfast it’s like this:

dada – oatibix & natural yogurt or scrambled egg on toast

mama – porridge, with berries if we have them. some of mama’s toast.

On holidays its like this: porridge, weetabix, some toast, watermelon, egg, apple, apricot.  I especially liked apricot. it was yummo. Mama robbed some more for me to eat later.  I saw her take pastries too, and then dada took some of them, but I never got any.  Dunno how that happened.

Mama was happy too, the nice lady who brought the tea and toast washed my bowl and brought it back clean and shiny to use again.

I also loved it because apart from all the swimming pool there was a swing and I could see the sea while I was on it which I haven’t seen before.   Mammó’s house is near the sea though so I’m going to go there lots when I’m bigger.

I’m going on more holidays next week, with mama and mammó, but dada’s staying at home so he will be on his own holiday from me.  I think he’ll miss me though because I wake him up every morning at about 4 so we can spend some time together because mama has me all day and I like to see dada on my own too.

– Dom