The outcome of last week’s EU Referendum has turned our lives upside down and the future feels bleak and uncertain.
I am concerned about what the Leave result means for my daughter, but – as those running the country appear to know as little about what will actually happen next as I do – I feel unable to put my worries into words.
So I thought I would focus on a subject of constancy and stability instead.
My baby will always need to eat, and her eating will always create a great deal of mess.
But here are six foods that took me by surprise with the amount of clearing up I had to do afterwards.
These seemed like an ideal snack. So compact and hand-sized, I naively believed I could just snap a bit off, pop it in my baby’s hand and she’d merrily chomp away without smearing it all over her face or dropping it.
How wrong I was. Her tight little fists shatter dusty crumbs in every direction, while she sucks it into a sticky cement texture which she then drools and mashes into clothes, carpets, buggies, you name it.
I expected sticky juice from this soft fruit. But I was not prepared for the strings of flesh it would leave behind on every surface it touched. I have quickly learned the best tactic with any baby mess is, “NEVER let it dry!” But all it takes is one filled nappy or crying fit at the end of a meal for you to take your eye off the ball, and before you know it you are attempting to scrape mango off the highchair with a knife. The other day I found some still crusted on to dress that had been through a hot wash.
Don’t be fooled by the non sticky texture of these sneaky little vegetables. Their ball-like shape should have been the warning sign. They roll everywhere. I keep finding dried up shrivelled little peas in the strangest of places, days after I last served them.
4. Rice cakes
These are the worst part of breadsticks and peas combined. They seem a great portable snack, but they quickly disintegrate into soggy Rice Krispies which will turn up everywhere, most likely your hair.
Now I clearly am naive when it comes to how much chaos a baby can create at mealtimes, that much we have established. But I was knocked for six by the dirt that pear leaves behind. Bananas and avacados go black and leave dark stains on everything, I knew that. But pear?! If you don’t get that into soak instantly then all those pretty, pale, pastel summer clothes will be sullied forever.
When the health visitor held a Weaning Advice talk at my Mother And Baby group, my daughter was only eight weeks old and solids seemed a world away. But one thing stuck with me. “A nice thing to try for baby-led weaning”, she said, “is steamed florets of broccoli, that your child can hold like lollipops and suck the tops off.” How sweet, I thought. Now, kindly tell me what kind of lollipop sheds a slimy green snowstorm all over every surface, so fine it seems impossible even to wipe up?! The worst part was the aftermath in the bath – covered with a film of floating broccoli bits that stuck back onto my child as quickly as I attempted to wash it off.
So now that my eyes have been opened to the perils of weaning, I am resolved to picking spaghetti off the floor and mopping sweet potato from between neck folds – at least I am expecting the result.