One of my close friends had her first baby this week. It made me cast my mind back to those early newborn days. Of course, these are such a blur of feeding and sleep deprivation that it’s very hard to remember accurately. I did make an effort to write some thoughts at the time, and I also went back and culled my private mum’s Facebook group posts at some point, so I could try and capture the feelings at the time.
3 weeks: “Today is a day when it’s hard. Can’t sleep, can’t do anything else useful, feel weird and overtired, don’t want to eat anything but sweets and junk. Feel like a milk-generating zombie today.”
There were also better days:
4 weeks: “Objectively, she’s been trouble today – feeding every hour or more, seldom sleeping, and crying much of the time in between. But for some reason, today I can mostly just see big blue eyes, sweet, strokable hair, chubby cheeks and tiny fingers. As we keep saying, more with love than frustration, “it’s a good job you’re cute!””
I am reminded that very small victories were important, and built confidence. I went after them very deliberately in those first weeks: a walk to the park, a drive to the breastfeeding clinic, making it out of the house on our own for a walk. Little bits of progress that were enough to hint at changes to come, and give the idea that all of those would pass.
Now the changes come more slowly, but seem to creep up in a more unexpected way, ambushing you when you feel unprepared. Today she seems suddenly taller, leaner and more capable. She has been ‘taking care’ of us recently – asking if we are alright if we cough, patting us to send us to sleep. It’s a lovely glimpse into the little girl she’s trying to become, but also a reminder of how much baby has already disappeared.
This week’s eating was mainly quite simple, to minimise the complications swirling around us at the moment. A very quick but delicious coconut curry from Anna Jones. A slow cooker pot of beans. A few bits of take away. And then a good baking session on Saturday night, to go with Eurovision. I like to think the rye flour theme was a nod to the Swedish hosts.
- Anna Jones‘ coconut, sweet potato and quinoa bowls (though I used rice in place of the quinoa).
- Chocolate rye brownies – Claire Ptak’s Violet Bakery cookbook
- Sourdough – Justin Gellatly’s Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding
- Chorizo and butter beans – Slow Cooked
- Lamb nihari – loosely adapted from Slow Cooked and using a small Riverford lamb shoulder joint instead of the specified chops
Without a recipe:
- Beef ragu and pasta (the ragu created from some frozen beef shin stew + passata + roasted tomatoes)
- Quesadillas – leftover butter beans, with cheese and avocado
- Franco Manca take out pizza
- Ruby Tandoh writes a piece of clear-thinking brilliance on ‘wellness’ and its links to disordered eating. Full of common sense, and illuminated by her personal experience.
- Yotam Ottolenghi does butter beans in the Guardian. I’m intrigued by the long-cooked spinach condiment he mentions – will have to give that a try (though maybe on a smaller scale than his 1kg of spinach!)
- Melissa Clark in the New York Times puts phyllo pastry into a bundt tin to make a pie – interesting idea.
- An interview with Thomasina Miers about the current state of mexican food in London.
- Bookmarked recipes: David Lebovitz’s Sables Bretons; porridge rolls; coconut custard babka; oat, raisin and almond cookies; rhubarb strawberry pie.