Sunday, March 25, 2018

Constipated Hi-Fi

Many moons ago, when Daniel was a toddler, he posted a piece of tailor’s chalk into my hi-fi. It was one of those multi-CD changers and the next time I pressed the button to change the CD deck there was a nasty crunching and whirring and the mechanism seized up. I always meant to take the side off and see if I could fish out the offending item but since it was the spare hi-fi and not much used, I never got round to it. 

Yesterday, however, the stars aligned, a screwdriver was in the right place, I had a spare ten minutes, and off I went. Predictably, I was interrupted halfway through and ended up leaving it partly dismantled, so when I resumed today I had a fascinated audience who had spotted that something was afoot and switched on their mummy-is-up-to-something radar. 

At first they just watched while I gradually took the thing apart to try and get inside the CD unit (becoming increasingly doubtful that I would ever manage to put it back together again) but after a while I concluded that the only way to get at the two CDs stuck inside was to sacrifice the hi-fi. Since we have another we use more often and have managed perfectly well without the constipated one for at least four years, this wasn’t a major trauma. 

And so the fun started! Adam did a bit of "I fixin’ it!" with his wooden hammer but Daniel spent several hours (with breaks for swimming and dinner) carefully dismantling every part he could get to. He tried out different screwdrivers, pliers and a hammer; unplugged wires; experimented with bending copper; and had involved conversations with DH as they pored over circuit boards. He extracted two small motors and used pieces of his electronics set (a birthday present when he was 4 and played with often enough to understand the basics) to make them work, much to his delight. Well after bedtime he was still racing up and down the stairs with ‘one more’ component (including a fan) and a huge grin: "This stuff is AMAZING!" He only agreed to go to bed when we promised to leave out the rest so he could carry on in the morning. 

I think he needs his own set of screwdrivers for his birthday next month! Meanwhile, I need to invest in an idiot’s guide to electronics. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Living in Narnia

"Mummy, there’s a problem," said Adam. "It’s not floor snow, it’s just window snow."

"You mean you can see it falling but it’s not settling?" I said. "No, it’s the middle of March, it won’t settle this time. Definitely not."


On the up-side, our lovely neighbours lent us their sleds as we trudged past to the park to admire the 7-foot snowmen. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sibling Bake-Off

This morning I made two rookie parenting errors. Number 1 was saying absent-mindedly "Yes, ok" when I had no idea what my 3-year old had just told me he was about to do. Number 2 was failing to notice or investigate when he then went very quiet for rather a long time. 

So what had he said?

"Mummy, I’m going to do some cooking."

The first I registered was when he popped up looking a bit bemused and informed me that he needed my help because he was making a cake and had used lots of ingredients but wasn’t sure how to cook them. 

It must have been my lucky day, since there was not a trace of the mess that I absolutely deserved. He had actually cut up a potato, a couple of green beans and bit of red pepper, and put them all into a saucepan, so I added some boiling water and cooked them for a bit. We all sat at the table to solemnly eat our tiny portions (note: boiled red pepper is slightly odd) and he glowed with pride, apparently unfazed that his creation had not turned into cake after all. 

Later in the day, after a visit from friends, Daniel suddenly appeared with a similar request. He had raided the fridge and prepared smoked mackerel, cabbage and red pepper, carefully separated into separate saucepans and a dish for the pepper. A bit more water and a grill later, we sat down to our miniature meal. 

The game was on! Adam declared his intention to make a cake with icing (I think he was trying to recreate his birthday party a couple of weeks ago as he had mysteriously changed into his pyjamas while our friends were here so it could be "two more sleeps until my birthday"). He flicked through his recipe book and presented me with the page on lemon cake. 

Several hours of chopping, mixing...


...and baking later, and Adam had provided us with pudding. Lemon cake with homemade lemon curd and lemon glaze (we made the icing a bit too runny so renamed it). 

Not to be outdone, Daniel is spending this morning making chocolate roulade, and intends to attempt baklava early next week. After that I am putting my foot down and insisting on something savoury before our teeth rot and fall out, we all become morbidly obese, and I am sick from too much sugar.