I thought it might be about time to confirm to the NHS that, yes, I do have a baby, and so accepted their offer for a check up (by which I mean I actually turned up to it, unlike the other countless ones I’ve cancelled in a screechy what-do-you-mean-leave-the-house voice).
It should come as no surprise that she is, officially, quite the heifer. In fact the health visitor – at 6ft, no stranger to vertigo herself – commented that she was the biggest 12 month old she’d ever seen. As she marked her way way off the height and weight scale, I pointed out that she was, actually, only 11 months. So she was sent to scalar-Siberia, and I dragged her home and looked up “baby-diets” online. (I also googled “leg-binding” and “will a baby stop growing if you put it sleeping in a small box”).
The most surprising thing of all from my online investigations wasn’t that there aren’t a huge amount of baby diets, or that leg-biding is, by and large, outlawed (as is shoe-horning babies into boxes) but that her BMI is... 10. Ten! Just look at her:
How is her BMI not 86? How could she ever hope to fly with those wings and that bosom? And, crucially, who decorated that hotel bedroom?
To help me mull this over I made a pot of tea and a batch of obscenely buttery flapjacks. If you can’t beat ‘em...
(Just before the summer I found self reading a book by an Australian woman about the correlation between diet and mad behaviour in children, which basically eliminates everything your mad child generally eats: Hummus? Nope, no seeds allowed. Apple – indeed, any – juice? Nope. Fruit? Bananas, maybe a pear, if it’s ripe. Toast? As long as the bread is homemade, and you DON’T USE JAM. Or honey. Or peanut butter... Plus nothing with additives, preservatives, colours... The list was endless. Anyway, because I am even madder than my maddest child, I tried it. For a week. (Yes, I am totally bonkers.) And the results were incredible. Seriously, they both (the sumo-wrestler was exempted) became angels. I, however, lost the will to live, and realised that I would rather have the choice of a full fridge, than nicely behaved children. They didn’t seem to mind the restrictions so much (although the Boy caused a bit of a hullaballoo in nursery by shouting at everyone not to eat the apples at snack-time BECAUSE THEY HAVE CHEMICALS IN THEM, and then really really panicking and worrying – crying, in fact - when everyone ignored him) largely because they were allowed to eat flapjacks. Which they did. All. Day. Long. So I became quite adept at making these, and nailed the perfect basic recipe.)
It goes without saying that you can add anything you want to it – dried fruit, nuts, chocolate pieces, whaddeva. Unless of course you’re bonkers, in which case don't even think about eating any of those things.
You need: For 12
- 150g butter*
- 75g soft brown sugar*
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup*
- 250g rolled oats
· (*Only healthy stuff in our household. I just can’t understand why the Baby isn’t rake-thin.)
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a square cake tin (about 20cm x 20cm).
Mix the butter, sugar and syrup together in a large pan over a low heat, and stir until melted. Add the oats, and stir like a mad thing (hohoho).
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and press down hard with the back of a spoon.
Bake for about 20 mins, checking after 17 or so. You don’t want it to be more than golden brown around the edges.
Leave to stand for a few minutes, then cut it into squares, leaving it to cool completely before removing it from the tin.
(Or else... give in after 3 minutes, and spoon-feed burning hot morsels which have fallen apart to your children. Your VERY well-behaved, over-sized children.)