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Where We Are Today

When I started this blog, I was mum to three-under-five. Princess was a precocious 4 year old, BoyChild a shy 2 year old and BabyGirl was, well, a baby.

Fast forward 21 months and it’s safe to say the dynamics have certainly changed in our house. The kids have changed. So, I thought it might be time to re-introduce them.

Princess is 6, and a very six she is indeed. Long gone are the innocent comments, the ‘isms’ she was so fantastically entertaining with. Life is hard when you are six, apparently. She is sensitive, dramatic and well-adept at eye-rolling. But she is still sweet and caring (when she is in the mood to be) and occasionally I get to see that little 4 year old peek back through again.

BoyChild is 4-and-a-half and has come so very far since we started this journey. He speaks well (a major obstacle for him) and he has a nutty sense of humour. He plays imaginary games and is by far the easiest of the three to look after at present. Hands down. I have a real soft spot for this kid, so I’m sure the entire world heard my heart break in two the day he said to me, “no kisses tonight Mum, you can go away now”.

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BabyGirl. BabyGirl. Baby-freakin-girl. She is so absolutely darling to look at, with her blond curls and big, brown eyes. “Butter wouldn’t melt” is a phrase often used with her. But, believe me, butter would melt indeed (ironic, as she has a dairy allergy). Most definitely the, ahem, most challenging of the three kids. Two years old for what feels like an eternity, and she’s not yet two-and-a-half. She talks and talk and natters and cries. She is Captain I-DO-IT-YOU-DO-NOT-HELP-ME. I feel like I sigh a lot more with her, than I ever have before.

So, what of me, over the past couple of years? Am I any closer to knowing what the heck I’m doing with these kids? God, no. Nope. Nu-uh. Not even close.

Do I enjoy being a Mother? Short answer? Yes. Sure. Why not. Long answer? Depends what time of day you ask me. Depends what day you ask me.

Do I love my kids? Abso-freakin-lutely. Do I like them? Depends what time of day you ask me. Depends what day you ask me.

Today is a sunny day. The house is a mess despite my having spent the whole day yesterday cleaning it. BoyChild is at preschool, it’s school holidays so Princess in currently in the kitchen, making a movie on my phone about the contents of our cutlery drawer. *shrug*. BabyGirl is watching Princess Sofia for the millionth time this week, with no pants on.

All in all, a pretty standard day in our house, really.

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Homework

I thought I was a patient person. I thought I had all the time and tolerance in the world for my kids.

And then came homework.

Reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Princess gets homework. Home reading. I just … I’m ashamed to say I simply do not have the patience to sit through it. You would be surprised at how long a five-page story can drag out when a six year old is reading it.

Not to mention the subject matter of some of the stories! A book about how spiders EAT flies. A non-fiction book detailing the life cycle of a frog. I mean, nature blah blah, I know. It’s important. But to me, it’s just gross.

And, her most recent one. “Coco’s Bell”. It’s about a cat who catches a bird in her mouth, so they need to put a bell on her. And they take the injured bird inside, and put it into a warm box. And take good care of it.

“Look Mum, I’m going to turn the page but you need to know it will be sad, don’t cry ok Mum. Are you ready, Mum? Are you ready to be brave?”

“Yes?” I answer tentatively, having no idea of what is happening. I mean, they won’t kill the bird off, right? It’s a kids book.

A FREAKIN KIDS BOOK.

“The bird is dead. Mum? Can you see? It’s dead. See Mum? D-E-A-D. That spells dead, do you know?”

They. Killed. The. Bird.

I just can’t even.

Princess has a reading journal, with points and stickers awarded for consecutive reading nights. So, every night, we sit down for reading time.

“The …….. d-d-d-og …….. w-w-w-w-ent ……… to ….. the ……….. plane? Picnic? Park! The dog went to the p-p-p-p-p-p-ark”

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“There ……………………………………………… is a ………………………ssssssssssssssslide ……………at ………………the ………………………..park”

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“There ………………………….. is …………………………………….a ………………………………..swing …………………………….at ………………………….the ……………………………….park. I like parks, Mum. Did you know Michael in my class went to Australia? I ate my yoghurt at school today. Can I have a piece of toast please?”

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“I think I’ll read the book upside down now Mum”

“Please just read it normally”

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“Thar dooooooog lyyyyyyykes tharrrrrr parrrrrrrk” *giggles*

“Please read it in your normal voice”

“I like taking my dog to the park. That’s the end, Mum.

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I think Dad can do the reading tomorrow night.

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Kiwi Mummy Blog Review – Wattie’s Little Kids Range

One of the advantages to being a parenting blogger is getting the awesome opportunity to review products designed especially for kids. Through the Kiwi Mummy Blog site, Wattie’s have sent me a box of products to review from their Little Kids Range. And we all know how much I love getting stuff. And talking about stuff. Win win, really.

Now, funnily enough, Princess also loves getting stuff and talking about stuff. I got the carton in the mail and excitedly we opened it up and looked at the contents.

Not feeling 100%, I said that we would have a proper look in the morning. Sadly, Princess put the box on the bench and, true story, stared wistfully at it for a good ten minutes.

That night, I had the hideous misfortune of getting the Worst Headache in History. No exaggeration. I was out for the count. Husband had a small, early morning shift so was home in time to take Princess to school. When he got home, I was head down, bum up on the bedroom floor whimpering and Princess was dressed and ready to go to school. “I got myself ready” she proudly told her Daddy. “I even made my own lunch”.

Even from my death bed, my thoughts immediately went to that box of Wattie’s samples sitting on the bench.

Sure enough, once the multitudes of medication had kicked in enough for me to lift my head, I came out and looked in the box. Yup. Every packet open. I didn’t ever see her lunchbox that day but I can guarantee it was chocka block full of items from the Wattie’s Little Kids Range. It was.

And so, my review has added contributions from Princess, aged 6.

It would pay to mention as well at this point that, due to BabyGirl’s dairy allergy, Wattie’s were really good in ensuring that the majority of products were dairy free.

Heinz Little Kids Mini Corn Cakes – Tomato

These crunchy little corn cakes (kind of like mini rice cakes, but a bit crunchier) are really, really delicious. And that is me saying that! I really liked them. In fact, all three kids did. These are aimed towards the 1-3 year age bracket, they are ideally sized for little hands and aren’t over powering with flavour. They are crunchy without being tough, so ideal for little teeth. And they taste good, despite not having tons of flavouring. The tomato flavour is subtle so perfect for kids who turn their noses up at anything flavoured (I’m looking at you, BoyChild). Like I said, all three kids really liked them. Four, including me – I’d eat them for a snack quite happily!

Princess: I really liked these crackers. They are small and yum and I like them crunchy.

Heinz Little Kids Wholegrain Cereal Bars – Apple and Blueberry

These are little muesli bar-type things that, once again, are portion sized perfectly for little hands and little stomachs. But the age guideline is just that – a guideline. Princess put two of these in her lunch that first day, and asked me to buy more when they packet ran out. Again, the flavour was subtle, which is great for little taste buds.

Princess: These were so good oh my gosh Mum you need to buy these every day? Can I have some more? And the box made a good swimming pool for my doll?

Heinz Little Kids Fruit and Vege Shredz – Peach, Apple and Veg

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These were the clear winner of the day.

“They’re made from 99% Fruit and Vegetable juice and purees and are shaped and sized for little fingers to easily pick up, encouraging independent eating”.  –Wattie’s

It’s funny – last year I actually purchased some of these, with the plan of telling BoyChild they were lollies and seeing if he would eat them. Back then, he was terribly fussy and barely ate anything (he is considerably better now). He eagerly picked them up, shovelled them into his mouth, then looked at us with a look that said, “how could you? I trusted you” and spat them out. *shrug*

This time around, Princess took a pack in her lunch (they come in small bags, a great portion size for morning tea) and absolutely loved them. BabyGirl had a packet for her lunch as well, and devoured it. So, I thought, hey – let’s see if BoyChild will eat them. What do you know? He did. He didn’t go crazy for them like the girls did, but he ate them. Which, in his world, is a win-and-a-half.

Truth be told, the entire box of these didn’t last a day. When Princess came home from school, her and BabyGirl had another pack each, and then shared the last pack after tea.

Win.

Princess: I really really really REALLY love these. They are like lollies but not because they are good for me and have veges and are good for my teeth and I really love them. Mum will buy them again she said.

Heinz Little Kids Brekky To Go – Banana Oats with Cinnamon

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I wasn’t able to give this to BabyGirl due to it’s dairy content, and because of the “baby” packaging, Princess and BoyChild weren’t interested either. No worries – I called in the assistance of a little guy we will call Baby J. He is one of BabyGirl’s friends and a keen eater.

This was no different, Baby J loved this. These sachets are ingenious – we practically lived off them when the kids were tiny. They are a perfect shape and size for the kid/baby to feed themselves. They simply hold it and suck out the contents.

The great part about this particular product is that it is breakfast in a tube. They should make these in adult. Maybe they do? I’m not sure. But I would buy it. When I’m running around the house trying to get Princess to school and BoyChild to preschool, poor old BabyGirl often finds herself sitting in the car eating toast from a plate while we drive to the various drop offs. Or, carrying the toast with her while we take Princess to her class. Truth be told, yesterday both her and BoyChild had toast-on-plates-in-the-car. At least they had plates, right? My point is, a breakfast on the go thing like this would be handier (and considerably less crumby!) for those rare (read: common) mornings when I am darting about like a headless chicken.

Wattie’s Little Kids – Spaghetti Bolognese/Hearty Beef Casserole

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Spaghetti Bolognese is one of Mr T’s favourite meals, so we have it at least once a week. The kids tolerate it, so when I saw this tin I thought they might scoff at it, perhaps poke the noodles a little.

The girls loved it. I served it as their dinner when Mr T was working late, and we went through two tins between the girls. Once again, not overly seasoned and the veges were blended in well enough that super-sleuth Princess couldn’t pick them out. BabyGirl is (and always has been) a great eater, so she just wolfed it back, no holds barred, making me regret the decision to get rid of her bibs. A mess was made, that’s for sure. But they loved it. Definitely something I will consider getting again, especially for those cold winter nights when Mr T isn’t home for dinner (and, frankly, I can’t be bothered cooking a fancy, nutritious dinner for the kiddos).

The Hearty Beef, I was sceptical about, I won’t lie. Perhaps it drew up flashbacks of the baby shower game I once played where we had to try unmarked tins of baby food and guess their flavours. I did not guess Hearty Beef correctly.

That being said, I gave it to BabyGirl on a rainy, cold day for lunch. I needn’t have worried – she looked at it, poked it with her fork, tasted a bit with her finger, then it was all on. She devoured it!

These cans are certainly not appetising for adults, but they aren’t intended to be. They contain food and seasonings suitable for the subtle tastebuds and small tummies of little kids, and they really are ideal for that reason!

I’ve said it a few times, and I will reiterate – this Wattie’s and Heinz Little Kids range is perfect for its target market – kids aged 1 – 3 years. The portion sizes, flavours and packet sizes are ideal for little hands and little stomachs. I was impressed – it’s been a little while since I’ve looked at the toddler/baby food aisle and I feel like I’ve missed out on some ideal morning tea/lunchtime snacks for not just BabyGirl, but for the older kids as well. Will definitely be buying many of these again.

If you want more information, head over to the Wattie’s website  and have a look at the full range

And, have a look at Kiwi Mummy Blogs as well, for more reviews as well as access to lots of other blogs written by other Kiwi Mummies!

Finally, Princess has asked to have the final word:

I think that this is a really neat product. I liked the muesli bar a lot and I really loved the Shredz, they were like lollies but better because they are healthy. I love them.  Thanks, okay, bye.

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