Pear and port crumble

This is one of my favourite recipes. Mainly because I made it up and everyone loves it so that makes me feel squishy inside. And secondly because it requires zero measuring or weighing just a lot of ‘judging’ by eye. My favourite sort of baking!

Get some pears. I used 8. Tonight I used fresh so I peeled, cored and chopped them (roughly).

While I was doing this, Will was making the crumble. Crumble is such an ace thing for kids to make – they can’t really go wrong AND they get to get their hands dirty. What’s not to love?


I used a whole block of butter (250g), a heap of flour (I would estimate 400g) and a pile of sugar (half a packet so I reckon about 500g). I don’t like my crumble healthy.

I sloshed a healthy amount of port over the pears (that I’d put in the crumble dish), covered them with foil and put them in the oven at 150 degrees centigrade for almost 2 hours. I checked on them every now and then and gave them a stir and a splash more port. Ahem.

While this was happening I got involved with the crumble.


It’s for tomorrow night so I had time to take the pears out the oven and leave them to cool, still under the foil, before putting the quite frankly unnecessary amount of crumble on top. Tomorrow I will bake it for around 45 minutes until it is golden and bubbly and then eat it with plenty of cream.

Bloody lovely.


I should be so lucky

I complain a lot. I whinge and whine about having deaf kids a lot. It’s bloody hard work. A lot.

But recently I’ve noticed how incredibly lucky we are. For whatever reason we have been dealt the deaf cards and I’m not sure I’ll ever come to terms with that but what is getting me through is the ridiculous amount of support we get. We have an unbelievable amount of people on our side and in our corner.

Recently we had Will’s Individual Education Plan at his nursery. There were, including me, SIX people in the room. All focusing on his learning experience and how to make it better for him.

He has a Communication Support Worker with him the whole time he is at nursery, signing and talking so he doesn’t miss anything.

He has a key worker.

There is a special needs professional.

The room coordinator makes sure his environment isn’t too noisy or difficult for him to communicate in.

He has a speech and language specialist who visits him once a week. 

And that’s just at nursery.

At home he’s had an hour of sign language tuition a week since he was 6 months old.

He has a teacher of the deaf.

And at hospital he has a pediatric audiologist.

And a pediatric consultant.

And another teacher of the deaf.

And another, more specialist, speech and language therapist.

So that’s ELEVEN professionals all working in his best interest. Plus his Mum and Dad.

So for a kid unlucky enough to be deaf he’s pretty lucky in how much support he gets to make that ok.

And I’m lucky too. To have them, and to have him.


The gingerbread house that was not

So. This is embarrassing.

When GBBO was still on our screens, Hannah over at Mama Bear With Me set up a gingerbread house competition. Yesterday I checked the closing date, found out it was, indeed, yesterday, and begged for an extension.

And so to today.

I didn’t have the ingredients.
We went shopping.
We came home.
Will did not nap (this is a recent thing and one that does not always end well, for either of us)
We made gingerbread.

Here’s how it went.


Problem 1:


Yeah, my syrup went off in September. You see where this is going. I used it anyway.


So far so good.


“No, mummy! No, mummy! No, mummy!” He had to roll out the dough himself (while eating it, is tasted great!)


“Weeeyam cut cut, weeeyam cut cut” Again with the independence.

Did you read about his will power? It was out in force today!

But there was another problem that was more about me. Kinda like the not having ingredients, or having ingredients that went off a couple of months ago. I didn’t read the recipe. So when Will was insisting on rolling and cutting the dough himself, he should have been doing it on greaseproof paper, not on the work surface. Because, turns out, when you try and move the rolled out dough, it falls apart (and has to be squidged back together). Like so.



Anyway, we battled on, cooked the pieces, cooled the pieces and attempted to assemble the pieces.


And gave up. Those rough edges were never going to make a house. It wasn’t worth the tears.


We decorated them and ate them. They tasted bloody good and surely that’s all that really matters right? Right? *tries to convince inner competitive perfectionist slowly drowning herself in gin in the corner*



Hearing Aids second time round

This was from 27/5/2012


My little H had her hearing aids fitted last week. It was the best moment of my life. That it itself makes me want to vomit. Let me tell you what happened.

It was one of those events that I didn’t know I felt stressed about until the morning of it when I couldn’t stop crying and still didn’t quite know why. My Mum was here to look after Will while I took Harri on my own but due to the waterfall that was my face her and W ended up coming with me. The tube line we needed to get was down. The other one takes longer. Longer to get to the station, longer on the tube. Someone pulled the passenger alarm. We were late and sweaty and But I had managed to stop crying.


We have recently changed hospitals and the new one is amazing. Rocking horses in the reception. A whole floor of toys and games for the kids while they wait. A-maz-ing. Will was happy, Harri was sleeping. Things were looking up.


We were called in for our appointment and the audiologist went about the usual tests. Checking her ears for wax, looking at her ear drum to check for holes, etc, etc. Poor Will was so baffled why it was all happening to Harriet and not him.


And then came the moment. My Mum was holding her as Will played in the corner and I had an eye on both of them. They attached her tiny perfect moulds to the hearing aids and put them in her ears. And then they turned them on. And she began to laugh. A laugh that came from deep in her tummy. One of those wonderful giggles that only children can do. The ones that make your heart swell. She had never laughed before. The audiologist was talking, my Mum was talking, she was listening and she was laughing.


I was sobbing.


It was the most heart breakingly beautiful moment.


The day he said NO

My William amazes me on a daily basis. As you all know he has been in and out of doctors offices and hospitals since he was a few weeks old. He has been prodded and poked and pestered. And he has always complied. He sits on my knee peacefully. He raises his shirt before the doctor has the stethoscope into their ears. He takes out his hearing aids as soon as he sees the otoscope. He turns his head once one ear is done. And remember the blood test? Oh my heart.


Each and every appointment we have, I come away feeling proud to have such a good, patient patient.


But today was different.


Today he didn’t want the wires in his ears. Today he didn’t want to play the game. He didn’t want to sit on his own and he didn’t want to sit on my knee. He didn’t want to listen.


And he made this all very clear.


So today I left the hospital exhausted. More exhausted that normal but also much more proud than normal too. I didn’t even know it was possible but it’s true.


Good on him for saying no. I am so proud that on today, when he was more tired than usual and was fed up of being tested, he let us all know. It’s such a draining process for all of us and each and every time I want to scream and shout “NO”. I want to stamp my feet and cry and get up off the chair and leave. I don’t because I am a grown up and normally his behaviour would make you think he is a grown up too.


But today he acted like a child.


And I love him all the more for it.

Excuses, excuses

Before I became a Mum I had grand ideas about what kind of Mum I would be. I was going to be strict, tough, fair. My kids would eat well, play nicely, sleep through the night.

The problem is, I have an excuse not to be that Mum. I have an excuse to be soft, lenient, weak. My kids are spoiled. My kids are deaf.

I still try really hard to be the Mum I thought I would be. I try to tell Will off when he is naughty or difficult but in the back of my head there is always a voice saying “He’s deaf you know. He doesn’t understand. He can’t hear. He doesn’t have the language skills. He can’t talk so he can’t express himself. He’s frustrated.”

Worse than that voice though, is the louder one that is constantly saying “and it’s YOUR fault”.

We’ve been round the houses with this one and I know that it isn’t my fault as such, and more so I know that there is nothing I can do about it. But that doesn’t keep that voice quiet.

So we’ll spend an exhausting morning at the hospital and Will gets an ice cream on the way home instead of lunch. He’ll play up that afternoon and I’ll let him get away with it because he’s over tired. They push him at the hospital, the testing is arduous. He wants crisps for tea and I let him because he’s deaf. He wants to play with grown up things and not toys and I let him because he’s deaf. He watches too much TV because Mr Tumble knows more signing than I do.

Harriet is a horrible, horrible sleeper. We are lucky if she sleeps for more than 2 hours at a time overnight. There is no obvious reason for this. She self settles during the day and has done for months now, she even slept through the night for a bit. She doesn’t seem in any obvious pain with her teeth or her tummy. She just wants boob and then she’s back to sleep, albeit for just another 2 hours. I am contemplating being tough, letting her cry it out or whatever. There are a few things stopping me but the main thing is that she is deaf. She isn’t comforted with singing or shhhing or words of reassurance. All she has is touch and if she needs that every few hours, how can I say no?

Even though it feels like it’s going to kill me, waking up so often every single night. That voice will get me first.

Because she has no reason to feed every 2 hours during the night at the grand age of 9 months. But I let her, I feed her and I comfort her. Because she is deaf. And that’s down to me.


My William is a funny boy. It has nothing to do with deafness, it’s just his nature. He likes things to be a certain way. He likes to be in control.

We travel a lot on buses. There is a section on buses for pushchairs that fits 2. Of late, if we have been alone in the section and another pushchair has gotten on and joined us, William has lost the plot. Lost. The. Plot. Shouting, crying, even pushing the pushchair away if he can. He is not a fan of sharing, even space on a bus. Like I said, funny boy.

So each time, I have got down to his level, calmed him down, and explained that we have to share. Share the space with other pushchairs.

Last weekend we were alone in the section. Sure enough, after a few stops, another pushchair got on. My heart stopped in anticipation of the meltdown.

Will went around to his sister in the front of the pushchair. He got down to her level and he explained to her, in sign and speech, that we need to share with other pushchairs. A couple of times to be sure she got it.

Oh. My. Heart.

He likes things to be a certain way. He likes to be in control.

He’s my funny boy and he is just wonderful.