Sunday, 18 November 2012

Routine, days of the week socks and breakfast pancakes

Children are such creatures of habit. Mine certainly are. Do something more than once and it becomes "But mummy, we ALWAYS do xxx". 

Blue is more set in his ways, or the ways he feels life should be lived, than Pink, and is more prone to this easy adoption of routine. I have worried a lot that this is due to how the Husband and I handled things during his illness, particularly the dreadful first year of chemo. We decided to always tell him in as much detail as  we felt his little 2 yr old brain could process what would happen, how it would be, whether it would hurt (mostly, yes) and what the compensation would be (cinammon swirls, or beef Hula Hoops depending on what he was craving). We felt that this was the best approach for us - no glossing over, but giving him as much knowledge as we could to help him (and us) cope. Whether it was a good approach or a bad one we will never know, ditto whether it is this that makes him crave routine, and certain knowledge about what will happen next - for they go hand in hand most of the time - it's just part of what makes Blue, well, Blue. He likes routine, he likes order, he likes knowing that things are going to happen in the right way. 

With that knowledge, then, it probably wasn't a good idea to let him choose 'days of the week' socks in M&S the other week. Unlike Sally's 'days of the week' pants which she confesses to Harry as the reason for her break up with a previous boyfriend ("...they don't make Sunday") in "When Harry met Sally", Blue came out of M&S triumphant with 7 pairs, Sunday to Saturday inclusive, which he now has to wear on the right day. It's what he ALWAYS does. What will happen if he wears the wrong socks on the wrong day? Sunday's pair weren't obviously evident this morning, so after much inner discussion (conducted aloud, in his room - I would never let him know that I was listening), he decided to wear Thursday's pair on the basis that if he put them in the wash this evening, they'd be washed again by next Thursday. He has much faith in my use of the washing machine. Then I found Sunday in the airing cupboard during the weekly clear out. He had to change.

Another thing that appears to have snuck into our weekend routine, along with days of the week socks, is breakfast pancakes (you knew there'd be a tenuous link there somewhere, from socks to cooking). 

I have always militated against regularly cooking the same thing on the same day to avoid just this pressure, but there it is. Cook pizza once or twice on a Saturday evening, and it becomes the norm. Next thing I know, I am being berated for producing a curry or lasagne "...because we ALWAYS have pizza on Saturday nights, Mummy". We don't. On the weekend, I usually get up around the same time as the kids (too early), and after a cup of tea and a potter, I will take a cuppa up to the Husband,  pull on some clothes and head out with the dog, leaving the Husband  hiding from the world under the duvet, and the kids engrossed in Total Wipeout or whatever the programme of choice is that morning - not just the kids that are wedded to their routines, it would seem!. Recently, though, I have found myself returning from my stomp over the fields to a transformed scene of domestic bliss, with my family chatting happily in the kitchen over breakfast pancakes that the Husband has knocked up. Now, if you ask the kids, we have breakfast pancakes at the weekend. We ALWAYS do.

This is all very well when the Husband is around, but today he is not. He has been in Greece since Tuesday (have I mentioned that before this week?). I managed to get out of breakfast pancakes yesterday on the basis that we had too much to do, but I felt meltdown imminent - missing Daddy, already out of sorts because of the lack of pancakes yesterday, and missing Sunday socks (and that was just the kids). I promised that we would have them this morning. The dog got a quick walk, much to his disgust, then I set too. Order restored, meltdown averted, perhaps routine isn't such a bad thing... 

These are drop scones, more in the American style, but I first called them pancakes to persuade the kids that they should try them - breakfast pancakes as opposed to tea time ones - and the name has stuck. 

Breakfast Pancakes

makes 10-15

130g wholemeal self raising flour, a pinch of baking powder & salt, 2 tsp caster sugar, 1 large egg, approx 150ml milk, 25g butter, melted, sunflower oil

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl then stir in the sugar. Make a well int he middle and crack in the egg. Slowly whisk in the egg, keeping it all in the middle and slowly incorporating flour as you go. Then start adding the milk, and whisking, incorporating more and more of the flour, and add in the melted butter. You may need a little more or less milk as you go - you need a batter that is slightly thicker than double cream.

check out the bubbles
When the batter is ready, heat a non-stick frying pan on a reasonably high heat, and rub a couple of drops of sunflower oil all over using a piece of kitchen towel. Carefully pour in the batter using a ladle, tablespoon or egg cup to make circles of batter about the size of a digestive biscuit (although mine are frequently larger than this). Watch the batter - quite quickly, little bubbles will start to appear on the top. When they are covering the surface, flip them over the cook the other side - it will only need may be 30-40 second, a minute max, then remove to a plate and keep covered with a tea towel while you cook the rest. If necessary, wipe some more sunflower oil over the pan. 

lemon & sugar
I have photographed these numerous times on other days when I've been super smug and had raspberry or blackberry coulis to go with them, perhaps some sliced banana and Greek yoghurt, but never quite got round to blogging them. Today, Blue had nutella and maple syrup, then appelstroop (a kind of apple treacle thing from Holland) and maple syrup, while Pink had her usual lemon and sugar. 

appelstroop & maple syrup

I had a bowl of muesli and a lovely cup of coffee.

coffee - essential for Sunday mornings


  1. Curious isn't the way their brains demand routine & order sometimes but can be totally flexible others - "pancakes" look scrummy.

    1. :-) yes, they are curious creatrues, children

  2. Aw I love family traditions. Your weekend mornings sound perfect!
    I am very impressed with Blue's decision to wear the Thursday socks - mine would have worn the Mon or Tues socks and assume I would magically have them clean by the next day! In fact, right now our laundry basket is way overflowing and Mummy is about to have a meltdown. Time to abort this attempt at having everyone dry at night.
    I have no idea how you managed to get through Blue's illness but I imagine that little routines and traditions become very necessary and to some extent comforting. And having pancakes together on a weekend morning now is almost like a celebration.

    1. Thanks for your comment - sounds like you are going through one of those 'times' too if you've got getting little people dry at night as the current project!

  3. There's no chance of days of the week socks in our house. Finding a matching pair is something of a triumph! Pancakes yes though, always time on a Sun morning for a batch of pancakes - the washing can wait :)

    1. Actually, having a matching pair was one of the reasons why he chose the days of the week socks in the first place. I don't think it'll be long before he's having to mix and match Saturday with Wednesday...

  4. I love those pancakes, much nicer than the english sort. My mum used to make me them which probably makes me biased. She would often make them if I had a friend over for the night. I discovered recently my oldest friend, who used to come and stay when I was young, was under the impression we had pancakes every sunday. We didn't. It was a fraud for the benefit of school friends. Now how do I persuade my husband to make them every Sunday. Maybe I should get a dog.


I LOVE comments - please leave one. Unfortunately, I have been getting hideous amounts of SPAM so please can you do the word verification thingy?