Thursday, 7 February 2013

Rollercoaster parenting and dragon eggs

Parenting. How is it for you? A rollercoaster? That's pretty much how it is for me, and I've only survived 9 years of it. Apart from the admittedly rather extreme parts of my own parenting experience, the thing that really gets me is how one thing leads to another and before you know it, you've been talked into some completely bonkers project or other, feeling vaguely hysterical to boot.

now imagine it large scale, across the Humber
A throwaway comment the other week about how I'd made some bunting for my 40th birthday celebrations, and the next thing I know, I'm helping 1st Overton Rainbows with their contribution to the Helen Skelton/Blue Peter longest string of bunting ever Red Nose Day project. Two 2 metre bunting triangles, no less, to join a host of other flags adorning the Humber Bridge. Felt, scissors, fabric pens, orange squash, malted milk bisc.. oh sorry, those last two were 'tuck', not anything to do with the bunting. Crazy.

This from a woman who remains unshakeable in her belief that glitter was invented by a deeply mysogonist forbear of James Dyson who never spent any time with a toddler and a pot of PVA glue, and 'craft' is what Playgroup was for...

I am not a 'crafty' mummy. I am a reading stories mummy. A running around in a field mummy. A baking cakes mummy (of course). Try as I might (and I really do), I am not good at the whole craft thing. But one thing leads to another...

Blue & Pink are going to a Harry Potter party on Saturday. It promises to be a wonderfully orchestrated affair  - hand crafted 'invitations to join Hogwarts'. There is talk of the Petrificus Totalis game, and the potions lesson. I am torn between total admiration and a kind of snarling resentment - a new bar has been set. I for one am not in the market for competitive birthday parties - although I do own up to once spending 15 hours crafting a Thomas and the Troublesome Trucks birthday cake. 15 hours. In my defence, my son was in the grip of a potentially life threatening illness at the time, but even so - faced with this kind of inventiveness, I must stamp down a little part of me that has judged me on my birthday party enthusiasm and found me lacking...

Blue owns some 'robes' - and Pink has been hankering. The problem is that I MADE Blue's robes for a book day affair - nothing fancy, but Pink was after some herself, and things have moved on and I just haven't had time. So what is she to wear, my diminutive, headstrong, firecracker of a daughter? Well, my friends, I have convinced her to go as Hagrid. I have a curly black fright wig and enough black & brown facepaint to provide her a beard. She can wear some brown trousers and a shirt I modified for Blue to wear as a Celt (it works, I promise). My duffle coat with the sleeves rolled up, and her own pink umberella. 

"And perhaps we could make a dragon egg, Mummy? Hagrid always has a dragon egg"

My heart sinks. But then, one thing leads to another. Does this happen to other people or is it just me? I feel that I owe it to her to make the best of what is essentially a cobbled together affair. Am I really too busy to deny my  daughter? What kind of mother would that make me? A dragon egg? Let me think. Then the lightbulb moment!  A cake was on the cards anyway. There's no need for papier mache and messy balloon coating (which I imagine might be involved in such an endeavour - I can see it now bound to fail) - oh no! - I can blow the eggs. We can paint them! And before I know it, I have uttered those words out loud, so there is no turning back.

Why, why why? I am practically PHOBIC about blown eggs: it's a long story involving Christmas tree decorations and  the words "scarred for life". I could go into it now, but I won't - suffice to say that if my mum (remember, I love her, it's just easy to make the odd joke at her expense) could work out how to leave a comment on my blog, she'd probably remind me (and you all) of all the occasions I have sworn never to blow an egg myself for painting/craft purposes, less so even countenance the idea that I might inflict blown eggs on my children for whatever reason.

The cake required 4 eggs. I equipped myself with a pin and get started.

Getting the pin in is not as tricky as it first seems. But in my delight, I lose my head and put it down on the worktop. My camera is not working. I reach for my phone. 


I try again. More luck next time, I get a hole in both ends - a pin hole to blow through, and an ever so slightly larger hole for the egg to slip out of. 

Or not

Can you see the pitiful blob of albumen? It is there. Do you know how much puffing and blowing that took?

In the end, I took a skewer to the 'exit hole', and - success:

OK, so may be I was hoping for a smaller hole

So I washed out the eggs and made a cake. And mighty good cake it was too.

Now all we need to do is paint the eggs.


  1. RJ, my craft drawer is at your disposal. I LOVE craft stuff - remind me to talk you through my Tracy Island one day! The charge for my craft skills is cuddling Fred till he begs for mercy :)

    1. Barnes, I try and I nearly always fail or lose my rag. The party is tomorrow and the eggs are not yet painted. Can you come today? Fred will be at your disposal. Mind you, now I can think about #beckhamspants as we paint the eggs, maybe all will be beautiful...

  2. If only you'd given me more notice RJ. In the meantime,take a few deep sniffs of copydex, channel #beckhamspants and all will be well with the world :)

    1. breathing deeply and channelling madly ;-)

  3. It's a rollercoaster at the Myrtle residence too :)
    I remember trying to blow eggs one easter when I heavily pregnant. I wouldn't recommend it.

    1. Ha ha - I can imagine that would not be a good idea! Fortunately I am unlikely to be pregnant again, so no opporutnity to try it!

  4. Do we get an after picture of the eggs? I am not a crafty mum but am doing a blog about crafting with the kids anyway...and occasionally getting rather excited about my efforts. I now want to make a papier-mache-over-a-balloon dragon egg. Hmm.

    1. Picture will follow when we've painted them... probably in the far more satisfactory post I intend to write about the cake that the eggs went into!

  5. Parenting is a trip that's for sure!!! the bunting is lovely!! what a great idea :))
    Mary x

  6. you know I love a bit of craft, but there's no way I'd blow eggs, makes me feel queasy thinking about it. I'd nearly rather knit one. Also pretty sure papier mache would be less messy..
    Hope the kids have a great time at the party (would it be horribly wrong to say I hope it's not quite as slick as it sounds?) What are you doing for owls?? :)

  7. Can't wait to see the painted eggs!

  8. You inspired me to make dragon eggs - I blogged about it here - - (with a link back to you as my inspiration, of course!)


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