How to grocery shop with two children in 21 easy steps

1. Enjoy pleasant lunch with a friend.

2. Decide you need to pick up a few things from the supermarket before returning home.

3. Place baby in Ergo to free up bottom of pram for shopping.

4. Sit down outside supermarket to feed baby (now protesting loudly as he can now smell milk and is insisting he’s starving).

5. Ignore haughty stares from other shoppers and continue to feed baby confidently. Take swig of drink and chat to tired toddler in top of pram.

6. Drop lid of drink.

7. Drop mobile phone.

8. Bend down to collect both off ground while still feeding baby, making mental note to avoid knocking drink over.

9. Decide you didn’t really want a drink as you drop the now-empty bottle in the bin beside you.

10. Dry off baby and carrier with your cardigan. Continue constant chatter with increasingly fractious toddler.

11. Place baby back in carrier and enter shops. Reassure whinging toddler you will be quick.

12. Realise you have no idea what to cook. Make snap decision and begin collecting ingredients.

13. Bribe overtired shrieking toddler into silence with episodes on Peppa Pig on iPad. Ignore judgemental stares as your toddler confidently navigates to the episode he wishes to watch.

14. Think of supremely witty comeback to snarky comments about “children and technology” just after you needed them.

15. Finish shop and join shortest queue. Desperately hope that the offensive smell from the carrier and warm sensation on your abdomen do not mean what you think it does.

16. Quickly realise the shortest queue has the slowest operator and a chatty pensioner currently being served. Maintain resolve and stay with queue.

17. Begin to load shopping onto counter. Observe that “a few things” has turned into a fairly comprehensive shop. Discover you have forgotten crucial ingredient. Try and convince yourself you can do without garlic.

18. Decide you’re kidding yourself and make mad dash to vegetable section. Return just in time. Pay and leave store.

19. Realise it is now raining and you have no umbrella. Pull pram cover over zoned-out toddler and drape wet cardigan over sleeping stinky baby.

20. Idly wonder how you will get two children, nappy bag and a dozen shopping bags up three flights of stairs.

21. Plan to resume online grocery shopping ASAP.

How to bake muffins with a toddler in 19 easy steps

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Einstein could have been talking about almost any aspect of parenting. In my home, insanity is cooking with a toddler and expecting less washing up.

1. Place baby down for a nap. Decide to bake muffins to entertain toddler and provide afternoon tea. Begin clearing kitchen before informing toddler of your plans. Get ingredients out as you go (get as far as baking powder).

2. Suddenly hear “what are doing, mummy?” from entrance to kitchen. Realise the game is up. Tell toddler to go and get his step. Check all sharp and poisonous items are out of reach.

3. Bring toddler into kitchen. Wash hands and don child-size apron (thanks Grandma). Put toddler on step in front of clear area of bench and preheat oven. Continue collecting ingredients.

4. Hear toddler say “my mix it!” Turn to discover he has upended a full bottle of salad dressing (not an ingredient for the muffins – it was left out after lunch) over the cardboard container of baking powder. Quickly tip excess into an empty sippy cup and hope it doesn’t soak through.

5. Begin following recipe by mashing two bananas. Collect third banana after toddler eats second one.

6. Weigh frozen raspberries and set aside to defrost.

7. Ignore the fact that you have no muffin cases.

8. Assist toddler to break eggs into bowl.

9. Remove entire eggshell from bowl and scoop egg off counter. Throw paper towel on floor to mop up excess egg white.

10. Beat eggs and sugar together, keeping a close eye on all toddler digits.

11. Recipe calls for sifted flour. Realise you used the sifter to strain chickpeas at lunch and sits unwashed in the sink.

12. Briefly consider the wisdom of filling the sink with hot soapy water while the toddler is in the kitchen.

13. Decide sifting is for the weak and lumpy muffins are character building. Add flour and baking powder.

14. Stir in banana and raspberries. Realise there are less raspberries before. Suspect your crimson-lipped assistant is the culprit.

15. Hear baby start to cry. Rapidly spoon mix into pan and place in oven.

16. Feed baby as muffins cook.

17. Allow to cool. Ignore washing up.

18. Offer one to excited toddler.

19. Sigh as it is returned pre-chewed to your hand.


The Kleenexites Strike Again

The battle-weary captain set her resolve. She could delay no longer – it was time.

She resolutely approached the entrance to the black hole (known locally as the ‘laundry’) and gathered the essential safety equipment. Lifting the lid of the washing machine inside, her heart sank.

Despite her meticulous preparations, a Kleenexite raid had somehow slipped through the defenses.

She stared in horror at the carnage before her. How had this happened again? She was certain she had checked every crevice to prevent such a sneak attack, yet somehow they had infiltrated the camp and carried out a devastatingly effective suicide mission – the third in as many days.

Tempting as it was to simply blast the scene in the tumble dryer to destroy the evidence, she began unloading the washing machine. She was doubtful she would be able to locate the origin, but knew she must try for the sake of her crew. Perhaps future raids could be prevented by locating the weakness in their defenses.

She set to the mind-numbing task of checking each item meticulously as she hung it out. As she did, her mind turned the issue over. Of one thing she could be certain – this was the fault of a senior officer. The two junior officers on board were simply incapable of performing the necessary actions. The older of the two was rapidly approaching the age of leaving items in clothing, but the oft-glistening skin above his lip betrayed his unfamiliarity with the rebel tissues. The youngest member of the crew…well, the captain doubted the younger was even aware he had a nose.

No. Clearly the breach was much higher. She sighed. She was sure her co-captain had received the last memorandum she had released regarding the increasing frequency of such attacks, warning all officers to be vigilant. Apparently he did not absorb the message. He was, after all, the most likely source of the security breach.

She stopped her work briefly and stretched. It was only 0930 and already she was weary. Her junior officers had both required significant attention overnight, plus there was a pre-dawn Lego incursion. Try as she she might, she could not stop every single one of the countless attacks on her ship. She returned to her task, aware that the youngest officer was due on watch shortly and would require her constant presence.

Suddenly she stopped. She had located the origin of the attack. Breathing quickly, she turned the offending article the right way as she anticipated her the confirmation of her suspicions. She was already planning the discussion she would have with her co-captain regarding the matter.

But that conversation would never happen. Aghast, she sank to the floor as the realisation sunk in. The piece of clothing was her own.

She was the source of the breach.

Eyes closed, she leaned her head against her knees. Everything she knew suddenly changed.

How to make pizza with a toddler in 19 easy steps

Cook with your toddler, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

1. Make yourself coffee to drink while quietly preparing dinner by yourself.

2. Discover toddler at child gate demanding to help ‘took dinner’. Think to self ‘why not?’ Instruct toddler to go and get his step from the bathroom.

3. Assess kitchen for visible hazards. Bring toddler into kitchen.

4. Watch in horror as toddler morphs into hungry, inquisitive octopus, reaching for all the things including (but not limited to) the Recently Boiled And Extremely Hot Kettle, the Equally Scalding Coffee Plunger (ooh coffee…should drink that), a pair of Ridiculously Sharp Kitchen Scissors and Knife With Enormous Blade.

5. Maintain resolve and put apron on child. Ask toddler what goes on a pizza. Assure him you will put pineapple on the pizza but it should probably come out of the tin first.

6. Smile at toddler calling pizza bases ‘pancakes’. Realise the word following pancakes is ‘hoopla’. Remember seconds too late that he learned everything he knows about pancakes from Peppa Pig (Daddy Pig flips his pancake too high, yells ‘hoopla!’ and his his pancake gets stuck to the roof).

7. Retrieve pizza bases from floor. Begin to place topping on pizzas. Idly wonder why one base has an uneven edge shaped suspiciously like a small bite.

8. Observe that there seems to be less ham on the pizzas than there was two seconds before. Give extra piece of ham to toddler.

9. Experience moment of mummy guilt when toddler calls the cheese grater a sword (note to self, must do this more often).

10. Teach toddler to grate zucchini (don’t look at me like that – I’ll get veggies in anyway I can). Silently congratulate self that all twenty fingers involved remain intact.

11. Make mental note to vacuum after another round of hoopla involving grated zucchini.

12. . Chop capsicum with toddler’s ‘help’. Realise toddler is eating capsicum faster than it can be chopped. Get second capsicum and carry on.

13. Drain tinned pineapple. Offer toddler sip of drained juice.

14. Tell yourself you didn’t actually want to drink any of that juice anyway. Start placing pineapple on pizza while methodically blocking toddler’s attempts to eat it all. Realise moments too late you’ve made it a game.

15. Decide it might be nice to have a pizza without pineapple for a change. Start covering pizza with cheese. Distract toddler with small handful of grated cheese. Make mental note to mop after more hoopla.

16. Place pizzas in oven and turn on timer. Rescue full carton of eggs from small individual raiding the fridge. Banish toddler from kitchen. Vaguely recall making coffee. Place in microwave to reheat.

17. Lean against oven while you drink coffee. Realise oven is strangely cool Discover toddler managed to drop oven temperature from 200 to 140. Rectify problem.

18. Finally serve dinner half an hour later than usual. Decide that shouldn’t be a problem as toddler should wolf down the food he helped make.

19. Imagine yourself banging head against a brick wall when toddler eyes food suspiciously and declares it to be yuck without tasting. Count minutes to bedtime.