This post is brought to you by Another Rainy Day

Before I had a child of my own I though people with kids were nuts when they complained about the extra laundry that kids generated. Back then, in my previous child-free existence, I did one or maybe two loads of washing a week, it was awkward doing separate loads for whites and colours because I just didn't have that much to do. The colours were OK because I wore lots of jeans and black things but inevitably I'd be scrounging around trying to find more white things to wash.

So, the big question, how much extra laundry do kids really generate? Their clothes aren't very big so even though they might go through more than one outfit every day it should really add much bulk? Should it? Unfortunately the answer is that even one small, relatively clean, kid will generate more loads of laundry than I ever thought possible. And the cloth nappies we used on him when he was little barely added anything (although we were only part-time in cloth). It's amazing. I think the core of the issue isn't washing their clothes though, it's washing everything that they throw up on (when they are tiny), smear food on (when they get a bit bigger) or wee/poo on (hoping this stops after potty training!). I now average one load of laundry a day and I keep thinking that it'll get easier after our current stage, but I suspect that it will get back to a manageable level when Asher leaves home. Can anyone out there give me some idea of what to expect?

That's enough blethering-on about washing clothes - it's time to take action, despite the rainy weather this week, and put another load in the washing machine and throw things in the dryer that have been sitting on line for a day. Ho hum - perhaps I'll post about my burgeoning eBay addiction next....


Family Meals

Before Asher came into our lives I would happily talk to anyone who would stand still long enough about the wonders of family meals. I firmly believed that families who ate together were more likely to communicate more and therefore be more functional and happy. I believed the dark hints I made about poor family communication being one of the causes so many societal ills. The only exception in my mind was the great Friday night in - key components of which are loved ones, a glass of wine, the couch and something funny on TV.

After all this talk Sanjay and I figured we should put our money where our mouth is and try and teach Asher good eating habits by modelling them ourselves. Although we almost always eat breakfast together we rarely eat other meals together at home. Lunch is a kind of snack-y nibble on sandwiches, fruit and crackers between 10 and 12:30 and there is often an afternoon snack of some kind but then we feed Asher his dinner at 5:30 or 6pm and then the adults eat after Asher is in bed. So yesterday Sanjay and I planned to have dinner all together as a family. We chose to cook something we though he might eat and Sanjay arranged to be home by 5:45 so no one would be too tired or grouchy.

Unfortunately all my rose-tinted smugness crashed into the cold hard reality of eating with a toddler last night. Before we even got to the table I was just fed up with the whole thing. I was sore and tired and had no conversation for poor Sanjay. Asher had been cranky all day and wanted to bang his bowl on the table more than eat. In an effort to increase the togetherness quotient of the meal we were eating out of the same melamine bowls as Asher, and although they are rather nice and completely adult (white with a fun aqua stripe and a groovy pattern) it still felt a bit like a picnic. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I ate my entire bowl of creamy, bacon-y pasta in about two minutes, or whether it was having to eat my sanctimonious pre-baby words, but I felt decidedly queasy by the time we had all finished.

I'm not sure where we go from here. I really enjoy the glass of wine and the quiet and calm of our meals after Asher's bedtime but I really do want to make a tradition of family meals. Do we just keep trying? What can we do to make it more pleasant for me? Do we really have to do it every week? Can I have two quick beers before we start so I'm tipsy enough to not care about the noise and the mess? I'm not sure alcohol-as-a-coping-strategy is really what I want to model for our impressionable youngster...