I often wonder if there might not be a few teeny tiny totally major flaws in the design of human beings. Like a blueprint that someone has dripped coffee on before anyone notices and it goes to be made up in the factory and comes out all wrong.
Like pregnancy. Stupid! Dangerous! Not modern! I have often thought how great it would be if the whole thing were to be outsourced to Apple. You could download your iBaby from the iCloud and you could set the side switch to mute.
And toddlers. Why are they so annoying? It is not in their best interests. It is not in anyone's interest. Why are they like that? I know they are experiencing some brain thing with the hormones and this and that and wevs... but WHY does this miraculous brain-change have to result in them not putting their shoes on? Or refusing to put a plaster on a suppurating foot-cut? Or breaking everything in sight? Or constantly tripping over?
(About six years ago a woman I know said of her 3 year old "She's constantly falling over! I just want to scream 'Stop fucking tripping over!'" I was shocked and thought she was a bad person for thinking this. I don't any more.)
And the children-and-sleeping thing. Before you have a baby you know you're going to be tired - you're not an idiot. But you say to each other "it'll be okay we will cope". And then it happens and you're just open-mouthed and demented, one-eyed and bonkers with fatigue. And I consider my children to be good sleepers! But all it takes is for Kitty to decide to have a bad dream and Sam to have a rocky night, for whatever mysterious baby reason, and it's a proper nuit blanche, which is French for fucking nightmare (yes I know it doesn't really mean that).
When I consider how many people have children who do not sleep well and how many of those people have to go to work in the morning it really is a miracle that the entire world doesn't just grind to a halt in a pile-up of errors because everyone is so flipping wired out on coffee, fags and sugar because their bloody kids kept them awake from 0430.
No-one, as my sister says, gets away with it. You can have all the help you possibly want, can possibly afford, but unless you have your kids sleeping out of earshot and you've got a live-in nanny who your babies call for if they are sick or frightened, when your kids wake up in the night, it's on you.
It's one thing if you don't work or aren't working much when your children are small, but what if you are up with your kids at night and then have to fucking get up and get on the tube and go to work? It's a miracle that trains even turn up, that the financial markets don't collapse in on themselves, that surgeons don't remove MORE wrong limbs, that banks don't make more errors in our favour.
I thought this as I stood at the kitchen counter the other day at about 1.20pm or thereabouts, having been awake since 0400 with Sam. It was my fault - I gave him insufficient naps during the day so by 6pm he was utterly exhausted and passed out rather than fell asleep, which meant he woke up with a jerk at 8pm, wailing and confused, and I was too lazy to let him fret himself back to sleep so I popped a dummy in. And the night went downhill from there. Anyway it taught me a lesson.
So I stood in my kitchen, having been unable to use my nap window to nap because a very noisy car alarm went off just as I was drifting off and you only get one shot at these things. I was dazed.
It being a Thursday (Friday being cake sale day at the nursery) I set about making jam tarts. Jam tarts are simple and a very good thing to do for bake sales. Despite only needing a hot oven and opposable thumbs for this, I managed to break two tarts and the rest of them look like Kitty made them, although she didn't (although this is what I will say to excuse their appearance). I was just cross-eyed with tiredness and made a mess of them. Imagine if I worked at Air Traffic Control?
Still, the thing about jam tarts is that they look quite sweet if they're a bit bashed-up. And they still taste the same, especially if you're eating one accompanied by a strong cup of coffee and a ciggie.
Makes 12 (with a lot of breakages) with jam and pastry leftover
1 pack sweet shortcrust pastry from Jus-Roll (you can make your own but... fuck...)
1 jar Tiptree seedless raspberry jam. I think it is reasonably important to use nice jam for this seeing as it's such a boondoggle pisstake thing to make you might as well push the boat out when it comes to the main ingredient.
1 egg for glazing (not essential if you just can't be bothered)
12-hole fairy cake tin
pre-heat your oven to 180
1 Grease your baking tin
2 Dust your worksurface and roll out the pastry
3 Cut out discs with a pastry-cutter - mine was 3in across, which is about as small as you can go
4 Plop the discs into the cake tin holes and put a teaspoon of jam into each little cup
5 Beat the egg and brush a little around the top of the pastry cups - this is not essential
6 Bake for 10-12 mins
A note: these are a nightmare to get out of the tin when they are hot so leave them to cool down properly before you attempt it, or they will just crumble to bits and you might find yourself bursting into tears and throwing the spatula across the kitchen and then screaming at your husband.
p.s. I must apologies here to Katharine Sooke nee Begg, who I saw at an NPG party the other day and she was pregnant and I was so annoying and shouty and asking her about when she was having it and where and wasn't the bump huge and oh my gard and all that annoying stuff that drove me mental during my pregnancies. I wasn't even drunk!!!!! Anyway she claims to be an occasional reader of this blog so I thought I'd say sorry here. Sorry.