I often marvel at how similar I am to my husband.
Neither of us ring friends "for a chat", we are suspicious of ski-ing, believe Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, to be the best film ever made, like to go to bed promptly at 10pm, get lonely and think about death, talk too much and too fast and don't think Monty Python is funny.
Even after we had children, we broadly agreed on things - that we ought to do our best to make sure our children eat well, sleep in their own beds and get plenty of exercise, but that we ought not sacrifice a happy family atmosphere in order to achieve those things in paramount.
But a sticking point has emerged. A terrible chasm in our marriage and parenting:
Giles thinks that ideally our children ought to watch no telly at all. He knows that this is not practical but believes that this would be best. No telly, no iPad. Ever.
I, on the other hand, do not care.
I don't care because I know that I don't let the kids watch telly all fackin day long, (unless it's very bad weather outside and/or someone is ill), but they telly that I do allow the kids to watch is essential.
A bit in the morning so that I can get ready and eat breakfast in peace. A bit when Kitty gets back from nursery/Sam is waking up from his nap and trying to achieve equilibrium and then a bit around teatime.
My husband dislikes the fact that the kids thoughts immediately turn to telly and wants to encourage them to do something else. I, on the other hand, think that if you give them telly as soon as they ask for it and then say "One more Team Umizoomi and then the telly's going off" is easier than forbidding it from the outset, or making them wait until some arbitrary time for it. They don't understand "later". And they don't understand why. Is telly "bad"? Is telly "good"? If your attitude to telly is inconsistent and fucked-up then theirs will be, too.
My attitude towards telly, such as it is, is that it's good for a bit but not too much. What's "too much"? Well, that depends!! What an easy and straightforward thing modern parenting is.
My husband would consider an entire day without the telly going on once to be an achievement. I would just be sobbing and exhausted from shrieking "No telly!!" all day and liable to get uncontrollably drunk to recover.
I also think mammoth telly-watching is a phase. Kitty was obsessed with watching telly at around about Sam's age and just wanted to watch Peppa Pig and then Tom and Jerry all day long. There wasn't much else she could do: of all her play options, telly was the best.
She is four now and for a while has been able to do plenty of other things. You can also reason with her and say "after this, the telly's going off and we'll find something else to do" and she more or less goes along with it.
I am able to use, rather than abuse, the telly much more easily than I could have done with her when she was Sam's age. Sam is the same as Kitty used to be. If you tell him no, he has a freak out - but will of his own accord just wander off and find something else to do once he's had enough of it.
Anyway you ought to hear some of the ding dongs I've had with my husband about the wretched box! I feel defensive about it, you see. I'm sure that it IS best that they watch no telly. I am envious of other families where the kids seem to just play and not shriek "PEPPA PIG NOWWWW ABNEY TEAL NOWWWWW." But I need it. I need the telly like I need my Ocado app.
Our friends Henry and Jemima now have a rule in their house that there is no telly allowed at ALL during the week and then the kids gorge on it from 7am - noon on the weekend. But their youngest child is three! A grown-up! A reasonable person! Sam is still two years old! An animal! An alien!
I have no answer, there has been no rapprochement. Every time I reach for the remote it's like an act of war.
It's a shame because in other areas, my husband and I are a great time. Like in making this matzoh ball soup.
This matzoh ball soup is pretty much the only soup I can abide. Matzoh balls are not that straightforward to make and the ideal result is quite doughy and chewy and I can see why a lot of people would wonder why you'd bother, but I love them.
Matzoh balls by Claudia Roden
Makes about 15
75g medium Matzoh meal
2 eggs, separated
1 Beat the egg whites until stiff
2 Add the beaten egg yolks and then the matzoh to the whites and carefully turn it all together until combined. Add salt, quite a lot - probably 2 big pinches. You could also add some chopped parsley if you had some - about a tablespoon probably.
3 Stick in the fridge for 30 mins.
4 With wet hands, form the mixture into little balls, much smaller than a Ping Pong ball as they will swell on cooking. Probably the size of a biggish marble. Does that make sense? Don't worry too much just don't make them huge.
5 Now simmer these - don't boil them as they will fall to bits - for 30 mins before adding them to your chicken soup.
I am touched and moved by how sad everyone is about the end of Recipe Rifle. I will be wrapping things up around July 15th as that's when my nanny goes off to have a baby and the au pair goes on holiday.
I will have 2 children on my own all day from then until September and will be using my evenings to drink right up until just before then point I calculate my hangover will be very unpleasant.
But I will be back with another blog in the Autumn. It will be a bit more all-purpose, not quite so kitchen/children based. If anyone has any brilliant ideas for a name, (snappy names and catchphrases and headlines being my absolute blind spot), I would be so grateful if you'd leave it as a comment or Tweet me @estherwalker.