So, after months of wasteful procrastination, here it is, a blog for Crafty Cooks, a diary, I hope, of all the things we get up to with lots of very special children around the UK, if you want to know more about the classes and what we actually do do take a quick peek at the ‘about us’ page. My youngest son started school in September, my eldest went up to juniors, it’s on a different site where two schools combine, so a time of relative stress and turmoil. My house is empty between the hours of 8.30-3.30 five days a week and having waited so very long for just an hour of ‘me time’ I now find myself with not the slightest idea what to do with it. I’m not one for massages and pedicures, I sadly find cleaning rather tedious, and to be perfectly honest I quite dislike being home alone for such a long time and so I have upped my classes and have a whole host of little people coming, causing havoc and covering my house and its contents in a shimmery layer of flour!
This term is, I feel, going to be quite a special one for me. Having run classes since 2007 I have seen an array of children, most of whom have stayed for 1-2 years, classes become weekly coffee cornings, minus the coffee, clients become friends and shy chidren start to tell me their life stories… and sometimes to much embarrassment,that of their parents.One thing I’ve not encountered though is working in this arena with disabilities, until that is last term when a beautiful little lady joined my class. The girl in question was born prematurely and has a weakened left side, her speech is very basic but her zest for life, her joy and her excitement at coming to class is very special. Each week I feel rather humbled to have had her join me and to be able to watch her grow in strength and confidence. This term she is bringing her brother along to join in the fun, he’s going to have to work quickly to keep up! In my past life I worked for Guide Dogs for the blind and am now, once again reminded just how rewarding it can be to work with people of impairment.
I have lots of very fond memories of clients past. One such memory was the week where we made soda bread in the shape of hedgehogs, one little girl sat and painstakingly made the prickles, added little raisin eyes and sculpted a perfect tray of hedgehogs…. and then she raised her fist and slammed it down on each and every one of them in turn. The table gasped, ‘what on Earth are you doing?’ her confused mother asked. The girl looked confused and then quite simply stated ‘hedgehogs are always squished when we see them’ well, what could we say, she had a point!
Then there are the memories of success. I think feeding your child is quite often the most utterly thankless task that a mother can do, you look for recipes you think they’ll love, you cook with love and serve up with expectation. They take one look and decide there and then that your time has been wasted and a pizza would have been a far better use of your time and resources. As if this isn’t bad enough, the parents of those with a more discerning palate, also face much criticism from many piers.. and parents (often theirs) I have had many a fussy child come cooking and can honestly, hand on heart say that a lot of the time there is no discernible reasoning as to why that child is wary of food, they just are. Maybe they had reflux and food hurt them, maybe they had a bad experience, maybe they are just wary of putting strange objects in their mouths – either way such children definately exist and their parents are quite often driven to complete and utter distraction! When a child comes to class and leaves having discovered a new food that they like, that is a good day. When the (albeit pregnant and hormonal) Mum* has to leave the room as she wells up when her child crunches a piece of pepper in a bid to win a crunching competition, then looks at it in his little hand in a most confused manner before taking another bite, that is a very good day indeed!
* Sorry Nichola!