We started Atticus on solid foods in the last week, partly because he suddenly grew two teeth but mostly to see if filling his tummy up before bedtime was going to result in him sleeping through the night. So far, he’s slept through two out of three nights, so we’re hoping tonight will mark three out of four.

It’s also meant that he’s sitting more regularly in the high chair. And boy, is he loving the view.

Today, I trotted out the clip-on one for our benchtop so he could watch me get lunch ready. It was a surefire way to stop the constant grizzling – in fact, he slipped into a baby stupor as I prepped, wearing this spellbound expression for the entire 20 minutes and following my every move up and down the kitchen like a tennis match.

First time Atticus sits at kitchen bench
I have no idea what she’s doing, but I can’t look away.

In the last 18 months, I’ve rediscovered sardines. One of the simplest meals my mother used to conjure was the humble sardine sandwich. Take a can of sardines in tomato sauce (I only use Ayam brand – pure nostalgia), and fry ’em up with red shallots and sliced chilli. A dash of white pepper, a squeeze of lime and voilà — mouthwatering yums. Slather between two pieces of bread. End up polishing off half a loaf.

It’s comfort food – my comfort food. It takes me back to Mei Ling Street, and primary school recesses, and secret sacrifices made for two kittens I absolutely adored who lived in the wet market I walked through on the way home from school. I didn’t much care for bread growing up. But give me fried chilli sardines, and suddenly the Gardenia loaf starts to look rather short.

Gardenia bread
I grew up with this bread. We didn’t eat Sunshine bread until they brought out the chocolate loaf. Tony tried Gardenia once and said it’s way too sweet for him.

One of the things I found on my mother’s laptop the day after her death was a letter to me that she had started but never finished. She was starting to tell me about her life, not just with the broad strokes I’d always known, but in intricate detail. It left me wanting a whole lot more. I really wished I got to interview her properly before she died.

Shoulda coulda

It strikes me that as much as this is a blog about my education as a parent, I would like my children to read it one day. A big part of why I’m doing this is so I never forget their stories, in detail. So that if I were to die before I ever get to remembering with them, I’ve got their histories chronicled. Today’s mundanities can become so cherished tomorrow. Like pennies.

But what about my history?

If I were to try and condense all the wonderful nonsense of my life in a letter to my children and husband while on my deathbed, I doubt I’d know where to start or what to say.

So yes, sardines. Inconsequential, kinda random… but it’s a little jaunt down memory lane for me. Today, Atticus got to witness fried chilli sardines in the making, and both of us sputtered and sneezed through the fumes. Not great for open-plan living, but the result was wunderbar, and brought me back at least 25 years. A bit of my history in the remaking.

I ate six slices of bread.

Fried chilli sardines
So noxious, so good
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