Mother hysteria: The curious case of the caught nipple

Reini’s evening started something like this:

His one and only son called him at work and announced, “There’s been an accident… In the kitchen… With the mixing machine… And Mum…”

I should probably admit to you, at this point, that we have recently been playing rather a lot of Cluedo.


I’ve just risen out of a calming bath (despite at least two children being in the room at any one time, babbling) and looking down at my naked body I can see a few tell-tale signs of the week gone by.

For instance, my lower right leg champions five, yes five, bruises. All attained crawling through tunnels and up and down ladders at Sensapolis (I am still completing my challenges ) on Sunday. There are probably a fair few lumps and bumps on my head too because if I wasn’t bashing my right leg then I was beating my skull against something.

My left knee has a long, bloody looking scratch above it, but I can’t remember for the life of me what exactly I scraped it on.

The melted skin on my right palm, from Wednesday’s omelette pan, can barely be seen. And no longer hurts. Thank goodness. I guess it fades into insignificance across from the centimetre long blister, that rose up today, on my left wrist.

But the ordeal my right nipple went through this evening is completely invisible.


It’s the last day of the mid-term holidays and I was determined to fulfil dreams.

Some wanted to feed the ducks, so we did that.

Others wanted to cook and to bake. So we poured through recipe books and opted for home-made Minestrone Soup with Pesto, and Banana and Walnut Loaf along with Blueberry Muffins. We shoved a shopping trolley around the supermarket and jammed it with ingredients.

Some wanted to play Cluedo. Again.

Some wanted to relax with a foot spa and a massage.

And one person wanted to be read to.

The latter dreams were abandoned. Their mother was too busy drinking vodka after the terrible shock.


I’m not sure when the fluster started.

I think it was definitely after Aden pricked Akasha with a knife when they were simultaneously chopping mangetout, for lunch.

Yes. I remember still being quite rational in the afternoon. Despite shopping with two bouncy, blabbering children.

I recall though, being somewhat distressed when I opened a cupboard and a spiderman cup threw itself at me. Although what I was actually looking for was a bowl. And I had not been the one to stack him up on top of a much smaller mug. He still attacked me, then fell sharply to the floor, smashing himself to smithereens. I did shout a little when I couldn’t find the dustpan and brush until I’d rooted around in the paper bin. I quietened down once I switched the vacuum on for the second time in a couple of hours. There’s not much point in trying to be heard by those who try not to listen over that noise.

Oh. I know when it was. It was the moment I looked at the time remaining on the timer and realised we had to move up a gear if we wanted to get the soup on and the next cake ready for the oven before the ‘ready’ beep would sound. Too much time had been wasted clearing up broken crockery and searching for tools.

That was the precise instant that my feathers ruffled.

I raised my game. I had one mashing bananas and one washing leeks and one peeling carrots and another weighing out sugar. I raced between them, firing out both instruction and praise in my effort to motivate and march on. I flicked through recipe books. Provided chopping boards and compost bags.

The muffins screeched out about their baked-ness but we were not done. Not by a long shot.

I ran to the oven, purple gloves covering my hands recalling my blunder from earlier in the week *do not pick up hot pan with bare hands, silly*.

I removed the buns from the top shelf and decided, in a split second, to leave the second tray in, for a couple more minutes but only after placing them on the top shelf for good measure.

As I moved in for the manoeuvre I clipped my left wrist on the side of the shelf. Ouch!

I’m an impatient burnt person. I don’t do well with holding my hand/finger/wrist under a cold tap for any period of time. I normally burn myself while cooking and that generally means that I’m still in the midst of it or it’s ready to eat and so my instinct is to get on with it.

So, I have, in my many burned experiences, developed a technique. I shove the blistering skin under the cold tap for a minute or so, then I pop a tea towel into the cold running water, let it soak up the coldness for a few seconds, wring it out a bit and wrap it around the affected area. Ta-dah! I can work on and cool my injury at the same time.

I wrapped my wrist and ran across the kitchen to a bowl of sugar and marg. and a whisk and started beating them together.

That’s, I guess, when my multi-tasking got too much for me.

I was standing there quite the thing. Cooling and mixing and glancing at the recipe book and ordering around talking to children. Admiring carefully chopped walnuts and apologising again for pricking Akasha with the knife while chopping up the courgettes ten minutes before.

The margarine and sugar were almost creamed and I slowed the electric whisk down and pondered over my mixture.

Just a few seconds more. And this stage would be complete.

I glanced away. What’s next?

I called out to the kid with the other recipe book.

I hit the switch to turn the power off, but not quite enough, so instead of switching off, it just carried on whirling at the lowest setting. But I hadn’t noticed, distracted, I tried to set it down. On the table top. It tipped to the side and rolled out of the bowl.

I still had the handle loosely in my hand so I tightened it and tried to take control.

I outstretched my fingers and flicked at the power switch again.

But in the wrong direction.

The beaters whirled and whizzed and the machine turned itself around to face me.

The rest is a bit of a blur. Thank God. I remember the beaters, somehow, catching a hold of the bottom of my top.

And my top twirling around and around in her spokes.

It was like she climbed up me.

Wrapped herself in my clothes.

And then she went for it.

My right nipple.

I don’t know what to say.

How to describe it.

There was pain.

And screaming.

A lot of screaming.

Mostly from me.

But also from four children.

There was also some giggling.

There was fear.

My fear.

Of losing a nipple.

To an electric whisk.

To an electric whisk.

How the fuck could I explain that to the ambulance men?

I whisked my nipple?

There was turning. And Whirling.

And I kept trying to hit the switch in the wrong bloody direction.

There was no blood. No blood at all.

My son My hero pulled the plug from the socket and it all stopped.

There was no more turning and whirling.

No blood.

The pain left.

Shock I supposed.

Hands helped. Unravelled. My top. And my nipple.

I yelled around for people to check if my nipple was still intact.

And it was.

I laughed.

And I cried.


I cupped my precious nipple and they poured vodka down my throat and in the background I heard a boys voice saying, “There’s been an accident… In the kitchen… With the mixing machine… And Mum…”

…the new oven

So, Christmas is coming. And I have to cook a bird. And I only had my new oven safely installed three days ago thanks to the ever wonderful, unqualified, un-electrician Mr Fix-It. Of course, three days is by no means enough time to ‘get to know’ my new oven. I’ve hardly started to be honest.

In fact, so far, all I’ve managed to achieve is cook a frozen lasagna, which incidentally went very well, (though those frozen lasagne could be bigger – I’m just saying).  And bake some little (also frozen) German breads. OK twice. Well not OK twice because the first batch I burnt to a crisp. Which I relievedly discovered was down to my own incompetence and not some dysfunction on the part of my new oven. I had set it to grill. Confused the poor thing. Then placed the little breads directly under the heating element. Where they did not stand a chance, of course.

Now, that should have given me a tip really. For the next batch.

I placed the ‘too burnt to be offerings plateful’ to one side and started again. Taking the second and last box out of our still functioning freezer. I placed them on the upper most level and cooked away. This time with baking paper as requested on the box. Last time they all stuck to the once was pretty and new and shiny shelf, now moderately sprinkled with dried on breadcrumbs.

I should probably tell you at this point I don’t cook much frozen stuff. Apart from pizza. And the odd garlic bread.

I should also inform you that our new oven door is like a trolley. The door rolls out pulling all of its shelves with it.

So, just imagine this: me yanking excitedly the oven door open, meanwhile all of the little breads having risen significantly, have glued themselves to the still somewhat warm (from my previous escapade) grill element above.

They stayed stuck for a moment or two and then dropped to the floor of the oven.

Between my hand and the oven floor, were however, the glass door and two very hot oven shelves. Somehow, despite my normal clumsiness, I managed to rescue the said bigger breads and replace them onto their shelf, which I then appropriately lowered.

Despite all of my gormlessness, the little breads tasted great. Either that, or by the time we ate them we were all so hungry we didn’t care anymore.

I really, really, really want to love my new oven after so hating the last one.

Now, I’m off to feed the ducks those cremated breads. They’re not fussy. And while I’m doing that I can think exactly which bird we can have gracing our table this Christmas.

Reading this you’d never suspect I spent sixteen years of my life being a vegetarian, would you? 😉

The moment all the appliances decided to shout back

Did I ever tell you about the thirteenth pay month? Here in Germany, some companies, divide the annual salary over thirteen months. The thirteenth pay is also known as Christmas money. My husbands firm adds it to his wages at the end of November. Of course, once the tax man has bitten his ugly jaws into it, the final sum is nowhere near a months pay. But it’s still a great bonus. I heard from a friend recently, that due to the recession many employers have canceled Christmas money. Shame.

We have been looking forward to our Christmas money for some time now. We have never, at any point in time had any intention of spending it on Christmas. To be honest, I have already bought most of my presents. I like to be organized so I have as few panic buys as possible, remember the diabetic with her several kilograms of chocolate? Not good. Anyway in my experience, if I leave it all to the last-minute, I don’t really enjoy the run up to Christmas. Instead of soaking up mulled wine at the Christmas market, you’d see me dragging four kids through one crowded store after another, trying to hide potential present ideas from them (badly) and becoming frustrated, standing in long queues.

So now that we’ve completed most of the work in the house, well except for the terrace (technically, that’s outside the house), we figured, finally, we could treat ourselves.

And I have spent the last four years dreaming of a new cooker.

In case I haven’t told you before I like to cook. I mean, I really like to cook. And I cook really a lot. I love food and I love feeding other people. Generally, I cook twice a day, so a hot meal for lunch and then again for dinner. But the thing I really can’t stand, is when something isn’t cooked exactly right. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, I turn into an erupting volcano and in contrast when everything works well, I’m a happy bunny.

Armed with this knowledge, I’m sure you will understand that my last oven drove me to distraction. It cooked very unevenly, thus muffins at the back may well have been burnt while those on a lower shelf remained almost raw.

Lovely Mr Fix-It did his best. He took apart the oven, as is his way, and cleaned various parts and tended to them. But to little avail. The oven remained irregular and very annoying.

It has always been my wish to have a gas cooker. However, gas cookers are seldom used in German kitchens and Mr Fix-It expressed quite clearly that we would never have a gas cooker, as he felt them to be unsafe. If he knew just how often we’ve had a small fire with our electric cooker, I’m sure he may equate the dangers.

Which reminds me, yesterday as my hubby fitted our ‘only to be fitted by a qualified electrician’ new hob and I sat reading through the WHOLE of the instruction manual, I found myself again noticing the differences between us. Namely I needed to read the entire manual but still had no real idea of how my new hot plate worked, and he read not a word and just pressed things and had it up and running in a jiffy.

But the manual was informative to me. I have now been re-educated. Next time I set a pan of fat on fire I will just put a lid over it and turn the hot plate off. Instead of running through the full length of the house, past anxious children, and throwing the burning pan out onto the lawn.

The neighbours, will however, be less entertained.

So as you’ve by now gathered, the Christmas money has gone on a new cooker. After many lengthy discussions and several trips to the shops, we decided that there’s no real point in purchasing yet another substandard cooker. Instead, we should buy something that we’re both really happy with.

We purchased an induction hob and I can tell you, I’m not only happy I’m truly ecstatic. It’s better than gas! So hubby is pleased with it too. Yesterday, he managed to fry an egg in 20 seconds and I suspect that will become his new party piece. He informed me last night that he might actually ‘get into’ cooking.

The oven is separate and should be delivered in the coming days.

Our whole weekend has been based around our new cooker. The hob arrived on Saturday, then we went to a factory outlet to buy new pans. Bliss: buying kitchen stuff at bargain prices. And on Sunday we thought why wait for the oven? And fitted the new hob. Then cooked everything we had in the house.

So Christmas money spent, smiling faces we decided to relax. Watch a little TV.

Nope. The projector was DEAD.

While the man of the house dismantled, poked, shook, blew, hoovered, screwed, unscrewed and re-mantled – I hit the washroom.

Our washing machine is six and a half years old and is used on average twice a day. That doesn’t mean I wash every day. I don’t always get to it. What it does mean is that although I sometimes miss a day others I can churn out six full loads.

Can you guess what’s coming next?

The washing machine had decided not to spin the water out properly. I shook a t-shirt to hang on the rack and it splashed me. I put another load on hoping it’s just a blip. The fabric softener lay in the drawer, strangely untouched.

Upstairs the projector still wouldn’t play ball. My man by this point had retreated to the old-fashioned technique of hitting the appliance (actually that and kicking are the only two ways I personally have had any success in fixing something). But no joy.

I returned to the cold cellar and checked the next load. Very wet. Once the clothes finally dry they will also be crunchy as it appears the machine has developed a distinct dislike for lenor.

A dismayed Mr Fix-It did all he could with his tool kit.

He went to war with our washing machine but the battle has not been won.


Still, maybe the new oven will arrive today (now Monday). Hopefully the safety instructions will not say ‘Do not use this appliance to dry very wet washing’. After all I don’t think I will be able to use it for cooking for a while. Because when I got up this morning the fridge had decided to make a loud and somewhat disturbing noise.

Please note: This blogger is from here on in happy to review any electrical appliance, or for that matter any black or brown leather sofa. The latter should however be somewhat rip proof, unlike the one we apparently abuse at the moment.