Crazy boys and slow cooker rice pudding recipe

My eldest is now 5 and a half. Since he started school in September there are so many things he has learnt to do. He can now dress himself, make choices about food, write more than his own name, follow instructions, play football, make a loom band bracelet, make jokes, chat endlessly, give great hugs, run for hours.

I have written that list in large part to remind myself that actually he’s pretty great – because flipping heck he is driving me INSANE recently. I don’t think that more than half an hour can be spent in his company without one or more of the following occurring. He knocks something or someone or even himself over. He kicks someone, something or even himself. He spills something. He cries. He goes into a vacant trance where you can stand in front of him screaming ‘do you want a biscuit or not?!?!?!? Just. ANSWER. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE’ with absolutely no discernible effect. He fights with his brother. He comes whining to me about said fight. He speaks in a stupid baby voice saying stupid made up words. He uses the word ‘poo, nappy, goolie, bum, head, smelly’ in any given combination and then cracks up hysterically. He accidentally on purpose throws himself on the ground/walks into the door/ hits himself on the head with a toy.

I’m pretty sure it’s ‘normal’ behaviour for a boy of his age. Through my exhaustive pedagogical research, carried out through play dates with his friends and observations in the play ground I can conclude that yes, other boys of his age are indeed similarly bonkers. Either that or we have a really really bizarre friendship group where all the children are aliens from the Planet Weird.

I’m sure in a few years I’ll look back and think – ahhhhh, do you remember when Corey used to gleefully shout ‘let’s play goolie-bumps’ to Mitch and they commence a very spirited game of running across his bedroom naked with the intention of bashing their goolies against each other? Or what about the time that it took him 30 minutes to take off his pyjamas and at the end of that time his school uniform still only consisted of a polo shirt and one sock? Or what about when he shouted ‘look at my funky moves?’ on holiday and then did a spin to land face down on the concrete with blood gushing from a gashed knee? Actually, even writing them down is bringing a little smile to my face. At the time though I am invariably not smiling. Not smiling at all. Normally I am shouting things like ‘for the love of all that is holy will you just put your bloody uniform on, I have been in to help you ten times now and you will be LATE and EXPELLED and AMOUNT TO NOTHING’. Actually I couldn’t help but smile at their goolie bumps game. Oh I’m so going to love regaling that story to girlfriends they bring home in the future……..

I absolutely hate the fact that when I express concerns to the teachers at school about his ongoing reluctance to read or write they say ‘well he’s a boy isn’t he’. In my opinion that does boys a disservice. Yes, I agree that boys seem to develop different interests to girls from a very young age and learn in different ways – but surely that should be incorporated into the way children are taught at school not just used as an excuse as to why when the little girls are sitting nicely writing a story Corey and his buddies are pretending to whack their heads on the side of the table and then fall over.

He is also going through a mahoosive growth spurt. Actually I think to label it a growth ‘spurt’ is a misnomer as he seems to be on a perpetual growth pattern. Which is only to be expected really as if he stopped growing then that would be massive cause for concern now wouldn’t it. But he is massively tall with long lanky legs. The second tallest in his year group at school. The tallest boy has a dad who looks like a basketball player. Corey clearly didn’t get his height and gazelle like legs from me, more’s the pity.

I have started to notice a massive difference in his behaviour when he’s hungry. He doesn’t actually say he’s hungry but once he’s eaten he seems to start calming down a bit. He is eating massive breakfasts (this morning 2 boiled eggs and 3 slices of toast and a tortilla wrap!) and in the evening he is more than ready for a full cooked meal even though he has a school lunch.

Rice pudding is a favourite of mine and I have enjoyed giving it to my boys ever since they were babies. Now they are older I do use more sugar in the recipe. I think it’s a good energy dense pudding to give them. Making it in the slow cooker is far easier than in the oven. It takes about 3 hours on high (or longer on low) – I do find that contrary to most slow cooker recipes it does need the odd stir now and then so it doesn’t stick to the sides.

Yesterday I made it for us and had some left over double cream in the fridge so added that to the milk. Flipping. Lush. The boys topped theirs with some left over strawberry jam and I went full on OTT pudding with some chopped banana and a dollop of peanut butter. My hubby, pudding purist (or some might say unadventurous) went with it on it’s own. Either way – it’s gorgeous. Hot or cold. As it cools it gets thicker so if you want it the next day then add some more milk and give it a stir.

slow cooker rice pudding

100g short grain/pudding rice (I have made this with risotto rice when I was out of pudding rice and it turns out fine and dandy)

100g caster or granulated sugar

1 litre milk

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Grating of nutmeg on the top (optional but I love the nutmeg taste)

The recipe could not be easier – slop all the ingredients into the slow cooker, cook on high for 3 hours or until the rice is soft and the mixture is sticky and delicious, stir the rice a couple of times in that period if you can. Eat. Add more milk if it’s looking too sticky at the end.