A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: food

Life as Pictures: when they are equally brave and annoying

Things are good. I was asked to teach for the same university for the fall semester. I’m pretty jazzed about that…a bit surprised too. I felt I did a good job, but this is a grant funded gig. I assumed when I wasn’t asked to return shortly after I finished, they moved onto other agendas. I don’t quite understand the mission of this department subset. Other cool things…did I mention I was nominated for a nonprofit Board? I’ve volunteered for them in various capacities for a few years, but I hadn’t considered and opportunity like this. It was flattering to be recommended by the Executive Director, Board Chair, and Vice Chair. It isn’t unusual for superiors and colleagues to sing my praises to some extent, but I’m always flattered and humbled by this kind of positive regard…and then I proceed to find ways to dismiss the accomplishment and undermine my positive mindset…I’m working on that…

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Mr. Man is an interesting character. Some things I can’t get him to do for the life of me, but going to the dentist and receiving shots is a total nonissue. Of course, if I had shades like that maybe I’d be down with it too… Actually, while I’m phobic of needles, the dentist never bothered me. As a middle-aged woman I continue to have excellent oral hygiene. The dentist and hygienist were shocked he had no issue throughout the appointment…totally chill. We spend quite a bit of time talking about bravery anticipating scary things. It’s worked surprisingly well. About a week before appointments we start having discussions about these things…doctor’s visits…dentist…whatever that might be considered unpleasant or scary. Sometimes Little Man will frantically wave his hands and tell us to stop talking. Literally. He interrupts us mid sentence saying, “Stop talking,” in a rushed breath. We do. But, we still manage a healthy dose of normalizing fear, discussing bravery and the process of confronting fear. These days my son will ask me what I’m afraid of and what I do about it…and I will confirm that I am afraid of an irrational shit-ton of things. I think, however, it’s helpful for him to hear of all the things the family members he admires fear. After all, everyone is scared of something.

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I can’t believe it, but I have potty training news! The peanut gallery can FINALLY get off my back…for now. My son isn’t quite there yet. Sometimes he will urinate in the toilet. Most of the time this month he decided to use the toilet to poop, which is quite a lovely thing. He’s pretty good at wiping himself as well. Given there are easily about three poops a day per child, I’m livin’ large. It isn’t perfect. Little Man isn’t ready to transition to full-time potty (probably because he doesn’t yet realize he will be left alone to eat a snack and read a book for a few minutes). We haven’t had accidents so much as expressions of his reliable need to control people and his environment. His refusals to poop in the toilet seem directly related to very specific events I don’t want to get into, but for the time being are unavoidable. And, the day after his first toilet dump, he didn’t scream and tantrum when I mentioned buying underwear. He chose the above selection. I can’t stand that show. Their notion of diversity are having both blond and brunette White boys…one of them is the leader, and totally obnoxious. The girl is not quite White, but simultaneously is. She has an exotic name, so that must count, right? (Oh, look, there are my tonsils!) I say this because the lack of diversity, lead girls, and general stereotyping in children’s programming GREATLY bothers me. But, I digress. Mr. Man seemed keen on his underwear, but Warrior Queen seemed significantly more so. My money is on her using the toilet shortly after her big brother stops needing diapers during the day. She’ll see him strutting around in his annoying Cat Boy underwear, and that will be the end of diapers for Warrior Queen!

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Mr. Man enjoys puzzles. I’d been giving him puzzles for a three-year-old, which are much too easy, but he enjoys repetitions like that. This one is the first four-year-old puzzle he’s tried. He could probably do it himself, but prefers it as an activity to do with an adult. For the first time in my life I enjoy puzzles…because I can manage one for a four-year-old. It took a bit for Little Man to sit for this one, but he enjoyed schlepping all the pieces around. This was the first time we managed to get through it without him building something random and incongruous with the project of piecing together the thing. I never did find that piece, and it’s unbelievably annoying.

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This is not an impressive game of the retro Pick-up Sticks. This is Warrior Queen battling me over an almost full box of pasta. It was already open and resting on the counter. She apparently can scale our island to grab anything and everything off the top by using the drawer handles as a ladder. I had my back to her for a second…of course, that’s a parenting motto: “It was just a second!” You’d think I wouldn’t be a total idiot about where I place things, yet… She wanted to carry it over to me, but I’m not THAT much of an imbecile. Her wanting to “carry” it over consists of shaking the box and dumping the contents everywhere. But, that’s not what happened in this instance. There was no shaking with a gradual overflow of objects out of a container. Warrior Queen cut right to the chase and immediately dumped everything, subsequently screaming as I tried to retrieve the completely empty box.

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Warrior Queen spent a good fifteen to twenty minutes refusing to eat anything but the broth of this soup, which is just wrong. Who doesn’t passionately love chicken noodle soup? I mean, I’ve had bad chicken noodle soup, but it’s practically an art to completely fuck it up. I remember looking down for a moment, and when I glanced back, this was the situation before me. I even checked the ground and her lap before marveling at her efficiency of sucking down the cup’s contents.

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Life as Pictures…miscellaneous edition

 

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I’m a haphazard tower builder. Mr. Man has his ideals for structures, and fortunately they are relatively compatible with my general building capability. My husband has these complicated, remarkable pursuits. I just stack shit on top of the other, and hope it stands…at least for a few moments before they crumble into child oblivion. Little Man’s latest designs are building the above “garages with houses” while Warrior Queen contributes by randomly piling whatever bricks are in front of her. Big brother watches his little sister’s efforts to add to his pride without batting an eye; I kinda love that about him. And, how can I forget him carefully placing the remaining bricks filed tightly together on the end to “keep the chickens from entering the garden?” I can’t really blame him. Chickens are horribly scary creatures. In the event of an apocalypse, those sketchy bastards will be leading the charge with the cockroaches and politicians.

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I enjoy cooking, but I reserve special treats for when my husband is out of town. It isn’t all that dramatic when he is gone, but I miss him. If I have the wherewithal to plan, I try to find certain things that I can look forward to…something special…usually food related, but not always. These mini quiche muffins are on my fairly lengthy list of favorites, but I hardly am able to indulge because the children pilfer them whenever there is a whiff of the container in the open.

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Easiest pumpkin muffin recipe ever. I’m not a baker, so adding a can of pumpkin to a box of spice or carrot cake mix is about all I can handle…

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The carnage of a mandatory home day…the poor bastards didn’t stand a chance. The children were merciless, and I’m still a little traumatized.

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Happy place…happy place…My children swinging from the chandeliers shrieking their battle cries as they hurl their wincingly pliable bodies onto the sofa cushions that littered the entirety of any exposed flooring. BUT, I have my stash, so bedlam be damned, and you can bet your ass I’m not sharing! I’ll laugh maniacally in their faces as I enjoy every morsel…Okay, maybe not in their faces…I’ll cower in the bathroom like all normal and rational people to avoid the conflict.

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It isn’t always about the chocolate stash when I’m teetering on the edge of losing whatever minuscule cool I’ve managed to retain since having children. I’m also growing my second afghan in painful contributions using the yarn stash my husband spent years nagging me to toss. The first afghan will soon go to Warrior Queen, and it is quite lovely. I’m not sure where this one is headed.

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We aren’t remotely religious, but the menorah candle lighting was the most successful aspect of our Hanukkah festivities this year. I want to always remember Mr. Man launching himself out of his nap to tend to the candles.

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If I’m honest, these latka beauties are my favorite part of the holiday which are a healthier version of the original…because potatoes…

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This sweater doesn’t have anything to do with anything other than it simply exists. Nothing pleases me more than to live in a time and place where seven-year-olds in a country across the planet work to create this number that I would never think of wearing, but I’m sure someone could pull it off who is significantly more fun than I. In the meantime, I’ll be in the bathroom progressively nibbling the chocolate stash I’ve cultivated over the past couple of weeks.

 

Shocking Accolades

It’s been a swirling time in these parts. I continue to be fairly consumed with the hope I will have relief in the next couple weeks, but it’s hard to say. I hope to share a bit more than cryptic commentary at some point, but for now it’s been on my mind the sparse entries of late. I’d love to say I will be able to resume the frequency I’ve mostly maintained for some time, but in all likelihood I won’t have the intellectual capacity for a while yet. I can’t promise anything particularly profound within this post, but an incident happened the other day that compensates for the sheer doucheydom of which Mr. Man is capable these days.

It was a birthday party for another three-year-old. To say he is an acquaintance of my son is generous. Little Man has seen this boy a mere few times in his life; the last was a year ago…at this boy’s last birthday party. The establishment creating the party merriment is good with this type of thing…oodles of stuff on which to play and a formal program that shepherds the children through an hour-and-some-change variety of stuff in which we tired parents can chill in the background, kibitz, and watch our kids combust. Plus, they have a trampoline…Mr. Man loves a trampoline.

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(This has to be how my son sees the prospect of trampoline festivities.)

But, in true fashion, my extraordinarily active son met his fill of the bubble fog…jumping, climbing, and swinging within thirty minutes, choosing to avail himself of the food assortment while his peers maintained a steady flow of ruckus and ruach.

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(Dailymail must have caught a glimpse of my son at the party.)

We cut him off just as he asked for a fourth slice of pizza, but he also ate the entirety of a fruit cup first and without prompt. I think that earns me some kind of parenting award. Interestingly he opted to forgo the juice box. That is often the case, and it surprises me every time. We don’t really give him juice. He adores it, yet passes whenever it is offered outside our home. That should earn me some kind of parenting award as well…or not. After his fruit and pizza, he scarfed an impressive slice of cake. But, to be fair, it was pretty incredible cake…certainly worth ripping a hole in my stomach after consuming delectable homemade Indian food. No wonder my friend’s son refuses to eat anything else, his mommy is an absolutely amazing cook. Warrior Queen also couldn’t get enough of the vegetable samosas.

But, before the dining my family fully enjoyed, there was one activity of note…for a couple reasons. It struck me as odd, but maybe I’m too sensitive…or whatever the correct label would be. It was creative play with a thick rope led by the two young women in charge of the mayhem. A cluster of three-year-olds like my son surrounding them eagerly awaiting what was in store. All of the children were instructed to rub their hands on the carpet in a false attempt to generate static electricity. The express purpose was for each child to grab the rope and “electrocute” one of the women. It just seemed so macabre…maybe scary?Image result for electrocuted woman

(It might be that I have an overactive imagination, but kinda weird, right?)

As each  of the children took their turn, she danced and jumped around, feigning the shock of an electric charge. She, fortunately, was not all that convincing. I halfheartedly urged my son to participate. Immediately from the explanation my sweet boy refused, anxiously shaking his head almost backing away with slight watery eyes. He was under the impression that he would be harming the woman, and couldn’t bring himself to do it.

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(My son would blow Milgram out of the water…)

I don’t know if something like that comes from my influence or if it spontaneously generated from his natural constitution, but I think I’ll go ahead an accept that as some type of parenting award.

Unacknowledged Murphy’s Law No. 4

My son could eat through the entire contents of our refrigerator and cupboards until he reaches capacity, pushing away the remaining bits of his snack; but the allure of the spice compilation “trash” lords its power over my toddler. Not only is the food I tossed in the garbage a tantalizing treat that must be pilfered and consumed before I’ve managed to spring over all obstacles to be by his side,

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(if only...)

but Little Man seeks to have control over his waste dusting. On more than one occasion I’ve discovered my son throwing away perfectly tasty morsels that he subsequently retrieves from the bin. And, it’s occurred to me that the more appallingly rank the contents of the receptacle, the more appealing the food item. The other day it was marshmallows he placed the bag of used urine wipes.

 

Is It Nap Time Yet?

It began as a good morning, which any parent can tell you is a strong indication that shit is goin’ to get real and fast.  I was reading to my son on the sofa.  We were snoodled in tight.  It was lovely.  I had my feet up, and was bundled under the covers.  I almost forgot that my son is a toddler and predisposed to changes necessary of an exorcism, which would explain why he is so partial to the goat figurine from the farm animal collection my in-laws purchased.  One moment he was flipping through Llama Llama Red Pajama for the eighth time, and the next a colossal meltdown that I should have seen coming from my ample experience, yet chose to remain delusional until forced to see the error of my ways.

“Are you hungry?”  Little Man lumbers off the sofa in such a way that I imagine would have been the inspiration for The Blob.  Once firmly footed on the ground, he makes haste toward the fridge.  I know what you are thinking, “Easy enough, the kid knows what he wants,” but I’m here to tell you that you are a silly, silly person.  While in fact he is the holder of such information, my son thinks I enjoy puzzles amidst the soundtrack of shrieks and wails.  First he reaches for the large bottle of lemon juice, which practice has trained me to be quite deft in blocking such an effort…I was rewarded by louder cries of indignation…lovely…nothing helps a clear thought process more…

Then he just starts reaching for things I know he couldn’t possibly want before fixing his eyes on the leftover chili and pasta in his special blue plastic bowl…Well, it’s not quite ten in the morning, but okay.  I’m rewarded with the halted laughter of a wise choice.  I select a small plate to remove a portion of the bowl’s contents because I don’t quite trust this is what he wants to eat.  As I’m scooping a small mass he begins wailing in tones that must have called a congregation of dogs to sit on our front lawn.

He kept pointing to the chili but wouldn’t eat it, and I tried every manipulative tactic I could think of…nada…  I retreat and regroup while my son relentlessly screams in stomping fits, begging to be held; but I had been holding him, and he was still crying.  I hold him again and try to clean up.  Balancing the bowl in one hand, Little Man points…Maybe he wants to eat from the bowl?  Yup, I give him his monkey fork and he digs in…perfect…

Without issue he sits in his high chair, I place the bowl and fork in front of him, and affix a bib.  Little Man doesn’t waste a moment, but, of course, I’m dubious…it’s only a matter of time before it will be all over the floor…My son’s preferred dining surface…  Regardless, I’m very hungry and the meal of grits and beans I was in the process of preparing was in its final stages.  I walk back to the kitchen for a time span that would be endorsed by Star Trek travel, but it didn’t matter.  I heard the familiar splat…chili all over the floor and wall…awesome…  So, that phase is done.  I wash up Mr. Man…again, and lower him to the floor…again.

The howling recommences.  My food is ready, finding my rhythm among the noise to reserve a portion for the harpie doing everything vocally in his power to attract attention.  Then in a sudden truce that must be similar to the end of the Korean War, my son is silent, glued to my bowl of, now, lukewarm Midwestern charm.  I carry both bowls to the table like the pied piper.

He goes back into his high chair, this time with his special red bowl.  We both eat in comatose silence.  But, here is the rub with feeding my son grits:  the stuff is like sand.  I’ll be finding it up my nose, in my ears and nether regions a month from now.  Usually I try to limit the destruction by at least setting up his spoon, but, nope, Little Man is independent now and one step removed from joining the workforce and paying us rent.  He’s happily eating; food is all over him, but this time when he is finished, Little Man is ready to go off and play.  But, mark my words, it’s nap time soon and I plan to be extra careful on our stairs…

Let Them Eat!

I am a pathetically hopeless foodie with a level of euphoria washing over me from eating foods bordering on something that should be developed as its own, separate mental health disorder category.  At one-year-old my son possesses the foundation of the same characteristics.  While I cannot say if his experience is an out-of-body one, he certainly experiences great pleasure from any tasty morsel crossing his pallet throughout the day.

Prior to my food enthusiast’s birth, my husband and I ate in front of the television, hunched over whatever appropriate dishware for the dinner I prepared.  Eating at the table was reserved for burrito night, or any other meal that was certain to feed our floor in such a manner that its signature would be immortalized on our Home Depot rug.

Common wisdom pushes for formal family dinners; I know this.  I spent months ruminating on this simple structure as though the Nobel Award Committee has a specific reverence for this category above all else.  The beginning months of my child’s life were spent pondering the specifics of family dinner, but like most things during this first year, the actualization proved more natural than expected.

My son rarely ate baby food; I opted for feeding him whatever I was eating.  Certainly there were no complaints from the immediate family peanut gallery (The extended one is another matter, but those are stories for another time…).  In the beginning, our meals continued on the sofa; the ushering of food almost never occurred in the highchair.

But, the day arrived when the bottle would be replaced by the sippy cup, marking the end of Little Man’s main feedings on my lap while I watched bad reality television that made me feel better about my genetic contributions to this planet.  Now he requires meals so substantial that I feel confident this two foot person’s portion would satisfy a linebacker on a low achieving team.

Now our previously ignored table finds its Renaissance as the three of us sit around it every evening.  Not only does my son heartily eat whatever we shovel in his mouth, but now he eagerly jams fistfuls of delicacies in his own mouth as we eat beside him (These days he even manages to deprive his lap of its accustomed meal.).  I hope I always remember his wide, beaming smile displaying every tooth during his full mouth giggles in between new bites and sips of his drink.  It won’t always be like this, but for now I can pretend.

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