Thursday, September 27, 2012

Passing on a Poem

My brother sent me this little poem this morning. I'd like to post it as Part 2 to Crazy Pants

I love my boy, today he has reorganized the kitchen pantry, pretended to be an Olympic diver, watched dogs and their people walk past the house, matched some color blocks together, had three snacks, and peed on the floor twice. I think he too will save the rainforest...


My eleven year son wants to fish,
he owns two rods, one saltwater,
one freshwater. He loves knives,
Bowie knives, Swiss Army
knives, "Knives like this one?"
my brother says, opening his desk
drawer and taking out a small
jackknife with antler handle.
My boy camps outdoors, begs to sleep
outside, is always shooting
arrows, rubber band guns,
he is lashing together a fort
in the backyard. He sails,
swims, kayaks and wants
to know the stars.
The outdoor hunting genes
are in the dark men in my family.
Yet I believe he is a son of light.
His joy in reading, cooking
and piano are fanned
from the tinderbox
of his father's heart.
He will save rainforest,
he will grow vegetables,
keep horses, fly his own plane.
He will make his own brave life,
he will not remake our lives
nor redeem us, nor pity us.
"Genes" by Sharon Dunn, from Refugees in the Garden: A Memoir in Poems.

the link to this poem is at Writers Almanac today. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Crazy Pants or Why Mommy is So Tired

We have a girl and a boy. We used to think we were good parents when the girl was a toddler. We never had the so called "terrible two's", any ill behavior was "redirected" with ease, there was little drama as she discovered her autonomy, and we thought it was because we did such a good job at setting boundaries and understanding our child. Then one night in May when the owls were hooting like crazy we gave birth to a little boy in our garage, and our whole life changed. Actually he had us fooled at first, he was a much easier sleeper, he let his daddy hold him as much as mommy, he never cried, he was cute as can be, and he had perfected snuggling within just a few moments after his birth. 

see how innocent he looked... don't trust him for a moment!
 Then he turned 27 months and strange things started happening.

Let me start with the list of items that have gone missing (some found some not).
1. Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Syrup (found under the couch with item 2)
2. Eggplant from our CSA (also found under the couch)
3. Jars of peanut butter (always found in random places, sometimes under the couch)
4. Chocolate graham crackers (never the other flavors, honey or cinnamon)
5. Marin's tiny special tube of tooth paste from her visit to the dentist. Still missing but no evidence of being consumed. 
6. Kitchen sheers (I think they went missing during his "throw it in the trash phase")
7. Paci's (I think this is very common in most households, but seriously where do they go? In two years I probably bought a dozen and when he finally weaned from it there was only one lurking about)
8. There are other things like socks that get flushed down the toilet, shoes found at the bottom of the dirty laundry hamper, DVD's, toys, silverware, cloth napkins... I tell you he's like a rat sticking things here and there. 

Next lesson I would have liked to have been prepared for before having a boy: Everything is broken! We had no broken anything with the girl, but the boy! Every one of our lovely board books was in great shape until the boy starting liking them, now not one of them has a spine. The sturdy wooden kitchen looked like it came out of the box for four years until the day the boy learned how to pull himself up and the first thing he did was rip out the hot and cold water knobs. Toys with wheels, have no wheels. The cute drawer shelves I put on the wall next to the kids beds... of course one got ripped right out of the wall (he was trying to hang from it). The holes where the screws were are so huge (in the wall!) I'm sure a mouse comes in and visits them each night.  

"the only reason I want to stand is to tear apart this kitchen sink"




 Fourth: There is very little "redirecting" with this boy. If his heart is set on doing something, its set. To all the authors out there writing parenting books, if you wrote "if your child is doing something they ought not be doing, offer them something else. Try to redirect their attention to a more positive behavior or object... blah blah blah" You probably never had a little boy is all I have to say. 

gardening with a girl

gardening with a boy 


"I love everyone, and blueberry pie"

 (two minutes later) "I don't like anyone, get me in bed for my nap before I get really crazy, and get this crap off me!"

"Hmm oh this book is about not being naughty, I'll just eat it while standing dangerously high on this box, and then throw it under the couch for safe keeping." (Another item that went missing)

He sleeps like an angel, with a monster on his head!

 Isn't he the cutest thing? People there is a reason he's wearing a monkey harness at IKEA! 

We thought we were good parents when all we had was a compliant little girl and a baby boy. But then we realized that it wasn't us being good parents, it was her being a good child. And its not that he's bad (okay well sometimes he is, like today when he asked for a cracker with the intention of pulverizing it into as many pieces as he could and then shoving it into the window frame. No wonder we can't get rid of the ants!) he's really opinionated, strong willed, mischievous, curious, silly, and has a brilliant sense of humor. All these things keep me on my toes more than ever before. When the girl was quiet it usually meant she was reading, playing with her dolls, coloring, something like that. When the boy is quiet it means he ripping another spine off a board book, undressing all the baby dolls and throwing them off the bed, coloring on the wall/fridge/door/book/shelf, something like that. I used to think quiet meant I would get something done, like fold the laundry while listening to an inspiring podcast. Now quiet means find him as quick as I can and expect a surprise. 

While I am for sure more frustrated and tired with my boy, he also makes me laugh hard and sing louder. I am working really hard at "responding in firm kindness" (I have that posted on my kitchen wall). But if anyone out there wants to prepare me for our next phase I would love a heads up before it starts! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Post Correction

If you read the post on How to Land Your Kid in Therapy, I have made a minor correction about sports. I want to make it clear that I am not against kids playing sports because they get a reward even if they lose. The research to the benefits of playing sports is abundant. I just wanted to be clear as to what I was getting at in that post. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Best Popsicles EVER!

There are three ingredients to making the most amazing popsicles EVER. They are listed above. 

I love popsicles, smoothies, milk shakes... hmmm what else can you make in the blender as a cold afternoon snack? Well I probably like that too. 

So the other day I was making another Naturally Ella recipe and it needed some coconut milk. But then I was left with a good amount of the coconut milk left over. I looked in the fridge and there was about a cup of strawberry yogurt, and Trader Joe's chocolate syrup. Not wanting to waste the coconut milk I threw all three in the blender and then poured the mix into my popsicle maker and into the freezer. There was some left over so the kids and I drank that with a straw. 

If you like to make popsicles the secret to making really smooth one's and not frozen ice one's the to raise the fat content and lower the water content. So if you use coconut milk, whole milk, whipping cream or yogurt you will get a much smoother frozen treat without the chunks of ice. 

Coconut milk is good for nursing moms (the high quality fat will increase your milk supply), underweight babies and kids and sick kids. No one in my house is any of those right now, but we do enjoy a tasty creamy popsicle over one full of ice chunks as a treat once in a while.