Sunday, June 29, 2008

duct tape on my mouth

At one of Pook's first swimming lessons, when he was three, coach Patrick remarked, laughing, "We've got a sinker here!" Pook naturally swims about eight inches under water. His normal movement in the water, say from jumping off the diving board and getting to a ladder, is underwater with hands at his sides, doing a dolphin kick, feet together. In the past few years he has learned how to float and swim freestyle fine. Last year's coach, Jay, noticed his swim and decided to teach him the butterfly stroke. This is usually very hard and taught later, after back stroke and breast stroke, but Pook seemed ready for it, and did well learning it.

When he began anticipating his first swim meet, he told me he wanted to win a first place ribbon. Part of me wanted to tame the enthusiasm to a realistic level, but then I realized he just needed a niche. Since very few kids his age would know the butterfly stroke, the swim team coach helped him polish it up one evening and thought he was good enough to compete with it. His niche.

There were kids, ages 5-18, from five pools around Atlanta at the swim meet. The other teams were much larger than ours, so there were probably 120-150 kids there, plus all the parents and siblings in attendance.

The young girls started with ages 6 and under swimming 25m freestyle. Then boys, then ages 8 and under, girls, then boys. Pook seemed prepared and did a great job with his first race. Everyone earns a ribbon if they get to the end, so he collected his ribbon with pride and went off to play with his buddies. All ages did freestyle, then backstroke, then breast stroke. He opted out of those and since he doesn't really know them well, that was fine. I spoke to him (about 2 hours later!) and reminded him that his coaches and I wanted him to swim butterfly.


Surprised, I tried to find out why. He gave vague answers about being dry, about not knowing how and being tired. I could tell there was more to the story, but he didn't want to talk about it. I stopped discussing it with him and sent him to stay by the coaches and do what they asked. I figured they'd peer pressure him into it. He returned to me a bit later and said he would swim the butterfly under one condition: We couldn't cheer for him.

I'm a cheerer. I whoop and holler for the kid who is still swimming when the other competitors are getting out of the water. (I'm always for the underdog.) I try to cheer for any kid I know, hoping to excite them and encourage them. Pook is not a whoop-and-holler-for-me-kid.

He once had an opportunity to touch a static ball (Van DeGraff generator). Bug had walked into the room, had his baby fine hair stand on end, and was eager to have a turn, but was too young. Pook was persuaded to get in line. The girl in front of him was African American and had tight little braids all over her head. No static effect there. Pook went next. He needed a haircut anyway, and has very thick hair. He looked like a dandelion. Everyone applauded and laughed. Bug was jealous. Pook took weeks to recover from the trauma.

I should learn from events like this. I've never really liked being the center of attention myself. Once, on my birthday, Sister M.D. told the waitress at Farrell's that it was her birthday, let them sing and play their loud band for her, then passed the ice cream to me and ordered her own. And yet I often find myself remembering this too late. I could have realized that Pook would have disliked all the people watching him swim. Disliked the noise and hubbub. Disliked having me shout his name, identifying him. But I didn't think about it.

He swam the butterfly, and then voluntarily participated in a 4x25 freestyle relay. I stood where he could see me at the finish, but kept my mouth sealed tightly closed. When he climbed out, I gave him a towel, a hug and a "I'm proud of you" whisper. Might have been one of the hardest things I've done.

CD and I began discussing it later. Is he participating because he wants to or because he thinks we want it and he just wants to please us? He isn't a particularly athletic kid. We've agreed, however, that becoming familiar with various popular sports is important for boys and even more important for boys in The South. He tried soccer and learned how it works and now plays on the playground at school, but not on a team. He tried basketball and had a personality conflict with the coach and hasn't wanted to play since. But he knows how. He played t-ball two seasons and baseball one. He enjoys it. If he gets to a point where he can no longer compete, maybe he'd want to manage. Maybe he'll want to focus on something entirely different. He loves the chess club. I think he likes the swim team - at least the practices.

I am happy to let him focus on his own talents and interests. I do want him to know some of the choices he may not recognize. He's now protesting that he's scheduled for an art camp later in the summer. In February he agreed that it would be fun, so too late there. I think he'll like it, but he won't know anyone there and I know that's hard for him.

I hope I'm not pushing him into something I want him to like. Having not participated in any sport or team myself, I'm on shaky ground here. In hindsight, I wish I'd been pushed into some activities. My mom let me choose, and at that age I'm not sure I was capable of making great choices for myself. Had I been pushed into trying some sports would I be glad I learned them or would I have dreaded the competition and attention? Not sure.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

can you hear that? me neither

I'm alone in the house. Or at least alone-ish. Bug is napping. I've been unwilling to deal with the incredible crabbiness of giving up that nap. He and Pook share a room, so putting one to bed earlier than the other is a major issue. We tried to introduce the idea, because I know the nap will have to go, eventually. And Pook will need less sleep at some ages and stages when Bug is still needing more. So on a few swim team nights we tried. We had him in bed, staying and singing to him, but as soon as Pook came in he got all wired and we had to start over with the tucking process. Usually it goes pretty smoothly and quickly, so all we gained by putting him to bed earlier than his brother was a longer process.

CD and Pook went for a bike ride. Ever since the purchase of a lighter, more appropriate bike for Pook (and one without training wheels) he's been wanting to bike every weekend. Our neighborhood is very hilly and near a lot of busy roads, so there aren't a lot of good places for him yet, at least without Daddy. I'm not sure where they're headed, but they have some trail mix, water and a few bandaids stashed in the bike bag. Hope they only need the snack and water!

But I'm alone-ish in the house. All I hear is the spatter of a pork shoulder with BBQ sauce in the crock pot and the churn of the air conditioner. I could nap. I could read a book. I could peruse the web for something to read. I could eat chocolate....

Friday, June 27, 2008

swim team

Pook is on the swim team this year. Since we live across the street from the pool, we've been suggesting this for a few years. Kids need to be able to swim a whole 25m lap, but can have a lifeguard/coach in the pool with them at swim meets if they need it. Since both boys learned to swim early, I think Pook could have handled it at five. (Bug is eager, but we're putting him off a year until he's five.) Pook could swim the distance, but swimming over the deep end worried him and held him back. He also needed the encouragement of seeing friends on the team, which he has this year.

The first swim team practice beat his butt. He was put in a group of experienced swimmers and did, at least (by my inaccurate count) fourteen laps. 25m x 14 laps = he was unable to even hold his toothbrush at home before crashing into bed. He didn't want to go the next day, knowing his two best buddies were both leaving for vacations, and knowing how hard it was. I told him he needed to be the one to talk to the coaches (teenagers) and let them know what he wanted or needed. I felt like he'd regret it if Mama got too involved on his behalf. He ended up with a group of six to eight kids his age and younger who are practicing strokes, dives and laps together on a lower level. He came home after the second day and told us he liked it more and was less tired. Since then, he's had a good time and is showing great progress.

The first swim meet is after only two weeks of practices, 3x week. They're a young group of kids with a young, inexperienced coach. Pook hasn't tried something like this before, but seems eager and excited.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

what do you mean, you feel good?

Bug was wiped out after camp yesterday and I put him down for a nap. He didn't even argue about it. The boys next door came over to see if mine could play, and I decided that Pook needed some down time too, so I told them we'd meet them at the pool at about 3:30. When I went to wake Bug and it just wasn't to be. He was groggy and complaining of a tummy ache. Since he complains about his tummy all the time without seeming to really have a problem, I ignored him. But when he really didn't wake up and get rolling toward the pool, I sent Pook with the neighbors. Pretty soon I could tell this was a real stomach issue. He'd have wanted to swim if he could. And sure enough, he threw up just as Pook got home, CD pulled into the driveway and the timer rang for dinner.

I phoned my co-volunteer in the camp kitchen, where I've been all week, and warned her we wouldn't be in. I emailed the director and told her. I called a little known school mate of Pook's and arranged for help driving him home from his camp. I planned for a quiet day with a sick baby and actually was looking forward to a chance to relax at home. We've been running around crazy and are all tired.

As I really should have expected, he got whatever he needed to get out of his stomach out of his stomach, and he's feeling fine today. He has barricaded himself in a bear cave in our den, using every chair and pillow he can find. Of course, I'm the mama bear and I'm supposed to be there too. Under the table.

This isn't what I wanted. Not that I wanted him miserable, but the only time Bug holds still and allows himself to be snuggled is when he's sick. I did not keep him home so he could climb all over the tables, chair backs and sofas looking for "berries". He's gonna wear me out worse than camp!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

heart chart

We've been in a horrible cycle with Bug as he has regressed into a new phase of No! (with the whine) again. I disliked this stage when we first encountered it. He is, to just say it plainly, stubborn. Since our first requests to the boy, four years ago, we have learned to work around our needs and try to never confront him head on. He sits himself down in the mud and just will not budge. The more you ask, bribe, threaten (and I'm pretty good at my follow-through) the more he squirms himself deeper into the mud. Recently even reasonable requests have met an adamant no! reply. Sometimes he answers no! before actually hearing our words and misses out on something good or at least not bad.

Bug: I don't want the rest of my banana.
Me: Can you bring it here so I--
Bug: No!
Me: ...can eat it?
Bug (who was so busy repeating his stance and didn't hear me) starts crying: No! No! I don't wanna...!

I'm fed up. He has driven me to my own boiling point too often and I lose my patience, yelling at him too often. So, I pulled out an old idea that had worked for Pook, possibly at about age four also.

The heart chart. The heart chart is just a paper with a grid on it (ours is six boxes across- this could vary). Each time he does something nice, either voluntarily or when asked "please?" he can earn a heart, simply drawn with marker. If I have to count or discipline, I will put a toy/item/privilege of his into time out. He has to earn six hearts to earn it back. If nothing has gone to time out, he'll get a reward (yet to be determined since we just started yesterday and there was already something in time out). I added in that he needs three hearts a day just to go swimming, and he's buying into that just fine. (He'd have to sit on the bench for five minutes while his brother and friends started playing. I can't take away the whole swim time in this heat. Plus, he is only four.)

Day One
Me: Bug, will you please set the table?
Bug: No!
Me: If you had said yes, you could have earned a heart.
(repeat a dozen times for various requests)

Day Two
Me: Who spilled the pencil jar? Will someone pick them up?
Bug: I'll do it! I didn't make the mess and I'm still cleaning it up!


Days Three through Five
Me: Did you say "ok, Mama?!"
Bug: NO!
Me: Wow, I thought you did and I was about to give you a heart. Oh well.
Bug (implied): I don't care. So there.

Day Six
Bug finally got six hearts in a row while having no toys in time out. I gave him six Skittles and he was thrilled. The voluntary helping has returned.

Days Recently
He sometimes denies having been polite and he sometime doesn't want to help out, but he's earned candies twice out of eight chances. (Meaning, six times when he got six hearts, there were toys in time out and twice he got a treat instead.) I can see improvement. He sometimes asks first if he'll get a heart if he does something I ask, which is annoying but ok for now. I'm going to need to start being a bit more random about the hearts so I can eventually fade them out. I'll keep up the chart until he stops checking it. It may be six weeks or more, but I don't care how long it takes. If it starts a new habit and breaks that old No! routine, I'll be able to do it forever. Life is clearly better around here. And just in time. Camp is making us all tired and cranky.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

caution: creative writing ahead

Creative writing comes in many forms. While I do have higher goals for Pook, everyone has to start somewhere. After all, someone's gotta write the caution signs, right? Just think what might happen if we were to disregard such signs as these! We'd have wet heads and flooded houses, scared and unsafe fish, and might be floating around with Mary Poppins!

to help the handwriting impaired:
Please do not stick your head in the toilet. For it might get your head wet and flood the house.

Please do not knock or hit the fishtank. It will scare the fish. Do not try to scare the fishes in any other sort of way ether. We want the fishes to be safe.

Please do not climb into the fire place because you might flode float up like Mary Poppins.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 16, 2008

undressed for summer

No one but my kids sees me wearing clothes.

Ha! Caught your attention, did I?

CD leaves for work early enough that I use my morning time to help get him out the door. I'm in my pj's for breakfast.

I shower after he leaves (and after a short online visit) and dry my hair. I dress as if someone might see me. I even put on earrings when I remember. Makeup, no. That's even optional in the winter.

We go to the local pool almost every afternoon. This is my social life, the kids' social life. Everyone there is used to seeing me in a swimsuit. I've run into casual "Pool Friends" other places and we've realized we have trouble recognizing each other when dressed.

We get home from the pool just before dinner. I usually throw on an old t-shirt and some boxers as shorts. CD comes home and we eat. He sees me looking like a drowned slob.

Why do I bother with the morning shower and with getting dressed at all? I might as well stay in my pj's until pool time. There'd be less laundry.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

harvest time

I know, you live in the Chicago area, upstate New York, the Arctic circle.... But I don't, and to combat the high humidity levels here, I get to brag.

In addition to the meals of homegrown lettuce we've been enjoying and the swiss chard and the whopping two meals of snow peas, plus three cherry tomatoes, I went ahead and harvested my onions. They were an experiment; I knew nothing about them when I impulsively bought a set of 100 baby onions. I'm not sure what happened, whether they were unhappy, or if someone nibbled on them, but the tops were all gone. I did some reading and learned that they wouldn't grow any further, so I dug them babies up. While not exactly grocery store quality, they'll do for my first attempt. I think I'll put some in this fall to try again; I'm pretty sure a fall planting will work in our zone. (They'll still harvest spring-summer.) I peeked underground at my garlic (yes, it is garlic) and saw bulbs with only the circumference of a nickel. I'll wait and see if they improve. They came from the grocery, started to grow in my pantry, and were planted. No cost to me, anything edible will be progress. Seems like a plant that can grow with no sun, no dirt and no water should be happy even in Georgia clay.

The guys have gone to buy some seeds. I ripped out the snow peas since the weather is too hot now, so we have room for something new. I'm not sure what they'll pick. Pook wants to grow carrots, but they'll be an experiment in our soil, even amending with sand. CD mentioned both pumpkins and cucumbers. There is a Something growing out there too. A few years ago we had a surprise monster pumpkin plant (considering only one pumpkin had been put in the compost the year before) and got, in addition to many yards of vine, three gorgeous 10" pumpkins from it (unfortunately, in July). Last year, and maybe twice, we've had volunteer cucumbers. They fall in the category of plants-that-camouflage-the-part-I-want-to-find, but I love homegrown cukes, so I hope that's what we've got, or what they buy.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the Thirteenth

Today is my lucky day.

I was born on a Friday the Thirteenth, as was my father and my maternal grandfather. I always figured it was good luck for my family. Then CD proposed to me on a Friday the Thirteenth (although it was nearing midnight if I recall, so he barely got it in under the wire).

We had a deal that he'd take me out for a date every time a Friday the Thirteenth rolled around. That year there had been four of them. Turns out, you can go more than a year without encountering one. Not as many date nights as I'd hoped. And then there were kids.... We're going out with our dinner group on Saturday, so hiring a babysitter for Friday seemed like too much. CD has offered me rainchecks a few times but I'm not good at redeeming them. I'll have to pin him down and mark something on the calendar so we can be sure to get away. Alone.

I decided that one of the best ways to be sure that we, as parents, get out of the house without the kids is called "season tickets". I highly recommend them. I've asked for and received tickets to a local, small theater or to the symphony for gifts. Once you're committed financially you go. The performances are usually well scattered throughout the year and you know well in advance in case you need to swap nights. The other regular outing we take is with our monthly dinner group. We're trying to visit as many of the fabulous restaurants in Atlanta as we can. Right now we're working on eating our way around the world. I believe Korean Barbecue is on the menu for this weekend. The Bangladeshi restaurant was first visited with our dinner group too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

gimme some red dye number 40

What can remind you of summertime, of your own childhood, of sun and splashing more than cherry Kool-Aid? Tropicana suntan lotions, maybe, but for smell and taste combined the Kool-Aid is a winner, hands down. Skip any other flavor. Cherry it must be. Red mustaches, red tongues, hyper kids. Fun and tasty too. My kids hardly ever get this type of treat, but there are just Kool-Aid days. You know them when you have one.

The temperature was 72.8 degrees this morning when I looked at it at 7:28am. We swam at noon today instead of our usual late afternoon. They'd had lunch before swimming, so they were just very thirsty by the time we came home. I considered popsicles, or frozen yogurt tubes- my other summer treats for them, but a cold drink seemed best. I had some too.

I slurped down my Kool-Aid with them and compared the red stain of my tongue with them in the mirror. (Pook won.) I was the only mom at the pool the other day who joined in the squirt gun/toy fight too. Maybe summer brings out my immaturity.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I broke (exaggeration) sprained (not a joint) strained (possibly true) hurt my foot. It was sore last Monday when I got home from my workout at the YMCA, but I expected it to be better by morning. Instead it nagged all week. Saturday, during the "Lemoned Stand", I was weeding in the front yard. Just a few minutes after CD said "We really ought to be wearing proper shoes for this," I stepped off the side of my sandal. They hardly had any heel, but my foot wasn't happy. It hurt the rest of the day, but I was too busy to notice it much. By bedtime though, I couldn't walk without pain. I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and could barely get there. I woke CD to get me ibuprofen.

Sunday morning, worse. I phoned Sister, MD (the easiest and cheapest doc to reach on a Sunday) and she said that if my ankle wasn't the source of the pain, and if I could wiggle my little toe (quite the challenge if you try to do it by itself!) and if the worst area was the fleshy part between them (yes), then there was no reason to go to a doctor. It just needed rest and ice. I rested and I iced. When the others got ready to go to the pool, I decided to join them. The pool felt good, but when I got out I knew I'd never be able to walk home. For the first time, CD had to drive home from the pool-- across the street and up our driveway!

So here I am, day four. I have found that I can fold a queen sheet while sitting on the sofa, I can hop quite a distance (and it entertains my kids), I can give verbal directions to have Pook start the dryer by himself, I can invite kids to come over to play and entertain my own. Bug can get out (and, under duress, put away) food. Pook can rise to the occasion and really help me out with household errands. He even walked with me, letting me use his shoulders for support.

It is a week that will be without field trips unfortunately. Next week Pook goes to camp. Maybe Bug and I will have some fun without him.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

quick note

I picked our first cherry tomato today. The plant had blossoms on it when I bought it and although I should have pinched them off to let the roots grow, I didn't. The plant is fine, with many green tomatoes in line for later in the week. Yum.

And I can smell our gardenia bush from the street (it is in our backyard).


"I am a big kid. I can tie my shoes. I can read. I can take a shower by myself. I can swim. I can ride a two wheeler. I lost my tooth. I'm not little anymore, Mama."

Later in the weekend, "Don't bother me now Mama; I'm playing with my friends!"

Oh, help me. I am not prepared.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

paint this day in sepia tones

CD called our day, yesterday, "a Norman Rockwell kind of day".

Before the heat got too bad, he and the boys went biking. Pook has a new bike without training wheels and was practicing where there was a slope. Bug was zooming around everyone in circles on his little bike. I did some weeding and watering (water restrictions limit us these days) and distributing of more pine straw mulch. We were all sweating by 11am.

Since the "Lemoned Stand" was schedule for noon, Pook started to get ready. We mixed up two quarts of lemonade, got out the card table and a table cloth, the poster and some tape. BK and LK met us outdoors. Mom-Next-Door had the cups and a bag of ice in a cooler. They set up shop in the shade in front of the pool parking lot while the adults went in and out gathering more necessities (trash bag, cloth for spills, chairs for the kids to sit in, and some lunch). The first two customers were there already- a lifeguard and a drive by. Both tipped. Each family had coincidentally scared up $3.25 in quarters which were never needed. Lots of tips: "Here's $4, but I don't want lemonade." Wow. The four boys made $7.65 each, in two hours!

They were hot and tired, so I imposed a thirty minute indoor cool-down before we met the neighbors at the pool. Everyone we know was there; the heat has been in the 90s for a week now. We stayed a long time, all waterlogged but cool. Both Bug and Pook had chosen to bring some of their proceeds to buy ice cream from the ice cream man (who had stopped to buy lemonade from them!) Finally a group of families teamed up and pulled our kids out at the 5pm adult swim. Not too much moaning. I invited the neighbors over to grill out. Pook and Bug were given the options of sitting quietly and reading (needed mellowing time, especially for Bug) or helping tidy the house. They read.

BK, MK, LK and Parents-Next-Door came over and we all watched the Belmont Stakes race. The kids, with no prior knowledge of horse racing, were disappointed in Big Brown's loss. After dinner of brats and beers, their energy renewed, both dads were pulled into the yard for some baseball. I got to stay indoors with Mom-Next-Door and MK, who was too tired to go back out. We helped him with puzzles on the floor.

They left at 8:30. My boys were washed and in bed by 9, exhausted from their day. We were all tired, but in a good way. We'd been very busy, but never rushed. We had done a lot, but had never used the car. Norman Rockwell would be proud.

Friday, June 6, 2008

eating in my pantry

I'm hiding in my pantry eating egg salad and Triscuits for lunch today. Why, you ask, am I hiding in my pantry? Well, I answer, (1) because I fit, and (2) because if anyone sees me a war will start. See, I can't eat something that Bug isn't eating. And Bug wants to do anything these days that Pook does, and both Bug and Pook seem to copy either LK or BK next door. And LK doesn't want yogurt. Not making sense yet?

LK came over earlier. It was barely still morning but we'd only just gotten our sorry summer selves dressed. Soon, LK decided he was hungry. Of course, now they all were. I'd been trying to sell some bananas that would be headed to banana bread if not eaten soon, so I suggested those. LK: "No fanks" (gotta love those Southern manners!) Bug: "I do!" Soon, all the copy cats were eating bananas. LK wants another. Bug wants another. I let them share one. They peel it. Bug doesn't want it after all. I've already eaten one, so it sits on the counter. They go play. Briefly. It is close to noon anyway, so when they came in as a group, clearly having chosen a leader to speak on their behalf, and they asked me for crackers, I suggested lunch for all of them. I bought a h*u*g*e pack of yogurt at Costco at my last visit, hoping to not get back there for a while. No one has been eating yogurt ever since. I suggested yogurt. Bug: "No-ooo" (can you hear the whine and lack of Southern manners?) Pook: "Isn't there anything else?" LK: "I'll have yogurt." He choses blueberry yogurt. I ask if he likes blueberry (yes), if he wants the whole thing (yes) so he opens it and gets a spoon. The others now want yogurt. I dole them out. They want blueberry too, of course. LK: "What kind is this?" (It is still blueberry.) Everyone starts eating peacefully. Then, LK: "I don't like it." Bug: "Me neither." Pook: "I'm not really hungry." I give warnings that if they throw out their yogurts, I am not getting them a new lunch. I send LK home to annoy his own mom and I repeat this to my own. I hate throwing out food. They do not get to taste six things and only eat the seventh. You peel the banana, you eat it. You eat yogurt out of the tub, you finish it. (The banana on the counter was clearly still annoying me.) They vow that they aren't hungry. They won't want anything else until snack time. (I predict hungry boys in the afternoon.) I finally relent and let them go without what I consider to be lunch. I wait until they are occupied and then I check out the contents of the fridge for myself. Leftover egg salad I made Wednesday. Everyone liked it, but there is only one serving left. Do I dare eat it while they're still in the house? Yup. In the pantry. I am a hungry wimp.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I recently found a large bag of leftover red and green M&M's in the back of the pantry. I'd made these fabulous pretzel candies (pretzel, chocolate kiss of various holiday flavors, and M&M) for teachers and friends in December and I kept running out of either pretzels or chocolate. Finally I just bought this massive bag. And then I only needed about twenty of them. So, to avoid even more chocolate bingeing around the holidays, I hid them in the back of the pantry. Unlike many people, I can actually live without milk chocolate, especially relatively generic types. (Dark chocolate is a different story.)

Today I decided to bake M&M cookies with the boys, LK and BK. Turns out, BK doesn't like chocolate at all, so he got a few made especially for him. We made Alton Brown's "Chewy" recipe since I've been on a quest for a good chewy cookie for years. The dough had to chill, so I baked them after lunch. I went upstairs while the first batch was cooking, and came down expecting to smell that sweet smell of baking, but instead the house smells like... gardenias.

Last night we had a friend over while his wife is out of town. He thoughtfully brought a bottle of wine and a large selection of gardenias from their yard. The gesture was sweet, but those gorgeous flowers are too sweet. I have a bush of my own in the backyard, doing well after a huge pruning and transplant. It lives next to the compost pile (ha! I wonder if the compost would smell without it?!) enjoying the only rich soil in our yard. It is just getting ready to bloom this year. Maybe I'll bring one little blossom in and float it in a bowl, but a whole vase of them was overwhelming. I just kicked them into the compost from which will come new gardenias next year. Today I'd rather smell cookies baking.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

lemoned for 25c pre cup

Spelling now corrected by someone, we're having a lemonade stand next weekend. I know this because there are flyers taped to all the mailboxes on the street which advertise this fact. LK next door came up with this original idea and the four of them would have started it at 5pm last night if any of us had had paper cups. Instead they got started on a business plan. BK and Pook wrote out a list of items they will need, Pook adding little boxes next to each item so he can X them off:
  • lemoned
  • cooler
  • poster
  • card table
  • ice
  • jug
  • cups
  • chang box
I will provide lemonade mix, Mom-next-door will provide cups, we'll both donate pitchers and ice. BK gets to handle the money, Pook gets to serve, LK seems to be happy to have given them the idea, and Bug gets to yell to invite passersby headed to the pool across the street. They may do well in this location. We'll see next week. Photos to follow, I promise.

Update: Today, on our way home from the zoo with a friend, I overheard in the backseat:
"Me and BK are having a lemonade stand next weekend."
"I'm gonna do that too I think."
"How much are you gonna charge?"
"Fifty cents a cup."
"We're charging 25 cents. If you have a really large price chances are you aren't going to get very many people."
"Well I'll have a small for 15c, and a medium for 25c and a large for 50c and and extra large for 75c."


Monday, June 2, 2008

adventures in eating

I've said before that Bug will eat anything. He loves to try new foods and would rather taste something he's never had than eat something he considers only average. In comparison, Pook is picky, but in the grand scheme of things, I'd say he's amazingly good too.

I had to take them both to the grocery. (Ah, the joy!) While there I saw artichokes on sale. Hmm. An interesting food they've never seen. We bought two and they argued over holding them the rest of the trip (two artichokes, two boys... a natural cause for an argument, right?) They sat on the counter for a few days until we had time for a relaxed dinner over the weekend. Then we brought out the big guns: "Anyone want an... appetizer?"

Cocktails and appetizers were introduced to them last spring by CD's uncle in Florida ("It's 5:00 somewhere") and have been a hit ever since. I really should buy some little umbrella toothpicks someday.

Bug, barely age 3: I'm hungry.
Me: It's almost dinner time.
Bug: Can I have a snack?
Me: You already had a snack.
Bug: Well then, can I have a appetizer?

So, both boys were excited by the idea of appetizers. The idea of dipping the new food into butter sealed the deal. While they steamed, I explained the technique: pull off leaf, dip in butter (ONCE ONLY) and scrape off yummy part with your teeth. The four of us sat and tried it out. They both seemed to be enjoying the process and maybe the taste too. Bug discovered that the curve of the leaf made for a good spoon and seemed to be drinking melted butter. Pook liked the tender leaves but decided to pass on the heart. He was quite pleased with himself for having had something new. He was once told that eating a new food will add seven years to his life. He's counting.

Last night we went out to dinner with my parents before they headed home this morning. CD and I had been to a Bangladeshi restaurant in town and had had a great experience, so I suggested taking them. I wasn't quite sure what the kids would like, but there's always rice and naan.

You know it's good when the owner introduces himself and then calls the kids by name the whole dinner. But the best part was the menu, or lack of menu. We told him that they were newcomers and he decided to feed us some items off the menu. He even explained what we were eating and how to eat it as each course showed up. We had an appetizer the kids would refer to as a shrimp roll-up (Poori Shrimp). Eating with fingers definitely appealed. Then he brought us four dishes to have with our biriyani rice. Neither peas nor raisins count among Pook's favorite foods. He tasted everything and even called things "yummy", but didn't eat much. He liked his mango lassi, as did Bug until his Papa declared that he didn't like it. Then Bug didn't either*. There was plenty of naan, some with a bit too much onion for Pook, but all good. We had a dish of sweet potatoes and lima beans (not sure the name since nothing similar is on the take-home menu I have), probably Chicken Makhani in a "buttery tomato sauce with aromatic herbs & cream", Malai Kopta, a dish made of vegetable fritters which are then shredded and sauteed (need any more ghee?) and a lamb dish that might have been "spiced with ginger, herbs and onions".

Bug: Are we eating sheep?
Nana: The food kind. (hehehe- good try)
Bug: But like with fluffy fur and stuff?
Nana: um, sort of. Do you like it?
Bug: yep. (that's my little fickle vegetarian for ya!)

Then when we thought we couldn't fit in another bite, around came bowls with Laal-mohon, "little homemade cheese and milk whey balls, dipped in honey & sugar syrup".

And I get the leftovers today for lunch.

*Bug's best part of the meal? He got a real stemmed glass to drink from for his lassi.