Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Parenting from the Prone Position

Things you can do with kids while flat on your back thanks to a suddenly pulled lower back muscle:

With an infant: Sing songs, make stupid noises, flap his arms with yours, let him chew on your fingers.

With a three-year-old: Sing songs, play Simon Says, encourage him to turn on the keyboard and dance to the music, let him play with the infant.

With a five-year-old: Tell him he has to do everything himself.

With the other adults in the house: Beg for help.

I'm going to see an acupuncturist this afternoon, which I have never done before and which I devoutly hope will make me at least semi-mobile. Because despite all the things I've found to do with my children while I'm crippled and stuck lying on the couch, the reality is that I can't do much of what I need to do. At least not without a lot of pain.

Wish me luck. And cross your fingers for me that the needles work.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Re-Direct

Please read this today and take your moment.

Have a wonderful day, my lovelies.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Just Follow Directions

"Mom! Get the camera so you can take a picture of me holding Jack!"


And then, of course . . .

Charlie-monkey sees, and does.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Unsolicited Kitchen Advice

Should you find yourself one fine May in possession of three bags of very elderly apples that have been in storage since the fall and are therefore waaaay past their peak flavor . . . make applesauce and add some rhubarb to the apples. It won't taste like really great applesauce made in October from really great apples, but it'll be better than storebought. Not that that's much of a standard.

Next . . .

If you, like me, have never experienced the joy of carnitas, go get yourself some pork butt and make some. Just chunk up the pork, add whatever spices you want (last night I actually used apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and caraway seeds to make, uh, German carnitas, I guess), barely cover with water, simmer until tender, uncover and cook until all the water is gone and then the meat fries in its own fat.

This does not sound all that appetizing. It is. It is also incredibly easy because there's no annoyingly spatter-y browning of the meat first or gross wet boiled fat on the meat at the end.

I don't know how I lived for ten years in Arizona without having any idea what carnitas are (is? weird one), but I don't want you to be similarly deprived.

That's all. Carry on.

Monday, May 18, 2015

It Happens To the Best of Us

The MiL, kind soul that she is, frequently tells me how everyone she knows thinks I'm just the best mother. That's nice. I appreciate the validation.

Then again, I locked my children out of the house today. On purpose.

Well, to be precise, I locked them out of the kitchen. And the reason I locked them out of the kitchen is that Cubby and Charlie spent all day today fighting and screaming and whining and crying and fussing with Jack, who in turn cried and fussed.

They continued this all the way until I was trying to make dinner and Jack was happily kicking on the floor and they WOULD NOT leave him alone for the love of God and then Cubby came up with this great plan where Charlie would run up and spank me (Charlie always gets delegated the dangerous jobs) and my surprise would be so great that Cubby could snatch Jack and run off with him.

Good plan, right? Too bad they hatched it in the room I was actually in at the time, so I was forewarned and already pissed off.

So Charlie ran up and spanked me and I hauled both him and his brother (Cubby obviously, not Jack) out the door and locked it. And then I locked the other two doors (yes, there are three doors into our kitchen--old house) and watched them run all around trying the doors and pounding on them.

They thought this was a great game. So did I.

Of course, it ended about three minutes later when the MiL came home and I unlocked the door for her to come inside. But by that time I had regained some measure of calm--a very, very small measure--and could once again converse with my children in a way that did not involve shrieking. By me or them.

So. For all you mothers out there who sometimes lose it and do things like lock your children out or yourselves in just to get away from them for three blessed minutes? You're still a great mom. It's not you; it's them.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Speaking of Chores

You know what chore a five-year-old boy and an almost-three-year-old boy will never whine about? Squishing asparagus beetles.

I've got myself some new garden pest control. Next up: the Colorado potato beetle.

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Father's Daughter

The day after The Big Storm, Cubby, Charlie, and I went out during one of Jack's naps to start dragging branches from the uprooted tulip poplar out of the driveway. Cubby and Charlie were all about helping for the first couple of branches, but then Cubby realized how many branches there were, and how long of a drag it was to get them to the gully, and how interesting the water in the gully was.

So when I pulled a few more small branches out the mess for him to drag, he informed me he was done helping. Oh yeah? Think again. At five, he's old enough to help. So I told him that. He responded with whining and ended with the question, "But why do kids have to help? Why don't the grown-ups do it?"

"Because," I said. "You live in this house, so you help take care of this house."

My brother and sister are now thinking to themselves, "Geez, Kris. When did you turn into Dad?"

My father's stock response to our own whining about chores as children and teenagers was, "You live in this house, you work in this house." Obviously a lesson I internalized well.

Cubby dragged one more branch and then started claiming he was tired. My response to this was also less than sympathetic (mostly because I knew his exhaustion would vanish as soon as he was playing again and racing around like a whirling dervish). "Daddy gets tired when he's working too, you know. But does he stop when he's tired? No. He finishes the job. And you will too. Drag one more branch and then you can play."

He did it. I suspect there will be no lasting physical effects from my enforced labor. Although in thirty years, he might find himself forcing his own children to do yard work and using the very same phrases he heard that day from me.

Family traditions are the best, aren't they?