Posts tagged ‘Parenting’

December 15, 2011

Baby vs. Butternut Squash: Round Two

Last year, I attempted to cook a couple of dinners that involved butternut squash. I learned that it is possible to cook a time-consuming meal like that with a baby around, but, unfortunately not possible to eat it when it’s prepared. Last year, both times, the baby won.

 

This year, I gave it another shot. I’ve been craving macaroni and cheese; I had a recipe for butternut squash macaroni and cheese; and I had a butternut squash that needed to be consumed soon. Plus a macaroni-and-cheese-loving friend was coming for a visit, if I needed something to put me over the top.

 

I upped the ante this time, considering how allergic to dairy Jacob is. Macaroni and cheese involves milk, cheese, and butter—the trifecta of Jacob poison. But did that stop me? No!

 

It was a battle to keep Jacob entertained and well fed while I cooked (essentially with one hand, mind you), but I did it. The key this time was that I didn’t intend to eat the meal right away. I was making dinner at lunchtime. Not only that, but I made two casseroles, so I really made two dinners (and a couple of lunches). Not only that, but I put bacon on top. Not only that, but I toasted panko crumbs for a topping in the bacon fat before I put it on the mac and cheese.

 

Was there a crying baby? Yes. Was there a crying daddy when he saw the mess in the kitchen? Yes. But was there a mama with a very happy belly and a strong sense of victory? Oh, yes.

 

Baby: one. Butternut squash: one.

 

Until next time . . .

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December 13, 2011

Mama Elf: Slacking Off? Or Being Realistic?

Some of my mommy friends have recently asked what we’re giving Jacob for Christmas, and I think they’ve been pleasantly confused by my answer.

 

Jacob’s Christmas morning will look like this:

 

– Two books (Blueberries for Sal and a children’s book of saints)

– A big boy toothbrush

– A pack of those capsules you drop in water and when they open, little foam animals come out

 

That’s it.

 

Although there are about seven billion things we could get him, and would love to give him, there are two very good reasons holding us back (and one isn’t even our budget):

 

a) If past holidays (Christmas, Easter, and so on) are any gauge, the kid’s going to make out like a bandit, courtesy of our fun, loving, and generous family.

 

b) Jacob spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon like this, in his bathtub with a spatula and a kitchen timer.

What do you say to that, Fisher Price?

December 5, 2011

A Gift of a Lifetime

It’s easy to watch a little baby interact with his world and make assumptions about what he’ll be, what he’ll do when he grows up. Sometimes it’s funny, too.

 

When Jacob was younger and rounder, it was fun to joke that he’d be a football player, maybe a linebacker. Or better, the whole line. Still I tried to remember that on Sunday afternoons he was simply enjoying the flickering lights of the television screen, not the action it was portraying. And really, these days he could care less about the lights.

 

When he walks around with books held over his head and triumphantly holds a Cheerio up to the heavens before eating it, it’s easy to say he’s headed for the seminary. And when he chases after dogs at the park, it’s fun to imagine that he’ll be a dog catcher—albeit a bad one; I don’t think you’re supposed to take them all home to play with them.

 

This weekend John and I had the pleasure of seeing his brother Karl play violin with a semi-local singer/songwriter. It was incredible. Karl is so relaxed and yet focused when he plays—and he plays beautifully—and his contribution added another dimension to what would otherwise have been a guy and his guitar (admittedly, my favorite kind of music).

 

While watching him perform, I was struck by how influential a decision his parents made almost twenty-five years ago has been. All John’s siblings, and my brother and I as well, took music lessons at some point in time. It stuck more for some than others, but not for anyone as much as for Karl. These days, while he pursues a career in business, his violin is a source of supplementary income, a social networking tool, a key to keeping him involved in a very active ministry, and—you can tell by watching him play—a source of joy.

 

Saturday night, all I could think about was the hope we have the foresight to offer Jacob the right opportunities and to encourage him to pursue his talents in ways he will enjoy. I hope in this way we will teach him the virtue of hard work and that the fruits of his diligence will serve him for a lifetime, the way they have for Karl.

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