Food for Thought

Aug 28 2009

I try to feed my family healthy and appealing meals.  This takes the form of a lot of homemade cooking, a general preference for locally grown food, an insistence that my children befriend vegetables, and an attempt to limit sugar and excess.  Attempt does not always equal success, but, hey, I’m trying.

We almost never have dessert, mostly because I don’t want my kids to learn that the reward for eating food is to have sugar.  Every once in a while, though, I surprise them and pull out a treat.  Tonight it was a luscious lemon pie.

I planned ahead (knowing it takes hours in the fridge to set after baking), and I made this pie from scratch.  I mean, I juiced the lemons and grated the zest myself.  I altered ingredients to cut the sugar and the fat without compromising taste, hoping to treat my family without the guilt.  I much prefer cooking to baking, so this was something of a sacrifice on my part.

And my family was appreciative.  They really were.  Everyone said, “thank you” without being prompted – a mark of success in every mother’s book – and that pie was gone in a blink.

To top it all off, I received these two complimentary gems:

“Yum! This tastes like jello.”

and

“Good job, Mom! This isn’t poison.”

I’m veritably saturated with pride.

“The reason why I’m so smart is because…”

Aug 26 2009

There are a lot of things that go through my mind when one of my children opens a conversation with a line like my eldest daughter, age 11, recently did.

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

“The reason why I’m so smart is because…”

Now, you have to really extend the “uh” syllable in “because” to make it sound as tantalizing as she did.  More like, “the reason why I’m so smart is becuuuuuuuhhhhhhz…”

Followed by a long pause designed especially for me to guess the reason behind this new found self-awareness.

Maybe the reason she’s so smart is because her mother has taught her many weighty and wonderful things.

Maybe the reason she’s so smart is because she’s been reading the dictionary secretly at night, knowing how much an excellent vocabulary will please me.

Maybe the reason she’s so smart is because I strictly prohibit watching junk like the Disney Channel on TV.  (Oh, wait.  No, I don’t.  Scratch that one.)

I admit it.  I have a reputation for having a big mouth and saying what’s on my mind.  It’s partially deserved.  (Those who know me would probably say it’s well-deserved.  But this is my blog, therefore my reality.  So there.)  I’m not sure whether it would be in my favor or not for people to know all of the times I actually bite my tongue and don’t say what I’m thinking.

Nevertheless, this time I managed not to say any of the pithy, smarmy comments that came to mind.  Chalk one up in the Mommy Column.

And the reason she’s so smart?

“Becuuuuuuuhhhhhhz… I did NOT just smack Ian on the head even though he totally deserved it.”

Oh.

Well.

I was expecting something a tad more profound.  And a lot more self-serving on the Mom front.  Something that might justify all of the time and thought and attention I put into parenting.  Something that might follow her through life as a memorable lesson on how smart her mother is.

I suppose I was hoping all along that “the reason why I’m so smart is because…” could somehow be interpreted as “the reason why you’re so smart, Mom, is because…”

But when I really consider it and try to remove my selfish self from the situation, she’s right.  She was pretty smart.

Particularly because I’m quite certain Ian did deserve it.  He’s 9.  And a boy.  He’s pretty irritating at this stage.  Especially if you’re 11.  And his sister.

Which makes me think.

I’m pretty smart.

The reason why I’m so smart is because I taught my daughter not to smack her brother on the head.

I’m what?

Aug 25 2009

This morning, Cai, the eldest of my twin two-year-old toddlers, was adorable.

He was playing with a toy bulldozer. A scooper. Or, as he calls it, a “‘cooper.”

See? Isn’t that adorable already?

Yeah, I know our kids are mostly adorable to just us and not so much to other people. Given Cai’s ongoing proclivity to drool, I can intellectually understand that “‘cooper” doesn’t ameliorate the effects of perpetually damp shirts on your perception of his cuteness.

But who the heck cares what other people think about drool when your tiny, bedeviling kid looks up at you with big blue eyes and says, as Cai did, “Mommy, I’m going to ‘coop you up.”

Oh, the way my heart flipped and flopped. How precious that my son wants to ‘coop me up! What a tender moment.

And, as I reached down to hug His Royal Dampness, he followed up his comment with,

“Because you’re dirt.”