Tag: food for thought

Our kids’ caregiver came down with a terrible cold and so, like any other working parents of young children, we made the best of it. Evan and I are fortunate to both have flexible working schedules, allowing us to work after the kids go to sleep, and share parental responsibilities during the day in a pinch.

This was the first time however that childcare was only needed in the afternoons (now that the girls are both in school). While nervous as first, I quickly realized that minding a pre-schooler really just meant lunch followed by a nap and, once that was over, so were my core business hours.

However brief that lunch was, it was the sweetest thirty minutes that I can remember in quite some time. Picking up your child from school midday and walking home hand-in-hand while catching up on their day and even my own morning is extra-ordinary. We talked about science class, dance parties on rainy days, and how someone’s hair clip was confiscated because she fiddled with it. Lunch was quiet because learning at school is hard work. Last and most intoxicating is the brief but unforgettable cuddle which we shared right before nap.

I quietly patted down Eliza. Gingerly descending the stairs back to my computer, I was greeted by the emails, messages, and meeting notices it held safe and sound for me. And as I walked down to the kitchen I couldn’t help but envy any mom who has the luxury to eat lunch with her children and tuck them in for their nap, listen to them retell stories of their morning as soon as it’s over and not try to pry it out of them when they’re tired and hungry for dinner. These are luxuries that most people can’t afford and not always because they’re financially precluded from doing so. How I wonder about parents who can’t wait to ship their kids off to school — an inevitable eventuality.

That being said and smarting from the the sting of envy I remembered that, one day, when the girls are just a bit older and have their own lives making them not be available for pre-school lunch dates, I will be there in the evenings and weekends. And … and I will be me and not just “mom”. And “me” works because it fulfills my drive for making something with my own hands that improves the lives of many other people.

Food For Thought Life Motherhood

img_6598.jpg

It has lately been too hot to go outside in the evening after dinner. Maybe not too hot, but too balmy and humid. Last night, we’d all had enough of this and finally decided to brave the dog days of Philadelphia’s summer and go for a walk after dinner. Dinner was, by the way, a sake and ginger poached chicken breast served with basmati rice and peas. The girls love it and the poached chicken works beautifully in green salad for lunch the next day, too. But I digress.

Walks, I have discovered, are a wonderful way to talk to your kids. I rarely if ever take the stroller and we instead hold hands and stroll. We stroll at the girls’ pace and are sure to discover every nook we come upon. We stopped by the Girard Fountain Park yesterday because the water feature there is so lovely and one almost instantly feels cooler from the sound of running water in the heat of the summer. Trying to keep cool in the heat is why the Moors placed such importance on fountains in their gardens in the south of Spain.

In addition to discovery and exploration on the girls’ part, there is discovery on my part. I get a chance to hear the stories from their day and find out what Sophia and Eliza are interested in, what they did today, and answer questions they may have. Every parent has their shtick, that which they find of utmost importance or the principal that they parent by. Conversations and explanations are mine. I firmly believe that, and I have long preached this on this blog, children should be conversed with as adults. That children deserve and need explanations and not edicts. This may take time, but you are teaching your kids communications skills, vocabulary, logic, and reasoning, and you are also getting to know your children at the very same time.

Some will disagree and say that an explanation is just too many extra words or that a two year old will not understand the reasoning behind this. An explanation is extra words, extra effort, and a two year old may not always understand, but a child will learn. Moreover, the saying that “mom knows best” is true except it is not just mom, but mom and dad. We are, after all, an egalitarian household. As such, when others offer advice and feel that they know better, always listen to their suggestions and reasons, but remember that they’ve had their chance at parenting.

Food For Thought

Parenting Philosophy. What’s yours? Ours is… well, until now, ours has been elusive. Or perhaps our philosophy hasn’t been, but we’ve lacked the ability to describe it. In going through the process of placing Sophia into a pre-school, we’ve had to [fairly recently] develop a cogent description of how we approach parenting.
IMG_1223There are many, many parenting philosophies out there and you can read all about them before you become a parent thinking that you will be this type of a parent or that type of a parent. The truth of the matter is that you will not know what kind of a parent you will be until you have your child(ren) and they shape you as a parent much like you shape them as people. And so, after several lengthy conversations we have identified that our style is best described as a modified version of Slow Parenting. And while we do not adhere to the lack of television access, we do let our kids play with simple toys like blocks and craft because while the materials are elemental, the possibilities are limitless. We are focused on teaching the girls commitment and expect them to follow through if they’ve promised or agreed to something. “I can’t” is not an expression that is acceptable at our house because it is so final and instead, the girls can ask for help or say that this is something they “don’t know” how to do “just yet“. To some, this may be just a matter of words, but if you really think about it, these words imply very different things. “I can’t” implies finality that the fate of this task is sealed and it is beyond one’s reach while not knowing how to do something implies an opportunity to learn. Learning, extending, trying something new, and even failing, no, especially failing are critical. This outlook stems from the fact that we treat the girls as adults. Everything, and I do mean, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is explained at all ages. When Eliza refuses to put on a jacket, we patiently explain that it is cold outside and a jacket will make her warm. When Sophia gets upset that Eliza has once again destroyed a castle she diligently built with her blocks, we explain that Eliza is little and she is discovering the world. We also say that part of discovery is the process of taking something apart to learn what it is really made of and that she (Sophia) used to smash castles we built for her, too.

Lastly, Evan and I make a concerted effort to engender empathy in the girls both toward each other, toward us, our family, and others in general. Empathy goes hand in hand with love and there is no stronger bond than that between siblings and families. So here it is, our brief, and still very incomplete parenting philosophy. The beignets? These are homemade zeppole with apples because it is fall and because fried dough is the perfect place to sneak a bit more fruit.

p1

p2

The weekend was eventful—a trip to the zoo, a technical conference, a date-night, a dance class, and …. the zeppole. There was also 40 garlic clove chicken, homemade chicken soup, baked Japanese yam fries, and quality time with grandparents.

Cookery Dessert Flavors Food For Thought Life

It hasn’t been just about birthdays, tutu’s, and parties around here. On occasion, when properly overstimulated with life, I take a bit of time to ponder all things intangible. Some thoughts…

  • Respect, similarly to trust, is like a beautiful crystal vase—it can be broken, put together, and enjoyed once more but never the same way.
  • Family is the most important thing in the world, but not the family you are born into, the one you choose to be a part of and the one you make for yourself. There is a famous quote from the Velveteene Rabbit where the Skin Horse tells the rabbit that real isn’t how you are made, but real is what you become after being loved for a long, long time. We aren’t born siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. We become them through our actions and through being there.
  • The real challenge of parenthood isn’t sleepless nights and picky eaters, it is raising children with just enough discipline so that they retain their spirit to object, to stand up for something they care for, and continue to be fun.

Food For Thought

We forget our old lives, the roads taken to this place where we are now. And even if we try to look back and remember, we often find that the images are fuzzy. Trying to remember is valiant albeit futile. And while my heart flutters, the further time displaces and propels our lives forward, the less I mourn and the more sure I am that I am happiest where I am. Here and in the now.

Why the deep thoughts? Well, despite my otherwise bubbly personality, that to most casual observers will come off as a bit ditzy, there are serious thoughts that ruminate at all times. Evan says I have impostor syndrome and playing a ditz is a big part of that (according to him).

Big year, big changes, big realizations. My birthday is coming up. And yet again, I am nagged asked about what I want for my special day. Yet again, I don’t want anything because I don’t need anything. There are things I adore because I like pretty things and style. I love shoes and purses and beautiful jewelry. But they are all material things and, despite their luminosity and craftsmanship, are just things. They’re possessions that take space in your home and rarely, if ever, bring the type of joy that real life does. I am, in that respect, a lot like Evan. So in the end, all I want for my birthday is a date with my husband and some delicious cake with my family. And I happen to think that one of the most special things is to receive a call on the exact day because … you know someone thought of you and cared enough to remember.

DedaBabaSophiaMovieTime

 

Food For Thought Life