Archive for January, 2011

Parenting is hard, but also kind of awesome

A special edition of “Overheard,” as it pertains the previous post:

Olivia’s preschool teacher, Karina: “Your daughter is doing really well. She’s so sweet and well behaved, and she is very obedient.”

Me: “I’m Rebecca, Olivia’s mom.”

Karina: “I know….”

Me: “Oh! Right. Great, then.”

Me: “Ava, don’t you remember the conversation we had on the way to school yesterday? About no crying? No whining?”

Ava: “Mom, why don’t we just start with less crying and less whining, and we can see how that goes.”

Parenting is hard, part 312 of 1,290.

I think, honestly, I am good at a lot of things. Unfortunately, I am not sure parenting is one of them. Especially between the hours of 7-8 am and 5-6 pm. Not to mention bedtime…

Any tips from parents who found ways to make these parts of the day a bit easier to manage? How can I improve things for the whole household? I’d prefer to keep my job, if at all possible.

Do I say, “Nope, this the the bowl you’re using for cereal this morning, and I’m not washing the one you just had to use last night.” Or, do I sacrifice a bit of sleep and wash it up the night before? (That’s not foolproof, of course, because who really knows what bowl will be THE bowl for the day? And, obviously, this is one tiny example–the day is filled with similar scenarios.)

And really, the question is, do you work to prevent tantrums during these parts of the day, or do you just suffer through them and hope that they soon realize crying isn’t going to accomplish anything? (Anything other than causing their parents to quietly question their own sanity, I mean.)

I’ve always thought parenting was work, but it usually seems manageable. I am starting to question that, and I worry it will only get worse.

Help us, experienced parents. What can we do better?

Olivia’s artwork

Painting has quickly become Olivia’s favorite part of preschool. She loves coming home and unveiling her work, which now covers much of our house like wallpaper.

Olivia Fix

I’d be more critical of her attitude if she wasn’t exactly like me.

Horsing around

(You’ll see why that title is appropriate in a moment…)

Every two years, Gramma and Grampa dig and process horseradish. This year, Bryan helped with the digging, and the grandparents sent some roots home with him to process on his own.

So, late one night last month, he set to it, taking photos of the task along the way. Here are the pre-processed roots, which he had soaked in the garage for a few days prior.

Then, he peeled the roots. He said he started with 36.5 oz of horseradish root.  After he cleaned and peeled it, he had 22 ounces left, or about 60 percent of the starting weight.

From Bryan: I blended the horseradish with some water (just enough to allow for blending) and a pinch of salt.  After blending, I let it sit 10 minutes (I read on the internet that the longer it sits, the hotter it gets, up to a point).  Two to three minutes was recommended for mild, about five minutes for medium, and eight minutes for hot.  Ten minutes seemed about right to me.  After that, I added some white vinegar to get the consistency right.

All in all, it’s very good and pretty hot.  Not too bad for a first attempt, anyway.  I made it without safety glasses or ventilation, but it was only two batches in the blender, so not too big or dangerous of a job.  The only cringe inducing moments were after the 10 minute period when I opened the top of the blender to peek in and add vinegar.  It’s probably best to stand back a foot or two from the top of the blender, to not breathe in the fumes directly.

By this point, the entire house smelled like horseradish, and Bryan, perhaps fueled by a combination of the pungent fumes and large quantities of bourbon, continued to snap photos using the camera’s timer function.

Thanks, Gramma and Grampa, for sharing—we will enjoy this in the months to come.

Winter wonderland

Our second big snowstorm this month dropped seven inches across the city last night. Schools are closed (but work is open, of course). The girls can’t wait to bundle up and head outside.

What’s it like where you are?

Olivia Fix

She’s cute, but you don’t want to mess with her before her second cup of coffee.

Late breaking news…

After a few weeks of waiting (somewhat) patiently for her loose tooth to fall out, Ava decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. I explained how she could use floss to connect her tooth to a doorknob, extracting the tooth as she slammed the door. She was game.

It took a bit of time to tie the floss around her little tooth, but we finally had it secure.

(I’m still trying to figure out my new external flash, so I apologize for some of the dark photos to come.)

Once we had the floss set, I grabbed my phone to record video and made sure my camera was on the right setting (this is, after all, our first loose tooth, and a pretty big deal in our house). I carefully helped Ava down from her perch on the counter. Then, as we walked to basement door, I heard Ava yelp.

I looked down to see  that I had stepped on the long end of floss, yanking the other end and causing the tooth to fly out.

A bit anticlimactic compared to what we’d planned, but the end result was the same.

One down, 19 to go!

In the kitchen

I haven’t done a lot of baking lately, but here’s a photo from Christmas morning. I love Ina Garten’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake–it’s quick and easy, and the end result is pretty to boot.

I normally make this in a Bundt pan, but I tried the recommended tube pan for the first time because Mom and Gramma were there to supervise. The cake slid out without any trouble. Inverting it on the cake plate was an adventure, but fortunately, it landed in one piece.

Ava Fix(ing Dinner)

Ava received a couple of cookbooks for Christmas, and she jumped right in by preparing a Thai peanut/chicken pasta dish last week. Olivia was skeptical, but once we renamed it macaroni and peanut butter, she was all over it.