Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Conversations at Our House

A) On hubby's b-day we both got home a little early. I had to drop off somethings before picking up the kids and he got off work early.

Me: Are you ready for your birthday quickie? (joking really, we had to go get the kids)

He: A birthday cookie!!! (TOTALLY excited)

Me: No, a quickie.

He: Oh... (TOTALLY disappointed)

Do I have the only man on earth who would rather have a cookie?

B) We have two "sports-style" cups for G with Clifford on them. Not because she loves Clifford or anything, I was just looking for a new kind of cup and found those. The two cups are exactly the same, but everytime I reach for one G and I have this conversation:

Me: How about a Clifford cup? (as I grab one from the cupboard)

G: No, I want the other Clifford cup! (in her most convincing whine)

Me: G, hon, this is the other one.

G: Ok (happily)

Toddlers: so picky but quite easily fooled. Please no one tell me they eventually figure this stuff out!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anti-Aging for the Aging

My sweet husband is turning 38 on Monday. 38!! It boggles the mind, actually. I met him when he was 25. And here we are, 13 years later, on the other side of the world, with two kids. It boggles the mind, I tell you.

To make him feel better about turning 38 (because, let's face it, he is nearly 40! and to make matters worse, I am not far behind) I am getting him the equipment to make an anti-aging serum...

Hello Resveratrol! That's right... a home wine-making kit. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. This is what we will be making...

Chilean Carmenère: one of our favorites.

The kit makes 30 bottles of wine. 30! That'll last us at least a few weeks (just kidding).

If you come by in a few months we just might share...

Maybe by next year we'll be stomping our own grapes and adding the oak chips and just the right touch of cassis.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Little Victories

One of the things that I am not crazy about in adults is pickiness. Everyone has the right to have a very short list of foods they don’t like, but I have met full-grown adults who don't eat vegetables at all or will eat only 2-3 vegetables and only when they are prepared a certain way. WHAT is THAT about? I think it is too easy to get stuck in your child-food-brain and not venture out and try things as an adult to outgrow childhood pickiness.

I want to raise kids who are not picky eaters. So we eat lots of kinds of things; we introduce the kids to lots of different foods. And there is the expectation that they will try everything. If they don’t like it, there will be lots of other opportunities to come around—we’ll be having it again in a week or two. The hubby is always worried about whether they eat their protein or not, but I think the real food battles are won with vegetables. It is so easy to be picky about things like mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, or onions.

So G loves certain vegetables. I love that she’ll practically inhale her asparagus before touching anything else on her plate. When I make pizza, I put mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, and she eats it with no problem. (I think we grossly underestimate what kids will eat—cheese pizza and chicken nuggets???) But she has never been so crazy about broccoli. She always has to eat at least three broccoli crowns (I am mean that way) but it is always with a lot of coaxing and prodding.

Tonight, for the first time, she ate her three little broccoli trees (we pretend we are dinosaurs eating trees) and she wanted MORE! She asked me for some of mine… then asked for more.

I was so proud!


Another wish of mine for my kids is that they learn how to stand up for themselves without being mean. I talk to G about not hitting and not saying mean things and what it feels like to have those things done to you. I hope she learns to be empathetic. Kids pick up meanness so early—it is so disheartening. I love that G is not mean (I am sure it could still happen, but I have my eyes peeled, my ears on alert, and my fingers crossed). I mean, she’ll hit, like any three year old, fighting over a toy, but she doesn’t exclude to be mean, she doesn’t say mean things, as I have seen other kids her age do.

But sometimes I worry that she’s not quite sure how to handle meanness directed at her. Sometimes I’ll see her playing with friends and see her stunned almost helpless expression when something mean is done to her. So I also talk to her about what to say when someone is mean.

Today when I picked her up from childcare, her teacher told me about an incident outside, when another girl had yelled at G. G told her loud and clear: “Don’t you talk like that to me.”

I am sure she picked that line up from me (when I tell her that she has to talk and treat me respectfully), but I love that she used it in that situation. She didn’t hit; she didn’t say something ugly—she calmly stated how she was not going to be treated.

I felt that rosy-warm inner bubble of pride well up: That’s my girl!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your Future Life 101

I like to think I am preparing my students for more than ordering “una más cerveza, por favor!”*

*this is not how it is actually said in proper Spanish, but how it is said by drunkish gringos who think they speak “un poquito de espanyol”

I like to think I am preparing my students for real adult life. . . by giving them glimpses, however unpleasant, into their most certain futures.

For example, a few weeks ago we were studying indirect objects and their pronouns. (If you haven’t studied a language recently, you will have no idea what those are, but no matter…)

One of the exercises we did was a hypothetical argument with a boyfriend/girlfriend who had recently complained that we were not attentive enough. The exercise required that we give ample evidence of all of the things we do for the dis-satisfied boyfriend/girlfriend.

I gave examples like these:

I recite poetry for you under the moon
I bring you breakfast in bed.
andsometimesmyselfinyourname etc…………..

Rest assured I had lots of examples—they were just rolling off my tongue for some reason.

I told them I had just helped them win at least half of the fights they will have as a married couple.

When they ask me how my weekend was, I tell them what weekends are like when you are married with kids. Hey, it is not exactly rip-roarin’ fun, but my weekends will soon be their weekends. They should be prepared.

These are pearls of wisdom it has taken me years to collect. While I don’t want to ruin ALL of the surprises adult life will bring, last week I informed them of several new games we have been playing at my house:

1) The sick baby shuffle: baby is sick… again… mom and dad take turns staying home from work for days on end, with all the stress, both financial and psychological, that brings. This includes at least several trips to the doctor and at least one to the pharmacy at an odd hour.

2) Tag-you’re sick: this is where each member of the family takes turns getting sick, hosting the virus mutation, and then passing it on. This endlessly prolongs the sick-baby-shuffle and causes the consumption of Kleenex, children’s motrin, and Nyquil to increase exponentially. I did not inform them exactly how much snot, crying and occasionally diarrhea must be dealt with—I don’t want to ruin all of the new-parent-discoveries.

The latest information that I passed on was that, flying in the face of all that they will learn in biology and feminist theory, the biggest difference between men and women, one that will only become glaringly obvious when they are married with kids, is how differently men and women cope with the common cold.

(I should also add, in all fairness, that the biggest surprise may just be that they feel pretty fortunate and generally concede that life is pretty darn SWEET!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Missing this Spring

Though it is definitely Spring in Texas, we are in drought. We had a bit of rain last month, but it was too little, too late--not enough to save many of the Bluebonnets. This is a picture of G, when she was just toddling about-- 2 years ago in a park near our house. The field was full of Bluebonnets, this year there are only a handfull and they are small and lackluster.

This is one of my favorite photos of G.

We have all been sick this week. Baby Nico, then me, now the hubby. If G gets it, I may have a minor breakdown.

This is as close to an "Easter" post as we are going to get. In all honesty I don't "do" Easter--no dyed eggs, no new dresses. G did it at pre-school (daycare) and that is enough. However, we have been hiding and finding her stache of plastic eggs, just for fun, (and it is FUN!--can't wait to do it again after her nap.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I have tricky hair: It's a little frizzy (doesn't smooth); it's fine but full =puffy; most of it has a little curl, which I like, but one side is absolutely straight and will obey no one; and it is full of crazy calics (cowlicks?).

It is also tricky because it is short.

I do like the color though, so you don't think I am just dissing on my-poor-ol'-self.

The bad thing is that it is hard to find someone who can cut it right--trust me! I am willing to pay a kinda-pretty penny to get a good stylist (and I never really come clean with my husband about how much I pay. I say: "A lot" and we leave it at that--but com'on--it is really my only luxury) Let's just say I don't go to Supercuts.

The good thing is that you will never see me crying over a bad haircut (and I have had plenty). I am not that attached to having perfect hair. (but if I am going to go pay to get it cut, I want to hope that it is going to be a great cut.)

So, there was a guy who cut my hair for several years. I LOVE his cuts. He has internalized all the quinky-dinks about my hair and just has it figured out. Buuuuuuuut.......

He is a little annoying.

1) He is a white, straight guy in his mid-thirties (my age). He got married a few years ago and then divorced (2 years later). Now he is "just having fun" dating cute, young girls. Nothing wrong with having fun, per se, but there is something irritating (to me) about a perpetual player-of-the-field.

2) He always greets me with a "Hey giiiiiirl! Wass'up?" I say "not much." I don't know what age group talks like that, but I am thinking "Duuuuuude! You're my age! We are no longer cool enough to talk like that. He just tries way too hard to be hip (or whatever the new word for hip is).

3) The last time he cut my hair I was 2 months post-partum. He, as you can imagine is child-less "doesn't want that responsibility--still wants to play" (nothing wrong with that per se, but he has no clue). When he says "wass'up" I tell him that I just had a baby. He says at some point: "God, I am sooooo glad I am not a woman!!!"

Are you thinking what I am thinking?: ASS! right? You don't say that to any woman, much less one who just had a baby. I wasn't even talking about childbirth or breastfeeding, or poopy diapers or anything "gross" or painful. I HATE that attitude in a man.

My husband said that maybe he meant it as a compliment, like he doesn't know how we do it or that it is admirable how strong we are. Uh, no... it is nice of him to try to put a positive twist on it, but he did not say it that way.

So I kind of swore that I was going to find a new stylist.

I did. But I am not crazy about her cuts. And by "not crazy" I mean my hair is a disaster.

So, here I am needing a hair cut...

Do I go back to loser-boy for a good cut, or do I try to find someone new?