"Where's Becca, Mommy?"
By Gina at 11:35 AM | Labels: 365 Project, Confessions, iphone, parenting, photography, tantrum, toddler
Thursday evening, Kris and I were relaxing on the patio when Miles came running out, excited and grinning. "You like my haircut, Mommy?"
He turned to the side, and sure enough there was a small bald patch above his ear.
The kids had been in the next room, 15 feet away from us, trimming paper -- and hair, apparently -- with their jumbo safety scissors. My first thought was, it finally happened. I admit, once I saw that the damage was minimal, I was a little excited to have reached this childhood milestone. I suppressed my laughter, though, and ran inside to see how Bronwynn looked.
Thankfully, her cut was even less noticeable than Miles'. She'd lopped a few inches off the end, underneath several long layers.
Whereas Miles had been proud of his new do, B was clearly aware she'd made a mistake. She averted her eyes and smoothed her hair down to hide the evidence. Then, both kids lied and tried to cover up the whole thing, stuffing clumps of hair in their pockets.
The lying was a bigger offense than the hair cutting, so we sent the kids to their rooms and talked about the consequences of losing our trust. Miles was a little upset, but more confused as to why we weren't proud of his cutting skills. B, on the other hand, dissolved into a puddle of shame and self-loathing. She announced, through sobs, that no one will ever love her again and she might as well grow up and become a bank robber. Her reasoning: Bank robbers make bad choices. She made a bad choice. There's nothing left for her on this side of the law.
Being dishonest is painful, I told her. It doesn't make her a bad person, just human. And nothing she could ever do -- even robbing a bank -- would make me love her an ounce less than I do right now. That's the truth. I also assured her that tomorrow is a new day.
She went to sleep crying, and I wept too, because I worried that she really does think no one will love her if she's not perfect.
Five seems a little young to be such a perfectionist, but she comes by it naturally. It's one of the biggest lessons I keep relearning in life. I don't have to do it all, or be everything to everyone. I will not say the right things or do the right things in every situation. I am far from perfect. I am enough.
The next day, B had a breakthrough. She woke up happy and relieved that it was indeed a new day. We talked briefly about the haircut, and I reminded her we all make mistakes, and it was time to move on.
B usually gets really embarrassed if she makes a mistake at school. She typically wouldn't tell her favorite teacher, Theresa, about getting in trouble. She craves Theresa's love and approval in the same way she craves mine and Kris'. But on Friday, she told Theresa the whole entire hair-cutting saga, including the cover-up. It was a beautiful opportunity for someone else to reinforce what I've been teaching my daughter, that she is loved and accepted, that it feels good to be honest and be heard and seen as imperfect as we are.
There's such peace in that, isn't there? When we can stop spinning our wheels, lean into authenticity, be vulnerable, and find support and love.
Truth: Miles needed a trim anyway.
I get a little dizzy reading all the latest studies about nutrition, specifically those regarding GMOs, processed foods, preservatives, hormones and food dyes. I do a fair amount of health-related magazine writing, so I keep up with this stuff. And, as a mom, of course I'm concerned about what the kids are eating. But, sheesh. The tide of new, alarming studies never ends.
My advice is to look at what's available to you and choose the best foods you can. Your best options might change with your budget. It might look different when you're traveling or when you're sick. We like hormone-free meat & dairy, organic produce (local, if we can get it), and low sugar snacks. I've been able to make those a staple in our house, and our weekly grocery bill for a family of four is still reasonable (under $125 a week). Here's a great article about how to eat organic food on a budget, including which foods you should prioritize: Delicious Living.
Others choices are tougher. I've been cutting back on gluten and processed foods, but I have toddlers, and toddlers love their carbs. Bread, granola bars, crackers in fun shapes. I don't want to deny them that stuff entirely, but I also don't have a fortune to spend on the designer-organic-non-GMO versions of every snack food.
And really... a nutritionally elite organic cookie is still a cookie, right? An occasional treat.
B starts kindergarten in August (!), and I've been thinking about school lunches and convenience food. I've been experimenting with homemade alternatives -- recipes where I can control the ingredients. I work part-time from home and don't love cooking, so any recipe I try needs to be pretty simple.
Here are three winners. I've made these several times now and would recommend them to anyone who wants their occasional carb fix without all the toxic side effects:
1. Homemade Cheez-Its. I found this recipe on Prudent Baby. The ingredients are just cheese, flour, butter, salt, paprika and ground mustard. I cut the flour down to about 3/4 cup and added 1/4 cup flaxseed meal, which didn't affect the flavor & upped the nutritional value. I'm curious how this would work with gluten-free flour, oat or rice flour.
2. Easiest bread ever. Baking bread has always intimidated me (something about yeast and starters and pounding and rising). But then I stumbled upon Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day and, it couldn't be simpler or more delicious. :) The basic recipe calls for just yeast, flour and salt. From there you can customize it however you like: flax, sunflower seeds, walnut & dates (pictured above), cinnamon, cheese & olives... The recipe is very forgiving. It makes enough dough for four small loaves and stores in your fridge for up to two weeks.
3. Date bars. There are a million recipes out there for these treats, but the basic idea is that you throw about 2 cups of pitted dates (I like Medjool dates) and a cup of raw almonds into a food processor. Add a little vanilla, cinnamon, or whatever you like...dark chocolate, cashews, oats, etc. Roll into balls or form into bars and refrigerate them. You can coat them in chopped nuts or shredded coconut.
Other easy foods for lunch boxes:
mixed nuts or seeds
dried fruit or fruit leather
apples & nut butter
ham & cheese roll-ups
veggies & hummus
What else should we add to our list? Please share your faves and recipes in the comments.
A tangle of toddlers in our bed.
They awoke with the sun at 6:00 (per usual), but both fell back asleep between Kris and I (rare).
You can imagine my delight when B announced a few months ago that she is a writer too. She's authored several books since then. Here's the latest. (I'd classify it as fan fiction):
So, technically, there are 8 little mermaids illustrated, but she insisted the story was about five of them and their quest to build a shark-proof house.
Rookie mistake here. She gave away the ending on page 2. But there's still plenty of tension to keep us reading...
Note: She came up with the building materials all on her own. A good author does her research.
The epilogue leaves room for a sequel. I like that.
At what age do babies start sleeping through the night?
a) 3 months
b) 9 months
c) 2 years
d) 5 years
e) none of the above
The answer is E
I have to apologize to all my new mom friends (hi, Liz!) because I know you're looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. And I should be here to encourage you, to assure you that YES, they do sleep. One day. Eventually. All this hard work you're doing right now in this moment pays off because THEY WILL CONSISTENTLY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT.
Except, at age five-and-a-half, B still does not.
Granted, it's not the same tortuous sleep deprivation we experienced when they were
This toddler-variety sleep deprivation is different, but it's still frustrating, because BY GOD why can't they sleep through the night?! They know how! Time and again, they've proven that they know how! Sometimes, several days in a row, they might snooze a full 12 hours and my body settles into the restfulness like it might actually be a new reality. Sleep. I am finally getting some sleep! I remember what this feels like. Laaaaa! But just when I begin to take it for granted, we have several hideous nights. Up and down and up and down. Potty and water, and I see strange shadows, and Ollie is snoring, and can you rub my back? I'm hot. Now I'm cold. And I just have to tell you that I REALLY love you Mommy. Yes I know it's the middle of the night, but I couldn't wait to tell you I LOVE YOU and I needed to clean my room.
Last night B stumbled in at 1:00 AM and begged to sleep with us. "I'm having troubles, Mommy."
I knew what saying "yes" would mean. I knew she would pretzel herself and kick me in the gut and exhale her not-yet-morning breath in my face. But I wanted to tuck her beneath my chin and absorb her sweetness all night, feel her back swell and relax against my chest. I wanted to rake my fingertips through her hair for a few minutes, hours, years. I could spend the rest of my life snuggling like that.
This morning? Coffee. Extra strong. Kids, rested. Mama, sleepy but happy.
Easter weekend brought warm weather and lots of outside time. First up, building and painting birdhouses.
Let's call it a success.
Our neighbors hosted an egg hunt and brunch, which turned into lunch, which turned into an all-afternoon swim session and pizza delivery for dinner. I don't exaggerate: Bronwynn stayed in the water for 4 hours straight. It was the kind of easy, relaxing, be-yourself day that makes me thankful that in the absence of family, we have gatherings with close friends. And we have each other.