Friday, June 15, 2012

Being what he's being.

Calvin and a friend providing new challenges for the makers of stain remover.

 Impishness is in the DNA here.

Calvin, it must be said, is thriving at preschool this year.  He gets a level of structure there that I am unable (and unwilling) to provide at home, and it does him so much good.  He even takes naps there, something he would no more consider doing at home than he would eat a plate full of vegetables.  Ain't happening.

I have often said that if I were good at providing a change of structured activity at 15 minute intervals I would be a preschool teacher myself, and friends, I am just not good at it.  My kids understand this about me, I think, and are trying to live around it.  We all are.  I often wish I had a different kind of energy with them, one that was more complimentary more of the time to their personalities. And we're not constantly at odds, of course, but the differences between their energy and mine mandate that we have part time preschool.

As Audrey said the other day, "It's just being what it's being."

Monday, June 11, 2012

A wallflower she is not.

Overheard, Audrey talking to Calvin while they spin on the tatter totter: "Our house is made of wood, and under that is stone and under that is shredded beef."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Look at them-- they could sell anything! Used cars! Junk bonds! Scientology! They are irresistible.

Does this not strike you at the very center of your heart?  I can't look at this without smiling.  Grandparents: your 5x7 copies are ordered and on the way.

No mommy-blogger prattling needed for this post. I'm done!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quick Fire Cooking Challenge, with Kids!

As my free gift to the reality television empire, here is my concept for a quick-fire cooking challenge to replicate the actual experience of cooking with children. There are plenty of books out there for parents trying to cook, and plenty of celebrity chefs who are (allegedly) parents. Jamie Oliver has three children, but these dear little sprouts are not in evidence while their dad whips up “dead simple” meals in the rustic kitchenette he’s set up on a piece of plywood in his garden shed, or flings fresh produce into his backyard, wood-fired brick oven. 

That’s all very clever, Mr. Oliver, but I’ll be impressed when I see you toss together a healthy and attractively plated meal while breaking up a screaming fight between your off-spring.

So here it is--  my own DIY Quick Fire with the Kids.  Mr. Oliver, please feel free to sign up.  It’s dead easy!

My simple and completely fair rules: 

Rule 1. You have thirty minutes to prepare dinner for two adults and two children who are between the ages of 10 months and five years.  You can cook anything you want, spend as much as you like, and shop for as long as you need in advance of the challenge. 

Sound easy?  Hold on—in order to recreate the cooking-with-kids experience as I know it, I have added a couple of twists:

Rule 2. All prep work, including locating kitchen tools and ingredients and all washing, slicing, peeling, dicing and mincing of produce, is included in the thirty minutes. So much for those lovely morels requiring thirty minutes with a mushroom brush, Mr. Oliver! And Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld, you can take all your pre-made vegetable purees and exit right the sound stage now. Gwenyth, you haven’t broken any rules but I’d like to disqualify you right now for smugness all the same, and Nigella—your prose is embarrassing, so pack your knives and go, my darling!

Whew, I’m feeling better already.

Rule 3. These will not be thirty consecutive minutes.  During your 30-minute Quick Fire, you will be interrupted four times, at random, and the length of the interruptions will vary from 1-8 minutes.  At the start of each interruption you will be allowed three seconds to turn off any heating elements, but otherwise, you must cease all cooking activities until the buzzer indicates your interruption is over. Oh, and if you need to wash your hands after dealing with said interruption, that comes out of your thirty minutes...

Rule 4. The two aforementioned kids will be in the kitchen with you throughout the cooking process and you alone will be taking care of them. You may have a partner record the proceedings but under no circumstances, including triggered smoke detectors, may this person step in to assist you.  Note: the presence of children does not, in itself, constitute an interruption.  You must cook over, under, around and through your Little Helpers.

Judges' Table
If you are able to bring food to the table at the end of your thirty minutes, you will remain entered as a contestant and advance to the judges’ table.  Congratulations!  Here, your final score will be tallied according to the number of bites eaten by each child. One bite-- swallowed-- equals one point. 

Anyone with a score over seven may contact me with their recipes.* Now go have fun cleaning up!

*Not really.