Sunday, October 30, 2011


Paul is very smiley lately. He's two and a half months old, so it's not at all surprising that he's smiling and cooing--indeed, it would be surprising (and worrisome) if he weren't. What I find surprising is that I don't remember staring at Sylvia's smiles the way I do with Paul. I'm sure I did; what parent can resist the beautiful smile of a small baby? I just don't remember it. I don't remember very well how Sylvia cooed, though I know she did, and at the time we described some of her noises as pterodactyl-esque. I didn't remember the lint that collected between the fingers and toes, or how wonderfully squishy and bendable they are at the beginning. I am amazed at how much I've forgotten, though I suppose in a way that is a gift since I get to fall completely in love with this new child without too many comparisons.

And he is a beautiful child, and I do love him dearly.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lesson learned

Three year olds are tough. Repeating the same things over and over, never sure if the message is getting through is frustrating to say the least. I don't know how many times I've told Sylvia not to touch her brother while he's sleeping, or keep her feet off the table, or hold my hand while we walk across the street or through a parking lot.

The other day at least one of the constantly repeated lessons bore fruit. Derrick bought Sylvia a canister of nice cookies and, being the generous kid she is (something I take absolutely no credit for--she figured sharing out on her own) she pulled one out and held it up for me. And then, quite reasonably, said, "say please."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

skinny kid

Paul had his two-month check up today. He's 10 lb 13 oz and 23.5 inches long with a head that's 38.5 cm around. He's slightly above average length, below average weight (especially for his length) and has a slightly below average head. So, he's a little on the scrawny side, but very healthy and, once the shots were over, happy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

onion pizza

What I had for and with dinner:

We're all so proud.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good mom, bad mom

I know every mother has bad days. I feel like I have one or two (or three) a week--at least. You know, the days when at the end of it all I can really say is I didn't kill anyone today. The days when, try as you might, you just can't hold your temper with your child and you yell, yell, yell, even though you know that isn't going to be any more effective at getting your child to comply in the short run and in the long run it'll damage your child's perception of appropriate behaviour.

The days you feel like a failure.

But then, there's also that moment at the end of the day when, despite your frustration and your ire, your child looks at you and tells you, "I love you too" and you remember why you love this child.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soup weather

The seasons here in San Diego are nowhere near as dramatic as they are in other parts of the country. There are no leaves changing colours (or very few anyway), no cornstalks drying in the fields, no flocks of geese flying south. Even so, it's definitely fall: soup weather is here.

I've tried a couple of new soups recently. The first, 44-clove garlic soup, will probably not make it into the rotation often. It's delicious, and a soup that Derrick's been raving about since I made it (and eating and eating--I only got about half a bowl). Unfortunately, it makes Derrick smell like garlic. I felt like I was kissing a loaf of garlic bread this morning, and that's an improvement over the stench the day he finished the soup--two days ago! The morning after he finished the soup he trailed a cloud of garlic stench through every room of the house. I had to leave the windows and doors open for half an hour after he left to let the smell dissipate.

Tonight I made Hasa al hummus, a Moroccan soup that I probably will make again, though probably with some alterations. I didn't quite follow the recipe tonight--I pretty much halved everything except the paprika (and substituted the ground red pepper we have around here--molido, I think?), substituted chicken stock for the water and omitted the salt, and used lime instead of lemon. Oh, and I tossed in a carrot. The verdict? I liked it, though Derrick would have been happier with chicken instead of chickpeas. To be fair, he pretty much never likes chickpeas unless they're ground. Anyway, here's the recipe as I did it (for future reference).

5 c water
1 c cooked chickpeas
1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 tomato, diced (didn't bother peeling)
2 carrots, chopped in 1 cm circles
2-ish T chopped cilantro
2-ish T chopped parsley
4 tsp chicken bullion
1 tsp chili molido or paprika (or some ground sweet red pepper)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Juice of 1 lime
Black pepper

1--Boil chickpeas in water in a large pot. Add tomatoes, carrots, bullion, paprika, and turmeric.

2--heat oil in frying pan and fry onions until browned. Add garlic and saute for a few seconds. Add onions, cilantro, and parsley to soup.

3--Boil for 20 minutes or so, or until carrots and chickpeas are soft (if they aren't already). Add lime juice and serve with black pepper.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The other day (Wednesday, to be exact) a friend called me up and told me JCPenney's had a good sale on baby clothes (like $3 an outfit/piece kind of good sale). So, I dragged my unwashed self to the mall, bedecked in maternity pants and an orange button-down shirt that could probably best be described as vaguely feminine. I managed to park at the opposite end of the mall from JCP's (and pay $2 for the privilege--grr) which gave me ample opportunity to people watch as I walked through the open-air mall. The vast majority of the women I walked past were dressed very stylishly, which is to say, in tight, form-fitting, often expensive clothing. They were young and sexy.

As I walked toward JCP's, I admit, I looked down on those attractive women, just a bit. At least, I rolled my eyes at the effort and the resources they spent on looking so attractive, apparently mostly for the benefit of the other women roving the stores and the few slobby guys slouching around in gawky, awkward packs. Sure, I could appreciate the beauty of the women around me, but it all seemed so superficial, so silly to waste so much time and energy, especially as a woman with a small, rather time-consuming baby. I admit, I felt a little smug in my functional unattractiveness; felt celebratory about my misshapen midsection that, after all, had housed an entire baby not two months ago.

Then, I spent an hour shopping. In JCPenney's.

JCP's isn't exactly the hippest store. I associate it with relatively inexpensive, relatively conservative clothing preferred by women older than me. That's not a great characterization any more--they'd hardly be in business if they didn't have some cool clothes--but they are a place that still carries stretch-waisted jeans. After pouring through the women's and junior's clothing sections I realised the only pants that fit me would be the stretch-waist jeans.

Walking back to my car I looked at the beautiful women around me with envy. I wanted to be sexy like them, not thick in the middle with a baby-ravaged body. I don't think that's a great thing. I am quite understandably out of shape right now and I shouldn't feel bad about the way I look, yet even a little exposure to the images and messages about how I should look left me, 33-year-old, mother of two, smart, accomplished, and generally quite happy with my body, feeling inadequate. Because, less than two months after having a baby, I don't look young and fit and sexy. I can't imagine being a teen today. I know, we old people are always saying the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but the sexualization of media images, and of women and children is a documented trend. But oh, man, I worry about my children and how to teach them to look at themselves and the people around them when I can't do it myself. Sure, there are strategies to fight back, but they all sound so inadequate, especially since I, apparently, haven't really absorbed the message myself.