Friday, November 9, 2012

The only chicken served in my vegetarian household

Okay, that's not completely true. I've also made a chicken out of a cheese quesadilla. 

I cut tofu into a large circle for the body and a small circle for the head, and fried it in teriyaki sauce. For the rest of the chicken I have carrots legs, raisin eyes, apple wings and beak, and a red pepper comb. The ground is made of quinoa with green pepper for grass and steamed broccoli shrubs.

The husband and I also had teriyaki tofu with quinoa and steamed broccoli, but our dinners weren't nearly as cute.

This gives me an idea of what I'll be serving to SchmoopyBoy on Thanksgiving ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween wrap-up

Here's a closing to an eventful Halloween season. For a 'date afternoon' with SchmoopyBoy, we went for a hayride. I like to call this picture "SchmoopyBoy and a couple of asses" because I'm a dork like that, although his head is conveniently hiding one of the asses.

Of course the hayride would not be complete without a goofy overexposed self portrait, in which SchmoopyBoy makes one of his characteristic poses for the camera. 

Later that week we carved a pumpkin. A cute happy pumpkin, not a scary one.

On Halloween night both kids got dressed up. Lil' Cowboy Schmoo kept me company while I handed out treats at home. Batman chose to see a movie over Trick or Treating, so the husband took him to see Hotel Transylvania. But, because we are super cool parents, he still came home to a bucket of treats.


Why do you keep walking to the door?
Don't you know my reading my stories is serious biznis?


The caped crusader. Shh, don't tell anyone his true identity.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

What "Having It All" looks like in my life


In keeping with the theme of this month's Feminist Odyssey Carnival, today I am writing about what "Having It All" looks like in my life. I approach the concept of Having It All from my particular set of circumstances, which include the facts that (a) I work outside the home as the primary income earner in my family (I am not in a formal leadership position but am respected as a technical expert in my field), (b) I have a rather crunchy, AP-ish style of parenting, and (c) my husband and I do not have a local “village” of support. I would expect Having It All to look fairly different for a woman with different circumstances.

Given all that, this is what Having It All looks like in my life:
  • I am immersed in an imaginative world almost every day, if even for a short while. Sometimes I get to play the role of a dinosaur. Sometimes I get to play the role of a superhero. Sometimes I get to play the role of a train, horse, fairy or any other number of characters my preschooler can dream up.
  • I spend a good portion of my days surrounded by really smart, motivated people that, like me, believe in public service and sustainable resource management.
  • I get to exchange hugs and kisses with two sweet little schmoos every day.
  • I get to nerd out to my heart’s content, studying data and figuring out how to better answer questions and solve problems.
  • I get to be as silly as I can and make up songs with the word “poo-poo” in them (yeah, I’m juvenile like that).
  • Several times each year, I get to present information to representatives from 7 states and numerous local and regional agencies. It instills a sense of pride to have my organization’s confidence to present high level, high stakes issues to key stakeholders.
  • I am challenged to be creative with food in a way I never thought I would be.
  • I derive the personal and professional satisfaction of being respected as a technical expert in my field.
Most of the time, Having It All looks and feels pretty great. I am incredibly privileged and my life is full to bursting with laughter and love and pride and accomplishment. Sometimes it looks and feels like complete chaos, but I love that there is seldom a dull moment. That does not mean that it is not hard, or overwhelming or heartbreaking sometimes. This is also what Having It All looks like in my life:
  • My house is a mess. Always. Even when it’s clean there are piles of clutter everywhere, and I simply do not have the time and energy to change the average state of chaos.
  • Sometimes, my last view of home when I back my car out of the driveway in the morning is my baby crying and reaching for me, trying to swim out of his father’s arms because only mommy will do at that moment in time.
  • Sometimes I have to turn down good opportunities for interesting projects that would lead to better exposure and relationships with my organization’s stakeholders – which could lead to better advancement potential - because they involve overnight travel; and with a breastfeeding baby that still wakes multiple times per night and spends a good portion of the night by my side, overnight travel just doesn’t fit into my life right now. (Night weaning, I have my eye on you, but I'm not quite ready yet)
  • I have heard my preschooler tell me “I don’t love you when you leave”. I know that kids his age can mix up words like “like” and “love”, and that he really means “I don’t like it when you leave”, but still, ouch.
  • When my group manager retires next year, I will probably not be in the running for his replacement. I will likely stand by and watch my (equally talented and deserving) childless male coworker apply for and get the promotion, because I will not be willing to take on the additional hours or travel requirements at that time. It will be a bitter pill to swallow because I do have ambition, but I will have to maintain hope that there will be other opportunities for me at a later date, that my time will come when my children’s need for my presence isn’t so great.
Having it all does not mean having perfection (as if there were such a thing outside of fairy tales and click-bait mommy-war articles). There are always trade-offs and choices to be made. I make the choices that I think work best for my circumstances and my family, knowing fully well that other women might make different choices and would judge me for my choices.  And that is ok with me. Just as there is no single monolithic Woman, there is no single set of life choices that represent Every Woman's personal priorities. 

And really, most of the time I am simply too busy, distracted, or exhausted to care. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Do You Have It All?" is the Wrong Question


I have deliberately stayed away from the topic of Having It All during the past months. As you may be aware, there were a number of well publicized articles in the media discussing whether or not women could, or even should endeavor to “Have it All”. At the time there were so many smart, articulate women that wrote on the issue, many articulating my very thoughts on the matter, that I simply left the discussion to their capable hands. Nonetheless, the theme for this month’s Feminist Odyssey Carnival is “Having It All” so I’ve been thinking a bit about the topic lately. You might even see more than one post on the topic this month.

As I was thinking about the question “Do I Have it All?” and what does that mean to me, it occurred to me that the question that we are asking ourselves, I think, is all wrong. The question is not “Do you have it all?” or even “Should you have it all?” The question should be “Are you happy with what you have?” If the answer to the last question is yes, then the answer to the first question is also yes. The problem is that we are up to our eyeballs in click-bait mommy-war articles that tell us that unless we actually live in a perfect fairy tale world (as defined by ???) the answer to this basic fundamental question ought to be “No”.

There are lots of reasons why a woman with a career may not have children. Some reasons are based on choice, and some are not. There are lots of reasons why a woman with children may maintain a paid career. Some of those reasons are based on choice and some are not.

I tend to think that if a stay-at-home mom is happy and fulfilled and feels well balanced in her life, then she has it all because she has everything she wants, or at least everything she needs to be happy and fulfilled. Likewise if a childless, career-driven woman is happy and fulfilled and feels well balanced in her life, then she also has it all because she has everything she wants, or at least everything she needs to be happy and fulfilled.

There is no exact formula for having it all that equates for every woman all the time, because there is no monolithic Woman. A woman should be skeptical of anyone who tells her that she must have A and B and C but not D or else she does not have it all and should feel disappointment with her life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

It was a full weekend here at chez Schoopy. I had a 3 day weekend for Columbus Day, which was nice. On Saturday I took the schmoos to a local fall festival. SchmoopyBoy was hoping to get his face painted like Batman, but was pretty happy with the spider theme.


Bounce houses, a farmers market where we bought and snacked on the best, most sweet and delicious strawberries I've had all season, and a playground with a huge play train made for a great day. Of course I forgot the good camera at home, and Lil' Schmoo wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a half decent picture on my crappy cell phone camera, so no pics of him with pumpkins or trains. boo.

On Sunday, I had a special date with SchmoopyBoy. Just the two of us. We went to see the Batman Live show. In case I haven't mentioned previously, SchmoopyBoy is somewhat Batman obsessed these days. He has discovered the magical world of super heros and villains. Batman is his favorite. I thought the show was great! SchmoopyBoy thought it was a little too long and complained that the villains were "boring." (WTF?!?!?!?) At two hours including an intermission, it probably was a bit long for a 4 year old. And perhaps watching the villains stand around and plot against Batman wasn't the most exciting part of the show. But... Acrobats! The Batmobile! Batman and Robin! Cool stuff!!

I was chatting with him at bedtime, and I realized that the main thing that was so special for him was that I spent the day with him. I don't need to spend a lot of money on tickets to shows to make him happy. The fact that he got to spend time alone with me and get my full attention made him feel special. The fact that he got to dress up like his favorite superhero, and see him in action was just icing on the cake.

My superdude strikes a pose


Even superheros need some time to just chill on the couch
I was able to squeeze in some one-on-one time with Lil' Schmoo on Monday too. I'm going to try to make sure both kids get some decent one-on-one time with me this year. That was my Rosh Hashanah new year's resolution.

On Monday SchmoopyBoy got sick.  It's just a cold, but still no fun. Hopefully no one else will catch it this time around.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Introducing the Scorpion Longtongue

SchmoopyBoy first told me about the Scorpion Longtongue a few days ago. He had made a sculpture of it at preschool. Since I was unfamiliar with such a beast, I asked him about it. Here are a few details:

  • The scorpion longtongue is a big bug that eats scorpions.
  • It has no teeth.
  • It gets the scorpions with its long, sticky tongue.
  • Its tongue is as big as an elephant.
  • It makes a sound effect when it eats a scorpion that I cannot reproduce on this blog.


I finally got to see a model Scorpion Longtongue today when I picked SchmoopyBoy up from preschool. Exhibit:



You might be wondering, how does he know about scorpions? Well, we've found two of the little suckers in our yard over the past month or so. (Eeek!!! Those things freak me out more than the black widow spiders that like to take up residence in these parts!) Pest control has been called. Unfortunately, their arsenal does not include any natural predators such as the dread Scorpion Longtongue.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cucumber 'Fish Scales'

I've been having a bit of fun using slices of cucumber as fish scales. Here are a couple of fun meals I've made for SchmoopBoy over the past few weeks.

Mermaid (or is it Medusa with that hair? ;)
The mermaid's head and body is a freehand cutout from a slice of toast. Carrots make her top, as well as her hair. For the face there are raisin eyes, a red bell pepper mouth, and a small toast triangle nose. The tail, of course, is sliced cucumber.

Tropical Fish
The fish body is a large slice off an apple, almost a half. The fins and tail are each thirds of a cheese quesadilla. A carrot slice is the eye, and a grape tomato cut in half forms the mouth. I only made cucumber scales for the tail this time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Earmaggedon

It is Earmaggedon over at Chez Schmoopy at the moment. Poor Lil' Schmoo has the ear infection to end all ear infections and he is one miserable little schmoo. Complete with fever of 103, three hours of nonstop inconsolable crying with refusal to nurse yesterday, and virtually no daytime naps for the past 3 days. Night time is not even worth describing. Oh, and did I mention he also has two teeth cutting through at the moment?

The one saving grace is that no one else in the house is sick, although I'm sure the moment I hit "Publish" SchmoopyBoy and the husband will both come down with the flu.

How am I? Haven't slept in 3 days. Haven't showered in 5 days. Barely ate today. But, I'm still standing (well, ok, at the moment I'm actually sitting). Feeling a bit sucked dry, but I just keep repeating to myself "This too shall end."  

Going to bed now, since it's about time for the little guy to wake up again. Plus I have a big meeting tomorrow for which I need to appear presentable and functional (ha ha). Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Entertaining ourselves...

...with self portraits. SchmopyBoy has been really into taking pictures lately. Here are some self portraits I've taken of myself with him and Lil' Schmoo over the last week.







Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's planting season


So far we've planted carrots and chard. We've still got several more planters, and I think we'll be putting in some spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. Hopefully our crop will turn out a little better than last year's. Probably the soil we had was not quite right - everything sprouted, but then it just stopped growing after a while.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quesadilla Butterfly

This is so easy to make and made SchmoopyBoy happy. I just cut a cheese quesadilla in half, and then cut the two halves into sections for the wings  - about two thirds for the top wing and about one third for the bottom wing. Cut the peel off a slice of cucumber in two pieces for the antennae. The peeled slice of cucumber can then be used, along with slices of carrot, to decorate the wings. One more baby carrot for the body and voila! You could get fancy and make a face on the butterfly. I'll try that next time.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fighting the Preschool Gender Police

Good Heavens, the gender policing starts early! What kills me is the extent to which it is done by the kids themselves - and I'm talking about preschoolers here. SchmoopyBoy was once told by one of the little girls in his class that he could play with her and another girl later but now they were doing "girl stuff". Another time a little boy told my husband, as he applied sunscreen to SchmoopyBoy's face, that he shouldn't use that sunscreen, that it was for girls, because there was a picture of a sun on the container that looked feminine to him. The last straw came one day when I was picking up SchmoopyBoy from school, and he wanted a story before we left. I started to read an I Spy book from the class collection. One of the little girls joined us. On one page the book read "I spy ballet slippers" and as we scanned the page for the ballet slippers the little girl said "That is for girls."

I could not let that go. I had to correct her. "Actually, boys dance ballet too. They wear different shoes than girls, but ballet is for both girls and boys."

The next time I came to pick SchmoopyBoy up, I made a point of bringing in a picture of myself and a male dancer from back in my younger ballet dancing days. I searched out the girl and showed her that there was both a girl and a boy ballet dancer, but they were wearing different ballet slippers. Needless to say, once it got out that I had a picture of ballet dancers, everybody in the class wanted to see it - both the girls and the boys. So all the kids in the class got a lesson that day.

The teacher was thrilled. I had spoken with her before about my concerns about how gender was or was not presented and enforced in the class. I do believe we are on the same page, but the children bring the ideas to class that they have learned at home. When she hears something like what I described above, she addresses it, but she can't always hear everything. She mentioned she would love to have pictures of girls and boys doing things associated primarily with one or the other gender, similar to the photo I brought in, so I volunteered to provide her with some. I sent her:

pictures of male and female ballet dancers,

pictures of a princess and a prince,

pictures of male and female doctors,

pictures of male and female astronauts,

pictures of male and female teachers, and

pictures of male and female police officers.

She sent me a note of appreciation:
I appreciate your taking time to find the pictures for me. As teachers, we have many ideas we would like to do but don't have the time. We can use the pictures in many different ways. Thank you for also finding not just male/female pictures but also pictures that had people of different ethnicities and ages.

Yes, the different ethnicities, that too was no accident. All children, be they male or female, regardless of their heritage, should be able to see representations of themselves. I think it is important for children to be told "You can be anything you want when you grown up" and also see examples of people who look like them who have accomplished their goals - to perhaps see a future version of themselves in these representations.

I would like to think that I have helped plant a seed of thought in that little girl, and possibly other kids in the class. They responded so positively to the one ballet picture I brought in. I don't know how the teacher is using the other pictures I sent her. Hopefully the children will respond positively when they see those pictures as well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Not to avoid talking water policy with a preschooler


As you know, SchmoopyBoy is fascinated with poop. Recently, his interest has taken a scientific turn. He now knows that food goes into our stomachs when we swallow, and comes out as poop. Even more recently, he asked what happens to the poop after it goes into the toilet.

Keeping in mind he is four years old, I tried to keep the explanation at his level. I should also note that he is at the stage of “Why?” Virtually every statement that comes out of my mouth is followed by SchmoopyBoy asking Why? So, with that in mind, here is approximately how the explanation went.

Me: The poop and the water go down the drain when you flush. Then it goes to pipes underground, to the water treatment plant.

SchmoopyBoy: Why does it go down the drain?

Me: To get to the pipes.

SchmoopyBoy: Why are the pipes underground?

Me: Because if they were above ground it would be really stinky.

SchmoopyBoy: Where is the water treatment plant?

Me: On the other side of town.

SchmoopyBoy: Why?

Me: Because that is where the clean water gets put back into the wash, and back to the lake.

SchmoopyBoy: Why is it clean water?

Me: The water gets cleaned at the water treatment plant.

SchmoopyBoy: Why?

Me: The water is dirty. It has poop and pee in it. It needs to be cleaned. Then the clean water goes back to the lake.

SchmoopyBoy: Why?


You can see how these conversations go. So the other day we were at Target and SchmoopyBoy needs to use the bathroom. I took him into the bathroom and he wants more information on how poop and pee are processed at the Target bathroom. He asks if his pee and the water in the toilet are going into pipes. I confirm that indeed they are. He asks if the pipes are underground. I confirm that indeed they are. He again asks why, and I again explain that if poop and pee water went across town over ground it would stink and it would be dangerous because there is bacteria in poop and pee that could make people sick. He continues his line of questioning, but then really wants to know about the treatment plant and the clean water coming out of the treatment plant. He really wants to know why the clean water is returned to the lake.

At this point people in the restroom are beginning to snicker at us – this preschooler barraging his mother with questions about poop and water treatment plants and why is the treatment plant on the other side of town and why does the water go to the lake, and on and on and on… why? why? why?

All this time I’m thinking to myself, He’s four. Keep it age appropriate. Do not start talking about water policy. Do not utter the words “consumptive use” or “return flow credits”. But alas, at this point I’m getting flustered and I'm so accustomed to talking about water related issues with adults in a professional setting that I can't think of how to answer his questions in terms a preschooler can understand, so what comes out of my mouth? The words “consumptive use” of course. I’m mumbling something incoherent about how we divert water from the lake, use what we need, and then return the rest to the lake after it gets cleaned at the treatment plant. And of course he keeps asking why? because I’m so incoherent and I’m using words like “divert” and “consumptive use” and for crying out loud the child is only four so what the heck does all this mean, and finally a woman who was trying so hard not to laugh just said to him “Because otherwise we would run out of water” and at last the conversation was over (for the time being) and we could return to our shopping in peace.  Thank you, kind woman, for summing everything up so succinctly.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

You Are My Sunshine


I was inspired by this sunshine sandwich, so I offered SchmoopyBoy a sun for dinner. He took me up on the offer but said he wanted toast, banana, and peas. So, I had to abandon, to some extent, my original intention and create an edible sun from the requested materials.

I used a large glass as my circle template to cut the toast and a slice of muenster cheese. The face is made of freehand cutouts (obviously) from a slice of American cheese. (I think the face looks like a Halloween jack-o-lantern, which makes me hang my head.) For the sun rays I sliced the banana length-wise and in about 1-inch sections. Then I cut the corners off one side of each section to make them a little more pointy and surrounded the toast. I couldn't think of anything to do with the peas so I just split them in half and arranged them in a circle for a decorative border. So sad.

Simple. I can do simple. A professional I most certainly am not, but it turned out cute enough to make my kid happy and get him fed, so Yay for trying!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My family. I love them, but they're an odd bunch.

I just got back a couple of days ago from visiting my mother and sister in California. One night, as I was bathing Lil' Schmoo in preparation for bedtime, I overheard the following exchange.

SchmoopyBoy: Auntie, I want you to brush my teeth.

Auntie: (something about showing her what a big boy he is and brushing his own teeth…blah blah...)

SchmoopyBoy: You have really big boobies.

Auntie: Yes, I do. Thank you for noticing.

Husband: (turning red, muttering) I think I'll leave the room now.

Auntie: (to SchmoopyBoy) When you get older if I'm still single you can tell your friends that.




So the other night after dinner I bring it up and start to explain how that sort of interaction isn't polite. The husband tried to help make the point, and then things just got weird.

Me: You can get away with that now because you are four, but as you get older it will be considered 'bad form' to make  comments about the size of a woman's boobies.

Husband: Really, you shouldn't make comments about any part of a woman's body. You can't just walk up to someone and say 'You have a nose like a casaba melon!' or you'll be in a world of hurt.


Seriously, where do I find these people?


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Operation Increase Recipe Repertoire

I've started a new initiative at home. I've been getting a bit bored and stale with my current repertoire of go-to dinner meals. I've got a ridiculous number of cook books that hadn't been getting much use. So, I decided that I was going to try at east one new recipe a week from one of my many cook books. I was planning on turning each trial into a blog post, complete with pictures and reviews. You can see where that went. Nowhere, fast.

Nonetheless I am pleased to say that after almost a month, I do have a couple new recipes that I will be happy to turn to again and again.

The Chickpea Cutlets in Veganomicon are yummy and fun to make with SchmoopyBoy's assistance. As fantastic as the food in this cookbook is, I haven't been using it much recently only because many of the recipes are very labor and time intensive. The chickpea cutlets recipe is really quite easy and fast. I've made them twice. On a related note, there are two recipes for vegan ricotta in Veganomicon. They are both fabulous. I used the almond based ricotta recipe in a lasagna a couple weeks ago, which turned out delicious! The next time I make it I'll try to remember to take pictures and post the recipe.

Also, the Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff in Vegan Vittles is fantastic. I understand this cookbook is out of print, but you can get a copy used from Amazon. I got my copy as a gift from a co-worker just before Lil' Schmoo was born.  nom nom nom, so good.

Last weekend the husband broke down and bought a Vitamix. We got it for 20% off (which equates to a discount of $100, these things aren't cheap). It is actual great purchase, we use that thing every day. Seriously. Every day. But then again we used our old blender virtually every day too. What can I say, we like smoothies in our household. Anyway, the Vitamix came with its own recipe book and I've tried a few recipes, including Blueberry Soy Sherbet. What fun to make our own sorbet and sherbet! The recipe in the book was actually for peach soy sherbet, but we didn't have any frozen peaches, just frozen blueberries and frozen strawberries. The recipe said you can substitute any kind of frozen fruit, and SchmoopyBoy chose blueberry, so there you go.

I'll try to update our recipe expanding adventures again soon. Until then, happy eating!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adding to my breastfeeding while working checklist

Well, it seems I can't go a year of pumping while working without an embarrassing incident. During SchmoopyBoy's first year, while pumping in a room with a non-locking door, I got walked in on by no other than the Division Chief. As delightful as that was (NOT), it did provide me with a golden opportunity, and in our new building, I now have a dedicated pumping room, which IS totally awesome.

Now, I've mentioned before that Lil' Schmoo is not the greatest sleeper in the early mornings while I'm trying to get ready for work, so I typically have lots of opportunities to nurse until I am 'empty' before I leave for the day. On Monday, however, he slept uncharacteristically soundly. This was certainly convenient as I got ready, but I did leave feeling a bit more 'full' than usual. Monday mornings are super busy at my office - reports to create and review, weekly staff meetings, etc. I made my way to pump at the usual time, and when I looked down to unbutton my shirt I noticed a sizable wet milk mark on the front. I hadn't noticed feeling a milk letdown, so I have absolutely no idea how long I had been walking around like that. I should also mention that I am the only woman in my work group. And did I mention the weekly Monday morning staff meeting?

When I finished pumping I washed the front of my shirt, which resulted in nearly half my shirt being wet. I thought I was going to have put on the spare jacket I keep at my desk to cover myself for the rest of the day, which, considering how warm it's been in the office, I really wasn't looking forward to. Fortunately it's a dry heat and the fabric of my shirt dried quickly - no more embarrassing milk mark - thank goodness.

So let's see my breastfeeding while working checklist:

  • Get walked in on while pumping - Check!
  • Pump on the floor of a bathroom stall and have someone call out "What's that noise?" - Check!
  • Pump in the car in a Costco parking lot just before an offsite meeting because it was around the corner and seemed to be the most discreet location in the vicinity, and hope no one notices - Check!
  • Walk around the office clueless that I've got milk leaking onto my shirt - Check!

Ah, the things we go through for our babies!

Do you have any embarrassing stories to tell about breastfeeding or pumping? Let me know in the comments and we can commiserate together!


***
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

10 months of smiles

I can't believe he's already 10 months old! Such a delightful baby. Makes friends with people wherever he goes. I'm constantly getting comments about how happy and cheerful and playful he is. So true.

Ahh, the grin I've come to know and love

Coming to get you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Love and Joy of All My Babies

I recently discovered a 1952 nonfiction film called All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, I really loved this film. It is a beautiful, touching, and instructive view into what it was like for black women in rural Georgia to birth their babies in the early 1950s. Less than an hour long, it was sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health and, according to the synopsis,

shows the preparation for and home delivery of healthy babies in both relatively good and bad rural conditions among black families at that time. The film is in addition both a deeply respectful portrait of "Miss Mary" (the featured midwife) who is revealed as an inspiring human being and a record of the actual living conditions of her patients.
There is so much love and so much joy in this film! And the one live birth that is captured on film – so peaceful, so beautiful. This mother is a woman of relatively good socio-economic status, as evidenced by her modern home, new shoes, and live-in housekeeper. She has successfully birthed two children already, and she is confident, calm, and quiet during her labor and delivery. Such an inspiring birth to watch. (I birthed my children in a hospital with a doctor, a choice I have no regrets about making. I chose to forego any pain medication and birth my babies as naturally as possible, and I can tell you I was not nearly so calm or quiet during either of my births as this mother was – not by a long shot.)

There is some fear and grief depicted. The other mother lives in very poor conditions and has little emotional or physical support. This is her second pregnancy – the first resulted in a stillbirth, and it is apparent that neither she nor her husband have recovered from the devastating loss. This mother has no confidence – she cannot get motivated to eat properly or start collecting the items she will need for the birth and the baby – she assumes this baby will also die. The baby is born premature, but healthy. It is a relief to see this mother four months postpardum looking healthy and stable, coming into her own as a mother. The baby is thriving and the father is so delighted with his young son he can hardly stand it. Although this father presents an unsympathetic character earlier in the film, with his anxiety and apparent lack of support for his wife, he expresses so much joy for his baby.

Which brings me to the portrayal of men in this film. Men are absent from much of the footage, but they are present in the background. There is the white male doctor at the clinic that the midwife takes her clients to see (this is 1952, let’s not forget). Then there are the fathers – waiting outside while their wives labor in their bedrooms, taking care of older children or chopping wood to keep the fire going so that water can be heated and instruments can be sanitized. In this world, although they certainly share in the joy of their new babies, the men have a supportive role. This is ultimately a film for and about women. Women birthing babies. Women attending to them. Strong women. Capable women. Loving women. Supportive women. Joyful women.

In a film like this, race must also be mentioned. This film specifically shows black midwives attending to the home births of black women. There is no indication that white women in the same area during the same time period gave birth in similar circumstances (at home, attended by a midwife). Also, the two white people in the film – the white male doctor and his white female assistant at the health department clinic – are people with obvious power and status. The white female assistant instructs the pregnant women on nutrition, and helps deliver and set up the incubator in the poor household in which the premature baby is born. It is clear that these two individuals have social status and power, and while relations between them and the midwives and families are polite and professional, there is a palpable dynamic between them.

You can watch All My Babies at SnagFilms.com. If you want to learn something about natural childbirth, learn about birthing practices in a particular time and place (this film was selected in 2002 by the Librarian of Congress as a "culturally historically and artistically significant work" for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry) or just see an inspiring, beautiful film celebrating love, joy, midwifery, and babies, I highly recommend you go check it out.

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This post was submitted as an entry in the Feminist Odyssey Blog Carnival. You can find links to the other entries here. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The voice of a young woman on leadership

Forbes recently published an essay by a 19-year old undergraduate student on why Millennial women don't want to lead. I don't interact with many women in this age group these days, so it was an interesting perspective.

Her conclusion:
Ultimately, women equate leadership with perfection in a way that men don’t…
So, why don’t women want to lead? The answer is in the pages of the magazines we read and now even in the news coverage of the political debates we watch, which promote cultural standards that destroy women’s confidence and prescribe unattainable standards in all areas of our lives. In order for women to lead – for women to want to lead, to feel that we are capable of leading – we need to redefine leadership altogether. We need to define leadership not as perfection but as intelligence, honesty and doing the right thing. It is also essential that we question and change a society that sets the standard for achievement impossibly high for women and upsettingly low for men.
I find it a bit problematic that this young woman appears to confuse leadership with political power, a very specific type of leadership. At age 19, she is a published author and the founder of The FBomb.org, which describes itself as "a blog/community created by and for teenage girls who care about their rights as women and want to be heard." In other words, she already is a leader.  White women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action when considering management positions in the U.S. and it is difficult to believe that this trend will reverse in the coming decades. 

Nonetheless I find her link between the acquisition of perceived physical perfection and perfect life balance with the acquisition of leadership relevant. Additionally, I agree with the premise that the role of media in sending harmful messages to girls cannot be understated. I highly recommend you go to Forbes to read the full article.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Trip to California

These pictures are from a family trip we took back at Memorial Day weekend to celebrate SchmoopyBoy's birthday and my sister's birthday. Better late than never?
Why is Daddy hiding behind the baby?
Fun and silliness with Auntie
loving the swing (but where did he get those goofy sunglasses?)



Teething much? (Grandma's toys are nommy)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A little working mom humor

I recently discovered this great site called Hello Ladies. It calls itself "the intersection of feminism and life". Good reads, check it out. One of the things I found was this little ditty, which I thought was great and wanted to share.

From here, via here, thanks to Pinterest.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Update

I'm still here. I've been working a lot. I've been running around with the kiddos a lot. I've been considering the direction I want my blog to go. I go through periods of being a wannabe food blogger, then a wannabe feminist parenting blogger, then a wannabe positive inspirational blogger, and then I just get busy and uninspired and stop blogging altogether for a couple of weeks.

I was hoping to have a new recipe to share. I tried making individual-sized cherry crumbles using the cherries from my tree. The recipe needs a little more work. And I'm out of cherries. So, that will have to wait another year or I'll have to bite the bullet and actually buy fresh cherries. Poor me, huh?

Lil' Schmoo is pulling himself up to stand as frequently as possible, which makes bedtime…. interesting. It goes like this. After our bedtime routine I put him into his crib awake. He starts crawling around and pulls himself up to stand. He then starts chewing on the rail and 'practices talking' which means he starts blowing raspberries causing spit to get everywhere. He then realizes that he's stuck and requests help in getting down. So I stand up to help him and I realize that I'm standing in a puddle of baby drool. How delightful.

Hope everyone is having a great summer and staying cool! Hopefully I'll get my blogging mojo back soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

3 kinds of awesome

1. Cherries - From the tree in my back yard. Juicy, sweet, amazing.

2. Putting on an old skirt for the first time in a long, long time - a long, flowy type of skirt - and hearing my SchmoopyBoy tell me how beautiful it is, and I am.

3. Visiting with an old grade school friend that I haven't seen in about 15 years, and watching our children play together.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

chris wind's collection - I want to read this!

I just discovered chris wind's collection of poetry, fairy tales, and more in a book called "Satellites Out of Orbit". I was able to preview the first few pages through Smashwords, and I tell you, I want to read this book (actually it's a collection of five shorter works, each of which can be purchased separately). The chris wind website describes the works as "feminist critique of the Bible, Shakespeare, Greek and Roman mythology, and fairy tales, with a bit of fictional women's history thrown in."

 Excerpt from the Note to Reader:
This is fiction catalyzed by fact. It is not fiction supported by fact. What I mean by that is that the fiction is totally mine—I didn’t conjecture a reasonable fiction based on the facts: these pieces are not so much what the characters really would’ve said but what I think they should’ve said. And at first I thought I was simply imbuing the past with a contemporary perspective, but then of course I had to qualify that it was a contemporary feminist perspective, and now I recognize that it is my own individual feminist perspective. So in light of historical evidence, I may have misrepresented some of the characters. To those who are offended by perceived misrepresentation, my apologies. But since history is, in these cases, scanty, suspect of masculist bias, and sometimes outrightly contradictory (see especially the notes for “The Dialogue”), it is hard to know the extent of any misrepresentation. These women might’ve said what I want them to have said!
I love this, the idea that these women of famous literature might have said what she wants them to have said. I also love the idea of telling the story from the woman's perspective, especially when the woman is only mentioned in passing in the official story, or not mentioned at all although it is understood that such a woman must have been in the background of the story (I'm thinking of Noah's wife and Cain's wife in particular here).

I'm excited to have discovered this, and can't wait to get a copy and read it.




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fun Facts

Lil' Schmoo (age 8 months)
… celebrated Memorial Day weekend by cutting his first tooth,
… is officially crawling,
… thinks paper is much more interesting than pretty much any toy that is put in front of him.

SchmoopyBoy (age 4 years)
… comes up with the most random sayings (I think people who say they want to take mind-altering chemicals to improve their creativity need to hang out with more 4-year olds. I do need to quote him more often.),
… makes me laugh and makes his brother laugh,
… likes to play with dinosaurs and trains, frequently together.

Both children
… fight bedtime like the dickens (absolutely maddening),
… like pears, which is funny to me only because I have never liked them myself,
… are affectionate and cuddly. I overflow with abundance of hugs and kisses for them.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gratitude Post - 6/4/2012

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a gratitude post. Shame on me! So, without further ado, here are 5 things for which I am grateful this week.

1.       Peach season – I put a peach in my breakfast smoothie this morning, and my mouth did a happy dance.
2.       Indoor (i.e. air conditioned) play spaces – I took SchmoopyBoy to a birthday party at an indoor play space this weekend. It was 105 degrees outside and he still got to run around and climb ‘rock’ walls and swirl down slides to his heart’s content without anyone worrying about heat exhaustion.
3.       Visiting with old friends – I saw two of my dear old friends and their kids during Memorial Day weekend when we were in Southern California. So great to spend time with them.
4.       VPN – VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is what enables me to work from home two days a week. As the parent of young children, this contributes so much to my work-life balance.
5.        Husband led cleaning sprees – The clutter in my house was out of control. Out Of Control, I tell you. It was so bad even the husband couldn’t tolerate it anymore. So, this weekend we went into decluttering mode. It’s not 100% yet, but we made a dent, mostly due to his initiative.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

And now he is four


Homemade dinosaur cake, by request, with volcano. We also had a dino-safari. Paper dinosaur footprints were taped to the ground, and the young nature trackers followed the prints to a 'nest' filled with dinosaur eggs to collect (Easter eggs containing a tiny baby dinosaur), and then followed more prints to collect 'fully grown' (6-8 inch) dinosaurs. It got quite hot by the end of the party (you can see the buttercream frosting starting to melt) but thankfully we had plenty of water and shaded areas at the park.

Happy birthday to my SchmoopyBoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On Excellence versus Perfection

I found these quotes on striving for excellence versus perfection. I like them a lot. Motivating and inspiring.

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing
Harriet Braiker

Striving for perfection is the greatest stopper there is. It's your excuse to yourself for not doing anything. Instead, strive for excellence, doing your best
Sir Laurence Olivier

It is not the straining for great things that is most effective; it is the doing of the little things, the common duties, a little better and better
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way
Booker T. Washington

Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends
Brian Tracy

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Problem with Dad

...is that he doesn’t have milk producing breasts.
It’s like this. I get up at 5am and slowly and gently pry my body away from the sleeping baby. About 3 minutes into my shower he wakes up. Sometimes I hear the husband try in vain to calm him as he hollers his disapproval. When I come to him, barely clothed and with my dripping wet head wrapped in a towel, he looks at me with surprise and admonishment. His eyes then turn down towards my chest and you would think it had been 15 hours rather than 15 minutes since he had last nursed.
He latches on, and looks up to my eyes as if to say “How can you possibly expect me to tolerate Daddy? Don’t you know by now I must have my soft pillows filled with warm sweet milk no more than 2 inches from my face at all moments? Duh!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Good reads by attachment parenting feminists

There have been some excellent articles lately on issues that are important to be as a feminist and a parent. I don't have the time to provide well thought out and written commentary on them all. Nonetheless, here are the links and a few snipits to whet your appetite to click the links and read more.

1) First, Annie from PhD in Parenting really hit the nail on the head with this essay about women and the media.  In this article, she quotes Tara Sophia Mohr in her Huffington Post critique of the montage of great movie moments shown at the Oscars:
When women can't see strong, interesting, female protagonists in the stories we watch, it becomes harder for us to see ourselves as the strong, interesting protagonists of our own lives. When girls grow up seeing story after story that tells them they are sex objects, accessories or victims, they will learn that to be a "woman" is to play one of those three roles.
This was certainly true for for me. I had a rather defining experience when I was young. I was old enough to stay at home at night by myself, and was surfing the channels. My family had gotten cable fairly recently and I settled on an HBO movie that I was much too young to have been watching. Without going into too much detail, I saw images that taught me that my role as a woman in this society would be that of sexual victim, and the role of men is that of sexual predator. I spent a good portion of my young adulthood challenging and resisting that role of woman as sexual victim.

2) Here's another by Annie from PhDin Parenting about the controversial book by Elizabeth Badinter called "The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women". I've read quite a bit about this book and the perspectives of mothers that challenge Badinter's assertions. You can read those articles too through links that Annie provides. I highly encourage you to do so, especially the articles by one of my favorite feminist parenting bloggers, Blue Milk. Here is a highlight of Annie's analysis:

Choosing a parenting style shouldn't be something the mother does alone. She should have control over her body (and therefore have the final say on issues like breastfeeding), but decisions about how to parent the child should be something that both parents make together and that both of them invest equally in. There are certainly mothers who choose very intensive parenting styles and take everything on their own shoulders. But I don't think the answer to that problem is to suggest that certain parenting styles (like attachment parenting) are wrong.

The solution is to ensure that fathers are equal partners in parenting, so that mothers are not the only ones to suffer physically, professionally and personally from the demands of parenting. Being a parent is incredibly fulfilling, but it also involves challenges. In my opinion, both the rewards and the sacrifices stemming from the decision to procreate should be shared equally by both parents.

3) I love this perspective on the fire storm that occurred in the media a few weeks ago when the SAHM vs WOHM war was rekindled by Hilary Rosen's comment that Mitt Romney's wife "never worked a day in her life". Paige at Baby Dust Diaries brings up the primary issue on what makes the best mom - and it has nothing to do with whether a mom works outside the house or stays at home, per se:

I’m not a better parent because I’m at home – I’m a better parent because I love where I’m at and I throw myself fully into it. You are not a better parent because you work – You are a better parent because you love what you do and throw yourself fully into it.
All of us are valuable to society because we are raising the next generation! We all deserve the support and accolades of society.

The sad circumstance is when a woman is not in a place that fulfills her and thus maximizes her mothering potential. This is where I want to see OPTIONS for women.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tempeh Vegetable Taco Filling


This recipe is based on the Tempeh-Vegetable Enchilada recipe from the book, The 30-Minute Vegan. I haven't tried the recipe as it appears in the book, as I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. This experiment turned out pretty well. It is fairly adaptable too, depending on what veggies you happen to have available. I think zucchini or cauliflower or spinach would be pretty good additions/trade-ins.

Ingredients
8 ounces tempeh
1/2 red onion
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2-1 cup broccoli
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tbsp braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
1/2 tsp agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
tortillas (6-8)
optional toppings - avocado, cucumber, tomato, cheese (dairy or vegan)


Directions
Dice the onions and peppers. Chop the broccoli florets and stems into small pieces. Chop or crush the garlic. Crumble the tempeh.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the veggies, the tempeh, and the garlic. Saute for a couple more minutes. Add the liquid aminos, spices, and agave nectar and saute until the veggies are done to your liking.

Heat the tortillas and spoon the filling in. I added some grated cheese, chopped cucumber, and avocado to my tacos.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Checking in - Swamped

I'm still alive, just swamped. Work is super busy. Home life is super busy. No time to sit. No time to read. No time to write. So, here are just a few random snipits of what's been going on around here.

I took SchmoopyBoy to ride on Thomas the train last weekend. He had fun. I took pictures. Unfortunately I accidentally changed the setting on the camera without realizing it and none of the pictures turned out. boo.

Lil' Schmoo is trying really hard to pull himself to standing. I am going to be in for it early with this one, I fear.

SchmoopyBoy started gymnastics 2 weeks ago. Loves it! He is more excited about gymnastics than he ever was about soccer or t-ball. Of course, he is a little monkey, so it's no surprise that he loves any activity that involves flipping, rolling, hanging, jumping and the like.

Lil' Schmoo is tolerating his carseat much better these days. Still won't fall asleep in it, but he'll last multiple trips in a day without complaint. So much better than the days of complete meltdown after about 2 minutes in the carseat.

That's all I have time for now. Hopefully I can start writing more again soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vegan Banana Matzo Brei Recipe

 I've been trying to figure out a way to include the vegan husband in the yumminess and festivity of "traditional" Passover foods.This experiment turned out pretty well. The recipe is based on the banana french toast recipe in The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook.

I only had about one and a half pieces of matzo left in my stash, so this recipe is only for one (although the husband, SchoopyBoy and I all shared the small portion). It does lend itself quite easily to doubling or quadrupling. I made this recipe pancake-style, but I think it could work scrambled style too. Also, as usual, I didn't really measure the cinnamon or vanilla, so the amounts are approximations. My apologies, I am a Jewish mother after all, so gawd-forbid I should actually make precise measurements in my cooking. ;)


Ingredients

1/2 banana
1/4 cup nondairy milk (I used soy milk)
~1/8 tsp vanilla
generous sprinkle cinnamon
1 1/2 pieces matzo

Instructions

1. Break the matzo into small pieces in a bowl and fill with water until the matzo is covered.
2. While the matzo is soaking, combine the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and thick.
3. Drain the water from the matzo. Pour the banana mixture over the wet matzo and stir to combine.
4. Heat a pan on the stove and pour a little oil in. When the pan and oil are hot, scoop the matzo mixture with a spoon into pancakes.
5. Let cook for a few minutes and turn to cook on the other side for a few minutes more.
6. Done!

cooking in the pan

the finished product, golden brown

The banana and vanilla make these sweet enough that you really don't need any additional syrup or other sweetener. That being said, a little agave nectar drizzled over them enhanced the sweetness of the banana flavor quite nicely.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

morning hair - devil horns

One of the things I love about Lil' Schmoo is his soft, fine hair, that fluffs and poofs after washing. This morning, after washing his hair before going to bed, he woke up with these two perfect little devil horns.
The cutest devil-baby I ever did see

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oy Vey! You call that a Passover?

It was quite a weekend here at chez Schmoopy. Passover and Easter in one big hodge-podge of festivity. On Friday evening, the traditional night of the first Seder, I got home late from work and so made matzah pizza for dinner. Vegan "cheese" for the husband, and dairy for me and SchmoopyBoy. Ancestors, I apologize. Please don't strain something as you turn over in your graves.
Vegetarian matzah pizza
Vegan matzah pizza
I haven't really done Passover for a few years. Putting together a full Seder is a lot of work. I don't have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins around, and quite frankly it's not worth all the work involved for basically, me. Before SchoopyBoy was born I always found a community Seder to attend with the husband. The thought of dragging a small child to a 3-hour community seder with a bunch of strangers sounds like about as much fun as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, so I've basically been doing not much more than a Passover themed dinner. This year, however, I wanted to do something more, since SchmoopyBoy is at an age where the things we do in the home will become "his".

Covered matzah, parsley, eggs and salt water appear
on traditional seder tables
So I put together a short child-friendly Seder for Saturday. With the help of Uncle Eli (think of a Jewish Dr. Seuss after drinking 4 cups of wine) and a few other online sources like this and this, I put together a mish-mash children's Haggadah. I made fresh vegetable stock and matzaball soup. Parsley and hard boiled eggs for dipping into salt water, charoset, matza in the cover I bought at a Jewish cultural fair a number of years ago, and grape juice in wine glasses and one plastic cup adorned my table. We got through everything in about an hour, including the main course, a Moroccan style eggplant and garbanzo bean dish (garbanzos are kosher for Passover aren't they?).

Then on Sunday we first went to visit our next door neighbors for an egg hunt in the morning. Another egg hunt at my in-law's followed in the afternoon. More toys and candy than any human should be exposed to. But fun, fun, fun for SchmoopyBoy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Clusters

I heard about this recipe through the Alisa Cooks website, although you can find her recipe here listed as Addictive Double Chocolate Granola Bars at the Attune Foods site.

I used Go Raw brand chocolate granola, peanut butter, and dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips as my variations, and put the mixture into lightly greased mini-muffin tins - thus I have renamed them Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Clusters. The size is perfect for a preschooler-friendly treat, and between the raw granola and peanut butter, this a guilt-free nutrient-dense delight for everyone in the family (baby excepted, of course).

Forgive the blurry picture. With the gaping hole you can tell we devoured most of them in short time. :)















Super fast and easy to make. This one's a keeper.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Speaking to the Need






Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they've set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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On a scale of 1 to 10 for mindfulness, I would probably rate myself at around 2-3. I tend to be more on the reactive end of the scale. So, writing about how I am trying to challenge myself to be more mindful in my parenting is a particularly apt topic for me. I’ve got a long way to go to become the parent I want to be and that my children deserve. Nonetheless I actually have had a few successful moments. One way I’ve been able to bring more mindfulness to my parenting is by speaking to the need.


I adhere to the philosophy that children behave in ways that they think will enable them to meet an underlying need. Three-year old SchmoopyBoy has been struggling a bit with increased independence and the need to control what he gets to do - with his time and otherwise. Frustration can sometimes ensue. I have recently had remarkable success in diffusing meltdowns by acknowledging when he is trying to get his needs met, articulating that I also have a need that I am trying to meet, and then talking about what to do next.

Here is one example. We allow for screen time in our house, but my husband and I enforce limits on the time spent in front of a screen. Sometimes SchmoopyBoy wants to exceed the limit that we have established. One day in particular he wanted to watch more TV than we usually allow. The alternative to TV that he suggested was to play a video game on the computer. He became very upset that he was not permitted to engage in either activity. In trying to find an alternative, he requested that we bake muffins. I should mention here that I commonly bake with SchmoopyBoy during the weekend. He and I both enjoy the time together as well as the homemade goodies. I should also mention that this episode took place in the middle of the week. I was home from work in the evening and was trying to get dinner started. Evenings tend to be very hectic and busy between dinner and bedtime while the husband works evenings.

The thought that first entered my head when SchmoopyBoy requested that we bake was “Not a chance. There is no way we are going to have time to bake muffins at this time of evening when I’ve got to prepare dinner and I’m going to have to start bath time and bedtime routines for two kids.”

But then I thought for a moment and asked myself - Is that really true? The baby took a late nap that day, so there could be more flexibility with bedtime. Preparing the batter could take as little as 15 minutes. With a bake time about a half hour and about 10 minutes for cooling, we could easily have muffins prepared and ready to eat in an hour. And really, the bottom line was that I just didn’t want to bake muffins because I was feeling tired and because baking during the week at evening time falls outside our regular routine and I wasn’t comfortable with that. After acknowledging my true reasons for not wanting to bake muffins, and further acknowledging that SchmoopyBoy was so upset because he was feeling out of control and was frustrated that he wasn’t being allowed to do any of the activities he wanted, I concluded that “I just don’t want to” was not a good enough reason to tell SchmoopyBoy “No” to baking muffins.

So, I told him that I understood that he has needs that he want to meet, and that I understood that he has a need to control what he does with his time and what activities he partakes in. I further told him that I also have needs that I am trying to meet. At that moment, I felt the need to take care of my family by preparing a healthy dinner. I told him I wanted to figure out how we could both need our needs, and suggested that after I prepare dinner and we are finished eating, then we could make muffins. He enthusiastically agreed, and in fact helped me prepare dinner. All whining, complaining, or any other expressions of frustration completely disappeared. After dinner he was in such a good mood, he didn’t even want to make muffins anymore and was happy to simply play with me.

I am not always able to satisfy his desire. Sometimes I have to acknowledge that he wants to meet his need, and then explain that I am saying no because I also have a need. For example, another time he wanted more screen time and insisted there was nothing else he wanted to do. I acknowledged that he wanted to meet his need for control over his activities, and then explained that I said No to his current desire based on my need to take care of him and help him grow up healthy and strong. I told him that I limit his screen time because I believe too much screen time is bad for his brain. When asked “Why?” I tried to keep the conversation at a 3-year old level and told him that when he older and is trying to learn in school, he might have a hard time concentrating. Satisfied with this answer, we had some food and SchmoopyBoy started singing a song.

I think that SchmoopyBoy appreciates that I am making an effort to really hear him, and that I am explicitly saying to him, I get it, I understand that you have a need that want to meet. The very act of being heard in this way appears to soothe him. I still miss the boat with him more often than I’d like, but with more successes, I’m hoping speaking to the underlying need will become more second nature.


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