Monday, May 23, 2011

Precious Moment #2

This morning, Z and I played a little game:

"Can you say...banana?"


"Can you say...avocado?"


"Can you say...window?"


This went on for several minutes. It was sooo cute and sooo precious. Maybe I'll try to catch something on video later today...

Monday, May 16, 2011

What does it mean to be "open-minded"?

I had a friend today essentially accuse me of being closed-minded. I took it very personally. I didn't pursue the offense, not wanting to cause more friction, and the subject we had been discussing was dropped like a lead anvil. I've always thought of myself as a pretty open-minded person, but I don't think I realized exactly how important that particular self-image was to me until today.

The thing is, this friend was sharing her views, and I listened to them. Then I started to share my differing views, and I thought I was being very friendly about it. I wasn't attacking her own opinion or practice, just offering a different way of looking at the issue. Almost immediately, though, she felt like she had to defend herself. "Well, I've read a lot of imformation on [the subject]." Well, I had done my own reading on the subject as well, on both sides of the argument. But because I continued to disagree with her, because I had come to a different conclusion, she cut me off. Forget it, she said. "I can tell you're not open about it," so she just dropped it. Well, I followed suit; I hadn't come in the first place to talk about it, and there really was no point in pursuing the subject further. But, if I was not open about the whole thing, she was certainly just as closed as I was, perhaps moreso. I listened to her. She would not listen to me. Well, that's how I saw it, anyway. No doubt she saw things differently.

But then it got me thinking about: What does it mean to be open or open-minded, vs. closed or closed-minded?
Here's what good ol' has to say on the subject:

1. having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments.
2. unprejudiced; unbigoted; impartial. 
— adj  
 having a mind receptive to new ideas, arguments, etc; unprejudiced  
— adv   
 — n  
Famous Quotations
"I am open-minded on all questions I care nothing about."

having a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments: "It's hard to argue with, much less convince, a closed-minded person."
not ready to receive to new ideas [syn: close-minded] 

So, which was I, on the debated subject? Was I being open-minded? Well, I thought so. I was listening. If my friend had had sources there on hand for me to read, I would have read them.

Or was the mere fact that I already had an opinion enough to disqualify me?

Gosh, if being open-minded means never having an opinion, or never making up my mind, it's really not a good thing, anyway.

Though, I do believe it is conceivable-- and also the most probable-- that I fall somewhere in the middle.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kitchen Creation Number Two: Oatmeal Cookies for One

You know what it's like. I can't be the only one. You get a craving for a cookie, so you get up and bake a batch. But if you're anything like me, a whole dozen cookies manage to disappear before you've even pulled the last sheet of cookies out of the oven. Not to mention what happens with the other two dozen or so cookies over the course of the next day or two. And it all started with a craving for just one cookie.

The following is a recipe I came up with that will help you satisfy your craving for a fresh-baked treat without facing the temptation of a whole 2-4 dozen cookies.

Note: These cookies will turn out rather cakey, so if you want a crispy cookie, this won't work for you.

Oatmeal Cookies for One

1 pkg. flavored instant oatmeal (I used Maple & Brown Sugar)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. wheat flour

Mix, then add: 1/4 cup water

(Optional) You may decide to add a handful of chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, or whatever else you feel like.

Spoon onto greased baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for around 10 minutes.

I used my toaster oven, with the broiler pan as the baking sheet.

Makes approximately 4 cookies

The finished product. I'd already eaten two cookies before I thought to take a picture... 

"Single Mom" for a Weekend

So for the past two days Nick has been gone to a Wood Badge training camp. He left early Thursday and will be home around dinner time tonight (Saturday). I want to say that these three days without him have been challenging and unbearable, that I am a mess, and the boys are a mess without their Daddy. But, that really isn't the case.

We have all done surprisingly well. Though of course we all have missed him, and will be joyful for his return.

The first night, Z woke up in the middle of the night and joined me in bed. He started calling Daddy's name, and wondering where he was as he was not in the bed. I had to tell him that Daddy was gone for a few days, and he got very sad.

We get to do this all again in a few more weeks (Wood Badge takes up two separate weekends).

I am very grateful to not be a single mother.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My kid's words on Mother's Day

Yesterday in Primary, all the children-- my son included-- were given a questionairre about their moms. One of the teachers filled out G's for him, according to his own dication. So, here it is (with commentary from me in parentheses):

My mom's favorite food is....juice (pretty sure he put his favorite food here)
My mom's favorite color (huh)
My mom loves me because....because she's my mom
My favorite thing to do with my mom
My mom is beautiful because....she is nice
My mom is best at....fredding (I think the scribe didn't understand what G was trying to say, and so just wrote what she heard...and no, I have no idea what "fredding" is supposed to mean; and when I asked G after church, he couldn't tell me, either)
I love my mom because...I am her son

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ten Things My Mother Taught Me

1. Take care of your own messes.
2. Balance your checkbook.
3. Avoid debt.
4. Make the most of every moment.
5. Take lots of pictures.
6. Take the time to preserve your memories somewhere else besides just in your head.
7. Be involved in your childrens' lives, and involve your children in yours.
8. When you love someone, you serve them.
9. Father may be the Head of the home, but Mother is the Heart.
10. Trust in the Lord.

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Leashes for Toddlers

Okay, the technical name is "harness," but so many people have jokilngly called it a "leash" that I find it amusing to do the same.

So, I have a "leash" for my kids. I used it on G starting around age 2 and it was wonderful to have on hand, especially when Z was a newborn. I could put the baby in the Moby Wrap or Ergo, and put the harness on G, and take a walk to the mall, or anywhere else. And I didn't have to deal with a cumbersome stroller.

I've recently started trying out the harness with Z now, and he's responding pretty well. I remember the first few times I tried the harness on G as a toddler, it took him a while to figure it out and he kept falling down when he ran or walked too far too fast. But Z seems to be more sensitive to the gentle tugging of the harness, and has not fallen down at at. Though, he has sat down a few times and refused to budge lol.

In my opinion, though, there is a wrong way and a right way to use a child harness.

WRONG WAY: For instance, once last summer I was at the park with my boys. It was a very safe park, with a large grassy area all around the playground, and even the slide was perfectly safe for any kid over 18 months. There was a mom there with her toddler on a harness. It was rather comical. The mom was just following her kid everywhere she went: up the steps, down the slide, through tunnels, up ladders...And this little girl, even though she was smaller than my son, was havimng very little difficulty with any of it. And yet here was her mom, practically being dragged by her daughter all over the playground. Was the harness really necessary? Not at all.

RIGHT WAY: When I take my boys for a walk, my toddler appreciates the freedom of not having to hold my hand constantly. But having him on a harness allows him to have that freedom, while still preventing him from dashing into the street, or around a corner without me. I am still teaching him to hold my hand when we do go into the street, and he is usually willing to do so. But, as soon as his feet are back on the sidewalk he is permitted to let go. Also, as soon as he reaches the end of his "rope," I say "Stop," so that he will learn to associate the word with the action.

In other words, I use the harness as a tool, to keep my toddler safe as I teach him how to be safe outside my arms. It worked well with G. He is pretty much perfectly independent now, when we go out. He has learned well, to stay within arm's reach while crossing a street or parking lot; and more recently, I have been teaching him to stay on the lookout for moving cars so that by the time he's in Kindergarten he will be able to safely cross the street alone. I trust him to play alone for short periods of time outside, even though we do not have a fenced-in yard.

A harness should be used as a tool for teaching safety, not as an excuse for lazy parenting.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts on Child Spacing

I make it a point of mine to never ask friends and acquaintances with young children, whether they plan on having more, or when. When people ask me this question (which isn't annoyingly often, just once in a while) I usually say something like, "Well, two's enough for now."

When G was just over a year old, I thought it was a good time to start on Baby #2. I wanted G to have a sibling who was near his age. I thought a 2-year age gap would be just about right. As it happened, I was able to get pregnant again within just a month or two of trying. When I miscarried later, I tried again right away as soon as my doc said it was okay. Z was born when G was 2 and a half; and as sad as I was about my miscarriage, in the end I think it a blessing that I had that extra 6 months before Baby #2 came along. In fact, if I could go back and do it differently, I think I'd have tried to give myself a whole extra year.

Planned parenthood is a very personal thing. I know couples who have had 3-5 kids all in about a year of each other, and I think they're a little crazy, but I also admire them. In a way, it seems like a good idea to have all of one's babies quickly and then to be able to be done with babies after five years or so; but then, the stress of those five years... On the other hand, I know families where their children are all spaced 5 or 6 years apart, and I don't think I envy those moms having to go through baby after baby after baby, stretched out over practically their entire adult life.

I have my two boys so far, and they are 2 and a half years apart. If I had to do it over again, I think I would have them at least 3 years apart, or else no more than one year apart. In other words, either far enough apart that the oldest is most likely potty trained and semi-independent; or else close enough in age that they can go through many milestones at the same time. But then, like I said, planned parenthood is a very personal thing; and the spacing that I think works best for me may turn out to be a bad choice for someone else; and what I would find to be a nightmare, another mother might thrive on.

Also, while I have been fortunate enough so far to pretty much get pregnant (or avoid it) at will, I know there are many women out there who don't have that luxury and are just happy to have their babies if-ever and whenever they happen to come.

Most of all, I just hope I never have triplets. ;)