Thursday, March 22, 2007

Froggy went a courtin'

Have you ever heard Bruce Springsteen's version of it? Fabulous. The Nome sent us a CD with that on it, and I've been hearing echoes between my ears for days now. Finally, iTunes called and I answered...we are now the proud owners of a slightly used copy of We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions, and I am happy to report that Erie Canal is as good as Froggy. Ribbit, sploosh. yay.

The Toddles, having turned a fantabulous 18 months, is following his brother's pattern. Not only has no emerged, but it has brought its friends, NO and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Oh, joyous day.

But instead of being a source of independance and strength for the Toddles, the ability to say no (or, possibly, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!), is twisting him up into knots. We end up doing a little dance, in which he gets more and more distressed, unable to find satisfaction in the ability to refuse, as refusal bans him from a thing he actually wants.

Me (at top of the stairs): let's go get a snack, little man
Toddles (face lighting up): Eat! Eat!
Toddles walks over to me where I am now standing on the top step. Pauses.
Toddles: Noooooooooo. (backs away)
Me (eyeing him carefully): Eating? Do you want to go and eat?
Toddles (happily runs over. Pause): Nooooooooo. (backs away)

This can repeat for some time. I court him gently, he is excited about the prospect I suggest, but then something in him makes him refuse - upsetting him as he does. It's as if he can't stop his internal naysayer, poor tyke.

Last week, the little guy was hungry, and I happily provided both boys with the latest batch of failed cookies, a.k.a. 'gookie,' in Toddles-speak. But between hungry and end-of-the-day tiredness, the Toddles ended up on the floor of the kitchen, wailing, 'Goookie! No! Gooookie! Me! Me gooookie nooooo megookienoooomegoookienooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo' until finally lapsing into incoherent tears. Which just goes to show: it's tough to be small.

Three things have helped with the smallness: first, wrapping. I have taken to offering 'wrap? wrap?' to the Toddles, preferably before I start cooking dinner (evil coincidence there: tired children + tired mama +dinner needing to be made and put on the table + increasing hunger in children, who then haunt the teeny kitchen, interfering with the mama's ability to make said dinner = explosion, occasionally maternal, reliably offspringal). Snugly wrapped, he settles in.

Second, the Eldest. The Eldest has taken to looking after the Toddles from time to time, and finally seems to have learned that grumbles and noncompliance around dinner-production hour make for grumpy ME (which is to be feared) and let dinner (which is catastrophic, according to his stomach). Therefore, he tries to entertain the even tired-er, grumpier Toddles. It works about half the time.

Third, Bark, George, by Jules Feiffer. The Toddles adores this book, which is a delightful little story about a wee dog who does just about everything but bark, to his mother's consternation. John Lithgow does a great reading of it, though he is apparently unaware that the vet is British. The boys and I have investigated the matter, and he is.

The Toddles will carry this book around, delighted by a dog who says mooo, and demand multiple, serial readings of it, and will furiously decline other, lesser offerings. it speaks to his desire for patterning, his own struggle with rebellion and individuality (yes, 18 month olds and teenagers both), and he just likes saying moo.

On Friday, I came home from an errand to hear Mary Jr. reading a different book in a voice touched with a slight edge of desperation. From this I was able to deduce the following:
a. she'd already read Bark, George a few dozen times (Mary is a very patient soul)
b. she was trying to interest the Toddles in this less desirable book
c. he was having none of it, and was probably half-way across the room already.
d. If I was smart, I'd quietly tiptoe back down the stairs and out the door before the Toddles heard me and came running, a copy of - oh, damn it. Busted.

Toddles On Me Back Dhal (variant)
serves 3-4

2 Tb olive oil
1-2 large onions, finely chopped (unless you have onion-eating children, in which case, chop roughly)
1 Tb curry powder or 1 tsp hot curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 cubed sweet potatoes
1 can small white beans OR 1 cup red lentils
2 and 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup light coconut milk or whole milk (not soy)
black pepper
1 head broccoli, sliced into florets (frozen is fine)
1 pkg tofu, cubed (not really small cubes, or they will break up into crumbly bits - about 1 inch cubes are good, bigger is always fine)
4-6 kaffir lime leaves

heat oil and saute onion until browning. Add spices, stir, and wait until you can smell them. Then, add the sweet potato, stirring to coat it in the spices.

Toss in the lentils/beans, cook until potatoes are starting to get soft, about 10 minutes.

Add everything else. Cover and cook until the broccoli turns bright green. Serve, preferably with toasted bread to soak up the sauce.

Note: I find this to be a rather mild dish, but my crew like it that way - the Toddles will eat the tofu out of the dish, which suits me fine. Spice it up if you prefer some heat, and then let me know what worked!
Babywearing warning: Infantino is having a sling recall. See here for information on it.


mother in israel said...

I remember when my kids learned the word noooooo!

dykewife said...

when boy learned "no" he was ever so pleased when it bore results. :)

the dal looks good. when i last made curry lentils, boy and i piced up some limes for squeezing over the curry and rice for that fresh zip. it's wonderful that way :) i love the taste of lime and curry...hmmm...i have to get more curry powder.