Sunday, May 06, 2007

the wonders of speech

Thanks to Zina, I spent bits of this past week, test-driving an Ergo carrier. Once I realized that a chest strap was, in fact, a shoulder strap (manual, need manual - ah), things went extremely well.

The Toddles and I walked with the Ergo (he fell asleep), we weeded in the Ergo (he still slept), and we went to the playground with the Ergo (he woke up), where I improvised a hat for the kid out of a bandana I had stuffed in my diaper bag.

As you can see, he found the experience one of profound gender-confusion. Or maybe he had fun.

I have been curiously reluctant to take the Toddles to playgrounds, not because of allergies (he does tend to find all sorts of food wrappers), but because I have this strong feeling that I actually don't enjoy going to playgrounds. Still, on this warm, sunny day, ripe with Ergo-nomic triumph (sorry, couldn't resist the pun), off we went.

We were doing really well for a while: I pushed him in the swing, and taught him to say 'Weee!' Then, I chased him around a climbing structure, making admiring noises as he clambered handily up and down things, and extravagantly shocked noises when he went head-first down a tiny slide.

I was laughing at my own anti-park stance as the Toddles and I bounced on this trampoline-ish web, when he turned to me.

Aauwwff! he said, firmly, and pointed an imperious finger.
Off? Me? I said, astonished.
Auwff! he repeated, and jabbed his finger at me, sternly.

Humbly, I got off the trampoline-ish thing, and stood by as he played. Oh. That's why it's not so much fun.
Making my morning coffee, I heard a loud, determined rattling sound. Eventually, I tracked it down: it was coming from the family room (aka the dining room, but who cares?), where the Toddles was trying to open a cupboard. Feeling unequal to the task, I stood in the doorway, holding my mug in front of me, protectively.

Can I help you? I asked, politely.
Tain! Tain! he shouted, pointing at the cabinet.

I opened the cabinet, and pulled out the box of train tracks. Vaguely, I was certain that he is too young for them, for the fine motor skills nedeed to assemble them, the patterning skills needed to make an effective track, but what the hell, I hadn't had my coffee yet and there wasn't a choking hazard in the box. I pulled it out.

Damn. Who knew he could do that?

Later that day, shortly before dinner, I'm flat on my back with both boys lying on top of me, laughing. From this position, I decide it's time to continue the conversation with the recently stressed-out Eldest.

Okay, kid - you have power here. (You're sitting on my solar plexus...) What do you choose?

He looked thoughtful.

If you want, you have the power to read to your brother, letting me cook dinner as quickly as possible. Or, you could play by yourself while he hangs out with me, which will slow things down a little, but dinner will get made - though probably not as quickly as you might want. Or, you could also hang out in here with me (and my -aghh- diaphragm), and dinner will probably not get cooked at all.

What do you want to do?

The Eldest barely paused.

Later, however, Mum, is dinner ready? I've discussed this with my stomach, and it says I'm starving!

Almost there, hon. I'm finishing the salad. It's got watercress and pears and roasted sweet potatoes. Now, I know that pears and roasted sweet potatoes sounds odd, but the balance of -
(cutting me off)
Oh, no! It's the 'no, not that - oh wait I like it' game. (rolls eyes and stalks off, theatrically)

Looks like my fiendish non-plan is working...hug the kid a lot, remind him of his power, as opposed to my obvious ability to rain down punishments - er, consequences - is working fine. Oh, yes, and there's one more thing I'm trying - but that's for a future post.


The Oh, No, Not That Salad

watercress/baby arugula
1-2 ripe pears
scallions (optional)
leftover roasted sweet potatoes (I like to toss mine in olive oil, with paprika, garlic powder and chili powder, roast at 425F for about 40 odd minutes. I serve it as a side dish, but it's a a great salad addition!)
green lettuce (romaine is fine, red/green-leaf better)
Optional: blue cheese, radiccio, endive, napa cabbage

3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 Tb fresh dill, 1/4 c red wine vinegar, 2/3rds c olive oil, 2 Tb water.
Whirl all but liquids in food processor until minced. Add liquids, whirl until frothy. Keeps in plastic container for 1-2 weeks, keeps just under a week in anything metal (you can put a plastic sandwich bag under a metal lid - the dressing gets a metallic tang after a while).

Slice pears, combine until satisfied with balance between fresh pear, sharp arugula/watercress and mild lettuce, any optional additions. Toss with a bit of dressing (a light hand on the dressing is good here). Serve!

Update: the MIL continues to improve, and today the Man is visiting her. I'm glad she's now ready for her children to be with her, it says much for her state of mind. Meanwhile, the head of our home care nursing company (the employees are all amazing IV nurses, and they specialize in infusions) told me today that they see some patients dealing with neuropathy, who get infusions at home. She assured me that for many, the MIL's diagnosis is one of maintenance and care, not of steady debilitation.


dykewife said...

i'm glad to hear the good news of your mother-in-law. having her on the mend must be a great relief.

your kids are so cute :) i love the bandana for toddles :) i'm sure he'll survive the gender bending he had.

i'd have to sub some other acid for the red wine vinegar. bran's allergic to grapes (they give him migraines - especially reds) know, without the pear but with something like kholrabi and subbing in raspberry vinegar...that might do :)

country girl said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm always looking for ways to use sweet potatoes. They are on the list of the top 12 healthiest foods.

The train thing is something I can identify with. My now nearly 32-year-old son got his first train from my father when he was three. He never had a problem putting any of it together. There must be a male gene for trains. He still loves trains; he goes out and sits by some busy tracks just outside of Albuquerque, watches the trains go by and takes pictures of them which he submits to railroad magazines. How do I know this; I've spent many an hour there with home. Being a mother never ends, it just changes. Thanks for the great posts. In his other life he plays trumpet with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera Company.

Zina said...

I am so glad you got the Ergo working for you! I guess you will be taking it on your trip. It's totally cool with me.

Prayers to your DMIL. Here's to a speedy recovery.

And thanks for the link ^_^ *grin*

mama o' the matrices said...

dw, have you considered rice vinegar? It's mild, and will adapt well to any recipe. For this one, though, you might consider cider vinegar, also.

c.girl, that's one hell of a childhood fascination! Still, having said that, I'm persuaded that kids are really a person's best excuse for driving around and pointing at heavy machinery. 'look kids, a front end loader!'

happy, happy moments.

Zina, happy to link for the woman who introduced me to the wonders of the Ergo! Do you mind if we borrow it for the whole trip? I'm drooling at the idea of all the space we'll save in the bags...and the happy babywearing, of course.

Lois Grebowski said...

Good news on MIL! :-D)

Isn't chili powder great on sweet potatoes? Try chipotle sometime, too. The gentle heat and smokiness are a good offset for the sweet.

Toddles’ eyes… I’m in love with Toddles’ eyes!

And the picture of the two reading...Such a sweet moment!