Monday, August 27, 2007

Cooking, schmooking

The other day I was at the gym and caught a few minutes of Rachel Ray. Although it seems a bit contrary to watch cooking shows while I'm trying to sweat out the food I just inhaled, I do really like Rachel. She's funny and sassy, and even does a few home-improvement deals as well. But the problem is, I start believing her. She had someone on who was showing how you could re-cover your couch pillows with a table runner and a embellish them with items found at a garage sale. After the 5 minute segment in which the person completely finished her pillow project, I said to myself, "Hey, I could do that." Now, I'd like to think I'm a thrifty person with a keen eye for home fashions, but I know in my heart of hearts that no table runner of mine will a pillow sham be. And that, my friends, is why TV really is the true opiate for the masses. It leaves you thinking you really can do crafty things easily and look cute doing them. After I got off of the treadmill and my laughter at myself died down*, it dawned on me that instead of figuring out how to do what they teach you on a show like that, someone should make a better, more realistic show.
After all, how impressive is it that Martha Stewart can make a meal from scratch on a 42 minute show? I mean, really. All her ingredients are premixed, she never has to look for her oven mitts, and there is not a single crying, poopy or arguing child within 30 miles of her precious souffle? She probably has assistants who make sure her oven is preheated, for goodness sakes. And speaking of heat, she's probably not so concerned about the electric bill that she is cutting back on using her AC while her oven heats up to 475 degrees.
There should be a cooking show with a sense of real life to it. Like a show where someone does laundry while cooking dinner and bathing a kid who just dumped the coffee grounds he found in the garbage can into his hair. I for one would watch that, because I might learn something about how to accomplish those things without burning the chicken, for example. Or how about a show in which someone who decides to try out a new recipe at 6:30 pm (who knows why?) on a night when her kids are over-tired and really hungry. I'd like to know how to manage a situation like that. Or a show about desserts featuring the mom who, at 10:30 pm, remembered it was her turn to bring snacks to school the next day. (The plot thickens when it turns out to be a night her husband is at work at the station, and she hasn't gone to the grocery store for 2 weeks and the theme of the class is dirt. Oh, and it'd be nice if the snack was healthy, the teacher said.) (That might have happened to someone whose blog you read, but maybe not.)
That's the problem with modern media, the people who are in control of what we see aren't down with the people. I should have them over for dinner and explain the situation, but I don't have a frozen lasagne on hand... Not only that, my pillows have never been re-covered. Or even washed, come to think of it...

*With the exception of my friends emily and jmb, it is silly to think anyone could make anything except a mess out of a table runner and an old couch pillow. Those two, however, could probably make a whole couch out of a table runner and it'd be even cuter than Rachel's silly idea. But that is for another post entitled, "Why life isn't fair: I am not talented". Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Myth busting for the masses

Once again, I'd like to dispense my wisdom on our readership to dispel a few myths based on my nearly four years of constant companionship with the under-4 set. Sit down and prepare to be shocked... and educated.
  • "It takes a village to raise a child." In fact, it takes a factory in rural China. And apparently it takes lead paint to raise a factory, which is a frightening thought. I just saw today that they are adding some of the Disney Cars die-cast cars to the long list of Toys That Could Maim Your Child, which is sponsored by China. Nice.
  • "Your child will love this trendy toy and be engrossed in play for hours if you purchase it." Not true. What your kid really wants to play with, for hours on end, is a rain stick thing you bought at the Dollar Store. It's much more fun to beat that thing against the wall (or the closest available family member) than to learn ABCs with Elmo.
  • "You need more than one toy." You don't. No matter many kids you have, you will only need one toy because they will both want to play with it at the same time. We have approximately 1.5 million toys, including but not limited to parts of toys that belong with other parts which we are missing. However, our boys must, I repeat MUST, play with the same toy. I guess it helps them survive the survival of the fittest ordeal. For example, we have a lot of Hotwheels in my house (around 100, no joke). But what do they both have to play with at the exact same moment? A non-descript car that has become like the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. Whoever has possession of that car is the winner of the Toddler Wars for the day. Whoever doesn't will scream, jump, grab and scratch to gain or re-gain possession. On and on for the full 13 hours they are simultaneously awake. (An interesting side note: If one child is napping the car loses all power and is relinquished in the corner to collect dust until the nap is over.)
  • "Your child will learn a bunch of stuff if s/he watches these videos." Actually, I think it is great, great, great news that it took a team of pediatricians from top educational institutions to inform us that TV and DVDs actually won't make your child smarter. It will make you loopy and perhaps trigger your epilepsy if you watch the flashing lights of Baby Einstein too long, but your 5 month old will not begin speaking in full sentances as a result. Get over it, America. Your TV will not set you free.
  • "You only need one sippy cup per child." Tonight I had 8 sippy cups with lids sitting in my sink. We have two kids. You do the math.
  • "I potty trained you kids by 18 months. And you slept through the night by two weeks old." That isn't a myth per se, it's straight from my own mother's mouth. And I don't believe a word of it. As for the potty training bit, she's told my sister and I that same thing more than once and her story is consistant, so it isn't hallucinations or anything. But my 18 month old would rather play in the toilet than pee in it. I just can't bring myself to believe this was possible. And there is no way that an entire generation of women would be allowed to sleep through the night a mere two weeks after giving birth, just to have the next generation of mothers buy books like *The No Cry Sleep Solution* written by, you guessed it, the women who didn't have to worry about sleep solutions. So, mothers-of-toddlers out there, don't believe your mothers and feel guilty when your kids aren't potty trained by 18 months or sleeping by 2 weeks. For whatever reason, we children of the '70s were really good in the bed and the toilet. Just don't expect your children to follow suit.
  • "Kids aren't very rewarding." Actually that isn't a myth or anything, I'm just turning the corner here. As much as my kids zap my energy by the end of the day, or cause me to question the point of flapping my gums, or make me beg for more patience, or wear me out, or push my buttons, or humble me... they are also the most wonderful, funny, smart, loving, kind, creative, interesting kids I could ever have imagined. As exhausted as I am at the end of most days, I can't exactly explain just how that all melts away when my big boy looks at me (as he did tonight) and says, "I love it when you read to me, Mommy. You're amazing." But it does. And I'll get up tomorrow and do this all again for those kids because they are the most amazing little people ever invented.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Remind me...

Please, tens of readers out there--if I *ever* mention stenciling again, will you remind me that

a) I am not Martha Stewart

b) Stenciling involves staying in the lines -- and paint

c) It's kinda permanent.

Okay, so it's not permanent, but after you've's a bit hard to back out. And I can never get things as straight or even as I'd like to, so I just end up feeling really frustrated.

The short story is that our kids share a room, but it's a pretty good sized room. They like sharing right now, and I imagine they will for the next few years. I wanted to decorate their room so that it was both boy and girl-like, since #1 loves pink and purple. We found some really cute coordinating duvet covers at IKEA (and curtains and a rug), and then I had the inspiration to do what you see in the picture. Good thing there are no close-ups, or you could see the blurred lines...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Poison control, how may I help you?"

You'd think that the parents of a nickel-swallowing, shirt sucking, bathtub-water-drinking 2.5 year old would learn....

Last night I was inside and DH was putting out the garbage; #2 was puttering around in the garage. He came running in and said, "mommy, smell my mouf!" I did--and it did not resonate with fruity overtones. After investigating, we discovered that he'd found the one spray bottle full of suspicious-looking brown liquid that the previous owners had left. And, of course, if you're two and a pretty curious monkey, you do what seems reasonable. Which is to stick the squirt bottle in your mouth and spray (isn't that what you do with unknown, bad-smelling liquids? I'm pretty sure that's what *we* were taught in 8th grade science class.) We sniffed and thought it smelled like lawn product--either fertilizer or weed killer. Excellent eats, all around.

So--I called poison control. I felt pretty silly saying that yes, we did have brains in our heads but yes, we'd left a bottle of unknown something within reath of a 2 year old, and no, neither of us had actually witnessed what he'd consumed. The final verdict was to go to the hospital for monitoring. Off we went--#2 was quite excited about the grand adventure of it all (fun tabs to pull off my ches? Cool! A blinking red light on my finger? Wow!)

The short of it: he's fine, nothing's wrong, we're all good (if a bit tired after getting in at 4:00 am.) But, hey, 'rents out there: put yer poisons up high!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Better late than never I guess

A little funny something happened to me at the gym this evening.
Got there and the place was packed. I got on the first treadmill I came to and proceeded to try to get it going. (Aside to those of you who don't know me that well: Even though I do go to the gym a few times a week, I am a dork. I try to get started on the machines as quick as I can so as to not reveal my inner gym geek to those around me. But I digress...) I tried to go fast, go slow, go medium speed... and the machine wouldn't take my commands. After 2 minutes of trying to get the thing started (AND MISSING THE FIRST 2 MINUTES OF LAW AND ORDER BUT WHO'S COUNTING?!!!!), the woman on the machine next to me leans over all smiley and says, "I tried that one and couldn't get it to work." Perhaps she thought I looked great doing my hamster on a rusty wheel act, but I guess I'd have appreciated an earlier warning. At least then I'd have known what city the victim's parents lived in.