I suck at cupcakes… :(

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I’m crazy about recipes. A good chunk of my web-browsing is looking for recipes, saving them to my google drive and then pouring through them as I contemplate my next endeavor.

However, I think there’s a lot to be said for the idea of cooking, and the actual outcome. For example, I tried making these for my son’s class per the teacher’s request for ‘homemade snacks.’ I followed a recipe I found online, but they came out so dry that no one wanted any. The frosting looks nice, but it wasn’t as yummy as it looked.    

So let that be a warning to you, and a reassurance if your own work doesn’t turn out okay. A dry and unflavorful cupcake could still look pretty. Because we can’t taste stuff on the internet, you can feel like a failure even if it’s instagram-able. :(

Toddler symmetry 

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I’ve been noticing my son really likes orderliness in his world. (Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!) here’s a few examples from over the weekend. 

This is his lawnmower toy. The balls settled perfectly and we weren’t allowed to touch it.   

I wish I could say it was my idea to align these practice golf balls on the fence so perfectly. But no, credit goes to the little man. 

Blockus interruptus. He would have kept going, but he wanted to go t the store with daddy. Love this kiddo!

Post Mother’s Day Reflections

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I was festering in a rather negative mood for a few weeks, unable to riddle out why. Then I checked the calendar. Ah, mother’s day, or as it should have been known in my family, martyr’s day, was fast approaching. I’ve been estranged from my mother for about 5 years or so now, no matter what I tell myself, the triggers are still there for me.

I’m a grown woman, a mother of my own child, still yearning for this mythical ideal that’s held up by the marketing companies so desperate to sell me some fat load of nonsense on what motherhood is supposed to be. I’ve got this hole in my heart, this inexplicable emptiness that I can’t really articulate. I’ve always known that something was off.

For as much as I wanted that tender, supportive and loving relationship that’s depicted on television, in movies, in commercials, and pretty much everywhere this time of year:

My experience has always felt more like this:

It’s been clear to me from a very young age that I was her possession, and never an individual. Her pet name for me was “dolly” and I imagine that in her mind, that’s exactly how she saw me. Her toy, her plaything to dress up and manipulate to her whims, but ready to be tossed aside once she’s done with me. The parenting often would invert, and I would be the one taking care of her, filling her wine glass, making sure she got to bed after she passed out on the couch, allowing her to live vicariously through my life, so that she could feel young, smart, pretty, whatever, instead of sad and empty which I think she always felt.

Now that I have my son, and ensuring that he never has any contact with her, I had hoped that I’d have more understanding of her, that maybe this was just what parenting is like. But instead, my experiences so far, have given me more reasons to rage at her rather than less. My heart is hardened when I think about how many hurtful things she did to me, the lies she told, her motivations still completely baffling except to point at her immense selfishness.

I know that I’m not the best parent in the world, but I’m a damn good one. I’m doing right by my child, and in every smile and hug and joyful moment, I know that these choices are right. It saddens me though, that I didn’t have the same experiences.

in honor of the selfie stick

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People give the selfie stick a bad rap. I kinda get it, that maybe the selfie obsessed life that people enjoy rubs people the wrong way. But before never have people had such a convenient method of self reflection and yes, self love.

The selfie stick is essentially a tripod with a shutter release mechanism. It’s lightweight and convenient if properly used. I don’t get it. The selfie stick is a tech accessory at best, and if used properly, produces superior images. I think it’s encouraging to see people embracing this. It’s the next tech breakthrough. A new phone model that defeats the selfie stick will win the day.

But until then, I don’t hate on anyone trying to improve their angles. Selfies show that someone is proud of how they look, and wants some documentation of it. From my perspective, as someone who routinely hates on themselves, learning to care for myself both inside and out, selfies are a way to say, yeah, I feel like a mess, but after I did my hair and make up, I feel better about myself. I don’t see why taking a photo of that moment is such a polarizing thing. Or why anyone has the right to take it away from me.

So yeah, I don’t own a selfie stick, but I do own an entire home studio photography set up. If I wanted, I could do very elaborate photo shoots of myself, and by these standards would arguably make me even more self absorbed. Which, I suppose, is the reason I formulated this argument to begin with. Instead of hating on someone for wanting to document their contentment with themselves, maybe take that selfie stick judgement and turn the camera to face front. Look at yourself and figure out why you need to hate on others. And while you’re at it, be kind to the face reflected on the camera screen. Smile, and take that snap. Or ten. #beautiful

In search of the perfect cookie.

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If you know me IRL, you’re aware of how seriously I take cookies. The most important of all cookies, is the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I hate when they’re too hard or crispy. The perfect cookie, for me, is soft and enough for one perfect bite. Here’s one of my recent efforts, using miniature chips instead of the big honking ones, and they came out magic!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature (I used salted)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups miniature chocolate chips

Directions:

Let butter come to room temperature. With a fork, mix together in a mixing bowl with sugars until light and fluffy. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, eggs, and flour, one ingredient at a time.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. (This step, I’ve found, is where the magic happens. If you have to skip it, at least try to give the dough time to come together.)

Remove dough from fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a tablespoon and scoop out enough dough to roll in your hands into a neat ball. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges crisp just slightly. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack until completely cool.

 

Toddler life…

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My kid’s daycare has a sort of pass/fail system for each day. Good behavior gets a happy face on their sheet for the day’s summary of activity. Bad days get a frowny face. So, considering my kid has been developing a habit of hitting, we’ve been very conscientious about reducing his frowny face days. I go to pick him up on Friday to find that he got not only a frowny face, but also a “see reverse” written on the sheet.

Dreading what I’m about to read, I flip the page over. Apparently, my kiddo decided that the otherwise innocuous pushing in of his chair by his teacher was a full frontal assault on his person. He reacted to this in several ways, which the teacher was kind enough to provide a nice synopsis.

He took the partially chewed food from his mouth, hucked it at the teacher and then flipped his chair over like a guest on the Jerry Springer show finding out the results of a paternity test.

I’m horrified at how my precious little one has devolved into one step above a poo-flinging ape. I’m also trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation, as the teacher relates the story to me. Whatever nonsense I put up with in my job, no one ever flings half chewed food at me. He also went on a hunger strike for the rest of the day, refusing anything else from the teacher, in some odd protest.

Other parents are coming to retrieve their kids. Their lovely littles are more than happy to gather themselves up in a dignified manner, and leave when the parent asks the first time. I’m trying to resolve my embarrassment, and try to offer up an explanation of his behavior. His obstinence reminds me so much of my little brother when he was small, his temper was always a problem, and his stubbornness always an obstacle. The teacher is not sympathetic.

As I try to reconcile the realization that my kid is developing an unhealthy sense of himself, where his rage can go to this darkness and people will just stand back, aghast. Am I witnessing the birth of a super villain?

I wish I could relate to him that this is just not the way to communicate or react to people. But my fear that he might take it even further worries me more. He does begin to throw things, and I raise my voice in an attempt to get him back in line. It works, and the teacher seems a bit impressed. It’s all I can do to pray that he’ll act like a human being and let me get him out of the building in one piece.

I wonder if this kid’s figured out his potential to destroy our happy little set up at this daycare. My face tries to keep the steely veneer of a parent who will not be fucked with, but deep down I’m just praying he stays mellow enough to keep him enrolled in a perfectly good classroom.

I wonder if it’s his way of getting attention, which most seasoned parents would advise me to just ignore it. But I know better. He’ll call my bluff easy and then up the ante, to something even worse. It’s moments like this where I feel the complete incompetence I feared I’d be stumbling through as a parent.

The teachers who all have multiple kids of their own, silently judging me with every minute passing where my kid continues to ignore my repeated requests to go home. I feel every inch the worst parent ever.

And, although the teacher is sort of laughing now about the incident, I can’t help but feel like I’m making the wrong choices. I begin to spiral in my head, worrying that I’ve spawned the next Lex Luthor or something.

But, as we go home, the kid seems just fine. In fact, we managed the rest of the weekend with few incidents, and certainly none of them are like the food flinging. I wonder if he’s not happy where he is, or what his freaking deal really is. But toddlers are enigmas, and we live to fight another day. Hopefully he does better today.

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