Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deep Thoughts

When trying to describe something that is completely futile, why don't people ever say "It's like trying to sweep up macaroni and cheese"? Because have you tried that? It's horrible, spending a full minute trying to catch each noodle and whisk it in the general direction of the others, all the while watching it get more and more covered with the dog hair and sand that perhaps will unstick it from the floor enough to make it mobile. I finally end up on my hands and knees, manually picking up each and every piece of macaroni, every time. Don't even ask what it looks like when we have couscous.

No matter how much we are intellectually aware that the human experience is essentially the same for all of us, we can't help but feel that we are the first one ever to experience the things that are truly profound. Clearly I am the first person ever to fall in love, ever to lose someone I cared about, ever to watch her toddler dance in the kitchen and be overwhelmed by the urge to call everyone I've ever met and tell them, "You'll never believe what she's doing right now!" Never mind that kitchen dancing is a pretty common toddler activity. There has never been a little girl with soft curls down her back, pushing the button on the Leap Frog farm again and again, so proud that she's mastered this way of making music, twirling around in front of the refrigerator, whispering to herself, "Dance. Dance. Dance. Dance..." Or if there has, I don't want to hear about it, because I want to tell you about mine.

Sometimes there simply are no words. The other day, Zachary and Ezra were in their room doing something they weren't supposed to be doing, maybe wrestling after I'd told them for the thousandth time that they were going to get hurt and that game was done for today. So I walked in and, I admit, raised my voice a little. Ezra turned to me and said, "Mommy, will you leave the room now? I want to tell Zachary that you're a yelling machine."

And finally, just because he didn't get featured here and his siblings did, I would like to announce to the world my pride that my oldest son, my first-grader, is the best reader I have ever met. (Or if there's a better one, I don't want to hear about. See the reasons cited above.) It hasn't been a struggle exactly, but it hasn't come easy. I was one of those who was reading by kindergarten, but with a November birthday, I was almost 6 when I started, so I had nearly a year advantage over the rest of the students. And I don't remember whether it came easy or was a struggle. Zachary was barely 5 when he started kindergarten, and I've worried so much that he's at a disadvantage because he's younger than his classmates. But last week, he read--all by himself--an entire "Captain Underpants" book. If you're not familiar with them, and I wasn't, they're chapter books, but with a lot of graphic novel components thrown in. And he didn't just flip through the pages; he read it. He happily answered all my questions and then filled me in on the plot. Then he read another one. I've ordered numbers 3 and 4 from PaperBack Swap and he's asking every day if they're here yet. There are so many wonderful books in his future and such pride to be gained from learning to read them, and I'm delighted that a superhero in his undies is getting us so far.


Bex said...

Long time no post! Nice to see you back and hope you had a happy new year.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I love the 'yelling machine' comment. Every moment is special with our little ones, enjoy it and feel free to brag, it's your blog after all!

Jennifer said...

I totally feel you on the pride over your little ones' firsts. And of course whatever they did is the most amazing thing. Ever. This is the true joy of parenting. The overwhelming love and joy over each little thing. It's way better than whatever we've lived ourselves. You've summed it up brilliantly. (Just popping over to visit from Aunt Becky's BTW.) Rock on.

Kendra said...

Thanks, Bex! It was a nice new year, but it's sure been busy. I'm going to try to be more regular about writing, but we'll see...

Yes, Christie, the "yelling machine" was pretty funny. It was hard to keep a straight face after a remark like that. And it's nice to have a place just to brag about how proud I am!

Thanks for the visit, Jennifer! Yes, my pride over whatever my kids do is so much more than anything I've ever done--except make them. It's pretty amazing!

Wendi said...

Great post.

And I love the mac 'n cheese analogy. I'll have to start using that one.

Mommy on the Spot said...

I am so glad that you are back! I missed reading your posts!

I love feeling so proud of my babes, too! Being a parent it the toughtest job ever, but moments like that make it the best job in the world!

Don't be a stanger!!

carrie said...

Children's accomplishments may happen to millions of kids - but to their parents, they are ONE in a million! I completely get it.

And as for my lemon chicken recipe, I just copy by memory the dish my mom made, omitting the capers because my husband can't stand capers. Here is the basic recipe:

You warm up an electric frying pan (this is what my mom did) to med-high. Pound as many boneless, skinless chx breasts as you think you need and dredge in flour. Coat them really well.

Then, heat up either butter or olive oil in the pan (the amount just depends on how big you want your thighs to be - but I'd estimate about 2-3 tablespoons). Then add the chicken, you can season w/salt and pepper if want, but I like mine pretty naked...except for the lemon.

So then you cook the chicken until it's done inside and nice golden brown on the outside and remove it frm pan. Then add about 1 cup chicken broth and the lemon is where it gets tricky - use as much lemon juice as you see fit (could be 1/4 cup - or could be 1/2 depending on how lemony you like it). Continue to cook the liquid, stirring up all the delicious pan cracklings, until it is thick (you might have to make a roux w/flour and a little more broth if it doesn't get thick enough for you). This would also be the time to add capers if you like 'em.

Then, when the sauce is finished, add the chicken back into the pan. I add lemon slices at this point because I love them so much.

And I also use butter...because it just tastes so good. And I probably use more than I told you to use because...well - you know.

We like to eat it with steamed broccoli and some linguini. In fact, I think we'll put this on the menu for this week and kick something else off!

I hope it works for you. Let me know!


Jasmine said...

Is being a yelling machine something like being a sex machine? Just wonderin' ;)

Kendra said...

Oh, Jasmine, I'd totally rather be a sex machine! But I guess they're both pretty noisy. : )

Kami said...

I've never heard that mac and cheese analogy. But it sounds a lot like herding cats. And also I never sweep up pasta. I resignedly get down on all fours immediately. In a yelling machine way, not in a sex machine way. Missed you Kendra!

Jasmine said...

where ya at!? we misses ya!

Kami said...

Hey Kendra, heads up! I nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award. Check out my newest post for details. It's all pretty straightforward. Kudos to you, my friend! I'm so glad we found each other.