Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

The kids are, even as we speak, dividing up the candy. Since they are Hermit kids, the first thing they did with the candy was take inventory, then whip out a paper and pencil to do some long division and determine what everyone's fair share was. Now they're debating what to do with the two extra egg-shaped gumballs, since the Easter Bunny sadly neglected to ensure that the number of them was divisible by four before he dumped them into the Easter basket.

UPDATE: I think the Easter Bunny has been found out. Bagel just called out "Princess! There's a Peeps box in a Wal-Mart bag in the trash!" Damn, I forgot to take out the trash! Who'da thunk they'd go digging through the kitchen trash looking for evidence?!?!?

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Baby Products

Brian Sack satirizes the world of ever more complex and cumbersome baby products. It's funny for being true!

I really hate baby gadget catalogs though. Because moms are female, there's a very strong tendency for them to take that short walk from "that's cool, I have to have that" to "everyone who cares about their baby should have that" to "let's pass a law requiring it". So I hope none of this stuff becomes de rigueur in the mommy world. In some circles it's already at the point where anyone who doesn't carry around a bag of crap that weighs more than the baby is looked on with suspicion.

Mr. Squeak

As a Christmas present, Bagel got a little stuffed toy rat which he named Mr. Squeak. Mr. Squeak has turned out to be quite a character! He frequently "runs away" and is found in odd places. Once he was found in a garbage can, and another time he was found hiding in an obscure cupboard where no one in the family seems to have put him. We're still not sure how he gets into all these places, but Bagel is convinced that Mr. Squeak is looking for food.

Bagel simply adores Mr. Squeak. He carries him to meals and to watch TV. He says Mr. Squeak is not a toy, he's a pet, and thus is not allowed on the TRAX train. He tells us Mr. Squeak has "comfortable fur" and he rubs Mr. Squeak's fur on his face. Mr. Squeak appears to be one of those toys that has truly come alive.

Tofu Dip Gets Compliments

I was asked to provide a veggie tray for a funeral luncheon. The kids and I were also attending the funeral, so I wanted to make sure they could eat the veggie dip. (That, and I didn't have any dairy products on hand with which to make a dip.) So I made a tofu-based dip by omitting the water from a tofu-based salad dressing recipe from Dairy-Free And Delicious. The dip got compliments and several people actually asked for the recipe!

Don't Ban Plastic Bags

I was baffled the first time I heard that plastic grocery bags are now supposed to be environmentally unfriendly and that paper is now the eco-alternative. See, some of us (i.e. not the early twentysomethings currently in indoctrination school college) are old enough to remember the days when plastic bags were the environmentally friendly alternative to paper bags. Paper bags were bulky. Those that weren't used for high school textbook covers or parcel wrappings took up space in landfills. They were heavy and supposedly contributed to deforestation and took a long time to biodegrade. Plastic grocery bags were the marvel of new technology to solve environmental problems-- feather-light, compact, cheap, recyclable, and waterproof to boot.

Now there's a movement afoot to convert everyone over to reusable grocery bags made of fabric. That's really cute. As a young single college kid, I used to bring my week's worth of groceries home to my dorm in one very large fabric bag. It was convenient and nice. But try doing that with enough groceries to feed a family of six for two weeks and you'll see the very large flaw in that plan. I buy $600-$1000 in groceries each month, enough to fill dozens of bags. We can't all be college students, nor can those of us with larger families afford the time to go to the market every day or to buy, schlep around, and wash three or four dozen fabric grocery bags.

The next time we all jump on an environmental bandwagon, I sincerely hope we all do our research. Sadly, I fear these trendy things are being fueled by college kids and single former college kids-- and I happen to know just how poorly those kids do their homework. I really wish they'd save their moral outrage for things that really need it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Medicating Bagel

We started Bagel on meds this week. He's taking an antidepressant med. We took him to the same child psych that treated Sonshine. She's really top-notch and tailors the med to the child's particular needs, always getting the whole picture including the family dynamic.

I feel so horrible handing my 3 1/2 year old son a pill every morning. He thinks it makes him big, like Sonshine, to take "swallow pills" instead of liquid medicine like a baby. But we had to do something. My body is breaking down under the strain of caring for him along with everyone else. I suppose we could have avoided meds, if I had an aide or something. But we can't afford an aide, and we also can't afford to let things go on the way they are, because if they do, my family will wear me out entirely and it's not like they can just go to the mommy dealership and get a new one. (I'm still under warranty, right? It's 35 years or 35,000 miles? 30 years? Oh. Whoops.)

Bagel has a constant need for dialogue. Sometimes we play out his scripts ("Is that a power fire alarm or a battery fire alarm?") but most of the time it's a constant third degree interrogation, followed by meltdowns.

Bagel: What are you doing, Mommy?
Me: I'm chopping potatoes.
Bagel: Oh. Are you chopping potatoes?
Me: Yes.
Bagel: Why are you chopping potatoes?
Me: I'm making soup.
Bagel: What kind of soup?
Me: Potato soup.
Bagel: Is it potato soup?
Me: Yes.
Bagel: Does it have ABC's in it?
Me: No, it has tasty potatoes and carrots and onions. [which I know is the wrong answer-- in Bagelworld all soup has ABC's in it, but if I answer yes and the ABC's fail to materialize, I'll also catch hell.]
Bagel: [insert meltdown here; soup burns on bottom]
Bagel: What are you doing, Mommy?
Me: Loading the dishwasher.
Bagel: Oh. Are you loading the dishwasher?
Me: Yes.
Bagel: Can I help?
Me: Sure. Why don't you bring me dirty dishes from the table?
Bagel: No! I want a Rice Dream baba!
Me: I will give you a Rice Dream baba when I am done loading the dishwasher.
Bagel: I want a RICE DREAM BABA!
Me: If you help me, it will go faster and I will get the rice dream baba for you sooner.
Bagel: No!
Me: Bagel, I have to do the dishes. We are all out of big plates. If I don't load the dishwasher, we will have no big plates for dinner.
Bagel: I want a big plate, I'm big for a big plate now!
Me: Well, if you want a big plate, you have to let me load the dishwasher.
Sonshine: [being unhelpfully truthful] You're not big, Bagel, you're little!
Bagel: I AM big!!!
Me: Sonshine, please don't. [We've talked about this before; it's a family sore spot.]
Sonshine: You're too little to go to Wal-Mart by yourself!
Bagel: I'M BIG!!!!!!!!
Me: Yes, Bagel, you are VERY big. Look how big you are! You go to school on the bus! You take swallow pills! You make wets in the potty!
Bagel: [insert meltdown here]
Bagel: I want a big plate!
Me: The big plates are still washing in the dishwasher. Here, you can have my big plate, and I'll take the little plate.
Bagel: That is NOT a big plate!
Me: It's the biggest clean plate we have.
[Dinner ensues, full of screams and nothing is good enough.]

This is extremely exhausting, because it is unrelenting. The only break I get from it is when he plays outside, which usually gets me 5-10 minutes uninterrupted, until he comes in upset about something else. Or when he is down for a nap, after he's done pounding on the door and settles down to sleep. I can also get him to be quiet for a while if I put on Here Come The ABCs. However, the DVD player is broken, so I haven't had that option lately.