Monday, November 15, 2010

The ups and downs of a lentil mess

We had a little situation last night in the Alvarez kitchen. I was cooking up some lentils for AV, yes she eats lentils. In fact, she loves them. They are right up there with black beans and spinach and bananas.

Pretty uneventful Sunday evening.

I was using the pressure cooker which is an essential kitchen appliance (is it an appliance, a pot, what?) NO good Mexican wife/woman lives without one. I am so good, I have two. Watch out.

Pressure cookers, if you can't tell by the name, cook things quickly but under great amounts of pressure. This requires the operator to have patience when the cooking process is complete so that the pressure goes away, and you can open the lid. (Your welcome, you have all now passed PC 101).

Ramon, for once in his life, didn't show his normal extreme patience. In our house, the one who is patient is him. The one who is not is me. Needless to say, I didn't quite know what to do when I heard a big pop and then a few choice words coming from my husband.

When I ventured to the kitchen, you can imagine what I found. Lentils. Lentils high. Lentils low. Lentils on the clean dishes. Lentils on the stovetop. Lentils. Everywhere. Which is funny, because when would you ever see a kitchen covered in lentils. (How many times can I write lentils? Lentils.)

Now, I thank my lucky stars that Ramon, aside from being patient, is also a great cleaner-upper. So, I just said, "What happened?" He said, "The lentils exploded." And I said, "Oh, that sucks." and watched him clean. Well, I helped a little.

I learned that my stove top can be taken apart. So, that was a nice tidbit of information. I also learned that when you take the stove apart you can see to the wall behind the sink. And guess what I found when the stove was in bits and pieces? My long lost cookie sheet that fell behind the sink after the great Cookie/Cracker baking fiasco of 2010.

Moral of the story. If you want to find a cookie sheet, have your husband explode lentils in your kitchen.

How's that for a moral?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Bomb Threats and Brown Trout

Today was one that started like any other. Cold, but not quite as cold as other days this week. The kids were their normal chatterbox-y selves. I threatened taking recess away about 11 times. They saw right through me all 11 times.

Recess came and went. We were trying, big emphasis on the trying, to get down to business, when the word to evacuate quickly came. Here we go. Teacher hell. Right up there with Halloween, bomb threats make poking your eyes out with a toothpick sound enjoyable. But, since we (I) here at the Casa Alvarez blog like to find the humor in things. I give you the following.

Plus sides to Bomb Threat Day:

-Impromptu suntanning (burning). When am I ever just standing in the sun for two hours. This would obviously be way better without 1200+ 2-12 year olds running amuck and with a beach and a sangria, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

-Impromptu half-day. I swear, I'm going to start thinking that the first mom who arrives has got to be the one who made the call. How is it possible that we haven't even finished evacuating the building and they're already there to take their precious cargo home? Do they wait in the parking lot all day?

-Watching Super Model wannabe moms stumble through the rocky/grassy field in 5 inch stilletos. Some call it dismissal when the music rings at 2:00, I call it "Who can wear the tightest pants, lowest cut blouse and highest heels." Fine when you only have to walk in the hallway. Not so fine when you have to navigate a soccer field full of 50+ groups of students to find that diamond in the rough that you call your child.

-At least its the soccer field and not the cactus garden. At the AS world, we are moving up. I say this because not very many people have witnessed much along the ways of improvements in these parts. My first bomb threat corralled 300 some-odd students into the schools 30 square foot cactus garden at 7:30am. Yep, kids and cactus = great idea.

-Confidence that the school is safe. (Not funny, but true) There is 24/7/365 security at the school plus an alarm system. So, basically if you're not supposed to be there, you won't be. It's nice to know that even if someone wanted to plant a bomb at the school (which what kind of person would?), they couldn't.

So, on that note, let's move along to this evening. After such an eventful afternoon at school, AV decided to rest for me for about an hour and a half, a miraculous, gift-from-God, afternoon nap for her. After, we played, we took and walk, we had dinner and we got the bath ready. A normal evening in the Alvarez house. Until....

Ana Victoria decided that she would rather have a jacuzzi than a bathtub. I'm with you on that one sister, I would settle for a shower that was actually warm for more than 2 minutes. What I am not, however, supporting is that she decided to manually make the bubbles go. She tried a little too hard and one of those jacuzzi bubbles came out with a prize. Actually three prizes

Everybody clear the pool. Brown trout.

Needless to say, bath time was cut short and followed by a serious talking to about when and where we move our bowels.

In the words of the late and great Dave Niehaus, My, Oh My.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Guilt-driven parenting

I'm going to go ahead and assume that if you're reading this and you're a parent you have at some point, and most likely at many points, made parenting decisions based on that fabulous thing we like to call guilt. If you're not a parent yet, then you can roll your eyes at me all you want. What do I care? I can't see you. But, mark my words, when you have your own children, you will make guilt-based decisions, and you will think of me. And, on that day, I will say, I told you so and feel very pleased with myself.

Guilt-driven parenting could be a totally new craze. If I had the patience and train of thought longer than like 4 minutes, I would write a book about it and make millions. Eat your heart out attachment parenting and babywisers- GDP isn't gross domestic product anymore (thank you whatever class in high school taught me that) GDP is THE new way to parent.

My GDP started when AV was very young. I thought that anytime she was awake I needed to be talking, interacting, playing, etc with her. I felt guilty when I would put her down to do something or another. Not to mention, God forbid, put her in the car and take her somewhere. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Then, of course, my guilt-driven thinking took over and I started thinking if I would like it for someone to be talking at me and playing with me and not giving me a second to look around during every second of my waking hours. I concluded that that would be obnoxious (something I do well). Then, the GDP took over on the other side. Oh jeez, I haven't been letting her be her own person. I haven't taken her places. GDP, baby.

GDP worked wonders when going to work, too. The wannabe stay-at-home mom in me thought of what horrible irreversable damage I was doing to the poor creature entrusted to my care by abandoning her to the loving arms of grandparents for 6 hours a day. Tears, hugs, and all sorts of get rich plans abounded from GDP and the working mom. Then, guilt-driven thinking told me that if I didn't work the baby wouldn't have a house to call home, wouldn't know her family in the USA and wouldn't have the education she deserved. GDP told me that I should head back if only for the tiny silver lining every 15th and 30th called payday.

GDP is at work right now in the mother's milk factory. This mama cow's supply is dwindling. My poor child will no longer be one of those magical, mythical creatures who are closer to angelic than they are to human, whose poop, literally, does not stink, who will never be obese, who will get a 1600 on their SAT's the first time without studying, who can most likely speak in complete sentences at 5 weeks old. She will be thrown to the proverbial dogs and become one of those alien children who drink.......formula......eeeewwww. I'll let you all shudder and shun me by shaking your head at the computer. (It's okay, it's all a part of the GDP process.) In my desire to not send my child to the dark side of baby nutrition, I tried everything I could to make more milk. Then GDP started working its magic. What does this GDP mom really want: a starving unhappy breast-fed baby, or a health strong bottle-fed one? When it comes down to it, formula (eeeewww) was invented for a reason, so that babies could grow strong and healthy when their mothers could no longer give them what they needed. It sounds a little less nasty now, but only just a little. GDP, in all her glory.

GDP, you might be realizing is just a fancy way to find balance. I shouldn't tell you that, because now my non-existent book won't sell. As parents we do the best we can with what we have. We trust our instincts and make choices every day so that these tiny humans under our charge grow into some semblance of normal, healthy and hopefully, good-looking, smart and successful adult humans. As long as the GDP thinking is evenly weighted with pro's and con's, the parents have a pretty good chance of making the best decision for their children. (pretty good chance is a very technical term, you need technical terms for your method to sell) That isn't to say that I won't look back in twenty years and think about all the things I should have done differently, but I will at the very least, be able to tell my children that I thought through, and probably overthought, every single decision that involved them and their development.

I will be accepting your pre-orders for the GDP book. Let me know how many copies you want.