Monday, June 6, 2011

children leading our path

Since Luca was born 4 years ago, his social life has been determined by my husband and I. He learned to play with our friends' children, learned to share at the park we chose, learned to sing and dance at the local library on the day that we could take him, learned to follow rules at the school we send him to.

But now Luca has been growing into his own wonderful self and he is developing friendships that go beyond playing in the same shared space, and are based on similar likes, shared fondness and compatibility of personality. My husband, Andre and I find ourselves now having playdates and attending events that are led by Luca's friendships. A mom and dad with whom we may not otherwise have developed a friendship, are now becoming our friends.

In years to come, I imagine this new phenomenom will expand beyond friendships and into activities that we do as a family, places we visit, and eventually where we end up living. After all, if our boys move away with their families, we may want to follow them where they go... and here I am once again thinking about the future, but I guess that's what children do: they renew our interest for what's to come.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

peaceful spring rolls

My last post was my harmony chicken recipie, which comes in handy when transitioning from work to home in the afternoons. I couldn't resist posting another recipie, however, since I very much enjoyed making these spring rolls with Andre last night.

- Rice wraps
- Cellophane noodles
- Boston lettuce
- Thickly sliced carrots and cucumbers
- Grilled chicken strips
- Mint and basil leaves leaves
- Peanut sauce or hoisin sauce

Pour boiling water on cellophane noodles and soak for 15 minutes until soft. Submerge a rice wrap in a bowl of water and place on a piece of cloth. Fill the wrap with noodles, lettuce, chicken, carrots, cucumbers, mint and basil to taste. Roll the wrap like a burrito. Serve chilled with peanut or hoisin sauce on the side.

Andre's chubby little hands were able to manage it all, except for the wrapping part where he got a lot of help from mom. We had a nice meal together and the noodles provided some slurping fun for the boys.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

harmony chicken recipie

Indiana Modern Pot-Roasted Chicken_1.jpg

You may recall a few days ago I was pondering the question of how to make the daily transition from work to home a little smoother. I've been experimenting a little and the most successful strategy was to engage my boys into a little cooking. Enter my sister's roasted chicken recipie, which I will call "Harmony Chicken" from now on. It's simple enough that they can help, and it has veggies, which they ate afterwards!

Main ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 lemon
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 tomatoes
- 4 carrots
- 1 white onion

- Heat the oven to 450 degrees
- Coat the chicken with olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt, pepper and a little thyme
- Put the bunch of thyme inside the chicken
- Place the chicken on a roasting pan along with the cut veggies
- Roast chicken for 1 hour

The hour's wait for the chicken to roast arrived with a set of calmer toddlers. We enjoyed a little play time together and set the table, then sat down and had a nice meal as a family. It was lovely.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

life unplugged

We spent last week in a tiny hotel on the beach in Baja California. The weather was lovely, the water clear, and the food delicious.

Now that they boys are a little more autonomous, Alain and I were able to watch them while we sat and relaxed under the sun and they enjoyed the sand and the water. There was no internet or TV, no electricity after 11:00 p.m., and no town to go out and explore. We thus went to bed a 9:00 p.m and woke up at 7:00 a.m.

The steady regime of fresh fish, 10 hours of sleep per night, and nothing to think about but perhaps how to prop my legs up so they'd get just the right tan was exactly what I needed. It was also nice for the boys to experience a different type of life where they eat whatever was caught that day and entertainment is derived from exploration of their surroundings and physical activity.

We were happy to return to the comforts of our home sweet home, but we could probably benefit from a life that is more unplugged.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

on being a better mom... in the afternoon

After a full day of work, I climb into my car and drive home. I wearily exit the car and experience my favorite moment of the day: two lovely smiling boys running up to hug me and excitedly saying "mami!!!."

Immediately afterwards comes my least favorite part of the day. I am not sure if it's crazy hour, or that toddlers can tell when a mommy is tired, but these boys turn into little screaming machines. They both want attention and they want it immediately. So I find myself still in heels and a suit, playing soccer inside the living room with one child and also trying to prevent the other one from throwing a picture frame down the stairs. Both, discontinuing indoor soccer and preventing the dangerous picture frame throw, result in more screaming... Oh, and did I mention that the nanny thinks it is the best moment to tell me all about how many times they pooped and what color it was? Picture this scenario in many variations every week day after work.

About an hour later, things start to settle a little. By then, I am absolutely exhausted and my fuse is rather short. I am wondering about what I can do upon entry into my home that will lead to a more harmonious transition. It would greatly benefit all of us to do things differently. Perhaps some kind of quiet routine.

Any ideas? I'll share what I come up with.

Friday, April 15, 2011

on being a better mom... in the morning

On being a better mom, there is a lot to think about and get accomplished. After all, no matter how good a mom I am trying to be, my precious little wonders deserve my best. There's always room for improvement!

I will be posting about little ways in which I can be a better mom and encourage you to share your ideas. Today at exactly 5:47 a.m., I was inspired with the first challenge when I heard little footsteps in the hallway. When my boys wake up at an impossible hour, greet them with a smile, cuddle and play quietly with them. After all, it's not like they wake up early to purposefuly cut my rest short. And who knows how long two boys will want to climb in bed with my husband and I every morning?

This morning, in spite of having slept very little and having quite a few serious issues whirling in my head, I greeted Andre with a smile. He climbed in bed, and was his most cute and adorable self until I got up to make breakfast for all four of us.

Monday, April 11, 2011

i don't want my children to be color blind

Sometimes I think about the very big responsibility that I have on my shoulders to raise children who are kind, honest, moral and caring. One of the things that I would like to teach them about is that the differences between people are to be celebrated and respected. I want to help them not to be racist, sexist, classist and all the other "ists" in spite of what they may be exposed to outside the home.

Children are not color blind. They see differences. What's unique about children is that they tend to see differences neutrally. Adults, on the other hand, tend to judge those differences and to purposefully and unconsiously teach children to do the same. Perhaps it's as simple as locking the car door as we enter a certain part of town. Or it's talking in singsong voice to women and in a more direct way to men. Or assuming that a child who does not look like her mother is adopted.

But what about well meaning parents who do not want their children to judge others? Parents that tell their children that everyone is the same? The truth is that everyone is not the same. There are distinct differences between cultures, genders, and groups of people in general. If we apply the golden rule of "treat others as you would like to be treated" then we can commit blunders and even offend others. I would challenge all of us as parents to teach our children to learn about others, their cultures, their preferences, and to apply the "platinum rule" of "treat others as they would want to be treated."

There is no shame in being different, no ill intent in recognizing that we are different from one another. The real work is in figuring out that my way of doing things is not the way, but just one of many ways of living life. My children do not have to completely understand or agree with other ways of living life. I just hope they are open and inclusive of different perspectives.