Saturday, June 01, 2013

Baking Bread...

in my sandals.  Full on cankles in effect.  My feet looks like the tree stumps of an elderly Portuguese woman in a house dress and head kerchief walking haltingly up and down the sidewalk with suspicious eyes.  At this point, the twerps' combined weight is more than what the Big Yam weighed when he emerged from betwixt my loins.  AND I STILL HAVE ALMOST FIVE WEEKS TO GO.

Oy vey.  Scratch the lowest gestational moment recounted Wednesday.  Each day allows me to plumb new depths.  To wit: on Wednesday night, I turned to the Dotytron and lifted up my (read: his) shirt (and not a shirt from recent times, when t-shirts have tended towards the more slim cut for men - a t-shirt leftover from the late 90s ravey XXL boxy hip hop days), exposing my belly, and feeling gingerly below the roughly equatorial line implied by my belly button to inquire, "Is that a hernia or a stretch mark?"  (Jury is still out, for the record).

I had a tough morning with the Big Yam, yesterday.  He wasn't being a team player, per se.  Each morning consists of longer and more fraught episodes of what the Dotytron calls "reverse rape" (where you're struggling to get your child INTO clothes), and then endless combinations of threats/taking things away/time outs in order to achieve the most cursory tooth brushing and potty going so that we can get out the door.  Thursday morning was pretty terrible and resulted in the Big Yam asking me, when we finally got outside and I was unfolding the umbrella stroller, "Mama, are you still mad at me?"  At which point, I felt like the most horrible person on the planet.  Like, way worse than the Hitler-lookalike tea-kettle must feel, being an inanimate object that's now inextricably linked to one of history's greatest villains:

Ugh.  I felt SO guilty.  At the time, I put the stroller aside, sat down, took him onto my lap, and explained that I wasn't mad, and that it's hard for me when he's not being a team player.  We talked about what he needs to do in the morning and how we all have to go to work, and we talked about how he would try better tomorrow.  We ended with lots of kisses and hugs, but the Big Yam's question reverberated with me all day. We had a better night that night, but it still sticks with me.  I wasn't my "best self" with him yesterday morning, as Oprah would say (remember Oprah? I don't!)

Another parenting-related issue that I'm grappling with - the whole, if you give your kid one thing in front of other kids, then you have to have enough for all of them, scenario.  To wit: on Wednesday night, as we were winding down from the post-dinner outside play, I offered the Big Yam one of my homemade popsicles as a "special treat" (it's a banana-mango-coconut one).  I brought it out, and these two kids were immediately all up in my grill asking, "What's that?" and "Can I have one?" and I was all like, "Errr..." because I only had 1 other one in the freezer and quite frankly, I wanted it for myself.  But I wasn't sure what the politics/ethics were behind the issue so I put it to the masses on Facebook.  

The responses were mixed - 

"Screw the other kids"
"You don't want to be that lady"
"You can't offer kids food without asking their parents first because of allergies, etc."
"If the kids are playing at YOUR house then yes, you have to have one for everyone, but if it's just a street free-for-all, then no."

and so on and so forth.  

To be honest, I hadn't even considered the allergies dimension of the whole issue - my concerns were wholly (and selfishly) predicated on not wanting to waste my homemade popsicles on the neighbourhood kids, just because they happen to be enjoying public space at the same time as my kid.  And also: the logistics of having to make 10 popsicles each time.  

One of my neighbours weighed in and said that yes, I should have enough for everyone.  And that if her daughter gets a treat and there isn't enough for everyone, she has that treat inside before going out to play.  This to me, seems slightly ludicrous and a sign of the extreme lengths modern, urban, liberal parenting has gone to in the name of "fairness" and "sharing."  

Here are my issues:

1) When the other kids get popsicles, they're like, those frozen, ready-made Mott's juice ones or like, Kisko kids.  Often times, I don't let the Big Yam have one of those, because quite frankly, I consider them disgusting, and I limit his sugar to "special treats."  I don't think it's a big deal for him to experience NOT getting something when "everyone else" is.  To me, that's life in a world with unequally distributed resources.  As I've said before, there's lots of stuff that we have regularly (dessert, alcohol, etc.) that he doesn't get.  That's just life.

2) There's a difference between those popsicles and my popsicles - the labour that goes into mine is more and I don't see why I can't distribute the fruits of my labour as I see fit.  Also, I find it weird to have my interactions in public space policed thus.  So like, if we're eating dinner on the front stoop, we have to make sure there's enough dinner for everyone?  When the Dotytron brings his beer outside while he's watching the kids, he has to offer everyone a beer?  That makes no sense to me.  There is a line between politeness and fostering this weird sense of "everyone gets everything."  That's not the world we live in, people!  As my colleague said when I presented the situation to her: "It can't always be a potluck!"

3) I think the popsicle thing is an extension of the "Mr. Frosty" politics and tension.  Mr. Frosty is the name of the ice cream truck that comes by our street.  When Mr. Frosty comes by, there's always this like, moment when the parents are kind of eyeing each other to see who's going to cave and get something.  If nobody does, then it's easy to say to your kid, "No one is getting Mr. Frosty tonight!" If the majority are getting something, then you hit this tipping point and it seems like everyone acquiesces and gets something.  Then there are the weird, in between times, when I want a wagon wheel and the Dotytron wants his iceberg (which is a magical combination of slushy and vanilla soft serve) and we're the only ones getting and then we have to eat our treats in front of the other kids.  Frankly, I'm fine with this.  IT'S MY G-D MONEY!  I'm not going to self-police my Mr. Frosty consumption based on what other people are doing!  This isn't North Korea, for goodness' sake!  But it's definitely not behavior that you just do.  As we're buying our stuff, we are very aware for a minute or two that we're making things awkward for the other parents and their kids.

Anyway, is it a d**k move for me to give my own kid a homemade popsicle and have like a box of Mott's for the other kids?  Like, why do we have to do our popsicle eating inside on the off-chance that a neighbourhood kid is going to want one?  I don't like the selectiveness of it.  Like, if I was eating tripe stew outside, I don't have to make sure I have enough tripe stew.  It's only because kids are greedy little turds and want the "good" stuff only.  Also, for the record, I OFFERED last summer some of my homemade popsicles and the kids didn't like them.  Also, for the record, there are other times, when I've made a batch of cookies or something, that I bring out a plate of cookies for the street.  Or if everyone is hanging and we're having a snack, then I bring out crackers and cream cheese or baby carrots for everyone or whatever.  It's not like I'm ALWAYS bogarting stuff only for the Yam, it's more like when there's scarcity involved.

I also get asking the parents if their kids have allergies to make sure you don't like, inadvertently kill someone.  But am I not supposed to EVER bring out anything to share if it has nuts or whatever in them?  Isn't it the kid's responsibility to know that the world can't kow-tow to your (probably) made up food intolerances?  I think asking is totally fine to make sure you don't kill someone, but I also know parents of kids with allergies where it's like, you're demonized for having a jar of Jiffy in your home, even if it never sees the light of day.

I'm balking because I feel like it should be my prerogative.  Further, I actually think it's hella rude for some kid to be all like, "Can I have one?" I never did that as a kid.  Like, NEVER, EVER, EVER would I ask a grown-up for something they were eating or distributing.  I always waited until I was offered.  Then again, I never, ever, ever would have screamed the first name of a grown-up as a form of greeting, which I routinely get on my street.  I think the neighbour kids and neighbour parents think it's wack that I make the Big Yam refer to the adults as "Mr. So and So" or "Miss So and So" and some of them have given me the whole, "Ugh, don't call me 'Mr.' - it reminds me of my dad" line.  But I feel like adults are not my kid's peers.  I also think that it's a fine line between referring to adults by their first name and then you end up being Justin Bieber meeting the PM in a pair of denim overalls.  You can't wonder why that happens when you make kids rule the roost, guys.

Last night's dinner - roasted potato, roasted asparagus, bagna cauda, fried haloumi and poached egg salad.

Tonight's dinner: clam linguine with a raw kale ceasar salad.


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