Not much to report since the last time I posted. My friend from Montréal was in town so we spent time hanging with her. We had our weekly movie night with Lolly and SMckay - this had a juice/diva theme. Lolly went all out and got us t-shirts - I had a Taylor Swift one, the Dotytron got an Avril Lavigne "The Best Damned Tour" one, and the Big Yam was wearing a faux-backless Hannah Montana tank, emblazoned with the words: "part time pop star." The best was the onesies she made for the Wonder Twins. One Madonna, two Aretha Franklin onesies, and the icing on the cake, a Bette Midler "Divine Miss M" onesie. So hilarious! I haven't gotten a good shot yet but they will be uploaded soon. We drank juice and watched My So-Called Life and ate ice cream pie. It was kind of the best. Love those girls.
My sister came up with her brood and we took them to a nearby park with a pool that has a waterslide and a diving board. At one point, I split off and was hanging in the playground a little ways off from the fenced in pool. I see the Dotytron nonchalantly clamber up onto the deck, stroll over to the diving board, climb up, and then execute a perfect swan dive into the pool. LOL! I looked around to see if it was for the benefit of my niece or nephew and they were nowhere to be seen - it was a personal journey. Sunday we went to the Corktown Commons again and had a picnic with our high school friend visiting from Egypt and some of our other high school crew, then it was time for the aforementioned birthday dinner, where the Big Yam pulled a Mike Tyson on Little Big Cuz and bit his ear. I'M THE BEST PARENT EVER.
Recently I heard a good analogy for the turmoil a toddler goes through when you bring a new baby home. It would be like if the Dotytron brought home a new partner and was all like, "This person is now a part of our family. I love you, but I also love this new person just as much and you have to be nice to this new partner. Oh, by the way, you have to help me take care of them." It's a great analogy and it really hit home for me. We continue to struggle with his behaviour and we're just trying to be as consistent as we can be with our technique. We've implemented a point system in exchange for rewards (normally, time on the island of Sodor via the iPad) and we also bought an hourglass to help him visualize and make concrete the concept of time. We had run into a problem with bedtime going on and on and on and him dragging his feet about the routine stuff (tooth brushing, etc) and then throwing a fit when we refused to do a million stories at 9:30pm. Now, we flip over the hour glass together and he knows that when the sand runs out, no more stories. It has also worked with getting him out the door in the morning, limiting iPad time, and basically, anything where we have a deadline. I highly recommend it! Yes, I'm sure you could find a digital version of an hourglass, but the physical thing adds an extra dimension to the whole process.
When he is lovely, he is so very, very, very lovely.
He finally got to try the ice cream from the ice cream truck last week
And when he is a terror, well, it's really up to us to understand how hard it is for him to behave the way we expect him to. The Dotytron was brushing up on Piaget's stages of cognitive development and it all makes sense. From 2-5 years of age, kids are incapable (flat out don't have the capacity) to see things from a perspective other than their own. They are also trying to make sense of their world. Last week, the Big Yam took a bus toy and bonked the Roomie's daughter on the head with it, gently. She didn't react. So he repeated the "experiment" with more force. Which resulted in her wailing and many tears. He wasn't trying to be mean or malicious, he just was testing the point at which she would react. I'm not excusing the behaviour, but it's important to situate it and know that it's different from when he's frustrated with us or with another kid say, grabbing a toy out of his hand, and doesn't have the faculties to pause and use language to express himself and instead hits or shoves or (lately) bites. It's not great, but our daycare provider keeps reassuring us that it's normal.
The spike in bad behaviour is also directly linked to the arrival of the Wonder Twins, so there's that, too. As soon as anyone pays him concentrated, sustained attention, he's back to being the sweet little guy he is at heart. Unfortunately for him (and us), it's impossible to give him that concentrated, sustained attention in the style to which he is accustomed.
Well, obviously this post has taken me two days to compose. Yesterday was a bit of a rough one. I went out to the Beaches to go pick up a loaf of gluten-free bread from a bakery that's known for the quality of their loaves. Why gluten free bread? Because I wanted to make garlic bread for tonight's Italian-themed Lolly & SMckay movie night. I parked the car, and walked out about half an hour. The store was closed for the summer! THE WHOLE SUMMER! On my way back, I disengaged the parking brake on the stroller, but the right wheel was jammed and wouldn't spin. When you engage the parking brake, a little pin comes out and sticks in the wheel so it doesn't turn. Even though I disengaged the brake, the pin wouldn't retract all the way. So there I was, stuck, a half hour from the car, with two babies, no bread, and a stroller that wouldn't budge. I jerry-rigged a solution and came home and called the company, who told me to take it up with the store I bought it from. I did, they said to take it up with the company. I called the manufacturer back and they're like, "Well, the store you bought it from isn't an authorized dealer, so..." and I was like, "That's between you and the store! Don't put this on the consumer. No where does it say that you have to buy from an authorized dealer to honor the warranty." So after a bit more of that (frustrating!) they told me to fill out an email and they'll see what they can do.
So I'm currently stroller-less. Fun.
Then the Wonder Twins have decided from around 4-10pm to be inconsolable. Outright, inconsolable, unless they are attached to my breast. Which is frustrating, hot, sweaty, and trying to say the least. I haven't been handling it gracefully and sometimes I just need a break, which means I hand them off and they dissolve into tears. It's not great. It might even, as Big D would say, "so sucks."
Yesterday was the day when I finally realized that, despite my protestations to the contrary, this whole, twins & a preschooler thing isn't easy. It's pretty hard. And...I need help. Admitting you need help is the first step. I do too much taroff-ing (Persian and Chinese practice of refusing help/ arguing over the bill/trying to out conscientious the other party). When people offer to make dinner or get takeout, I turn them down. When people want to do something easy, I try to insist that life is what it was before. It's not. I can admit that now. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but I am hereby shouting out to the universe that once the Dotytron goes back to school and I am short my au pair...I NEED HELP. AND I AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG.
You will be paid in baby toes snacks:
What we've been eating, lately:
A $5 meal: breaded pork cutlet sandwich, cauliflower & cheese patties, dilled cucumber salad.
Espresso-toffee ice cream pie with fudge sauce (recipe below)
Cherry pop tarts/turnovers with homemade puff pastry and sweet bing cherry filling
Last night we had Dr. Rei & Hanbo over for dinner - whereupon both Wonder Twins barfed all over Hanbo's suit and he got beer spilled on his immaculate white shirt. We're the worst. I served the pork tinga that my friend R made us, with guacamole, pickled red onions, tomatillo salsa, and that green mango salad I've been obsessed with lately.
I also made this banana cream pie in a peanut shortbread crust with salted bourbon caramel sauce.
I'm going to start limiting my dairy again as of tomorrow. The babies are just getting too barfy and I bet it doesn't help them NOT be hungry if they're barfing all the time. It's a pretty cute gag at times. The other day, I was showing the Dotytron how ticklish Prof. Gantok is when you run your fingers up his back. I did it, and he instantly barfed, which is kinda the best/funniest. Anyway, because I know I'm cutting out dairy again, I had a piece of this for breakfast. DON'T JUDGE.
Coffee Toffee Ice Cream Pie
makes 8-10 servings
For the crust:
2 c. oreo chocolate cookie crumbs
2 T. sugar
6 T. unsalted butter, melted
- mix crust ingredients together then press on the bottom and up sides of a 9" deep dish pie dish. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes. Cool thoroughly.
For the filling:
2 pints premium coffee ice cream, softened at room temperature for 10 minutes
3 Skor bars, roughly chopped
- stir together ice cream and Skor chunks. Spread into cold crust. Make a little ice cream "lip" to prevent the fudge sauce from leaking everywhere. Freeze pie for about 4 hours or until firm.
For the fudge sauce:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4. T. butter
- whisk all ingredients in a pot. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, whisking occasionally so it doesn't seize up, but is cool enough to not melt the ice cream. Pour into well on the top of the pie. Spread evenly.
- freeze pie until firm. Remove from freezer and let temper at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.