I am about to make muffins with cauliflower puree in them. Sounds unusual, I know. But pretty darn tasty and indiscernable with banana and peanut butter, and of course, lots of brown sugar. I am discovering that cooking is really important to me. Even when I'm exhausted and I should just be going to bed, I still do it. Sure, it's for the kids. But it's also for me. I remember when the girls were almost six weeks old and my aunt Virginia and cousin Alissa were coming up for the day. I was really struggling. Every time I nursed the girls, they fussed and screamed and this was going on about six times a night between the two of them, not to mention all day long. And, even in the midst of all that, I insisted on making cookies. I am sure it did not make an impression on my aunt and cousin, but it felt so critical to me. And it has been that way all throughout. Why am I not wired so that running three miles and lifting weights are the thing I will not sacrifice, no matter what? Oh well. Why fight your deepest impulses? Instead, I am just trying to make every cooking experience count. Which is why I spent three hours today making a barley risotto that was only supposed to take 50 minutes. And then I ate it in 5 minutes so that I could get the kids fed and up to bed on time.
Our outing this morning was to Caffe Fiore, one of my favorite spots since the girls were born. They have a teeny, but cool, kid's korner with books, toys and two tiny chairs. I parked my enormous double jogging stroller just off the bathroom door (far enough away that people can still use the bathroom, but close enough that everyone involved feels awkward) and gave the kids crackers and apples so I could have a moment to sit on the tiny chair and enjoy my espresso. I thought perhaps reading books to the kids would stimulate their brain development and buy me more time. Manny wanted to read an Elmo counting book. The words on the last page read, "Elmo loves you." The End. This really stuck with me. The only other person we hear this regularly about is Jesus. I have never even heard the phrase "Santa loves you." But apparently after counting from one to ten, the next logical thing to say is "Elmo loves you." I didn't read that part. I would prefer they used the extra page to teach children about the number eleven. Eleven Elmos. There's a good idea!
I think I might pull a muscle changing diapers. I don't remember when we crossed over. Maybe it was a gradual process. A partial roll here. A wiggly leg there. But now when I change Glory and Elena's diapers they immediately flip over and try to escape, which is tricky if they are dirty. It is a harrowing experience to be holding a poopy child by the ankles when the only part of their body touching the floor is their hands. And you can tell it's going to be a two-wiper. Maybe a three or four, depending on the level of skill demonstrated in the wiping. For as many times as I have wiped my children's bottoms, I have refined my wiping skills very little. Maybe it's the same reason I am no good at tennis. My follow through is weak. Today, I could not get Elena's diaper on her and Manny was standing on the ramp pulling his off. It would be so much easier to let them run around naked, but no diapers is a slippery slope (literally with our ramp) and my children are already so much grubbier than I ever imagined they'd be. I have decided that spray and wash is for people with too much time on their hands.
I love how so often when Manny is doing something I don't want him to do, like push his sisters, I say “Let's not do that” as though we are both pushing Glory off of our high chairs. Does that lessen the impact of my reprimand, to suggest that I share the responsibility of the push with him? I have a lot of opportunity to think about this because pushing is always on Manny's to-do list.
MANNY'S TO DO LIST
1. Watch Clifford.
2. Eat raisins.
3. Push Elena.
4. Climb something I'm not supposed to.
5. Clean the top of the toliet with my toothbrush after 5 seconds of brushing my teeth.
6. Push Glory.
7. Eat Mama's hair.
8. Repeat #3 and #6 and #7 until Mama shouts at Aslan.
9. Back off for one minute and then resume being alternately charming and territorial, depending on what the babies are touching.
Life is beautiful. I'm going to go bond with my cauliflower puree.