How does it feel?

The new president was sworn in a couple of hours ago. I didn’t watch. I didn’t listen. I don’t like the sound of his voice or the look of his face and I certainly don’t like hearing any of the words that come out of his mouth.

Mabel and I ended up playing Monopoly this morning, since she’s off school and still in her pyjamas. It was delightfully retro, but it also felt a little like preparing for the new world order. There was a slight hysteria about buying hotels and snapping up property. Well, maybe just for me.

How does it feel right now? It feels confusing. In spite of my lofty aims to stay off Facebook, I’m on Facebook. I’m not looking for news, but sometimes it comes at me. The climate change page has disappeared from the White House website. So has the LGBT rights page. Are they just preparing to replace them with something even better? Something the same with the new name on it? Are they hoping we’ll forget?

Remember in Back to the Future when the guy in the 1955 diner says “Ronald Reagan? The actor?” when Marty tells him who’s president in the future? I feel like that guy, except I’ve been here the whole time. It’s still utterly surreal that someone could show up, decide to run for president, win nomination, win the electoral colleges, become president – with no experience in politics, no knowledge of how a country is run, no human decency, no integrity at all. How can that happen? How did that just happen? He said “You can do anything you want when you’re rich,” and apparently it was true.

I’ve been blogging for so long that I can tell you exactly how I felt when Dubya was re-elected. I was sorely disappointed, but then I shrugged and said that the world keeps turning.

This is different. This is not normal. This is not business as usual. The world is still turning, Obama said it’s never the end of the world until the end of the world; but it’s all wrong.

Frankenstein

I’m cradling a cup of tea in my hands (in between typing) but I’m afraid to drink it. I think I have to wait until it’s lukewarm, and I hate lukewarm tea. I’m looking at a sheet of instructions that tell me “do NOT spit, floss, rinse, chew hard food, sticky food, consume hot food or drink, drink through a straw…” and wondering how this is meant to work.

I’ve taken a sip. It’s not too hot but it’s a little warmer than lukewarm. I think it’ll be okay.

The inside of my mouth looks like Frankenstein’s monster. I got home at 11:00 but it took me two hours to look in the mirror because I didn’t want to see it. I had a periodontal procedure. If you don’t want to know any more, skip the next paragraph, where I will describe it at your peril.

I had a gum graft, which means they take some tissue from the roof of your mouth and sew it on to the bottom of your teeth where you should have gum but you don’t because your gums and or teeth are stupid and useless. They did it on four bottom teeth in a row, because for some reason that may or may not be related to my orthodontic work as a teenager, the gum there was eroding badly.

It was a “simple” procedure that took an hour in the chair and only a few more injections than your basic filling. It didn’t hurt, really, but it was awkward and uncomfortable and icky and I’m glad it’s over. Now I have three different sets of pills (anti-inflammatories, painkillers, and antibiotics) and a follow-up for next week, and I’ll be getting a fancy night guard so that I don’t push my teeth out of alignment again. I’m hoping this lasts until I’m 90 so I don’t have to worry about it again. Maybe 100.

Anyway, I’m sure you didn’t want to know that, but that’s what’s on my mind so that’s what you got.

Another thing on my mind is Saturday’s march. I really don’t give a crap about Friday’s inauguration, since it’s happening and I can’t stop it so I’m just going to ignore it. La la laaaaa. Don’t feed the troll by paying attention to him. That’s what he thrives on. But the next day there’s this big march you may have heard of planned for downtown DC. A lot of people are planning to go. Even people who don’t live here are moving heaven and earth to be there.

I’m a woman. I live within spitting distance of Washington DC. I certainly disagree with Trump’s presidency and all he stands for. But I don’t want to go.

That’s my gut reaction. I’m not usually overly crowd-phobic, but the idea of all those throngs of people just sets off my internal alarm bells. And someone on the radio this morning helped me figure out why else it is that I have the don’ wannas about this: it’s not the end. It’s as if many people have focused on this march as an end in itself: but for one thing, its aims are sort of fuzzy and nonspecific – to show Donald just how many people will show up to let him know they don’t like him; way more than will have shown up the day before to say they do – and for another, January 21st is not the end. It’s the beginning. Maybe I think I should save my energy for the four years to come. Maybe I think I should do something more concrete than going out and walking around to show my displeasure.

Maybe I’m just lazy; that’s always an option. Since I’m right here beside DC, I practically feel like I’m as good as there whether I go or not. I feel guilty about not wanting to go, but I’m not going to go just to stop myself feeling guilty.

Anyway, that’s where I am. And where I’m not. Pass the ice cream.

Capprehension

Because we were travelling this Christmas, we did our official family present ceremony the weekend before, when Mabel got her big huge Playmobil thing and Dash got his scooter and B and I exchanged some things that were partly almost identical (but complementary). So on Christmas morning itself the kids weren’t expecting anything beyond their stockings until the big dinner with cousins later in the day. So, the stockings were ransacked, the oranges discarded, the chocolate eaten before breakfast, the small items admired or ignored… and that was it. Except we did have one more thing: an announcement.

No, I’m not pregnant. Don’t be silly.

The announcement was that when we got back home we would commence looking for a kitten. They were pretty excited about that. Mabel spent much of the rest of the trip saying “kitten kitten kitten kitten” at us for days at a time and saying we shouldn’t have told her because now she would obsess about it until we stepped off the plane. I cautioned that we would not be dashing straight to the kitten shop and getting a kitten the moment we got home; that this was simply the beginning of being open to finding a kitten.

And so it has been, because the animal shelter doesn’t have any kittens right now. (Yes, the irony. When we visited in the summer they had baskets of kittens, more than anyone needed; but it seemed that everyone had been adopted for Christmas. There were hardly any animals there at all.) We’ve taken a couple of books about cat care out of the library, I’ve nosed around PetSmart to see what there is in the way of litter trays and cat carriers, we’ve agreed that the ideal would be, in fact, two sibling kittens, to keep each other company and spread the love a bit. There were even two sibs at PetSmart (which offers adoptions, they don’t sell bred kittens), but they cost twice as much as the shelter and I didn’t fall instantly in love with them and the next time I looked one of them had gone so that was that.

It’s possible that I’m overthinking this. But even if we go to the big county shelter (on my list for next weekend … maybe) and they have bushels of kittens, how do you choose? These animals are going to be part of our family for years to come; can we just grab any two that look cute? Or the only two they have, if it’s like that? Perversely, I don’t want to get two more grown up cats whose personalities are already established, because they’re someone else’s cats already, not ours.

So, in short, I want some choice but not too much. I want a kitten (and its sibling) to choose us, so that we know we’ve chosen the right ones. I want a sign from the Cat God. (Is that Bast? I think it’s Bast. Dash would know, because he’s read Rick Riordan’s Egyptian series. He says they’re not as good as the others.)

But anyway, look out for some cute kitten photos on a blog near you, coming soon. I hope.

Girl sitting on a log wearing a sweater with a kitten faces print.

Mabel’s new top has kittens all over it. This was a coincidence, I promise.

Lagging

New Year’s Day
I feel vaguely as if I’m coming down with something but I think it’s probably just the jet lag, or the time displacement, or whatever you want to call it when you’ve had enough sleep but you’re five hours out of kilter. Yesterday we went to a kids’ New Year’s Eve party, which is a lovely tradition we seem to have become caught up in, and was just the ticket for us, because we got to count down and release the balloons and sing Auld Lang Syne at about 7:15, and we were home by 8:30. Whereupon three of us went swiftly to bed and one decided he was going to stay up and stick it out no matter what. Around 2am I heard noises downstairs and investigated to find a morose ten-year-old who had unaccountably been unable to keep his eyes open after 10:45 and had missed the whole thing. Since midnight here was 5am in Ireland, where we were until two days ago, I’m quite surprised he managed to stay up that long.

I have a 2000-piece jigsaw on the go and mostly I’d have liked to spend all day staring at it but instead we went out to a New Year’s Day party this afternoon, which was probably the best thing to do because there’s nothing like being in a room full of friends and watching your kids running around in a pack with all the other kids they know to remind you that it’s not so bad to live in a place you don’t come from, if the place you get to live in is this one.

There’s always that touch of the blues that comes with the return journey for me, that makes me wonder why we do it, why we leave what’s so right and familiar and is part of our bones and our souls – the sea and the sky and the stones and the trees – to come to this other place that has all our stuff but none of our history. Except it has all the history of our children’s childhoods now, and as our lives are entwined with theirs, so our futures and our pasts must be too.

Mabel just asked me why we can’t have someone deliver the pizza, instead of going out to get it. I made noises about it being quicker, and it being hotter that way, and because we can, but really it’s because if we got the pizza delivered, America would have won and stolen our souls. (Never mind the fact that people in Ireland also get pizza delivered.)

The day after
Today I feel properly woozy, as if I’m on a boat, or as if I just got off a boat and the world is still rocking. I keep having cups of tea and eating unhealthy things to make it stop, but so far only going back to bed for a while has actually helped. Now the boys have gone off to Rogue One and Mabel and I are watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with a large bowl of popcorn.

My jigsaw met an untimely end, for now – but the good thing about jigsaws is that even when they’re broken they’re not actually broken. I’ll take it out again some time when it’s not the last day before back to school and small tempers aren’t so frazzled.

I’m starting to crave properly healthy food like lemony broccoli and yogurty dressing, but all I could throw together without a trip to the supermarket was roasted sweet potato wedges and chickpeas, with halloumi draped over them. Not bad, but a little dry.

Tomorrow, back to school, back to fresh air and exercise and normality and reality and some writing. It’s going to be good. Here goes, 2017. Don’t fuck it up for us.

Mossy tree beside a small river.

A picture from our walk in Powerscourt three days ago and half a world ago.

Invisible invulnerable invaluable

And then poor George Michael only got one day in the news because of Carrie Fisher. What a crappy year, seriously.

I heard an interview with Carrie Fisher on the radio recently, and she struck me as a woman who is at that point in life where she really has no fucks to give. She tells it how it is and she doesn’t have to be something for anyone else any more. She wasn’t putting on her best self for the Terri Gross interview, she was just there, talking. If we wanted to listen, that was up to us. We should all aspire to such levels of notgivingafuckitude. I feel like she and Hilary Clinton could have run the world so well, but instead we’re left with TinyHands OrangeFace and a fairly vague Han Solo.

(I found it hilarious that from what Carrie said, Harrison Ford didn’t actually have to act at all for Star Wars. That terse, ultra-dry-witted man is exactly who he was/is in real life.)

There’s this thing about how older women are invisible, and how it’s really hard to come to terms with this new phase if you’ve been generally known as a pretty or beautiful woman in your younger days. But older women have such strength – think of Carrie Fisher, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Hilary Clinton – women who kick ass, take names, and give no fucks. (I hope Hilary is doing yoga, centering herself, drinking red wine, wearing leggings and letting her pores breathe, enjoying not having to give a shit about what she’s projecting to anyone any more. She’s proved herself a million times over.) Who told me that the Dalai Lama said that Western women will save the world? If only the world will let them – but hell, they’re trying so hard.

Women over 50 have walked through the fire of the gaze, the vulnerability, the judgement, for all those years. They’ve held it together, all of it, all at once, probably for everyone else at the same time as for themselves. They’ve done it all and fallen down and got up again and done it all some more, and even if they think they failed they’ve done it anyway. That’s what women do.

And then sometimes some of the best of them have a massive damn heart attack and it’s not fair at all.

Why is it different for women? Because men are never vulnerable. Not until they’re aged and infirm, and even then they’re less vulnerable than old women. (I just heard a story about an old man who confronted a burglar in his house, made him a cup of tea, and saw him out the front door. Admirable; but an old woman can’t do that.) Most young men have no enemies but themselves – if they can avoid getting killed through their own sheer foolhardiness or stupidity, they won’t have to worry about their personal safety for a long time.

Men don’t even know why women move in packs and go to the toilet in pairs and bring a friend to the party – we barely remember ourselves, we think we’re just more social than boys, but the truth is that we don’t go places on our own at night. One of us always has to be the more sober one, the most sensible one, the one who can make sure everyone else gives the right address to the taxi driver and doesn’t throw up in the car. One of us will always rise to the occasion. The boys can just get rat-arsed all they want, because they can probably wander home as slowly and alone-ly and darkly as they like.

Apart from personal safety issues, women have run the gauntlet of each other’s judgement since they were old enough to be told that’s a pretty dress now go and brush your hair. Opining on other women is like breathing. It’s what you do while you’re not doing anything. You look around, you see other people, you think things. Good, bad, pretty, fat, thin, nice shoes, horrible jeans, I wouldn’t do that with my hair. Older than me, younger than me, more friendly than me, quieter than me, shrill, short, bossy, judgmental. Who’s judging me today? Who am I doing this for? Who am I trying to impress? Why is this important?

And eventually you might get past it and stop trying to impress and you start seeing inside people a little better and ignoring their outsides a little more easily.

And then maybe, just maybe, you get to be something near as kick-ass as Carrie Fisher.

 

We wish you a merry coco pops

Christmas Eve

Coco Pops Rocks are not the same as regular Coco Pops. I am now one of those sad people who can’t tell that there is a totally new cereal based on the old cereal but not the same as the old cereal. It’s Christmas Eve and I’m eating Coco Pops Rocks by the handful because (a) nobody else will eat them (b) they’re right here (c) I’m using them to soak up all the prosecco.

The thing about being away at Christmas is that I’m sort of on self-imposed domesticity strike, so other than putting some things in the dishwasher now and keeping on top of the laundry and then I’m basically letting everyone fend for themselves. Shopping involves making sure we have white bread and Nutella (nope, we’re out again) and corn flakes and milk, but beyond those basics I assume we’ll be eating at other people’s houses or out. This is good for my waistline (other than the aforementioned Coco Pops Rocks) but bad for my parenting cred, as somehow my children still expect me to magic up food for them at intervals of, say, seven minutes.

If I was in my own kitchen I could easily whisk up cinnamon buns to proof overnight for tomorrow morning, but here I halfheartedly located some flour, realised it was the wrong sort, despaired of finding yeast, and called it a day. There’ll be chocolate for breakfast. What more do they want?

Stephen’s Day

In 1987 I impressed my Spanish exchange’s big brother by helping him figure out the lyrics to George Michael’s Faith. Remember when you had to wait for the words to the song you liked to be printed in Smash Hits before you could work out what exactly they were saying at that tricky fast bit? Now add the fact that it’s in a language you only know from school – the appearance of a native speaker in your house could up your street cred quite a lot if harnessed for lyric-discovery purposes.

This one, of all the blows of horrible 2016, hits me in the history. Wham! was one of the first groups I liked, George Michael was sexy before I knew that was even what I was thinking, and in 1991 when our class went to the Gaeltacht to immerse ourselves in the Irish language before our oral exams my copy of Listen Without Prejudice was one of the only two tapes our entire household was willing to listen to. (I think the other was The Best of Mary Black. We were an eclectic group.)

So today we’re treating the kids to a George Michael YouTube retrospective, whether they like it or not.

—–

I hope you had a lovely day yesterday. We had an excellent dinner with family, just as it should be.

 

 

The black-bean brownies that keep my kids alive

Brownie on plateI have the noisiest food processor in the world. It only occurred to me a while ago that maybe it’s not supposed to be that loud. But it processes perfectly well, so it would be petty of me to get a new one, even if I court deafness every time I use it.

And it is useful. I remember bugging my parents to get a food processor when they were the new big thing (at least, they seemed to be) so we  could “make coleslaw”. The idea of my voluntarily eating vegetables must have persuaded them in the end, but I don’t think I made the coleslaw more than once or twice. Mostly the new toy sat gathering dust in the back cupboard behind the stand mixer and in front of the good plates inherited from my paternal grandmother.

Nowadays I use my (newer but noisier) processor for making pastry (the recipe here is my favourite for everything), for falafel or carrot salad, but most often for these black-bean brownies, which are probably one of the things that keep my vegetable-averse children alive. They have one of these or a pumpkin muffin in their lunchbox every day, and they fight over getting the “test brownie” when they’re out of the oven. If your kids are used to regular brownies you might want to call these something else in case they’re disappointed, but as far as mine are concerned these are better. And I didn’t have to lie about the beans, either. They proclaim it proudly. Bonus: They’re gluten free.

I found the recipe online years ago, but it comes originally from a book called The Daily Bean by Suzanne Caciola White. I’ve changed the method, though, so I think I’m allowed reproduce my version here.

Ingredients in food processor

Aerial view

Black Bean Brownies

1 cup cooked black beans (the contents of one 15oz / 425g can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (200g) butter, softened a little
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
4 eggs

Optional: 3/4 cup (95g) chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Put the drained and rinsed beans and the sugar in your food processor and process until they form a smooth puree.
  3. Add the butter, cocoa, coffee powder, and eggs and blitz again until smooth.
  4. Stir in the walnuts, if using.
  5. Pour mixture into a lined 9×13 pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

If you don’t have a food processor, follow the method in the book, which says to first beat the butter and sugar with the cocoa and coffee. Then mix in the eggs and then the beans, followed by the nuts last of all.

Baked brownies in tin

Out of the oven. I lined the tin with a silicone sheet instead of paper.

If you want to know more about the recipes I love, you should follow me on Pinterest, because that’s where I keep most of them. Or just go directly to Smitten Kitchen because that’s where anything I don’t bother to pin comes from. 🙂

All I want for Christmas

Now that I’ve lodged Mariah Carey permanently in your left ear – and, be honest, she’s been there most of the week, hasn’t she – let me interrupt myself to tell you a story.

This morning I sat down to start writing and realised something was wrong. I felt … loose. Free. Sort of dangerously slippy. Unrestrained. No, I haven’t given the husband the heave-ho, or sent the children on an all-expenses paid trip to Siberia – I’d forgotten to put on my bra.

As I raced upstairs to remedy this inexplicable oversight, I ransacked my brain for excuses. I’m not the sort of girl who pulls off her bra with abandon as soon as she comes home, shedding it as she might kick off uncomfortable shoes, happy to be done with them for the day. (There’s nothing bad about that sort of girl. I’m just not one.) Once I’m out of bed and out of pyjamas, I have a bra on. I’m uncomfortable without.

My only explanation was that I’d taken off the gym gear and sports bra I’d put on first thing, but had not had a shower since I didn’t actually exercise. And apparently in my brain if I’m taking off one bra and putting clothes on straight away, I’m putting on pyjamas, which don’t get a bra. But this time I managed to put on three top layers (it’s cold), socks, and a pair of leggings, and go downstairs without even noticing that I’d missed a vital aspect of my habilliment.

I don’t know if that’s plausible. The other explanation is that I’m finally losing my marbles.

—–

So there you go. Keep a careful eye out for such a thing happening again. In the meantime, I read Sinead’s nice post about what other people wanted for Christmas and I thought I’d do one of my own. This is really my pre-Christmas list as much as my Christmas list, because some of these will be or have already been procured by me for me. But some might still be a lovely surprise.

My very lovely new bag, which I found in Marshall’s as I am wont to do, and lusted after for a while. Then I cunningly ordered three pairs of boots from Zappos, almost bought one, decided not to, sent them all back, and used the money I saved (ahem) to buy the bag. The price tag says “RRP 158” and I paid $50, so it’s a bargain.

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These were the boots I sent back. They’re lovely, but I wasn’t entirely sure they’d be as comfy as the boots they’d be replacing, which look exactly the same but a bit taller (and less new) and are still perfectly roadworthy.

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I bought a skirt in Dress Barn (shopping there makes me feel like I must be a cow, but they have some nice stuff at very affordable prices), and two tops as well. The skirt is crying out for some tall brown boots, so I’m giving myself permission to look for a pair of those when we’re in Dublin. (If money were no object and I had skinnier calves, these would be ideal.) (Can’t find a photo of the skirt online for some reason. It’s longish and dark red and velvety thin cord, A-line, quite 70s retro and very Christmassy.)

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I really need-want a nice silvery-grey scarf that goes with everything. This is a random one I found on Pinterest, to symbolize something that I won’t know exactly until I see it.

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I also want a new chopping board. Nothing fancy – I saw a nice one for 7.99 in Marshall’s. I like the bamboo ones, though.

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And these Food Huggers are really cute and would cut down on nasty plastic bags in my salad drawer.

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See, my needs are simple. My tastes are modest. Except for boots. And bags.

Tiny victories in selective eating

I know you’re all dying to know how the new dinner thing is going. Did we finally crack it? Or did I just crack, again?

I cannot tell a lie, at least not here on the blog, so I have to admit that once again we fell at about the second fence and it all came to pieces as soon as I blogged about how great I was and how we were finally on the right track. Of course it did. Will I never learn to keep my big trap (fingers) shut (still)?

BUT.

There’s a but. (Not a butt. Stop giggling there in the back row.) Reading the book and finding the blog were good, but joining a Facebook group for parents of selective eaters has really opened my eyes and given me a healthy dose of perspective on what we’re facing, how bad it is in the grand scheme of things, and what’s important.

There are parents in the group who have fussy toddlers, in a totally normal and age-appropriate way, babies and little kids who are exercising their newly found power by refusing food, or demanding only certain foods, or not eating things they’ve always eaten in the past. There are parents of kids like mine, who are picky and selective and have limited diets by their own choosing and who won’t “eat when they’re hungry enough” no matter how much you assume that’ll be the case.

And there are parents of children who are traumatized around food because they had such terrible reflux that their oesophagus was burned by acid, or who lack the muscle tone to swallow efficiently, or who have been badgered and bullied and terrorized so that they shut down around food, or who survive only thanks to liquid diet supplements, or whose parents celebrate when they eat a teaspoonful of solid food for the first time in a week, or who spent years on a feeding tube and have to learn how to eat from scratch.

Compared to these parents, I feel pretty lucky. My child has no allergies, no physical difficulty eating, is perfectly healthy despite his limited diet, and continues to grow apace.

It also brings home what an odd relationship we in the Western world have with food. Food is energy, food makes us grow, food is vital for life. And yet we insist on categorizing food into “good” and “bad.” Often we need to do something like this for ourselves because we have so much choice, such a bounty of sugar and salt and smooth and crunchy and deep-fried and processed that we’ve lost sight of the basics. But for these kids, food is food, and all food is good. A lot of it is about trusting that when offered a variety of foods, humans will, if they don’t have reasons to do otherwise, choose a selection that is healthful and eat as much as, but not more than, they need.

So by offering a bunch of different things at once, we can help our children trust themselves, and show them that we trust them. That’s the key to the Division of Responsibility (DOR) method.

It’s hard to do it perfectly: I clearly haven’t figured out how to do it at all. I have niggling issues with timing and fear of waste and how to balance one child’s needs and wants against the other’s. But here’s what’s changed for me in the past few weeks:

  • I am more understanding of Dash’s feelings. I don’t dismiss his food concerns as “illogical” or “ridiculous” even if they seem that way to me. I’m meeting him where he is, not trying to coerce him into coming over to my way of thinking.
  • I am more likely to keep foods he likes in the house, because they’re his safe foods, even if they don’t seem particularly “good” to me. Things like tortilla chips or Sun Chips or plain bagels. I resisted this for so long, partly because I have no self-control around Sun Chips, but mostly because at some level apparently I still felt that if he was hungry enough he’d eat “better” foods. That’s not true, and has clearly not ever been true for him. I’m learning to let go of that notion and have food in the house that he’s happy to eat.

Basically, I’m being nicer to Dash: less impatient, more understanding. It’s nice to be nice to him; I think deep down inside I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be nice about food, but this is better. (It’s interesting the things I continue to discover about me, not about him, as we go deeper into this.)

So, for instance, when we were away this weekend I promised to always remember to ask while ordering his french fries whether there’s seasoning on them, and if they can please not do that. Before, we’ve not said anything and sometimes fries will come out with pepper on them, or – heaven forfend! – a sprinkling of parsley flakes – and then there’s a row because I don’t like making a fuss and sending things back, and to me it’s silly to refuse to eat them over this tiny thing. But to him it’s a huge thing. And if we order them without seasoning up front, there’s no waste and no awkwardness and it’s perfectly easy for the restaurant too. Win-win, but something I’ve been so resistant to for no good reason except that it felt like pandering to the fussy child and I thought I shouldn’t do that.

I’m more able now to treat what might seem like tiny achievements as what they really are – big deals in the world of selective eating. This weekend he tried and liked two new foods! They were crinkle-cut fries and kettle corn, which might not sound like a great discovery to most of us, but let’s celebrate our victories where we find them. Taking an existing “safe food” – in this case, straight fries and plain salted popcorn – and expanding that to a variation in shape or flavour – is called food chaining, and it’s how a selective eater can start to expand their horizons while feeling secure and unthreatened.

So let’s call this a win. Just not the one I thought it was going to be.

Dash with food.

Happy with crinkle-cut chips and chocolate milk. An excellent lunch.

Giving grace

Three figures on the beach

I spent the weekend mostly not looking at Facebook.

I spent the weekend a stone’s throw from the Atlantic.

I spent the weekend reading a book and going to bed early and listening to the ocean waves crash and recede.

I spent the weekend being thankful for American restaurants that cater to children who don’t eat anything but french fries with no seasoning on them, that provide word searches and mad libs and paper for games of x’s and o’s, and chocolate milk and lemonade and apple juice. And beer.

I spent the weekend adjudicating rows and acceding to demands and telling short people to stop kicking each other, because some things never change.

I spent the weekend sharing a queen-sized bed with an eight-year old.

I spent the weekend buying buckets and spades and ice-cream cones at the end of November.

I spent the weekend with my people, by the sea, and it was good.


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