Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dinner Dilemmas: Pizza Cupcakes, You Are Welcome!

LinkedIn & Wine. Living the dream!
Some weeks it is really about the small victories you know? This past week included an epic meltdown brought on by a sugar crash after a birthday doughnut binge, a six year old expressing his artistic side by creating a "mural" on our back fence with a black sharpie, and too many evenings shared with a glass of wine as I scoured LinkedIn for candidates. So yes. This week I was all about the little "wins."
Evan's artwork 

A year or two ago I did a series called "Dinner Dilemmas" because at that time I felt I had picky eaters! I laugh now. What did I know about picky eaters then? Fast forward to 2014. Today I am an expert with picky eaters. To be fair, my nine and three year old boys don't give me too much trouble, it's the six year old, Evan. . Evan would subside on a diet of skittles, Honey Nut Cheerios, milk and cake topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and extra sugar for good measure. Sure sometimes fruit and plain noodles are acceptable, but I can't push my luck.

The kid is impossible. What's for dinner mom? Doesn't matter what I answer.  The words barely escape my mouth before they are met with "I don't like that!" Lasagna? No. Tuna casserole? No. Homemade mac & cheese? No. Eggs? No. Tacos? No. Turkey sandwich? No. Soup of any kind? No. Mashed potatoes? No. Chili? No. NO NO NO NO.  You get the idea. It is infuriating, not to mention I think child services may show up at my door at any moment since my kid potentially borders on malnourished.

Last Sunday I pledged to find something my six year old would eat. I went to trusty Google and typed in "Dinner recipes, kids, picky eaters." Well my search returned plenty of recipes for... mac & cheese, tuna casserole, scrambled eggs and lasagna. Right. Not going to help me with my problem.  I was about to give up and fill my grocery cart with noodles and cereal when I stumbled on a recipe for Pizza Cupcakes.  You can follow the link for the actual recipe, but it could not have been any easier, which as a working mom with two kids in soccer practice most evenings is what I am all about.  If I have to peel, measure, puree, blend or beat too many ingredients, it ain't happening.

Pizza Cupcakes met the five ingredient criteria so I was sold.

What you need:

Refrigerator pizza dough (like Pillsbury)
Pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Mini pepperoni
Ground Italian sausage.

What you do:

Grease a muffin pan
Line each pan with pizza dough to create little cups that will be filled with a mixture of cooked sausage, pepperoni, sauce and cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 16 minutes

Garnish plates with sauteed green beans that *may* go uneaten but that will make your feel like a good, health conscious parent.


Too my shock and amazement all three children consumed and enjoyed them. Read that one more time. ALL THREE CHILDREN CONSUMED AND ENJOYED MY PIZZA CUPCAKES.  (No green beans were even touched during this experiment however.)

I brought back my trusty five star rating system and the results are in:

Bon Appetit! And here is to a week with many more small victories

Saturday, September 20, 2014

All About The Bass: "Skinny Bitch" Speaks Out.

Yeah. It's catchy. So damn catchy I find my self repeating it over and over all day.  While making breakfast "I'm all about the bass, about the bass, no treble." In the shower "You know my mama she told me don't worry about your size." In the car "i'm no stick figure silicon barbie doll."

All freaking day. That song. I thought it was a guilty pleasure. The bubble gum pop I'm supposed to be "too sophisticated" to enjoy. And I'm not above that. Fuck. I can admit that I like Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" (although I do take exception to the whole hammer licking video.) At first I thought it was a woman boldly singing a body-positive message, encouraging larger women not to "worry about your size."  Then I really listened to the lyrics, and I scratched my head.  Then I watched the Video, and I got pissed.

This is not a song about all women embracing their size. No. This is just another form of body shamming , albeit the reverse of what we usually see in our weight-obsessed society. What may seem like the anthem for the  full figured woman, still promotes a dangerous philosophy that one body type is better than another and that women are valued most for their sexuality, as defined by how many boys chase their "booty."

In case you are not familiar with the song, which means you probably don't listen to Alice 105 (guilty as charged,) it is performed by Meghan Trainor and here are the lyrics:

Yeah it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to do
'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
All the right junk in all the right places
I see the magazines working that Photoshop
We know that shit ain't real
Come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won't be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that's what's you're into then go ahead and move along 

Because you know I'm all about that bass,
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass
I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches Hey
No, I'm just playing I know you think you're fat,
But I'm here to tell you that,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won't be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that's what's you're into
Then go ahead and move along

I'm sorry lady, but did you just call me a bitch? I have a problem with that. As far as I know my weight does not define my level of bitchiness. What if we changed the lyrics to "go ahead and tell them big bitches?" I think it would be seen as what it is, an insult based on weight. Yes. I understand that heavier women (and men) face more discrimination than their skinnier counterparts, yet, I don't think promoting disdain for either body type is healthy for our society, or for the young, developing girls listening.

The song, and the video in particular demonizes "skinny bitches" telling us that thin women aren't sexy, thin women cant "shake it" and thin women are fake (silicon barbie dolls.)  The one skinny woman in the video is a caricature   She is overly sexualized and foolish, looking on in amazement at the big booties she ain't got. The song tells us our bodies are perfect from the "bottom to the top" (as long as you aren't a skinny bitch, right?)  

 The whole concept that she isn't a size two, but she has the "boom boom" that the boys really want is disturbing on multiple levels.  First, Meghan, are you trying to tell me that no boys want my "boom boom?" I beg to differ.  Men and women like people of varying body types, including skinny asses and round ones too. Second, as a women are our bodies acceptable only  because men find us sexually attractive? Because that is the message I am hearing.   "Hey it's okay I'm not a size two, because what men really want is a little extra booty."  This isn't a song about self-love or body acceptance, this is a song that tells us a woman's body is acceptable if men want to screw them.  What I first interrupted as a song to empower women is really just another objectification of the female body.

And it is sad. This song could have been so much more.  It could have been a sassy song about shaking what you got, whatever it is you got, because your perfect, from your bottom to your top, no matter what your size.

Someone needs to write that song.

Monday, September 15, 2014

People I Want To Punch In The Face: A Real "Genius"

It has been so long since I have vented in the form of People I Want To Punch In The Face.  It's time. Oh, yes it is time.

It came to me today as I sat in the Apple store with my busted IPhone. The screen shattered when I was on an emergency potty run with my three year old during my six year old's "soccer game." I put soccer game in quotations, because seriously, have you ever watched six year olds play soccer? It's a mix of excessive celebration combined with organized chaos and nose picking. Anyways, while coaxing my youngest child to go potty, my IPhone fell from my pocket and landed face down on the bathroom floor. The screen was shattered.  Long story short I made an appointment at the "Genius Bar." Really? Come on, as far as I can tell the employed "Geniuses" are bored pseudo techies punching a time clock. I don't remember the name of my "Genius" however he wore an official blue shirt, glasses and about a million electronic gadgets affixed to his belt. *HOT*. My Genius took one look at my phone shook his head and actually made a tutt, tutt, sound with his tongue, something I might expect of an 84 year old, but he couldn't have been over 25.

He placed my phone on the table and pressed here and there determining after 22 seconds that my phone was bent. He removed my case and noticed something "sticky" on the back of my phone, and snickered in disgust.  "What is that?" he questioned, eye brows raised and smirking. As my three year old sat beside me mindlessly pounding his chubby fingers on a sample Ipad, I looked him straight in the eye and said: "Have you ever seen inside a mommy's purse? How the hell do I know?"  He quickly announced that I would need a replacement. He picked up my phone and started fiddling around disabling icloud, and resetting passwords. He handed it back to me, informing me I needed to back my phone up and come back later to purchase the new phone. I sighed and texted my husband about the latest expense, and realized that most of my contacts had simply disappeared. Gone. Erased. I panicked. HOW AM I GOING TO REACH IAN'S DAD TO ARRANGE A PLAY DATE? HOW CAN I REACH THAT ONE BABYSITTER WE USED LAST YEAR? HOW WILL I REMEMBER WHO MY KID'S PEDIATRIC DENTIST IS??? Holy crisis.

I asked my Genius, what had just happened. He looked down at my phone in complete dismay, informing me he had no idea, and it was certainly nothing that he had done. Dude. One minute I held my trusty IPhone with all 170 contacts in place. The next after you put your genius hands all over it my contacts are gone.... you are telling me this is a coincidence?  "Miss, I don't know what you want me to do, they are gone." Um... hello.... aren't you called a Genius? This is Genius? Are you kidding me? No. No. Apparently he was not kidding me.  He handed me the work order and told me to return in a few days for a new phone and walked away. Leaving me....contactless.

I left the store, irate, my busted IPhone in my purse and my cranky three year old on my hip screaming for an Ipad and informing me that he had just had an "accident" which was now obvious to anyone within a two mile radius. As I walked my stinky child to the restroom I remembered to secure my phone now devoid of contacts in my purse, since this was in fact how I ended up at the "Genius Bar" in the first place.

So Public Service Announcement: Keep your phone tucked in a safe place when bent over your child in a public restroom, and never trust a genius with your contacts. You are welcome.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Crib

This house has had a crib in it for nine years. Nine years. Now, I realize that is nothing in comparison to the Duggars, but I don't care to compare myself to complete maniacs.

I remember all those years ago, I gratefully accepted a hand-me-down crib, the crib that was my sister's stepson's. It was old fashioned, but sweet. I remember, honestly as if it was yesterday, standing in Babies R Us with my mother picking out the bedding, the area rug, the lamp, everything coordinated with a jungle theme. (As a side note, why do we assume babies like jungle animals? I mean really, aren't tigers and lions a little scary?)

I was so proud of that nursery. It was ready weeks before my baby was to arrive. It was to be his home, his safe haven, the crib there to protect him, the baby animals to comfort him. My eldest climbed out of that crib just before his second birthday, so it was retired, but only briefly until our middle child, Evan would arrive in the spring of 2008.  That crib moved with us to Berkeley California when Evan was one.

Evan loved his crib. Loved it. Unlike his older brother he never made a move to escape. I thought he might stay in that crib until he was twelve, but frankly, it was falling apart, and when we found out we had another baby on the way we decided one crib per family was enough. Evan was promptly transitioned to his "toddler bed."

In 2011, my girlfriend Hannah gave me her beautiful never-used crib. It looked expensive. I'm sure it was. Her kids never cared for the crib, opting instead to bunk with mom and dad. So Julian was the lucky recipient of a brand new crib. That was three years ago.  That crib moved with us from Oakland back to Denver and up until two days ago my littlest child, my baby Julian, was as happy as can be in his "cribey." Like his brother Evan, he never made any effort to escape, in fact whenever he grew tired he would ask for it. When he was scared he would run for it. His crib was his safe place.

Two days ago the drop side of the crib became loose. Rather than fix it, we simply removed it, so that the crib is now open on one side, almost like a regular bed.  My baby loves it. He loves the freedom to come and go as he pleases. He no longer has to cry for me each morning to help him out of a crib. Three or four times a day he asks if he can go take a "nap" just so that he may have the experience of getting in and out of his bed by himself.  It doesn't take a genius to know what this represents. He is growing up.

So after nine years, this family will no longer have a crib. We never will again, not until my babies have babies of their very own. My children have outgrown the need to be contained, they have reached a level of independence, and the bittersweet truth is, it has only just begun.  Every day my nine year old, the baby who once gobbled up jars of pureed peas with gusto, surprises me with his maturity. He has transformed what was once his nursery into a boys room scattered with Harry Potter novels, baseball cards, and dirty socks. He rattles of multiplication tables and baseball statistics and want's to go on "real" roller coasters.  My younger boys are catching up everyday.

This house no longer has a crib. I can't protect my boys the way I once did, watching their every move, catching them when they fall, being there all the time. No. My children no longer have the protection of a four sided bed, those days are gone forever.  Instead we now must create a home, four walls within which they know they are safe and loved. Where we will hold them, support them and try to comfort them just as much as we did back in the days when a lullaby could sooth them to slumber.

This house no longer has a crib.  I won't lie. It hurts a bit. Letting go. Saying goodbye to those baby years. The years when nobody in the world compared to mommy or daddy. When their faces would light up at the very sight of us. I have always been infatuated with the passage of time, and nothing makes the passing of each year more noticeable than one's children growing up. Time is all we have, and we can't rewind, we can't go back. I will never have a baby in a crib again. We will be buying another big boy bed, dismantling the crib and hopefully handing it down to another young family. One  that is just beginning. I will blink back my tears as we see it go, and then I'll turn back to my big boys and move on...