Adult Toddlers and MasterChef

My husband and I watch fair amount of cooking shows.  Any program with Alton Brown, Geoffrey Zakarian or Gordon Ramsay (save for Hell’s Kitchen, because he’s just too mean) will have our attention.

Our summertime faves are Food Network Star and Master Chef.  Food Network Star airs on Food Network (obvs) and is hosted by Alton, Giada and Bobby Flay (heartshapedcheesemelt).  Of all the food related shows, FNS is our jam.  MasterChef is hosted by Gordon, a skinny guy named Joe and a former big mamajamma (Graham) who is suddenly 170lbs slimmer this season.  Graham, the former Foodtorious BIG, was always fun to watch while tasting dishes because all of the flatware they chose for him seemed comically small.  In reality, it was his massive mitts that dwarfed the spoon.  I have found that this season, I can no longer crack any “have you seen the world’s tiniest spoon?” jokes, so it’s not as fun (kudos on the weight loss, though).  So, while Master Chef is good, it’s not great.

Hold me closer, tiny spoon.

Hold me closer, tiny spoon.

Last week, we noticed something while watching MC.  During the challenges, there’s a lot of dramatic, Rocky-esque music playing.  Additionally, most of the commentary between the judges and the contestants involve whether so-and-so thinks they’re better than what’s-his-face, which is usually met with a resouding, “Oh hell yes, I’mma ’bout to throw down on these scallops, biatch.”  Very much like watching a dozen foul-mouthed Guy Fieris trying to make risotto.  SUPER ANNOYING.

Please, share more of your culinary wisdom with us.

Please, share more of your culinary wisdom with us.

On FNS, the focus is on the food, the technique, the flavors.  I have no idea what a coffee rubbed lamb tenderloin topped with mushroom chips on a bed of parmesan polenta would taste like, but I want it in my belly like Gandhi wants world peace.

FNS makes me hungry, regardless of what we had for dinner.  Salad?  Prime rib?  Thanksgiving leftovers?  Whatever, I still need cheese and crackers and salami and wine and someone make veal saltimbocca for me ASAP.

MC gives me none of those warm, fuzzy hungry feelings.  Instead, I’ve learned that the viewing audience of Master Chef is essentially a group of adult toddlers.  “Oh, these words about food will be difficult to understand, so let’s play some music and flash some facial expressions then show a bowl of ice cream.”  There’s unnecessary drama and a lack of education (food is not only delicious, but educational).

I wondered to myself if the viewing audience could really be this difficult to maintain, that we needed to throw glitter and fireworks in their faces between seared scallops, just so they would stay tuned in to the show.  Then I realized that in my life, I actually know a few adult toddlers.

You know them, too.  They’re the ones who get all “SQUIRREL!” in the middle of your story; the ones who absolutely need to tell you about this thing they saw on E! (barf) because your update on the crisis in the Middle East totally reminded them of something they saw on Keeping Up with the Kardashians (double barf).  Adult toddlers interrupt, get you off track, find things like reading and learning and conversation to be very boring, but are very intrigued by Real Housewives of NewYorkalantastonpoughkeepsiejerfrancisco.

Also, anything bedazzled, glittered or spangled.

They aren’t bad people; on the contrary, they can be fun people, but just know what you’re getting into.  An AT doesn’t want to discuss immigration reform, but they do have an opinion on the quality of meat used at Taco Bell.  An AT isn’t interested in who is running for political office, but they can tell you all about Anthony Weiner’s…wiener.

And maybe comparing them to toddlers is unfair.  After all, we have a toddler, and he would be offended if he could read that comparison.  Toddlers are bright.  They’re clever, intelligent, sweet, funny, kind, and mischievous.  When they get all SQUIRREL on you, they are fully aware, and intentionally doing it (example: Okay, mom…the broccoli is yummy but hey, did you know I can name fifteen parts of my body?!) And that’s how we lose the broccoli war.

No…Adult Toddlers are more like:

I miss Seth, so much.

I miss Seth, so much.

So, Master Chef, I’m putting you on notice.  Provide some intelligent dialogue, or bring back the tiny forks.

Pinkies up,

K

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Sunday Mom Confessions

Oh Sunday, how quickly you arrive, always one of our favorite days of the week, yet also signaling the end of the weekend.  With feet up and wine in hand, I confess that over the past week I…

  1. Asked my son why he will not eat broccoli off his highchair tray, but will pick and eat my Scarlet Begonias in the front yard.
  2. Gave in to the dog’s sad eyes, and let her clean up the mess from dinner.  I hope tomatoes aren’t on the “NEVER FEED THIS TO A DOG” list.
  3. Ate a sweet potato for breakfast on Saturday.
  4. Learned that he answer to, “Where is all our Tupperware?” is not pleasant when you realize it’s been at least three weeks since the refrigerator was cleaned out.  This is a guesstimation, since neither my husband nor I could remember when we last made turkey tacos, and we’re almost positive it was taco meat in that container.  Almost…
  5. Taught my son how much fun it is to pick up tree limbs in the yard and toss them in the garbage can…especially when you use sound effects.  “Pew Pew Pew!” also works for putting dirty clothes in the hamper, taking clothes from the washer and putting them in the dryer, picking up our toys and putting cat food back in the dish.  Well, 32% success rate with the cat food…
  6. Realized that there are blueberry bagels baked with the special ability to explode into 1,457,832 crumbs when touched by a toddler.  Said crumbs do not show up all at once, rather in groups of 1,473, after you’ve mopped or swept or vacuumed.  Also in the car seat, diaper bag, laundry basket and my running shoes.  It’s like bagel confetti.
  7. Wondered last week how much cat food is “safe.”  He ate three kibbles this weekend.  No weird rash.
  8. Had an EPIC “mom fail” moment, when Miles tripped over my feet while we were walking, and went face first into the pavement.  While he was (thankfully, praise Jesus) not seriously injured, he does have road rash on his forehead.  Guilt the weight of the Titanic settled over me, even though I am fully aware of our son’s ability to trip and fall over thin air.
  9. Accidentally dropped some cooked pasta on the floor while cooking dinner.  Left it there because I knew Miles would just eat it (he did).  Similarity between toddlers and dogs.  Also, this was pre-facesmash, so don’t judge.
  10. Spent all three hours of my son’s naptime on both Saturday and Sunday reading.  In addition to forgetting when we last made turkey tacos, I’ve also forgotten when I last mopped the floor. (edit: today, after DOGTOMATOBAGELCRUMBFEST 2014)

We also had playdates and epic coloring sessions and ran around like crazy people in the front yard and swung on the swing until we could swing no more (that’s when mom and dad’s arms finally give out).  Miles now brings us his shoes and asks “Go? Go?” to remind us we should be outside eating driveway rocks and chasing the cats and waving to every neighbor we see.  We also finished a small project for displaying the magnitude of incredible artwork we have amassed since Miles started in the Toddler Room at school (future Rembrandt, photos to follow).  It was an awesome weekend, even if we did have a facesmash.

Cheers,

K

Ferris Bueller was right…

I’m standing at the kitchen sink, finishing the last chore of the day – the last chore of each and every day – washing bottles.  Miles is snuggled up in his crib, drifting off to sleep in this early evening hour.  It’s a cloudy night; rain today, like most early Summer days in Florida.  The sun is sending its beams piercing through the clouds; pink, gold, salmon, purple, all mixing with the blue-gray remnants of rain.  It’s a beautiful sky; it’s a beautiful night.  Just me in the kitchen, soaking up the calm and quiet.

“Soon, we’ll be weaning off of these bottles…”

This is a thought that my husband and I have had both silently and aloud for a few weeks, now.  The day will soon come where neither of us will be standing at the sink at 7:45pm, staring out the window as we take apart each bottle, and diligently scrub each of its five pieces, with each of our three uniquely sized brushes.

I am all at once consumed by emotion; I thought I was ready for this next, this very big step.  That I was ready for just sippy cups of water and milk; ready for no more uniquely sized brushes for the various parts of the very complicated (but very effective) bottles we had chosen long before Miles joined our lives, long before I was 41 weeks and going to the bathroom every ten minutes, long before I even put on my first pair of maternity pants.  Those very, very early days of “big” decisions: bottles, sheets, diapers, toys, books, furniture, carseats, strollers, burp cloths.  Many things that mattered immensely to our expanding family.

Newborn memories returned as I closed my eyes and paused in my scrubbing.  Two weeks old, four weeks old, three months old.  Carefully measuring the ounces in each bottle, then carefully warming it, eager to calm to the cries of a hungry baby…our baby.  Up at midnight and 3am, quietly feeding and rocking in the still darkness of his nursery, singing sweet songs, gently patting his tiny little tush, wanting to hug him close but also wanting to ensure he drifted off to sleep so that we could sleep.  Midnight feedings disappearing; early morning feedings disappearing.  Soon we’re on a very regular, normal, almost adult-like schedule.  No more midnight snuggles.  How we treasured the unbroken sleep then, and how I yearn for just one more snuggle, one more hug, one more precious, quiet moment now.

Quickly the newborn, young baby, half-birthday baby, almost crawling baby, almost walking baby days have passed.  Quickly we have outgrown clothes and diapers and baby tubs and swings and bouncers and sleeping on mom’s chest while she watches “Sex and the City” reruns on TV.  We’re a big boy now.  Walking, talking, running, laughing, playing in the water hose, feeding ourselves…we are growing up.

Silent tears run down my cheeks as I smile in this bittersweet moment of parenthood.  I am proud, so proud that my smile cannot be contained, of my very big boy.  And I am nostalgic for those early days, those “it’s you and me, kid, we’re on maternity leave!” days with my baby, my first baby, because we grew up together.  We are still growing up together.

So much love for such a teeny guy.

The number of times I’ve heard, “Time just passes in the blink of an eye!” is innumerable.  Standing there, washing just the three bottles of the day, I understood the passage of time at a very deep, maternal, gut wrenching level. Soon my baby will be graduating kindergarten, starting junior high school, going to prom, getting married, making us grandparents.

The moments that bring to focus the actual passage of time will absolutely break your heart, but in the most overwhelmingly joyful way.  We will cry many, many tears over the next many, many decades.  And while we will have more bottles to wash in the future, they will never again be those first bottles, as that chapter is nearing its end.

Oh time, please slow down…or at least put together a really great photo album for me to cry happy tears into as I curl up in my recliner in the twilight hours, reminiscing about these beautiful, incredibly, blessed golden days.

“Life moves pretty fast…if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you just might miss it.”

Tonight, I am not bathing.

Preface: This will be an overly dramatic post.

Tonight, I am Smokin’ Joe Frazier after 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali.

In the blue trunks, Tired Mom.  In the white trunks, Hurricane Miles.

In the blue trunks, Tired Mom.               In the white trunks, Hurricane Miles.

I may or may not have humbly bragged about what an awesome sleeper our son can be.  I will give his awesome sleep score a 90%; no baby gets a perfect 100%, and if a parent tells you that, they’re not telling the truth.  Fact.

Do you know what happens when you humbly brag about your Cry It Out Wonder Baby?  Oh, things like teething, growth spurts, a wonder week, and the very general “WHY IS EVERYONE LEAVING ME IN HERE? IT’S TIME TO PLAAAY!”

It started about a week ago; normal bedtime routine, normal bedtime, no changes, except Miles’ new desire to pull my hair during our last song (maybe he has something against Jimmy Buffett).  This escalated into face-bopping, which in turn evolved into his attempt to hurl himself out of the rocking chair.  Every. Single.  Night.  We still put him to bed, awake, as normal…and he still falls asleep on his own.  But getting through those last 10 minutes of the bedtime routine is a killer right now.

I can see some parents shaking their heads out there, wondering why I’d complain about something as silly as ten minutes of getting my nostrils fish-hooked by a toddler.  Well, I’m not done.  Additionally, he has started waking up two or three times a night.  Not crying, not upset, not fussing…sitting in his crib, playing. This goes on for 5-10 minutes, then he’s back to sleep.  Lucky him, because we are most certainly wide awake.  Now we’re having fun, right?  Good, because to make sure we’re really having a super awesome great time, we’re going to wake up at 5am every day.

My thoughts…the 5am thing started this week, after I had a conversation with Miles about it being totally okay if he didn’t want to get up at 5:30a (the thing we started last week).  Herein lies the problem: I did not specify that I wanted him to sleep later than 5:30a, just that he didn’t need to choose that as his desired time of awakening.  Silly mom.

This kid is still happy as a nun in a bingo hall.  No fuss, no whine, no crying (except when the teeth begin tearing through his gums, those bastards).  So I really really shouldn’t complain.  I don’t think I’m complaining…does it sound that way?  I’m totally not, I just love to share and TMI you to pieces, knowing that one day my adult children will appreciate this documentation of our lives.

Tonight, I am tired.  I have been up since 4:45a (when my spidey senses told me something was about to happen).  I have done my chores after my eight hours behind a desk.  I have spent hours chasing our son; rolling balls, pulling the cat’s tail out of his mouth, stacking cups, getting pieces of banana out of his nose (all awesome things, by the way).

And so, when mom time finally rolled around, I was faced with two options…take my usual nighttime shower, or one of these:

Eeine, Meenie, Miney, Mo...

Eeine, Meenie, Miney, Mo…

After 15 rounds, the winner is…

UNDISPUTED CHAMP

UNDISPUTED CHAMP

Tonight, I am tired.  Tonight, I need a foot rub and a bowl of Cab Sauv.  Tonight, I am not bathing.  Moms, some of you are nodding in solidarity and approval of this choice.  I raise my glass to you.

Cheers,

K

PS – Thanks to my awesome hubby for quickly using his ESPN-Jeopardy brain to tell me about one of the most epic boxing matches of all time.   Frazier won in the 15th round.  I am Smokin’ Joe.