20 May 2009

An Important Time In Every Child's Life

Today, as the kids and I were outside trying to determine if our garden is sprouting anything other than weeds, I heard the familiar chimes of the ice cream man. And, like any kid-at-heart would do, I went running.

Growing up in Cleveland, we heard a lot of the ice cream man. In Old Brooklyn, the section of Cleveland where I grew up, the streets are narrow and grid-like, packed full of tiny post-war era houses, and sounds carry with ease. Ice cream truck music ("Do your ears hang low/Do they wobble to and fro/Can you tie them in a knot/Can you tie them in a bow...") was largely the soundtrack to my childhood. I grew up on a main street, though, where ice cream trucks won't stop for you no matter how desperate you look. So if we wanted to partake, we had to grab money (often kept strategically near the door) and sprint around the block to the side streets. But, oh, the orange push-ups that awaited at the end of the jog, with their cool polka dot tubes and plastic sticks. And oh, the bomb pops. And the sno-cones. And the memories.

Fast forward to my college years, when my dear friend Stephanie moved to Chicago for a summer to drive an ice cream truck. I went to visit her on the weekend of my 21st birthday and spent a day riding around with her. I was in heaven, except for the incessant plinking of the ice cream tunes, whose repetitive melodies lodged themselves in my head for weeks. I reorganized the freezer. I listened to the order and tried to gather the goodies as quickly as I could. I marveled at the newfangled novelties: Choco Tacos. Lemon Sharks. Chipwiches. Stephanie knew all the best places to go; namely, places populated densely with people, places like apartment complexes and baseball fields. Side streets aren't super profitable--to much area to cover, not enough patrons. Sidelines at soccer games, on the other hand, with their throngs of indulgent parents and hungry kids, are perfect. I loved riding in that truck with her--I felt like I was looking behind the curtain at the Wizard of Oz, and it wasn't just some short guy in a costume. It was an actual Wizard.

These days, we live on 2.5 acres, on a road that is not a part of a neighborhood. I never even considered it a possibility that the ice cream man might venture our way. We've lived here almost 6 years, and I don't think I've ever heard an ice cream truck before. So today, when I heard the gentle strains of the music, I grabbed money and ran for the street, yelling for my kids to COME HERE! FAST!! HURRY!!! Who knows when this opportunity might present itself again? And I have such fond memories of the ice cream truck, I wanted to give my kids those memories, too.

While we had a long talk about how it is inappropriate to run towards the street unless mom is telling you to do it, we tucked into our frozen treats. We each selected sno-cones. They were $2.50 EACH. I then explained to the kids this was a once-in-a-great-while treat, on account of the second mortgage we'd have to get to pay for our FROZEN WATER. On a side note, the man driving the truck had to use a calculator to total our tab ($2.50 x 3) AND ALSO to make change from the $10 I gave him. I'm no math whiz myself, but that's pretty bad.

Anyway. I didn't have the forethought to grab my camera along with the cash in my dash for the street, but I did capture these photos shortly thereafter. Duly documented.

Mmmmm. Memories like this taste good.

16 May 2009

Is It Too Much to Ask, Really?

Is a good family picture too much to ask?

Apparently so.

Congratulations to Shaun and Emily! What a lovely wedding. Thanks for making my husband wear a tux! And kids, when you look back on these pictures, just remember: WE TRIED.

15 May 2009

Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer

Today, I've been in the kitchen finishing up my baking duties for Shaun and Emily's wedding tomorrow. Yesterday, I did three loaves of Pumpkin bread, early this morning, I did two loaves of Zucchini bread, and I just put a Lemon Pound Cake into the oven. Let me just say that the Lemon thing had better come out tasty, because that sucker was what I like to call LABOR INTENSIVE. Jeesh. Zest the lemons. Rub the zest into the caster sugar. Supreme the lemons. Soak the eggs in hot water for 10 minutes (really?). Anywho, to keep at least one of the kids from getting underfoot, I put in Barbie: 12 Dancing Princesses. Charis was enraptured.

She was enraptured mostly because she so badly wants to take ballet lessons. Last week, I took her to a pre-ballet dance recital to gauge her interest, and it turns out her interest is high. Two highlights for me were: A) When two groups of the youngest girls filed onstage and promptly got confused. Charis noticed that they were all mixed up, and spoke up about it: "MAMA, THOSE GIRLS HAVE GOT TO STAY WITH THEIR TEAMS!" You probably can't tell we're more about team sports than ballet at our house. B) When the littlest girls were doing the "Circle Dance." The voice in the song would tell them "circle right," and "circle left," and those instructions had no bearing whatsoever on which directions the girls circled. I CANNOT wait until Charis is a part of this.

Anyway, when I came into the living room to check up on her midway through the ARDUOUS CAKE PROCESS, I caught her gracefully twirling and spinning (are those the same things?). I reached for my camera, but she got shy all of a sudden (Charis? Shy?) and wouldn't let me. So this fall, she'll be joining other 5-year-olds in learning how to circle left and stay with their teams. Should make for some good video! Hopefully, she'll let me take pictures of her then in her frilly "uniform."

(Ballet. What has my life come to?)

06 May 2009

The Ruby Belle Diet

This has been the week of the Pediatrician--we had both Ruby's (better late than never) 9-month well-baby appointment and Charis' getting-ready-for-Kindergarten appointment. Charis' appointment was fairly uneventful. Her hearing is fine, her vision is fine, she didn't appreciate getting the shots, and apart from the fact that she was traumatized by the idea of having to pee in a cup (and, I guess, by the shots themselves), it was a relatively painless appointment. She got free markers, bubbles, animal crackers, and a juice box. And a book! She pretty much wants to go back tomorrow.

Ruby also had shots (not a fan), and developmentally, she's right on track. She even got bonus points for her aptitude with the M sound, and her plugged tear duct is a thing of the past. Way to go, Roo! However, while she has been gaining weight, her weight percentile has been declining. This puzzled me--the girl eats like a horse. Seriously, people are shocked at the amount of food she can fit in her little belly. But the kicker is that I've apparently been feeding her food that is too "healthy." Poor girl isn't getting enough fat and calories. Her deadbeat mom gives her too many veggies. Now, wouldn't that be the best doctor's appointment ever?

"Well, ma'am, your health looks fine. But I'm a little concerned about your weight."

"My weight?"

"Yes. It's far too low. You don't have nearly enough fat and calories in your diet. I'm going to suggest that you lay off of the green beans and oatmeal, and add multiple daily doses of cheese, butter, pancakes with syrup, full-fat yogurt..."

Poor Roo. So, for the past four days or so, I've had to "fortify" her food with powdered formula, and she did literally have pancakes with butter and syrup for breakfast yesterday. She also gets expensive YoBaby yogurt (Try to find full-fat yogurt. I dare you.) and avocadoes, along with actual grown-up cheese. I've also tried full-fat cottage cheese with applesauce, cheesy hashbrown casserole, and I broke down and bought baby food--jars of "dinners" with meat in them. She liked the chicken and Vegetables, but did NOT appreciate the Turkey and Gravy. I don't even think we're going to attempt the Ham and Ham Gravy.

(However, at about 12:30 that night, I heard the unmistakeable sound of a baby jar being knocked to the floor. Muirne had herself a nice Stage 2 snack. Licked the bottle clean.)

We're scheduled to go back in about a month to have her weighed. At her appointment this week, she was 17 lbs., 1 oz. My goal for her is 30 pounds by May 29th.

Oh, I kid.

But since I'm eating sympathetically fatty foods, there is a chance I'll have gained 30 pounds by May 29th.

p.s. I should add that Judah and Charis refer to the canister of formula as "The Fat," as in, "Can I scoop The Fat into her food?" And when Uncle Tim came over to watch the kids yesterday, Charis assured me she'd show Uncle Tim where the "Fat and Calories" were when Ruby got hungry.