Sunday, September 23, 2018

Ramblings and Recipes, Part 6 - Life with Children

“Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain—your life will never be the same.” – Catherine Jones

As much as I wanted to stay home and cuddle this precious little angel in my arms all day, our budget wouldn’t allow it.  So after my 6 week maternity leave was up, I headed back to work and Tracy headed to the baby daycare nursery. 
Being a mommy, a wife, a worker bee, a housekeeper, a laundress, a family budgeter and a dietitian is tough.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?  Ha!  It’s no wonder women today are so strong!  And it’s no wonder why in God’s great wisdom he chose the female of our species to bare the children.  Men wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Just see what happens in a household when everyone has the flu.  Hubby is whimpering in bed asking for soup, and wanting his temperature taken every ten minutes, your child is calmly laying on the couch watching The Skipper Chuck Show, happy he or she didn’t have to go to school, and Mom is mopping the floor, throwing in a load of laundry and taking out the trash.  We are all sick.  But Mom’s just keep on keepin’ on.



·       2/3 cup sliced carrot
·       ½ cup diced onion
·       2 garlic cloves, minced
·       ½ cup green beans
·       ½ cup diced zucchini
·       1 ½ cups diced green cabbage
·       1 Tbsp tomato paste
·       3 cups fat-free broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
·       ½ tsp. dried basil
·       ¼ tsp. dried oregano
·       ¼ tsp. salt

Spray a large saucepan with olive oil, heat.  Sauté onion, carrot, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until beans are tender.  Stir in the zucchini and heat for 3-4 minutes.  Serve hot.

Extra work pops up from time to time.  Like the time Tracy woke up in her crib and discovered how to remove her diaper so that she could feel the warm mushy poo inside.  Then she proceeded to finger paint the wall next to her crib with this new brown color, moving the painting episode to each rail of her crib before calling out to mommy to come see her masterpiece.
Watching Tracy grow up through her toddler years taught me a lot about human behavior.  Things like taking the road less traveled. You know.  Like the one with the most mud, even if there is a sidewalk nearby.  After all, a puddle is a small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.
Getting a full night’s sleep is something you give up when you become a mother.  So that Sunday morning when Tracy was 3, I was surprised to be able to actually sleep in without my little girl hopping up on my bed as soon as the sun was up, bouncing delightfully until I would drag myself out from under the covers.  That’s when the phone rang.  Squinting at the clock I saw that it was 6:45 AM.  On the phone was my next door neighbor calling to ask if I was aware that Tracy was at her house, still wearing her pajamas and hugging her stuffed bear, sitting at her kitchen table and asking for pancakes.  “Where is your mommy?” my neighbor had asked her.  “Oh, she’s still sleeping, but I got hungry”.
Trying to get to work on time was a real chore when Tracy got to that dawdling stage.  After several minutes of me trying to get the left shoe onto her left foot I would finally give up and let her wear them on the wrong feet, no matter how uncomfortable they were to her since she absolutely insisted that this was the way they were supposed to be.  Morning conversations consisted of things like, “No you can’t wear your tutu to school”, and “No I cannot pack ice cream in your lunchbox”. 
One day we were running so late that out of desperation I told her that if I was late for work one more time, I could get fired (yes, I was sometimes a bad mom and blurted out guilt ridden things I was sorry for later).  Her reaction was startling.  Her eyes grew as big as saucers and she burst into tears!  “Honey, what’s wrong?”  I said.  She looked up at me with sad red eyes, tears still streaming down her little cheeks and said “Mommy I don’t want you to burn up.”  Her only definition of “fired”.  Sigh.
It had always bothered me that Rick and I were not married in a church.  Somehow, although quite legal, the courthouse wedding didn’t have as much meaning to me.  So after five years, we decided to renew our vows at a little country church with a small but meaningful wedding.  Three-year-old Tracy was our flower girl, and the ceremony was attended by family and close friends.  The next day when Tracy went back to school, which was a rather staunch Episcopalian church nursery, she proudly announced to her teacher and classmates that her mommy and daddy got married yesterday.  Her wide-eyed teachers looked at her, then looked at me, and then looked at each other before muttering a quiet “That’s nice, dear”.  “Renewed our vows” I repeated several times before they offered a faint smile.
When Tracy was five, we had moved to Tampa.  By the time she was six, we were back on the east coast.  Only this time had relocated a bit further south to Miami.  And I was once again pregnant. 
Rick was busy setting up his new office and I was busy setting up our new home.  It was a townhouse in the Perrine area, just east of the “highway” (that’s what the locals say when referring to US1).  I took Tracy to the local public elementary school to register her for first grade, but when I couldn’t understand what her new teacher was saying to me due to her extremely heavy Hispanic accent, I politely told them thank you… but no thank you.  I couldn’t imagine how this teacher was going to teach my child to read English when my child could not understand a single word the lady was saying.  Okay, you can call me a snob if you want, but we are talking about my child’s education here.
I found a very well respected private school, and although I was told they had no more openings available in the first grade classrooms, I took Tracy by the hand, drove to the school anyway and parked myself in the office there.  I was eight months pregnant and already looked like I would pop at any moment.  Again, I was told there were no more available slots for first grade, but they would be happy to put me on a waiting list.  I leaned close to the lady, looked her straight in the eye, put my hand on my outstretched belly and told her “I can’t wait!  I need her in school NOW.  I have been having contractions for the past hour and I think my water just broke!  Please just make a space for her!  I will personally buy a desk for her if necessary!”  After a frantic phone call to the Administrator, the lady informed me that she thought she may be able to help.  Tracy was allowed to start school that same day, although her baby sister wasn’t actually born for another three weeks.
This time my husband accompanied me to the delivery room.  There was no way I was going to allow him to drop me off at the hospital and wait for a phone call letting him know when the baby was born.  If I had to be there, HE had to be there!  I believe I even threatened to handcuff myself to him at one point.
We had taken natural childbirth classes together so he was prepared to coach me.  Rick’s job in the labor room was easy.  Change the channel on the TV, get me more ice chips, remind me how to breathe.  Hee Hoo, Hee Hoo.
First time Mom’s are so concerned about breathing right, or whether or not to have an epidural, or when do they start to push.  Second time Mom’s are more concerned with whether or not they remembered to shave their legs.  When I went into labor this second time around, all I could think of is that I couldn’t go to the hospital yet because I needed a pedicure.  I hadn’t been able to see my toes for the past two months, but I knew that the moment they put my feet up in those stirrups I would be mortified!
None the less, this second time was much easier.  Jamie Anne was born within a few hours.  A perfect, sweet, adorable little girl.  This time there was no swearing, no screaming and no begging for drugs.  All was good.


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