Category Archives: Frazzled Working Mom’s Fleeting Moments (2007-2013)

Bonding Over Dinner and Folding Laundry

One of the most rewarding aspects of my new career turn as a stay-at-home mom is having more time to bond as a complete family unit. When I was working, it was rare for my husband and me to have dinner together with the girls. For the last six months, not only are we dining more frequently as a foursome, but I’ve accustomed the brood to some ground rules for harmonious meals:

(1) Dinner at 6:30 pm, because if it’s any later, I have to deal with Mr. Hyde (i.e., Sophie, see related post here), who turns into an inconsolable crank if she hasn’t eaten by then.
(2) Chloe must stay seated at the table until Sophie is done; otherwise, Sophie will inevitably follow her sister into the other room before her tummy is full. Saying the word “done” out loud is also verboten for the same reason. Chloe has since taken to spelling it out. Sophie is smart, but she’s not that smart.
(3) And no interrupting! The hubby goes nuts if we cut him off while he’s trying to make a crucial point.

So, it was with great pleasure that, after we finished cleaning up the mess Sophie made of the pasta, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese this evening, our two daughters asked to HELP(!) us fold the laundry. Had a passerby bothered to look through our dining room window, she would have seen the girls diligently trying to fold their father’s ratty old t-shirts – why such rags are even worthy of a folding effort is beyond me, but you do what you gotta do to keep the spouse happy. Of course, we had to refold everything they touched, but Chloe learned a thing or two from her father about proper folding methods. And Sophie amused herself by grabbing as many pieces of clothing from the basket as her little arms would hold, and putting them on her head.

In between folding episodes, the two little kidlets danced to their favorite music, including “Rollover DJ” by Jet and various songs by the Blues Brothers.

I smiled quite a bit during that 1/2 hour. However, in the interest of full disclosure, the girls managed to exasperate me plenty of times after we finished the laundry, so the warm and fuzzy feelings didn’t really last all that long. But the episode gave me fodder for the blog, so that certainly counts for something, right?

Fantasies of Youth

There was a time during high school when I was convinced of three things:

(1) I would become a brain surgeon (I think “St. Elsewhere” was one of my favorite shows back then);
(2) I would live in a beautiful apartment in New York City; and
(3) I would lead the life of a cosmopolitan, childless single woman (in the manner of a “Sex in the City” character, before the book and HBO series existed).

I was adamant about all of this, advertising my intentions to all of my friends, at least for a few years. Then I went off to college. I realized I would have to take too many science courses to fulfill adolescent fantasy #1, that in choosing to major in Art History and French literature, I would likely never be able to find a job that would pay enough for me to afford fantasy #2, and that, after meeting my future husband as a junior in college (the story for a future blog posting, perhaps), my single and childless fantasy #3 was numbered in years, not in decades.

I am incredibly happy that the path my life took differs so greatly from the life I imagined for myself in high school. A brain surgeon, for crying out loud?!? What was I thinking? And, no offense to Manhattan, or committed bachelorettes, but NYC has got to be one of the loneliest places on earth for a single woman. My post-high school decisions led me to several incredibly romantic years in a closet-sized studio apartment in Paris, my husband, my law degree, my girls. All of that adds up to fantasy-turned-reality #4, although I never would have put money on such an outcome when I was 17.

It’s funny how life happens.

Chocolate Chips?

My two-year old, Sophie, and I just returned home from enjoying a lunch date together at a local Tex-Mex restaurant. Whenever we eat there, she usually shares a burrito with my husband. But the hubby is out of town, and I don’t like burritos. So I ordered a rice, beans and cheese platter for her off of the kids’ menu. She loves her rice, beans and cheese (see photo of her above, enjoying the dish at home a few months ago). Until today, Sophie’s gusto for this dish was a mystery to me – especially since her older sister, Chloe, won’t go near such a concoction, and Sophie’s modus operandi is to emulate everything Chloe does. The serving was about three times too large for a two-year old’s tummy, but no mind. Sophie attacked it with all of the fervor of a child who hasn’t eaten in days. As she was nearing the end of the beans, she repeatedly said, “More chocolate chips.” In Sophie’s World (not the novel by Jostein Gaarder, but in my Sophie’s world), anything brown and mushy is a chocolate chip. What this says about her lack of taste buds is another story and perhaps worth a call to her pediatrician. But in the meantime, eureka! Forget about buying Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. All I need to do when I want Sophie to eat some brown, healthy stuff is to tell her that the mush on her plate is chocolate chips. Do they come in green, too?