Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cherry picking

joyfully bound twins:
reach for Sprung double-cherries
grabbing leaves instead

I have made it my mission to write something every day. And you, my unfortunate reader, I pity because lately I have been haiku-ing.

Be thankful they are not sonnets.

I forgot how much I enjoyed them until I was reading Haiku Baby by Betsy Snyder to Henry and Sophia. My boss bought them a copy of it.

We love it.

Haikus make me realize how candid every word can be - and how daily I use the same ones. Which is too bad. I read an article lately which said no matter how futile it seems - read to your baby/ies. It says something like "it doesn't matter if they eat the book - they are still consuming it. And it will improve their vocabulary; so read lots and lots".

Which makes me wonder if its a quantity vs. quality question. In which case where does the reduced haiku fit in?

We went cherry picking last week at Tsougas Farm which was a new experience for the four of us; and we used the Bjorn and the Snugli for the first time! Being unfit parents, Tony and I forgot both the hats and sunscreen. So we ran to the store to get some sunscreen and improvised on the hats using cloth diapers.

I think I am going to write a book entitled "Embracing your bad parenting skills" and then dedicate it to someone else's kids.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mother's lessons (a first of many)

I realized the other day that I’m too quirky for mother’s group.

Okay, you can put whatever adjective you prefer in there. But the truth is, I failed at mother’s club. Badly. The informal meeting was at a local you-pick and I showed up with my double stroller, listened, and made an awkward exit. Few were the moments when I could ask about my dilemma of introducing Spirituals to the babies (I went armed with what I thought was a good question – when/if it is okay to sing Spirituals to your children. This is a dilemma on my mind lately. But I’m usually a better listener than speaker, so when I articulated this it came out wrong. Or perhaps they didn’t understand my question. Or maybe there was no question in there. Just a Russian Nesting Doll conundrum). Or how it is almost heartbreaking how my animal-loving daughter will smile at every living thing – even oil-soaked pelicans on the television? When can she try horseback riding again? “Don’t rush these years! They go by too quickly!” they lectured.

As if I don’t know this. But honestly, is that really a healthy attitude to have? To be exclusively celebratory of babies for their babyness and mourn the transition from infancy to toddlerhood? Maybe yes and maybe no. Is it wrong for me to imagine how Henry and Sophia will want their eggs cooked? Or if they will be able to read sheet music, have aural skills or be completely tone deaf? I don’t think so.

I left with two quarts of fresh berries and a somewhat deflated spirit. By the time we got home I was annoyed and burdened with advice I didn’t ask for. It wasn’t until I looked at Henry and Sophia (as photographed on the couch) that I felt better. They were awake. They were happy. They were attempting to entertain me. And it worked. So I downloaded Eric Clapton’s cover of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and we swayed to it for the rest of the afternoon while eating strawberries so sweet they tasted like earth.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Belly laughs

There is something about a Monday morning belly laugh that just does it for me. Especially when it comes from Henry.

In this short film, Henry laughs, I capture it on camera and then Henry tries to capture my camera in his mouth (which of course makes me laugh).

I am so glad we can be such a cyclical family.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kitchen and market thyme!

Last weekend we went to the Barre Farmer's Market.

We had a blast!

Henry slept the whole time...which worked out fine. At the market there were loads of vegetable plants, fresh eggs, rhubarb, perennials, quilts, handmade wooden furniture (!), cheese, fresh baked breads, maple syrup and a new litter of terriers. The borderland products are here! This is the season I love!

These flowers reminded me of the twins - they are called "Giant Sunflowers" (?!) - surely they grow, but right now are quite shrimpy.

Sophia charmed everyone as her father chit-chatted away with a man who invented an intense looking wooden game ball.

We left with two loaves of bread, a carton of fresh eggs, 2 accidental pounds of fresh rhubarb, 2 tomato plants, 1 pepper plant and a wooden shelf for the playroom.

Someone else left with a puppy (Cappy would have killed us).

Back at home I was up to the challenge of making a homemade rhubarb jam. For the first time. With my accidental rhubarb.

I invented the recipe - here goes:

4 1/2 cups of accidental rhubarb
4 1/2 cups of strawberries
1 box of fruit pectin (I used (not-so) Sure-Jell)
1 tbsp of butter
3 1/2 cups of sugar (I know this sounds like a lot, but all the recipes online said 5 cups and I just couldn't do it....)

In the kitchen with Henry and Sophia - they are playing with their set of fruits and vegetables. There is an orange, a cabbage, an apple, a banana, a carton of milk and a grocery bag (duh, for putting it all in there). They seem to like it so far - each piece makes a different noise.

Sophia with her cabbage rattle and Henry with my measuring cups -

Bring the rhubarb, strawberries, butter and pectin to a rolling boil. Add sugar. While still warm, put into washed, scalded ball jars (I cleaned all the ball jar pieces and scalded them even though I guess I wasn't supposed to)....

Yay jam!