Posts Tagged ‘family’

Taking full responsibility

March 31, 2009

This morning I was lifting a sweater off a kitchen chair, and knocked a glass to the floor and broke it. My son called out in Swedish from the bedroom, “I’m sorry!” I said, “No, I broke it, it’s not your fault.” Then he was standing next to me there in the kitchen, saying, “No, both of us! Both!” I let him take the blame along with me. It was easier that way.

At preschool I lifted him out of his stroller, and he was immediately surrounded by three boys who pulled him into a huddle and clapped him on the back like he had just scored a goal. Then these  munchins in snowsuits ran off for the far side of the playground, their faces smiling and arms flapping.

Spring is here today. Spring in Sweden comes like an abusive spouse bearing chocolates and roses. I cower at all this sunshine, wanting to be glad for it, but not trusting it. This Swedish part of my brain, this part I do not want, tells me that by the time I finally do start trusting the weather, in July or August, it will change on me again. Today I will try to find my inner Californian, the one so sure about the sun. He’s much better to be around.


Spit = love

February 4, 2009

A moment ago I was taking my son in his stroller to daycare, and when we got just outside the playground I held out my hand and said, “OK, now give me your gum.” Don’t worry, it’s the good kind of gum, not the kind that gives you cancer (according to my younger health-conscious sister there are two varieties of sugar-free gum: xylitol – no cancer, the other stuff – cancer). So he leans forward and spits out the gum into my hand, then there is a fraction of a second pause that gives my brain enough time to think, “Huh, what is going to happen now?”

What happened is that he spit out whatever saliva he had in his mouth into my hand on top of the gum. I could tell he was trying to be helpful and follow instructions. For him, the sentence “OK, now give me your gum” means, “Please empty your mouth of all its contents into my hand.” Which, by the way, is a very useful sentence to know, particularly at your dinner parties when you forget to buy dessert but want to wrap things up anyway.

Standing outside the preschool this morning, though, I thought that there are worse things that could happen than having my hand filled with the warm spit of my son. Still, I think it is time I teach him that spit is not only a verb, but also a noun.

3 desserts in 3 minutes with 3 ingredients

January 25, 2009

People,  if you are a human being like me and enjoy things that taste fatty and sweet, then you are in for a special treat today. Do you remember in my first entry to this blog, how I said this blog would be diminishing ten percent of the world’s problems? And then I went on and proved that, first by demonstrating how the Matrix sequels could have been made not to suck, and then by suggesting an invention that teaches children how to give their parents back massages? Well I have something more for you today. Something that builds on my concept of toast-cake.

And I promise that was the last internal link you will see.

So in my toast-cake entry, I suggested that cake is really made up of three key ingredients: flour, butter and sugar. This past week – due to a lack of funds at The Sugar Pea Express (I should not have hired that Ecuadorian CFO through Elance) – I have been experimenting with and building on this concept, and have come up with three fantastic, low-budget, easy-to-make desserts. Here they are:

Non-Chocolate Balls
In Sweden they make a popular dessert called chokladbollar, which is basically ground oatmeal mixed with butter, vanilla, cocoa, and some other things, rolled into balls then rolled in large granules of sugar. They’re good. In my version, melt about two tablespoons of butter in the microwave, then add about three cups of instant oats to this with about one or two tablespoons of powdered sugar. Mix it up. Eat it. What is that yummy thing in your mouth? Non-chocolate balls, that’s what. And don’t make them into balls, please, then you just lose fatty-sweet-into-mouth (FSIM) time .

Learn as you go! Did you notice what I did there, people? I took the two basic ingredients humans need to stay alive and enjoy themselves, fatty and sweet, and mixed them with texture, texture being in this case the oats. What The Sugar Pea Express learned this week, building on years of previous experiences, is that fatty and sweet in themselves can be gross, but add some kind of binding ingredient (texture) and you have mouth magic.

Almost Frosted Hardbread
This recipe is much easier and faster to make, so if you really want to reduce your FSIM time, go with this one. This one was based on the revelation that frosting – a wonderful invention – is really just water, butter and powdered sugar. But what if you don’t have time to mix all that together? Here’s what you do. You take a piece of hardbread (or crispbread or a cracker or whatever, some kind of texture, people), and you dip that in some spreadable butter or margarine. Just the corner will do. Then you dip that into an opened box or bag of powdered sugar, and then you put it in your mouth and chew it. Your mouth will be asking at this point, “How did all this goodness get in here so quickly?” But you will know the answer. Tell your mouth to quit talking and keep chewing.

Learn as you go! Almost Frosted Hardbread is probably the least socially acceptable dessert I have in this list, so save it for yourself. Don’t waste it on guests who have been hardwired by society to think that food should involve more than three ingredients and not require repeated butter-bag-mouth dipping.

Honey Snowcone
Yes, you’ve been saying, this is fine and truly amazing, but what about the children? What do I feed them when I am not working on increasing the amount of fatty-sweet things in my mouth? This is what you do. You get out your blender, and you put about eight ice cubes in there. Then you squirt honey on top of that. Then on top of that you add about a tablespoon of powdered sugar (what a sweet giver of life it is), then mix it all up. Have your child put it in their mouth. Watch as your child turns into Winnie the Pooh right in front of your eyes.

That’s it, people! Enjoy these recipes. Spread them around. Did you just feel the world getting about ten percent better? I sure did.