Monthly Archives: July 2013

“I am so, too, old enough to date.”

So.  After my ten-year-old daughter announced to her friends that she was going to go on a date (“Dating in Low Heels”), she set about convincing her father and me.  We were a tougher sell.

“But every single girl my age has gone on a date already,” she argued.

“In Barbie Fairytopia, yeah.  You are not going on a ‘date.'”

“You guys are crushing my spirit.”

Woah.  First time we’d heard that one.  Had to give her props for outstanding achievement in manipulative skills.

“Define ‘date,'” I said.

“Well…we’re not going to kiss, if that’s what you mean.  I can’t even stand to watch you two do that.”  She shuddered.

After a great deal of discussion and assurance that the parents of her main squeeze were on board with a brief and thoroughly public rendezvous, we agreed that they could arrange a meeting.  The happy couple decided on the bench near the play structure at their school.  Recess, high noon.

The morning of the big day, she argued less than usual about brushing her hair.  Her socks almost matched.  And she chose a tee shirt with only one hole.

“How did it go?” I asked as soon as I picked her up from school.

“Okay.”  She shrugged.

“What did you do?”

“Sat.”

“Uh huh, and what did you talk about?”

She frowned.  “Talk?  We didn’t do that.”

“What did you do?”

“Sat.”

Time to put on the reporter’s hat, obviously.  “While you were sitting, did you hold hands?”

She wrinkled her nose.  “No.  Mom, c’mon, he’s a guy.”

“So, you think you want to date again?”

“I guess.  But this time, we want to invite more people.”

“Ah, a double date.”

“What’s that?”  I explained that she would have two more people on her date.  “Oh.  No, we want more people than that.  Like, enough for kickball.”

“Ah.  Good thinking.”

“Yeah.  So, see, Mom, I am old enough to date.”

Absolutely.  Last night, though, two months apres The Date, she told me she is through with men until she is at least fifteen.  “They’re too complicated.”

Indeed.

–Wendy

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I just can’t wait…to be queen

It’s a sign!  Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on…JULY 22!!  The very same day I married my darling husband (I forget what year, but I think the automobile had already been invented) and I TOO, GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD on JULY 22!  Yes!  Our first daughter was born on our wedding anniversary, isn’t that weird? No, we didn’t have to get married, lest anyone fret, it was our 16th wedding anniversary. But anywho…back to the main point…

Our faithful readers know that I have wanted to establish a royal family in the good old U.S of A. for a long time now.  Just think of what it could do for our economy!  The gossip, the scandal, the paparazzi…I’m ready to take the throne.  And, when I’m done reading the National Enquirer in the bathroom, I think I shall renew my campaign efforts.

Then again, why should I bother?  The common people have no say in such matters.  Royalty is not elected.  Therefore, I shall simply take office.  No one else has jumped in, so why not?

Okay then.  Ah hemmm…  ATTENTION!

I hereby declare myself to be Queen of the United States of America.  My first act as HRM Carolyn Zane?  Take my son to the doctor to get his wart frozen off.   And then?  Ice cream to celebrate.  I’ll try to get a play-date going with Wills and Kate’s kid soon.  There will be pictures.  I have all kinds of advice for the new parents.  How to get a Lego out of a nostril, for one thing.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Carolyn

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Dating in Low Heels

kids datingMy ten-year-old is dating.  I found out by eavesdropping on the following conversation:

DD to her friends:  “Who are you all asking to the carnival, because I’m going with Z.  I have to buy the licorice, but he’s getting the cotton candy.  I had to give him a chicken nugget to get him to go, but now it’s for sure.”

Two other girls made immediate plans to give their crushes lunch at the earliest opportunity.

Say what?  It seems that just yesterday my daughter felt no need for a Ken doll to hang out with her Barbies:  “What for?  What’s he gonna do?”

Indeed.

Then she turned ten this past spring.  Ah, spring.  Such a ripe season, with little goslings following Mama and Daddy Goose on the pond near our house, rhodies bursting into bloom…and the girls from fourth grade quite suddenly figuring out why Barbie wants Ken.

One girlfriend, however, had a different take on the situation.  She sounded frankly appalled.  “You can’t invite a boy.  That’s called dating, and that is not allowed.  You’re too young to go on a date.”

Peer-driven mandates do not sit well with Miss, so she plopped her hands on her still boyish hips, whipping back, “I can, too, date.  I’m old enough.  I’m allowed.”

(Note to reader: Uh-uh.)

Anxiety clutched my chest as I listened.  I’d been counting on the tween years to start around eleven or twelve or, better yet, forty.  I needed more time before I relinquished my baby and all her innocence to the likes of Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.

I wonder if the Berenstain Bears have a book about dating? I thought as I prepared to step in with as much good humor as I could muster.

Before I entered the room, however, I heard my daughter’s voice again, this time tinged by a modicum of doubt.  “I can date….”  There was a pause followed by this conclusion:  “I’m not allowed to eat too much junk food, but I can date if I want to.”

Indeed.

As it turned out, she did go to the carnival with Z—and her friends.  More on that next week….

For now, sign me:  ‘Tween Mom

–Wendy

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Culture Club

My daughter and husband can entertain themselves and each other for hours playing “Snakebite!”  It goes like this: With their arms raised, hands curved like the heads of a King Cobra, they circle each other in search of a vulnerable spot to attack.  Head, ribs, stomach–when they find an opening, they strike, hollering, “Snakebite!  Poisonous forever!”  Good times.

We used to watch the History Channel.  Lately Wipe Out has become the TV show of choice.  And, yes, occasionally I pull The Bachelorette up on Hulu when no one is around.  (But only because I’m a romance novelist and I have to research.)

Thinking we could elevate our entertainment tastes just a tad, I got us tickets to a piano concert.  It was inspired.  What a fabulous event!  There was singing, too.  Glorious singing by celestial children with voices that made me weep.  As the show ended and the crowd filed out, the three of us–husband, daughter and I–sat, staring at the now empty stage.  On either side of me, they were silent, their jaws slack.

It worked, I realized.  We’re reborn.  Today piano concerts, tomorrow the ballet! 

Turning first to my daughter, I kissed her temple.  “How you doing, dolly?”

“I think I had a seizure,” she said, shaking her head as if she had water in her ear.  “I totally zoned out.  What just happened?  How much time passed?  Can we go?”

She’s ten, I told myself.  Ten.  She may not be conscious of the enrichment she has just experienced, but it will linger.  It will feed her for the future.

I looked at my husband.  He’s the kind of guy who likes to move.  All the time.  Yet there he was, sitting, still staring at the stage that had just held such beauty.  And he didn’t look like he’d had a seizure.  I took his hand and squeezed. He squeezed back, an excellent sign.

“What are you thinking?” I whispered, remembering the old days when we’d attend the theater and talk for hours afterward.  “Your first thought.”

“I’m trying to decide between hamburgers or Mexican food.  We’re going to stay downtown for lunch, right?”

I’m not kidding.  That’s what he said.

“Mexican,” I responded flatly, hoping we could discuss Dia de los Muertos or something cultural over Super Burritos.

I tried.  But I tried to instill us with table manners, too, and that got me nowhere.  Last night, they used their forks to tap out “Yankee Doodle” on their dinner plates.  At least it was musical.

Wendy

 

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Letting Go

Today is yard sale day at our place.  Mostly we’re getting rid of the children’s clothes, toys and uber-cool loft bed with slide attachment–wheee!–that we have been hanging onto for our next child.  Our home study to adopt from U.S. Foster Care is one year old on July 11th.

We’ve been in the process much longer than that, however,

I wanted to adopt a second time six months after our daughter came home.  Hubby wasn’t ready. For eight years, I agonized over raising an only child.  I agonized over my unfulfilled longing to give an older child a home; I’ve wanted to do that since I was ten.  Weird, but true. Then he was ready and we started our home study.  

I’m still agonizing.

In one year, we’ve come close a couple of times, but ultimately no kiddo.  Lately, we haven’t heard anything in response to sending out our home study.  And so I wonder:  Are we too old?  Don’t make enough money?  Is it not God’s will? Two of my friends brought home their children mere minutes, it seemed, after completing their home studies.  And so I scan the photo sites (so did they, after all), looking for kids who need families.  Last week I found myself scanning them while my daughter was wondering why we don’t do dance parties at night like we used to.  Because I’m busy trying to get you a sibling, that’s why. 

Uh oh.  Wrong answer, even if I only said it in my mind. 

And so, I am releasing the clothes and the toys and uber-cool bed today.  I am releasing the intense need and the fear of it never happening and the resentment I feel building, because it hasn’t happened yet (and this is a blog about menopausal mothers, not about twenty-somethings; time’s marchin’ on).

I will hang onto the dream; I’d be lying if I said anything else.  But I will also hang onto my gratitude for the family I have.  For the friends and cousins my daughter loves and who love her back.  I’ll hang onto God and to seeking God’s will for me, because when I seek to be more serving than served, really good things happen–for others as well as for meImage.

And tonight, my darling daughter, we will dance. 

Wendy

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Support Salad Diversity this 4th of July!

IMG_1959Happy Fourth of July!!!!

Too Hot Mamas are spending the day together at Carolyn’s place with our families and friends.  There will be laughter.  There will be fireworks.  There will be FOOD.

As I avoid animal products 90% of the time (with a carnivorous husband and child, I have learned to flex that other 10%), I will be feasting on a vegan salad with vegan dressing.  My contribution to tonight’s buffet of delights, however, will be my family’s favorite salad with HOT TURKEY BACON AND BASIL DRESSING.

This dressing is low-fat and so dang good that my ten-year-old will eat any vegetable I soak in it.  That she will even sit down long enough to eat is a testimony to the wonderfulness of this recipe.  The dressing is from a homey little cookbook entitled Honest To Goodness Country Cooking by Arletta Lovejoy–who, not incidentally, won a National Chicken Cooking Contest in 1970 (note to Carolyn: I wonder if she ever entered the Pillsbury Bakeoff?).  I am reprinting her recipe here without permission, which probably isn’t legal, but that’s how much I love you people.

(Another Note: I just Googled the book. It’s available used on Amazon for 49.95.  If I can sell my copy for that much, I’ll make more than Carolyn and I are going to earn for the e-book we just spent six months writing, but I digress….)

Without further ado–and in the hope that someone named Lovejoy will not sue me–I offer for your picnic pleasure:

Hot Turkey Bacon and Basil Dressing

10 strips bacon (Arletta uses the real thing, God bless her; I use turkey bacon without nitrites.  Toss a little olive or coconut oil in the pan to get it crisp.) Fried crisp and cut into small pieces.

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1 T cornstarch (Arrowroot is better.  Sorry, Arletta.)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp mustard

2 T minced fresh basil (Arletta says 1 tsp.  Trust me, use 2 T. )

1 1/4 C water

1/2 C apple cider vinegar

Combine sugar, arrowroot, salt, mustard and basil.  Add water and vinegar.  Pour over bacon in the same pan you used to fry the bacon.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the dressing thickens.

My family–and every kid I’ve ever met– likes this best over a combo of spinach and “regular” (e.g. iceberg) salad.  Yummy with sliced baby portabella mushrooms, red pepper, crispy cucumbers, skinny-sliced red onion rings and sliced hard-boiled eggs.  I assemble the salad, drizzle a little ranch dressing across the top then douse with the bacon dressing.

If you serve this with challah bread, you will be loved and revered forever.

HAVE A HEALTHY, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!!

Wendy

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FFY Night

When things get busy at our house and I can’t make it home in time to toss a meal together, we have what we like to call, FendForYourself for dinner.

“Mom!  What’s for dinner?”

“Fend for yourself, I just got home and I’m fried.”

My youngest son, now age 10, has a bit of a sweet tooth.  So, the other day, after a particularly grueling afternoon spent driving everyone to their various appointments, I decided that it would be FFY for dinner.  When I came into the kitchen to forage, I discovered my son eating brownies for his main course.  Side dishes included: Top Raman, Mac and Cheese and Ice Cream.  When I asked him what on earth he thought he was doing, he said, “You told us it was Fun For Yourself night.”

Fun.

Carolyn

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