…my life as a graduate student has taught me many things in life. What I never imagined it taught me, however, is how to eat cardboard. Or food that tastes like it.
Back in the days when I was learning to cook, my idea of a dinner was rice and/or lentils cooked together with frozen vegetables in a pressure cooker and either eaten as is, or with a dollop of store-bought yogurt. And perhaps some pickle. My then roommate knew how to cook real food unlike me, but continued eating this fare anyway. I knew not why. Was it because she truly has no taste buds, as she used to proclaim? I didn’t quite understand it.
I have since learned how to cook and can cook quite elaborate meals too. I even truly enjoy good food as much as the next person. But on days like today when my daughter thinks that my feet are her new best friends and my trouser legs are her chew toys, it becomes a tad hard to cook. Especially lunch. Guess what I eat! You could call it “ditto” a la
Aunt Martha’s in “Rainbow Valley
” by Lucy Maud Montgomery. But it doesn’t bother me in the least. As long as it is comparatively healthy and doesn’t taste worse than cardboard, it doesn’t matter. My cooperative roommate who didn’t disparage my first attempts at cooking (she has since tasted increasingly complicated dishes by me and even has her personal favorites among them) and my acquired ability to eat poor victuals are standing me in good stead.
And, have given me an uh huh! moment now. R’s mother points out a very good quality in me (she calls it that, so if you want to contest it, take it up with her), that I can eat anything and everything with necessary dietary restrictions of course, as long as it doesn’t overpower the taste buds in a negative way. Hmm…
Breakfast: Gogo quinoa’s Muesli with Rice milk
Lunch: Errrr…. Rice with mung and red lentils, cooked with peas, and homemade yogurt (only kind of dairy that I can eat these days; long story)
Dinner: My husband, not ever having eaten such poor fare before (if he had to cook for himself, he chose eating out), turns his nose up at food like that. So…
In mothering, as in photography, the rule of thirds applies. Let me explain what it is in photography, before I launch into my own version of the rule. When a snapshot is divided into a 3 by 3 grid, the person/object of interest should be either at a grid point or along a grid line, depending on the shape.
I find it difficult to follow it, however, because all of that unused space gets to me.
The mothering rule of thirds walked into my head this afternoon, all formulated. At lunch time. We’ve graduated to biting into a banana like we’ve seen mom do. Bolstered by this (perhaps evanescent) success, I quite naively let M continue squishing food that she snatched out of her spoon. Right after I had been teaching her to raise her hands above her head on request. She has been clapping on request lately. So, I thought the time was ripe to explore what else can be done by clapping hands. Big mistake, combining it with lunch time. She unflinchingly proceeded to grab more food and smear it, where else, on her hair. The harder I tried to wipe it off with a wet washcloth before it congealed, the more food got into her hair, as she was trying to knock my intruding hands off her precious hair that she was valiantly trying to feed. End result, a third of the food got into her. A third got onto her and/or dropped to the floor. A third remained in the bowl because I gave it up as a lost cause.
Rule: As the quest for independence continues, getting a third of the food on offer into her is all I can aspire for. For now, for today, for lunch, the rule applies in its current form. As time goes on, I may have to settle with an increasing denominator. I am just going to have to make my peace with that. And have extra wet washcloths ready.
PS: Did I say that all of that unused space gets to me and that is why I cannot follow the rule of thirds in photography? I am no expert at either mothering or photography, but I get the feeling that one will help with the other.
Yesterday, when I stepped out after what has been a long week of flus all around to buy some basic groceries, it was into an enchanted world of white fluffs floating down around me. Teeny tiny fluffs that soon became bigger, more beautiful. I thought, “The Grand Old Dame of the Skies is at it again. She is sifting through her quilt stuffing and the smaller satin fluffs are sprinkling down upon us”.
I was wrong.
She was only taking out her supplies yesterday. Today, she is sifting. And the naughty elves punched bigger holes into her sieve. Will she realize the trick in time to save her snowy downy cotton?