He doesn’t believe a thing I say and he’s probably right.
At the age of five, almost six, Azul has made a very important life decision and I think we both may have contributed to it. My contribution: taking him everywhere with me, watching the news while he is in the room and being very open with him while we are talking. And his contribution: HE IS FIVE!
There is no question he can’t ask, and I have tried to reinforce that ever since he started talking. So, he is good at asking when he doesn’t understand something and he pays attention to very minute details. Now, not every question is answered to its fullest, but enough to understand the basics. Also, being an only child he is around a lot of adults and therefore adult conversations.
One current topic of conversation was having babies. My sister just had twins and we went through the “baby talk” and the fact that babies are in the mother’s belly and when they are born they come out. EEK! You can read that uncomfortable conversation at Oh Baby!. His concern and I guess what he understood was, it hurt! He decided that, “I never want to give birth to a baby.” So, I explained that women have the babies and not the men. That seemed to get him through and ease his mind. Ugh, men!
Another current event covered in the News a lot lately is same-sex marriage equality. I explained to Azul what that means legally and for the people who want to be married. He never had a problem with this or questioned it at any point; it is amazing how intuitive children can be.
The third idea to throw into the mix is adoption. A little over a year ago we had new next-door neighbors move in who have a little girl, Nadia, who is originally from Guatemala and was adopted when she was an infant. She is now eight and the two of them play together all the time. It is cute to watch them. Of course he had some questions and this idea of adoption intrigued my astute five year-old. I’m not sure what he was thinking when we talked about this, but again it seemed like his concern was over pain and how neither parent had to go through it.
He is now five, two months away from being six, and the one thing he does not like is GIRLS! Not even Nadia, he would never admit she was his friend. He calls his friends who are boys his “boyfriends,” and I’ve referred to girls who are his friends as “girlfriends,” and his reply is always the same, “I wouldn’t go that far!” Meaning they are just girls. When I asked why, he answered, “because sometimes you need boy enforcements!” Again, ugh, men!
Put all this together in a developing brain, where all ideas are new and original thoughts are original, and you get the proclamation, “I’m going to marry a man. And adopt a baby!”
“Really?” was my response, while I paused my dinner prep and looked up at him.
“Yes, I don’t like girls and I don’t want to have a baby, that will hurt. And I’ll adopt a baby.” He said it very matter-of-factly, as if he had put some thought into it and this was his conclusion.
He had it all set out, so the only thing left for me to do was compliment him on his thought process and continue with dinner. Huh? I wonder if we should have peas or corn tonight.
I am going to start this by saying something I thought I would never say, “the other day when I was running,” now the rest happens to me all the time, “I needed to pee.”
The running part is new to me, it is amazing what your body can do when your favorite hobby, smoking, is no longer a part of your life. I am working myself up (and no not in the way that I would need a cigarette after) to running a half marathon. That is about thirteen miles, and I am feeling a little intimidated, but I am ready to do it. I ran a few 5ks and a 10k, so I thought I would step it up and get beyond six miles. The problem is I always need to pee. Usually I deal with this urge by knowing where every public restroom is, and I have no problem peeing on the side of the road during a road or camping trip.
So, about five miles in, sure enough, I needed to go and started to evaluate the situation.
In my favor: I was running in an area called the “Bosque,” meaning woodlands or forest, which in the drought-riddled high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico is actually ”trees near the river.” And trees are good when you gotta go and it looks like this…
Against me: I didn’t want to get caught with my pants down and it made me think of this local story from last year, where a runner was caught on security cameras crapping in someone’s yard.
Now, in my defense, I was nowhere near that point, but whatever, I still didn’t want to be recorded peeing and later seen on the local news, with or without the blurry bubble covering my face. What if I was recognized with my pants around my ankles? No, thank you!
This led me to think: First, who was actually watching me? I don’t think there are cameras out here, but maybe the City has some secret Bosque watch party going on, I don’t know. Second, there are a lot of animals who live out here and I didn’t want to run into one of them. What actually lives out here? I’ve seen rabbits and squirrels and snakes, random birds, but what else? I wouldn’t want to experience a beaver to beaver encounter while I was relieving myself.
No, I can hold it…I really need to pee!
Then I started to think about the people who live here. There are a lot of stories about the homeless who live in the Bosque and I certainly did not want to urinate in their dwelling.
I’m fine…Oh, who am I kidding I am going to pee my pants!
So I started to scope it out again and look for a good place to stop. I didn’t see anyone, fellow visitors or inhabitants in the area, and thought this is my chance, my moment to take care of things and then continue running in peace. Then I saw him…
A coyote! WTF! I wasn’t even sure at first because it was so skinny, which of course means it’s hungry.
I had a feeling the dependable Bugs Bunny anvil would not be falling from the sky to stop him, so I ran! Not sure if it was my bladder or the wildlife, but I ran eight miles that day. Next time I will probably just pee myself.
I have been a mommy for five years, ten months and 2 days, and I have also been dirty for five years, ten months and 2 days. It is an odd coincidence, that the dirtiness starts immediately with parenthood, and you won’t even know what hit you, but one day you’ll look in the mirror and see the white crusty spit-up you have been wearing proudly like a well-planned accessory on your shoulder all day without noticing. And spit-up is not the worst of it, you’ll be peed on, pooped on and puked on, the sad fact being you get used to wearing the “Three Ps” and then eventually come to expect it.
During your child’s infancy your primary adornment will be mostly involuntary bodily excretions. But soon your little blessing will start to develop hand coordination, which of course means dirty hands. They will grab, touch and hug you, which is one of the best parts of being a parent, but they also grab food, dirt and any and everything sticky. So when those chubby little arms wrap around your face and you are getting the best hug you’ve ever received, you’re also getting a facial of sloppy wet teething cookie infused with cat hair.
And the dirt seems to grow along with your child, taking on a life of its own. Sometimes you won’t even be able to identify it or figure out its original origins. This is most obvious during the next milestone, crawling. When mobility starts, all of a sudden you will notice first of all how dirty your floors are, then how much of that stuff gathers on your pants right around the ankles. It moves up your legs and to your knees like a vine circling round and climbing, finally ending with little blooms of hand prints on your derriere.
Through the years those hands get bigger and so do other parts like that cute little nose and all the things it holds. You will soon become a human tissue and the preferred one as well. And when you squat down to hug your little “big-kid,” who is running toward you at full speed, you make contact and then in all the excitement, an unexpected sneeze! With a wipe of their face on your sleeve, a new embellishment rests there.
Wear your badge proudly parents. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!
We will be taking our annual trip to New Mexico Fireworks to get supplies for our celebration of Independence Day. Last year for the 4th of July, sparks flew!
From July 6, 2013
My buddy Angelo, who runs New Mexico Fireworks, called tonight. Azul said, “Who are you talking to?” I answered, “Angelo.” He waved his hand and said, “I need to talk to him.” I handed Azul the phone and he began speaking immediately. “Angelo, actually, those chickens didn’t work out so good.” He said in a very matter of fact manner, referring to the chicken fireworks Angelo sold us. Azul tells it like it is.
This Summer I have decided that Azul and I are going to do as much as we can, and sometimes one activity leads to another. Luckily, I have an aunt who owns a pecan farm in Southern New Mexico, so visiting her was on our Summer break list. We stayed the weekend and had a blast!
Azul was able to interact with the animals, feed the chickens and collect their eggs.
He ran in the mud in-between the freshly irrigated pecan trees.
And he was able to get on the tractor.
We made out like bandits that weekend, and upon our return home we relished in all our booty.
Fresh eggs and pecans!
The next question was, what do we do with all of this? After much consideration, we decided to make pies. This was not on the original Summer break list, but a welcomed addition.
This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s super kid friendly and delicious. Of course, you don’t have to visit a pecan farm in order to complete this recipe and bonus, no corn syrup needed.
This is what you do need:
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon molasses
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
½ teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups pecans, toasted and chopped
9 inch unbaked pie shell
Step 1 – Shell the nuts (if your nuts are shelled skip to Step 2) This took us about an hour and my little helper started strong, but after about ten minutes he said with a stretch of his arms, “Ahhh! I need to take a break.” And he moved from the kitchen counter to the couch. I continued cracking. I did hear a small voice proclaim, “Nothing’s better than sitting back and listening to nut cracks! How relaxing!” He did say, “nut cracks,” that was not a typo. If you can get your kids to stay longer, more power to you!
Step 2 – Pre-heat oven to 450 and adjust the oven rack to the lowest level.
Step 3 – Make the filling by heating the syrup, sugar, cream and molasses in a saucepan over medium heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Slowly stirring can be a perfect chore for your child. Keep in mind, they’re at the stove.
Step 4 – Lightly toast the nuts and remove them from the heat.
Step 5 – Remove the filling from the heat and let cool for five minutes. Then whisk in butter and salt until combined. Next whisk in eggs yolks until incorporated. More stirring and more kid participation. Yay!
Step 6 – Scatter pecans in the pie shell and carefully pour filling over the nuts. The scattering can be done by your child without any concerns of injury. I suggest you do the pouring.
Step 7 – Place the pie in the hot oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until filling is set and center slightly jiggles when gently shaken. This is all you parent.
Step 8 – Cool pie on a rack for one hour, then refrigerate for three hours to set. This seems to take an eternity!
Step 9 – Eat! Bring it to room temperature before serving. Everyone gets to do this. Unless you have a nut allergy! And if you do, this is not the pie for you.
My five year-old loved it so much he said, “I want this for my birthday instead of cake!”
It’ll bring a smile to your face!
Yesterday Azul was telling me about some trouble Curious George was getting into on the latest episode, and in the middle of the story he used “air quotes.”
I can’t stand air quotes, almost as much as I can’t stand the over use of the word “literally.” Both of them are unnecessary. If you are quoting someone in a story you usually mention that and there is no use for air quotes, and if you are explaining someone’s actions, you don’t need to say it literally happened. None the less, I got air quoted by my five year-old.
“Did you just air quote me?” I asked, interrupting his story.
“Whaaaat? You mean this?” was his response and he quickly did it again.
With my arms in the air, shaking my head from side to side, with a big smile of my face, I said, “Yeeees!”
While he was getting ready to respond, it was as if everything turned to slow motion. His little fingers were moving into peace signs and he began, “I though it meant…” And up came the peace signs to the side of his head and the slow fold of his fingers. He literally did it again while saying, “Awkward.”
AARRUUGGHHH! Oh it was “awkward!”
Azul, like most five year-olds is very observant and curious, a behavior I have always tried to encourage until today.
While we were shopping for a birthday present at a bookstore for an upcoming birthday party, the first stop we made when we got there was to the ladies room. After taking care of our business, he noticed something he had never seen before. The shiny silver machine calling to him like a leprechaun to a pot of gold, with its knobs and small shelf, all things he couldn’t wait to touch. In a daze of fascination he walked over to his new-found treasure.
“Mommy, what is this for?” His curiosity was taking over.
I replied in a short, I don’t want to talk about this tone, “Tampons.” I didn’t expect there would be a follow-up question, but of course there was.
“What are tampons?” He asked in his high-pitched little voice.
Ugh! Was what I was thinking, but, “things ladies use,” was all I could think of to say at that moment while I held his hand and escorted him out. Damn you Barnes and Noble!
Well, I guess I could count myself lucky, at least he didn’t have any quarters.
For some odd reason last weekend, my husband decided he was going to be the bad influence on my five year-old instead of me, and I am not comfortable with this. That is my job! His job is to be the safe and stable parent.
“We are shooting Craps!” my husband repeatedly said to me.
“Okay” was my answer to every announcement. I was not upset with the game they were playing, but how he kept reminding me what he was teaching our son. I’m fine with dice games; there are a lot of skills that are needed to successfully play. Counting and recognizing the dots on the dice, determining the value of each coin for the bet, and understanding what numbers were needed to win, all just seemed like a math lesson. And Azul was having fun.
But it was like a challenge was being issued, a figurative “On guard!” before the swords were drawn. I am not one to back down from a challenge, especially when regarding my son, and I don’t know what I’m going to do yet to redeem my position, but when I come up with something, it will teach my husband a lesson for sure! On guard indeed.
While Azul and I were playing outside, there was a bee that kept following him. Every time he heard it buzzing around him, he would scream, “Go away bee!” And then run away himself. When he ran back from his safe place, wherever that was, he would ask, “Did you see it?” I did not. This pattern of events repeated a few times. On the last time I replied, “It’s just a bee, swat it. You are much bigger than it is, I’m sure it’s more afraid of you than you are of it.”
In all his five year-old bee wisdom, his wide-eyed response was, “And when it stings you, it’s 100 times stronger!”
We laughed and agreed he was right, swatting the bee was not wise.
Linguistics sucks. It’s a hard subject to get a grasp on, there are so many rules to follow and double meanings and proper use and slang, even some adults have a hard time, but listening to kids try to master the topic is pure entertainment!
While my five year-old was eating his lunch, which consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of cherry tomatoes, I was picking up the kitchen. Just as excited as could be I heard Azul proclaim, “Look what I invented — Suck Balls!”
WHAT?! was my immediate thought, well a lot of things went through my head at that moment, so I looked up to see what he was talking about.
“See,” he said holding up a cherry tomato with a small bite off the top. He proceeded to put the tomato against his puckered lips and suck the juice out while squeezing it, then he popped the whole thing in his mouth and ate it.
Once he was done with this display of his new invention he said, “You suck all the juice out and then eat it. Suck Balls!”
“Try it,” he said handing me a tomato. And on his insistence I tried it and it was good, and fun! We finished the Suck Balls together.
Today was a beautiful day, and to celebrate, Azul and I took the car to the car wash and washed it. He likes riding through the tunnel of soap and revolving brushes, screaming when the rinse water sprays us for the last time, imagining we are being shot by enemies in space. Then we pull out of the wounded darkness and vacuum the floors and seats, Azul likes having his own nozzle and sucking up his pant leg instead of the cookie crumbs and random pieces of whatever happens to be stuck to the back seat. When we’re done, we cruise!
There is really nothing cooler than cruising in a clean car and listening to music on a nice day. And to bring back the nostalgia of my youth and cruising (you know, when your car was all you had and your most pressing issues were getting gas and cleaning your car), we were listening to old school music. Although my five year-old was sitting in his booster chair in the back seat cruising with me, instead a car full of friends, I still felt pretty cool! And then to make it even cooler, guess what song came up? Well, in an instant, we were “Going back to Cali,” with LL Cool J!
Oblivious to the lyrics I listened to millions of times over the years, instead I heard Azul, who was singing along even though this was the first time he heard this song, speak up from the back seat. “He said ‘beach’ and ‘peach,’ those rhyme!” I started to laugh and then stopped for a split second to think about the words we were singing and then laughed some more. With a shrug and an “Oh, well,” in my usual encouraging tone, I said “You’re right they do rhyme.”
The song continued in the background and Azul started to laugh again and said, “He said suntan lotion!”
Oh, we were rolling hard! And loving it!
“Is college after kindergarten?” was the question I heard from the back seat of the car while we were driving through the campus at the University of New Mexico. I take him there often; to feed the ducks at the duck pond, to go to swim class and to attend different events they host throughout the year. Today we are here for a Star Wars display. “No,” I answered with a small laugh of encouragement, so he could finish his thought.
The next question from my five year-old, as we drove past the dorms, “Are those hotel rooms?” I said, “Kind of, they are called dorms and that is where the college students live. They are more like little apartments. Daddy lived in these dorms when he went to school here.”
He continued, “The greatest thing about college is you get to stay up as long as you want. I’m going to stay up and watch TV on my phone.”
“Yeah?” Letting him continue.
“At the dooms, they know you get uncomfortable with girls, so girls have girl roommates and boys have boy roommates.” I responded, “You’re right! Boys live with boys and girls live with girls.” I didn’t correct his “doom” instead of “dorm” talk — I thought it was cute, and really, a more accurate description of life in the dorms.
“Do you get breakfast, lunch and dinner in college?” he asked, his thoughts turning to food. “Yes,” I answered. “You can eat in the cafeteria when you go to college.”
He was on a roll with the college talk. “The good thing about college is you can do what you want after school. You can just roll around outside or go to your doom.”
“Yeah, you have a lot of freedom to do want you want.” I continued to explain who went to college in our family, and who had Bachelor, Graduate and Doctorate degrees.
“I’m going to get one! After Pre-school I’m going to start practicing instead of playing!”
Trying to talk him down a little bit, I looked at him in the rear view mirror and gave him a little wink and said, “Don’t worry you have plenty of time.”
Now, Revenge of the Sixth!
This week was Azul’s last week of Pre-school and for some crazy emotional Mommy reason it has come to a bittersweet end for me. My baby is going to all-day Kindergarten next year and I’m having some unexpected troubles with it.
We have done the new “big boy” school visit and went through registration, granted I was almost in tears that night after I put him to bed, thinking about how big he is getting. But, in front of him, I have been the shining example of support for my five year-old’s next big step! He is ready and excited and I am a little scared!
There are things I am NOT going to miss about Pre-school, like these little devils that haunt every room in my house! The playground woodchips are in my carpet, couches and I even find them in the beds sometimes.
With Azul’s new school being only five minutes away, the one thing I am going to miss is our twenty-minute commute. We have some of the best conversations in the morning. This has become private time for us and no one else, time where just the two of us can be together and laugh. Today’s conversation consisted of talk about what we were going to do during Summer Break. This is just a slice of our morning commute.
I’m glad we have all summer to hang out and talk, but first ManiPedis!