Monday, February 27, 2012

In Search of Friendly's or Swenson's or Something Similar That Doesn't Make My Children Cry

I know I am old, but back when was a kid/college student/soon to be married person, I could pop into a family friendly ice cream parlor and have a good old fashioned dessert- a hot fudge sundae, a banana split, or a simple chocolate malt. If I was luck enough to be there on my birthday, I could be assured that an affable young waiter in funny suspenders full of button flair would sing to me. The point is, I don't ever remember crying my eyes out while having ice cream.

We had a bit of an epic meltdown recently on a trip to the local "ice cream shop." Meazi and Melese wanted to go the chain Tutti Fruitti to consume whatever chemical it is they serve. I am not a fan of this place. The only thing that is good about it is that you can choose how much you want to purchase. A tiny dollop is about all I can stomach. Perhaps it is just the location of ours. It is in a new mall that is, in my opinion, at a scuzzy corner of Los Angeles. The shop itself is always way too warm. It is stuffy, and not very clean. There are always denizens right outside the door smoking, and the cigarette smell comes wafting in under the door.

When we went in the other day, Meazi had a sample of their watermelon flavor. As soon as she tasted it she burst into tears, and hurled herself onto one of the banquettes, "It's too cold Mamma! It's too cold." She wailed and wailed. I'd never seen her react that way before, to anything. I tasted the sample to see WTF was going on, and it seemed fine (if a sugary chemical can ever be fine). Meazi cried and cried and held her head complaining of brain freeze. I held her in my arms and suggested we go home. Not wanting to miss ice cream, no matter how bad it made her feel, she pulled herself together, filled a cup and topped it with a bunch of scuzzy, most likely sneezed on, toppings. It was a very weird moment with Meazi and I was almost relieved that she was just coming down with something. She got sick the next day, and eventually had to have antibiotics.

Melese had his own cup of something at Tutti Fruitti. While sitting on their tiny kiddie chairs, he also burst into tears TWICE- once when he noticed Meazi had Oreos on her frozen substance and he did not, and once when his plastic grimy chair accidentally shot out from beneath him causing him to land flat on his butt, and causing his cup of chemicals to bounce (luckily upright) on the floor.

Steven and I looked at each other and made a joke that we often make when things like this happen- "DCFS". We surreptitiously looked around to see what person in the room was going to report us to the Department of Children and Family Services. Surely they will think that these children don't belong to us, if they did they would be comfortable and happy and not WAILING IN SADNESS WHILE HAVING ICE CREAM!!

It was a debacle. Truly. We will not be returning there. Ever.

We need the ice cream shop of my childhood. I Googled and YELPed, but Los Angeles is a very strange place and most Los Angelenos wouldn't think of consuming such fattening, dairy ridden items. Did you see Angelina's arms at the OSCARS?! She probably only eats Pinkberry and probably limits herself to less than an ounce per year.

Ice Cream just isn't how I remembered it. Not at all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mommy and Me Book Review- I Don't Have Your Eyes

After seeing me ugly cry over Leo Lionni, Carrie Kitze sent me a copy of this book she wrote. In her email she said,  "My girls are 13 and 11 so my ugly crying is subsiding but I wanted to share a book with you that might be helpful for your kids.  It's called I Don't Have Your Eyes and I wrote it for my transracial family when they were around your children's age."

Carrie's subtle inference that her words and illustrations may lead to an ugly cry made me determined not to shed a tear. However, I failed. Steven did not have the camera ready, but he did walk over to the whiteboard to make fun of me...

This is a lovely book for all kinds of families. It reinforces the theme of how we are all the same on the inside. This book has many skin tones represented, and could be useful for trans racial adoptive families, foster families, and also for families where the head of the household may be a grandparent.

From Meazi- "Mom, I give it 10 stars! It teaches us that you can be different, but also be in the same family. I liked the illustrations, and the picture of the dad doing hair is like me and Daddy."

From Mommy- "Simple words plus lovely illustrations, equals a great combination for teaching one of our favorite family messages."

On a scale of 1-10 Ugly Cries, 10 being the cry linked above, and 10+ being this one, I give Carrie's book a 3. (With the caveat that there were no loving relatives in town presenting me with the book, nor was my mom helping me to decorate our family's very first Christmas tree).

Thanks for the book Carrie! 

You can find the book here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tomorrow, No Matter What

I must be the very last person in America to read the book Nurture Shock. Reading the chapter on siblings yesterday, I found myself putting the book down and crying for a full ten minutes. Something struck me as I read it.

 Meazi and Melese don't have the kind of  sibling relationship that is described in this book. Yes they bicker sometimes, and sometimes they drive each other crazy. Most of the time though, they work it out. They play games together. They imagine themselves travelers, and with real suitcases as props they board our green couch (a stand-in for a 747), to travel to exotic lands like Milwaukee and Santa Fe. They zoom around out back on their bikes and plasma cars, stopping for pretend gas at their toy gas station. They each grab a baby doll and get busy dressing, feeding, and setting up a computer for their 'kids'. They dress up as princesses and turtles. She reads to him. They choose matching pajamas. They sleep through the night soundly, only when parts of themselves are touching each other; a hand on a wrist, a foot on a foot. They look out for one another. He worships the ground she walks on. He'll shout, "Momma! It's time to go and pick up my Guuuuurllllll!" whenever my carpool alarm goes off. His eyes brighten when he sees her. His shoulders soften when she is finally within arm's reach.

The chapter on siblings in Nurture Shock describes some brothers and sisters who won't stop fighting, and who are not at all kind to one another.

From the book:

Scottish researcher Dr. Samantha Punch found similar results in her interviews of ninety children. She determined that kids don't have an incentive to act nicely to their siblings, compared to friends, because the siblings will be there tomorrow, no matter what.

This above quote is what made me cry. I realized that this isn't a given for Meazi and Melese. At least it hasn't been a given in their past. What makes them think that they won't be separated like they were separated from their other siblings?

I believe that, subconsciously, this has something to do with why they treat each other so beautifully.

This revelation made me weep.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Steven has given me a disconcerting 'Heads up"...

Meazi has been asking questions...


Mating. Yep, MATING. She wants to know about bees mating. And other creatures.

He thinks we are getting very close to the Birds and the Bees talk with Meazi.

Sigh and Ugh.

Although I am tempted to just give her the book that explained everything to me (just kidding), I thought you guys might have some good book recommendations.

Remember, she is six, but she already has a favorite Shakespeare play (Twelfth Night- she thinks it's "hilarious").


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Garden Tour

Preparations have begun. (Did I mention her school teaches 'inventive' spelling to encourage a larger vocabulary?)
Hoping we actually eat the chard this year, and that we have enough tomatoes to make and can our own spaghetti sauce.

Also hoping I get one blueberry before Melese consumes them all.

What are you planting?

(If it isn't snowy where you are, and please don't hate because it is 70 degrees today. The traffic is terrible and everyone is an actor).