Happy Halloween.




Artist in Residence: The Early Years.

[Note: click on the pics to see the full photo] 

At first, it was just random scribbling in a small portion of the paper.  Then it graduated to this, random all-over scribbling, with a couple of different colors.


Here we see a focused coloring in the eyes, tail, tip of tusk, toenails.


This one has awareness of the volcano.  Notice the yellow lava, spewing from the top, and going down the side of the mountain.


This one is interesting because he has used different colors for the two animals: primarily burgundy on the left (with pink knees!), and green on the right.  I guess if you wanted to get gory, you could say that the dino on the right has chomped on the left dino’s knees, hence the pink teeth and mouth (!)


Looking forward to his next studies in art.

A fine balance

We were at our friends’ home on Friday, for their son Nicholas’s 3rd birthday.  Two other families were there, with 2 children each.  Three of the girls were around 5 years, 1 boy was 2, and then there was Nick and his sister, Anna, and our 2 little ones. 

Nik ran out to the backyard almost right away, to play with the older children, and I was busy making sure Anju was okay…she always thinks that I am going to leave her somewhere and disappear.  So she needs constant reassurances!

I vaguely remember Pete going to check on Nik, and then coming back with him and saying that he had sand in his hair.  I shrugged it off, saying, oh, the girls probably poured some on him.  Pete got a wierd look on his face, but I ignored it, and the moment passed.

The chaotic evening being done, we drive home and Pete told me that he had gone into the backyard, and walked in on the older girls dumping sand on Nik’s head, and he was covered.  Also, Nik just looked miserable, and was not saying anything.  So Pete told him to say, Stop it, which he then did.  But the girls stopped because they saw Pete.

I felt so bad for him.  I hate seeing him get picked on, and he does because he is so happy to be playing with kids, that he lets them do whatever they want to him just so that he can continue playing with them.  I have to teach him boundaries, since he doesn’t seem to have any.

It is a fine balance between standing back and letting your child falter and learn, and rushing in to teach and/or protect him. 

Let them eat (veggie)Cake!


There is a big hoo-ha going on in bloggerland about Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious.  Two issues: first, her book very strongly resembles a cookbook which came out a while back called The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine.  Second, apparently a lot of moms feel that hiding veggies in food is not teaching your children to eat their veggies.

And Parent Bloggers Network wants to know how this resonates for me.


Regarding the first issue: I have nothing much to say other than I am not surprised.   

Regarding the second issue?  First some background on my child: Nik ate everything we put in front of him until he was about 15 months old.  Then his taste buds decided to go on a permanent sabbatical, and he refused everything except cookies (no nuts), waffles, pancakes, french toast, buttered toast, pizza (without a lot of junk on it), chicken nuggets (including the restaurant versions), orange chicken, Trader Joe’s breaded tilapia (mmm!), cod sticks, grilled cheese sandwiches, and garlic bread.  If it is breaded, he will definitely try it…and then spit it out if the insides are too mushy or taste different.  But he loves his carbs! 

No veggies, and no fruit at all.  So I would make smoothies and throw in yogurt, bananas, berries, flaxseed, protein powder, juice.  And then after a summer of that, he turned his nose up at smoothies. 

All of this combined with the fact that he was not very verbal made for a real fun mealtime routine.  I always present veggies to him, but then I have to deal with seeing them thrown on the floor or on the table.   Now he tries to pass them off to his sister. 

I checked out websites, books, theories, philosophies, any way to get something of nutritious value into my son. For the past year I have spent what seems like a second mortgage on pediasure (a supplementary drink).  He gets one bottle every night, and sometimes one during the day.

My son was diagnosed 8 months ago with PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder.  Apparently this level of pickiness is one of the traits of children on the spectrum.  His ABA tutors have that as one of his goals, but that is down the road, and I am not looking forward to those weeks of hell.  [This is not an excuse, believe me, it is just a fact.]

My chief concern is that Nik get the nutrition from the veggies.  As one of his therapists told me, it is my responsibility to put nutritious food in front of him, and it is his responsibility to eat it.   

So I bought The Sneaky Chef.  And I loved the ease of the recipes.  I made the mac and cheese with hidden cauliflower, the shredded zuchinni in chocolate cake, the pureed carrots in tomato sauce (which then gets used as the sauce for pizzas.)  I look forward to trying the chicken nuggets and the cookies. I have no guilt whatsoever about this.  He is not going to sit in therapy for years because I hid his veggies and fruit! 

[By the way, both his dad and I were extremely picky eaters as children.  I remember subsisting on rice and yogurt, and going for 3 weeks eating only jam sandwiches.  Nik’s grandma is quick to remind me that his dad was just as picky.]

Today’s post brought to you by the letter “N”

Breakfast this morning was creme brulee french toast (my friend Rachel’s recipe from our Bodega Bay getaway weekend).  The kids loved it.  But since it is a little (!) rich, I didn’t expect Nik to eat it all, and sure enough, he had a few pieces left on his plate, which he was moving around with his fork. 

I usually give Anju his leftovers, coz she’s my little garbage can.  But I have to check with him first if its okay.  Or he will have a blue fit.

Me: Are you all done?

Nik: No!  It’s a enna!

Me: What?  Are you still eating?

Nik: No! It’s a enna!

Me (getting frustrated): ARE YOU ALL DONE?  Can I give this to Sissy?


Me (lightbulb going off): OH!  It IS an “N”!!!  Good job!!

He had moved the pieces of french toast around on his plate and shaped an “N.” [a mirror image, but it still counts!]

So of course I took a photo of the enna.

And called Pete down from upstairs to look. 


Then and now

Then:  In my life pre-kids, I was a VP for a private real estate investment trust (a REIT) in San Francisco.  I had people reporting to me, I was responsible for the financial workings of over $2B in investments, I was BUSY!  I also had the sweet perks that come with a job like this: lots of travel (business-class!), annual company conferences usually in resort cities, stays in expensive hotels, a big expense account, a huge annual bonus, all the techie gadgets I needed (or thought I needed) to get my job done.  I shopped all the time.  Every year, with a tiny fraction of my bonus, I would buy a “bonus gift” from Tiffanys…to celebrate.  We ate out at the latest greatest restaurants, had season tickets to the theatre, hosted parties, took trips to Europe…

Now:  We get by on my husband’s income.  No flashy gadgets.  No half yearly sales at Nordstrom.  (Those suits in my closet really should be donated!)  We eat out a few times a month, but at a very different tier of restaurants!  I still buy Tiffany (…knock-offs.) 

I live vicariously through my friend Rachel.  She’s sworn off kids, so she is still full on corporate, and has all the things I gave up.  And that video ipod I lust after. 

As I tell my husband, I gave up my ego.  But it was a long battle. 

I have two beautiful children.  I got my dream.  And what I gave up?  I could get it back if I really wanted.  But then Nik would have to go to a special needs school five days a week.  And then into a daycare for the rest of the day.  And Anju would be in a different daycare five days a week.  And they would miss growing up with each other, knowing each other the way they do, loving each other the way they do.

And I would be hesitant around my children.  Because I wouldn’t really know them.  I would be like my husband, who always looks to me for explanations when the kids say/do something.  But who would I look to? 

I know I made the right choice for our family. 

(But I would still like a video ipod…)