Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Saturday, January 31, 2009

That's Entertainment?

I love taking the boys to the movies. We make popcorn at home and sneak in big bags of it, along with sandwiches and assorted treats. The lights go down and one or more climbs onto my lap for an hour-plus snuggle.
And now, we've reached a movie milestone. For the first time in oh, nine years or so, we're watching at least the occasional movie that doesn't inevitably star an animated mouse, dinosaur or dragon.
Think of the possibilities.
Nonstop Adam Sandler.
Kids who fall in like with each other while they heroically rescue dogs. Dozens of them (dogs, that is).
Endless loops of Paul Blart, Mall Cop.
Oh. That.
I know it will likely be years until family movie dates mean flicks that Mom actually likes. Something with real humor, political underpinnings, a deep message that speaks to the humanity in us all. Or just a logical through line.
But it's getting better. I think my boys might actually be too mature for Space Chimps. But Mall Cop is right up their alley.
And so, for now, it's up mine as well.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Few Words About Gas

Three boys and one bathroom can make for real excitement, but that's a støry I'll save for another day.
Jesse, one of my almost–7-year-olds, is—much like my father was—a real gasbag. Think jet-engine-propelled farts (we do try to say passing gas in front of the kids). As I type, in fact, I'm listening to a veritable Verdi of gas-passing coming from my little one. He's obliviously playing Game Boy as he toots away.
A couple of weeks ago, Jesse's teacher, the young and sweet Miss Rabbit (name changed to protect her), complained about the emissions my little gasbag was creating in class.
Ridiculous, you say?
Me too, though based on what he's capable of at home, I can well imagine the distraction his not-so-tiny toots might cause among a bunch of first–graders.
We assured Miss Rabbit that Jesse would curtail his gas-passing.
I spoke to the little culprit that night and he said (with great excitement), "Mommy! I figured something out today! When I push my farts out, they're big. When I don't push them out, they're soft."
After a few words of warning, Jesse agreed to opt for the soft approach.
The next day, Miss Rabbit, reported, Jesse excused himself from class, went to the bathroom and did his farting in privacy.
Now that's progress.

May I Take Your Order?

Motherhood has made me a short order cook. A good guesstimate tells me that between my three boys, they eat a total of about 20 items, with frighteningly little overlap. Except for sugary foods, pizza and bagels with cream cheese, peanut butter or butter, which are universally our little universe. A sample of their wonts:
Seth: Pancakes, cereal, chocolate milk, broccoli (yippee!), meatballs under protest, macaroni and cheese, bagels(especially, oddly, everything bagels loaded with garlic, sesame seeds and poppyseeds), chicken, grapes, French toast, corn on the cob, watermelon, turkey.
Jesse: Milk, milk, milk, yogurt, cheese (in flat and stick form), grilled cheese, cereal, peas under duress, raisins, cereal, French toast, watermelon, eggs in various forms, meatballs, turkey,macaroni and cheese.
Kyle: Smoothies, cereal, omelets, hamburgers, blueberries, bananas, apples, cheese and crackers, meatballs and hamburgers, nuts, coconuts, calamari (except when he remembers that it's squid, which I accidentally revealed to him in the Italian restaurant around the corner and will never forgive myself for.)
Pretty depressing, isn't it? And sometimes, even the things they all love pose problems. To wit, pizza: Kyle and Seth will eat any pizza (though they're sure that Tibor downstairs at City Pie changed his recipe recently to a less kid-friendly one; Tibi tells us it's just his lousy new pizza guy). But Jesse can't stomach pizza with red sauce.
So we have to hunt down the places that make white pizza for him. Which, even in New York City, are not all that common.
But wait, there's more to the insanity. Jesse adores the mozarella cheese on white pizza. But he WON'T EAT THE RICOTTA that peppers his slices. So we carefully cut those parts of the slice out before presenting his pie to him. And when we're out at a restaurant, I nibble the ricotta off.
I do. Really.
I can't tell you how foolish I feel just committing that to paper.
The minute variations in what my three ridiculously picky eaters will and won't put in their mouths makes dinnertime a fools paradise in my home.
The peas are too small.Unless they're too big and gag-inducing. The cheese isn't the right color; it should be paler or darker. The smoothie isn't quite sweet enough, but if I add a few grains of sugar too many, it's too sweet.
It wasn't always this way. I remember when Kyle was a toddler, eagerly chowing down on grilled salmon, sauteed spinach and squash, wowing relatives and waiters with his curious palate. I basked in the glow, smug in my assurance that I'd done a perfect job at introducing him to the joys of a widely varied plate.
Ah, but like Icarus, I flew too close to the sun.
And now, hot dogs and bunny pasta reign where grilled asparagus was once king.
And for lunch, I'm making grilled cheese (Jesse), smoothie with cheese and crackers and apple slices (Kyle) and bagel with cream cheese and grapes (Seth). Can I take your order?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meet our High Emotions

Emotions run high in our house much of the time, thanks to our three rather excitable boys: Kyle, Seth and Jesse. Hence the blog name. They're excitable in different ways, which I'll get to later, but all three of them seem to me to be unusually highly emotional. So my husband and I, who I dimly remember being pretty mellow BK (before kids), are pretty excitable ourselves much of the time. Except when I'm using my fake-soothing voice to try to calm everyone down. It's amazingly effective, but I can only sustain the forced sonorous tones of "Let's all relax and discuss this in a family meeting..." for a short period of time. A brief description of the trio:
Kyle, 9 years old and hyper-sensitive and hyper-aware of everything around him (sounds, smells, people), except when he's completely oblivious to what I'm saying. Which he always is when I'm asking him about homework, picking up dirty underwear and finishing his peas. On the flip side, the kid can make Lego creations that are twice his size. And he loves his mama.
Jesse, almost 7. Not a sensitive bone in his body. He'll make a great MBA someday. As our babysitter, Juana, likes to say, "I hope Jesse will be kind to the people who work for him." Clearly, she's got his number. Jess, by far the shortest one in the family--which he complains about endlessly--may not be sensitive, but he can whine with the best of them. And his whine? Think of a gnat buzzing in your ear all night. Yeah, THAT annoying. Still, he's got the gift of keeping us all laughing.
Seth, Jesse's twin, is the sweetest of them in many ways. Artistic, creative, loving...all good stuff. But should he lose a board game or stub a toe, it's weepy time. Profound waterworks. And his response to frustration of any kind, from being unable to complete a puzzle to dropping a baseball, is usually "I'm a big loser; I can't do anything right!" Sigh.
I love 'em, couldn't live without them, can't imagine what the heck they'll be like as grownups. But whew. It's a mighty big job keeping all the feelings under control. And that's what this blog is about. I think