Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm Sorry, I'm Repeating Myself

I'm realizing that as a mom, I seem to repeat myself an awful lot. Even to the point of hearing myself telling the same old sorry story to the same friends, day in, day out. Lately, it's the Nourit vs. the Nap story (Once upon a time, Nourit didn't take a nap in the afternoon. She was horrible, but went to bed on time. Once upon the next time, Nourit took a long nap in the afternoon, and didn't go to sleep that night until midnight, at which point she promptly turned into a pumpkin and we made her into soup the next day.) Last fall it was the Avi vs. Sleeping More Than Two Hours story. The same goes for our life. We have so many changes on the horizon, and yet, as of today, nothing's changed. So I give the same answers, make the same conjectures, and feel as if I am a broken record.

I just can't stop, though. I hear myself talking and think, "Eek! They've heard this before! You're boring!" But in the interest of conversation, connection, whatever, I continue. So if you are wondering why my blogging has seemed to slow down a bit, it's because there is nothing new to say lately. Just re-read the past few months, and it'll be like having an actual conversation with me these days...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Candy Idolatry

In church, we talk about idols a lot. Money and self are two biggies. But candy? I'm pretty sure there aren't any temples dedicated to the Sugar God that archeologists are digging up. For 3-year old Nourit, though, her Sugar Temple is iced with butter cream, and coated with sprinkles. It boasts candy-coated chocolate eggs, and bright little chewy bunnies. The path leading up to the shrine is lined with chocolate chips and M&M's. Daily offerings of cake and ice-cream make their appearance on the shrine. Her first word of each day is 'candy', and the last words of each day are, "Tomorrow, after breakfast, can I have...."

When did we go wrong? This child, who barely had any sugar or salt before she was 2 is, at 3, a sugar fiend. Is it all the result of poop incentives? Or is it something more insidious, like idolatry?

I know it sounds laughable. A 3 year old, with idols? She is beginning to know right from wrong, though, and perhaps with that cognizance comes the ability to erect idols in place of the authority of God. If you sat in on her prayers, you'd hear copious amounts of gratitude for the candy in her life. She tries to wheel and deal. "If I poop three times, can I have 3 M&M's?" She needs to have it close. "I'm just going to sit next to the candy in my basket for awhile." She tries out a variety of scenarios. "After breakfast, I'll eat the chocolate egg, and then after lunch I'll eat the chewy bunny." Then 3 minutes later, "After breakfast, I'll eat the chewy bunny and Daddy can eat the chocolate egg, then after lunch I'll eat the rest of the chocolate eggs and Daddy can have a chewy bunny." Good thing she doesn't know how to count quite yet. She'd have noticed that about 2/3rds of her Easter candy disappeared mysteriously during naptime yesterday.

Of course, we're the parents. We can determine what she eats and what she doesn't, and normally, we're pretty balanced. Since Christmas, though, there has been a string of birthday parties, dinners out, holidays (Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day and now, Easter), and generous neighbors, all bringing irresistable treats with them. (And since mama has a huge sweet tooth, it's hard to tell the offspring that she can't have a crumb from the piece of cake I'm shoving into my mouth as fast as possible.) I know how good it feels to eat something sweet. I also know how rotten someone can turn when they don't have their "fix." So, time to crack down (no pun intended) and stop this sugar train in it's tracks.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On Dying and Dyeing

With Easter just around the corner, the topics of death and resurrection have peppered our conversations with Nourit more and more. She seems to be at an age to talk about death and killing, both because certain storybooks talk about it (Frog & Toad, for example, has a line that reads, "Help! My best friend in trying to kill me!" as Frog puts Toad into his winter clothing against his will. That happens to be one of Nourit's favorite phrases this week...), and because she picks things up from older kids who might be play-killing. Not to mention the fact that to really explain Easter, you have to talk about death, (which is probably why the Easter Bunny was invented. It's much easier to talk about Easter in terms of a fluffy creature in Spring bringing candy while you are sleeping, than to discuss sin, killing and death with a 3 year old.) The wonderful thing about believing the way we do, though, is that we have the hope that when we die, we will come back to life again - to a much better one, at that.

I'm still not certain what she really grasps, though. For instance, she and her friend were playing with Dodo - taking turns "die-ing" Dodo, to be exact. (I didn't correct her verb usage - I really would prefer the word "killing" to stay out of her regular vocabulary for just a little longer.) And just last week at the Art Institute, we were looking at a Munch painting, 'Gologotha', where the artist portrays himself as Christ on the cross. Obviously, I skipped the symbolism and went straight for the explanation of Christ being put on a cross to die for our sins, and then left that very quickly to remind her of the resurrection at the tomb three days later. I believe that was the first time she saw the image so starkly (even though it wasn't a realistic portrayal.) Her children's Bible just has a blurry picture of 3 crosses off on a distant hill. Even so, I'm basically avoiding talking about the actual intent to kill. When is a child ready to learn about that??

On a lighter Easter note, I've been intent on naturally dyeing eggs this year. Last year, Nourit and I joined our good friend Danielle at her place of employment, the Green Grocer, where they held a natural egg dyeing workshop - just for us! It took a little time for me to get used to the muted colors, but now I'll never go back to Paas again. Nature is just that much more beautiful!

The eggs we decorated last year at the workshop.

So with a week or so before the Bunny arrives, I've started experimenting with my own dyes. Here are the results of my fun science project, conducted over the past coupld of days:

The colors that were the most vibrant were the Turmeric (the bright yellow eggs), and the beet juice (the dark pink eggs.) The blueberry made a beautiful grey over the one brown egg I used, and the carrot made a light, mottled orange. The wine (leftover Sangre de Toro, to be precise) came out a light grey-purple, and the light, light peach are from red onion leave. I was trying to get a lovely green, but they didn't perform for me this year, and so, peach. I used the wine and the beet juice cold, but the rest I boiled with the eggs (and added vinegar to each.) The finishing touches include some beautiful little tree berries we found on our walk today, some rubber bands and/or wax applied before dipping, some ribbon, and of course, the Bull.