November 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
I was chatting with one of the baristas at my favourite coffee shop this morning and was both surprised and excited to learn that she had aspirations to be an astronaut! Fully engaged in hearing how this came about, I asked her more questions. As I listened to her confidently tell the tale of how she has been a “space nerd” since the age of four, and how she is currently studying aerospace engineering, it was quite clear how lit up she was about her dream. As my friend and I asked more questions about her upcoming marriage however, I hear the words she uses to describe her dream start to spiral into uncertainty as she speaks about the next steps.
Her fiancé, currently based in Hawaii, is in the army, and they both want to begin flying. She talks further about the difficult logistics, how matching up bases when one spouse is the army and the other is in the air force is nearly impossible, and how they have decided that she will go for her private pilot’s license to better compliment her fiance’s career choices. By the time she finishes talking she is referring to her dream of being an astronaut as “maybe just a pipe dream”. My friend comforts the obvious shift in her energy by saying ““ah, the things we do for love, right?”
As she notices the line getting longer, she jumps back to work, leaving me feeling unfulfilled in the telling of this young girl’s story that started out so exciting and strong! Pipe dream? What happened to that four year old space nerd?
My friend comments to me about how lovely it is to know from such a young age what you want to do with your life, which I agree is fantastic but then I solemnly think to myself, “how sad that she has allowed these obstacles and boundaries to become larger than her dream!”
As I make the trek through the woods back home I keep thinking about this girl’s beautiful dream and how nice it would be if both she AND her husband could follow their dream. Upon arriving home I take advantage of a few quiet minutes before my next scheduled item in the day to do a meditation with Deepak and Oprah.
Of course it is all about removing obstacles and boundaries in your life.
As I recite the Sanskrit Mantra: Om Gum Namah, which means Expansive Consciousness Dissolves Obstacles, I am filled with thoughts about my barista friend. By the end of the meditation, my next step has become clear to me. I know what to do.
My fingers quickly type the author “Chris Hadfield” into the search bar on Amazon’s main page. In minutes, the book is ordered and due to my house next day. This book is Hadfield’s biography on the time he was a young “space nerd” through till his culminating experience as Commander on the International Space Station in 2013. It’s entitled An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and it is his story of overcoming obstacles and boundaries to make his dream come true. I write a quick note of encouragement to “Follow your dreams, one goal at a time”, and on the back I inscribe the Sanskrit Mantra from my meditation, along with its translation.
I look forward to presenting this early wedding gift to this young dreamer. I am even more excited to one day see NASA’s announcement of their newest female astronaut, and remember what a great chai tea latte she made way back when.
November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
So I spent some time on FB this morning catching up and realized I had missed a bunch of notifications. After adding a new FB friend, I enjoy going to my main page to look at it through the eyes of someone else. In no time at all I was deep into beautiful memories, missing home, loved ones and feeling the love.
My ego quickly stepped up and said “oh you poor thing, missing home, where there is security, and familiarity and people who love you, wallow here awhile, feel sad. It’s raining outside for the 14th straight day, just stay in your pjs, don’t bother with the shower, just sink”.
The remarkable part was, when I heard those words in my head, they felt SO strange. And the response, instead of pondering it, was “why the heck would I do that! All of this is love. Love at home, love in Seattle, love on FB. Every one of these pictures is evidence of love in my life. How could that ever make me sad?!”
Well THAT is refreshing!
I think back to almost exactly a year ago, when the rains in Seattle started and we had two weeks straight of no sunshine. Our first experience going so long without sun. Even in Ontario’s dead of winter, the sun reflects off the snow so brightly you have to wear shades to even see properly. I remember thinking to myself, “what have we done? We can’t make it until spring with no sun!” I watched how all my new friends and acquaintances in Seattle had already figured it out, booking their sunny holidays in the south months in advance of the mid-winter and spring breaks. I felt my mood sink into sullen, not going unnoticed by my husband who bought me a faux-sun “Happy Lamp” for Christmas in an attempt to help. I began romanticizing our home in Ontario, seeing it as an oasis, making plans for when we return. Uncertainty set in, and I felt like I had a foot in each home, never really feeling grounded in either.
But then the sun broke through, and our prayers were answered. We were gifted with what everyone described as an “unusually warm winter”. Unseasonably warm temperatures, sunny skies, and outstandingly beautiful blooms on the trees starting in January and continuing like a fireworks show all the way into spring. Each tree took a turn, in yellow, pink and white, shouting from their branches that ALL IS WELL!
Each person I discussed the weather with warned me “don’t get used to it! This is not normal”! As my spirit started to rebound I found myself responding “who cares? It is EXACTLY what we needed in our inaugural winter here. In this moment, it is perfect.”
So now I am faced with the exact same scenario one year later. It’s been raining so long my neighbour asked me this morning where the faucet was to turn it off. But something is different. Instead of uncertainty, I feel grounded. I feel like we are on this adventure, experiencing new things, and while I miss my loved ones at home very much, I am also excited by the new relationships we are cultivating here. And I am grateful at how different they are from the relationships we have at home. There is no replacement for celebrating the holidays with family, but it will be a cool new experience to celebrate the holidays with friends, cherishing the fellowship and warmth it surrounds us with.
I make a promise to myself to continue on this Rampage of Appreciation, and honour each new beautiful experience for the growth it offers. I AM grateful.
November 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here we go, I’m learning again. I know you recognize those moments, when you thought you had learned something, and then you are offered up an opportunity to show you’ve mastered it and you come up short, bumping you back to the lesson again. “Okay – for sure I’m going to get it this time – I know this stuff”, but then in the moment, you revert back to your old pattern again. Man is this rut deep.
Yesterday I was surprised to hear my son chime in while we were listening to a quote being recited by Maya Angelou”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It surprised me that 1) he had heard the quote before, and 2) it resonated enough with him for him to remember it. I discovered the next day that this realization was just setting the stage for my next day’s re-learning.
As I am nagging my children this morning, as I do most mornings, to get out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack their lunch, brush their teeth, etc. etc., I walk amongst them bewildered that I still have to give them the play-by-play nudge on what to do each morning. As I carry this energy around with me, I manifest my way straight into a comical step-by-step grand-finale instruction banter to get my 6 year old out the door to the bus “Put. On. Your. Shoes. Pick. Up. Your. Bag. Take. One. Step. After. Another. Toward. The. Door. Down. The. Stairs. SO WE DON”T MISS THE BUS!” As I am amping up into my tirade, my children start laughing at me, giggling their way down the driveway each doing their own impression of my step-by-step instructions.
Ah, children. The best teachers.
Immediately my mood is transformed by their lightheartedness and I am grateful for their beautiful energy. But alas, my lesson was not done yet.
Later that morning, as the house is quiet, I hear my nagging words floating down the hallway in front of me as I recall the morning rush. And another favourite quote by Peggy O’Mara pops into my head:
“How you speak to your children becomes their inner voice”
My shoulders sink a little. Right. Yuck.
I move on to create this week’s chore chart for the kids, feeling at a bit of a loss, since the last two week’s chore charts have gone mostly un-done. “How do I get the kids back into doing their chores?” I ask myself. So I go to my usual idea generator (Google), and type in the request. Lots of stuff I’ve already tried, and lots of parent-guilt about creating children with good work ethics, comparing your children to others who have already nailed it. Yuck.
Feeling only more exasperated, I move onto my next item on the to-do list: Finish Girl Scout Volunteer training. Seven online modules, of which I have only done one. As I watch the training module moving in smart little images and graphics across my laptop screen, I hear the words “girl-led”, “finding her talents”, “developing her skills”, and I am reminded of the best way to support someone is to “come alongside”, rather than trying to “fix”.
Okay, okay, I’m getting it. Thank you for the grand design of multiple people, situations, thoughts and memories it takes to move me into a better place.
And here I go again, re-learning a lesson that keeps coming back to me.
We so often as adults feel that we need to move children into the direction we see is best for them, teaching them how to get along in this world, explaining and advising, outright forcing them when they aren’t moving along fast enough or in the proper direction.
We forget that they came from the same place as us, are going to the same place as us, and in many cases have not started carrying as much baggage as us due to their fewer years of exposure. Their belief systems are not yet fully formed by their experiences, BUT they are becoming more entrenched with every word, action and feeling they pick up from us. What they see and hear from the people in their world, especially the adults, is changing them. Forming them.
When I examine my own belief systems and trace them back to the original experience that formed them it is so very often from an experience I had when I was the age of my children.
So the lesson just became so much more powerful. It just changed from “yeah, I lost my temper, but I bet they’ll think twice before doing it again” to “I just yelled at my kid, and it sucks to be yelled at by anyone, let alone one of the most important people in your life”.
Suddenly I see my kids for the Beings they are. Not youth. Not inexperienced, don’t-know-better-yet, children. I can see them as beautiful souls, who have also come to this earth to experience life, and contrast, and love. LOVE! The most powerful force in existence.
Whatever I feel the need to “teach” my children, is really just sharing what I myself have learned. And if I cannot share that from a place of love, then I am contributing to a belief system in them that I do not want to have anything to do with. I do not want to be the one that taught them unworthiness. I do not want to be the one that made them feel unsafe to shine their natural light.
When my children look back on their childhood, and remember their mother, I want them to feel they always had a soft place to land, surrounded by love, feeling supported enough to always shine their light, whatever that looks like to them. I want them to feel believed in, and lifted up by my faith in their abilities. Sometimes they will see a firm hand was necessary, but ultimately the love in it will shine brighter.
I want their inner voice to be full of joy, peace, and forever speaking to them from a place of knowing. Knowing they are here to experience amazing things, and that life is meant to be enjoyed.
Exhale. With gratitude for the lesson.
October 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
As I sit at my computer, feeling the warmth of the early afternoon sun on my body, I feel joy. I take a minute to just notice the warmth from the sun: how it feels on my hand, on my leg, on my arm. I imagine it must feel the same as it does for a lizard basking on a stone, soaking up the warmth. I feel very much at one with that lizard, enjoying the present moment for what it is. Comforted and reassured by the notion that there is no “getting it wrong” when you are basking in the warmth of the sun. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how old you are, where you live, it is just pure enjoyment and expansion in that moment. A feeling of complete relief sweeps over my body as I breathe in deeply and exhale.
And I realize, that that is what every moment is. All the previous moments leading up to this one are past. Yes, there will be future moments, but they are not yet here. This moment is all that is. Which sounds small, but it’s actually a very, very big truth.
Imagine for a moment that you are in the midst of a really big project. There is pressure and stress to get it done on time and deliver it as close to expectations as possible. You work very hard and long to ensure that happens, because it is all on you. It feels heavy, but the reward will be worth it when you pull it all off, maybe even beyond what is expected. You know it’s what you are good at and you mistake that growing fatigue for proof that you have worked hard. Time is getting short, and there is still so much expected of you, how will you get it all done? It’s building, and building, heavier, faster, push harder, push through, lift more…
All of a sudden time has stopped. You are floating like a bubble among all of it. You feel a disconnectedness from it, like you are seeing it for the first time. As you gaze around at all the variables you were juggling, now frozen in the moment, a sense of wonderment comes over you. You notice things. The expressions on people’s faces, the energy in the room, the colour of the walls, the gorgeous fall colours on the trees outside the window you are standing near. You see that someone has brought their toddler to work with them that day, and how beautifully innocent the child is in contrast to the chaos you felt in the room before everything stopped. All of a sudden you hear a voice that says, none of what you thought matters, matters. The goal, the achievement, the expectations, the on-timeness, none of it matters. You suddenly understand that the entire experience has nothing to do with what you thought the end result should be. This experience is all about expansion.
And the pressure is off.
It all seems so clear now. The only true purpose in the project was your own growth and enjoyment.
Before you began the project, you knew no one involved. Now you have nurtured 6 new relationships that will ripple through your life bringing even more interesting people into your world. You have learned a whole new set of skills while pulling it all together that you are now very excited to know. You have brought into your perspective, a beautiful new viewpoint, and you are known by others differently now because of the interactions you have had with them. That is expansion.
Because that is why we are here. To grow and flourish, and live different experiences. And to find joy in them! To live in such a way that when we can compare our own “before” and “after” shots, we marvel at the vast number of experiences that we have allowed into our perspective, that have broadened our container, and that we have then used to fill it up even more.
This is your moment. Each and every one of ‘em. Feel the warmth of the sun and relax… it’s all about expansion.
September 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
It occurred to me yesterday as I was chatting with a good friend over the most delicious chai tea latte I’ve had in months, that I have discovered a secret that not every stay-at-home parent knows. Naturally, I have to share it with you.
Backstory: During our family’s “newborn years” (we have four children, so this lasted for roughly a decade), there was one argument trap my husband and I would repeatedly fall into. You may recognize it from your own newborn and infant years, and it goes a little something like this:
Parent 1: “Hi honey, I’m home”. <slowly takes in the home environment noticing that it looks like a tornado went through>. “Um, so, what did you do today?”
Parent 2: <already exhausted and amped up at the same time because the day has been long but the reinforcements have arrived> ”Hi honey,” <huge exhale>, “Geez I don’t even know, it’s just a blur most days.” <wondering why the reinforcements have draped their coat over the chair instead of hanging it up and are sitting down instead of reaching to take the baby from your hip while you are preparing supper>. “How was your day?”
Parent 1: “I don’t know why you always ask how my day was. It’s always busy and it’s always hard.” <sighing deeply as Parent 2 passes the baby over>
Parent 2: <feeling like they have made a monumental effort to be interested in Parent 1’s day as it’s the last bit of energy they have left to give to someone else; feels like the edge is near and it’s time to tag out>. “Oh-kaaaaay. Well, I’m exhausted from [insert long list of play-by-plays arising from the day at home that seem trivial to Parent 1 but represents a huge amount of work for Parent 2]. Oh, and don’t forget I have my dentist appointment this evening”. <secretly grateful to have even a few minutes to themselves even if it does mean fluoride and teeth cleaning>
Parent 1: <feeling the barometer rising because their mind is already overloaded with stuff from work, and their brain just can’t take any further items today; they just need a break> “Ugh, ok. You couldn’t have booked that during the day? I’m exhausted. You get so much time at home, and I’m at work all day, then I gotta come home and watch the kids – I get no break!”
Parent 2: “Are you kidding me?! YOU get no break? You have it so much easier. At least you get to pee alone, and shower peacefully every morning without children banging on the door! You get to have lunch hours and speak to adults regularly and use your brain!. I’M the one who is exhausted!
Parent 1: “You get to stay home with our children. I would trade you that in a heartbeat. You have no idea what I do at work or how hard it is. Have you seen my calendar?!”
And close scene.
The argument goes on from there with each side trying to “convince” the other of who has it easier, only the joke’s on them because neither one of them have it easy. There is no winner. Alas, they won’t learn that until later when they have entered the “sweet spot” (the stage where the all the kids are out of diapers and sippy cups, but not yet teenagers).
You may have noticed that much of that argument was in italics. That is because there is a lot of underlying emotion influencing the situation that neither of them can appreciate because they’ve never walked a mile in the other’s shoes. More on this later.
I don’t remember the exact date I figured out the secret. I feel like it was more of an evolution as I gradually gave myself permission to use it. But here is what it comes down to.
Most work days, legally, consist of 8 hours. A lot of professions demand closer to 10, but at some point you get to leave work and go do something else. Maybe it is family, sports, relaxing, or whatever. The work day ends, and your personal choices begin. Speaking of personal choices, for many working parents, they have probably chosen a job/field that is challenging, rewarding or fulfilling to them in some way (some working parents have not, and to that I say, go find a job you love cause you spend more time working than you do anything else and if you aren’t loving it then it isn’t worth it). Bottom line, the work can be demanding, but in most cases you have chosen it because it fits with what you love/are good at, and you get fulfilment from that.
Same goes for stay-at-home parents. They also have chosen what they do because they love it. They love their children, caring for them, and experiencing amazing childhood moments with them. And they get fulfilment from that. That doesn’t mean it isn’t demanding, just like above, but they have chosen it for a reason, just like above. Where the difference lies, is that the stay-at-home-parent’s day DOES NOT END. From the time they wake (which is often through the night when you have newborns), straight through to supper time, dishes and bedtime, the work day continues. If you’re lucky, you still have a little energy left to spend with your spouse between kid’s bedtime and adult bedtime, but you consistently have that lack-of-energy/sleep fog that never seems to end.
So what’s the solution? What is the secret to the stay-at-home-parent’s sanity and energy saver? What is the magical answer that allows you to feel yourself (not just someone else’s caretaker) and allows you to appreciate your working spouse instead of resenting them for being able to sit down at their computer with a coffee and read their email without interruption? Quite simply, you give yourself permission to have a break. A break for you. You find a time during the day that has the least resistance with the kids (nap time, TV time, whatever) and you create “me time”. And you don’t feel guilty for it. Here’s why.
If you are going to work from sun up to sun down, you need a break. If you take that break when your working spouse comes home, that builds resentment because they haven’t yet walked that mile in your shoes. They don’t see all those italics. So you take your break when your body is telling you to. You know exactly what time that is. Early to mid-afternoon, when your body starts feeling sluggish, your head is feeling heavier, and you think to myself “man, I need a coffee”. So get one, grab that book that’s been waiting for you, or your journal and pen, or better yet, meditation cushion, and start your break. Commit to it. Don’t just justify it as a well-deserved indulgence, own it as time that is rightfully yours.
I still practice this secret today! I’m out of the diaper and sippy cup stage, but my evenings are now filled with soccer practices, girl scout meetings and drama rehearsals. My day starts at 6:30am and doesn’t end until 9pm (even later if hubby needs a knot rubbed out of his shoulder). If I don’t take my “me time” in the afternoon, when my body starts telling me it’s needed, then I am not nearly as fun to be around in the evening.
You know this stuff.
The better you are to yourself, the better you are for everyone else. “Me time” is the opportunity to connect with yourself, which allows the highest good to flow through you when you do interact with your family members. Do you really think they are getting the best of you when you are strung out exhausted, feeling like you lost the contest of who has it easiest? Of course not.
Don’t live your life in the italics. Be free to be yourself.
With light and love. Namaste.
July 30, 2015 § 2 Comments
I have been working on something lately. It is about being unconditional.
When I first decided that unconditional is how I wanted to be, it was within the context of relationships. Husband, children, teachers, neighbours, the person driving in front of me whose car can’t seem to go fast enough when I’m late. Seeing each person, especially my closest family members, unconditionally. At first it seemed a very steep hill to climb. I had to consciously step out of my self-interested tendencies and ways of perceiving others behaviour, and encourage my brain to widen itself beyond the messages my eyes and ears were relaying:
- My husband isn’t actually picking a fight with me. He is experiencing residual waves from a crappy thing that happened at work. Which provides me with a choice. Provide resistance to something that has nothing to do with me, or flow like water over and around it, washing over him with refreshing, unconditional support
- My children are not ignoring me when I ask the first, second and third time for them to do something. When I pay attention (instead of just yelling from the other room), I realize that they are happily engaged in a world of imaginative play (which is exactly what I love to see them do!)
Then it grew to other contexts. For example, when things don’t go the way I had set my expectations to – red lights instead of green, missing something I really wanted, choppy waters instead of smooth sailing. When someone asks me about something on my to-do list that I haven’t gotten to despite my several attempts, they are not reminding me that I am deficient. Every day I am presented with opportunities to remain neutral and untriggered, allowing the situation to unfold and staying connected to source, knowing that what I need will come to me if I do.
Unconditional means seeing the soul behind each physical body. Reaching past what is being dished out to me, and allowing for an understanding of the scenario to wash over me. And it also means resting in the knowledge given to me, even when my ego wants to shout out what I have realized.
It takes some practice, for sure.
Perhaps the biggest lesson that has come to me, is that the power of being unconditional stems from being present in each moment.
In Deepak Chopra’s latest book, The 13th Disciple, he explains the following:
Every life contains moments when a person sees beyond the illusion. The secret is to pay attention, because once the moment is gone, so is its power to change you. You must be open and alert to signals from your true self.
What this takes is a kind of second attention. First attention, which we’re all familiar with, deals with the events in daily life. You eat breakfast, go to work, pick up groceries, watch TV None of this has any intrinsic meaning. It can be good, bad or neutral. When second attention enters, you keep doing the same things you always did, but you are aware of your inner contentment, or of the food’s subtle tastes, or of gratitude for nature’s abundance. Going to work, you may feel inner satisfaction, excitement about new possibilities, or empowerment. There is often no neat match between what the first attention is noticing and what the second attention is realizing.
How lovely that this beautiful piece of wisdom happens to come through the book I am reading exactly at the time that I am looking for guidance on how to become more unconditional. Even better, the first time I was attempting to read that part of the book was during the landing of our plane, while one child is asking for gum, and another wants my help to beat the next level on their video game. I put the book away and embraced the moment I was in (I rock at that video game, and love that I can play it with her). Later, when I returned to the book, it was in the sanctuary of my bedroom, when my heart and mind were wide open to receiving it. Gratitude.
Being present in each moment allows you to understand the difference between feeling like life is happening to you, versus life is happening for you. Each moment is an opportunity for expansion and you get to choose!
It’s like when you watch a movie, and you comment to the person watching next to you that you know what is going to happen next, or that you know the answer to the mystery, long before the movie is over. You have been fully engaged, present to the details as they develop, allowing the meaning of each to flow and blend together in such a way that the answer seems obvious. Even easy.
Being unconditional not only becomes easier when you are present, it becomes natural, familiar, blissful. It feels like everything around you is water, flowing gently and refreshingly around and through you.
I have also grown to realize that being unconditional does not equal the absence of emotion. Like waves that toss a small boat around on the ocean, emotions can flare; anger, frustration, disappointment splash up. You get wet. Drenched even. But the difference is you embrace it as a part of an ocean journey. Remember those signs on the water rides at the amusement parks? You *will* get wet on this ride. You still jump on, stand in line even, just to know what it feels like. Experience it, expand from it, and move on to the next experience bolstered with what you learned from the last one.
I am excited at the opportunities being presented to me to become consistent in my unconditional approach. I look forward to being unconditional every day, every moment, and allowing it to flow to everyone I encounter. Wade in, the water feels great!
March 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
So we recently had a conundrum in our family:
My family likes to eat delicious meals. I don’t like to cook.
As I explained to my husband, the source of my aversion to cooking is the perfect storm of:
1) I don’t enjoy cooking. Perhaps I might if it was by preferred choice and only on occasion when I was feeling adventurous. But the tedious obligation of preparing something new every night makes me want to run for the hills. My inner psychologist tells me my aversion stems from my formative years watching a working mother juggle family meals with a busy work day, but you can’t blame your mother for everything, right?
2) I am not especially good at it. I seem to have misplaced that element of my DNA that naturally inclines me to blend spices and to intuitively know proper temperatures and cooking times. My grandmother has it. My mother has it. Where is the research proving that trait skips every third generation?
3) I can rarely please everyone. The feedback is hardly inspiring when someone is always complaining about what I have produced. The odds simply don’t fall in my favour with a family of six, four of which are children with oscillating preferences. It’s a miracle I can keep all their favourite foods straight, let alone keep track of them when they take a sharp turn: “You used to love tuna melts, what happened?”
So those are my excuses explanations.
Anyways, back to the conundrum. Recently all of this came bubbling to the surface, resulting in a family meeting and a new system for supper delivery. My husband stated in an I-don’t-know-why-its-so-difficult sort of tone, that he and his siblings used to take turns cooking dinner, each one having their designated night to cook. Eureka!
I quickly began the math. Seven nights in a week: One for each kid, one for Dad, one for Mom, and one for eating out.
<cue the operatic hallelujah and heavenly spotlight>
The kids were thrilled. “We get to choose and make supper?!”. The only ground rules were that it needs to be reasonably healthy, and the supper choices need to be made on Sunday nights so I only have to grocery shop once per week.
And so it began.
Night one: my 5 year old chose spaghetti. Fairly straightforward, even went quite smoothly! Daddy was at work late but he prefers low carb meals anyway, so everyone was happy.
Night two: my 7 year old chose shepherd’s pie. A little more work for mom supervising, but many teachable moments and maternal visions of his future wife thanking me for showing him how to cook.
Night three: my 12 year old chooses his favourite, chocolate chip banana pancakes. And the waters start to get rocky. Healthy choice? Mmm, pushing the envelope. Also,his brother has given up chocolate for Lent and refuses any other flavour of pancake. The situation is precarious in its precedent-setting potential. Are we allowed to opt-out if we don’t like what is served for supper? So the negotiations begin and we are able to stabilize the rocking boat, landing on a non-chocolate chip option for his brother and adding a third clause to the ground rules that there is no opting-out of dinner: you eat what is served.
Night four: my 10 year old chooses panzerottis. Again, a little higher supervision requirement than what I was hoping for, but balanced by own gastro-inclinations (I love panzerotti).
Night five: my husband makes grilled cheese for part of our group, while I enjoy pizza with my eldest during his birthday party (fair enough, I thought, given that I also put together fruit and veggie trays for the party)
Night Six: I prepare chicken legs and vegetables. While it was not greeted with the same enthusiasm as chocolate chip pancakes or panzerottis, there was minimal griping.
Night seven: leftovers.
Not bad for our inaugural week, but as we head into week two, the boat has started rocking again.
Tonight my 5 year old selected omelettes, which is only favourable to ¼ of the kids. Can you guess which one? She took the blows all in stride as her siblings griped and complained about having to eat omelettes, desperately suggesting any other alternative they could come up with to avoid having to eat what was on their plates.
As I began to defend her to her siblings and encourage them towards kindness in their comments about her efforts, I realize that she is skipping away from the table unscathed, content with her newly mastered culinary skills, and her full belly.
And she has delivered her own teachable moment. To me.