Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Here are some updates of things I was fretting over in past blogs...

Update on Charlie's potty training:

Recently Charlie hit a big milestone in the potty training department. It looks like he might not have to pack those pull-ups when he leaves for college after all. Thanks to my friend Robin’s excellent advice I finally made some potty headway with Charlie when I figured out what his “currency” is. Robin said you have to figure out what a child’s currency is and then offer it as an incentive. Well, Charlie’s currency is clearly cars. So, I fashioned a potty chart on the bathroom wall and then told him that he could get a new race car when he got 10 stickers on his potty chart. That seemed to really motivate Charlie to go #1. One week into the potty chart, and #2 was still not seeming likely. I resigned myself to Charlie never learning this skill and possibly never dating because of it. I was okay with this. That is, until we were at Target buying his 10-sticker race car potty reward and he saw the new Mach 5 Speed racer car. At $27 and change, this was a little steep for a potty reward, but at least then I knew what would really motivate Charlie to take his potty training to the next level. About a week later, my bribery worked. Charlie held up his end of the bargain and he is now the proud owner of a Mach 5.

We are by no means out of the potty woods, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (sorry for the mixed potty metaphors). The fact that we are on Day 16 of the potty chart tells me that the Potty Train Your Child in One Day book can safely be put in the Goodwill pile.

Update on Emma’s eating/ Why I love V8 juice

Emma has been doing better with her eating. She’s still not an adventurous eater by any means, but dinnertime is not nearly the tearful soap opera it once was. Maybe I have loosened up a little? That’s likely part of the equation, but I think Emma is changing too. Maybe it’s just a maturity thing, but I also think we’ve made some changes that have helped. Here’s what I’ve done that’s worked:

  • No snacks/milk after 4 p.m.
  • We all eat dinner together at the “big table” and we all eat the same thing. (By “we” I am generally referring to the kids and me. Brandon usually has to work past our 6 o’clock dinner time unfortunately.) Emma certainly doesn’t eat everything that I serve, but she picks and chooses from what I’m offering. I try to offer something that she likes at each meal (usually some kind of fruit, peas, carrots or bread). A few times a week I make a main course that I know she likes (tortellini with tomato sauce, quesadillas, pizza) Between cooking for Emma and my weird pregnancy-related aversions, my cooking has become sort of weird. We eat a lot of pasta and beans lately and guacamole (this baby can’t get enough beans and guacamole). But I think we’re doing okay in the nutrition department.
  • I have a new secret weapon. I don’t have the patience or the energy to sneak vegetable purees into everything I make like all those sneaky chef cookbooks recommend, but my one sneaky thing is to give the kids V8 Fusion juice. I sound like a commercial, but this stuff is awesome! It’s supposed to be one vegetable serving and one fruit serving “fused” together in an 8 oz. serving of juice. It sounds gross, but it tastes like fruit punch. And it’s not thick like original V8 juice. There is no sugar added and it’s just chock-full of veggies and fruits. The kids love it and so do I. I’ve been drinking it with a little lemon/lime seltzer to give it some fizz and cut the sweetness a little. I know drinking juice is not the same as eating your fruits and veggies, but this is pretty close and it’s a great way to sneak in some nutrition.*

    *This blog sponsored by V8 Fusion juice.

Lastly, I have a question: should we find out the sex of the baby? I'm just curious to find out how everyone feels about this topic. I was pretty positive I wanted to know, but now that the big sonogram date is approaching, I'm having my doubts. Please let me know what you think!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Big-kid Beds All Around

After much suffering, I managed to put our new Ikea bed together with Charlie’s help while Brandon was at work. Part of my Ikea amnesia is that I always think I am capable if not actually good at putting Swedish furniture together by myself. Despite Ikea’s instructions (which were written caveman-like using only pictures) depicting two happy cartoon blobs putting together the bed juxtaposed next to one sad cartoon blob working all alone, I decided to forge ahead and be the one sad blob. I figured I had Charlie there to “help” and I could always quit if I started looking too much like the sad blob.

So, I started putting the bed together with my pathetic screwdriver which is from some Barbie’s dream house toolkit that I think I bought in college. This screwdriver instantly gives one blisters and strips a screw practically on contact. My stupidity and stubbornness know no bounds when it comes to putting together furniture. Two hours later….I managed to get the bed looking and functioning like a bed…..for midgets. We are by no means a tall people, but this bed was significantly too low to the ground even for the likes of us.

Once the shorty bed was assembled, I thought my work was almost done, but it was far from done…and bedtime was approaching….and Brandon was at a baseball game in DC that didn’t start until 7:30, which meant that he would be home around, oh, three o’clock in the morning or so. Isn’t that about how long baseball games last? I kicked my second trimester nesting super powers into high gear and disassembled Emma’s toddler bed, Charlie’s crib and our old bed. Then I moved the toddler bed and crib into the guest room and was horrified by the dust bunny situation underneath everyone’s beds. So I hauled the vacuum upstairs and then set to work moving our old bed into Emma and Charlie’s room and getting it all cozy and comfy in there.

Then you will not believe what I somehow managed to do. What is like the worst thing that could happen if your kids are spending their first night together in a big-kid bed? How about somehow managing to knock their light switch in such a way that it will not turn off??? Once I got them all snuggled in their beds and was counting the seconds until I could call it a night and go watch The Hills downstairs with a much-deserved bowl of ice cream (is there anything better than watching trashy TV and eating junk food when one’s husband is out for the night?), I realized, like in some horror movie, that the light in the kids’ room WOULD NOT TURN OFF. I was flicking the thing over and over again and nothing was happening. “NO,” I screamed. “NOOOOOO!!!” I tried to unscrew the light fixture, which has always reminded me of a big breast right in the middle of their ceiling. I was trying to unscrew the nipple part, but it was too hot and I couldn’t touch it long enough to get it unscrewed. So, then I made the trek four flights downstairs to the garage and tried to figure out how to turn off the electricity to the kids’ room. I instructed Emma to yell down when the lights went off in her room. First I flicked the switch that turned off the power to the computer (of course) and then, on the second try, I managed to hit the jackpot and heard Emma screaming something incoherent from her room. After darkness had finally been achieved, I tucked the kids in and then had to keep tucking them in about a bajillion more times until it finally took and they were asleep. There was no ice cream that night and The Hills had come and gone. I took a bath and then got into my low-rider bed and fell right to sleep.

A phone call to Ikea the next day revealed that I could skip the section of the instructions that showed four metal rods being screwed into the bed, thus allowing us to raise the mattress up off the ground about two feet. It would’ve been nice if the cartoon blobs could’ve somehow conveyed this to me with their blob body language, but I have learned that Ikea instructions are sort of a jumping off point for how one actually assembles the furniture. They are more a scavenger hunt, than they are a recipe for how to achieve success. It keeps things interesting that way.

New mommy and daddy big-kid bed

New Emma and Charlie big-kid bed

The kids have done pretty well with their new big-kid bed. It is almost too cute seeing the two of them snuggled in there together. They did have lots of trouble with the whole getting out of bed and opening the door thing. Emma has been in a toddler bed for years, so she’s used to a cribless existence, but Charlie had to get up to keep checking that there was actually a door there and that he could in fact open it. It was like he had a case of OCD with that door. So, I am not too proud to admit that I ended up putting a child safety doorknob cover thingy on the inside of their door. Some of you may think this is tantamount to child abuse, but I think of it more as training wheels, or you could think of it as a crib nicotine patch. I did the same thing with Emma after she switched to the big-girl bed. Eventually they lose their addiction to checking the door and they get used to all the freedom that comes with being able to get out of bed and then you can take the door nicotine patch off and be totally door-patch-free. Interestingly, Charlie LOVES the door patch. He keeps reminding me that I put the “lock” on the door and that he really likes it. It’s kind of weird, but maybe he’s just relieved not to have to check that door all the time.

I like having a big-kid bed as well. It makes me feel like an official grown-up to have real furniture that goes together in my bedroom. It's a little sad seeing the kids' beds all disassembled and piled up in the guest room. I need to take the crib down to the garage, but it seems a little pointless to haul it down all those stairs when we'll need it again about five months from now. It's so hard to imagine our life, our house, our beds expanding by one more. What will it be like? Our family feels like this fixed entity--it is everything to me, my whole world. Yet, it is constantly changing and we are constantly growing up, and growing out...of our beds...our shoes..our skinny jeans (oh wait, that's just me). I keep thinking, when is all this change going to stop? When are we going to finally just be who we are and be done? I know better though. And really I love it. I love that there is a mysterious person on the horizon who is going to come into our family and forever make it different. Each day they become less of a dot in the distance, less theoretical and more of a reality. I can't wait to meet our newest family member, but I have enough perspective on things at this point that I am enjoying the waiting. It's like watching a plant grow that you have started from seed, watching this family grow.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ikea Amnesia

This past Saturday it was my birthday eve and so I got to do whatever I wanted and guess what I wanted to do on a rare sunny, warm day? Drive 30 miles to Ikea, of course. I sort of marketed the trip to Ikea as a "road trip" where we would stop along the way and see the sights. Ikea is so far away that you pass by ship-like boats on the way to get there. And we don't live that close to an ocean. I think we might actually have to drive to Sweden to get to Ikea. Why do I ever think going to Ikea is going to be a good idea? It's like I get Ikea amnesia after every horrible, gut-wrenching visit...sort of like the way you forget how much of a pain being pregnant and having a baby is as soon as you get your babystyle catalog in the mail.

Our trips to Ikea always go about the same way. We think we've missed our exit on the highway and we lose hope that Ikea actually exists and then all of the sudden there it is, like a big blue spaceship rising up on the horizon. The sight of that big, blue building makes me giddy with anticipation of all the the fabulous cheap things I will buy.

Things at Ikea always start off well...we cruise through the showroom floor looking at all the pretend living rooms and bedrooms and imagine ourselves living in them. I love seeing the little worlds that Ikea invents in these spaces, they remind me of life-size dollhouses. And the imaginary people living in these rooms seem like they would be just like me, only much happier because they have all this stuff from Ikea.

Brandon and I usually have a few disagreements in the showroom, but they are good-natured and can be laughed off with a joke or over a plate of swedish meatballs. Once we have picked out our furniture, we head downstairs and that's when things get ugly. You are stuck in the Ikea maze with two tortured preschoolers who are singing and crying alternately and threatening to run screaming right into a glass shelf full of glass things. At this point the world of Ikea has lost its luster. You can see that the $5 BJORKJSEN pillow that looked so cute on the showroom couch is probably $5 for a reason because the zipper on it is already broken and the hip, modern print is pealing in some places. You start to feel a little queasy about all of the furniture you are about to purchase. What if it too is cheap for a reason? Stop being so negative! you say to yourself. You didn't drive all the way to Sweden to stop now! You're here and you're getting some freaking furniture if it kills you. So then you've finally made it to the big warehouse where all of the media centers and bunk beds you've been drooling over upstairs have somehow been reduced to long, skinny, impossibly heavy boxes. The wheels on your dolly only want to go left, but you show them who's boss and push forward diagonally down aisle 26 in search of a FLUEWRUUG mattress.

I will spare you a description of the third-world-ish lines that one must wait in first to pay, then to buy ice cream that has been promised as a reward for all this torture, then there is the home delivery line that you must wait in to have all of these crazy-big boxes delivered (apparently you can't take a queen-sized bed, a mattress and patio furniture home in the trunk of a Passat). The drive home is a solemn one. The youngest falls asleep and the four-and-a-half-year-old makes a list of her demands. You give in to everything. Yes, you say, whatever you want. You have no fight left in you and she knows it.

We put the patio furniture together when we got home. It was relatively easy as Ikea furniture goes. We ordered take-out and ate our dinner outside that night, and maybe it was the MSG or the crisp spring air, but the Ikea labor pains were already starting to become a distant memory at that point. I have my eye on a new FLORLOOG changing table for the baby. I'm sure the next time we go to Ikea it won't be nearly as bad.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good News!

Sorry to not have posted this sooner...I have been having a big birthday celebration weekend over here (33!! Woo hoo!!) There has been lots to celebrate...I am immune to the slapped cheek/fifth disease thing, so I can't get it and can't pass it on to the baby. I am so relieved! Thank you for your prayers and good vibes. I am so grateful for them. Will try to write more soon...


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Slapped Face Syndrome

A few days ago I learned that Emma has contracted Fifth disease, a.k.a. "Slapped Cheek Syndrome" (called this because a child with this particular illness looks as though they've been slapped across the face. I think I could be a doctor if all medical ailments had such logical names.) I had never even known there was such a thing as slapped cheek syndrome, until one day I noticed Emma had extra rosy cheeks and so I googled "rosy cheeks, four-year-old girl" and voila! Slapped Cheek Syndrome! Thank you Dr. Google. I was reading along and discovered that this is a viral infection that is no longer contagious once you notice the tell-tale rosy cheeks. A majority of the people out there have had slapped cheek syndrome and don't realize it or don't remember it. Once you've had it, your body makes a nice little antibody to it and you can never get it again. The only caveat in all this good-natured info I was reading is that it is extremely not good for pregnant ladies to be around this rosy cheeked virus. It can lead to bad things for people in my condition. So, I called the pediatrician, who told me to get to the OB ASAP for a blood test to find out if I have had slapped cheek syndrome before in my life or if I'm currently infected with it. Obviously, it would be better if the former were the case. So, I had the blood test on Friday and I should find out tomorrow or the next day what the results are.

Ugh. I hate this. I am trying to be hopeful and positive and all that, but there's part of me that's slightly worried. Emma's the one with the rosy cheeks, but I am the one that feels like I've been slapped in the face. I fluctuate between feeling incredibly anxious--every twinge, every headache or cramp means I am infected with this virus and am infecting the baby. I have lost sleep worrying about the future of this pregnancy. I feel that way and then I feel this overwhelming peacefulness about the whole thing. Like a big wave of calm just crashes over my whole body and I know that everything is going to be okay...even if the baby is not okay, somehow I will heal and I will not die from the pain I would feel if something bad were to happen. And when I feel that wave of calm, I am almost grateful for this opportunity to remember that God is in control of everything and that he has a plan for me and for this baby and that it is better than anything I can imagine. I really hope his plan is that this baby be born healthy and perfect and live to be a hundred and two...because that is my plan. But in the end, I know that he loves me and that he hears my prayers.

As I've mentioned before, I can be a little slow in the spiritual maturity department. Sometimes I do have to be slapped in the face to really get it. So, now, I get it...I think. Emma's rosy cheeks are a good reminder that I need to just get out of the way and let God do his thing with my life. Here's a verse that is helping me at the moment:

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

I like the "lean not on your own understanding" part. I think that means that I should not google "pregnancy, slapped face syndrome" ever again. That kind of business is getting me nowhere. Sorry, Dr. Google. I just need to keep praying and trusting in God and things will turn out okay in the end. So, maybe this is a slap in the face that I really needed. Besides, I need to learn my lesson sooner rather than later...otherwise Emma is sure to come down with "Hit You Over the Head Syndrome" or "What Do I Have To Do To Get Your Attention Disease" next time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Words of Wisdom from Anna Quindlen

This is one of my favorite essays about motherhood...I just love that Anna Quindlen. Happy Mother's Day, everyone!!! Here's to living in the moment! Love, Elizabeth

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there some thing wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, 'Remember-When- Mom-Did Hall of Fame.' The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pick up. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, 'What did you get wrong?'. (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get onto the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Magic Buses and Singing Cows

On Saturday night we watched the latest movie from our netflix queue, Into the Wild, and it is still haunting me. Have you seen it? I keep trying to figure out what about the movie has me feeling so unraveled. I think it probably has something to do with having a son and imagining him running away and doing something so foolish/brave as trying to live on his own in the middle of the wilderness of Alaska. I think the movie touches on a parent's biggest fear: losing a child. But this case is worse because the child wants to be lost. And you can't even blame drugs or mental illness or anything. The main character, Chris (a.k.a. Alex), is a very intelligent, sensitive young man who wants to detach himself from his past and upbringing and parents so much that he destroys anything with his name on it, gives himself a new identity and disappears into the snow. Is there anything more nightmarish as a parent? The movie is not just about him living in an abandoned school bus in Alaska, though. It also tells the story of his gypsy-like journey across America to Alaska. Along the way he meets all sorts of characters who teach him how to be a better person/nomad in some way, and who he touches with his charismatic love of the wild (and literature about the wild). He cannon balls off of cliffs into beautiful rivers, he kayaks his way to Mexico, camps in the exquisite starkness of the desert. His journey is like one Ansel Adams photograph after another, portraying the utter gorgeousness of the American landscape. You can totally see how he would want to keep wandering forever.

Coincidentally, I also stumbled across a new blog after seeing this movie. The blog details a family's account of selling/donating all of their possessions so that they can live out of a school bus with their two small children. Their plan is to travel the country trading their plant and flower tinctures for other services from like-minded individuals. This of course led me to a host of other blogs who are also written by people living out of school buses with their small children. So I guess these buses all must come equipped with wi-fi?

As a family, we have done our share of wandering, having moved almost every year for the last six years. (Granted, the closest we've come to living out of a school bus is living in corporate housing for a few months.) As someone who has lived in an apartment or a townhouse for the last several years, the idea of living off the land and raising my children like little nymphs in the forest sounds sort of appealing. I think I might just settle for a back yard, though. The school bus bloggers write about their vision of raising their kids in a sort of Utopian society where everyone's needs are met, everyone loves and respects each other, the earth and the universe, and people are allowed to live off the bounty of nature and their yarn crafts... But what happens when someone gets bitten by a tick and you need to go to the pediatrician? Will the doctor really want to trade his services for a pair of felt moccasins? Or what happens when your child becomes old enough to decide for themselves what they want their life to be...what their version of "utopia" is? Will their idea of going into the wild be running off to business school? That'll show Mom and Dad! One way or another, no matter what you do, are your children going to run away from you? Won't there always be something to worry about? Is it really possible to escape the human condition with a magic bus?

Lately, in our house, you will be doing something, maybe you're downstairs typing on the computer, or in the kitchen washing vegetables, or in the bedroom sorting laundry, when all of the sudden you hear a faint whistling coming from Emma and Charlie's bedroom. You realize you recognize the tune that is being whistled, and that the tune is "Don't Worry. Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. (go on, click over to that youtube link...and don't forget to turn up the will make nice background music for the rest of this post.) Anyway, you will hear that music and know that Charlie is in his room pressing the hoof of his new stuffed cow that inexplicably sings "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Ever since his Gigi bought him the singing stuffed cow, he can be found in his room listening to that song, much the way I listened to 10,000 Maniacs' "These Are Days" over and over again in my college dorm room. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is now like the theme song of our house and I have to say, hearing that tune drift down the stairs into whatever room of the house I'm in always brings a smile to my face. That's nice, Elizabeth, you're thinking, but what does this have to do with Into the Wild and living in school buses? Well, I'll tell you. I want to write to those school bus people and tell them that they don't have to live in a bus to find peace and happiness. That it is all around them. That there are singing cows around every corner and that the world is filled with so much love that it is like a balloon with too much air in it. When I stop and look at the world through my children's eyes, I can see things this way. Charlie's song reminds me of that and it makes me want to cry when I hear it...not just from pregnancy hormones either...but because I realize I am happy. Right here where I am. No school bus required.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Food Network, why can’t I quit you?

I admit it. I am a total Food Network junkie. I don’t get time to watch TV very often, but when I do, my cooking shows are always waiting for me on Tivo and I can hardly wait to click on them and find out what Ina or Rachael or Jamie are up to. Grey’s Anatomy? No thanks, I’d rather watch a pork tenderloin slow roast in someone else’s oven. I keep trying to figure out what it is about these shows that has me so addicted. It makes no sense. I can’t smell or taste the food. Most of the time I would never cook what they’re cooking in a million years (usually because the recipe calls for about a gajillion sticks of butter and/or huge hunks of meat—something I eat only rarely these days). What am I getting out of, say, watching someone pick through a big bucket of clams, tossing out the open ones, checking them for sand? With two preschoolers in the house, I am about as likely to make clams for dinner as I am beef carpaccio.

Sometimes I do make the recipes though, and there is nothing like the feeling of conquering a new territory of culinary terrain. It is empowering to see something on a show, print out the recipe from my computer and recreate it in my own kitchen. When I make a meal, all of my senses are satisfied. I am fully engaged in the act of creating something, and those moments are hard to come by as a mom. Plus, I really love to eat yummy food. This may sound sort of sad, and by all means you’re allowed to pity me, but I think one of the best parts of my day is when I’m making dinner for my family. I start at 5:00 usually and take an hour or so to chop and sauté my way to some form of inner peace. I know. That sounds a little over-the-top, a little too Eat. Pray. Love. But it’s kind of true. The work of cooking allows my mind to wander, to reflect, even to meditate. I’m not saying this happens every night. Last night I wasn’t feeling well and I popped a Stouffer’s lasagna in the microwave. But, on a good night cooking dinner is my time to make something beautiful out of something as simple as what’s in my refrigerator.

So, I think the cooking shows are appealing because obviously those cooking show people feel the same way about cooking as I do. They get it. I can watch them cook and I can learn, but I can also see myself—my own passions, my own creative spirit—reflected back to me. Someone, I think it was C.S. Lewis said, “I read to know I’m not alone.” I read for that reason too, but I also think I watch to know I’m not alone. Now, if only they had a cable network devoted to the art of raising children. Then I think I would be totally hooked.