September 28, 2010

BURNT TOAST: A JOB WELL DONE

There are two kinds of people in life: People that burn toast (always), and people that do not (ever). I am a person that always burns toast. And eggs.

But to be clear, this doesn't make me a bad cook. It just means, that in addition to having lousy appliances and pans (because I believe if I had a better pan, said eggs would be "better"), that as my son gets older, I will be the butt of all cooking disasters and jokes. Because of my knack for burning bread, I will be deemed as a mom who can't cook. "Don't ask mom to make it!" Ha, ha, ha.... "Sure, you should try her famous meatloaf.... If you like burnt meat!" Ha, ha, ha... "Mom's doing thanksgiving this year? She'll literally kill the turkey!" Ha, ha, ha...

A little preface to what I'm getting at with this "J-Ko burns everything" legacy that I feel coming on.... Last week, I traveled to Toronto (for about 35 hours) for an exclusive behind the scenes set visit for an upcoming TV movie sponsored by P&G and Walmart. It was a fun little trip- the cast (Brooke White of American Idol and Joe Flannigan of Star Gate) was lovely and our hosts very generous. My favorite part was connecting with other sites and bloggers that I follow like Betty Confidential, 5 Minutes for Mom, Great Dad, Mom Central, and sweet Jyl Nipper of The Post-it Place....

Well, Jyl and I couldn't possibly live more polar opposite lives-- She lives in "Hick Town" as she describes on her blog, with her husband, 2 children and an "assortment of critters," and I live in Los Angeles, with my 3 year old son, a gorgeous shag carpet and paparazzi hounding celebrities just around the corner. Jyl's closest neighbor is 5 miles away. I can hear mine snoring.

Jyl and I spent a lot of time talking about food (which she writes and shares a lot on her site).
"How often do you and your family eat out?" I asked.
"Twice a year."
"WHAT?! How is that even possible? I eat out 4 times a week... or more!!!"

Jyl explained that her nearest grocery store is 45 minutes away, and she makes a routine trip every two weeks. She has 3 deep freezers and everything is strategically purchased, organized and meals made according to plan. There is nothing wasted, leftover, or unused. She makes it, it gets eaten. Her kids like/love what they are served. And if they don't, too bad. (Though, after talking to her and reading her recipes, it's hard to imagine anyone could turn down her cooking). She asked me what my staples were, what me and the kid liked to eat... how often I went to the market ... what I bought... how often I ate leftovers...

When I told her I often have egg whites for breakfast, she asked, "What do you do with the egg yolks."
"Um.... garbage disposal....?"
"We're gonna come up with some recipes and ideas for you and Baby-Ko..." she smiled and said with her deep southern twang.

The point of telling you about my new southern friend, is that after all this cooking talk and me thinking about how I desperately want my son to grow up having favorite homemade meals that only his mom can make, I coincidentally (or ironically... or pathetically, depending on how you see it), practically burnt the house down. Making toast.

You see my toaster has always sucked. This I knew. It doesn't shut off and doesn't truly abide by the shade of toast the knob is purposefully turned to. Its' the kind of toaster that you can't blink an eye with-- move away and your perfectly golden waffle will turn dark brown in an instant. Yesterday, however, I got wrapped up in Baby-Ko dancing to Will I Am on Sesame Street and left. The. Toast. I knew it was there, I just didn't think I had to be there- YET.

When I went in to the kitchen to check on it, I saw smoke pouring out of the toaster. I quickly unplugged it and opened it up. All of a sudden, the toast ignited in flames. "SHIIIIIIIIT!!!!" I screamed. Baby-Ko came running in. "Stay back! Don't come in here!!!" In an instant, and in an order I can't recall, I opened the kitchen windows, tried to blow out the fire, grabbed the fire extinguisher, couldn't get it to work, grabbed a cup of water and threw it on the fire. It went out but the smoke got worse. The smoke detectors blared. I picked up Baby-Ko, grabbed the phone and dialed 911. The operator told me to wait out front until the fire dept. arrived....

Minutes later, I was greeted and "saved" by 5 or 6 handsome firemen who assured me I did the right thing.
Nothing was damaged or destroyed (except for a toaster that should have been killed months ago) and thank god, no one was hurt. Baby-Ko actually seemed to love all the excitement and was rather sad when the (did I mention handsome?) firemen had to leave. My apartment definitely still wreaks like a camp fire and every so often I start to get the "what ifs"... what if Baby-Ko and I kept dancing... What if he was in the kitchen without me... What if I lived in a neighborhood where 911 was slow to respond....

Yesterday, just reaffirmed a couple of things:
1) Accidents happen, but every day we need to count our blessings that it never usually amounts to more than an "accident."
2) Wear cute pajamas. These "accidents" happen in off hours.
3) Kids are pretty resilient. Not everything will scar him and not everything I do or don't do will result in lifelong suffering and therapy. (I hope).
3) I am going to fine tune my cooking chops and amp up and add to my staples. I will no longer be known as the mom who burns everything.... I'll just be the mom that prefers her food... well done....

video

September 15, 2010

THE MAGIC KINGDOM

Last weekend, I took Baby-Ko to Disneyland for his very first time. Knowing full well that the idea of Disneyland really would mean nothing to him until he actually set foot on Main Street and experienced the joy and churros that is the magical kingdom, I had been making a concerted effort to point out the iconic and very magical Disney castle at the beginning of various movies. (Who am I kidding. We really only watch one. Mary Poppins). Of course, I had concerns about how he would handle the big D-- the crowds, the line, the (no) nap... But, seriously, the minute we pulled in to the parking lot and got on the tram, (which btw, I could have totally told him that was Disneyland- he loved it so much), I saw the sparkle in his eye that I had hoped he would have and it was GAME ON!

From the Jungle Cruise to Small World, (which honestly folks, as an adult is slightly depressing and looks more like an impressive version of a 6th grade class project than I remember it as a kid- with the ceiling tiles crooked and the felt of the "dragon" outside of "China" a little askew), the boy LOVED D-Land and I loved it more seeing it through his eyes. Some of the highlights and low lights...

We started the day off with the Breakfast with Characters.

Minnie was definitely the star of the show. I was shocked to see how much Baby-Ko loved the characters. He hugged them tightly and once he realized all of his favorites "lived at Disneyland," he was on a mad search for Buzz Lightyear.... Who only made an appearance during the exact moment Baby-Ko napped in his stroller.

**Side note, I should add that ironically, Buzz had what appeared to be a PR lady or "rep" with him dictating where he will be making appearances through the park. While en route to these various places, he would not stop to say hi to children. I guess he's just that friggin' cool on and off screen... Poor Woody. **

During our breakfast, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother spent several minutes at our table.
Look, I realize that the Fairy Godmother is equivalent to a D-List celeb in the character world, but when this broad comes to your table with a wand and wants to grant you a wish (after a year of divorce and a house foreclosing), you let her sprinkle her fairy dust wherever she damn pleases. My favorite part was when my mom (aka Mimi- to Baby-Ko) tried to make chit chat with her.
"So how long have you been 'the fairy godmother'?"
"Oh," she smiled and blushed, "I've been here for 55 yeaaaaaaaaars," she said with a squeal. "I've been here since the very day they opened." Perhaps, I thought. She does look kind of old. Until she added, "I live here." Aaaaand scene.

Of course, the Fairy Godmother wasn't the only one refusing to break the 4th wall. Later during the day, whilst in the Corn Dog Line, I saw Mary Poppins and Burt go rushing by towards the "cast doors."
"Maaaaaaaaaaaary!!! Wait!!!" She wiggled her head.
"Waaaaaaaaaait!" I said running after her. "We want to meet you!"
"Parade," she whispered and winked.
Trying to explain to Baby-Ko that Mary had to "get back to Jane and Michael Banks" all the while knowing that Mary was probably really on her way to smoking a cigarette and doing something naughty with Burt in the locker room, made me sad.

Then Baby-Ko got his "driver's license" and I saw my life pass before my eyes.
He steered. I pushed the pedal. We both got whiplash. Remind me in 13 years to not be the one to teach him how to drive.

My baby became a BOY on Pirate's of the Caribbean.
I was really on the fence about whether Baby-Ko could handle Pirates so I decided we'd wait until the end of the day to go on it just in case it scared him so much that he wanted nothing else to do with Disneyland. At first he was all excited about being on a boat inside a room/ cave that appeared to be "night night time." But as the sounds got scarier and what looked like dirty pirate legs dangled above, the fear set in.
"Cover your eyes, Baby-Ko. It's okay. It's all pretend," I said squeezing him tightly. As I looked down at him, worried that he will now have nightmares for the next year, I saw what both amazed and saddened me: He was covering his eyes.... with his fingers spread apart. He was scared but wanted to look. He was a real little kid.


This to me felt like a huge rite of passage. It's all tumbles and thrills from this point on.... Sniffle sniffle....

Of course, then he licked the pole and I felt better.
Yes, on the merry go round, our very last ride of the day (which we may have accidentally snuck on to twice. Shh.), my beautiful and darling big boy took a big ol' lick of the pole--- The dirty- disgusting-public bathroom touching- turkey leg eating-corn dog licking-diaper changing-foreign disease-ridden pole. BLECH. I almost died.
"BABY-KO!!! Get your mouth off of there!"
"I liiiiiicked it, mommy!"
"I know. Please don't do that again."
He giggled, said okay, and proceeded to rest his cheeks against it anyway.
I wish I could say he had a bath that evening... but alas, it was a long day....

Today my boy turns 3. It's hard to believe it. That just 3 years ago I had no idea what being a mom would be like.... I guess that's the excitement and mystery of motherhood though.... Living in a castle that's still full of surprises no matter how old you are and no matter how familiar you are with the territory.... Happy birthday, Baby-Ko. You truly make my life magical.




September 1, 2010

MY DREAM

For the past few weeks, Baby-Ko has woken up saying "Mommy, I'm up from my dream! Come get me!" As I pick him up out of his crib (yes, he's turning 3. No, he's not in a big boy bed yet), I do my best to cheerily ask him about said dream.
Me: "What did you dream about?"
Baby-Ko: "The jungle!"
Me: "The jungle?!"
Baby-Ko: "Yaaaaaaaaaah, the jungle. And, and, and, the ocean!"

Now before you marvel at how amazingly imaginative my young boy is, I must confess: He did not come to these brilliant visions and landscapes on his own. I sort of fed them to him... At some point, during a typical nightly sleep battle, I encouraged him to close his eyes and think of all these lovely places... I promised him, that in the morning, "when the moon goes down, and the sun comes up," we would talk about our dreams... And I did. In the morning, I asked him about his dream. He just said "it was good," then asked me what I dreamt about.... Well, one day I dreamt about a lake, the next day it was an ocean, another it was a farm, and so on...

Fast forward to this morning.... He dreamt about a monkey biting him and a lion named Fred. He caught on quickly.

The point to me sharing this is that it's what happens AFTER our little dream sequence, if you will, that will hopefully matter the most in his life and in mine. Every morning, after he gets out of bed, he comes in to mine, I offer him a "snackie," he chooses a show to watch (well, it's not like he chooses any show. It's not like he's like, "oh mom, you recorded, Weeds. Let's watch"), and I go back to sleep as long as humanly possible....

I gently try to remind Baby-Ko that there's an entire bed, and he should move over...

But he has made up his mind... he's staying put....

Sometimes he literally puts his head on top of mine. Skull to skull doesn't feel great and, to be honest, is kind of annoying...

But I know one day he won't want to do this- he won't want to cuddle and he certainly won't want to talk about wild monkeys and talking lions.... So for now, I'll deal with the lack of space and the lack of sleep. If anything, it makes for some truly wild dreams of my own....