There are sunflowers in a glass vase on the piano in the living room, and hot pink carnations on my desk in the bedroom. I have some white with purple carnations decorating the dining room table.
I’ve been cooking, chopping, peeling and baking like crazy the past few weeks.
Oh, and reading. On genetically modified foods, agave nectar, kale and soy.
And then back to cooking. I made pasta topped with alfredo sauce with TVP, despite various websites’ categorization of soy as a demon bean. I soaked red dal overnight and then cooked them in curry, cilantro, peppers and tomatoes. I dumped them on top of brown rice. My friend Rose, over for a visit, scrunched up her cute little nose and looked at the pots of food quizzically.
I made a smoothie with kale, banana and strawberry for breakfast one day, and then spread guacamole on whole wheat toast for a veggie sandwich for lunch. K has been repeatedly calling me a hippy, but has been happily eating every dish.
And while Zoe’s appetite has been fine, her attitude has been atrocious. She’s alternately clingy and fiercly independent.
She has taken to yelling at me in anger when I don’t understand her quickly enough. It sounds something like this:
“MAMAMAMAMA! DADA? DADUM! MAMEH MEH MEH MEH! Um… SO-EE (this is her saying her own name)! ME ME ME ME ME! AH! AH! AUGH!”
She flails her arms in a toddler rage while screaming this, of course. I laughed once (because, as bratty as this behavior is, it’s sometimes downright hilarious to see this little person raging because she can’t crack the password I put on the PC and she wanted to play), and she took to the floor with flailing limbs and a screech. Such a drama queen, much like her Aunt Jos was at this age (are tantrums genetic?).
Her new favorite behavior is literally destroying the entire apartment. Pulling books off shelves, taking her blocks and dumping them into the bathtub, crunching her Cheerios gleefully into the carpet. I think a good third to half of all my waking hours are spent cleaning up after her.
You can then imagine how my time sequestered (oh boy, I’m still sick of that word, too, but it fits) in the kitchen translates to a tore-up apartment. A few minutes boiling the sweet potatoes or baking that tilapia filet up there results in this:
Yup, I’m greeted by all nine seasons of “Seinfeld” DVDs spread out across the living room floor. Kramer and crew smile up at me while Stringer Bell of “The Wire” stares out his SUV window. And Zoe (you can see the edge of her flower dress on the left) just looks at me like, “What?”. I took a moment to snap that pic to text to K (Look what YOUR daughter did!), and then ranted something like:
“ARGH! ZOE! AUGH! &%$^! I JUST PICKED THOSE THINGS UP! YOU DON’T WANT TO PLAY WITH TOYS JUST ELECTRONICS! OHEMGEE IMSOSICKOFTHIS! %$#&*^$%^&*!!!”
That was the second time she had gotten into those DVDs that afternoon. Later that night, sipping some green tea, I sat thinking over how I was struggling to make our home clean and inviting, and our meals healthy and delicious. Yet, Zoe was succeeding at smearing that food (with aplomb!) all over any clean surface. And I was losing it. I was thinking of this as I realized my priorities needed some readjusting. The focus of my Lenten journey was supposed to be abstaining from certain foods, and prayerful meditation in order to grow closer to God. Somehow, I had drifted to playing vegetarian Martha Stewart while allowing my prayers to become pleas of mercy over Zoe (“Lord, help me! I’m about to send her on up to you!). What K’s inquisitive child (yeah, she’s still on him) needed was not flowers, or meals that took eight hours to prepare. She was acting out and demanding my attention.
Next week is Holy Week, which means Lent is nearly over. Seems my biggest lesson learned thus far is to step away from being Martha, and be more Mary.