Thursday, March 12, 2015

Parenting Declaration: Nine Years Old Is Old Enough To Feed They Own Damn Selves

Every culture seems to have their own emphasis on food.  Food brings families together.  We see restaurants of every ethnicity spring up on Pinterest and Yelp each day.  Networks are clamoring over the next competition episode - pitting one's culinary background against another.

Italians pride themselves on sacred recipes spanning many generations.  French have elevated cooking into an art form.  Say what you will about British cuisine, they have their fair share of kitchen celebrities.  Chinese is no different.

Walk into any Chinese restaurant and we'll show you food before you get in the door.  Food will be swimming in tanks and hanging from hooks.  The menu is several pages in two languages and you should also consider what's posted on the interior walls before ordering.  Dim-Sum isn't necessarily a civilized brunch on a Sunday - it's more like full-contact food ordering.  There's less chaos at a demolition derby.  You see a dish you want, you lock-on to that steam cart and pounce when it comes within range of your table.  Leave some for the next guy?  I don't think so.  Last har-gow is best har-gow.

Clearly, we enjoy staying well-fed.  It physically hurts me when I hear my kid say "I'M HUNGRYYYYY!!!!" - mainly because my mom is hitting me with her shoe, wondering why I am depriving her granddaughter of nourishment.  But I have come upon a revelation.  It's a discovery that has freed me in so many ways.

Nine Years Old Is Old Enough To Feed They Own Damn Selves.

 I'm smiling just typing that again.  I've stopped preparing the daily breakfasts for my children.  They have adapted and are now fixing enough food for breakfast and lunch to survive the school days.  It has allowed me to start a workout routine.  I'm more awake at the office, my knees are stronger, I have more ENERGY, and I have lost fifteen pounds.  My next physical should also verify my bloodwork is healthier - fingers crossed.

I know there are kids who are nine and, for that matter, adults who are forty-nine, that cannot prepare their own foods.   I can understand that there are moms AND dads who just want to keep cooking.  They've been blessed by the Kitchen Gods.  They can make delicious meals - no big.  They see every swallowed forkful as affirmation of love - it's validating in a sense.  It's like a runner's high but with a lot of spatulas.

But I'm determined to end that.  I've gotten enough praise over eight years of breakfasts and lunches (I'll still make dinners - I'm not releasing them into the wild here), and it's time to pass that creme-brulee torch.  THEY are now the recipients of MY praise when they're walking out the door with a balanced lunch in their backpacks.

Ma, stop hitting me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trying to understand

The 2015 Presidential State of the Union Address was last night.  A wonderfully delivered speech by Barack Obama.  Natasha barked through some of it.

This morning, Maria wrote a Mommyish post about Obama's initiative to increase the child tax credit.  She stressed how embarrassing it is that it's taken the government this long to recognize how crucial child-care is for the nation and that, while notable, tripling the credit still is a drop-in-the-bucket for many struggling families.

...and how has this mentality persevered for this long.

So, that got me thinking about my next exercise.  Those of you familiar with partisan politics may view child-care tax benefits as a liberal democratic idea, with conservative republicans sneering at yet another crutch-program that adds to our ballooning national deficit.

That was just a guess on my part - I don't uphold the conservative republican mindset by any stretch of the imagination.  But I wanted to gain some more accuracy in my portrayal of a Republican and last night provided that opportunity.

During the President's speech, there are many breaks and pauses for applause.  Also, not everyone claps for the same things.  Logically, one could assume a person claps only for those things that they support, and conversely, withhold clapping for things they are against.

Also during the President's speech, there are many cameras focused on President Obama as well as the two politicians behind him, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Speaker of the House John Boehner.  With this, I could identify the topics that Speaker Boehner did and did not clap for, giving me an overall picture of what a Republican mindset consists of.

Here are my findings.  These were obtained by viewing an archived copy of the State of the Union Address on YouTube:

Did clap Did not clap
economy growing fastest since 1999 kids graduating more than ever
free from foreign oil more Americans insured than ever
state of union is strong misison in Afghanistan over
generates chances for everyone who makes effort alternative energies
businesses created 11million new jobs CFPB and health coverage
salute military 9/11 generation improved economy, deficit down 2/3
families save approx 750 through lower gas prices "I will veto it"
more kids finish college than ever Everyone plays by the same set of rules
restore link between hard work and growth for every American lowering taxes of middle class families
program by Michelle and Jill help vets and spouses get new jobs we need high quality affordable child-care more than ever
"hire a veteran" It is a national economic priority for ALL of us
we want the workers here in America tax cut up up to 3000 per child per year
Protect American workers with new trade deals paid sick days.  Send me a bill.
right treatment at the right time - medicine woman is paid the same as a man
access to medical information - stoppping disease overtime pay for overtime work
space mission - year in space raise minimum wage.  "Try it"
hunt down terrorists that threaten us and our allies strengthen unions - give workers a voice
Oppose Russian aggression help americans upgrade their skills
Alan Gross - Cuba Prisoner released back to U.S. lower cost of community college to zero
protecting companies from cyberterrorism make it free proven in Tennessee ® and Chicago
protect children's information and prevent cyber attacks US leads in job creation than all other nations combined
stopping the spread of ebola infrastructure - more than just a pipeline
speak out against anti-semitism (one clap) free and open internet
We are still one people scientific breakthroughs - prosthetics
gotcha moments that have nothing to do with people's lives close corporate tax loopholes
teen pregnancies and abortions are low - women's access to healthcare overseas tax dodging
I will work with you to make this country strong small business taxed by bank statement not by the number of accountants they can afford
we are the UNITED States of America middle class getting a leg up in the new economy

coalition to degrade and dismantle ISIL

use of force against ISIL

America leads with persistent, steady resolve


All the Cuba

veto any actions that degrade the controls placed on Iran

Climate change

Pentagon says climate poses a risk to our security

America drives international action regarding climate

prohibit torture.  Constrain use of drones

fight discrimination against LGBT - ultimately makes us safer

closing Guantanamo

Gay marriage

The right to vote is sacred

make voting easier for every single American

reform the criminal justice system so it protects and serves all of us

every life matters -
end statement
N.B.  The video does cut-away from the main camera, so there are instances of where applause or lack thereof is ambiguous.

You are free to draw your own conclusions.