try-it Tuesdays.

I’ll tell you, nothing quite starts a day off like a kid puking the night before. Because it is too early the next morning when you bleach the toilet and sink to rid it of the puke germs.
And then, only then, do you drink your coffee before returning to the bathroom. Accordingly, the day should resume successful–unless you are me and your fancy electric toothbrush is identical to forementioned puker’s toothbrush.
If you are unlucky and/or absentminded, you will not notice said puker has left his toothbrush next to your own on the bathroom sink, thoughtfully charging it on your identical charger, and you might brush your teeth with the puker’s own toothbrush.

Then you wonder for the next hour or so if you’re feeling bad or if you just think you might be feeling bad–or if you’ve overthought everything and are just fine.

I’m divvying up my days into chunks of garden prep, teaching certificate study-prep, and the usual, keep-pumping-out-food-and-clean-laundry cycle. I have one test down and one to go.
It is the multiple-choice questions that I over-think. Grownups who make paychecks should be exempt from silly tests in lieu of practicum. Or even if they don’t make paychecks–a mom who is at home shouldn’t have to waiver between a)wipes, b)diaper, c)rash cream, and d)powder, but it might cause her to second-guess herself if she’s offered all four and can only choose one as less than necessary.
Some days you need the Desitin.
Some babies aren’t roll-y enough to require powder.
In a car on a road trip I’ve been caught wipe-less and diaper-less and found a way to MacGyver my way to success (though the details escape me, much like I hope the toothbrush incident does, eventually).

The teaching certificate is to come in handy should our local public school need me to fill a more permanent, qualified position. It hasn’t happened yet, but a few rules have changed in our state regarding teaching, so I’m trying to stay ahead of the game. I also keep at the back of my mind this morbid (or practical) idea that should something bad ever happen to our main breadwinner (not me), I will have a backup plan.
I’ve never actually had a backup plan career before, but it seems like the responsible thing to do.

This morning I put together a job resume, the first one I’ve done in 15 years, one that seems woefully short, since stay-at-home mothers don’t get to list their work as professional.
No one wants to hear it–people who pay money don’t want to hear about your nightly forays into the bathroom to assist puking children. It’s not professional. This is why many American stay-at-homers are made to feel the ridiculous pressure to somehow keep a foot in the professional world while nursing babies in the middle of the night. This is why it takes Jesus himself to assure us that yielding our “relevance” in the world for the sake of a child is an okay–nay, holy–thing to do.

He chooses the weak things to shame the wise, so my feeble resume is bound to impress Him, if no one else in this world.

Our fun hometown magazine where I wrote an article on none other than luxury handbags.

I did label the period of time as a stay-at-home mom as a “freelance writer”–because if anything, I wrote. (One legit article finally published last week, and right when I was starting to feel proud I noticed a typo in the first sentence. So that really tempers it.)

The stuff I really love writing, though, is pretty pedantic and quite silly. I came across notes I’d written for a Tuesday series called Try it Tuesday and kept the notes because they amuse me but the audience for such blather is my mother and my mother alone.

Oh, so you say you want to hear more about Try it Tuesdays? Well, ok.
The idea is loosely based on the subject, how to get your kids to eat things. This was of special interest to me since my babies were wiry little licorice whips who’d squirm right out of their highchairs. They never, never ate. They never, never slept. So I’d have to trick them into making food interesting and filling, something they would slow down and swallow.
I noticed my first child would sit and eat better if I warmed up a can of alphabet soup–because he was interested in letters and sorting through the veggies. He would eat Cheerios, but not with his fingers. He’d only pick them up if he could skewer them with a fork.
But then I had a baby who didn’t like anything mixed together. And then I had one who just refused all foods altogether.

So I developed very intentional games to trick my skinny babies into eating real food, and I thought I’d post a picky-eaters/no-eaters advice column on Tuesdays. As an example, one post might be titled, the Art of DIP. I’d give them a handful of tiny pretzel sticks and dollops of caloric “dip” on their tray–peanut butter, yogurt, tuna and mayo, mashed potatoes, etc.
Once they mastered the “dip”, I’d add little piles of things to adhere to the dip–cereal bits, chopped fruit, wheat germ, sunflower seeds.

The babies grew and got wise, and I had to modify my sneaky ways. I roasted every vegetable in fry-shape to convince them french fries came in different colors, that was all. Ramen noodle soup was much too hot on its own, so I added frozen peas to the bowl not because I want to, but because it’s the only thing that’ll cool it down to the right temperature.
When they asked for a butter sandwich and, after a bite, discovered a stray piece of deli meat inside, I’d wonder aloud, oh no! how in the world did that get on there? What’s it taste like? Should we write it down as a new recipe?

A heck of a lot of brainstorming and effort went into this pursuit, followed by my stay-up-late antics to record such experiments as a potential writing project. You can see how it’s hard to articulate in resume-form what a stay-at-home mom did for twelve years. She lies to her kids and succeeds in getting them to eat good food.

Maybe I should revise the resume and call myself a self-employed behavioral scientist. I lied to them about broccoli and other vegetables and they served for years as my independent variable in my mothering experiment.

Maybe they’re paying me back now with toothbrush experiments of their own.

A thriving product of peas in ramen.

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