Friday, March 21, 2014

Born Yesterday

Today is Louisa's third birthday. It's funny, having a three-year-old. Literally, funny.

The other day, as I was saying goodnight to the big girls, we recalled a few hysterical things that Louisa had said. For instance, that day watching me typing on the computer, she asked me in her absurdly cute three-year-old voice, "When I grow up, will you teach me how to work?"; and at bedtime, she told me a story about her Wu-wu (favorite stuffed puppy) eating candy and chocolate in the playground, and then she cackled and said "that's so silly!" Bella, Ruby and I were laughing out loud discussing their sister's one-liners. Bella said, "the amazing thing is that she said all of those things today!"

Loulou's hilariousness means that we laugh whenever she talks, which is always (she's a chatterbox, and full of questions), and she doesn't like that at all. She often cries when we laugh at something funny that she said. She looks really offended and says, "No laughing! I don't like laughing," which of course cracks us up. 

Josh recently said, "You know she won't talk like that for much longer." 

"I know," I replied.

It's one of those things about watching kids grow up: marking time, becoming aware of the fact that nothing ever stands still. I can look at Louisa and imagine her at Bella's age. I couldn't do that with Bella, but I can do it now. I know how fast it will go. And part of me looks forward to what's coming. To having a beer with my daughters, seeing real movies with them, traveling with them. What seems like the distant future will arrive before I know it.

One of Louisa's signatures is that she has a simplified view of time. Everything that happened in the past happened "yesterday" and everything that will happen in the future will be "tomorrow". Hence, the moment at a family dinner when she announced, to the hilarity of all: "I was born . . . yesterday."

Louisa's view of time is simplified, but in some ways, more accurate than not. The yesterdays quickly meld together, and the tomorrows creep up fast. It feels like yesterday that I held a newborn in my arms, that I carried her everywhere in the Moby wrap, that she was nursing and physically adhered to me for much of the day. And it feels like tomorrow she'll be going to kindergarden and sleep-away camp and preparing for her bat mitzvah.

Funny, that.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hamantashen Helpers

Making hamantashen is exactly the wrong kind of baking for me. Anything involving cookie cutters and having to make things all look exactly the same: uh uh. I'm more of a bar cookies / mandelbroit kind of baker, if I'm baking at all.

But nonetheless every year, I do make one solitary attempt. It's really an obligation to eat these cookies on Purim, and store bought hamantashen taste, well, store bought. I usually just pick a random recipe from a cookbook or the internet or the ether and give it a go. Some attempts have failed tremendously. Once I could not roll out the dough for the life of me. It just wouldn't stick together. Another year every single hamanatash opened up while baking: they were smushed circles, not triangular at all.

Making hamantashen is more like crafting than cooking. And I'm no craft-er.

Luckily, I have kids. Ruby grabbed the recipe (which I found on Facebook, and printed out -- apparently my FB universe is obsessed with crafty cookies this time of year, as there was a new recipe posted almost daily.) She mixed the batter, rolled out the dough (a skill acquired at ceramics class, she informed me), and started passing me circles which together we filled and squeezed into shape. I was so free-handed during this process that I was actually able to record the events! (As Ruby was rolling her eyes and saying, "Are you going to put this on your blog?")

In under 30 minutes (on a school night!), we were putting the first batch into the oven. Please, please don't open while baking, I begged the Purim confections. Hey, sometimes begging works. 

Louisa was not happy about having to wait for the hamantashen to bake. She wanted them now!

My prayers (and Louisa's) were answered. There were so few "ugly" hamantashen, that it was hard to decide which ones to allow the kids to eat (because of course we had to save the nicest looking ones to bring to the friends who had invited us for Shabbat).

Feast your eyes on that. Okay, the shiksa baker would not be impressed, I know. But all I can say is, there are hardly any left here and it's not even Purim yet. Success.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Springtime is For Writers

Yesterday, March made me feel like a new person, like anything was possible, even blogging again. It was sunny and reached 60 degrees in New York yesterday, and best of all, it was light out when I went to pick up Ruby and her friend from their after school class across town. The light and the warmth. How do we live without them all winter?

The short reason why I've not posted anything here since February is that I've been busy. (I mean, who hasn't?) I have limited writing time each day and I've been working on fiction projects: things that take more time than dashing off a blog post. These types of projects take a long time, requiring planning, thinking, editing, writing, more writing, and then changing.

Writing a blog post is to writing a novel (or a play, or even a good short story) like fixing a piece of toast is to making family dinners for a year.



I've never done anything that takes as much self-drive as working on long projects that may or may not ever be seen by anyone but my writing buddies. And I have nothing but admiration for people who write and produce all the time.

One of my writing partners just dashed off a draft of a novel since last summer. A really fun, entertaining, complete novel. My admiration for her is unbounded. Even if that novel never makes it to Amazon (which I hope and expect it will), she seriously rocks.

For me, it's more like fits and starts. I have handfuls of half-finished projects spinning around, and when the time is right I come back to something and can't put it away for a while. I wish I was better at finishing things.

It's been a surprise to me to see that my daughter has caught the writing bug. She takes a creative writing class that she loves, and can be found at odd moments typing away. The trouble now is that she wants to know what I'm writing, always. And I'm not about to show her. Yes, I know, terribly unfair. I find myself shielding my screen from her prying eyes. Maybe one day, long into the future...

Sending you writers, scribbling away somewhere because you must, sweet spring vibes.