Jeff, 'H' and I went to 'A's final dance class to watch her dance. It wasn't a formal recital, it was more of a chance for the parents to see what the children are doing in class. 'A' is a sweet girl. She picks out her outfits for each class and will only wear what she wants to wear. So, there she was, dressed in her pink leotard and her pink ballet shoes, following along with the dances. Before class started, she told us she was happy to be at dance class but not happy that people would be watching her dance. During the class, she had a moment that we weren't expecting, but at the same time, we weren't the least bit surprised that it happened. She melted down. At first, I whispered to Jeff that she looked really tired. Then he said that she looked starstruck. Before we knew it, she was running to my arms with tears streaming down her face. She sat on my lap for a bit and watched the other girls dance, and then decided to rejoin the group. After that point, she was fine.
When the class ended we gave her a single rose with a sprig of baby's breath and talked about feeling nervous and about how proud we were that she decided to go back on the stage and have fun dancing. She's looking forward to another 6 week session of dance, complete with another final class where the parents will come to watch. I'll tell you, if I had been in her shoes, I wouldn't have gotten out of my mother's lap and rejoin the group, and I wouldn't have wanted to sign up for another round of classes. I'm so proud of her!
This situation has brought up a topic of discussion for Jeff and me, something that comes up again and again. Parenting styles. How do we parent and help our children navigate these life situations in a way that works for both them and us? How much of the conventional wisdom do we listen to and how much of our inner voice do we listen to? What happens when they are in conflict? What about the times when things happen so fast, when we haven't had a chance to think things through, when we have to react quickly to reassure our children that they're OK, and at the same time help them find their way?
I guess this is where all of the other discussions that Jeff and I have come in handy. We talk (and I think) a lot about how to parent our girls. Most of all, I want them to feel comfortable with who they are. That's easy to say, but how do you get there? I keep that idea of wanting them to accept and be comfortable with themselves in my mind all the time. I try to honor it before I react, before I speak, before I ask them questions, as I answer questions, while I comfort them, and while I am encouraging them to try something new. A lot of times my actions and words will come from that place, and things will flow so well, both between us and within ourselves. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes my own childhood experiences cloud it up, or my mood that moment overrides it. Perhaps my own insecurities that I've cultivated over the years will make that place of love and acceptance just disappear. But it comes back pretty quickly, and I always make an effort to start things over when I'm feeling in tune again.
I think about these things as I watch her cry and run to me in the middle of a performance. And as I watch her experiment with cutting her tights with scissors and then strongly regret doing it when she finds out she can't wear them again. She did that tonight and was so upset that she covered her ears and yelled at me when I tried to talk with her about it. I made some space between us and found that place of love and acceptance, recognized that she is feeling so awful about it that even my neutral words sounded vicious, and decided to just sit and hug her in silence. That healed us.
The rest of these photos are from our trip to the winter farmer's market on Saturday. It's almost March, and pickings are getting slimmer, but we still have a lot of variety. We're still convinced that we can eat local produce all year long and love it.
We had Squasharoni for dinner tonight. My sister introduced us to it and Jeff and I love it. The girls have enjoyed it in the past but for whatever reason decided that they didn't like it tonight. Mmmmmm, it is yummy!
A few notes - I don't bake it, I think it dries out too much that way. I leave out the breadcrumbs and use toasted, crushed ramen noodles instead. Tonight I added 1/4 cup of silken tofu I had on hand and doubled the miso. I blend my squash/tahini/miso mixture in the food processor so it gets nice and smooth and bright orange, just like mac 'n cheese.
12 oz dried elbow macaroni pasta
2-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 cups sliced onions
5 cups peeled cubed butternut or buttercup squash (approximately 1 large squash)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt, divided
1/3 cup tahini
1 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tsp tamari
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
3/4 cup dried whole-grain bread crumbs
In a large saucepan, cook the pasta in boiling water until tender but still firm. Drain, rinse, and set aside. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of the oil and saute the onions for 3 - 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, miso, vinegar, tamari, and remaining salt. Add the tahini mixture to the squash and mix together until creamy. Add the reserved pasta, remaining oil, the walnuts, parsley, and oregano. Top with the bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.