This has been a busy few weeks at our house. At the beginning of this week I took a day off to visit my daughter, about an hour’s drive from here. Monday through Friday she runs a daycare. As the children in her care progress in age they march off to the various elementary schools in the area and are replaced by a new crop of diaper wearers. Just as I learn their names and various personalities, our time together is done and I wave goodbye. At the moment she is coping with four little ones in diapers plus two rambunctious toddlers. For me this would be about six too many. I adore children, before comments arrive. I have raised two and helped raise several stepchildren. Between Rick and I we have nine grandchildren and I love the lot. However, at this juncture in my life having the energy to chase around six youngsters is far beyond my bandwidth.
The diapers alone would have me running for the exit. Even with my own children diaper changing required a tightly screwed vise pinching my nostrils to get me by with stomach contents in tact. Once, my daughter removed her diaper during a nap. She then used the contents to paint the wall behind her crib. Surveying the damage, I seriously considered calling a hazmat crew to repair the damage, or possibly moving. Ewwww. Although I salute our maker or makers (whatever your beliefs) and the incredible efficiency of our body with regard to recycling our food, the group in charge of aromas might have done a nicer job. I’m just sayin.
It’s a whole different ball game when it comes to dealing with infants these days. My generation propped a couple of pillows on the bed and nap time was handled. Now, a manual is required, OSHA is involved, and at least one government agency is called in to put a child to sleep. Feeding, I’m told, doesn’t occur until the advent of their first birthday. No wonder babies seem crankier. They’re probably hungry. I caught the nine month old girl sitting in the bouncer checking out my lunch on more than one occasion.
Certainly while you’re pregnant a glass of wine is out of the question. I find it amazing any of us born in earlier decades survived at all. Women in the 40’s and 50’s drank and smoked while pregnant. Who knew? I didn’t do either during my gestation period though the dangers were being identified by the time mine came along. I didn’t abstain because I exercised amazing restraint, but because I was nineteen and twenty when expecting and as it happened didn’t drink or smoke at that time in my life. Rest assured, I made up for this oversight in later years though never when pregnant.
The day care at my daughter’s house runs seamlessly. When the there is unrest in the ranks a time out occurs. She tells me this form of punishment, an addition to child raising techniques added to the book after I’d apparently already ruined my children, is now being reexamined. Time outs, according to some child experts, can create a feeling of isolation in children, and bring up abandonment issues. Really? When mine were little we sent them to their rooms. Undoubtedly this was totally mind altering. Also, someone better alert Supernanny because she wears out the time out chair during episodes of her show.
Then what is the discipline solution? Perhaps we should just hand our children the keys to the house on the day they are born and get a hotel room until they’re of age? There was a case in the news recently of a teen from wealthy Texas family provided such a luxury. Before he was of age he was given a house, a car, provided all the amenities a wealthy family can bestow and set loose on society. Shockingly, (I know), this led to the kid getting involved in drugs, alcohol, and whatever else he could get his pubescent hands on resulting in an accident taking four innocent lives around Fort Worth. His defense for driving under the influence was “affluenza”. The term is loosely based on having too much money, too little supervision or tutelage, basically leaving you not responsible for whatever reckless and unconscionable acts you choose to commit while under its influence. Interesting. I’m suffering from pnumoneya. Not a rare disease by any means in the present economy. I don’t believe there’s a cure, other than a transfusion of funds directly into the patients savings account. I believe if I tried to use this as a line of defense for robbing a bank I would still be found wearing orange coveralls. Sigh.
Animals in the wild don’t have books to read or videos to watch. Babies are born, protected, taught to survive, and sent out into the world. Perhaps we should watch the gorillas. They take a communal parenting approach with many adults watching over the children in the group. There is a lot of physical contact. Gorilla mom’s are rarely seen texting or taking a selfie. Babies cling to their mother’s backs and chests and hang off them as they walk along. Grooming is also a big part of their bonding rituals. Most of us don’t have ticks or fleas to be tended to (I can’t speak for everyone), but we brush our children’s hair and bathe them much in the same way they do. When their kids misbehave a cuff might ensue or a gentle whack as a reminder of whose boss.
I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong. In my child rearing days Dr. Spock was in full bloom. By the time they realized what a disaster that was his self-indulgent brood had already been released on an unsuspecting world.
As each generation progresses old ways of parenting are sluffed off and new ones adopted. In the end lots of love with a balance of structure and guidance would seem to continue to make sense.
Thoughts for today.
Eggplant is always a bit time consuming, but in the end so well worth it. This is delicious, and certainly lends itself to whatever your favorite pasta might be.
Hope your Halloween is a real howl. Sorry. Anyhow, I’m off for a few days to the Bay Area. Rick and Boo, the Queen of Cats, will be manning the candy.
Eggplant and Rigatoni
2 small eggplants, sliced in 1/4″ slices
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 15 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb. cooked rigatoni
1 Tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 mins. Add wine and cook for 2 mins. Add remaining ingredients through tomatoes. Bring to boil. Lower heat and cover. Cook over low heat for 1 hr. stirring once or twice.
Slice eggplant and put in large deep dish (discard ends). Salt and cover with water. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour. Rinse well.
Line two cookie sheets with foil and spray well with cooking spray. Place eggplant in single layer on both sheets and brush with oil. Bake for 15 mins. or until tender and browned. Cut in quarters.
Add eggplant to skillet after it has been simmering for 1 hr. Cook an additional 30 mins.
Cook rigatoni according to package directions. Toss with 1 Tbsp. butter. Spoon sauce over top and serve with Parmesan cheese.