Pajama Meltdown

Sometimes children need super firm discipline. Sometimes they need a good dousing of love. And sometimes they need both.

Case in point: last night our oldest son lost his temper about something; I don’t even remember what. In the process he lost the after-dinner treat, and tried his absolute hardest to argue his way back to it. In this we had to be firm. Even in the face of his subsequent meltdown. Not that long after, once play-time with Daddy was done, it was time to get ready for bed.

Cue the second meltdown.

Tears poured down his little face, and his sobs echoed through the living room. He was collapsed in the middle of the living rug, a tragic huddled figure, and every time we told him to go to his room to put on his pajamas he just bawled out “NO!” .

Roman is a dramatic, but not to this extent. Certainly not about bedtimes.

Our patience was thin right now. But instead of getting angry we just watched him for a minute, and then Sackett Man took Rose for me, and I picked Roman up. His arms went around my neck, and his legs around my waist, like a little monkey. I carried him slowly out of the room and down the hall, holding him close and stroking his hair as he cried. Very quietly, I sang “You’ll be in My Heart” (the lullaby from Tarzan; it’s his favorite). As I did, rubbing his hair and rocking as I walked, he grew quieter and quieter, till he was silent and just holding me tight, his head relaxed on my shoulder. I kissed his ear, and told him how much I loved him, and how proud I was of him. I said he was obviously very, very tired, and the early bedtime was not a punishment… it was for his own good. And we were going to get ready for bed now.

He protested a little, but not much. He shyly asked if I would hold him again before bed, and I said yes. So he hurried in the bathroom, changed into pajamas, and then came out, and I held him and sang his lullaby again.

He snuggled down into his bed with his stuffed monkey, and went to sleep with a big smile on his face.

No fuss.

His misbehavior at supper? That was just plain naughtiness. His sudden meltdown at the nightly announcement “Time to get ready for bed!”? A five-year old’s exhaustion hitting like a ton of bricks. He was being naughty, and I gently chastised him for that (“You get ready for bed every night. This is nothing new. You shouldn’t lose your temper like that just because you want to stay up.”) but I mostly just took care of him, and that took care of the problem.

Today he was a perky, energetic boy who played with his brother, his sister, his new $8 chess set, and happily watched “Go, Diego, Go!” and “Sleeping Beauty”.

He also talked my ears off. But that’s par for the course. I’ve learned to keep them on strings so that when one falls off I don’t lose it; I just reattach it.

It’s easier than trying to slow the the chatter.

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

How does time get away from us? Imagine my surprise (and guilt) when I connected here to discover that the last time I had posted was February 12th, and here it is March 26th.

Shame on me.

A lot has been keeping me busy. We had the Memorial for Sackett Man’s grandmother. Another grandparent had to go to the hospital, as did another, and two of them moved into a nursing home. I’m doing preschool at home with Roman, James outgrew his clothes and I had to go burrowing into boxes in the basement to find any that did fit, and Rose is crawling, walking along furniture, and getting into everything. I’ve written 13 chapters in a ff story, and have been arranging babysitting services for our kids during a business trip Sackett Man and I are taking in April.

But I’m still ashamed. So forgive me.

On the other hand, I’ve had lots of wonderful recipes I’ve been making, and let’s just say that life with children 5 and under is a huge adventure. And we’ve gotten more snow. Again. And again.

I’ve consoled myself by baking desserts for the family and pretending that Christmas is coming twice this year.

Spring is here at last! Can't you tell?

Spring is here at last! Can’t you tell?

Mom and I are also going through the seeds we’ve got waiting in a bag in the fridge, and planning our two big gardens. We’re going to create some mounds in the snow for the squash, watermelon, and potatoes, and we’re going to plow some nice long rows and plant the seeds in the snow. Then the summer thaw come and we’ll sigh as we watch our frozen seeds get washed away in the snow melt. By midsummer we won’t dare mow because there will be little tiny plants sprouting up everywhere in our yard EXCEPT in the nicely plowed garden, and Mom and I will be wandering around with our heads to the ground trying to identify what’s growing and if it’s edible, and hoping that the whats-its and whatchamacallits ‘bear fruit’ before the Autumn snows.

Okay, not really. By May (I hope) there will be bare ground to plant in, and God willing we’ll have a fantastic harvest of squash, melon, potatoes, kale, swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, peppers, green beans, beets, and herbs. Among other things. But right now I feel like Mrs. Beaver stuck forever in a never-ending winter.

On the Plus Side, the cliffs and mountains of snow lining our driveway are glorious in size, and during the few days it’s warm enough our two boys and Sackett Man enjoy going out and digging tunnels through the packed giants. By the time Spring is actually here, we’ll have the BEST ‘underground’ tunnel system.

I, in the meantime, have been indulging in cooking and baking. I made a cake, for no reason at all, and took Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.00.31 AMan entire afternoon on it. Yep. I baked, I cooled, I stacked, I frosted, I decorated. It was pretty, and it was delicious. Raspberry Silver cake with a lemon butter frosting. Mmmm… I love making cakes. I never have the time I would like to do all of the ones I want to do, but then again I guess that’s a good thing… Sackett Man and I have no desire to match our sons’ growth spurts; two inches every two weeks would put us in dire straits!

The ‘flowers’ are supposed to be purple. I’m not sure what happened in the photographic translation… I also decided I need more practice at making flowers. Professional I am not. But the family sure enjoyed it. It was gone in two days.

I also made molasses cookies. These are some of my favorite cookies, but then I’m a big fan of molasses. Rich, dark, deep tones tantalizing the tastebuds… Try a tablespoon in a cup of milk. Yum!

Anyway, I creamed the butter and the sugar and the egg. Then I added the molasses and creamed some more. (Thank you Mom and Great Grandma for teaching me how to cream with a wooden spoon!)

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.04.48 AMAnd this is how I do dry ingredients. I like to sift it all through my mesh sieve. It takes the lumps out of everything (like the baking soda) so that it is all fine and fluffy and partially mixes everything for you. Then you can finish mixing by hand.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.05.00 AMAfter combining the dry and wet, I ended up with a VERY thick batter. Time to taste test. Yes? No? Not sure? Taste it again. And again. I think three times is the required number.

Mmm!

Roll by the Tablespoons in sugar and line them on your Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.05.09 AMpan. Little brown, sparkly balls of goodness just waiting to be eaten! Just make sure you bake them first. That’s a very important step.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.05.29 AMEight minutes later you will have beautiful brown, sparkly balls of slightly crispy, beautifully soft goodness just waiting to be eaten! And it’s okay, because now they’ve been baked. There’s nothing to stop you now. There was certainly nothing to stop me.

Many of them did make it into my apple cookie jar, I am proud to announce. My self control kicked in soon enough!

This is a family recipe. It’s been made many, many, many times.

~ Molasses Cookies ~ Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.05.38 AM

  • ³/8 C. Shortening
  • ³/8 C. Butter
  • 1 C. packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ C. Molasses
  • 2 ¾ C. Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground Ginger

Cream the Shortening, Butter, Sugar, and Egg. Add the Molasses.
Stir in the dry ingredients.
Scoop by the Tablespoon and form into balls and roll in white sugar. Place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350º F for 8=10 minutes.

Enjoy!