Teaching Table Manners


As a pregnant lady, I have given in to the fact that I can’t have some of my favorite things for a little while. Things like wine, or a splash of Irish cream in my coffee, or excessive amounts of caffeine. One of the things that I really miss and even have crazy cravings for, is raw fish. It isn’t even something I eat more than once a month or less during non-pregnant times, but there’s something about being forbidden from having something that just makes me a little crazy about it.

A few nights ago, I went to Cheesecake Factory because I happened to be nearby (about an hour away from home) and I figured it’d be a fun treat for the family for me to swing through and pick up some treats. I sat at the bar and ordered a (lame, non-alcoholic) drink to sip while I waited. A woman sat down next to me and also ordered something to-go, as well as the tuna tartare appetizer for while she waited.

When I got home, over dinner I said, “There was a woman next to me having the tuna tartare, and it looked amazing. It was all stacked up with fancy sauces drizzled over it. I was so jealous!” And Bear laughed a bit, because he knows about the craving for raw fish that always crops up in my pregnancies.

Dash piped up, “So you guys shared it?”
I smiled, “No, it was someone I didn’t know, buddy.”
But he wasn’t done, and asked “Didn’t she even let you have any? Did you ask nicely to have some?”
I told him it isn’t polite to ask strangers in a restaurant for some of their food, because they ordered their food for themselves, and I could order my own food for myself.
“…So you only took one bite?”
At this point Bear and I were roaring with laughter.

Sometimes I forget that the social niceties I take for granted just don’t occur to a small child naturally. When we’re eating at home, if there’s anything I have on my plate that the boys don’t also have (usually once they’ve finished their own), they know they’re welcome to share it. It’s always under the condition that they ask nicely, because I don’t want their grubby little hands snatching at other people’s plates, but there aren’t many times that a polite, “please” won’t work.

Looks like I have some more table manners to impart.

Losing My Bling


When my husband proposed, he wasn’t rolling in cash. I barely had a thought for the ring not being pricey enough, because I was head over heels for my amazing boyfriend! So our first ring was a white gold band with just the barest little bit of a diamond; the kind with the setting surrounded by metal shaped in a notched way that reflects light to give the optical illusion that it is a continuation of the diamond. I was happy with it. Except that the ring itself was kind of hollow, so that it looked whole from above, but the two super thin edges dug into my finger just enough to wear on me over time, and it started to get really uncomfortable. It trapped moisture every time I washed my hands, which would end up with my skin being chaffed.

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After a while, when we were doing more comfortably, my husband got me an amazing upgrade. The ring was custom made and the band had an antique feel to it, with an emerald cut central stone and intricately carved designs along the edges. There were six accent diamonds along each side of the band, that were the exact size of the center stone in my original ring. Without being ostentatious or at all gaudy, this ring blew my other ring away. And best of all, the band didn’t chafe or dig into my finger!

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Fast forward some time and one day, after a particularly thorough cleaning to prepare our house for a showing, my ring was missing. I didn’t realize it until we were out of the house, but I remembered when I had taken it off; I was standing in the kitchen. I often took it off when cleaning the kitchen and set it on the shelf of a chalkboard near the sink, up where the kids couldn’t reach it. But we were in the process of selling the house, and had stripped away all the clutter, including the chalkboard, my go-to ring spot. I looked around the sink and counters and when I didn’t find it, I searched the garbage disposal (while shuddering because I couldn’t stop thinking of the blades magically starting up a la final destination). I thought of the kids possibly finding this sparkly, irresistible trinket to play with, and started to really worry. I enlisted Bear’s help, and he went so far as to disassemble the sinks all over the house to check in the pipes. The house was spotlessly clean, so it actually made it easier to hunt through everything. We emptied the toy box and every toy bin and first looked under, then fully moved the furniture in every room. Our back deck had only about a foot and a half of clearance and much less at some points, but Bear crawled under it with a flashlight and carefully scoured every space that could be reached. He emerged covered in dirt and spider webs, but with no ring. We pored over the yard with the intensity of the parents in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and when that didn’t turn up any result, we did the same to the neighbor’s yard, in case the boys had thrown it over the fence. We emptied the kitchen cabinets to search behind everything. We got to that desperate point where we were searching in places that made no sense, like pulling everything out of the linen closet in the guest bathroom that hadn’t been used in months. Bear even disassembled the toilets to see if something could be caught in the pipes, despite knowing it was a very slim chance anything would have stayed there beyond a flush or two.

Ozzie had been caught trying to flush some toy cars and silverware and even a spatula. We finally gave in to the idea that the ring had likely been flushed. I went back to my trusty old starter ring, and we sold the house. If it was still there, it was gone forever. Whenever a funny ‘my kid flushed x’ story came up, I had a real whopper to share. Lots of friends commiserated over my boys having helped the ring to disappear, and the consensus was that it was a hard lesson to learn about keeping valuables out of the reach of kids who just don’t fully understand how much trouble that trinket will cause.

When we moved into the new house, we unpacked lots of things but kept lots of others packed up. This isn’t a permanent move. Today I pulled out a robe that I haven’t worn in quite some time, and I slipped my hand into the pocket. It’s been washed since we unpacked it, but not worn. There was a bit of lint and one of those errant strings that seem to grow spontaneously in pockets, the string was tangled in something and I gave it a good tug.

There in my hand was a homemade bead necklace that Dash had created, some string from the robe, and my wedding ring. For a second I stared at it, disbelieving, and even looked over at my left hand to see that I was still wearing my other one. Then I gave a giddy yell and held it up, yelling “Oh my gosh, BEAR LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!” and laughing and jumping like a little kid. To me this was like finding thousands of misplaced dollars just hanging out in my pocket. It was amazing!

Bear realized what I had in hand and far from sharing my glee, he looked like I’d spit at him. His jaw dropped open with intense irritation and in a flat voice he said, “Are. you. kidding. me?”

I was bewildered and asked, “Why aren’t you happy? This is awesome! I love this ring, and it was crazy expensive! It isn’t lost anymore!” His bizarre reaction wasn’t going to spoil my mood, I was practically dancing.

He rolled his head back and gave a huge sigh. To the ceiling he said, “And I just ordered a replacement. It was going to be ready in about 12 weeks.” He hugged me, and then went on, “And the replacement cost even more.”

Ohhhhhhhhh. Oops.

Aside from thwarting my poor husband’s generous gift-giving attempt, I owe the kids an apology. They aren’t actually little jewelry thieves, flushing away my precious possessions. I’ve just been spreading lies. On the bright side, they’re still young enough that they weren’t really offended.

Growing Up Sideways


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My boys are often very kind and sweet, and they butter me up with compliments about how I am the best at cutting apples, or make the yummiest grilled cheese sandwiches, or give the best snuggles. Other times, they are very good at taking me down a peg.

Last night as I was tucking Dash into bed, I kissed him and told him he was getting to be such a big, grown up boy. He said, “You’re growing up a lot, too, Mom!” I laughed and said I was as tall as I was ever going to get. He elaborated, “But you’re getting bigger than Daddy in the sideways way!”

Burn.

At six+ months pregnant, I am indeed getting bigger “in the sideways way.” At least he didn’t use the dreaded F word.