Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Little baby duckling

Jasper made me proud the other day at school when he sat through the entire puppet show without dashing out of my lap once. But I was even prouder the week before when he finally proved that he is indeed my son (and not just a clone of Lane). One of the teachers had created an adorable little duck pond with blue silk, stones, a few logs, and some hand-knit ducklings with their mama. Jasper immediately pounced upon the ducklings and set them into some pans on the nearby stove to make stew. Yep, my son.

Ever since then I've been in the mood for duck. Every once in a while I'll splurge, and this bird wasn't even that expensive, since it was from the Coop. I roasted it the Joy of Cooking way more or less: they recommend piercing the skin of the breast several times and roasting breast-side down in a cool oven (275) for three hours, then turning over and roasting 30 minutes more at 375 to crisp the skin. I also made Charlotte's balsamic asparagus, which was wonderful. I tossed my asparagus in duck fat instead of olive oil. Ah, duck fat. It's like liquid gold.

Shortly after prepping the duck and putting it in the oven I made the mistake of telling Jasper that he's delicious. We spent the next half hour playing this sick game in which we pretended to roast each other in the oven. I just want you do know this was his idea.

I was talking with some childless friends a few weeks back about how opinionated everyone can be on childraising, parents and non-parents alike. And one of my friends said, "but of course, we've all been kids." I'm amazed at how defensive I can get at the slightest hint of criticism, even indirect. I have to keep telling myself to just disregard other peoples' criticism and to restrain my own judgment of other parents' styles.

It helps to keep a sense of humor. I was reading an article in Cookie Magazine about a mother who is considering having a second child. She and her husband leave their child home with a sitter to attend an event and meet a beautiful, older, former dancer who tells them that "'the secret to a carefree life is one child... One is an accessory. Two is a lifestyle. Hahahaha!'" Lane and I cackled wickedly. "Exactly! That's why we're only having one! Hahahaha" Apparently the writer's husband did not appreciate the dancer's European sense of irony: "'That lady last night,' Ted says, 'I wouldn't want her for a mom.'"

But I lost my sense of humor, too, when I came across a Vogue spread that actually did feature a baby as an accessory (perhaps as a contrast to the patent leather handbags and shoes?) in every photo. And I was even less amused when a Times writer mentioned a cynic who refers to attachment parenting as "the child as Vuitton bag." Right, a Vuitton bag that shits and cries constantly for the first four months. Attachment parenting really is as easy as carrying around a logo-festooned handbag! Yeah, I surrendered because that's what felt right to me. It's not for everyone, I know, but can we stop making fun of it?

So you were able to wean your baby at six months. So your kid didn't demand to be held 24-hours a day. So ferberizing your baby didn't turn her into a monster. So you don't really even like babies, you just like the way their rosy flesh glows against a patent leather Louis Vuitton bag. So you're raising children to eat them. Hey, I'm not trying to make you feel guilty. You do your thing; I'll do mine.

I still remember going to a little writer's group where one of the women kept getting drawn out of the critiques by her daughter. The tot was just learning how to walk and wanted her mother to walk her around the room -- over and over again. I was disgusted. Couldn't she just make her daughter hold onto the furniture? When I had kids I would certainly encourage my own to be much more independent than that.

Years later I finally had one of my own, and surprise, surprise, I found out why my friend let her daughter draw her away. BECAUSE THE CHILD WAS LEARNING HOW TO WALK. It's only one of the most exciting milestones in a baby's life. Since then I've thought of that moment, and then countless others when I allowed Jasper to draw me away from a conversation with an adult friend. I've often wanted to say, as we parted, I'm sorry I find my child much more interesting than you. I hope you'll forgive my rudeness and that it won't permanently damage our friendship.

Here's to all of us keeping our sense of humor.


shaunamama said...

Ah, what an awesome post! I love the part about Jasper cooking the duck! He's such a crack up!

I was very thin-skinned up until this last year or so when it came to people and their "advice." My sister's (all three of them) have agreed to gang up against me about how "tough" I am on my kids.

It used to really bother me, until one day at a restaurant my nephew got hurt (just a scrape, but LOTS of crying) just horsing around as my children were sitting next to me quietly eating their lunch looking at their cousin like he'd lost his mind. To each his own...nightmares or angels.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Wait--don't we all tell our children they're delicious and pretend to eat them up? Gosh, when Anders was a little younger than Jasper I even taught him to say, "I'm delicious." Or tried to teach him, anyway. The "How old are you?" "One." "And . . . ?" "Three quarters." bit was a bigger success.

Leif is growing up too fast. Well, he's just very very busy, but not learning very many tricks to offset the mischief. Doesn't he know that doing cute things on command is the best available anti-strangulation insurance?