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Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm a cool parent, aren't I?

P1: Aside from my phone meeting set up with my ob/gyn today, I have another phone meeting with someone from the corporate wellness company to discuss doing seminars and fitness classes. I also got an email back from a counsellor I contacted, who specializes in infertility, post-trauma and grief, who works with my sister-in-law (my brother's wife) at the fertility clinic where she works (she's an ob/gyn too!). She said she would be happy to meet with me to discuss volunteer/mentorship opportunities AND she informed me that she teaches an online certificate program in infertility counselling. It is probably critical that I do this certificate and I'm thinking that it may even be possible to do it concurrently with my program, once I have child-care for Little A.

P2: The past few mornings, the girls have been so affectionate with one another. There is really little that warms my heart more. Little A will lean into Big A, who will wrap her arms around Little A and Little A will start to make almost a purring sound, with a big smile on her face. It is so precious!

When I was a kid, I was disappointed by the fact that my parents were not cool. They were, in the sense that they allowed my brother and I a lot of freedom as teenagers. We always had generous curfews, never got grounded and were never forbidden from going to a party or social event. As long as we called them and told them where we were, never got in the car with someone who had been drinking and never walked home alone (at least in my case, they probably didn't worry about this with my bro), my parents were satisfied. And because of this, they earned our respect and we reciprocated by being (relatively) trustworthy. But because my parents were so cerebral, they just weren't cool in other ways. Being into literature, classical music, wine, politics and art is not hip to most kids. My parents were also not much into athletic pursuits or fashion and had little interest in the popular culture my brother and I enjoyed. I remember being thrilled to learn my dad liked my Huey Lewis and the News albums when I was in 7th grade, because it was so rare for us to share something like that. So as a kid, I vowed to be a cool parent when I grew up, who was "up" on all the latest stuff.

Well, according to Adam, so far I am not living up to my goal. First of all, people don't use the term cool anymore, from what I understand. Instead the kids say something is, "phat" or "sick", which seems ridiculous to me. I hope I'm not setting up my kids to be dorks because Big A now always says, "Look mommy, isn't this cool?" I should probably be teaching her the proper lingo for her generation. Second, when I open the entertainment section of the paper, I have no idea who half the people are that are in there. I've heard of Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Jared Ledo but I don't really know who they are or what they've done. But my kids aren't into that stuff yet, so I have lots of time to do my homework. Doesn't in count that I know who Dora the Explorer is? And Max and Ruby and Caillou? Because these are the things that Big A is into right now and I am all up on that stuff!

Speaking of popular culture for preschoolers, I have to mention In The Night Garden. If you have a child between 2-5 years old, you may be familiar with this show. If you're not, Google it and take a look at the website. Okay, I am certain that this show, from Britain, was created by someone on crack-cocaine. It is also like crack-cocaine for kids. Big A is not a huge consumer of television. She likes it on, but often gets bored by the programs very quickly. She is more interested in creative play these days, which is wonderful. But In The Night Garden is a different story. When she watches it, it's almost like she's in a trance. Adam and I, frankly, find it disturbing. I can't even begin to describe it so if you don't know what I'm talking about, you really have to look it up on the Internet.

Anyways, back to me being a cool parent...I'm hoping that the fact that I shop at H&M, and Gap, and Jacob and Lululemon (rather than Brooks Brothers and Tilley like my own parents) and love rock and alternative music (even if most of it is from a few decades ago!), makes me just a bit hipper than my parents were. Either way, my brother assures me that no matter what, my own children will never think I'm cool...or phat...or sick, or whatever!

F1: I'm so glad my appetite is coming back and I'm finally starting to feel better because tonight's dinner is one of my favorites. I call it Sunflower Chicken. It's really just stir fried chicken and veggies with a twist on an Asian peanut sauce. But it is devine and one of Adam's favorites too. You can easily make it with beef or with tofu, to make it vegetarian. Since I rarely use chicken breasts in my cooking, I usually brown the meat without adding oil to the pan, but if you use breasts, I would start with a tsp of vegetable oil.

Sunflower Chicken

1 lb ground chicken or turkey or skinless/boneless breasts or thighs
2-3 yellow, orange and/or red bell peppers
1 head broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup ginger, finely chopped (less if you don't love ginger like I do!)
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
chili flakes (to taste - we love ours to have heat, so I add a lot)
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (or pumpkin seed butter)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbls tomato paste or ketchup

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a medium sized bowl and stir until smooth (sauce will be very thick).

Stir fry meat in a wok or large frying pan until almost cooked through. Add peppers and cook about 5 more minutes. Add steamed broccoli and then the sauce. Turn down the heat and toss to combine everything, cooking for another few minutes. Add green onions at the last minute. Serve over brown rice.

Note: The sauce is very thick, which makes it sort of dry once it is absorbed by the meat and the veggies. I like it that way, but if you don't, you can thin out the sauce with water or make extra to add at the last minute.

F2: I finally had a good night sleep last night and woke up feeling better. So I was able to get up at my usual time and do my treadmill workout. Hurray! First time since last week!! Hopefully I'm on the mend and back to normal so I can go back to working on improving my chin ups!

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