The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Spoonful of Sugar. . .

At this moment, I am watching Mary Poppins for the fifth time in two days.

I do love this movie. The songs are like a magic ticket back to childhood for me; however, I am feeling that 5 times in two days is a bit excessive.

My son does not agree.

Now, I am not one of those moms who parks her kid in front of the TV for a few moments peace. I am not one for three primary reasons: a) my husband often takes the role of entertainer with our son; b) I have a gift for being able to tune out my son's whines for me to play with him, causing him to have learned to play by himself; and c) I regard movies as a secret weapon for when I really really really need him to be quiet and relax.

Because of his lack of TV viewing, my son thinks the television is truly magical. You can put on almost any movie, and he will be transfixed in front of the magic screen of color moving pictures. This power of fixation is key when I am in situations that my son has to be still and quiet (i.e. the airplane, meetings, a pub).

So I rarely indulge his pleas for movie time at our house let alone watching movies over and over again ad nauseum. However, my son has chosen to sport a fever of 104F as his newest accessory. And I have a rule about TV viewing and sickness: when you are sick, there are no rules (okay maybe a few little ones here and there but virtually no rules). If you want to eat cold mac and cheese nonstop throughout the day, you can. If you want to wear your pajamas all day, you may. If you want to watch Mary Poppins over and over and over again, be my guest.

There are worse movies he could be begging for. Trust me.

Besides Mary Poppins has the added benefit of the scene where Jane and Michael take their medicine and love it. Perfect for inducing a toddler to sip down some fever-relieving, candy-colored concoction. So now my son is not only begging for the movie, he wants to take his purple or orange medicine every few hours or so. Indeed, the problem is telling him he has to wait the prerequisite 4 hours or gnarly fever spike before he gets the "lime cordial delicious" as he calls it.

So right now, having just taken his medicine, he's sitting on the couch, mesmerized by the chimney scene in Mary Poppins, sippy cup of water in one hand, sippy cup of milk in the other, and a wet rag on his head that he insists is making his head feel better.

This is not my son's first fevered illness; however, it is his first illness where he can communicate his various ails and desires. I get to hear how his "tummy hurts," "head hurts," and how he "wants to talk to Dr. Rash" (our pediatrician--no joke, I promise).

In fact, my son has gotten so adamant about talking to Dr. Rash, that I had to pull the super-secret-suspect mom move of calling my dad (aka Papi) and asking him to impersonate said doctor. The conversation went roughly as follows:

Papi impersonating Dr. Rash: What do I ask him?
Me: Ask him how's he's feeling.
Papi: How are you feeling.
My son: Dr. Rash, I sick.
Papi: Oh, you're sick? What hurts?
My son: My tummy hurts, Dr. Rash. And my head.
Papi: I'm sorry to hear that.
My son: I have a fever.
Papi: Oh. . . .
..... awkward silence .....
Me: Tell him to take his purple and orange medicine to feel better.
Papi: Take your purple and orange medicine and you will feel better soon.
My son: Okay, Dr. Rash.
Papi: Okay, bye bye
My son: Bye, Dr. Rash. Thank you.

I don't even think my son noticed that the good doctor sounded so much like his Papi.

Because my baby is eating cold mac and cheese, I decided to unabashedly cook something full of green goodness he wouldn't touch if his life depended on it: Greens and Beans Ragout.

I got this recipe from my CSA newsletter and love it because it's quick and can be majorly tweaked. Tonight's incarnation is as follows:

Sweet Italian sausage, cut up into bite size chunks
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic, finely chopped
1 zucchini, chopped bite-sized
2 carrots, chopped bite-sized
1 turnip, chopped bite-sized
lots of misc greens (chard, dandelion, turnip), raggedly torn up
2-3 cans of beans (usually great northern, but tonight I did garbanzo, black, and pinto), drained
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
Herbs de Provence

Saute the sausage with the onions in a tiny bit of olive oil until sausage is browned (use a large pan over med/high heat).

Add the fresh vegetables and herbs de Provence. Saute until veggies are soft.

Add the beans, tomatoes, and greens. Bring to a boil. Cook about 5 more minutes or until greens begin to wilt.

Salt to taste.