Photo: From a Betty Crocker cookbook from 1980. That looks… well, how does that look, Dear Reader? Delicious? Certainly, uh… festive… right?
My in-laws came up to help The Husband with the boys while I was on retreat. My father-in-law brought with him 5 cookbooks from his mother’s home. She no longer needs them and gifted them to me because she knows that I like to cook. They are actually quite the treasure trove, as she clipped and saved a million recipes. They are crammed into the many pages and covers of the books. I have only gone through the Betty Crocker so far. I can’t wait to go through the rest. I am not saying I’ll never cook any of the recipes I’ve encountered, but so far I haven’t found anything particularly appealing. Among the more interesting things I’ve found, check this out:
Now look, I have been known to cook rabbit, and I love quail and duck. I don’t have a love for venison, but I’ve had it before. I’ve got no issues with the cooking of wild game. Yet still… I have never encountered a raccoon recipe before. I am not sure I’d cook it if I encountered the meat, either. I can’t even imagine how that could taste. So, hey, if you’re interested in some ‘coon for dinner tonight, there you go. Have you or anyone you know eaten raccoon before, Dear Reader? I’m curious enough to ask what it tastes like. Surely not chicken! Right?
I suspect there will be pictures of more interesting blast-from-the-past recipes in the near future, Dear Reader.
Anyway, that’s not what I mean to write about. I am here to write about Ursa Major.
It’s school vacation week here in Massachusetts and since I can’t afford to take my kids to Florida or Hawaii (no seriously, we know people who are there right now), I’m stuck here trying to occupy my children with field trips and playdates. We hosted a playdate today with two young boys who they have played with before and, of course, the boys were delighted to show off their toys. We’ve gotten to the point now where there are some unique treasures that the boys really can show to friends and get a few jealous oooos and aahhhs. Ursa Major asked to show off one such toy, the Little Tikes flying helicopter (they call it the “drone”) that Minor had gotten for Christmas.
After about 15 minutes of playing with it, Major got it into his head that a cool thing to do while flying the thing should be to start throwing stuff at it (because the Moms were in the kitchen enjoying laughter and tea. Perfect time to make mischief). He knocked it out of the air, then continued to pelt it with toys until, of course, it broke. Minor was crestfallen, of course, and he presented the toy to me with tears in his eyes. To Major’s credit, he told me the truthful story on how it came to be broken. I was furious anyway. That thing was not cheap, and it was my Christmas “win” gift–finding a “drone” for a 4 year-old was an impossible thing and I managed to do it! So here it was, broken, because my 6 year-old couldn’t be cool with his friends.
After the guests had left and we’d cleaned up, I had a chat with Major. He was sufficiently abashed, said he learned the lesson. He asked if Daddy might be able to fix it and I told him that I wasn’t sure. Then came this:
“Well, if he can’t fix it, you’re just going to get another one on Amazon, right?”
I scowled and told him no. But I know in my heart that it’s my fault that he’s so cavalier about this. I made that a reality in his head. How many times have I seen something or wanted something or broken something, shrugged and said, “I’ll Amazon it later.” I’ve whipped out my phone, tapped it a few times, and the tell-tale box comes to the door. To them, Amazon is practically Santa.
Yet still, I had to teach him the next lesson. He needed to understand.
“Baby, we can’t go breaking toys on purpose, and we certainly can’t decide to break our toys and expect them to be replaced. That’s impossible. We don’t have it like that.”
Furthermore, I explained to him that a lot of toys that come into this house have been gifts from other people, which is important and special, and we have to honor that by being careful and to take care. Certainly not being destructive on purpose. “When you were a baby and you broke stuff, we were mad, but we got over it. You didn’t know any better. But now you do. You’re a big boy now. You know what it means to be break things on purpose and that’s not ok anymore.”
Major is quickly learning that this “big boy” thing is a double-edged sword. I, meanwhile, am very afraid that I’m going to overplay it too quickly and the many lessons to come won’t sink in the way I need them to. As usual, though, he has taught me a lesson even while I seek to teach him: the kiddos are always watching. I have to be a better consumer and communicate our spending (within age appropriateness) around the boys. I also have to better teach preservation and reverence for the things that we have. We’re always saying to the boys, “if you love your things, you need to take care of them,” but I have to be more deliberate about demonstrating that and teaching it with sincerity. It’s probably time to seriously introduce them to regular responsibilities around the house and including them more in my daily offices of household upkeep…
Lordy… who has time to do that? Actually, I do… this week. Because the boys don’t have any school. Because Massachusetts is the worst. Why aren’t the babies ever in school!?
It’s going to be a long week. But I’m here along with you. What are you up to? Is it warm where you are? We are making a run at 60 this week! It’s weird for February, but I’m not going to complain! Snow will return and then I’ll be crying again!
Anyway, let’s have a joyful, productive week together, shall we?
Until Wednesday, take care.