Play Dough Questions My Motherhood?

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A couple of more hours and the rooster will crow. It’s surprisingly chilly at 47 degree despite this being April in Texas where temperatures have been a steady and pleasant 80-90 degrees during the day and 60-65 come nightfall. My baby princess, Madeleine, is fed and has drifted off to Dreamland, joining her Daddy and big Sis, Sofia. It’s peacefully quiet, so much so that I almost wanted to just stay awake and enjoy this rare luxury called Silence which seems so elusive the other 18-20 hrs of the day. The only sound I can hear and really appreciate from our master bedroom is the gentle bubbling of the saltwater aquarium from our family room on the other side of the house. I say aquarium but really it’s a tiny 5 gallon box with a pair of feisty clown fish our girls named Nemo, of course. I could use this moment of peace to catch up on some reading, watch House Hunters International, or just play Blitz to ease my mind. However, these ideas were short-lived as my rational self tells me I need the rest if only it’s just for 2-3 hours but much needed to tackle whatever awaits me come daybreak. I gently slip into bed, was comfortably tucked in and ready to join my peeps in La La Land when my eyes practically popped out of their sockets. I hopped out of bed like someone just got bitten on the ass by a mysterious bug in the night and the skin beckons for a scratching. My crazy, nonstop mind reminded me of a forgotten task. My head seems to never truly rests since joining The Motherhood Club. On the contrary, it’s more like one of those foreign sports cars my hubby loves to salivate over on Top Gear that runs 0 to 60 in 3 or 4 seconds, stay idle for a sec, then off to 60,70, 80, 90 again. Can you tell I’m an expert in cars? Motor Trend will surely be calling me for a job opportunity in the near future. At least with sports cars, the engine can be turned off with a key or push button and you can just “forgetta bout it”.

Damn it! A forgotten task! Since the girls were borned, my cursing like a drunken sailor days was over. Yet, in situations like this and where I’m physically alone, my brain permits my “sailor” mouth to speak freely. And Boy, does it? Holy shitballs! I forgot to make play dough for Sofia’s class. F*** me! It was due Monday morning. It’s Tuesday, Bitch! What kind of a mother am I? It’s not rocket science. It’s f******’ play dough. How hard can that be?

Recently, Sofia’s teacher, Ms. Lee, was asking parents to volunteer in the classroom with duties such as making play dough, laundry duty, etc. Honestly, laundry duty is foreign to me and I had some reservations. Not sure if this was a Montessori school thing but Sofia’s previous preschool, Primrose, was so self-sufficient. Parents were never solicited for any volunteer service. They even frowned upon parents bringing in outside food of any sort for any mealtime unless authorized by a family pediatrician.

Any reservation I had about doing public laundry is mainly due to my germaphobic tendencies. I will honestly admit I’m borderline germaphobic. I still flush the toilet with my foot in public restrooms and in my private bathrooms at home. Yes, in my own bathroom but I know that’s more habitual than germ-related. Perhaps this is due to countless flushings with my foot in public facilities over the years. Even if we were to build another home from the ground up and I would be the very first to christen the toilet, my fingers will not be anywhere near that flusher. I got a few quirks. What can I say?

However, Ms. Lee assured me laundry would be for dirty linens, mainly napkins and towels, used throughout the week by the 24 students. The parent picks them up on Friday, returned them freshly washed and folded, first thing Monday morning. How bad can that bad? Nonetheless, it was for a good cause so I came to terms with my “quirks” and I gladly offered my service in any capacity.

Anyways, Ms. Lee didn’t ask for anything complicated; just make play dough and give them to her Monday morning. The week prior I gave her a solid “Okay! No problem! I’ll have it ready to go Monday!”. And what happened came Monday? No play dough. Can you say “Broken trust”? She’s probably thinking “I can’t even trust this parent with play dough. How can I assign her laundry duty?”. Yeah. I don’t blame her. I’m sure I’m not the first parent to screw up and indeed not the last. Yet, that doesn’t make me feel less shitty. Note to self: Do better or shut the hell up!

Anyways, after a quick research online I found an easy recipe for homemade play dough. With my new found knowledge, I quickly went into the kitchen, gathered the necessary ingredients and went to work. Within 30 minutes, I made 2 batches of pastel lime colored play dough, bagged them in zippy bags and had them ready for Sofia to bring to school.

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Crisis averted! I can get back to being a good mom again. Poof! I’m exhausted. Not from making play dough but the emotional torture my mind makes me endure at every angle every time with this mommy role. Not sure if other moms experience the same, but for me, I’m the first to question and judge my abilities as a mom. I often ask myself “Am I an adequate mom?”. What does that even mean anyways? Can I do more? What can I do to compensate for some of my shortcomings? These series of questions run through my mind like a grocery list checklist or better yet, a grade school teacher checking students’ attendance every morning, calling out each of their names and waiting for the student to confirm with a firm “Present” (and accounted for). In the end, I assured myself with the following: “I am a mere mortal. I can only do so much. I am doing the best I can given the circumstance at hand. Relax!” And I did. What else can I do? I need the energy to fight another mommy battle with myself lurking around the corner another time, another day. Make no mistake about that. It’s coming.

Thus far, my experiences with motherhood resemble an unforgettable roller coaster ride at New York New York Casino in Vegas. It encompasses fear of the unknown, the sudden turns, swift drops and crazy highs along the way. I feel them all with the girls’ ever growing changes in behaviors, needs, quirks, and achievements. There’s unbelievable thrills and happiness in my heart seeing their sweetest smiles and embracing their warmest hugs. Yet, the frustrations and disappointments in myself when I don’t know how to solve their problems are definite lows. Oh, let’s not forget about disciplining and dealing with daily chores (i.e. getting ready for school, brushing, nighttime rituals, bathing, etc.). Dreaded lows also. At the core of it all, I’m mostly excited and satisfied that I took the unpredictable ride called Mommyville. My life is more enriched and meaningful as a result of what I’ve learned and am still learning. One thing is for sure. Once you’ve hop on, fastened your seatbelt, there’s no point of return.

My First Post! Rookie Blogger At Last!

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Congrats to me! I am finally a rookie blogger! With my own domain to boot! The Procrastination Dragon was slayed! I have conjured up enough courage and managed to carve out a minute window of time from what little I have these days to create the long overdue blog. Any parent with 2 young babies under 5 can surely empathize. My girls, ages 4 and 1.5, and I are joined at the hips by an invisible, endless rope. As such, time is a precious commodity and is elusive at best.

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Happiest to be with my Sofia on Waikiki Beach, Oahu; was a gorgeous day!

Anyways, the blog is more like my living journal if you will, solely dedicated to what’s going on in my mind, my life, what really makes me tick, and truckloads of memories I want to capture or relive. This perhaps will also serve as cheesy love notes to my girls one day. As my hair turns from shiny raven to snowy white, I will have something to help me stroll down that promenade of memories with them. I can share with confidence tried and tested recipes that may help them one day with meal prep. We can relive their “drama queen” moments (as one of my girls phrased it) that made their mama internally curse like a drunken sailor and think margaritas were her bffs. We can chat about their unique and quirky ways that makes them so dear and special. Not to mention, we can resurrect treasured stories and silly family tidbits here and there that may have been forgotten had the pen not meet the paper.

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For a good 5 years, the thought of putting my thoughts into words was ever present in my head. It haunts me more times than I can recall. I believe writing is a special form of personal expression. Yet, I had minimal confidence in the craft to take any action. Instead, my preference often shifted to reading books. More specifically, I enjoy books that captivate me about real people’s lives. From their past to their present, what they are doing and how they are doing it was a direct result of an encounter or experience they felt was “profound” and/or “enlightened”.  This, of course, drastically changed their life’s path or confirmed the path they were on was their true calling. Nothing else deemed relevant. Some of my favorite books highlighting this theme are: Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, Jacque Pepin’s My Life as an Apprentice, and Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart. I love cooking or food-related books. When these stories include a splash of history, art, or travel, that’s even better.

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Not only was I apprehensive about my writing ability, the other challenges for me about this blogging biz wax was what the hell was I going to write about. I know I love gardening, traveling, cooking, and doing all of it through my camera lens. But so what? Who the hell cares? More importantly, will what I write convey what’s truly in my head, and will it really say ME? Do I have to edit myself to please a certain audience for whatever reason and jeopardize my actual thoughts? Can I commit the time given my crazy life and all its pressing priorities? Lastly, what the hell am I going to name this blog that says me 100%?

Goofy me next to typical car parked near The Duomo in Florence, Italy.

Goofy me next to typical car parked near The Duomo in Florence, Italy.

In the end, I concluded the following: I am who I am. I have always and will continue to be my goofy self and do things my way. I don’t foresee myself doing anything but, anytime soon. Hence, I created the blog name Cooking Mai Way. It screams me for the way I cook, live my life, travel, and raise my girls. My writing needs to reflect the happenings in my head and life as they are; unfiltered and unedited. When it’s all said and done, I need to be genuine, sincere, and honest to the core with it.  It’s my living diary and I CARE. I’m the writer, the reader, self-motivator, etc. If I inspire one or two folks along the way; what a bonus and I’d be thrilled beyond words. As for my fears on writing itself, like Nike’s tagline “Just Do It”, just write, already! I got to start somewhere. Practice will lead to some perfection someday. I’ll get better. My heart tells me I need to slay this dragon! How else can I teach my girls about confronting personal challenges and overcoming them through determination, hard work, and tenacity when their own mama cannot practice what she preaches?

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No-bake Gemelli pasta with broccoli, triple cheeses, topped with toasted panko bread crumbs.

I’m excited and looking forward to writing subsequent posts on comfort foods I recently made for the girls. Spring has finally sprung. I have loads of pictures of what’s blooming in the garden. Thumbed through our countless travel pictures, and I found some great ones to share too. With a renewed positive attitude and motivated self, my very first post ends.

 

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Purple mop head hydrangea from my garden.

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Notre Dame was backdrop to this beautiful pink rose (either the Eiffel, Queen Elizabeth, or Peace, not sure exactly).