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When someone asks “Do you feel like a mom?” I usually respond with deer-in-the-headlights look and say “Do I feel like a mom.”  Answering this question takes a lot of thought and reflection…a lot of things I don’t have time for.  So it’s easier to repeat the question in the form of a statement.

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Even though my day starts at 5: 50, the morning is ALWAYS a rush.  I recall a few instances such as taking the babies to the park.  If you’re not a mom, I must explain that leaving the house takes an unhealthy volume of pre-planning for something trivial like a walk.  You must coordinate milk feedings, solid food feedings, diaper changes, temperaments and moods, including your own, all for the opportunity to introduce yourself to the Earth’s troposphere on occasion.  Prepare your waterbottle, throw on sneakers and grab whatever decade of workout attire is in arm’s reach.  Even though you were already breaking a sweat an hour ago, there’s a lot of lifting ahead in this routine, especially with the infant car seats.  Insert baby into car seat, insert car seat into base, insert blankie, pacifier, sippy cup or whatever can make the whining go away.  Then lather, rinse, repeat with baby 2.  Then you arrive at the park.  More lifting.  Transfer car seat and baby into stroller.  Repeat.  Set up your ipod loud enough to drown out any potential crying.  Now move.  Oh yeah…lock the car.  You don’t want anyone stealing car seat bases and 101 Toddler Favorites CDs from your soccer mom vehicle.  Keep moving.  Pretend you are glad you left the house.  Push.  Uphill.  Push some more.  Start wondering why you didn’t get a push present.  Do I feel like a mom.  Do I feel like a donkey?

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Parenting requires a LOT of patience.  Not just with the babies…sometimes with your spouse.  If you’ve ever seen my husband administer Children’s Tylenol via syringe to a baby, you will learn the threshold of my patience.  With his suicide-inducing playlist running on a 2-hour loop, not only does he move at a gingerly pace, but his technique is an absolute horror.  And then he walks away, as if the task was successfully mastered until I alert him. “Look at her.  LOOK at her.  It looks like she drank blood from a sacrificial goat in Zimbabwe.”  On the other hand, I’m no princess either.  I can’t identify a specific scenario, but there are times he looks at me, with bursts of steam releasing from both nostrils like the pit bull from an episode of Tom & Jerry, and I know he’s thinking, “I want to kill you, but I can’t because then I would have to eat Taco Bell for the remainder of my life.”

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I spend most of my day picking up scattered Cheerios and smooshed grapes.  They are now at the age where they are intentionally dropping food but pretending they’re “just a baby”.  My two little Galileos are governed by their creative compass to re-test theories on acceleration and I can’t get mad because they just look at me with their jet-puffed marshmallow cheeks.  I pick up itty bitty everything off of the carpet because anything so much as a speck of glitter (yeah, we’re fancy here) is fair game.  I’m picking up toys and wiping up saliva and spit up and throw up.  And snot.  My god, the SNOT.  Extracting mucus out of a baby is not only challenges your gag reflex but it is a useless skill that you must develop on command.  You start to suction out the snot but now you’re stuck.  Where is the other end of this booger???  You just keep pulling and extracting and pulling and you think “this reminds me of something…something, but what?”.  And then finally, you remember.  Cheese pizza.  Babies Ruin Cheese Pizza.

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I dress them in real clothes now.  {insert applause} There are gladiator-grade obstacles in the course of dressing a baby. Have you ever gotten dressed while lying in bed?  (trying to zip up your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans doesn’t count)  It’s easier to just stand up and get dressed, right?  Well, you can’t make a baby stand up.  You can’t make a cooked noodle stand straight.  And these noodles are way past al dente.  Babies do everything lying down.  They take a dump lying down.  While, changing a diaper is a learned art, especially since my kids play in a dirty diaper like it’s a Slip n Slide, dressing them in real clothes requires advanced certifications.  Have you ever opened a brand new roll of gift wrapping paper?  You tear off the shrink wrap and toss it.  Now what if I told you, go back and put the shrink wrap back on the wrapping paper?  Yeah.  That is what it’s like to dress an infant.  Except an infant has branches too.  I would pay money just for someone to thread the noodle arms into those teeny pantyhose sleeves.  And might I add, the fashion rules are TOTALLY lenient for babies?  If I wore a bumblebee tutu with integrated leggings, I would get my ass kicked.

Do I feel like a mom.  Do I feel like a glass of wine?  Parenting is hard.  I don’t need to state the obvious details about what exactly is hard.  But there are other roles that go alongside with it, that don’t go away either.  Wife-ing, Sistering, Daughtering, Employee-ing, Chef-ing, Chauffeuring, etc etc.  It just piles and piles and if you don’t keep up, it becomes a fridge full of old nasty food that you don’t want to deal with.  I respond to every 6th text and every 48th email on a good day.  I pretend I heard what they said when people talk to me, even though I hope they don’t ask me to repeat it.  I discover a new joint that aches and find one more flaw on my face that I care less about.  I am working my butt off from the moment I wake up to the moment I get into bed.  We finally wind down occasionally by treating ourselves to an hour of drowsy Netflix engagement. And then I look at my husband and we both say with a yawn or a sigh, “I love our babies”  ”I miss our babies.” or “Can’t wait to see our babies in the morning.”  And then, tomorrow, lather, rinse, repeat.  That’s what they are: they are our solar soul illuminators, igniting us through the day with giggles and babbles, polishing away our dullness with cuteness and tinyness, and buffing off our lethargy with sweetness and squishiness and all of the other wonderfuls that dilute the exhaustion of duty, until finally by the end of the day, our energy lowers to the weakest tealight flicker, and we do it all over again tomorrow.

Happy First Birthday, on July 3rd, to my Soular Illuminators, Aasha & Aakash.

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Downloads of the Week:

Sunshine – Matisyahu

American Baby – Dave Matthews Band

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Rainbow Roasted Vegetable Gemelli Pasta

Gemelli means “Twins” in Italian.  I make this very simple pasta year round using what’s in season.  In the fall, I make this with roasted root vegetables, such as beets, fennel, sweet potatoes, etc.  In the summer, I use a colorful variety of vegetables, making a rainbow, for all of the color they bring into my life.  We like it best served at room temperature drizzled with really good quality olive oil and topped with LOTS of parmeggiano-reggiano.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1-inch dice)

1 cup chopped orange bell pepper (1-inch dice)

1 red onion, 1-inch dice

4 cups of diced summer squash (I used 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash, which yielded a total of 4 cups 1-inch diced squash)

4 cups diced eggplant (I buy the regular big ‘fat’ eggplant, and only need half of it for this recipe)

2 heads of garlic

3-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (in portions: 1 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons + 2-1/2 Tablespoons)

2 cups gemelli pasta

1/2 cup grated parmeggiano-reggiano (which is different than Parmesan!)

Fresh Basil leaves for garnish

dried crushed red pepper for taste

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Combine the peppers and onions in a bowl.  Combine the summer squashes and eggplant in another bowl.  Trim off 1/4 inch off of the top of each garlic head.

3.  Drizzle the exposed cloves of garlic with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil per head.  Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the onions and peppers.  Mix well until all the vegetables are coated.  Drizzle 2-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil over the eggplant and squashes (combine quickly so that the eggplant doesn’t absorb all of the oil).

4.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the peppers and onions in a single layer.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.

5.  Meanwhile bring 6 quarts of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 Tablespoon salt to the water (to flavor the pasta).  Cook the gemelli  for the duration recommended on the package (usually about 9-10 mins).  Drain the pasta and quickly add the pasta back into the pot.  (Don’t let the pasta “sit” in the colander.)  Cool for about 5-10 minutes, until it stops releasing steam.  Mix the pasta again with a large spoon and then add the grated parmeggiano-reggiano.

6.  Once the onions and peppers are roasted and browned on the edges, remove them into a bowl and arrange the eggplant, squashes, and heads of garlic on a new piece of parchment paper.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until edges are browned/charred.  Remove the garlic cloves from their skins.

7.  Toss together in a large serving bowl, the pasta, vegetables, and garlic cloves.  Drizzle generously with more extra virgin olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Finally, serve at room temperature with basil and parmeggiano-reggiano.