Monday, March 19, 2007

Recipe For Fun, and Other Domestic Perils

Indignation, deep thoughts and sleep deprivation are a powerful combination, but can this force be put to good use? I think not. I am a wreck. We have reached the point of retaining an attorney for our gas problem (lol: "Gas problem." My immature sense of humor is a blessing. In spite of the stress, I can still laugh about having such a bad gas problem it requires the defense of a lawyer!) I've just finished typing a history of our account and the events that have transpired. It's so humiliating to realize exactly how naive I am. Imagine reaching 40 years of age and still believing that kindness and honesty count for anything. I have written 4 different letters to 4 different parties, and organized our paper trail. This is probably only the first mile of a marathon triathlon.

No matter what else is going on, children still want to play. Let's call this my second blessing: I like to facilitate play. Yesterday I brought out our play dough and tools for all willing and eager participants. I never used buy the smelly product in the yellow cups. I made my own dough, which comes out with a great texture, no smell and it cleans easily. In the last few years with more sophisticated, older children, I didn't worry as much about the mess and smell and the yellow cup variety is pretty inexpensive, so I have quite a bit on hand. But... since I am devastated by current events and exhausted by illness and 24 on call shifts, I decided to dig out my old scrapbook of domestic fantasies and make homemade playdough.

The process is daunting and causes the alchemist to have serious misgivings and regret, yet surprisingly it finally does come together. The recipe goes like this:

Mix together in a bowl... one cup of flour ( by the way, I am throwing caution to the wind and tripling the recipe in these pictures!)

and 1/2 cup of salt

and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

and then coat a heavy bottomed pot, that has been warming up on medium heat, with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

now add all those dry ingredients and start mixing. DON'T PANIC.

It will look like something regrettable. Just keep mixing.

And mixing.

It may still look scary and if it appears to be drying and flakey on the edges, then turn down the heat, but you should being getting a clump of dough.

Suddenly you'll be looking at a rather smooth, plump clump of dough. It's ready to cool on a tray or plate. When it's cool enough knead it and work out any lumps in your clump.

I put the dough in a Ziplock then knead in the the color.

While these photographs may be instructive, I missed capturing the fun. Maria didn't leave the kitchen table for 2 hours. 2 hours is a very long time for a toddler to remain engrossed. William played, and Max played and even Geoff gave it a try before returning to the salt mines. My favorite part is kneading the dough while it's still warm. Yummy sensory input.

I sent the 3 youngest to the master bath to brush their teeth, while I closed up shop for the night. When I got to my room, I saw that Maria was tucking in her brood, on my pillow.

Well, Max is in Maria's bed. He's too sick and sad to sleep alone in his room. Alex was just making a goodnight visit before going upstairs,

but Maria was the wild child who would not stop.

She sorted, jumped, danced, sang, chattered, rolled, bounced, and chattered some more. She tucked in her babies and sang them goodnight songs and then she scooped them up for a ride in their stroller.

She was not sleepy at 8:30. She was not sleepy at 9:00. She did not mind the dimmed lights or the soft whispery voices we used to sooth her. She was not sleepy at 9:30. She passed out at nearly 10:00. She was awake and lively at 4:21 this morning.

Don't let me operate heavy machinery today: It took me 5 rewrites to get the code right on the jpg's. No, make that 6 attempts to get it right.

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