familiar and unfamiliar territory

“Fresh cranberries. What are you going to make?” the Aldi cashier asked me.

“I was thinking of cranberry applesauce,” I said.

“Oh, an old family recipe?”

“No, I just made it up.”

“Oh, wow, you’re adventurous,” she said.

That’s often how I cook. It generally works well when I use familiar ingredients. But for the last two weeks we’ve been trying out a mostly vegan diet in an effort to help my husband feel better. (He’s been suffering from abdominal pain that all the medical tests conducted to date have been unable to explain. We’ve wondered if eliminating hard-to-digest foods might help.) So many of the recipes in my usual rotation are out of the question these days, and I feel like I’ve ventured into unfamiliar territory. I’ve been looking at recipes that call for things like white miso paste and chick pea flour. I can’t even find those things in the two grocery stores where I typically shop.

“Can I wear shorts today?” my second grader asked on Wednesday morning. “It’s above 40 degrees!”

“No. It’s not summer anymore,” I said, reminding him that the forecast was calling for colder weather the next few days.

This conversation quickly escalated into an argument. Just one of the many instances lately in which my son has been trying out his negotiating skills. He seems to think everything is up for negotiation, and that the longer he persists the greater likelihood of success. It gets exhausting – exhausting in a way that’s not so easily remedied by a good night’s sleep (although I’d say it always helps to be a well-rested parent). How much easier it was when my son simply thought mommy was right and the days were filled with things like play time, reading time, lunch time and nap time. Kids don’t remain toddlers – for which we’re truly glad – but as we move into uncharted territory I’m feeling the need for extra wisdom and grace.

I wrote a letter to the editor last week about how our school district’s discipline policies seem to be leading to an unsafe, unproductive learning environment. It was published in the Pioneer Press yesterday (third letter from the top). As a result, a reporter from Minnesota Public Radio called me this morning to ask for an interview. I can express myself fairly well with the written word, but producing coherent sound bites for a radio interview isn’t something I have experience doing. I’m hoping I don’t sound like an idiot. I guess tomorrow we’ll find out.

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4 thoughts on “familiar and unfamiliar territory

  1. Wow! You said a lot in a few words, but all about unfamiliar territory!
    Prayers for your dear husband…
    Yes, it is exhausting to be negotiating with our children…
    And thank you for speaking out about the discipline policies!!

    • Yeah, a lot happens around here in a week. Sometimes it seems like there’s no time for reflecting on it all – though blogging helps me hang on to some of the bits and pieces.

  2. I saw your letter to the editor Anita and I have shared with others. I completely agree that your written word is very concise and effective. I pray that your interview goes well.
    I love your explanation of your son’s arguments are practicing negotiating skills. I like your positive outlook.

    • I’ve learned that from Connected Families – affirm the positive traits you see in your kids. We’ve definitely got a tenacious one. My husband notes that this trait comes in handy for resisting peer pressure.

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