Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a vexation brought on by overlooked mushrooms

I wanted to make soup tonight. I set out the wheat berries to soak in water last night, counted my garlic bulbs, checked that there was enough vegetable stock -- but came home and realized I was without the shiitake mushrooms. The other ingredients languish, the kale is wilted in the fridge. There is no way I am going back out.

The most artistic thing I can do anymore is cook. I don't remember my dreams, I fidget when I sit to write, I can't sneak-read more than a paragraph at a time, I run in short bursts -- it seems reasonable to conflate my need to create things, however imperfectly, with the need to feed ourselves, having thishere family.

Left-overs are fine then I guess. Clark could care less for the artistry of food. He will eat whatever someone is so kind to put in front him. Thea is his diametric opposite in that regard...being that: things are not eaten specifically because I put them in front of her. I foil this plan by packing her off with a lunch bag of lovingly tended-to foods that other people put in front of her who, later, more often than not, report back that she ate everything with relish. I figure if I can manage to foist her off on the babysitter, on a friend or on the grandparents at least four days a week at which time she will eat, my parental duties regarding corporeal nourishment are being met. That does not prevent me from beating my breast and wailing... fistfuls of hair at a time. I should spare myself the drama -- she isn't going to starve to death willfully skipping the small percentage of meals we share. Still, I was disappointed tonight that I'd forgotten the mushrooms, for the soup... follow me?

Speaking of that small percentage --- Last week I thought I was clever, teaching her to count to three by throwing her, swinging hammock-like in my arms to the count of three first, onto the bed to land - POOF - in a swallow of down comforter: once (ONE) twice (TWO) three times (THREE!) WHEE! And within a few minutes she could count to three.

A few days later I started counting to her really slowly, enunciatingly -- the way you would to someone you didn't think was getting it (I say in hindsight) -- ONE, TWO and she said TREE FOW FIII

I was a little shocked and very very proud because of course part of me just automatically assumed she had "inherited it" from me in the same unexamined way that, when I was pregnant, I used to jump to, and draw myself up short from, wondering if the music in my earbuds was too loud or abrasive for a developing fetus.

oh! duh!

NO SHE DIDN'T LEARN IT FROM ME! I work all the fucking time these days (sometimes not even for pay (see me seething over unpaid $1600 invoice 75 days late?) grr) -- there is WORK in a way I can't seem to escape.

She didn't learn it from me.

So what. She didn't learn it from me. I soldiered on. I'd count to five, matter-of-fact and then say SIIIIX, SEVEN and she says AYYT NIIIY TEYYN

motherfucker. ELEEEVEN I say -- less game, more caution... FOWTEE, FIFTEEE, AYETEE, NYTEEE, TWAY.

So, yeah, I am a little dismayed because I don't dream and I don't write, and I don't read and I don't run (as I'd like) and I don't socialize and on top of all that, I can't make my soup and my daughter is counting to twenty(!) without me (excepting a few omitted numbers). I am going to sing to her those tough numbers 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17 till she knows them well and that's all I need... these six numbers, and the chair, and my soup, for sure.


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