Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Might Make Really Good PB&J - Seriously, It's a Recipe-Ish People

I know what you might be thinking, there isn't a recipe for PB&J lady. 

Well, you might be right, but after today there will be a recipe-ish for PB&J. 

I never promised anything would make sense here.

The ladies over at Rookie Moms informed me that May is Pregnancy Awareness Month.  Hooray! I know, I too was uninformed about this designation of May and reasonably underwhelmed by the knowledge. I guess it's nice though. 

The question at the end of their post about this asked what is the most important thing that mothers-to-be should know?  I thought of a whole slew of things because I think every Mom feels that they have a lot of good information that must be shared, and we all know best of course. 

My normal wisdom for first time mothers-to-be is that labor is not automatically horrible.  There are A LOT of horror stories out there about it and let's be honest, just the idea of what has to come out where sounds pretty awful, but sometimes it isn't. 

I had three labors of fantastic, minimal pain that was not even close to the drama I had seen on any and all births played out on TV or in the movies, where I receive most of my information about medical topics....well, and Web MD of course, for the serious stuff.  No lady on Gray's Anatomy or ER ever has a simple, joyful birth, it's always heavy on the screaming and all sorts of tragic.  Scary!

Wait...were we talking about peanut butter and jelly? 

So, needless to say that there are a slew of things I could tell a first time Mom, but I decided it would probably be most important for her to know how to make a damn fine PB&J, because a lot of kids, not all, but a lot of kids find this the go-to staple of lunch eating for a good number of years.

Let's begin.

Dear First Time Mom-To-Be,

Congratulations.  When thinking about what I do more than I ever thought I would before I had children, I think of how many PB&J sandwiches I have made over the last 5 years. 

It's not at all depressing, why do you ask?

Truth be told I think more about the amount of poop I deal with, or the constantly changing emotions I feel, or the number of times I have peed my pants while sneezing or running since carrying three kids...but those would be really awkward and off topic for my recipe-ish so I just went with the PB&J making.

You'll eventually understand.  Or you won't, I'm not so amazing I can predict the future. 

Well, I sort of can.

First things first, let's talk peanut butter.  Apparently it's quite the topic of controversy over the last few years.  Depending on who you talk to, you might just be proclaimed the most irresponsible mom ever if you aren't really concerned about serving your child peanut butter.  You'll eventually probably own that title anyway, at least in your own heart, or the heads of other judging parents, and it's important to know that it could happen over something as seemingly innocent as PB&J. 

Innocent it is not though.  It's quite the taboo sandwich in many locations due to it's ability to close off the airways of small unsuspecting children in a matter of moments.  Really, if you are choosing to serve peanut butter to your kids you might as well throw some crack on the bread too because they are either going to die from it, or want it all the time.  It's that powerful.

Now, you should be sure that your child is at least one year old before serving them peanut butter.  It used to be two years old, and it might still be depending on your pediatrician, history of peanut allergies in your family, and how uptight and terrified you are over all things food related. 

Here's a little tip though, as soon as you learn the rules, they will change. So please plan on living in a constant state of panic about the majority of your parenting decisions based on what your friends are doing, what your parents did, what the article you just read carefully explained using SCIENCE says to do and what the stranger in the line at Costco shamed you into believing you should do because they have serious issues themselves. 

This pretty much applies to everything, feeding, medicating, sleep habits, schooling, etc.  It's good fun.

If you think you are making the wrong choice, wait a few years though and chances are that your decision will turn from deadly to desired.  Well done!  You are going to be a really good Mom!

Also, just friendly notice so you don't become the most hated mom at your kids' school (for this anyway,)don't plan on throwing this is your child's lunch box unless you are miraculously involved in a school that still permits peanut butter.  Pretty much the entire nation of youth seems to be allergic to the stuff...and it's pretty mean to jack with this rule since you are talking about someone else's kid's life.

(Your own kid's life is totally cool to jack with so feel free.)

Now, back to the sandwich making.  I hope you can keep up.  That's important in the Mom world.

Get some bread.  Wait, if you don't have a kid yet then you need to set the mood first.

First, turn your radio type machine up really loudly to something really obnoxious like the heavy metal rock station and then put on another radio type machine with something like the audio of a Mexican cartoon.  Try to focus on what both are saying.  Don't speak Spanish?  Even better for this activity.

Ask a friend or neighbor to scratch or pull on your leg while you make the sandwich.  Be sure this is a good friend or neighbor or it might be sort of awkward.  Fine, it's be awkward regardless, just play along.

Set a timer to 3 minutes and try to get to the mental place where you feel like you might be set on fire at the end of the three minutes if the sandwich is not finished.  You might be, you never know.

Try to drink a lot of water before we begin so you have to pee the entire time you are doing will not be allowed to urinate until at least 30 minutes after the sandwich is finished.  It's just how things work.

Isn't this fun?

NOW we can get back to work.  It's important that you learn this sandwich in a more realistic environment in which you will be working in the future, particularly if you plan on having more than one child.

You'll need two slices for a sandwich, it's quite amazing/boring how the PB&J follows most other sandwich trends like this.

(Feel free to use three or four slices if you want, but you'll have to get someone else to teach you how to make the sandwich because that just sounds ridiculous and complicated and I'm not Julia Child here...despite the complexity of the recipes I ordinarily take on here.)

I use wheat bread because I am a good Mom, but if you want to be a bad Mom that doesn't care about her child's nutrition you can use white. (Just trying to break you in to the judgement that you'll endure over these types of life-altering decisions once you have a real life child with you while carrying about your everyday life.)  So, grab the good bread or the evil bread, your call. 

We're watching...

Next, get some peanut butter.  I use organic, smooth peanut butter because I don't want my children to be pumped full of peanut pesticides that attack their bodies (good Mom, I watched Food Inc.,) and smooth because I don't want some half a peanut jacking up my kids' teeth.

Dental work is pricey and I really want to be able to buy some new fancy makeup or at least a shirt from Target's new Calypso line (hello fantastic,) and that's not happening if we're spending $1000 on fixing our kids' baby teeth that are just going to fall out anyway.  That's right, sometimes you have to do work on their temporary teeth. 

You might wait a year for a tooth to come in, only to have it fall out 5 years later so another one can grow in, but plan on spending a lot of money on keeping the temporary ones healthy, shiny and new so the tooth fairy wants them.  A lot can be blamed on the tooth fairy if you think about it.  Seriously, just think about it.

Spread the peanut butter on one side of the bread.  You need to spread it so that the entire slice of bread is covered.  Do not leave little bits on the corners that are peanut butter-less or your child will never eat those parts.  There's a good chance they won't eat them anyway, but this just assures that this will be wasted bread and soon you will find yourself heavy with guilt over the amount of food your child wastes. 

You'll also be heavy with guilt over pretty much everything else you do or do not do, but this throwing away food all the time really hit me since I'm a child of the generation where we were constantly told to think about the starving children in Africa whenever I didn't want to eat all my Long John's Silver fish or something.  I was positive no one in Africa would want my nasty fish anyway, but would have gladly mailed it to them.  Mailing my food to Ethiopia was never a viable alternative to me not finishing the food on my plate when I was a child. 

I might have been able to change the world, but I never got the chance.  Why wasn't the tooth fairy working harder to make this happen?

Did you see Julia Roberts on Oprah talking about her kids' wasted food?  She said she composts it and I think that's a really good idea.  Kids waste a lot of food, even if it's just the corners of their PB&J everyday.  I personally don't compost because it sounds like a lot of work and I can barely get everyone's plates cleared off and into the dishwasher, I can't be running food out to a dirt and worm bacteria pile in the backyard all the time.  I have really important things to do.  I promise. 

So, don't miss any part of the bread.  It would be a grave I think I have clearly pointed out above.  Did any of that make sense?

Next, take a jar of jelly, jam, or preserves...wait, can someone explain the differences among these three?

Wait, I don't care. 

Just get something gelatinous-like made of fruit and put it all over the other slice of bread.  Remember not to skip the corners.  It's really going to make your kid happy some day, and isn't that the most important thing?

Or, he'll never care or notice and you can add it to the list of a million tiny things you do every day to make your child's life a little better that they could not care less about and they will never, ever thank you for those things.  Ever.  Don't even disillusion yourself into thinking they might once they are older.

Then put the two pieces of bread together, peanut butter facing the jelly side.  (I don't mean to be insulting, I just never know what you don't know.)

Now cut the sandwich in half.  How did you cut it?

Really?  You did it wrong.

No matter how you just cut the sandwich, your child will NOT want it cut that way.  It's wrong and they are unable to eat a sandwich that is cut diagonally, straight across, in strips, cookie cutter shapes, whatever, your kid does not like it.

Do not feel badly.  This is just how things go and it will apply to pretty much anything you do.  You'll have to work really hard and make many, many sandwiches to figure out how to cut the sandwich properly.  But don't ever feel confident that you did it properly, they will change their mind one day, after you have already cut it and you'll have to start the whole search over again.  Mom life can be very cruel like that.

One time I was feeling very ambitious and educational and I actually cut the letters in my boys' names out of the sandwich.  They LOVED it.  Best Mom ever.  

Huge mistake.

Do you know how long it took me to make those stupid letters?  I don't have the alphabet in cookie cutters.  (By the way, I did see these for sale online at Target and I did think about ordering and then wondered why the hell I would do that.) So each one was crafted by hand.   A work of art some might say.  And by some, I mean no one.

I also wasted an insane amount of sandwich.  Do we need to cover all my thoughts on food waste again? Please don't stop reading, I promise I'm not going to start again.  It took much more than one sandwich per child to make all the letters for Aiden and Cole. Let's just say there was a lot of waste and the boys had no interest in eating the sandwich from around the letters, only the letters.  Of course.

For weeks after that I was the worst Mom on Earth for not making the letters again. 

What's the takeaway here?  Always keep your child's expectations low. Never get overly ambitious or fun, or that becomes what they compare everything to all the time.  Who needs that?

Congratulations again!  It's going to be super fun!


didi said...

It's 11:30, and I thought I'd read quietly in bed. I just laughed so hard at this, I woke my husband up! Oops! Thanks for my best chuckle of the day!

Sue said...

When you said "you just cut it wrong," I busted out laughing. I can't tell you how true that is! The music is a perfect addition to any mommy training manual. You should right it Leslie, "The Manual I Never Had for my Daughter/Son."