Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dragon Fruit Dreams

You might see this dragon fruit at your local grocery store for $5.25 EACH. 

You might feel like it'd be a fun, educational family moment to buy that $5 piece of fruit and have a tasting party with all four of your kids. 

You'll leave the grocery store feeling confident.  You are KILLING this Mom gig.

You probably envision all of them gathering around the kitchen island, maybe the toddler sitting on the counter with a giddy smile that mirrors his older siblings' enthusiasm to learn and experience something out of the norm, grateful that once again Mom has come through with a small moment that builds them in to phenomenal people. 

The oldest will grab the computer, search for dragon fruit and read aloud about the dragon fruit's origin, ideal growing location, and share a few fun facts.  Everyone, even the two year old will engage with every word read.  

The 10 year old will find geographic origin and growth locations for it on the globe to show everyone.  You'll see everyone begging to know where it is in relation to Texas, Greece, D.C. and Australia...because they all listen when you talk about your time 20 years ago studying there, they've been intrigued by the country ever since. 

Everyone will lean closer to see the mysterious fruit as you slice in to it and the 7 year old will squeal with delight at the fun, unique looking center. 

The discussion will lead to how seeds are distributed, the role we all play, and the magic of nature...and a few giggles will erupt when you describe that poop plays a part. 

Those silly kids.

This will remind all your kids of a book about seeds you used to lovingly read to them that you purchased through the Scholastic book fair, because you love to support your kids' school.  Your kids will all beg for you to read it right then and there but you tell them you'll have family story time after the dragon fruit, like usual, and it can be added to the stack they have already selected for that day's reading. 

You'll see yourself cutting the fruit in to small squares for each family member to try at the same time so everyone can marvel at one another's reactions.  You assume some will like it, some won't,  but everyone will laugh a little and linger to help finish it off or clean up any untidy spots created during the fun.  

A few kids will probably ask for a vegetable to get that interesting taste out of their mouth and the others will join in, because nutrition matters to them as much as it does to you.  

You're raising healthy kids.

Everyone will leave the dragon fruit educational tasting party a little more complete, a little more worldly, a little more grateful for such a great Mom. 

You'll go to sleep that night grateful that somehow you just knew that spending an insane amount of money for one piece of fruit would pay off a million times over in joy.

Unfortunately I'm here to tell you, that shit will never, ever happen. 

Half your kids won't even go near it because it looks "weird" and the other half agree to try it if you just don't talk anymore about where a dragon fruit grows (Central America! Southeast Asia!) and the joy of learning. 

The two that do try it will spit it out before you can cut a piece for yourself and you will feel annoyed at their immature and judgmental pallet.

Then you will try it and have to spit it out too because it's seriously gross. It will taste like a moldy basement smells.

Your husband will try it and think it's not bad at all and for some reason this will make you question your entire relationship and the life you have built.  You will have to walk away from the kitchen with easy access to all those knives.  

You'll come home several hours later and still find the dragon fruit as you left it with your husband and once again feel disappointment and general annoyance at your family, and fruit in general.  

You'll be ok.  

You'll be stronger for the experience.  

You will probably make a similar mistake in the future, but moving forward you will never, ever touch another dragon fruit as long as you live. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Habit Made Me Do This

We have a new thing around here. 

We aren't strong with systems and charts around here, but we continue to make attempts, so hopefully that is worth something. 

Last month we listened to TED Radio podcasts in our minivan on our way to our vacation in Missouri because all the things in this sentence sum up our cool factor.

One of the podcasts discussed the topic of becoming a better you.  There were several aspects to this quest which were discussed, most I don't remember most of them because Max was awake, but one which stuck with Alex and me was a man who tried to establish new habits for thirty days.

He would commit to cooking dinner for thirty days or writing for five minutes about his gratitude or exercising for 30 minutes.  Some things stuck, some didn't, but he discovered the power of committing to something consistently, trying new things, and developing a habit.

Alex then decided that the Dadidakis family was going to do this starting August first.

I would like to formally state that I was fully on board. I love this idea.

But...we have now reached the point in the summer where I really just need it to be over and I can lose my shit at the most benign, routine parts of the day because it's just time for everyone to get out of my house for a while.

The idea of introducing a new line item for me to manage with the children on a daily basis gave me pause.

The process of selecting what everyone was going to do almost broke me.

I selected for Max that we were going to count to ten in Spanish every day because that makes me feel like a better parent and momentarily international.

Stella wanted to read for 15 minutes until she realized she would have to do the reading herself and I am the meanest mom in the world. Then she thought she would run outside for 10 minutes, but then she remembered that she hates to be hot and it's 100 degrees outside.  She finally decided on biking for 10 minutes "because the wind she creates keeps her cool enough."  Insert much huffing and exasperation in between each idea.

Cole was going to go fishing every day.  Then he was going to hammer nails in to a board for 10 minutes. Then he was going to lift weights, run a mile, and punch his punching bag.  I suggested he write for 15 minutes every day but that seemed lame so he decided to just punch his punching bag for 3 minutes daily.

Aiden decided he would run a mile, then changed to playing ping pong for 10 minutes. There was very little drama or my involvement in his selection.  God bless Aiden.

Alex chose to mediate.  It takes him three minutes.  He basically chose to sit and do nothing for three minutes every day.  I'm waiting for zen Alex to show up and then I'll buy in to his new habit's worth.

I dutifully printed calendars and hung them on everyone's bedroom door for accountability.

Also, the man on the podcast mentioned that being able to place an "x" on a completed day gave satisfaction which motivated him to continue with his routine.

This is Alex and my door.

It's important that you know that yes, I have a very strange bedroom door.

Each of the kids have enthusiastically accomplished their habits without much, if any encouragement or reminder.  Aiden even chose to do his first thing this morning before he left with a friend on an overnight trip. Cole stopped himself from riding to a friend's house until he had punched his punching bag.

Alex has marked his X before I have even woken up.

I can barely finish mine before midnight.

I chose to write for 30 minutes.

Yesterday I literally wrote a description of my day in my journal at 11:30 pm.  My brain was so void of anything interesting that a full recounting of my errands, Max tantrums, and dinner cooking was the extent of my writing.

Can you guess what I did today?

I'll be on an airplane tomorrow, surely I'll have something more exciting to share.