apples and bees

Remember how in the very beginning I said we’d definitely talk about bees?

Well, here we go.

For whatever reason, the things that stick in my mind are always fruit related. That or we just have a lot of drama around fruit.

Really I can’t decide which it is. But it’s definitely one of those.

So, we had our first apple picking adventure the other weekend.

Before I start, I just need to let you allllllll know *for the record* that bees and wasps and any kind of flying thing that stings or bites like to swarm me.

Apparently I am the most amazing, vibrant, fragrant flower in the history of botany.

Except I’m a person.

Who doesn’t like being swarmed by things that sting.

So, our day starts like any other picture perfect instagrammable nostalgic apple orchard experience. We have a wooden basket. A wagon. Birds singing their morning songs. Crisp, cool air smelling of wet dew and new life. The sun trying to burn through the early morning fog. Laughing kids and a muddy dirt road leading to a lush green orchard filled with rows upon rows of trees, all teeming with apples. Rolling hills giving way to mountains in the background.

Kellan was over the moon excited. Wide eyed and full of wonder. He could just walk up to a tree and pluck off an apple and keep it. Just like that.

Hunter wanted to eat gum them and “clap” two together, much to Kellan’s chagrin, as he was trying to only select the most perfect apples.

As we were going up and down the rows in the orchard, Kellan kept stopping and going to different trees because there were <record scratch> yellow jackets everywhere. They were mostly on the ground around all of the fallen apples.

Tim was completely nonchalant like Kellan. Pick the apples. The bees don’t care. They don’t see you as a threat. They don’t feel any competition.

They aren’t going to come after your apples.

There are plenty of apples everywhere.

Decomposing ones on the ground.

Fresh ones all over the trees.

Apples for everybody and every bee.

And for the most part, that was factual.

The bees stayed out of the way.

That is, until the veeeeery end when I decide to try an apple.

I mean, what happened was the reality of our situation suddenly dawned on me.

We were picking all of these apples and filling a huge basket and we had no idea what they even tasted like.

What if they were terrible?

What if we didn’t like them?

What did we even do if we didn’t like them?……

As a responsible adult, I needed to take one for the team. I was not about to bring a shame bucket to the register like we didn’t try before we picked and now here’s a whole pile of apples…..

So, as we were walking to some new trees, I plucked a glistening red apple off a branch while I was holding Hunter (because bees on the ground plus crawling child is not a desirable combo).

I took a bite and then let Hunter have a “bite” (because gums and also because this kid wants to try and eat everything).

YOU. GUYS.

It was the most delicious piece of fruit I have ever had in my entire life. If this was what the apple tasted like that Eve ate, I really can’t blame her. Girl couldn’t help herself.

Neither could the bees.

Right before I took another bite, a yellow jacket flew onto it. And then it decided Hunter’s shirt right below his chin was an amazing place to forage.

Drool plus apple juice. Bee magnet. FYI.

So here I am…..having this debate in my head….what to do….what to do….

Hunter in one arm, a chin drop away from experiencing the really shocking reality about bees….and in the other hand, the most extraordinary apple I have ever had in my entire life.

During this internal debate, my apple was sending some invisible signal to every bee within a ten mile radius. TRY ME. EAT ME. HERE I AM. FIND THE CRAZY WOMAN WITH THE BABY.

What to do…….what to do…….

I’ll tell you exactly what I did.

AHHHHHHHHHH THERE’S A BEE!!!! IT’S ON HUNTER’S SHIRT!!! HELP!!!!!! BEE!!!!!!

MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!

Tim ran over from picking apples with Kellan a few trees down and started calmly tying to blow the bee off of Hunter’s shirt.

Obviously, I was not able to help other than by holding the apple in the air as far away from Hunter as possible and yelling THAT’S NOT WORKING! IT WON’T LEAVE!

Finally, after Tim had had enough of my bee panic dance, he looks at me and is like, “Seriously woman. JUST DROP THE APPLE. OMG. You’re waving around a torch like a maniac and wondering why the whole room is on fire!”

I hesitated…then I tossed it away. I watched it roll under a nearby tree and I looked over at Tim and whined all, “You don’t understand. That was the best apple in the whole world. It really didn’t deserve that.”

But you guys.

I really really really wanted to eat that apple.

I wanted to eat that apple more than anything I have ever wanted to eat in my whole life. More than the forgotten piece of wedding cake our coordinator neglected put in our bag on our wedding night. And let me tell you I have never been more disappointed to open a container expecting cake and seeing chicken. Chicken! We painstakingly put that cake together flavor by flavor, layer by layer. And then to not even get to sit and devour it in gluttonous glory….it was a sad night that I still think about periodically, mourning over the cake I’ll never get to have.

All of this is to say that I wanted that apple more than I wanted that cake.

And I had to throw it.

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I’m here but not *here*

Writing? Who has time for that?!

*raised hand*

You guys. Life is insanity.

Soooooo much happening in a teeny tiny amount of time.

Buuuuuuuut

I am making attempts to post stuff on Instagram over at littlechickenbees.

If you’d like to keep up with the insanity, that is where I’ll be. For the time being, my brain can only manage sharing small snippets of information in square form.

(How’s that for alliteration on a Saturday?)

See you there!!

the grapetastrophy

Some of you may have been around for the $20 watermelon….or maybe you forgot about the $20 watermelon.

Either way, I'll wait for you to refresh your memory or make a new one. It's important to have this background knowledge.

Ready?

Here we go.

Apparently, history repeats itself in the produce department. We like to find the things that are ridiculously expensive without realizing it until after we make it through the checkout.

And by that point, knowing how Tim refuses to be shamed by fruit, it's too late.

I partially blame this particular expenditure on doing the GET IT AND GET OUT mad dash that was grocery shopping on Saturday. We were dealing with a baby who wanted to graze any and all items within reach, edible or not, and a child who wanted to be in charge of the grocery list and got upset if we didn't go line by line down the list versus in order of what each aisle had.

I tried to explain how it would not be efficient to go back and forth, up and down the same aisles over and over again, but I don't think it really sank in. At all.

Why, you ask? Well, I was talking to Kellan AND Tim at the same time about completely different things, so instead of giving an important, coherent lesson, it sounded more like, "We need to get all of the things…DID YOU GET THE BREAD?….all of the things in one aisle without having to…YES TWO LOAVES….without having to go back and….ALSO GRAB SOME MILK….forth…MILK? THE HAPPY COW KIND…I know the list isn't in order….YES A WHOLE GALLON….I didn't have time to put it in order….Kellan did you check off bread and milk??

I usually organize the list by aisle but we made one on the fly *as* we drove to the store from a park. I realized we were close to Whole Foods and made a split second decision to go as we drove out of the parking lot.

Looking back, we probably made a whole bunch of errors that led to this expenditure, but hey. That's how we roll. Sometimes. Most of the time….goodbyeeeeee type a trying to take over.

Anyway, Kellan wanted to be in charge of checking things off the list and Hunter wanted to be held and sample anything, whether we put we put it in the cart or not. Kid eats everything. All the time. By the time we left it looked like Hunter had gone into battle with a buffet table and lost…handily.

So, anyhow, the entire time we are grocery shopping my brain is in four places at once and really I cannot ever concentrate fully on one thing. I walk around feeling hectic. I don't know any other way to describe it. I actually feel hectic. Like a swirling dervish of questions and items and what was I doings.

After we filled our cart with mostly things not even on the list (which Kellan protested and then added to the list because details are important, people), I left Tim to handle the checking out on his own. I decided I was getting a smoothie because I was starving.

Kellan spent this time running back and forth between the two of us (straight shot, visible the whole time) to relay information.

Mommy is getting a smoothie.

Daddy asked what size smoothie.

Twelve ounces.

What's in this bag?

Cookies.

Apparently an hour long hike wasn't enough to wear him out.

By the time we got everybody and everything strapped into the car, we sat in the front seats and just stared at each other like what even just happened? Did we even buy anything on the list?

Tim then started going down the receipt to see what all of the "high ticket" items were. Apparently he didn't get to watch the register during checkout, so this was his way of doing it…albeit after the fact.

"What was $10.81??"

He traced his finger along the dotted lines ……what is this……GRAPES?

We bought $10.81 worth of GRAPES???

How many packages of grapes did we buy??

I looked at him all, "One."

This was too much information…or maybe too little information, for Tim.

Why on earth were they ten dollars??? What kind of grapes are ten dollars???

They were organic?

(Apparently that's my go to excuse for expensive produce)

Tim stuffed the receipt in the cup holder all, "These $10 grapes are right on par with that $20 watermelon."

In its defense, it was a really good watermelon….

He kept going under his breath all, "They better be really fantastic grapes for $10. TEN DOLLARS. For grapes!"

And he left it at that until we got home and I tried a few of the grapes.

I looked at him and smiled and said, "These are really good grapes! Totally worth the $10!"

(Because they actually really were)

Tim looks at me dead in the eye and says, "I better not see one. single. grape. in the trash. Not a one!"

Produce: 2
Tim: 0

weighing consequences

One small child alone in a room is never a good idea.

FYI.

*except*

Sometimes you have to weigh the consequences of above statement to make sure the other child gets a taped slate and commercial audition done that requires a very quiet background.

Note to future self: if you truly have a completely quiet background, you're doing it wrong. Or something is wrong. Mischief is being managed.

After Kellan finished up a pretty good take, he was all, "We should check on Hunter!"

Instead of heeding his internal Hunter Alert System I was all, I know but we only have so many minutes of silence.

And then I actually heard the words coming out of my mouth and I jumped up and ran out of the room like a firecracker had just been lit under my nether regions.

Except Kellan beat me out and I hear him laughing and saying OH NO! at the same time.

Obviously I start filming, like any good parent would do.

And so I walk out and here is Hunter.

He Who Has Crashed The Plant.

This is a picture from the video (hence poor quality) and in the video I was all, "Huuuuuunterrrrr……whaaaaaat haaaaaapened?……."

And every time I asked he'd look away from the camera all, "….doh dee doh doh….nothing to see here….la dee dah dah…."

And he knew!

He's only eight months old!

He already knows the system!

I am in so much trouble!

This is not a random, happenstance occurrence.

Oh no.

This child bucks the system every chance he gets.

Literally this blog is going to turn into You Won't Believe What Happened Today.

Thankfully my safety patrol was the firstborn.

something from nothing

I want to write something funny but really I'm too tired for funny.

Apartment life with intermittent Sasquatch upstairs tromping around until the wee hours (what even are they doing?? These apartments aren't that big. How much walking and forgetting what you walked over for and walking back and raiding the refrigerator and whatever else is happening doing up there??) along with an almost eight month old who is going through some things like probably teething and trying to figure out how to sit down after pulling up on every single thing within reach leads to no sleep.

When Kellan was this age I read about how babies will literally roll over and put themselves into a crawling position in their sleep because their brains cannot stop making the body do all the things, even whilst unconscious, until they master the task.

With Kellan I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And it never happened.

Not once.

He woke up and practiced every letter sound there is, over and over and over, but there was never any of that crazy getting up to try and crawl away.

So, the other night when Hunter was totally zonked and out of nowhere rolled himself over and got into a crawling position and then started trying to pull up on me to stand all with his eyes closed, I was like ohhhhhhhhhhhh. So this is what they're talking about.

Yah. That was quite the surprise for ye olde mom over here.

I mean during the day Hunter will get himself standing, holding onto whatever, and then after a bit he will start crying because HOW DO I SIT DOWN???

He falls, pretty much. Not the slightest bit graceful. I guess the letting go and also getting into a sitting position is pretty technical if you actually think about all the steps you need to take.

I think that's what we're working on which is resulting in terrible naps and fitful night sleep.

Coffee me.

ALSO I'm basically one million percent mom + errand runner + chef + teacher + scheduler + house cleaner + whatever else it is I do all day because Tim + new job = crazy hours and incessant phone interruptions every day of the week.

It's difficult for everybody.

I appreciate all of his hard work to allow us to live the way we do where I can stay home, but that comes with sacrifices.

And so now I apparently just did something that made the font smaller and I have no idea how I am too tired lazy to fix it so FYI. I'm sure it'll fix itself after I publish it. Or it won't and we'll all be reading the small print from here on out (haha…punny).

I'm supposed to be making dinner, now.

Guess I better jump on that task because hangry is a condition every single one of us has and it's zero percent fun to have three people getting upset about nothing and a baby crying at everything because all any of us want to do is EAT but we are all too delirious with hunger to actually see that that is the issue and instead start blaming each other for ridiculous indiscretions that aren't even real.

I am *that* mom

I am that mom who lets her kid wear whatever he wants. Mismatched socks. Shoes on the wrong feet. Shirt purposely backwards. 

I am also that mom who has no problem letting her kid wear costumes on any day he so chooses, to any place we happen to be going.

The grocery store was Gotham City today. Kellan made sure everyone knew the Night Stalking Vigilante was there along with Batgirl and Bat baby.

One grocery store employee was like, “I’m impressed you can even say vigilante.”

And I was just like, “You have nooooo idea what kind of vocabulary gold mine you’ve stumbled upon.”

If the store isn’t busy, Kellan will run in the open areas more than he will walk.

He will find the villains.

He will have complete conversations with people as Batman. I smile and play right along.

If we are all in, then we surely aren’t breaking character.

I am that mom and I have zero issue admitting to it. I encourage it. I allow it. I am not at all embarrassed by it.

I am proud of Kellan’s ability to bring the real world into his imagination and manipulate it in so many amazing ways.

Maybe once upon a time, before Kellan, I would have been appalled at the mere thought of one of my kids running around like that.

That sure was a silly thought.

Without having children, I would have missed the magic of a child being allowed to be himself and play freely.

The only way I can do that is because I stopped caring what others think. After a few days of mom life, I realized that trying to force a baby to do what “they” say he should do was not going to work. Kellan doesn’t play by those rules, and because of his determination to go against the norm, I’ve also thrown all of the books and advice columns out the window all, “This is not my kid. This will never be my kid. We are going to do this our own way. To hell with advice.”

And since then….life has been peaceful in that department. 

Though I’d be a millionaire if I had a dime for every time I heard:

“Your shirt is backwards.”

“Your socks don’t match.”

“Your shoes are on the wrong feet.”

“You’re wearing two different shoes.”

And to all those we just smile and say, “Yes, they are. That was the plan.”

Kellan picks out his outfits very carefully every morning. Every single item, head to toe, is planned out and has a reason and a purpose.

It is one of my favorite things for him to come out of his room to declare who he is for the day and see how he has decided to express that in his outfit.

There is no way I am ever discouraging his imagination and his desire to be who he is, regardless if society agrees.

Society has it completely backwards, if you ask me.

And really, I should know.

I live with Batman, afterall.

the picky eater vs the foodie

When Kellan was starting his transition from solely boob juice to people food, I had all of these really hairbrained ideas like purée-ing up a variety of veggies and making all sorts of fun meals and doing all kinds of fun stuff with food!

First purée Kellan tried?

Nuh-uh.

Second, third, and all of them went that way. He looked at me like, “If this is what people food is, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

(Really what I wanted to say was what his actual look said, but we are trying to be PG here)

I learned pretty quickly that there was this thing called baby led weaning and it basically went like this: put a food on the tray and see what happens.

The only acceptable foods were blueberries that I had to cut into quarters, a very specific brand of wheat toast with butter and cinnamon, yogurt with no fruit pieces, Cheerios (not the organic kind. General Mills, yellow box only), and probably one or two other things I am forgetting.

And during all of this I was thinking we were making progress and having some success and this is just how it works with  toddlers. They’re picky.

Then we went on play dates and lunch dates with friends the same age and OMG YOUR KID JUST ATE THAT??? HOW DID YOU DO THAT???

You don’t have to pack a special separate lunchbox of food?

You didn’t have to cut your apples a certain way???

They eat sandwiches????

You can order right off the menu?????

It was like seeing an impossible magic trick.

Not even kidding.

It took me ohhhhhhhhh probably until Mimi cut up Kellan’s toast “wrong,” to the point he wouldn’t eat it, even though it was made exactly the same way, for me to admit we had a picky eater.

Like level twenty when there are only five levels picky eater.

And nothing has changed except his repertoire of food. It has grown evvvvvvver so slightly.

It’s not like we don’t have him try new foods…over and over and over again. He still will not get on board with asparagus or grilled chicken or potatoes (unless they’re French and fried), or a large swath of other foods.

And we are brand specific, people. He knows the difference. He can smell if I used something other than what I usually do. 

This morning he told me his pancakes tasted different. Like “smoked pancakes” he said. And sure enough, because the temporary apartment we are living in doesn’t have a microwave (I know), I had to heat them up in a pan (barbaric), and one of them got a little too hot and burned ever so slightly with a little bit of smoke involved….and his astute senses sniffed it out.

The other day I tried using a new kind of bread and it had small seeds – completely undetectable if you’re having a sandwich type seeds – and he took one bite and was all, “Does this have….seeds in it?”

Yes.

I don’t like it.

Well okay then.

The only vegetables I can get him to eat are baby carrots and snap peas. Both have to be raw. The only acceptable meat is crock pot BBQ chicken and “sloppy beef” (sloppy Joe’s). Sometimes deli ham but only a specific kind from Whole Foods and it has to be sliced to a certain thickness. Oh! I can put spinach in smoothies and he’ll drink those. Or if we make juice with beets and carrots and spinach and apples and cucumbers he will drink it. But he will legit gag eating a spinach leaf. Or a cucumber.

He’s tried broccoli, asparagus, squash, tomatoes (reallllly doesn’t like those unless it is marinara), zucchini, salad style lettuces….salmon, shrimp, steak…..and he will protest and make the most detestable faces every single time they are presented to him.

We are pretty diverse with fruit…well really okay, let’s be real. Apples (no red or golden delicious or Granny Smith), watermelon, pomegranates, Asian and Bosc pears, peaches and nectarines, sometimes bananas and blueberries and grapes. That’s our diversity. We don’t eat bananas unless they are at that perfectly ripe phase. No soft blueberries or grapes and no grapes that “taste funny.”

I’d say he likes carbs but again….only certain kinds. We are specific with our mac and cheese brands, style of pasta for “pasta and Parmesan,” and he will sometimes have toast and a PBJ or grilled cheese.

He also only really likes a very specific kind of cheddar cheese. He says others are too salty.

Only some kinds of pizza places are okay. There was one restaurant in Arkansas where Tim loved to get the pepperoni pizza but Kellan would leave the table or ask him not to order it because he couldn’t deal with the smell.

So, if the point isn’t clear yet, Kellan is really particular about food. And we have just kind of accepted this as his normal. We always make sure we have a snack packed for him because eating at a restaurant is really a lost cause because he just eats his apples and milk and cheese we packed.

I want you to know and understand that that was the level where my bar was set regarding adventurous eating when Hunter came along.

Kellan knows what he likes and doesn’t and as long as I don’t forget the lunchbox, everybody will be fine. 

And so now, as we begin embarking on people food with Hunter, it turns out that he plays by a completely different set of rules.

Hunter is not at all interested in wondering what he’s eating. 

He just wants to eat it all.

Whatever it is you have, he wants it, even if his body is not physically or developmentally prepared for it.

He will yell at you and get very upset if you don’t share.

Sharing is caring, mom.

He loves eating all food.

He does not discriminate.

Just today he ate everything that Kellan loathes: oatmeal, cooked broccoli and carrots, and bananas waaaaaay past the perfectly ripe stage.

Now I experience the complete opposite ends of the spectrum at every meal and I am still shocked every time like what?! 

You want to eat that???

And you want more??

You like it????

You mean we get to order off the menu?????

(While Kellan happily eats his apples and cheese and milk)