Irony - FamilyEducation

Irony

November 07,2011
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

Something strange and unusual happened on Sunday. I was left all alone in the house for a couple of hours--completely and utterly alone. T. and Scott had a Y-Princess outing to go to, and I had planned something fun to do with L. He's been asking to go downtown to walk around and look at the architecture. The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, and I thought it would be the perfect thing for the two of us to do.He's been very reclusive lately, and hasn't wanted to interact much with anyone. Although he seems happy, I don't like to see him on his own so much. Maybe I make too big a deal of this, but I can't help it. While we respect his need for more space and quiet than most people need, I do think there are days when he takes it to the extreme, and lately there have been too may days like that. Then, unexpectedly on Sunday, we got a last-minute call from his elementary school buddy A. to come over for pizza and video games.

I was torn. Video games? Aren't we trying to reduce his gaming time already? But it would be video games at someone else's house, with another kid, and this trumped L.'s  solitary gaming on our home PC. What about our walk downtown? The architecture? I hadn't told him about that plan yet, and I knew that if I presented it his gut reaction would be to decline A.'s invitation, in favor of something closer to home, more predictable, and safer. We couldn't remember the last time L. was invited to another kid's house. It seemed normal and very 11-year old kid-like, and I wanted him to go. I would pick him up at 5:00 I told him, and we'd go out for Chinese, just the two of us.

And so there I was left, with mainly myself for company, drifting around the house baking fruit bars, doing laundry, talking to the animals, and scrubbing the trim on the kitchen cabinets. I missed Scott. I missed my kids. 

This is, of course, the ultimate irony of parenthood: we crave the time and space to be alone; we daydream about how much work we can get done if we only have an hour or two, but time and space end up feeling so unnatural and pronounced, and a little frightening, too. We scrub cabinets instead of doing the real work--the stuff we never have time to do in the first place.

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Remember those dried fruit bars I made, when I couldn't find the recipe I really wanted? My sister sent me the recipe last week, and I made them yesterday, while I was trying to fill up the time until I could pick up L. from his friend's house. A few tweaks later to veganize them and they were just as I remembered.

Vegan Dried Fruit Bars

Preheat oven to 375.
Ener-G egg replacer to replace 1 egg
1 small container applesauce (the size you would put in your child's lunch)
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp chia seeds or wheat germ (I've been baking a lot with chia seeds lately, they're a great source of those omega-3 fatty acids)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup dried fruit 
 
Mix ingredients in bowl in order above, dried fruit last. Press into square pan (I used a glass Pyrex pie pan). Bake 25 mins or until lightly browned.
 
They are as easy as that, and so good for you, too.