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Have you ever wondered what a toddler can teach you?

It is true that you can teach a toddler a thing or two, or at least you can try. But the lessons you get from a toddler are priceless.

 

Here are some lessons, beyond the usual ‘sleep is priceless’ crap. It is true, though, that after having a kid, one starts wondering ‘what the heck was I doing with all the time i had before I had the kid’. But it is too late to wonder now, eh? :)

Lesson 1:  tantrums experience

Yea, yea, tantrums. Tons of literature, of course, everyone has their opinion on how to deal with them. Not a pretty sight at all. Right?

Well, wait a second. Look around your world and start counting the tantrums the grown-ups have. ‘I don’t want to do that’, ‘I don’t like this food’, ‘I am too tired’… in reality, the truth is, that grown-ups have not learned how to deal with tantrums, but have learned how to ignore them.

Well. This does not fly with a toddler. In a toddler tantrum situation you can’t ignore it – can’t really walk away, cant say ‘deal with it!’ and you can’t just do nothing. The only thing to remember is that you as a grown up have 20 – 30 more years of experience of throwing tantrums than your toddler. Good luck with that. Throwing a tantrum over a tantrum does not work. Repeat: does not work.

Lesson 2:  master of distraction

‘Oh, dear. You are playing with my phone. Oh look – a birdie! (gimme that thing NOW!)’.

Ha, good one. Mastering the art of coming up with distractions is crucial. Hundreds of times a day distractions will come handy. And sometimes they would wear off. So the set of distractions has to be carefully maintained, filtered, renewed.

But wait, this is not something you learn from a toddler. Distractions are a very common event in our lives. Whether it is us distracting ourselves from something important or unimportant, whether it is a distraction called to avoid another person’s opinion.. it is all there. Toddlers are probably a year away from mastering the art of distractions themselves.

Lesson 3: ‘do not trick the baby’, they say

Cheap trickery with babies is not always cheap. Let’s take this example of a toddler not wanting to eat. There you sit, with a spoon full of food – who knows what tasteless mush it is, anyway – and a toddler nodding their head in all directions. There are a few options, but you choose to find a way and shove the spoon in the toddler’s mouth somehow. Guess what’s next:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapppppchoeeeewwwwwwww!

And the food flies around and sticks to everything. You laugh like a madman. The baby wins the battle.

 

Lesson 4:  poo smells, farts are a bliss

It is what it is: the essence of human nature. Some even say it’s the meaning of life. In reality, toddlers are honest about it.  There is nothing wrong with going around farting. For all I know, i have seen toddlers propelled by farts and this way crawling or walking faster because of them.

Farts are fun, but every funny thing has to come to some grand finale. Poo smells. I wonder why does it have to. Wouldn’t it have been so much better if it could smell nice, or if it could be used as a fuel to take your car to work and back? But no, instead, it has to be a pile of useless crap. I protest! (And, for the record, i didn’t learn this from a toddler either. Mine smells way worse, but that is a whole different story.)

Lesson 5: if you didn’t know what that button does

It turns out that electronics have much more functionality than expected (probably more than even mentioned in the manual), and toddlers are there to show you. Every once in a while i find myself slapping myself on the forehead and saying ‘ha, i didn’t know this button turns on this feature of my tv! Nice!’. Or the phone. Or the washing machine.

Quite useful, really. Listen to the toddler. They may not be able to talk, but will certainly show you the way forward.

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Time to sleep now. Who has time for blogging…

Category: Mental notes, Opinions  Comments off

When I think about it – I have always been interested in food. Even in the old days of cheese, bread and beans, I was still loitering around the kitchen, trying to see what’s cooking.

Now when I think about it – about 10 years ago I really got into cooking actively, and tried to produce edible results. Most of it was failure, but there was always someone who was around to test my food.

Sometime in mid 2000’s I got into baking. Buying my first bread machine was fun: I sent an email to someone on Craig’s list about their bread machine and we agreed to meet in the afternoon in front of a local restaurant. As I went there and sat on a bench waiting, I started observing the people. It took a while, I think I waited about half an hour or so, and no one came with a bread machine. Eventually I noticed an old lady sitting on another bench waiting patiently. Eventually I went and asked if she had a bread machine for sale. She looked at me very puzzled, with a lot of mistrust and asked how I knew about it. I said it was me who was interested in it, and she said she expected another old lady, not a guy in his 20’s. I got the machine, and went home, a bit puzzled myself.

My parent’s reaction wasn’t really far off. After all, “cooking + men = trouble” kind of mentality was widely spread in their generation. It took about 5 years to change, anyway.

So, I started with a very simple bread machine. It was 1 litter, not who knows how good, but it was producing edible bread.

Eventually, after a few years I got another one – a Tefal XXL – it was much better, and it was getting great results.

Then I got interested in what the secret was of making this soft and great-smelling bread. I started reading on bread making, and I was confused for a very long time, before I decided to take on a half-automated way of making bread. I bought a fairly cheap but OK standup mixer and started using it for kneading the dough.

I found a nice manual online about sourdough – a very old-looking site by Mike Avery called sourdoughhome.com. Mike has great advice on baking and he explains the process in detail. He used to own bakeries and has a great deal of experience in bread making.

Anther book I use is “Beard on bread” – a great manual on how to make variety of breads with yeast.

Then I found another site, which is absolutely brilliant – weekendbakery.com. It even has videos on how to do certain parts of the baking process.

Only then I started making bread by hand – from start to finish.

Nowadays, it seems quite fun to bake with all kinds of mixes and to experiment with the ingredients and to control the taste…

It did take almost 10 years, though. No idea if the 10,000 hour rule is valid or not, but it took about this much to get consistent results.

If anyone wants a bread, drop me a line. :)

 

Category: Cooking  One Comment