Tuesday, March 04, 2014

on my mind


For some reason these days I can't stop thinking about whether or not we are done having children. I worry so much about whether all of my children are getting enough from me, especially as Nathan has been so difficult lately in terms of getting him to eat or drink (his cold has been absolutely awful) and the vast majority of my time is going to coaxing a few drops of liquid down his throat.

Last night Nathan was really upset--more upset than I have ever seen him. He was exhausted and rubbing his eyes, which were reddened from his cold. Tears were streaming down his face and mixing with the snot that was freely flowing from his nose. I tried everything I could think of to get him to eat or drink--I could tell from his diapers that he was starting to get dehydrated. I was worrying about whether I should take him in to the ER to get a fluids line started or something like that. Neil left to go buy (yet another! we seem to go through those so fast!) new humidifier in hopes that it would help. I finally laid Nathan in his crib and was standing outside the door listening to him howl in hopes that he would just conk out after a few minutes of crying and go to sleep--he NEVER cries at night but he was so stuffed up that he couldn't take his pacifier. After two or three minutes I couldn't stand to listen to my poor baby any more and so I picked him up and cuddled him and calmed him down. I finally managed to get him to eat a few mandarin oranges, drink some milk, and then I undressed him and gave him a bath (since he was covered in oranges and juice). He was so darling splashing there in the sink--he kept turning to make sure I was looking at him and then he would giggle and splash again.

After his bath I wrapped him up in a towel and we went and sat in front of the fireplace. I kissed his little hands and toes and blew raspberries on his neck. He laughed and wiggled and pointed at the fire. I closed my eyes and inhaled that freshly-bathed baby scent...there's nothing quite like it. And then I sang to him and we cuddled a bit more and then I bundled him up in clean jammies and put him to bed.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Some days I feel like this is so, so, so hard and I don't know how I can possibly keep going because I know I really have no clue what I'm doing. I've never done this before and as soon as I get one kid figured out, they hit a new phase and I'm back at square one. But I just keep going every day, and I take a deep breath when I want to scream and I fake a nice loving voice when really I want to whack somebody and I do the same things day after day after day--usually many times a day. And some days I sit down on the kitchen floor and cry and we have scrambled eggs for dinner, and some days I dance around the kitchen singing very loudly while I cook an elaborate spread of everyone's favorites. I feel so far from perfect but I know that I am learning and I'm getting better at this, and in the process of being a mother to these delightful, infuriating, intelligent little people of mine I am being refined.
And this has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've written, but St. Patrick's Day is coming up and this bread is AMAZING and you really should make it. I have made it probably a dozen times in the last few months and it's always gone super fast and my kids clamor for more (and I hate regular soda bread. This is awesome and not blah like so many of them are). The recipe is originally from one of the Barefoot Contessa books.


Irish Soda Bread
4 c. all-purpose flour (I do 2 cups whole wheat--I tried it 100% WW and it did not work)

4 T. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1.5 t. kosher salt
4 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice (I have substituted an equal amount of oil with great success)
1 3/4 cold buttermilk, shaken (I use milk plus 4.5 or 5 T. vinegar--just let it sit for a few minutes)
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 t. grated orange zest (I zest a big orange--or two--and dump it all in without measuring)
1 c. dried currants (I use raisins. Tried Craisins and they don't work as well)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I use a Sil-pat) and preheat the oven to 375.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in electric mixer with paddle attachment.  Mix in butter on low speed until butter is mixed into flour.  Lightly beat buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in measuring cup; add the buttermilk mixture slowly to the flour mixture on low speed.  Combine the currants with 1 T. flour and mix into dough (I break the raisin clumps up with my fingers so they were all separate).  It will be very wet (I have to scrape it out with a rubber scraper).  Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead a few times into a round loaf (I add probably 1/4 c. of flour throughout this process).  Place the loaf onto the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife comes out clean (I bake it for 50 minutes).
Go make it right now. You're welcome.




1 comment:

Ruth said...

This was a really good post until you got to the currants/raisins. Ewwwwwww

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