Josh’s Lunch Salad and Playground Stories

This morning Josh wanted me to make him a salad for lunch rather than a chicken salad sandwich.  So, I used some of the spring mix from Sam’s that we had split with my parents, a half carrot from Muffin’s supply of organic carrots, Craisins, some of the grape tomatoes earmarked for the pasta salad this weekend, some celery, some cheese, and sliced Margarita Grilled Chicken.  I really like making him salads for work because I feel that’s the one time I’m really successful at plating.  Salads can be made so attractive and colorful.  This was this morning’s effort.

Also, they are fully customized.  Don’t want almonds.  No problem.  Want grated carrot instead?  Great.  Olives?  Sure.  I really love having salad bars when we entertain (especially my parents and my sister).  It’s also a great use for leftovers.

On another front, I’m going to attempt to return Print Shop.  There seems to be a compatability issue with Windows 8 (and, from what I can tell, most desktop publishing programs).  The upshot is, Josh receives a work discount for Office Professional.  He purchased me Office Professional for Mother’s Day.  Publisher comes with this version of Office, and it seems to do everything that I need that Print Shop did and more.  And it’s compatible with Windows 8.  The photo editing and graphical enhancement above were completed in Publisher.  It doesn’t have an Eye Dropper color picker (that I have found), but Paint has one so I can just use that to find the RGB codes for what I want.

What has Muffin been doing lately?  After the cleaning blitz this weekend (a very tumultuous 36 hours that involved me raising my voice a lot more than I wanted and Muffin standing still not cleaning his room), he finally cleaned his room enough–for now.  And he was able to receive his bribe prize, a trip to our local shopping mall where they have a mini indoor playground.

I’ve grown leery of indoor playgrounds.  Muffin is not a child on medication, and, as such, is rambunctious.  He is not the Stepford Child.  He finds joy in the world around him and lets everyone know about it.  At our local Chick-Fil-A restaurant, an incident happened (not where Muffin hurt someone) where Muffin was pinched hard on the cheeks by another child (hard enough to leave marks even two days after and dangerously close to his eyes) and punched on the chin by the same child.  Extenuating circumstances left me at a loss on how to 1) confront the situation and 2) comfort my child.

I don’t really want to get into those circumstances, but let’s just say, it was not a situation where I felt able to discuss with the parents their child’s behavior.

So, I was understandably uncomfy with the idea of taking him to the mall to the play area.  But I stupidly used that as a prize for him.  When we first arrived (right at the opening of the mall for the day), he was all alone in the play area.  Then, suddenly, there was a massive influx of little bodies (most smaller than Muffin, who is rapidly reaching the height limit for the play area).  He found two other little boys to play with and a girl to protect.  Muffin has a very strong protective instinct.  When he thought she was in danger (she really wasn’t), he caught on to her plight and decided to follow her around and be her knight in shining armor (regardless of how that metaphor raises the hackles for some…it fits in this case).

I realized something very important from these two incidents, something that has many very positive points, but a few negative ones, as well.  Josh and I have raised Muffin to be color blind and really blind of differences that other people would be uncomfortable with.  Both of those are very good things.  I’ve been raised in the South all my life and have seen the ugliness that racism and intolerance have caused…for everyone.  I’ve seen people who were “englightened” and “progressive” turn into some of the most destructively cruel people when confronted with differences.  If I could, I would wrap my son up in a bubble because I don’t want him exposed to that cruelty.

He’s already faced tastes of it, and here is where the negatives of his upbringing come into play.  We’ve focused so much on teaching understanding and friendliness that he has no concept or understanding of exclusion and meanness.  The few times he has witnessed that negativity in a public situation, he becomes first nervous, then confused, and finally frustrated.  How do you teach a four-year-old that not all people are inherently nice?  I’m not talking about “stranger danger”; I’m talking about the people that he will be interacting with daily in the public being rude, cruel, intolerant, and inconsiderate.

But, for now, this is his countenance most of the time.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!



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