Saturday, September 18, 2010

Old Fashioned Apple Pie and Gizdich Ranch

This is the classic "Old fashioned Apple Pie", according to my Farmer's Pie Book. This book is a benefit from my deceased mother-in-law Julie Bagoye. I do not know how often she used this book, I only know it was hers since the early 60's. I do not know if she ever went to Gizdich Ranch to pick her own strawberries and apples, but I do know, she was part of the Bagoye Ranch. Meaning at some point in time they too grew Apples, Peaches, Plums, and most recently walnuts. Did she make tasty fruit pies for Mark when he was young? Did Mark used to help her bake the pies?

According to Mark she made a few of these great fruit pies, so in the tradition of Grandma Bagoye, today we made an apple pie. The apples were all hand picked by Sophie, her friends and the two dad's, Mark and Te. (I think I picked a few apples myself, but not many according to Mark's observation.) So today, this very afternoon, Sophie, Mark and I conspired together, to follow the classic apple pie recipe from the farmers pie book, and you see the photo above. Yes the house was filled with the wonderful mix of aromas from the Cinnamon, apples and nutmeg since the baking began a few hours ago. We even purchased an old fashioned apple peeler, with hand crank, to prepare the perfect apples pieces. Mark organized the machine, and Sophie supplied the power. She mixed the ingredients together too, so this is really her pie.

Yesterday while at Gizdich Ranch, I purchased a berry and a dutch apple pie to eat after lunch with the kids. We thought we had convinced the group of first graders, to eat their lunch then go and play, and at some point, we would call them back and surprise them with the pies. Alas, even after they had agreed to the plan, about 15 minutes later, we heard the voices of an uprising! "We want pie! We want pie!" they all shouted in unison. We looked at the ugly mob, and noted each one held their plastic fork high in the air in the similar fashion of an old fashioned
demonstration from the '60's. Soon all eyes, from everyone around were focused on this small group of 5 and 6 year old demonstrating their desire for pie. We parents did feel a bit of pressure and found ourselves acquiescing to their demands. Does that mean we gave in...No! we call it a settled negotiation. Further conferences were held by the rebels to determine who received the first piece of pie. Sophie spoke up and said,"after negotiating, I get the first piece, then Soli, and Alexandra followed by Abygale and Enya." Peace returned to our group as each enjoyed their pie, as did I.

Back home we divided the 50 pounds of apples and 12 pounds of strawberries equally between the 5 children. That was when I decided we would make our pie this weekend. And so we did, today. Adventures and memory making at the Bagoye's, gotta love it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just keep swimming!

Dear Linsey,

I am having such a difficult time writing this post about Cowboy and Wills, by Monica Holloway.  I did enjoy reading the book, even though I cried while reading various chapters.  I could so relate to Monica, in her struggles to guide her son through autism spectrum disorder.  All the while I would think about Margo, and the struggles we have gone through as she pushes through her gross motor delay. 

For instance, I was reminded of the difficulty it had been for both Mark and I to come to grips with Margo's delay.  I am not sure what to call it, a disability, a special ed thing, a neurological disorder.....dyspraxia?  To the trained eye, it is obvious, something is off, to my friends they see nothing wrong with her.  To Mark and I, we celebrate her progress: for instance, this past summer, she was able to make it through the rigors and confusion of swim practice without crying.  A year ago, she cried almost every day at swim team practice, yes she was only 5 years old, and the coaches would yell at the other swimmers to get out of Margo's way.  Why? because if she was touched by someone in the water, it totally threw her off and she lost a sense of what she was doing, and it disrupted the sense of order she had established with her body and its movement.  This year, she would just keep on swimming.  That was our theme, keep on swimming, just like Dori in Finding Nemo.  We would celebrate each day she did not cry at practice, and the days she did, I would hold her and say that's ok.  But we celebrated her bravery!I learned from her OT, that Margo does not distinguish between competing sounds.  It's like being in a room, where everyone spoke with the same loudness and you had no clue who was the important person to listen to.  All of this to say, she was never quite sure what she was supposed to do in swimming practice.  So this year, Margo learned to ask the coach, and let them know if she did not hear what they said.  The coaches were very good about re-explaining the swim drills to Margo and she did her best at executing them.  Sometimes, she definitely took the directions literally and it would become the most interesting expression of a one armed swim drill any of us had ever seen.  Eventually, something would click and she would figure out what needed to be done.  By the end of the season, Mark and I realized we could not help her with the swimming, but just needed to let her work it out with the coaches.  In the end, she received a trophy for most improved over the course of the past two years.  It was not an improvement in time this year, but of form, and dedication, and always trying and not giving up.  That is what the coaches explained to all of as about Margo as they presented her the trophy at the end of the season dinner.

I think in the end, I am reminded as a mom, to a kid growing up highly uncoordinated, who just spent a day tripping in her new shoes, that I can't be a helicopter parent.  I have to let her fall down, scrape a knee, and mind you that does happen, as well as get herself back up.  As parents, Mark and I provide her opportunities to move her body with swimming, gymnastics, personal training and OT, and somehow, that develops confidence.  Margo has BFF's, and a great sense of humor.  She still looks like a deer in the headlights when part of a big group, but after a long while, figures out a few things she can do and then sticks to them.  This year Margo has started singing out loud and humming to herself.  She has started dancing to music, even with her friends.

Maybe this parenting thing is really about creating a space where our children explore who they are, and what they can do, or want to do.  Perhaps parenting is learning how to make the space larger as our child matures, till eventually it reaches their favorite number, infinite.  I think that is what I saw Monica do with Wills, Cowboy was a great part of the space.  I think I am doing this with Margo.  Yes I worry too much, but I still let go.  Gee parenting is hard!

Well thanks for providing me the book to read as part of  From Left to Write book club.