Tonight my daughter Heidi figured out that she could chew raw leafy greens. She's been reaching for my salad for months now, but before she would just suck the dressing off, or sometimes almost choke on a leaf that she tried to swallow whole. Tonight she tried again. She sucked off a few leaves (thoughtfully draping the spent leaves back in my bowl), and then she realized that it tasted even better if she chewed the leaf up. She sat in my lap, feeding me a leaf and then herself a leaf, wiping lemon juice and olive oil all over everything and both of us, and laughing at the sourness of my hastily made, poorly balanced salad dressing. Perhaps "first salad" is not an achievement many parents consider a milestone, but we all have different values.
I also couldn't wait to get a crayon in her little hands. I offered them to her months prematurely, just because I didn't want her to miss a moment of drawing pleasure just because we didn't have the right materials at hand (and by "at hand," I mean quite literally placed on the play table next to whatever else she was doing). We spent a few months practicing not eating the crayons, then we practiced gripping them and applying pressure to the paper. (We're still practicing staying on the paper and off the furniture, books, and clothes.). Once she knew what the crayons were for, she caught on pretty quickly. Then on July 21, 2011, she did something amazing. She drew a dog.
|"Do[g]" | Crayon on Mama's leftover newsprint from figure drawing class. | 7.21.11|
My first titled drawing, as you might already be aware, was "running snail and rainbow" (I was a tad linguistically precocious). When I couldn't decide what to name my Etsy store, and I was over-thinking it horribly, and trying in vain to be clever and catchy, I remembered with what authority Heidi had told me that what she had just drawn was a dog. "Do[g]." Period. My mother reports that I said "running snail and rainbow" with the same sort of authority, and since I can't imagine that I've ever had that much confidence about anything since then, I thought the name was perfect.
Heidi's first "Dog" hangs framed on the wall, and several other dogs, cats, horses, balls, and "softs" are filling up the rest of my abandoned newsprint pad left over from college. This weekend I'm opening running snail & rainbow, and it'll be another big first for me.
Lemony Spinach Salad
This is what you should eat when you crave something that tastes like a tasty nutrient bomb. I eat it when I'm sick, when I'm well, when I'm sad, and when I can't think of what else to eat.
Make your dressing: combine one crushed clove of garlic, a forkful of dijon mustard, a soup-spoonful of yogurt, a pinch of salt, two soup-spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil, and a soup-spoonful of lemon juice. Stir or whisk it together. Adjust the flavors to your preference, adding more lemon or more oil or more salt til it tastes perfect to you. I (obviously) like mine on the lemony side. Toss with spinach. Eat it and be happy and well.