When in a delicate mood, Ada is easily convinced the world is working against her, though using the word “victim” might be a bit extreme for a kid shy of six years old. On Sunday within a span of 10 minutes her baby cousin bit her on the arm and she dropped an apple that slowly and melodramatically rolled into a giant sandbox at Gantry Park in Long Island City. Very quickly the shape of her shoulders drooped and she fell under a palpable dark cloud.
Forget that I had extra apples and replaced the sandy one immediately, or that she’d spent five hours at playgrounds that day, or that she’d essentially had a mango icy for breakfast. Forget the playdate that morning with one of her closest friends from when she was a baby. Forget the seaweed and apples and seeing her aunt, uncle, and cousin, and one of the rare blue sky weather-perfect days New York rarely sees, happening in that exact moment.
She wallowed while dipping some fries in a big pool of ketchup, wind blowing her hair into said ketchup also on her cheeks. After eating in silence for a few minutes, she said, “Mama, what are 100 of your favorite things?”
I started to list some, and she agreed to count them, and we went through categories—people, food, places, nature things, movies, hugs, etc. When I got to about thirty, she declared that good enough, and then started in on her own list:
“I like… playgrounds, monkey bars, shells, the ocean, palm trees, coconuts, shave ice, taking off my shoes… mint tea with honey, sweet potatoes, Harabaji’s garden, morning glories…
… stickers, and yeah, I LOVE art materials, drawing, play dough, and pottery.
… I love my bunny, my friends, Halmoni and Harabaji, fresh French fries, riding my scooter, looking for mushrooms, and flowers, and bunnies.
I like popsicles and ice cream and chocolate chip pancakes and you and Papa and Julian and snow and actually all the seasons…
… and pickles and brine and riding on a train looking at clouds.”
She decided this was enough. She ran back to the sandbox, mood buoyed by her own list, where Julian and her cousin were playing amongst approximate 300 Hasidic kids, many of whom were overdressed in argyle and plaid sweaters now covered in volumes of sand.
We soon got back in the car and headed to pick up Jacob from his studio. The kids fought about whether or not we should roll down the windows, and to what height, and whose had gotten lowered first. Julian insisted he was hot but refused the A/C saying he preferred “air conditioning, not ay-see.” (Eye roll). We drove across the Pulaski Bridge and Ada noted from the backseat amidst all the window height bickering, “You can be unlucky and still have a good day,” a satisfactory conclusion as we rolled into traffic.
Recommendations for the kids:
Wear: these funky, kitchy, popsicle and kitten covered hats from Chapeau Patrick.
Play/Learn: Math Cubes have become one of the most enduring toys of our household. Manipulate, count, turn into robots, buildings, or Julian’s favorite…. popsicles. Bring ‘em in the car, on a plane, train, etc.
Art: Excited to go experience Jen Stark’s Cascade Show at the William Vale before it closes October 24th. Light, color, projection!
Light: Far before my kids were ever into mushrooms (in fact, for our baby shower), a friend got us one of these mushroom lights (but taller and narrower) and it’s the most enduring piece of kids’ room decor we have.
Recommendations for the grown-ups:
Listen/Watch: This interview with Julie Delpy on parenting, acting, directing, getting credit, being a woman in Hollywood, and being called crazy. And, her new Netflix show “On the Verge,” about four women friends, pre-pandemic LA, who are, on the verge…of breakup, burnout, overwhelm, mental health, all of it [NYTimes coverage].
Also a fun listen: Wes Anderson and Donald Wright talk with David Remnick about “The French Dispatch” (coming to theaters 10/22); the movie publication is largely modeled off of The New Yorker.
Drink: Going to reassert my love for the Kinto coffee thermos, which, even if you are only drinking coffee at home, keeps it hot for hours. Also, a matte drinking vessel has very nice hand feel.
Cook: This red lentil dal with coconut milk and abundant spices is my go-to fall food. Double the spices and throw in kale/spinach.
Bake: My pro Sunday night move was to make these scones (+ oats and shaved chocolate) and stick them in the freezer to bake Monday morning to motivate my kids at the beginning of the school week. (Tip: this recipe is better without the egg, which makes them too cakey).
That’s it for this week! Let me know if there’s any great music-reading-recipes-things to do-toys you’ve loved.
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