Friday, November 25, 2011

"This is haw you make cocoa"

Although I live in a TV-free household, my son has watched his fair share of cartoons and the like. We have been selective, but now that he's older, I'd rather show him more educational videos rather than just funnies.

Jonah recently got an advent calendar in the mail from his Czech grandma. Perfect, I thought. The back of the box described the company's commitment to fair trade and showed photos of several farmers in the cooperative and of the cocoa bean picking and roasting process. I thought, why not learn a little more and got busy on youtube.

Surely enough, I found three short, accessible segments about the history and making of chocolate. We watched and discussed. Jonah was engrossed.

First we watched a video on unfair and abusive labor practices on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast:

Next we watched a video discussing the reasons why it is important to support fair trade chocolate:

And, finally, we watched a clip made for kids about the history of chocolate and how it is traditionally picked and made from cacao beans:

Apparently my little first-grader was still processing all the information later when we were playing scramble-unscramble words with Scrabble tiles. He wrote: "This is haw you make cocoa."

I remember when he was about three, while we lived in Prague I showed him one of his first "educational" videos. It showed how hot dogs are made. My hidden agenda was that he would be so disgusted that he'd stop begging me for a hot dog from the stand on the way home from school every day. To my chagrin, the video of machines mixing powders, stuffing casings and pooping out hot dogs made him even more excited about this dubious food item. Kids are funny, funny people.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Big Six

My son was born 6 years ago yesterday! Oh my! Was it just yesterday or a hundred years ago? Motherhood. What a trip. I remember both this (2 weeks before Jonah was born):

and this (his first night home)... so vividly, yet like it was a dream:

happy mamma copy

To celebrate the occasion, we went camping by a river. It turned out to be a favorite summer experience for all involved:

And this is Jonah at one on the shore of the same river where he celebrated his sixth birthday (notice the hat - haha):

Monday, January 31, 2011

flowers for Amalia

Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of Amalia's birth. As time goes on, the pain of her death, only eight days after she was born, lessens. But the memories don't fade. And, to be honest, the aversion I have to many of those memories lingers.

Why aversion? And what a horrible thing to admit! I am only telling the truth. Amalia's short time with us was spent in intensive care. When not by her bedside in the hospital, I was home with my son, my mind flooded with worry and fear. At night, I could barely sleep and the nightmares that overwhelmed me were epic.

I am still in the process of teasing out the good from the horrific. The moments of tenderness are what must be raised above the rest:

Amalia's tiny, soft hand against mine; her warm head nestled against my chest when I held her (albeit only once); my lips against her hair and forehead; the songs my sister and I sang to Amalia incessantly while she was alive; the flowers and wishes family and friends had sent; the care of the nurses and doctors--institutional, but golden; my milk that flowed via tubes through her veins; the hospital window with a view, high up on a hill, gray clouds rushing by, pine trees swaying in the hostile February air; the rain drops pounding the windshield as I pushed ahead, driving to see her each day; ginger tea in the dark because I could hardly eat; bitter herbs because I could hardly sleep; her little face so much like her brother's; her reddish brown curls, dimpled knuckles, round belly, purple heels; the relief when she was breathing; and, finally, the sorrowful parting: ashes set free in a fast-flowing river full of heart-shaped stones.

Thank you for these flowers today, Jenni and Andy, Amalia's aunt and uncle, two of the very few people who got to meet her.