There are many opportunities to take the easy road as parents. Every day comes with challenges – some new – but mostly those which we can expect (temper tantrums, not eating vegetables, blazing little trails of dirt everywhere they go). Patience is not just a skill, it becomes a core value, and one necessary to not only our everyday sanity but also for the sake of the child.
Toddlers are demanding, exhausting, time consuming, daily routine-shattering little life forces. Without patience, we’d lose grasp of reality in the days after our kids first learn to say, “no,” and our children would be destined for a life in front of a screen.
Our two and a half year old daughter Rowan takes everything to the extreme. From her insistence on climbing (and jumping) everything in sight, to her boisterous demeanor and one-track mind, she is a 30-inch tall Ph. D program in patience.
Her latest course offering has been her decision to wake up before 6am most mornings. It starts with a subtle whine at 5-something and quickly escalates to “mama or dada-geeb up!” (she can’t quite enunciate “get up” correctly).
It almost feels like she’s trolling us – successfully at that. It’s so close to when we actually need to get up that it completely ruins that last 20-30 minutes of sleep we might have enjoyed getting but now certainly won’t (whether she goes back to sleep or not).
At this point, rather than fight her every morning, we purchased a toddler training clock called the Gro Clock. The premise is simple, at night, the clock shows a large blue-lit star surrounded by a series of smaller ones. At the time of our choosing, it transforms to a yellow sun, signifying daytime and time to “geeb up.”
Rowan may be a bit too young to understand the full concept (at least in the wee hours of the morning when she’s still hardwired to wake up and insistent on doing so). But in just two days of practice she does enjoy the idea of the clock and is saying things like “sun go night-night” and “stars, it’s dark.”
All this to say that sure, we could go on getting up at 5:45 and it wouldn’t really change our daily routine. We could also let Rowan cry it out and fall back asleep a few mornings in a row (we do, however, live in an apartment for the time being and this isn’t really a desirable notion). Instead, we’re using this as an opportunity to teach Rowan about a boundary that she needs to learn: one that challenges her first instinct when she wakes up in the morning and forces her to think logically (for herself, and us).
I’m hopefully optimistic that she will take to the clock within a few weeks. It will be one of those rewards of parenting that radiates positive effects throughout our family. In the meantime, it will take all of the patience we can muster to keep Rowan from “geeb’ing up” at the ass crack of dawn.
Into the kitchen – Peanut Butter Hummus
Little did I know that when I started making homemade hummus two days ago that I would have to channel that very patience of which I speak. While simple in terms of ingredients, the process took about 16 hours start to finish (granted, most of that is just waiting for the chickpeas to soak and cook).
I’ve made hummus from canned chickpeas before – and I can say that this recipe yielded superior results. The base ingredient list is small, but like any hummus there are a variety of add ins or toppings you can inject to make it your own.
Patience will be needed during the chickpea skinning portion of the recipe – I’ll describe the technique below. I’m sure there is a sweet spot to cooking the chickpeas to a point where the skin falls off yet they aren’t broken down, but I did not hit that sweet spot. However, like parenting, taking the long road had delicious rewards.
- 3 cups cooked, skinned chickpeas (prep method below)
- 1/4 cup reserved chickpea cooking liquid
- 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (traditional recipe uses roasted tahini)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra drizzle for garnish
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1-2 lemons
- Salt & pepper
- Smoked paprika for garnish
- Other optional garnishes include: olive tapenade, roasted garlic, harissa or roasted red peppers, etc.
- Chickpea prep: Rinse 1.5 – 2 cups dry chickpeas (this will yield more than enough). Pick through any broken or green peas and discard. Put the chickpeas in a pot and cover them with water an inch over the peas. Leave to soak overnight (8-12 hours), adding water if necessary. Drain the peas and fill the pot once more so the chickpeas are covered with water by an inch. Place on the stovetop and bring to a rolling boil. Cut the heat to low and let the peas simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring every 30-45 minutes. Check for doneness.
- Patience needed: Drain the cooked chickpeas (save 1/4 cup of cooking water) and lay out a clean dishcloth on the counter. Working in shifts of one cup at a time, lay out the chickpeas, fold the cloth over and roll them around with soft pressure. This will loosen the skins and make them easier to peel. Discard the skins and set aside the chickpea meat in a small bowl. Do this for three cups of peas.
- To the bowl of chickpeas, add the reserved chickpea water, peanut butter (or tahini), oil, garlic, juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper. Add mixture to food processor and run until smooth. Check the consistency at this point. It’s really a personal preference from here – do you want a thick, chunkier dip or a smooth, creamy spread? Either add more lemon juice and water or leave it as is.
- Portion hummus into a bowl and top with your favorite garnishes. From here, the world is your oyster. Enjoy!