You Can Take the Family Home From Vacation, But...Whatever.

08.12.10: Leo's 27th Month

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Our little toddler cooking class made tabbouleh yesterday (only after singing “Happy Tabbouleh to you!” of course), and halfway through, POOF! End of Toddler Attention Span! One kid was in the toy box, one was on the other side of the house, and Leo was jumping on the couch. “Um, hello, class? Anyone want to push the buttons on the food processor?”

So I finished off the tabbouleh on my own and served it up, to Leo’s delight, and frankly, not to the delight of his two friends, one of whom has strong texture preferences, the other of whom will taste nothing green. Ah well, the rest of us enjoyed our tabbouleh. And most of the bulgur has dried up and flaked off my living room rug.

I think the interruption of our vacation last week is partly to blame, and apparently tabbouleh is just not as universally appealing, but I think my general feeling of disorganization is probably the bigger factor in the mid-tabbouleh cooking class fizzle. I simply am not on top of things this week—wedged, as it is, between our super-long vacation in Maine and the week we’re about to spend at the beach in North Carolina.

In between vacations like this, being home is so…uncool. After we did several loads of laundry we put everything back in our luggage. We did buy milk, but most meals have been half-assed, and every night I briefly consider going for a jog and/or, ordering in. But then, I don’t want take-out and I have to force myself to run on the stinky, crowded sidewalks around here. Here’s what I want: a house full of doting adults to keep Leo busy while I go for leisurely runs on sweet-smelling dirt roads through shaded forests, then return home to shower, crack open a beer and cook dinner with gorgeous, local, farm-fresh ingredients.

No one recommends the city in August, and certainly we’re escaping about as much as we possibly could, but can I just say: UGH! Then again, one of our playgroup moms is expecting baby # 2 any day now, and one of Leo’s teachers has been working all summer through her first trimester, and our own Kate Flaim is patiently approaching her due date while handling the heat in Boston, so what am I complaining about?

Clearly all this vacation has spoiled me. And not just me. When we ran into a neighbor on the way home from school yesterday, Leo asked her, quite clearly, for some ice cream. Shhh, kid, don’t let everyone know we’ve become total pleasure-seekers, with barely a vegetable in our crisper. If not for that tabbouleh, our week’s menu would bear alarming resemblance to some sort of dubious breakfast cereal diet.

Meh. We’re off to the beach!

Recipe: Toddler Cooking Class Three: Making Tabbouleh

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.

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