I am afraid to leave my son. I am afraid to leave him in his bed on his own if he cries out for me in the night, I am afraid to leave him at school if he says he doesn’t want to go, and forget leaving him with a babysitter. I don’t even have a phone number for a babysitter. What does it all have to do with? I have no idea, and I’m sure it will cost me a lot of money to find out, but may all the gods bless the patient people who try and help us mothers-with-no-manuals to the other side, and independence. I was explaining to my son’s nursery school teacher this morning that we were late because Ferdinand wasn’t really ready to go to school so early in the morning, and he might just be a little stressed, and I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with Ferd, but that maybe he didn’t feel quite right, he ate breakfast, but not so much dinner, he definitely could have had more milk, and I was just going to sit on the bench to be sure that he was OK, because if he needed me, I could just take him home. As gentle as a falling leaf, she said to me, “I think Ferd is going through a little separation anxiety.” “Oh yea,” I said. “I know, and you’re right.” And then she said, “and I think you might be too.” “Oh.”
Ferd was standing next to some of his best friends, and a tank of hermit crabs, sponging green paint all over a massive piece of paper. He wasn’t crying, he wasn’t calling for me, and he was fine. So I went home.
Sometimes all it takes are kind words to encourage you to do things that you just can’t do on your own.
Take cooking tofu for instance, which is a lot easier than raising kids. Tofu is a harmless piece of mush, and yet if you listen closely, you can hear small shrieks coming from the tofu section as people pass it in the grocery store. You have to be bold with tofu. You have to let it know who’s boss. You want to surround it with strong flavors and sassy cooking techniques. If you get it right, you can transform it into something that you love. Think Indian. Dice the tofu, and marinate in lime juice, a litte olive oil, cumin seeds, fresh ginger slices and fresh garlic. Heat up a heavy saute pan, drizzle with oil, and over high heat, sear the tofu cubes, without stirring for a few minutes, letting them caramelize. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Start again in the same pan with a few teaspoons of coriander seeds, half as much cumin, and toast them until they release their aroma. Cool and smash them up in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle (get yourself one). Add some oil to the pan and a small onion, finely chopped, three cloves of minced garlic, and a few inches of fresh ginger, also minced. Saute this around over a medium heat until the onion is soft, seasoning with black pepper, salt, and a few red pepper flakes. Add the cumin and coriander, and then a few spoonfuls of stock or water. Throw it in the blender, and puree. Add a tiny bit of butter to the pan, and when the pan is hot, roll some cherry tomatoes around in it until they collapse; add the pureed mixture, about a quarter cup of unsweetened coconut milk, more stock or water if you need it, and if you are really feeling brave, some nice firm diced mango. Taste it to see if it’s delicious. You might need some salt or a little lime zest. Add the tofu. Serve with rice and fresh chive.