A few months ago my little man turned four.
Since then it’s been a constant struggle between me trying to hold on to the little baby that is barely there anymore and letting him grow up to the little kid that he’s dying to become. Actually, and in all honesty, he is already a little kid. He always wants to play with the bigger boys, he uses words that he really doesn’t understand but he heard somewhere, and he loves to tell me “I can do it” over and over again.
Sometimes he can do it all by himself. Well, most times he can do it all by himself. But the times that he’s a “big boy” are really hard on me… What do you mean you don’t need me to lift you up to the silverware drawer anymore? When did you get too big for that shirt, pants, shoes? How can you possibly get in and out of the car and put your seatbelt on without help??
I try my best to be supportive – “Yay! You’re so big!” or “Look at you doing that all by yourself!” But it’s also really hard to see him grow up because there is no more three, two or one year old – the adorable little baby that needed mama every moment of every day. Sure, the little baby still pops out here and there…
When he falls or gets scared he still comes running for me, needing the mama to sooth, kiss, snuggle the bad parts away. He grabs my hand and won’t let go when he’s introduced to someone or something new – hiding in my legs until I scrunch down to his level to make it all better. And then the bedtime routine. It’s been the same since day one and he still says, “no mama do it” when daddy offers to put him to bed.
I feel bad for Avery every night when we get into bed and start our final stretch of bedtime routine. We always read different stories, but after story time comes song time. Not only do I have the worst singing voice, but I have a limited song repertoire. I mean, having grown up in the 90s I know a lot of lyrics to a lot of songs, but those are absolutely inappropriate for four years old to hear while heading to sleepy town.
So the same songs are sung over and over again. There is a little song dedicated to a lamb, another song about some baby ducks, and the one about the Christmas deer with the glowing nose…yep, that’s pretty much it. But every night, no matter what, we read the books and sing the songs and snuggle through the yawns and eye rubs. He needs me at this time and my heart swells big every night just to be there to watch his eyelids grow heavy, to hear his breathing get deeper, and to watch his peaceful sleeping.
These past four years have flown by and I know I’ll blink and another four will have passed. It’s such a hard battle right now – to be so excited to watch him grown and learn while battling my sadness in watching him grow. Does that make any sense? Any parents out there that can share some advice for these years? How do I hold on to the little baby without smothering him? How do I let him go when I just want to hold on to him forever? Does every parent feel like this?
Well, after pouring my hear out I’m gonna sneak in his room like the mama stalker I am and kiss his sweet little sleeping face!! Hope he doesn’t wake up and ask me what I’m doing…ha!
thai red curry ramen with roasted salmon and swiss chard
makes two large bowls
extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces salmon, pin bones removed
10 ounces fresh or dried Asian vermicelli or egg noodles
1 tablespoon thai red curry paste
10 ounces coconut milk
14 ounces fish or chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
the juice of one lime
1 bunch swiss chard, ribs removed, washed and cut into 2×2 inch chunks
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
5 leaves of napa cabbage, washed and cut into 2×2 inch chunks
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
pea sprouts, optional
for the salmon:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the parchment and place the salmon on top of the olive oil. Cook the salmon until just cooked through – timing will very depending on the thickness of your salmon – and set aside to cool.
for the noodles:
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Drop the noodles into the pot and cook as per the package instructions. Drain the cooked noodles and rinse in cool water to remove the starch. Set aside.
for the thai red curry sauce:
In a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the curry paste, and stir to toast the paste. Add the coconut milk, stock and 1 cup of water to the pot and whisk everything together. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn off the heat. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and some of the lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
for the swiss chard:
In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a good drizzle of olive oil and the onions, stirring to coat. Cook the onions until wilted, about five minutes. Add the swiss chard, cabbage and 1/4 cup of water to the pan and stir everything together. Allow the chard and cabbage to wilt slightly before stirring again – cooking until everything is cooked through.
Divide the noodles into two bowls and ladle some hot curry broth over the top. Place the chard mixture on the noodles. Remove the salmon from it’s skin, break into chunks and place over the chard. Top everything with cilanttro and pea sprouts, if using.