Ever since we found out we were moving to Germany, my husband and I started working on learning German. (We have been using Duolingo – a free app and Rosetta Stone -just in case anyone is interested in learning a language).
In German, “Langsam, bitte” means: Slowly please.
This has been my mantra the past few days…ever since I took my son for his 9 month check up. Which, by the way, it’s like I blinked and he’s already 9 months old. How did that happen?
At the doctor’s office, I began filling out the standard questionnaire. You know, the one where they ask about fine motor skills, communication, etc.
As I sat there, with the pink clipboard in my lap, the pen in my hand, and my son smiling up at me from his car seat, I realized something.
I couldn’t answer many of the questions.
Does he look for an object if you cover it up? I don’t know. I’ve never tried that.
Does he use his thumb and forefinger to grab something? I think…maybe…I’m not sure…
Does he pick up a small object with one hand? Um…..
Does he toss a toy back and forth between his hands? Well…I’ve never seen him do that…
Does he say words like “ma”, “ba”, “ga”?
That last one…that last question…it was like a punch in the gut…the one where I thought to myself “I can’t believe I haven’t noticed that he isn’t doing this”.
Until I read that question…until the doctor mentioned that he had some concerns about his communication skills…I had not noticed that he is so quiet.
Talk about feeling like a crap mother.
The doctor assured me that there’s no need to worry YET. After all, he was born a month early but it is something that we need to keep an eye on.
It’s not so much about me being worried that he will have problems communicating (and if he does he will just get speech therapy).
It’s the fact that I haven’t been paying ATTENTION.
It’s the fact that I have been running in twenty different directions, trying to do EVERYTHING – trying to exercise daily, to eat perfectly clean, to cook healthy dinners, to get the kids signed up for after school activities, to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom, to go see the sights, to meet friends, to do laundry, to read to the kids, to get them to bed at a decent time, to finish unpacking the house, to work (I work from home, auditing charts), to go on a date with my husband, to find decent babysitters for the kids, to learn the language, to learn the socially acceptable ways to behave in a German village, to navigate the German grocery stores…I could go on and on and on.
After that doctor’s appointment I realized I need to slow WAY down. I need to STOP worrying about the next thing that needs to be done and just PLAY with my kids at the park. Just sing to my baby and read him books. Hold him and take time to sit at the table and feed him, instead of shoving a cracker in his hand as we run out the door to the next activity.
All that matters is that we are healthy. We are together. And I will figure this all out…eventually.
In a world where we want everything YESTERDAY, remember that life is PRECIOUS. Life is fleeting. Life is NOT guaranteed.
The little moments are TRULY what matter the most.
As a side note, one of the things that has helped me slow down is the Crockpot! I throw dinner in there in the morning and it’s ready in the afternoon. Instead of spending time in the kitchen after my daughter gets off the bus, I can spend time playing with my kids.
In case you find that you need to slow down as well, I wanted to share a few crockpot recipes from my current online accountability group that have been a hit here at my house!
Pumpkin 3 Bean Chili
o 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
o 1 cup onion, chopped
o 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
o 3 cloves garlic minced
o 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
o 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
o 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
o 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
o 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
o 2 teaspoons chili powder
o 1.5 teaspoons cumin 1.5 teaspoons oregano
o 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
o ½ teaspoon sea salt o 2.5 cups vegetable broth
o Toppings: Fresh cilantro Avocado Scallions
1. Add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and pepper, sauté until tender.
3. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
4. Transfer to Crockpot.
5. Add remaining ingredients to Crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours.
6. Top with fresh cilantro, avocado and scallions
10 servings, about 1 cup each
o 1 tsp. olive oil
o 1 medium onion, chopped
o 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
o 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and deveined, finely chopped
o 1 lb. raw ground chicken breast (or whole breast cut into strips or bitesize pieces)
o 1½ cups dry farro, rinsed
o 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained
o 1 cup frozen corn o 1 (15 oz.) can diced fire roasted tomatoes (or diced tomatoes), no salt added
o 1 cup water
o 1 (10-oz.) can red enchilada sauce
o 2 Tbsp. chili powder
o 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
o 2 tsp. ground coriander
o Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
o 1 cup shredded jack (or cheddar or Mexican blend) cheese
o 3 medium green onions, chopped
o ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
3. Add garlic and jalapenos; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until jalapenos are soft.
4. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
5. Place chicken mixture, farro, beans, corn, tomatoes, water, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and coriander in a 3-quart slow cooker; mix well and cover. Cook on high for 3 hours, or until liquid has been absorbed, and farro is tender.
6. Remove lid and stir mixture. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add cheese; mix well. Cover until cheese has melted.
7. Top with green onions and cilantro; serve.
*You could use brown rice if you can’t find farro
*I got already cooked, diced chicken from the refrigerated section