Friday, November 20, 2015

When a toddler speaks...

Cliff and I have really enjoyed being with Cora while she learns to talk, but she has surely taught us to watch what we say.  Before she was actually putting words together, probably around the age of one year, I noticed her repeating things I said.  At that time she called cows "Mooo".  She would point at a cow or calf, say "moo", and I would absent-mindedly say "mmm-hmmm", emphasis on the "hmmm".  She would repeat my mmm-hmm exactly.

She's been calling us by name for a long time.  She has trouble with the "L" sound in Cliff, so it comes out "Ciff".  However, she pronounces Donna perfectly, and always has.  She sometimes calls us "Grandpa Ciff" and "Grandma Donna", because that's how her parents refer to us when they talk to her.  While I always call my husband by the shortened version of his name. Cora sometimes calls him Clifford, I guess because she hears her dad and others use his full name.  

I never realized until the child started talking how often I say "yup" instead of yes.  That seems to be Cora's preferred word when she answers in the affirmative, although she can't pronounce the "y" at the beginning, so it comes out "Wup".  She says this OFTEN!  Like many toddlers, she can't pronounce her "r's", so they, too, come out as "w".  Like that pesky wabbit, Bugs Bunny.

I don't curse, although occasionally if there's a big disaster (like when I shut my finger in a door, or spill something messy) I say "Crap!"  

By the time Cora was nine months old, she was repeating that word five or six times in succession if she heard me say it once.  So I don't say it any more.  

She still refers to herself often in the third person, which I think is my own fault.  As a way of baby-talking without even realizing what I was doing, I would say things like "Cora can't have that" or "Cora likes that".  You know, rather than saying "you can't have that".  So let's say I decide to put her boots on or zip her jacket:  Typical of a two-year-old, she wants to do things for herself and will say, "Cora do it."  

The strange thing is, she knows there is another way to refer to herself.  I recently asked her, "Did you have fun at Grandma's house?"

She answered emphatically, "I DID!"  Not "Cora did", but I did.

Maybe she is just patronizing us.  Perhaps she thinks we don't know how to talk right, and is saying things the way we taught her so we will understand.  

Because of the nature of construction work, she isn't here as regularly in winter as the rest of the year, so her dad has her a lot.  We don't let a week go by without seeing our girl, though, if we can help it; and her daddy is fine with bringing her over to spend a day if we ask.  Of course, there's no charge for those days.  Yesterday her dad woke her up and brought her over, per our request.  At the door Cora popped her pacifier (paci) out of her mouth and handed it to me with a grin, saying, "Want this?"  I usually put it away until nap-time.  

Some years ago... it was after we had first moved to the mobile home, so four to six years ago... I mentioned to Cliff that I missed babies.  "I wouldn't want to raise another child," I told him in jest, "but if someone left a baby on our doorstep, I think I would take it in."  

I don't remember his response, but in Cora, we have the best of both worlds:  We got our baby, but we don't have to get up at night with her.  We get lots of time to ourselves and we don't have to worry about eventually having to raise a teenager.  Of course, she isn't really a baby any more.  

Somebody is going to have a baby in the next five years, because I think if we are still up to the task, we might want another one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All for the love of fruitcake

I don't know how many years it's been since I made fruitcake.  My mother discovered a fruitcake recipe back in the 50's that was second to none.  Most of the family loved it.  I had to stop making it because I ended up eating 75% of it, and by the time November rolls around each year, my jeans are already bursting at the seams.  A fruitcake would necessitate buying at least a size larger clothing by the time it was gone.  

Last year I ordered a two-pound fruitcake from Collin Street Bakery.  I paid almost $30 for it, but I figured if I ate it all myself, at least it was only two pounds rather than seven.  It was good, high-quality stuff.  But it wasn't my mother's fruitcake.

Today I realized that if I am ever going to taste my mother's fruitcake again, I'd better be making one, wardrobe be damned. Who knows how many more Christmases I have left?  So I found the recipe this morning and wrote down all the ingredients.

I spent $38 on all this stuff, but I won't be using all those nuts, raisins, pans, and dates in the making of one fruitcake.  This time of year you can't have too many nuts, raisins, and little disposable loaf pans.  

I was somewhat confused about the fluffy white icing, because back when Mother made her fruitcake, and even the last time I made it, the recipe called for Betty Crocker Fluffy White icing that was a dry mix, and we mixed it up ourselves with a mixer.  Today I could only find Betty Crocker Fluffy White Frosting in a can, ready-mixed.  I hope it's the right amount to make the cake stick together, but just in case, I bought an extra can.  I just now took the required Betty Crocker Spice Cake out of the oven, and as soon as it's cool, I'll be making my "Mystery Fruitcake".  I did not know that was the real name of it until I began Googling to see if the recipe could be found online.  This is pretty much my mom's recipe, except that she used one cup of regular raisins and one cup of golden raisins.  Oh, and she was liable to use a variety of nuts:  English walnuts, black walnuts, and pecans.  

Back in the fifties, I believe Mother bought her candied fruit at Kresge's, downtown Kansas City, where you could buy the exact amount you needed by the pound so there was no waste.  

Ah, Kresge's.  Those were the good old days.