The Temperaments God Gave My Kids

25 January 2015

The other day, I was hanging out with this old friend and her sixteen month old. And this sixteen month old is such a boy. He got into everything. Climbing over boxes to get to chords. He dumped the bowl of goldfish crackers out on the coffee table and then proceeded to fling the goldfish to every corner of the room.

In short: awesome. He was awesome.

And Lucy June stood in the middle of the room, holding onto one plastic toy, and watched him very critically. Lucy June who reaches for something contraband and typically at my first "UhOh" will straighten up, smile, and go somewhere else. Lucy June who watches her hands as she signs for "more" and carefully taps her little fingers together. Lucy June who has recently started nodding when I ask "night night?"

If I had Lucy June first, I would have thought I was a pretty kick ass parent. I would've been positively insufferable.

But I didn't have Lucy June first. I had Jake.

When Jake was a baby and a toddler, I didn't have a real sense of his uniqueness. People would ask about his personality, and I would say: "Baby personality??" I had no concept of what was Him Being a Baby vs. Him Being Him. Now that I've known him a few years and had a second baby, I've clued in.

And my kids are so different. From the very beginning they've been so different. I know he's a boy and she's a girl and their differences really fall on gendered sides of the fence, but still I find it so interesting.

Several of my friends have recommended Art Bennett's The Temperament God Gave Your Kids - these are of course Catholic friends, Protestants don't talk about temperaments - which explores the idea of responding to your children according to their personalities. This seems pretty intuitive, but also essential. My parents certainly seemed to adjust according to my and my siblings' tendencies growing up. For example, my little brothers had curfews, I never did. I actually broke a window trying to sneak back IN the house after my parents forgot I wasn't home and locked me out.

So this is the face off in Casa Rhodes with regard to blossoming, burgeoning behaviors.

Jake vs. Lucy June

Jake fought sleep as a baby. Boy he fought it. But once he was asleep you couldn't wake him up if you tried.

Lucy June learned to sleep much more easily. She was a baby you could swaddle and look away and she would be asleep. But man was she light: she would wake up if I was typing in the next room.


When Jake was little he just went: he would take off and never look back. I once tested how far he would walk away from me. He walked for a quarter mile along the beach before I caught up with him. He hadn't looked for me once.

Lucy June has this invisible tether. She always knows where I am. When we're in public, I can set her down and let her wander because she will always stay where she can see me.


Jake fell off the bed probably eight times. (I thought this was my fault until:)

Lucy June fell off once.


Jake dumps bins out.

Lucy June fills the bins back up.


Jake would always rather be playing.

Lucy June would always rather be eating.


If Jake's hungry, he doesn't really notice what he's eating - with the exception of sweet peppers - he'll chomp right through it, tell me it's "delushous," and ask to be excused.

Lucy June will survey her food and, with eyebrows raised and chin tilted up, will carefully pick out that one exact bit.


Jake is the opposite of coy. When I'm out of the room, and I hear Lucy June cry, I can call and ask what happened. Jake won't skip a beat: "I hit her."

Lucy June has already grasped the concept of hiding things from me. She tried to sneak away with more ornaments off the Christmas tree than I could count.


Jake and I will play the nice little game of mistake/consequence/meltdown/timeout, and as soon as timeout is over he will skip away unfazed to the next moment's play. Jake's never held a grudge. And he's literally never grumpy.

Lucy June will trip on her socks and look around for who to blame. Her poutface is positively masterful.


Lucy June is a kisser and a cuddler.

When Jake was around her age, he snuggled with me approximately once. And that's how I figured out he had Roseola.

And that's all she wrote. Top of the Sunday to you, my friends!

Cream Cheese Sausage Queso

13 January 2015

I am not, nor will I ever be, a food blogger.

I might send you to someone else's water kefir tutorial. I might have Michael Ruhlman's Ratio on hold at the library. I might complain about my persistent baking woes. And very very occasionally I will venture into recipe land. Like today.

Today I'm giving you a recipe, but instead of sheepishly, I'm doing it boldly. Boldly! Because I've recently realized that some (maybe even most????) people don't know about this sausage dip. I want to change that.

First let me remind you that I'm a Texan. Born and raised. My ancestors came over with the good ole Stephen F and though our original homestead has literally been swallowed by the Gulf of Mexico, our flag is still planted.

That means I grew up eating Velveeta and Rotel. I don't know if this is just a Texas thing, but it basically wasn't a party when I was little without a lukewarm crockpot of queso getting that lovely plastic-y film on top.

I love Velveeta and Rotel. Even if the words "Processed cheese product" send chills up my spine and clog my whole food trumpet, I still love Velveeta and Rotel. So if you're like me, and you've got this whole foods itch, but you still love a good queso, this recipe is for you. It's not good for you, but at least the cheese is real cheese.

Cream Cheese Sausage Queso
Despite my relentlessly inferior food photography: this stuff is so good and so easy.

Three ingredients.
1 lb of sausage (italian or breakfast sausage.) 
8oz of cream cheese 
One can of Rotel 

(You of course know that you're never supposed to eat canned tomatoes, right? Good.)

Three steps.
Brown the sausage. Add the cream cheese and tomatoes. Stir occasionally while cheese melts

There's a lot of wiggle room in the ratio of these ingredients. This specific ratio is pretty sausage heavy. Which is not a bad thing...

Serve with chips and then come back and tell me how you like it.

On Preschool

08 January 2015

So thanks to travel and illness and holidays and my laptop hard drive totally spazzing out, this blog has not been getting any attention.

Save yourself some grief and back up your hard drive right now. We had most of our really important stuff in the cloud, but we hadn't backed up our images since like mid 2013. Stupid stupid stupid. So now we're playing the lovely game of Just How Much is It Worth to You to Retrieve Those Baby Pics.


Instead of blogging and fretting about all my lost data, I've been working to build some structure into our days - A Mother's Rule of Life style. I read the book ages ago, when Jake was a few months old, and I could never get past any initial endeavors to schedule our day because I was too overwhelmed and Jake was too unpredictable.

My life isn't exactly a Caribbean sunset now, but I have more of a sense of what rhythms I can count on to build order around.

One of the things I'm doing is starting some preschool stuff with Jake.
I ordered this book after Rachael blogged about it, and two days in, it's going pretty well.

Jake LOVES it.

I never imagined doing any kind of preschoolery stuff with my kiddos. In my mind, Preschool = Overkill. I dreamed that their worlds would be wide with play and imagination, but instead, by 11am I was merely getting a stream of requests to play on Papa's iPad. So on days when the weather pushes us inside and I have no recourse to his primary teacher (mud), Jake needs more stimulation, and as much as I want to be this super creative mom, for now, we have a preschool workbook that we do during Lucy Juney's morning nap.

My husband is very sure I will homeschool our kids. I am very much NOT sure. This is very typical of my marriage.

Perhaps we will just wait for the fruits of my preschool labor. Because so far...
they're "hopeful" at best.

I'd love your thoughts on indoor activities I could do with a NOT laid-back three year old. Even shoot me a link to a Pinterest board, if you have one.

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