Can’t have chocolate for dinner EVERY night…

I used to like to cook.

Then I had kids.

Now every new recipe is like submitting my book to a literary agent. And though I was able to give up the submission process because of the revolution in self-publishing, I can’t do the same with my growing offspring.

I brace myself for rejection, knowing it is only the most predictable creation that will please. But not too predictable–oh no–then they’ll complain how desperately they want something new. Again, not unlike traditional publishing.

So, I’ve got a pile of thawed Costco tilapia filets in the fridge. There’s no going back now. I have to cook them. There are hundreds of great recipes I could try, yet I’m sitting here typing this because I dread the looks on my children’s faces, the frowny foreheads, the suspicion and disappointment. What, no barbequed hot dogs? No pizza? Not even pork chops?

It’s really only one of my children that’s difficult this way, so I’m being unfair. But it feels good to vent.

Hey, it’s my blog.

As I composed this post, I took a minute to make Difficult Eater a snack. Now when DE doesn’t eat the fish, neither one of us has to have a nervous breakdown about it. This breaks major parenting rules, I know, but hey…

It’s my house.

p.s. I think this is the recipe I’m going to try.

Kindle Fire – Parents, turn off yer One Click

Me on Christmas

Note: this post was written in January of 2012. Your Kindle and Amazon’s policies may have changed by now.

Since I’ve gotten a lot of hits about my last Kindle Fire post, I’m going to share some more information I learned the hard way.

I have kids. Kids who borrow my Kindle, my iPod, my laptop, everything. We all got hooked on Angry Birds this Christmas — so hooked, I had to buy a version for my iPod Touch and the new Kindle Fire to prevent sibling homicide in the car.

Imagine my surprise to find Angry Birds Seasons had also been loaded.

“I wanted it,” my little girl said.

“You can’t have it,” I said. (This was Christmas, too. I’m such a b-word.)

I was annoyed. I complained verbally to my husband, then felt guilty since he’d bought me the Fire for Christmas and I’m often whiny and ungrateful. That night I sent one email to Amazon and they refunded my money. However, I didn’t want to repeat this experience every few days. Some of us have children that are 1) smarter, and/or 2) naughtier than they should be.

So, if you’re like me, you’ll want to turn off what Amazon calls your “Mobile 1-Click.” You can do this from your PC or your Fire.

Accessing 1-Click Settings from a PC/web browser:

1) go to Amazon homepage

2) click on Your Account in upper right hand corner

3) scroll down to Settings/ Manage 1-Click

4) over to the right, you should see two little windows. 1-click for website purchases, and below it “Mobile 1-Click.” Turn that off.

5) If you don’t see a Mobile option, then it is already disabled. You can turn it on and off from the device itself; see below.

Accessing 1-Click Settings from the Kindle Fire:

1. Turn on your Kindle Fire. (This may entail finding your power cord (which, by the way, is way too freaking short) since your kids may have drained the battery playing Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja behind the couch.)

2. Click on Amazon icon below your Carousel.

3. Click on the little icon at the bottom of the screen between the arrow and the magnifying glass. It looks like a piece of paper with lines on it. Sorry I don’t know how to do Fire screencaptures.

4. Click on Your Account (little bust person)

5. Sign in to your account.

6. Click on “1-Click Settings” in upper right hand corner

7. You found it!!!! Mobile 1-Click can be turned off here. It is also the only place I know of where it can be turned ON. Which suggests you might want to keep an eye on that sucker and change the password frequently.

If you aren’t finding the Mobile settings, make sure you’ve updated the Kindle Fire software since early December. They pushed out a fix (it is a drug so they use the same lingo) but you’ll have to make sure you’re running it. Make sure WiFi is up and Sync.

Hope this helps! Time to get my kids off the computer. If it’s not one screen, it’s another. Screen or scream… you know how it is.

Happy New Year!


Is some TV better than none?

Everyone talks about the dangers of too much TV on a kid, but is there such a thing as too little?

We’re a little eccentric in our family of four, I admit, but we’re not anti-screen. We have a Wii, a Nintendo, iPods, a DS or two, Netflix. But we also read compulsively, spend unhealthy hours online, and play card games instead of turning on the big plasma thing we have in the living room.

I used to depend upon the TV as a babysitter. I’m not ashamed or proud of this; it was necessary. Unhappy four year old + Dragon Tales =  another day of life. Listening to Max and Emmy’s theme song every evening at 5:30 was a high price, but one I was willing to pay.

The adults stopped watching their own TV shows, not that we ever watched many. Then the oldest son declared at eight or so that TV sucked. Today, the seven year old in the house still likes TV, but only to watch Mythbusters via Netflix/Wii. She’ll leave the room if anything other than nature/science documentaries comes on screen.

So, here we are in the heaving bosom of a mainstream demographic – a family of four in California with two grade-school children – and we don’t have a flying fig what’s going on in broadcast pop culture.

Naturally, being a mother, I worry. Maybe, I think as I watch my 1st grader explain Paleolithic botany to the teens at the pool, maybe no-TV is bad for their social development. My kids know too much about explosives and particle physics to relate to other children. We all know how kids are never, ever cruel about people who are different than they are.

It’s the perfect lesson in reverse psychology. Driven to desperation by the exhaustion of being a stay-at-home mother, I pushed TV on my children from a young age. Therefore, they’ve learned to associate the noisy, colorful box with maternal deprivation. My son has rejected its siren call in his mature older years (5th grade) in favor of learning fun stuff in his room, like building his own circuit boards with parts cannibalized from broken toys and random household objects. My daughter is too picky to tolerate anything she can’t control with the remote. Anything without a pause button is unthinkable.

So we carry on not knowing who – Snookie? – is, or any star under 35. When journalists begin a piece with “Unless you’ve been living in a cave,” I prick up my ears and concentrate extra hard. If it’s current events or political commentary, I’m reasonably well-informed. But if it’s something that happens on 9pm every Wednesday night on channel 7 . . . not a clue.

I hope the other kids don’t make fun of me.