My friends Renee and Jiebing came over for lunch today. We’ve all known each other for over a decade, but haven’t seen each other much lately. Renee taught the girls rock climbing, and Jiebing was once — for a very short time — Angela’s piano teacher. Angela was only three at that time and fell asleep very quickly at the piano bench. After a few more of those unproductive sessions Jiebing quit, citing that the pupil’s mother wasn’t strict enough.
Piano is not Jiebing’s primary musical instrument. She is a world renowned Er-hu player, and when she was only 6 years old, her father made her practice 8 hours a day. Once she climbed on a chair to change the time on the wall clock to fool her father, but got a terrible beating when she was caught. At age nine she was recruited by the Chinese Navy as a performing soldier. When compared to her father, of course I was not a strict parent in her eyes.
As we sat at the table enjoying the Waldorf Chicken Salad, we talked about how fast the kids had grown up and reminisced about the times when they used to babysit for me.
Once Jiebing was babysitting Angela and took her to a park to play. When Angela told her that she needed to “go potty,” Jiebing didn’t understand. “Go party where? What party do you want to go to?” Angela was exasperated, “I need to go potty!” Jiebing’s colloquial English was not good enough to know what “go potty” meant. It was a good thing that Angela took her hand and led her to the public toilet that was right next to the park, just in time to avoid an accident.
The first time Renee babysat Audrey, Audrey was a little younger than two. I dropped her off at Renee’s house and told her what Audrey loved to eat. Like me, Audrey was passionate about food and was a ravenous eater. When I went to pick up Audrey about three hours later, Renee said that Audrey didn’t eat at all. She didn’t want anything, not strawberries, not pasta, not even cookies. That was so strange that I feared she might be sick. In the car, I asked if she was alright and she said, “I thought you gave me to her.” I realized that she had never been dropped off anywhere before and naturally thought that I “gave” her away.
When Angela came home from school, they couldn’t believe how tall and beautiful she has become — she is now taller than both of them, which according to Angela is not saying much, but still it is another sign of change for all of us.
Waldorf Chicken Salad — Healthy-fied
Ingredients for the Salad:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped roast chicken breast meat (I used Costco roast chicken)
1 cup seedless red and green grapes, halved
1/2 large Fuji apple, diced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 cup diced celery
Butter lettuce leaves
Ingredients for Fat-free Dressing:
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
2 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon raw honey
1 1/2 tablespoon coarse ground Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Dry mustard and cinnamon to sprinkle
Mix all ingredients for dressing in a bowl. Mix all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl. Pour dressing into the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a small dash of dry mustard and cinnamon before serving.