Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Most Embarrassing Day of My Life

Today was the most embarrassing day of my life.  So far.  And it all was thanks to Mr. Matthew.

For the past two months, Matthew and I have been going to physical therapy to correct the neck and back pain that has been plaguing me since I began lugging around a certain 30-pound little boy.  The therapy sessions are an intense 2 1/2 hours where I am performing all sorts of stretches and weight-bearing exercises to properly strengthen my core and correct my posture, all with the goal of alleviating unnecessary strain on select muscle groups that are causing me pain.  At first, I tried to arrange for a babysitter for Matthew during these sessions, but the frequency of the appointments made that difficult.  When the therapists learned that I had a small son at home, they encouraged me to bring him along.  So, I did.  I am so blessed that the therapists love kids so much because they spend a lot of time entertaining him while I am  doing my exercises.  They help him jump on the trampolines, bounce balls, feed him candy, and show him how to use their industrial-sized coffee machine.  He absolutely loves going and is usually so well-behaved.

However, that all changed today.

I was going about my stretches as usual while keeping an eye on my little man.  Matthew was preoccupied with tossing a ball about the room.  I turned away for another minute to complete another set of chest curls when suddenly I heard the deafening sound of a fire alarm resonating throughout the entire room.  Instantly, the other patients in the room jumped up to grab their things and head outside.  The pool where some of the more elderly patients were performing aquatic therapeutic exercises was instantly emptied as the patients jumped out (despite their bad backs, knees, and hips), grabbed their towels, and headed for the doors.  They were all pretty alarmed.  Amid all the chaos, Matthew came running towards me, his hands slapped over his little ears, scared to death by the sudden noise that he had caused.

Even though I did not see him do the deed, I knew what had happened.  Matthew had bounced his ball into the corner where the fire alarm was anchored to the wall, at a federally-mandated reachable level of 2-feet off the ground.  Apparently, the urge to pull the lever proved to be too great for him.  So he pulled it.  And chaos ensued.

See?  Another lever to pull.  He's a curious little guy.

The therapists were madly racing around trying to get everyone to calm down by explaining that the alarm had been accidentally pulled.  Unfortunately, nobody could really hear anybody else talking because the alarms were still blaring (nobody knew how to reset the alarm).  After a minute or two, everyone calmed down and another 3 minutes after that, the fire department came racing in, the alarm on their truck blaring.  Three firemen completely outfitted in all their firefighting glory came marching into the building.  The head PT explained what had happened and the firemen reset the alarm for the building and finally we could all hear ourselves think again.

However, they were not finished with Matthew.

"Where's the little boy that pulled this alarm?"  they asked.

Matthew meekly walked forward, looking very ashamed of himself.  Even though he did not completely  understand the situation, he knew that he was in trouble.

The fireman picked him up and asked him:  "Have you ever seen a firetruck before?"

Matthew just stared at him (I said a silent prayer that he would not take this opportunity to start picking his nose, as often happens whenever he gets quiet).

"Would you like to see our truck?"  the fireman asked him again.
"Oh yeah!" Matthew responded, while pointing at the fire truck through the window.

So, the fireman took my little troublemaker on board the firetruck.  Matthew thought it was the greatest thing ever.  I was a little worried that this little field trip might prove to be an incentive for him to pull the alarm again in the future.

It all ended well, but I was pretty embarrassed.  I could not help but think that the other patients must think I am a horrible mother who cannot keep track of her son.  I kept apologizing for everyone for the inconvenience and everyone assured me that it was alright and that they actually had found the whole situation quite humorous.  I hope so.

The recipe I want to share today is one of our favorite weekday breakfast foods.  In an effort to save money on buying cereal, I have been making baked oatmeal in large batches at the very beginning of the week and keeping it in the refrigerator for us to use for breakfast all week long.  Paul loves having this option available because he can just cut off a slice, microwave it if he wishes, and head out the door.  Matthew absolutely loves baked oatmeal.  It is normally a struggle to get him to eat the stovetop version, but for some reason he eats caveman-sized portions once the oatmeal is baked.  I have made a lot of different varieties, but this pumpkin one is probably my favorite.  I love anything pumpkin, as does Mr. Matthew.  Who says pumpkin is just for the fall?  I buy so many cans of it just for the purpose of using it all year round in dishes such as these.  This is a delicious, warm, and comforting breakfast - give it a try!

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal with Caramelized Bananas
adapted from Annie's Eats

1 cup steel-cut oats
4 cups very hot water
2 large bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the steel-cut oats in small bowl.  Pour the boiling water over the oats and cover.  Let stand for 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bananas, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bananas are caramelized.  Set aside to cool.

Once the steel-cut oats have softened, mix them with the old-fashioned oats, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg, and remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, and vanilla.  Add to the oat mixture, stirring well.

In the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish, spread the caramelized bananas in an even layer.  Carefully pour the oat mixture over the top.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is set.  Enjoy served hot or cold!

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