Archive for March, 2010

Sugar Shackin’

There are a lot of reasons why my family lives in Maine. There’s the ocean, the mountains, the endless amount of state parks, the fairs and festivals, the five seasons (mud season falling between winter and spring), the rugged independence. Another reasons is for days like Maine Maple Sunday.

On the fourth Monday in March, sugarmakers around the state open the doors of their sugarhouses to the public. You can learn how maple syrup is produced and watch the process in action. Most sugarmakers also have maple syrup tastings and offer tons of maple treats to eat and drink. Some even have live music. It’s pretty fun and typically requires a good pair of boots (being mud season and all).

We went to Goranson Farm in Dresden for the 3rd year in a row. Biz was much more manageable this year. Last year, he freaked out in the line to get into the sugar shack, and we ended up having to quickly scoop up some maple treats and go home. Of course, he was only 4 months old and not used to the cool Maine air in March. While there definitely was a chill in the air this year (in contrast to the spring-like weather we had the weekend before), overall it was a great day for sugar making.

We got to the farm early enough to get into the sugarhouse without having to wait in line or press up against other people in the small, steamy structure. We danced to some pretty cool music (Irish?) played by 3 men with really cool instruments that I couldn’t identify for G. Um. I think that’s some sort of bag pipe and a weird-looking accordion. We ate maple sundaes (vanilla ice cream topped with maple syrup) and drank maple tea (black tea, maple syrup, orange juice and apple cider). The boys played on tractors and trudged in the mud.

The best part about Maine Maple Sunday is that it means spring is just around the corner.

Advertisements

A note to parents of left-handed children

Two people have made comments to me recently about left-handed children. A co-worker mentioned that her daughter was worried her 19 month old son was left-handed.

At a recent basketball practice for 3 – 5 year olds where parents and kids work together on drills, a fellow parent shrugged her shoulders and declared, “She’s left-handed. I don’t know what to do with her.”

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to do anything different with your left-handed child. Just let him or her be left-handed. To the mom at basketball practice, I noted that being a lefty isn’t easy since everyone puts things (like basketballs) in your right hand. I know because I’m a lefty too.

The truth is, most of us aren’t truly left-handed. We’re pretty ambidextrous. We have to be, living in a right-handed world. I cut and kick with my right hand and foot. I can pretty much dribble and shoot a basketball with either hand comfortably. Of course, we’re good at switching back and forth because we’re also right brained. (You know, because left-handed people are the only ones in their right mind.)

Sure we do things the opposite way that most people do. Our check marks go the opposite way. When you open cards from us, they’re always upside down and backwards. We bump elbows with people at the dinner table. It’s not like we have a disease or anything. In fact, lefties are pretty smart and creative. Six of the past 12 presidents have been lefties (Truman, Ford, Reagan, Bush [Sr., of course], Clinton and Obama).

Lots of artists, musicians, actors and athletes are southpaws, including Michelangelo, M.C. Escher, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Robert DeNiro, Jim Henson, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, George Burns, Dan Aykroyd, Oprah Winfrey, Cam Neely, Larry Bird, Steve Young, Gayle Sayers, Ty Cobb and Ken Griffey, Jr.

Four of the 5 original MacIntosh computer designers were left-handed. The list goes on and on.

According to Wikipedia, only about 7 – 10% of the population is left-handed. If your child is, don’t fret. And don’t put things in his right hand. Let your child choose which hand (or foot) he wants to use. If you’re teaching a child something and can’t figure out how to do it the opposite way you’re used to, stand across from him instead of next to him. It’s easier to visualize. That’s what I do with my right-handed son, G. Of course, he’ll probably learn a few things left-handed. And that’s okay too.