Friday, October 5, 2012

Mas Libre

Tonight's drink is a Cuba Libre, inspired by McDreamy's lovely and talented sister, who sent me this article last week. The McDreamy family is Cuban American, which has introduced me to a number of wonderful things, such as congri, picadillo, tostones, maduros, mojitos, guava pastries, and salsa dancing. On one level, a Cuba Libre is just a rum and Coke, but done properly, it can transcend the sweet gateway drink of our high school college years and actually taste elegant.

Cuba Libre Con Gato
  • 2 oz. decent-quality golden rum (I used 10 Cane)
  • 2-3 dashes bitters (I used chocolate bitters, but Angostura would be fine)
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Splash of Luxardo marischino cherry liqueur, which I'm trying to find ways to use because now I have a big bottle of it
  • Cola (I used Coke Zero)
Mix everything but the cola in an ice-filled glass, top off with cola.

Lately, I've been worried about Tweak. He's a great kid, very smart and curious, huge heart, infectious sense of humor, loves sports and reading, amazingly sweet with the cat and his little sister (the latter when they're not fighting like weasels), will talk your ear off. On the flip side, he runs to the anxious end of the spectrum. As with many of my children's less attractive traits, he totally gets that from me. I'm a bit ... intense sometimes.

Ever since he was a toddler, Tweak has struggled more to process the irregularities and frustrations of daily life than other kids. Some of it is definitely sensory processing, and he has done occupational therapy, and it helped, but some of it, I know in my bones, is a much larger feeling of losing control, like accidentally heading down the double-diamond ski slope and not being able to slow down or gain control, knowing that when you do stop, it's going to be painful and humiliating.

And this is why I don't ski.
When I was growing up, it would have been a simple assessment of "That boy ain't right." And most people (like my father does now) would have opined that that it would all be solved if his parents would just get better control of him, preferably through some sort of beating. As if it's easy and desirable to control another person, no matter what you do. What I'd prefer is that he be better able to control himself. I know what it feels like to head down that double-diamond slope. It's not a good feeling.

So, what to do? When I was still married, my ex didn't understand when I worried about this stuff, but now that he bears the brunt of more of the day-to-day, he sees it, too. Of course, I blame myself, because I divorced Tweak's father and made his world less stable. Also, when Tweak is going apeshit, it's not like I'm always a bastion of calm, though I have been trying really, really hard to do better and be an anchor to help him get back to a safe, logical, problem-solving place. He's always completely embarrassed and contrite when he looks back and realizes what he did. He's not a bad kid. I want him to have a good life and to not spend as much of it tripping over his own feet as I have.

So, we're talking about how to address it, and there will in all likelihood be competent mental health professionals involved. Meanwhile, Tweak is super-excited about the Nats going to the playoffs, especially after he managed his dad's fantasy baseball team to a winning season. He's re-reading the Harry Potter series, developing a fascination with dragons, and waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts in 2 years. You can't not like this kid. I just want him to feel comfortable in his own skin.


  1. Sorry you're worrying! I'm sympathetic -- I have no idea how anxiety-prone a child of mine might be, which is some of the reason I didn't have any. So I'd love to say something reassuring... but I CAN recommend some awesome dragon books -- check out Jasper Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer or DragonRider by Cornelia Funke.

    1. Thank you for the sympathy and book recs! I love Jasper Fforde - am actually reading One of Our Thursdays is Missing right now. And I know I've read and enjoyed other things by Cornelia Funke, so I bet a dragon book by her would be a big hit with Tweak.


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