It’s been a long two days of traveling, but Zander and I are finally at my parents’ house in TN. We had such an amazing time with our family on the west coast that it was already very sad to leave, and then the universe conspired against us with flight delays and a ridiculous border crossing to make leaving even more painful. What was supposed to be a relatively quick trip yesterday from Haida Gwaii back down to Seattle (via Vancouver) wound up taking approximately 13 hours. This was really hard for little Zander, but he handled it well, and I am so proud of him, as usual. The best part was that the people at Pacific Coastal were kind enough to drive out into the pouring rainstorm and buy us vegan sandwiches for lunch while we waited at the airport in Masset. Alex and I felt deeply touched by their kindness.
Below is a picture of Zander digging into his sandwich in the airport waiting area. The sandwich was made of roasted red pepper hummus, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and yellow bell peppers on a whole grain roll. In typical toddler fashion (or at least typical Zander fashion), he dissected and inspected the entire sandwich before eating it.
Today’s journey was much shorter (about 8 hours) and it went very smoothly, despite the fact that Zander and I were traveling on our own, without Alex. Over the course of the day, I made the observation that people who talk and smile and interact pleasantly with children they don’t know–and who treat those children with the respect they deserve–seem (at least on the surface) to be much happier individuals than those who do not. This hypothesis is not based purely on interactions with Zander, but from watching adults interact with other people’s children, as well.
Although I understand and do not judge if someone doesn’t have the time or inclination to speak to my child, I will say that I always really appreciate it when people look Zander in the eye and speak to him as a person rather than only engaging me as the adult. Today, on both of our flights, I let Zander hand his own boarding pass to the person who checks those at the gate, and both times, the people paused, knelt down, looked Zander right in the face–making eye contact–and spoke directly to him, rather than to me. This really made Zander’s day; it made him feel so special. I wanted to hug them for that gift.
During our first flight, I was also reminded that you can’t always judge a person based on his or her initial behavior. Because Zander is still under the age of 2, he sits in my lap on the plane. The unusually grouchy couple in the seats next to us did not like this, and they spoke very loudly to each other–as though I did not exist and could not hear them despite the fact that they were less than 6 inches away from me–about how they couldn’t believe the airline would allow people to hold children of Zander’s size in their laps, and how the entire trip was basically going to totally suck because of it.
As they loudly moaned and groaned and made a huge production out of standing up and trying to find other seats to move to on the plane, I resisted the urge to say something snarky to them and instead focused on sending Zander telepathic messages to feel free and do whatever he needed to do during the flight, no matter how disruptive it may be to this couple. Then a really nice James Cromwell look-alike across the aisle said some very kind things to both Zander and me, and I decided to take back my mental license to Zander to reign terror on the entire plane. Zander mercifully complied, and he wound up sleeping hard (we’re talking sweaty hair and drooly face) on my chest for almost the entire length of the flight, while the two kids seated directly behind the grouchy couple yelled and screamed and kicked their seats the whole way there. Talk about karma in action. Suddenly, I guess Zander and I didn’t look so bad, and near the end of the flight, the grouchy couple initiated a very pleasant conversation with me while Zander slept. Turns out they have three children of their own and were actually nice people. I felt really glad that I had refrained from being rude back to them in response to their inappropriate behavior in the beginning. I have always preferred to kill people with kindness in situations like that. I can’t help but think that they feel guilty, or at least very silly, about the manner in which they behaved initially, and that’s good enough for me.
By far the best part of our day was coming home to a delicious home-cooked meal made by my mom, topped off with a piece of her delectable melt-in-your-mouth vegan sour cream pound cake. The picture below is nothing special, but trust me, the pound cake is. My mom is the absolute QUEEN of taking all of my childhood favorite recipes–especially baked goods–and veganizing them. That’s what she did here, and it was everything a pound cake should be and then some. I’ll share the recipe with you below. Just promise to eat a slice for me when you make it.
Oh, and by the way, this pairs very nicely with a warm mug of organic, caffeine-free Chocolate Chai herbal tea with a splash of soy or almond milk (I have my sister-in-law Laurie to thank for this new addiction). Enjoy!
VEGAN SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE
2 sticks vegan margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs’ worth of Ener-G egg replacer
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
8 oz vegan sour cream
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream together vegan margarine and sugar. Add egg replacer, a little at a time, beating after each addition. Sift in flour and baking powder, then add vegan sour cream. Blend in almond and vanilla extracts. Bake at 300 degrees F for 90 minutes in a greased and sugared (this makes the top deliciously sweet and crunchy) tube pan. Optional: you could add a lemon or other flavored glaze if you like.
NOTE: For tonight’s cake, my mom halved the recipe above and baked in a loaf pan instead of a tube pan. Heavenly.