Monday, December 19, 2011

Who Wants S’more? - Girl Scouts Alumni Association

I wasn't really looking for articles about S'mores. I was actually looking for the best cookout recipe I've ever had in the history of my life. It's called "Chili Bake". When I was a Cadette Scout, we went on a day hike down into a red rock canyon close to our town. (Not to be confused with Red Rock Canyon, the State Park.) It was a beautiful fall Saturday, we had to carry the Dutch oven and all our equipment and food down into the canyon, gather firewood, build a fire, cook the food, clean up, then hike back up out of the canyon. It was one of the best days I ever had as a Girl Scout, even though it was hard work. Plus, several of the others that were Scouts on that hike have agreed with me in later years that not only was Chili Bake one of the best things they ever cooked out, but each of us had tried to duplicate it at home and it never tasted the same. I keep thinking I will find the recipe somewhere, someday. Tonight I stumbled across this Girl Scout Alumni site, I found this story that talks about the origin of S'mores, which I found rather interesting. I had never thought about S'mores having a starting date.  By, the way, the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts will be in 1912. It makes me want to plan an event. I can't imagine, what kind of event. I'm not even a Scout leader anymore.
Who Wants S’more? - Girl Scouts Alumnae Association:

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Standing Around The Kitchen Table

As I reflected on writing about standing around our old kitchen table when I was growing up, I remembered I had a copy of a picture of my sisters and me standing by it. In case you're wondering what we're eating, we had been roasting marshmallows on a fork. It was something Mother let us do every now and then for a special treat, but lest you think about doing it, word of warning: there's a trick to doing it so you don't burn your mouth. Probably now a days that would be a child welfare referral. Sometimes we ate them plain, sometimes we got to make s'mores. We ate a LOT of s'mores growing up. After all, we were Girl Scouts. As you can see, Mother also liked to dress us alike. I was probably 8 1/2 years old in this picture, just shortly before I started making the pie crust for Rotary. (from left to right: myself, my youngest sister, Karla, and our middle, Patricia.

I need to explain that I have gone back to the drawing board on my fat calculations for pie crust. All of a sudden, it came to me that when I calculated the pie crust fat grams, basically, I failed to calculate. I am NOT the family mathematician. Seriously, I took a vow to live without math when I was a girl and every once a while I have to ignore that and actually use math. I'm also spoiled when it comes to math because my husband can do math as fast as a calculator. I should have fed him the numbers, that would have also solved the problem. I'm just glad I caught this before I caused someone distress and disappointment that they had found a low fat pie crust that  wasn't.  Usually, I can handle basic arithmetic, but sometimes I have a brain lapse. This was one of those moments. Luckily it came to me (after the fact) that when I read 7 grams for pie crust, it was for 1/16 of a pie and I had forgotten to finish the next step. Honestly, I don't even understand how I gave birth to a child that made a 34 in math on the ACT. Now, lets ponder a moment on who even eats 1/16 of a pie? Possibly, Twiggy in the 1960's? Although, seriously, she had probably given up pie for Lent...or the runway. Anyway, did you know when you multiply 7 grams fat X 16 slices that comes to 112 fat grams? That is just sad. I'm not even sure 1/16th of a pie would even hold together in a slice. Of course, when it comes to fat grams, the food scientists don't care about things like that. So, I'm definitely going back to the drawing board to work on coming up with a low fat crust option. Back to my laboratory, uh, make that kitchen. Well, not tonight, but you the near future. First, we have to have our first family Christmas dinner tomorrow. I need to bake some Christmas cookies and make a salad. Fat grams in pie crust are not on the list at this point. Plus, I have to help with a funeral dinner today. Just another frolicsome day out here in the middle of nowhere.

Project Mom

I just found out today that Project Mom is going to be doing an Oklahoma event. Go here for info: Project Mom:..  It looks like it will be a pretty good event.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pie of Life's Seasonings

I used to joke I was the childhood victim of pie crust abuse. My sisters and I spent childhood time standing around the table, watching Mother bake. Our mother had learned about pies from watching her sister Thelma. By the time I was nine, Mother decided my crust was good enough to make quantity batches for the Rotarian's at the church. Her committee cooked every 4 weeks. I made so much pie crust for Rotary I thought I always made all the crust, but my sister Patricia thinks she made all of it. So, I'm thinking we both possibly have some inaccurate memories.

Neither college nor work as a child welfare supervisor required pie crust skills. Pie lessons have given memories, life skills, and served me well in life. They taught me deadlines, quality control, comforting others, taking joy in a job well done, and lessons of family. We learned camaraderie in the kitchen with each other and started out learning how to handle pie crust by playing with scraps of dough, while making cinnamon sugar pinwheels. We learned handling it too long would make it tough. Pie crust has been one of the many things that gave my life shape and form.

Although fruit and cream pies were my favorites as a child, now I yet again tweak life to go low fat with my quiche. When I was young I sought sweeter things in life. With age, I've realized life has more seasonings than just sugar to make it rich beyond belief. Today, Mother and I continue the tradition of cooking together in a Senior Adult food ministry at church. Pie is still popular. Like life, pie can be versatile, but pie can be a constant that shows our family and friends we love and nourish them.  

Just Getting Adjusted To The Non-Fat Lifestyle

I never would have thought I'd be saying this, but I have finally gotten used to eating non-fat. Sometimes, I relapse and just do low fat and usually get by without the severe stomach pains, I think because my body has gone through a detoxing and can handle a little fat. The doctors have finally made their diagnosis and agree that I need 2 surgeries. I am still waiting for the surgeries to be scheduled, when I get to talk to a human being at that number.  I figure at this point, it will be after Christmas. At least, I sure hope it will be after.  I've lost more weight. I've now lost about 17 pounds. I'm not saying I didn't need or want to lose weight...I just would have preferred a less painful way.  I celebrated by buying a new pair of jeans in my new size, although, it's also rewarding to wear my old ones that are very, very baggy.

During this process, I was reminded of something that Oprah used to say. Of course, she was talking to a victim of domestic violence, but the essence still applies. She said that first God whispers to us, then he tries a little harder to get our attention. When we totally don't pay attention, we hit a brick wall. I realized, I've hit my brick wall. I believe I may have been misdiagnosed years ago and had been eating foods that were dangerous for me. I disregarded the inklings I had about my diet because I ate what I wanted to eat. I hit the brick wall of digestive problems, gave up foods with fat, and lo and behold...some of my health problems are solved. Or at least, not torturing me with pain. As Martha says, "it's a good thing". I have also found that I am kind of repulsed by sauteing things in butter, pictures of bacon on TV, and all kinds of other things I used to think were good. This is pretty amazing. Forced into a life changing moment by pain and torture and finding satisfaction. Who'd a thunk it?

Back here at the ranch, here's Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm signing off. So, remember when life gives you lemons, find a non fat way to use them. It's healthier in the long run. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Still working on the drawing board

Still going to the doctor and having tests. I've been trying to be faithful to eating non-fat since I got home from Branson. So far, I've lost about 12 pounds and I do generally feel better, but I still have episodes of stomach aches that put me in the bed for sometimes several hours at a time and finally falling to sleep is the only relief. I will be glad when all the tests are done and we can chart a course for the best direction to take. I've had about 3 trips to the grocery store where I read every label I could find trying to find some decent choices for nonfat foods. I've done some experimenting with new nonfat cooking tips, but am not ready to post any recipes yet. I'm still working on an enchilada alternative, I've been less than thrilled with nonfat cheese options. However, nonfat cottage cheese has become my favorite fall back food option when I can't figure out anything else. And to think I used to think it tasted awful! What helped change my mind was the almost 2 week period of time that I lived on chicken broth, green tea, and juice. After that, a lot of food choices I used to dislike started tasted a lot better than I remembered. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catching Up

Finally caught my breath and sat down long enough to do an update here. I had the opportunity to go to Branson  in early Oct., which I thought was just going to be a little 4 day hiatus from my life. While I was there, I got seriously ill. I had it narrowed down to a couple of things and started going to the doctor on my return. It turns out, I may have both problems that I suspected. I don't really want to go into all of it here, lets just say, I'm having a lot of digestive problems and finding something to eat is quite the challenge. Sometimes I eat the wrong things and then I'm in misery for hours. Needless to say, writing hasn't exactly been my thing lately. I have a surgery consultation lined up for early November. I have reconciled myself to the necessity for surgery and at this point, I just want to feel better. Meanwhile, I am trying to get back into my routines. So, hopefully, that will include doing more blogging.

I've decided to add a link to my blog, The Red Dirt Cowgirl Drives Again, where I blogged about my trip to Branson. Evidently I was having a good day the day I wrote that, because you'd hardly know from reading it that I got sick when I was at Branson. Although, I think the fact I wrote it shortly after I returned and I didn't know how long my misery was going to continue was probably a factor as well. We did have a lot of fun on the trip and managed to get a lot done, between my sick spells.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sometimes it's all just a matter of different words

When I came up with this title, I had been thinking about a food experience I had with my grandsons during this past weekend. Since we were exhausting ourselves over the fair and parade, I was wanting an easy light supper before we went back to the fair on Saturday evening. When the boys asked for something to eat, I suggested Mexican Casserole, thinking the boys liked Mexican food because I specifically remembered eating at a couple of different Mexican restaurants with their parents and them. Both boys said, "No, I don't like Mexican food." I had to quickly choose something else and ended up with one of those perennial kid favorites, the can of Chicken and Noodle soup.  Although maybe not the healthiest of choices, they did eat 2 or 3 bowls each and I ended up having to open a 2nd can.  When I had talked to my mother after the parade, I told her I had a batch of leftover Mexican casserole I could bring for lunch the next day at her house.

I was wondering how I was going to get the boys to eat something they had already turned down once before. I decided to fall back on my sister Patricia's strategies I saw her use more than 20 years ago when her children were little. We were at my mother's and she was serving beef tongue. Yes, I know, that's a weird dish and maybe you don't like it either, but our family grew up on it and we consider it a long time family favorite. Patricia called her kids to the table and sat them down with the sliced tongue, along with the vegetables we were having. They asked what we were having, she said "meat". They began eating and after a bit asked again, "what kind of meat"? She looked at me and said, "it's beef, doesn't it taste good"? They agreed that it did and finished their meal without asking again.

We went to my mother's on Sunday after church. I whispered to my mother and my husband that we had to call our main dish "meat casserole" because the boys had told me they didn't like Mexican food. There were a couple of other things the boys said they didn't like either that we were having that day, but we told them they needed to at least try a bite. Each boy ended up loving the Mexican casserole, oops, Meat casserole, and ate 2 or 3 servings each. Plus, they ate some of the other stuff they said they didn't like.

So, the next time you are serving something you think the children may turn up their noses over, just be creative and try to think of another way to describe it and maybe this will work for you too.

Let's Go To The Fair

The quintessential Fort Cobb Fair institution, the Flying Jenny!
Fort Cobb Fair Concession Stand

My grandsons came for a visit last weekend. It was one of those monumental weekends that we did a lot and the boys probably went home worn out and ready for an early bedtime on Sunday night. I know for a fact they fell asleep in the car on the way to meeting their mom. It was the weekend of our local fair and the boys absolutely LOVE the fair, with good reason. Us locals happen to believe it's the best little fair in the world. It's one of those old fashioned home town fairs that a lot of places have done away with them, but the fair is alive and well in Fort Cobb, OK.  It's always held the weekend following Labor Day. So, ya'll come join us next September.

The basketball toss

The fair is actually 3 nights, but since the boys live an hour away, they have to miss the Thursday night of the fair because it would just be too hard on them and us to get them back for school on Friday morning. We still have booths manned by volunteers from the school, local businesses, the bank, and other people throughout the community. Plus, we own our own rides, which are quite reasonable to ride. Most of the rides are 2 tickets, a ticket is 50 cents. It's a good buy in this crazy economic environment we live in now.

Flying Jenny resting
Unfortunately, I failed to get pictures of the food and craft exhibits. Partly because I had a couple of other projects going on that interfered with my entering anything at the fair this time around and partly because the boys were so exited about the rides and games I forgot to walk over to the barn where they were exhibited.

Usually, I would just take pictures of my grand-kids at the fair. But, this year I took a wider variety of pictures because of a Facebook request for a group I'm a member of. And then I thought, what they hey, I need to use those pictures here too.

The Scat

I hope my pictures have given you some idea of what a small town fair is like.

Full Moon Over The Bingo Stand
Either my computer connection is tired and needs to rest from all this picture uploading  or blogger doesn't want us to enter more pictures than this at one time. Anyway, I can no longer get the picture upload function to cooperate. I think a lot of people would agree that this is a pretty good fair for a town of about 700 people. When my own children were little, I always dreaded having to drive by the fairgrounds after the fair was over for the year. They would be reminded of how much fun they had, it seemed like for months afterward they would always ask, "when is the fair coming back". Of course, being little and without a concept of time, they had a hard time understanding how long it would be.  The next step for me will be to try to attend the Oklahoma State Fair, which has started. At this point of my life, I just enjoy walking around the Crafts entries displays, which are pretty incredible, and getting something to eat that you can't eat anywhere else. I don't go to the midway, I don't go see any animals, I don't go to anything but the crafts. That can take a long time. Plus, sometimes I will go to the Made In Oklahoma building...if I have time. I think everyone should go to a fair. It's one of the old time cultures that we are keeping alive for the future.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Inspired To Survive: "PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS"

Just after writing a big old blog yesterday on Inspired to Survive about why I need to have 3 different blogs to organize my writing better, I find myself today using the BlogThis to migrate "Plays Well With Others" from Inspired to Kid in my Heart. It was the line, "we don't need any more Hitlers or Stalins" that did it for me. I thought, if that's not a FRCD/family relations & child development concept, I don't know what would be. So, here it is.

Inspired To Survive: "PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS":

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Instagram Your Photos Without an iPhone | PCWorld

Check this out. Don't have an iPhone? Or like me, paid for 2 of them for kids - but don't have one for yourself? Evidently, the iPhone has access to the Instagram photo editing program that's a lot of fun. Alas, I choose to be a Blackberry user, which I pretty much love. This slide show talks about free photo filters that duplicate some of the types of filters available on Instagram.

Instagram Your Photos Without an iPhone | PCWorld:

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Banning Children From Restaurants?

Tonight on Oklahoma City's Channel 4 TV, newscaster Kevin Ogle's The Rant, was about a trend of some restaurants banning children under age 6. I can see both sides of this story. Although I can understand why kids get on other people's nerves, we will be handicapping a whole generation of children from not understanding how to behave and become "more civilized" if we exclude them from certain experiences.  I am also reminded of a family I observed many times that ate out often at the same times we did. They had several children, who were not only extremely loud, but who also left behind some of the messiest table and floor areas I've ever seen eating out. Remember when John Belushi's character yelled "food fight"? This family left a similar environment. Except these children had been sitting with their oblivious parents. I think the restaurant would have been within their rights to ask them not to come back, but probably worried about the repercussions of such an action.  

Through the years, I have observed many children unprepared and ill equipped for being out in public. When you take a child into the store after their bedtime, you cannot expect good behaviour. Children need routines. Children need limits. 

Many times when I was working in Child Welfare, people told me they were afraid to discipline their children and make them mind. I always told them that Child Welfare was not saying they could not discipline their children, that all children need discipline, but their children shouldn't need medical treatment after the discipline. A lot of parents are using being afraid to discipline as a cop-out, instead of setting limits at a time when it is important in their child's development. Some parents fail to discipline because they are not disciplined themselves. It is difficult to do something you aren't doing for yourself. 

The first time I took my grandchildren to the movies, I knew it would be a challenge. They were quite young. Their parents tried to tell me they were too young to go. But, I knew if I taught them limits that it would get easier, and it has. I knew the pleasure of the movie experience was going to be worth the effort it would take. I have now taken them to a number of movies, and we have a movie routine. We have now even progressed to the level that they are able to delay having a special treat until after the movie when we go to Sonic. Before we go to the movie, we discuss our choices: will we get something to snack on at the movie or will we wait and have something special afterwards? I did this on purpose to help them begin to learn delayed pleasure and because children need to learn how to make choices. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is Violence Our New Trend In Children's Movies?

My grandchildren and I have a little movie ritual. Whenever the newest top kid movies come out, I try to have them come spend the night and we go to the movies. We always go to The Liberty theater at Carnegie, OK, which is the longest running movie theatre in Oklahoma. Would you believe it only recently went up to $4, from $3.50? The boys don't like the "Show Dog" hot dogs,so I can't use that as a supper menu that night.

This summer, we've been to see at least two: Cars 2 and the new Smurf's movie. While sitting in both movies, I remember thinking, "I can't believe this has so much violence for young children." On the way home from Cars 2, in an effort to pull some positive things out of the movie, I asked the boys what were some things we learned from the movie? Immediately, one of the boys said, "To not kill?" Granted we were talking about cars, but to children, those cars were personified as people. I moved the conversation to talking about being faithful to our true friends and being true to ourselves. But, I was troubled over the direction of the movie.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, we went to see the Smurfs. On the whole, it was a very cute movie and much more loveable than the cartoon of the 80's. I think perhaps because the computer animation has a depth not possible in regular cartoons. I loved the little village where the Smurfs lived and their little mushroom houses. I thought to myself, this will probably explode into numerous toys for sale this Christmas. I would have loved a little village like that to play with as a little girl. However, since of the scenes involving Gargamel, were over the top violent, it did reinforce the lesson that evil does not pay. But, I'm thinking Gargamel involved violence when my own kids were little and none of them turned out to be violent offenders, so maybe we're going to be ok. There was a positive message about being true to yourself, so the movie did have some positive points. 

While I was writing this, I decided to go on-line and see what the regular movie reviewers thought. Cars 2 came out pretty bad in the reviews, which surprised me. We thought it was way better than the original Cars. Only a couple of parent reviews mentioned the violence for either movie. Maybe I'm getting too old for this stuff, I don't know. I just think when we take violence for granted it doesn't lead to good things in the long run. But, I am a little reminded of many years ago during the first run of the Smurfs when one woman told me she didn't let her children watch the Smurfs because there was witchcraft in it. I told her, "yes, but the man that practices witchcraft never wins (Gargamel), so the children learn a lesson that witchcraft doesn't pay". I think it will probably "all come out in the wash", as they used to say when I was growing up.

C is for CRAFT!: DIY Shrinky Dink (from plastic container!) [TUTORIAL]

Here is a wonderful idea from C is for CRAFT on repurposing other plastics for Shrinky Dinks. Start looking for those number 6 level of plastics, which is what you need to do this. C is for CRAFT!: DIY Shrinky Dink (from plastic container!) [TUTORIAL]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Apostrophy Designs: The Tie-Dye Twist {Tutorial}

I wish I had discovered this post sooner for this easy take off on tie dye shirts for kids to make. However, there's always Saturdays with the grand-kids. Apostrophy Designs: The Tie-Dye Twist {Tutorial}  It uses Tumble Dye Tie Dye from any craft store. Check this blog out, it looks easy to do. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

OKDHS - Practice and Policy Lecture Series

I have located the information for this upcoming lecture series. I think all of the listed lectures sound interesting. As of this date, you can only sign up for the August 17th lecture, Why Early Childhood Matters: Brain Development Birth to Five, presenter Dr. Lisa Klein. Oct. 12th topic will be Early Childhood Issues; Nov. 8th, Respecting Diversity: Stories from the Holocaust; and Dec. 13th, A Generation at Risk: Impact of Divorce on Children. OKDHS - Practice and Policy Lecture Series It appears all lectures will be presented at the Oklahoma History Center in the Chesapeake Room. The August 17th and Oct. 12th sessions will be on Wed., the Nov. and Dec. sessions will be on Tuesdays. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The Developing Storm: Autism Spectrum Disorders | Practice and Policy Lecture Series

I stumbled across the OKDHS lecture series on my way to something else and thought I would share this very good audio of a lecture done back in 2009. If you are at all interested in the subject of autism, please give this a listen. The Developing Storm: Autism Spectrum Disorders | Practice and Policy Lecture Series

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grief For The Overwhelmed Child Welfare Workers

Yesterday another tragedy occurred in Oklahoma. A child welfare worker who was on administrative leave while being investigated for his actions in a high profile death case that occurred earlier this summer was found dead by a family friend, after having committed suicide. My heart goes out for him and his family, because I can sympathize with the mind set he was in that took him to making that decision. I am not condoning it, but can understand how it came to pass. Nor, am I denying the importance of a child death, but the public needs to understand that those workers did not kill a child, a parent killed that child. Until they issue a crystal ball with the employee ID and clipboard, workers will not have a sure-fire way of determining a parent is truly dangerous. The way the laws are written, the parents are favoured and are supposed to be the first choice when it comes to placement.

Every day child welfare workers have to make decisions that the average person would be unable or unwilling to make. Most of the child welfare workers I have known have been very caring and competent. The incompetent are in the minority. However, once the public and media finish tormenting the remaining ones, I can't say that will be the case. Many of the good ones have departed as soon as they could, or left long before they could retire. What is expected out of a child welfare nun, excuse me, worker - is unrealistic. Most people refuse to serve their state in this manner, or to become foster parents. I have done both and it is a demanding, yet often fulfilling vocation, although I don't know that I can endorse it in today's climate of crucifying before proven guilty mentality.

I was unable to watch the news yesterday and just happened to hear about this by reading a Facebook posting, so I went online to read my news at the Okla. City News Station websites. I was appalled at the numerous cruel comments that the general public had written when the child death occurred. There is probably no telling what people walked up to him and actually said. We have lost our civility and manners as a nation.  We need to appreciate people for what they can contribute to society and quit second guessing what we don't understand. I can only hope DHS will rethink how they handle these situations from their side, so no one else needs to feel like suicide is an option.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


The most effective way for a baby to develop a healthy attachment to one primary person occurs during the seemingly simple process of feeding the baby. In order for appropriate healthy attachment and bonding to occur, babies need 4 things: 1. warm milk, 2. rocking motions during the feeding, 3. skin to skin touch (rub their little arms and legs during feedings, and most critical, 4. making eye to eye contact with the baby during feedings. In addition, most of the feedings really need to be done by one main person. This is the person their primary attachment is going to be connected to. Attachment and bonding is important because it is the foundation that must be laid in order for a child to develop a conscience, have empathy for others, and want to please their primary caregiver, usually the mother.

Feedings need to be done with the parent paying attention to the baby, talking to them, singing, and interacting. When the parent is distracted by talking to other companions, or doing other activities, such as texting - they are not engaged in the 4 things listed above. Neither should a bottle be propped up so the parent can go do other activities. Parents that consistently rely on others to do the feedings, or do things like prop up a bottle are laying the groundwork for a compromised attachment.

Years ago I was asked to go talk to a very nice lady that was constantly having to take care of a grandbaby that was dropped off for days at a time. She was a very loving grandmother, but quite elderly with major health concerns. There were concerns she was too unhealthy to care for the baby so much. My major concern was that the baby was going to bond to someone that wasn't going to be around for the long haul. We had our little talk and she said she could see where I was coming from. Within a year or two, she had died unexpectedly. I always wondered how things turned out for that family and that child after losing her grandmother, who had been her primary caregiver.

I am not saying no one should ever help a mother feed her baby or change the diaper. We all need a little help, especially young mothers. Attachment and bonding occurs over a period of time with hundreds, if not thousands, of little moments when diapers are changed when they should be, feedings occur when the baby is hungry, need after need is met. Through these needs being met, the child eventually internalizes, "I am worthy, I am important, I am loveable, I want to do right for these people who have loved and done for me." Therefore the conscience is formed, as the child learns to care for others, as they were once cared for.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Kid In My Heart

Since I was 5, I've known I was the same inside...the strong willed part that responds to the world,the kid in my heart. Recently while doing my usual random reading on the web I ran across a long range study that had looked at 1st graders' 6 year old personalities and then studied them again years later and whoa Nelly...decided that most people's personalities are set by age 6. My beliefs have been confirmed! All children deserve childhoods that let them develop the kid in their heart.