Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Accident

Well, it's happened. Carter has had his first injury.

Every night when I come home from work, if my husband has already arrived I will pull into the driveway and he will come downstairs to get the Roo out of his carseat so that I can park the car in back and tote my 87 million bags (food bag, milk bag, daycare bag, pump bag, purse...and perhaps another I'm forgetting) without having to carry Carter, too (run-on sentence? Yes, and I don't care). Last night my husband picked up Carter, then I parked the car and heard him in the alley talking to our neighbor. I came around the corner, carrying my massive load of bags like a good sherpa, and saw Carter wandering around underfoot, examining the nooks and crannies in the driveway.

Suddenly he raced past us and headed toward the garden. Neither of us reacted very quickly, as it seemed (STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!) that the most dangerous thing in the vicinity was perhaps a delectable-looking rock in the garden, or a plant to destroy. So we just (STUPIDLY) watched him rush past, my husband finishing his conversation and me toting my billion bags, before following.

Not two seconds later we heard a loud wail and saw him next to the front tire of my just-parked car. We rushed over (mind you, he was only ten or fifteen feet away) to discover that he had reached in and GRABBED the wheel well (or whatever the hell it's called) and had burns/blisters across the top of three fingers on his left hand.

He wailed for a minute or so, yelling "MAAAAMAAAA! MAAAMAAAA!" like he always does when something's wrong (the rest of the time it's all Daddy, all the time), then squirmed out of our arms and once again raced off down the driveway, normal as can be. We got him in the house, rinsed it with cold water and called the pediatrician, who told us to give him a dose of Motrin and then apply Desitin (who knew??) to the blistered area until it heals. For the rest of the evening, his behavior was basically normal - he wasn't favoring the hurt hand, and wasn't particularly fussier than usual, except for one toddler-like fit when I wouldn't let him eat a chunk of tofu that had fallen in the bathtub. Today he seems normal and the hand looks better, though the blisters are still visible.

I can't overstate how horrible we felt after all this. I spent the evening feeling like a negligent asshole, continually replaying it in my mind and wondering WHY OH WHY didn't I just toss all the bags to the ground and race after him? How did we let this happen? Ultimately, I know that we just made a simple mistake - when he ran by, each of us did the typical parent-scan of any hazards in the area, and neither of us considered that CAR TIRES GET HOT, especially on 98-degree days.

Sigh. So there it is - the first injury of toddlerhood. I know that there will be many more now that he's mobile (and my boy is FAST). Lesson learned - you can NEVER be too careful, especially when dealing with a rambunctious little Roo.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Zucchini Madness

Perhaps I should rename this blog "What My Kid Eats," because that's really all I want to write about these days. So why stop now? (drumroll...)

After Sunday's Zucchini Muffins bakeathon, I still had at least two cups of leftover shredded zucchini burning a hole in my fridge. My mother-in-law (AKA Babushka) is famous for her delicious zucchini pancakes, and while we were visiting on Sunday the Roo actually ate two bites of one of 'em, so I was inspired to make my own version. Babushka's recipe uses pancake mix, and while I don't have anything against pancake mixes, I've never used one before so I thought I would give a from-scratch pancakes a shot.

I wanted a savory pancake, and found this recipe, but I decided to tweak it a little to kick up the healthy factor a notch, subbing white whole wheat flour for regular and using half as much cheese (half mozzerella, half parmesan), no mayo, salt-free seasoning instead of salt/pepper and olive oil instead of butter. I also cooked them with just a spray of olive oil instead of butter. So my final recipe was this:

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup grated mozzerella cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 tsp Vegit Spike salt-free seasoning (supposedly good for keeping sodium intake in check for babies...)
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine the flour, cheese, oregano, and Vegit. Combine the zucchini, egg, onion, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients until well blended.
2. Spray pan. Drop zucchini mixture by cupfuls into skillet; press lightly to flatten. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.

I was very pleased with this recipe - not only did it take only a few minutes to whip up (thank god, since I was sweltering in a hot kitchen in our zillion-degree apartment), the end result was so good that I had to bodily block my husband from hovering behind me and scarfing them all down.

Of course, all of that is good and fine, but we'll see what the Roo thinks tonight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Progress...?

My great Zucchini Muffin experiment was rather anti-climactic this morning when the Roo ate exactly ONE, forsaking the hearty baked goodness in favor of gnawing on hunks of strawberry. Lesson? Hide the fruit until the END of breakfast in hopes of actually getting something with more than, oh, ten calories in his belly. SIGH. On an upnote, mommy enjoyed three of her little muffiny friends for breakfast, and relished every bite. SO THERE, ROOROO.

Today marked the first time I have allowed the daycare to feed Carter some of their food. The lunch today (well, I say lunch, but technically the most substantial of the five mini-meals they serve throughout the day comes at 10:30am...go figure) was rice pilaf with roasted chicken and broccoli. I had spoken to the director last week, and she proudly informed me that she'd begun buying hormone-free chicken from Costco, so I felt okay about giving him that. Rice pilaf is fairly innocuous, and broccoli is one of the "Clean Fifteen" veggies, so I decided to go ahead and go for it.

I arrived mid-afternoon to visit, and the daycare ladies excitedly told me that he'd eaten very well, as if he couldn't believe he was eating the same food as the other kids. Hrmph. Then I looked in the fridge to discover his 1:30 yogurt snack, lovingly prepared and brought from home by yours truly, untouched - but his paperwork said "1:30 yogurt - finished." !?!? I immediately assumed the school had misunderstood my notes and served him their 1:30 yogurt (by coincidence, the other kids were having yogurt then, too) instead, and left irritated. But NO - when I picked Carter up tonight, the director told me that he had refused ALL OF MY FOOD, and only seemed to want theirs. In other words, my child appears to be STAGING A PROTEST and refusing my organic homemade treats in favor of processed daycare crackers and the like. Evidently, he just wants to be like his little friends - does peer pressure really begin this young?

I arrived home disheartened and sweltering in the 105-degree heat (and, might I add, loathing every sweat-covered moment of Southern California life). Unsurprisingly, he refused to eat more than two bites at dinner, no matter how we coaxed and cajoled.

Then I saw it, as I was changing his diaper before bedtime. How could I have missed it? His mouth was thrown wide open in a deep belly laugh as I blew raspberries on his tummy, and there it was - tooth number seven rearing its little head! AH-HA! THAT could explain his utter lack of appetite for the past several days!

....Or could it? Am I just desperately clinging to that hope so that I don't have to face the unpleasant reality that my child just doesn't want to eat ANYTHING I make? After all, he ate the school food just fine.

It seems that I'm just going to have to chalk another one up to the great mystery of toddlerhood. But maybe, just maybe, daycare food isn't so scary after all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Breakfast for the Roo

This morning I made Weelicious' Whole Wheat Oat Pancakes for our family. I decided to add blueberries for a little antioxidant boost, but forgot that when using frozen blueberries you are supposed to drop them over the batter as it cooks, NOT mix them in beforehand as you would with fresh blueberries. Thus, I ended up with delicious bright blue pancakes. Roo's verdict? Positive, although he was more interested in eating as many strawberries as he could shovel into his little mouth (alas, I did not think to document this in pictures - which I really should have, given how rare it is that he actually eats). All in all, a successful Sunday breakfast, and the recipe made so many that I have plenty to freeze and thaw for busy future mornings.

Tonight I tucked him into bed, sent my husband to the store for groceries, opened a bottle of white wine and baked a batch of Zucchini Muffins, the perfect use for the two summer squash languishing in the bottom of our fridge. This marked my first baking-with-zucchini experiment, as well as my first time baking with agave as a sweetener instead of the standard sugar or honey. I didn't have any vegetable oil, so I substituted melted butter and baked them in my mini muffin tin, a long-neglected wedding present which I can already tell will be a cherished item in my mommy baking. The result? DELICIOUS, tiny, perfect little muffins, chock-full of zucchini goodness, and the recipe made 29 mini-muffins, so I have plenty to freeze for the future. I only hope the little Roo likes them as much as I do - we shall see in the morning.



Autumn & The Oven

Fall is my favorite time of year. I could gladly exist in a state of perpetual autumn - leaves turning color, crisp, chill mornings, a hint of woodsmoke in the air. Growing up in wine country, fall meant harvest time, when the whole valley smells of rich, musky grapes, and days are whiled away with long, meandering walks along endless country roads through the vineyards, bundled cozily in long scarves and warm hats.

Living in Los Angeles - the land of endless summer - fall doesn't exactly have the same resonance, which explains why my husband and I spent our first anniversary on a leaf-peeping getaway to New England, in search of seasons. A week or two ago we began having chilly mornings here and there and I got excited, envisioning relaxing weekends spent puttering in the kitchen, Carter happily banging away with his wooden spoon and tupperware. Then the past several days gave way to 90-degree temps and a blasting air conditioner. Sigh.

Anyone one knows me well knows two things about me - 1) I have possibly the greatest sweet tooth in the history of womankind, and 2) I love to bake. Pre-baby, my weekend mornings were spent puttering in the kitchen, testing out new muffin or scone recipes. Each December my husband and I have our closest friends over for our annual holiday party, which is really just an elaborate excuse for me to bake a smorgasbord of goodies. Whenever I sense the first change in the season, the hazy days when tank tops gradually melt away into boots and sweaters, all I want to do is put some Coltrane on the iTunes and sequester myself in the kitchen.

For the past year, baking has obviously taken a backseat to motherhood. What I miss most about my childless days is not full nights of sleep or wine-fueled gossip-fests with girlfriends, but lazy mornings spent measuring, mixing and munching.
Recently, I've finally been able to recalibrate - to feel a little like myself again - to get back in the kitchen. And of course, like any good mommy, my time there has been spent baking treats for my boy.

I am envious of moms who have babies with great appetites, kids with mouths like little Hoover vacuums. Carter is a snacker, rarely consuming more than a few bites in a sitting, which makes feeding him a giant challenge. Thus, all of my baking efforts have been channeled into making baby-friendly breakfasts to try to get him interested in food.

Yesterday's efforts were French Toast Sticks from my favorite resource, Weelicious.

The verdict?
While we found them delicious, he was so-so on them, although this can be attributed more to the fact that he (shockingly) consumed half a container of raspberries while waiting for me to finish making them.

Not sure:




Hmm...not bad:


Sharing:


Friday, September 24, 2010

Crossroads

For the past couple of weeks, I have gradually come to the decision that something in our daily routine has to change. The grind is simply wearing me down.

Every night, it's the same routine - pick up baby, bring baby home, play with baby, feed baby, bathe baby (every other night), nurse baby, put baby to bed.
Then the real fun begins: handwash three sets of pump parts, four bottles, sippy cup, pump bottles, and four bowls and lids from baby's school snacks; empty dirty cloth diapers from wet bag into dirty diaper bag in nursery (washing the whole load every third day), which involves (sorry to be graphic) scraping the poop off the diapers and dumping it into our toilet for flushing. THEN make dinner for ourselves and prepare baby's three meals for school for the next day. When all is said and done, it's at least 9:00pm before we sit (collapse) on the couch (classy!) to eat dinner and watch a little TV.

My husband and I have become experts at this routine and devised an excellent nightly division of labor in which we trade off washing/poo-scraping/dinner-making duties - however, the fact remains that this is A LOT for two busy working parents. Add on the fact that I am still pumping four times a day, and I am (literally) all tapped out at the end of the day. After my nightly shower I usually stagger into bed at 11pm, but often later, sometimes not hitting the sheets until midnight.

We have continued this post-bedtime routine for over six months now - since he started solids - the wash-scrape-prep occupying a good chunk of our weekday evenings. Sometimes it seems manageable, and I feel like a gold star mommy for balancing it all, working full-time, and raising a (truly awesome) happy little boy. But lately, I have begun to feel like I may deserve a little change. Perhaps MOMMY NEEDS A BREAK.

Maybe it's just because work has been INSANITY recently. I work in television and fall is launch time, which equals hundreds of greedy, needy TV stations and subsequently no downtime for yours truly. Or because one of my co-workers has been out, so I get to cover a chunk of her responsibilities too. Or just because I look around and see (fairly) well-rested mommies who aren't scraping poo and prepping lunches into the wee hours. You know, the smart mommies who use disposable diapers like normal people, enabling their kids to wear regular pants instead of stretchy pairs that allow sufficient room for their baby's ginormous cloth ass. These mommies let their daycares feed their kids instead of obsessing about potential pesticides lurking in the produce. These mommies might even use their dishwashers instead of handwashing because they missed those pesky articles about the evils of putting plastic in the dishwasher, or simply think said articles are a crock of sh*t.

The other day, my mother emailed me, insisting that the insanity must stop, that I must change my routine, whether it be using the school food, stopping pumping, etc. She suggested that perhaps the obsessive-compulsive tendencies that haunted my early 20s had caught up with me again, and dug their evil little claws into my nightly routine. Perhaps she's right.

So here I am, at another crossroads.

I had planned to cloth diaper for at least a year, and I have. I was lucky enough to go on the Ellen DeGeneres Mother's Day show during my pregnancy and be given a six-month supply of Huggies, which are stacked in my closet and used only at night or on vacation. I still have at least five packs left, and in the past year I have never purchased diapers, which I think is pretty awesome. However, I think it's equally awesome NOT TO SCRAPE POOP. So there you go. Am I nearing the end of the cloth diapering fixation?

Organic food is important to me, and has been since I saw Ken Cook's 10 Americans presentation back in 2008 and it ROCKED MY WORLD. Yes, you can pigeonhole me as one of those pretentious, paranoid yuppie moms who fixate on organics and push their babies in a $700 stroller (um, also free - thank you, Ellen), but the simple truth is that, well, this is how I roll, and how I've rolled for quite awhile, even before my days as freelancer for the now-defunct eco website (RIP, Ideal Bite!). That said, it's a tough decision for me to let Carter eat daycare food - while the director prepares healthy meals, she doesn't use organic stuff. So can I compromise my passion for organics for the incredible convenience of NOT preparing food for him every night? Perhaps I can. I don't sit around judging the rest of the parents at daycare for feeding their kids daycare food. I don't assume all the other kids are seeping with toxins. So is my mother right? Is this fixation just a by-product of my OCD?

So here I am. Lots of questions and no answers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The pumpaholic malaise that had settled over me when last I wrote has lifted somewhat, due mostly to advice from our awesome pediatrician. At Carter's one year appointment on Friday, I peppered the good doctor with questions about his diet, his sleep schedule, bottles vs. sippies, etc.

Her response on cow's milk vs. breastmilk: "Your milk will always be more nutritious for him than cow's milk. If you want to keep pumping, by all means, do it."
Then she suggested that if I wanted to pump less, I could put less milk in each bottle rather than eliminate one, and if I did want to eliminate one I should replace it with more food, not cow's milk. She also pointed out that the WHO advocates breastfeeding for a minimum of two years. Mind you, our pediatrician is also a lactation consultant, so clearly she has a platform here - but it was so nice to have confirmation that I'm not a crazy hippie for wanting to continue nursing/pumping for awhile and choosing breastmilk over cow's.

Her response to my concern regarding Carter's perpetual 5:30am wake-up time and Dr. Weissbluth's (AKA The Sleep Nazi - sorry Sara, I know you love him!) theory that babies who wake too early are going to bed too late, and that you should just ignore them and let them cry until they naturally begin waking later: "PFFFTTTT. His bedtime is PERFECT (7:30). He sleeps a nice long stretch, and he's probably THIRSTY by then."
I needed to hear this, because sometimes it seems that my kid wakes up earlier than every other baby I know. But even though Carter is an early riser, he goes right back to sleep for another hour after he nurses, so it doesn't seem that painful. But what to do after I eventually wean? Yikes - though hopefully he'll be sleeping later by then...?

Lastly, her response to my bottle vs. sippy dilemma: "He is not going to go to college with a bottle, and I do not advocate restricting comfort items."
Take that, AAP! My kid drinks his water out of his straw cup, and his cow's milk (when he has it) in a sippy, and that's good enough for me! Let the boy have his bottle!

Her parting words: "You have excellent instincts, and you're doing a wonderful job. Don't listen to what 'they' say."

Dr. Kramer, I love you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pumpaholic

(please forgive the stream of consciousness rambling)
Ahem...

My name is Paige, and I am a pumpaholic.

My child is over a year old, and yet I cannot seem to cut down on the pumping. I pump four times a day - once in the morning after I nurse and before I leave for work, twice at work, and once at night before I go to bed, a few hours after I nurse. I am aware that at this point I DO NOT need to pump this much, and that I DO need to cut down on the amount of milk that Carter drinks at school on a daily basis (20 oz.) and prioritize solid foods now that he's getting older. Basically, the priorities need to flip-flop. So if I want to keep him on breastmilk (emphasis on the IF), I don't need to produce as much anyway, if I'm cutting out a bottle or two. Plus, I still have 130 ounces of frozen milk in the freezer, which I've been cycling through recently - using some of the older stuff and refreezing new stuff - so even if I didn't pump enough for two or three bottles, I have a back-up stash to pull from.

Every night, I decide that THAT is the night I will drop the nightly pump, and yet every night it's the same angst running through my head - If I drop a pump, I won't produce as much! If I don't produce as much, what will I feed the Roo?? Then my rational mind says "Uh, perhaps some of the massive stash of frozen breastmilk in the kitchen? Or perhaps some FOOD." but somehow I can't manage to stop.

I always planned to breastfeed for over a year, so I am not trying to wean him completely. The tentative plan is to just keep nursing him morning and night until I get pregnant again, potentially sometime next year. However, I do know that he needs to begin taking more of an interest in actual food instead of sucking down four bottles of breastmilk a day, nursing AM and PM, and therefore being almost totally disinterested in solids. I give him cow's milk here and there but he doesn't seem too fond of it, certainly not compared to the fanatical verve with which he attacks his bottles and my boob (both of which he can actually say - brilliant!). I know that I have to rearrange his eating schedule at school to include more food and less milk, and begin to incorporate daily cow's milk in a sippy cup in lieu of a bottle or two of breastmilk. I KNOW THIS, but somehow I can't bring myself to shake up my routine and stop the pumping madness!

It would be so nice not to wash 87 zillion pump parts and bottles every night! On the same note, it would be so nice not to wash little plastic Gerber containers that I use to transport his food to school everyday because I don't want him to eat the questionable snacks his daycare provides. It would be so nice not to have to root through poopy diapers, dump his business in the toilet, and the wash it all every few days. It would be so nice to have him come home with TWO DIRTY SIPPY CUPS and that's IT. And yet I choose all of this. What is wrong with me??

WHERE IS MY INTERVENTION?

Speaking of sippy cups, that's a whole other ball of wax. I've tried probably a dozen cups by now - several were flat-out rejected, a few he'll suck on here and there, but the only cup he will reliably drink from is a Muchkin straw cup. Generally I just give him water in it, but I tried putting cow's milk in last week and it was neither a whopping success now a massive failure, so perhaps I will proceed with that. The American Academy of Pediatrics says no bottles after 1, but if I want to keep him on breastmilk, it doesn't seem likely that he's going to kick the bottle anytime soon.

Oh, sigh. Double sigh. Yawn. Blargh. Am I nearing the end of pumping, cloth diapering and food-preparing? Or am I just feeling cranky? Time will tell.

So there you have it. I am Paige, and I am a pumpaholic, looking for treatment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Year

This will be woefully short because the hour is late and my bed beckons, but I couldn't forgive myself if I didn't mark the occasion of the Roo's first birthday with some words on his long-neglected blog.

One year - one blurry, beautiful year - ripe with adventure, challenge, and exhaustion. I firmly believe that the first birthday, as well as the massive birthday blowout to follow this weekend, is just as much a celebration of the parents than of the child. So to my sweet husband - we did it, LOML! We survived the first year! A little battered and bruised perhaps, but no worse for wear. I could not dream of a better comrade in the trenches.

In brief, motherhood has taught me patience beyond measure, calm under fire, and strength I could never have imagined. But most of all, it has shown me, more than ever, what it is to love somebody.

My Little Roo, you may never understand how much your mother loves you until you have a child of your own one day. But should you ever read these words, know that there is nothing greater in all the world. You have changed me, shaped me, and taught me. I love you more than all the stars in the sky.

Happy Birthday, my darling boy. It is an honor to watch you grow.

xxx
Mama