Tuesday, November 29, 2011

good news / bad news kinda day

I am such a grass checker. Is it greener over there? Is it greener over there?
On the days I don't work, I go a little buggy by midafternoon, wonder if I'll ever work in an air-conditioned, high-rise office again, check job sites, call friends for grown-up conversation and obsess over ridiculous projects. On the days I do work I just want to be kicking around with B. and beat myself up for not having time to do cool crafts or visit some toddler-friendly attraction. And today was the worst because I had to leave him in preschool all day since I was so busy -- a first for us. He handled it pretty well. But by the time we got home, he wanted to go to bed and doing anything but eating and showering was too strenuous for him. Why is there nothing in between?
On the plus side (way over on the plus side), I got name dropped by one of my favorite mom blogs. Teaching My Baby To Read basically described everything I've been trying to articulate for months in one really funny blog post. Here's just a bit:

I’m one of those former Californians who gets a farm fresh, organic produce box delivered each week, who grows her own garden each summer, who shops at the organic coop, who only buys cage free eggs, shade grown coffee, grass fed beef, etc. I nursed both of my kids for 14 months, pureed their own homemade baby food, and introduced vegetables, not fruit first into their diet at exactly 6 months. I own Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious, and have been known to serve raw vegan chocolate fudge made with avocados to guests. (It’s actually quite good.)

What exactly do my children subsist on? Whole milk, crackers and Jo Jos!...

Thanks for making me laugh, Jen. And for introducing me and my husband to the term Afterschooling. It makes me feel a whole lot better on the days I can't control B.'s activities. Not today though. He passed out right after eating his corn-laced pasta :)

the food fight is not over

We had dinner at a friend's house this weekend and, along with Thanksgiving leftovers, I made pasta with garlic and olive oil. But first I took out a portion and tossed it with butter for B. Only he was still hungry so I gave him some of the noodles drenched in olive oil, a TON of garlic, sea salt and pepper. And he ate the whole bowl. I think it worked because he couldn't really see the flavorings, what you don't know can't hurt you sort of thing. That got me to thinking I need something to toss with his noodles that he can't see. Pureed cauliflower is brilliant in mac and cheese but the flavor is way too strong with plain noodles. Then I saw this pureed corn in the baby foods freezer section at Whole Foods. Genius. It's pale yellow, like butter, and adds just a little sweetness. Granted B. hasn't agreed to eat any yet but I'm pretty sure this is gonna be a sure thing. So until they start selling an odorless, tasteless and colorless organic fruit and vegetable supplement (why isn't anybody on that?!) I'm gonna give this a try while only feeling slightly weird that we're reverting to baby food at 31 months.

UPDATE: Success...sucka! Mommy always wins in the end.

Friday, November 25, 2011

i'm thankful

I am thankful that my awesome kid is picky. Seriously. There's nothing else wrong with him. He doesn't have any physical issues that stop him from eating. And for this I'm grateful. Annoyed but grateful. Eventually (soon, please?!) he will eat like a normal kid. I know it could be way worse so I'm trying to keep it all in perspective. Like when his preschool had a Thanksgiving party this week and he ate one breadroll and two cookies...whatever. And when I made a turkey yesterday (dry-brined per a New York Times Melissa Clark video I can no longer find but A-M-A-Z-I-N-G) with all the trimmings and he ate a handful of crackers instead...what are you going to do? Today was a chocolate sandwich and a bowlful of buttered noodles. Shrug.
He can also ride a bike better than any two-year-old I know, speaks Spanish (total shocker since this is a Teacher J. development he's never told me about), loves bowling, books, trains and dinosaurs. Pretty awesome kid.

Friday, November 18, 2011

xmas crafts needed!

Oh the honor. And the pressure. B.'s preschool teacher asked me to come up with a Christmas craft to teach the kids next month. Holy crap. Need to get my thinking cap on for the best craft these kids have ever done. Easily accomplished by a 2-year-old but impressive enough to get hung up on the fridge door. Apparently with no corporate ladder to climb I am now going to become a totally obnoxious, overachieving PTA-type mom looking for validation from other parents. I can own that.

Cute ideas so far:
Paper plate elves
Paper plate angel
Gingerbread trees
Handprint Santa
And another handprint Santa
Snow globes...sweet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

being hungry makes kids kind of cranky

Friday will go down as the day B. drank milk for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the rest of the week hasn't been much better. I caved on the Nutella since he wouldn't eat any of the more natural alternatives. And we're also doing cinnamon toast for breakfast since it's one of the few things B. will eat before going to school. Because the thing is when he doesn't eat he gets sort of unbearably cranky. Surprise, right? And tonight was plain noodles with butter. Ugh. I never thought I'd have that kid.
Between pimping meals, lone wolfing since the husband is working 24/7 (a great term I picked up here for doing it all yourself) and work cranking up for awards season, I'm one wiped out mama with no energy to blog or be fun.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

our favorite dinosaur books

When we're not reading about poop, we've got our current lineup of favorites: Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Paper Bag Princess, The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark, Usborne's Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Clip-Clop.
Then there are the dinosaur books, which have been a constant for months. Randomly collected from grandparents, the bookstore and I'm not even sure where. And all five must be read in exactly the same order every time starting with Touch and Feel Dinosaur and winding up with How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food. (Side note: I much prefer Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp over the endless Danny and the Dinosaur which is currently hidden at the back of the bookcase.) Of all the things he could obsess over, I love that my kid is a dino buff. And I think the books are a really good mix of stories, rhymes and education-y, tactile type of books. I hope it's of some inspiration if you're looking to expand your dinosaur library.

can anything replace nutella?

Our "chocolate sandwich" obsession was getting out of control (that's what B. calls Nutella) so I hit Whole Foods this weekend to try and find a healthier alternative. Justin's Nut Butter looked interesting but not quite the right cocoa shade to pull a bait and switch. So I decided to try the Peanut Butter & Co.'s chocolate peanut butter. It tastes decent to me but it's got a really nutty flavor that B. just isn't digging. So I may end up caving and spread a small scrapping of Nutella on one side and dark chocolate peanut butter on the other as a compromise. Otherwise this kiddo's going to school hungry. (I bought whole grain toaster waffles this weekend which were immediately rejected. As for Cheerios and Fluffernutters, they've been abandoned.)
For now I'm trying to look on the bright side, which includes this creative consolation: If my kid were a caveman, he'd have a really long life expectancy since he'd never try anything new, including poisonous mushrooms or berries. Really, being picky is just a healthy defense mechanism.
UPDATE: Holy shiznit. I just tried Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter and it passed the I'd-shovel-this-out-of-the-jar-with-a-spoon test. Now I just have to convince the kid.

Friday, November 4, 2011

adorable but uneaten

Thanks to the advice of a friend I tried to be a little less Martha this morning and set B. up in the kitchen with flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Anything made with flour and sugar is "baking" to him, it never actually has to get cooked. He just wants to measure dry goods and stir them around.
Huge waste of ingredients but I want the kid to be comfortable in the kitchen. Especially since I'd made this sweet potato stegosaurus pancake and wanted to make sure he'd eat it by feeling part of the process.
Long story short, he made a mess, refused to eat the pancake or anything else until he got to school where he ate a plain toaster waffle. So instead of picking up any new and improved eating habits at school, he's narrowing his daytime diet down to white rice, plain pasta and frozen waffles. The horror.
(I swear at some point I'm gonna write a post about all the awesome things my sweet, smart boy does. But today is not that day.)

Pancake Recipe
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Cinnamon (and random assortment of pumpkin pie-like spices if you have them on hand: ginger, nutmeg and all spice)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sweet potato or pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Measure out the dry ingredients into a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined and any major lumps of flour are dissolved. (The batter will still be a little lumpy). Heat non-stick frying pan on medium heat and pour on the batter (I just used a sandwich bag with the tip cut off to squeeze out a stegosaurus shape). Cook for about 3-4 minutes until air bubbles start to pop on the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook for about 1 minute on the other side.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

random observations from the toddler trenches

  • B. has eaten a bag of Sun Chips and an almond in the past two days without any pleading on my part. Both firsts. Somehow I missed the "this is new thing week" memo.
  • Buying (and encouraging) a book called Everybody Poops was an massively bad idea. I have been reading about and looking at feces for four days straight. Sometimes before my morning coffee. I now hate this book with a passion. B. obviously loves it.
  • There are several things I gloss over when talking to friends. Such as B. slept in our bed for 8 months straight. And we're not co-sleepers. We were just too wimpy to kick him out. And every morning for the past month B. has eaten a Fluffernutter or a Nutella sandwich. There is no excuse except he will otherwise go to preschool without eating. If he were a hunger-striking dissident, he would have overturned my dictatorship by now. It's hard to negotiate with someone who has virtually no interest in eating.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

more fussy kid stuff that makes no sense

Back in the day B. used to eat bananas all the time. Then he stopped. But kept loving the Yo Gabba Gabba banana song.
Now he's given up eating pancakes. (Tears me up since these have been a constant.) But he loves the Pancake poem by Shel Silverstein.
WTF little dude? Toddlers are a mystery.
Who wants a pancake?
Sweet and piping hot?
Good little Grace looks up and says,
"I'll take the one on top."
Who else wants a pancake,
Fresh off the griddle?
Terrible Theresa smiles and says,
"I'll take the one in the middle."