Thursday, January 26, 2012

things that keep me up at night

Sometimes it feels like every single waking moment needs to be a teachable moment. And there's just not enough time to cram it all in. Every time I talk to a friend or read a parenting blog I'm reminded of the 12 things I'm not already doing with B. that I should be. He should know his address and phone number. He should know his alphabet in upper and lower case. We should be setting a good example by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and home-cooked meals (even though he won't touch them). Then there's the preschool teacher who says he needs more playdates so he'll share better. Love her but WTF does he do all day at preschool if it's not playing with other kids?! Plus don't forget to read books, brush teeth, teach them their please and thank yous. Oh and they should start dressing themselves and putting on their own shoes at this age. So add that to the to-do list. Potty training would be great, too. And learning how to use scissors. Play with them but not too much...OMG! You have to be a full-time chef, teacher, psychologist, artist and diplomat just to meet all the milestone expectations.
Not that I imagine European parents have it much easier but, coincidentally, this list of the top ten toddler activities (according to their parents) just came out over there and it seems like a lot more fun:
1. Make a mud pie
2. Bake a cake
3. Finger paint
4. Sing loudly in public
5. Climb a big hill
6. Pick fruit
7. Dance without any inhibitions
8. Make sandcastles on the beach
9. Be chased by a monster
10. Jump in a puddle so hard the water went in mummy's shoe too

Saturday, January 21, 2012

our latest reading list

We finally got to Knuffle Bunny and were cracking up reading it last night. (Thanks for the suggestion Jen!) It takes forever for us to start a new book because B. loves to reread the same stories over and over over. So despite the fact that I ordered a stack of new books back in October we're just getting through them now.
In fact, the only way I can introduce a new book is to offer it up just before we turn out the lights out at bedtime. He'll agree to listen if it buys him an extra ten minutes with the lights on. That and I throw in a bunch of really old (and very basic) favorites, little board books like Moo, Baa, La-La-La. He'll also agree to a new story first thing when he wakes up but I'm usually way too tired to pull it together in the morning.
At 32 months, our (mostly boy-friendly) favorites right now are How I Became a Pirate, Knuffle Bunny, Tikki Tikki Tembo, A Giraffe and a Half, Pout Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Green Eggs and Ham, the Paper Bag Princess and anything involving dinosaurs.
We've also got at least six brand new, unread books sitting on the shelf just waiting to get introduced into our rotation. Maybe by summer...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

when the doctor says, "wow"

I called B.'s pediatrician this week to discuss his aversion to anything that is not bread, cheese or chocolate. At some point I expect him to turn green and lose the energy to get out of bed because how can someone survive with virtually no protein, fruit or veggies (other than what his wily mother can sneak into his food)?! I went through the whole routine, explaining how we set out good foods and tell him those are his only options for lunch/dinner and how he goes hungry rather than eat most anything. And she said..."Wow." This was sort of alarming since it doesn't seem like a good thing when your kid's doctor says, "Wow." That and "Well, I've never seen that before." (It also confirms my theory that when your kid isn't eating or sleeping or doing something else properly, people assume you're the one screwing things up.)
But she also didn't have me rush him in for an appointment so apparently she believes he'll live to see his third birthday. Instead she told me to pick up some Pediasure and hide it in his milk. So I'm off to the store to get my kid some liquid energy.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

scratching my head

We were at the Farmers Market this morning, doing our usual Sunday morning breakfast and produce shopping. B. had a waffle like he always does, though no pony rides or petting zoo today because it was threatening to rain so we moved through pretty quickly. He got fixated on some baby potatoes and insisted we buy a bag of white, pink and purple spuds. Oh and a red carrot. So I steamed some up as soon as we got home and tossed them with butter and salt hoping to capitalize on his interest (he's NEVER eaten a potato or a regular french fry -- only sweet potatoes). But he refused to touch, taste, sniff or lick them. Such a strange little eater.
Other things that don't translate to an increased palate: offering to buy him a cupcake if he'll eat one bite of fruit. No deal. Having the cutest six-year-old girl he knows offer him a bite of her hamburger. Not gonna eat it. He's even turned down pizza on the very same day I watched him shake pepper flakes over plastic pizza in a play kitchen at school. It. Makes. No. Sense.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

a chocolate bread compromise

New year. Same shit. But I've started scraping a spoonful of peanut butter onto every chocolate bread (a.k.a. Nutella sandwich) B. eats. And he knows something's different. I catch him examining each sandwich like he knows something's changed but he can't put his finger on it. And I just smile. And he eats it because he can't resist the Nutella that's covering the peanut butter. And because mommy is no longer bitching about making him chocolate bread for breakfast every day. And we're all just a little bit happier.

my favorite kid-friendly restaurants in Santa Monica

We had dinner at Kay 'n' Daves this week (technically in Brentwood) and B. wolfed down almost an entire adult-sized quesedilla topped with avocado. And he even directed us to dip each bite into the side of pinto beans I ordered. It was such a fuss-free/healthy meal I got all choked up (Am I wound a little too tight over these food issues? Oh yeah). And then the owner came over and out of the blue offered B. a free dessert. I still have no idea why though I like to think he has kids and saw the relief on my face at watching B. eat so nicely. So the little dude ate almost an entire brownie sundae, which I wasn't going to turn away since it was free!
We had B.'s first birthday party dinner here back in 2010, it was the spot that turned him onto quesedillas and pinto beans and they serve Coronas and sangria, which takes the edge off family dinner and dims the noise when you're having dinner at 5:30 with a bunch of other kids around. I'll be a loyal customer for life.
My other favorite places that serve drinks and range from tolerant to kid-friendly:
The Counter. It's our mommy-son date night special. Plus it's 3 blocks from Clover Park.
Stella Rosa Pizza Bar. It's cavernous so nobody can hear your kid complain when they don't bring the pizza out fast enough.
Pizza Antica. It's on the top floor of Santa Monica place so outdoor patio is great if your kid gets antsy.
The Omelette Parlor. OK, no drinks. But they bring stickers and crayons to the table and make a great waffle. Ditto Bru's Wiffle.
The Brentwood Country Mart. Not exactly in SM but right next door. And how can you go wrong when Jennifer Garner and Reese Witherspoon seem to be there every second day. Barney's Burgers = so good. Sweet Rose ice cream = insanely good. And everything is outside. Except the new Farmshop restaurant, which does not seem remotely kid-friendly (though we saw Alyson Hannigan and her kid eating there) but it's the first place I'm going the next time I can get a babysitter!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

new year's resolution kiddo-style

It's been 2 weeks of chocolate bread, M&Ms and anything else B. wanted to shove in his mouth at Nana and Pop-pop's. We've got 2 days left of antibiotics (which MUST be taken with M&Ms) and then it's cold turkey time. On behalf of my chocolate-addicted child, I'm making a resolution to toss out all the leftover holiday desserts and chocolate Santas and go healthy. (OK, we're gonna hide the really good truffles away for some late night desperate moments--plus I just don't throw Godiva in the garbage--but I swear even I'm giving up dessert.) Holy crap, the next few weeks are gonna be hell.