Thursday, June 28, 2007
I ran to my car, fortunately parked relatively close by, in my open-toed, high-heeled sandals while getting pelted with hail. Ah, the joy. Fortunately, as I drove toward home the rain seemed to disappear, heading in a true north direction as opposed to the "north" of Connecticut (look at a map of CT, to me it runs east-west, to natives it is configured north-south). I was relieved to arrive at LP's day care by 5:15 welcomed by clear skies. Good, because I wasn't sure how I was going to get her from the building to the car if it was pouring.
I get into the classroom and LP's teacher tells me that my baby girl has recently developed a rash. Internally I am thinking "Oh, it must be the usual redness she gets on her sensitive skin that fades in five minutes," then, I look at her belly. She has this big, ugly, swollen blob on her little gut. And a smaller patch of it on her elbow and both of her knees. Oy!
I pack her up quick as a bunny and call the pediatrician. After I confirm for them that it is not chicken pox (whew!) they give me a 5:45 appointment. We head right over and arrive by 5:25. I am relieved to report that LP is suffering from an allergic reaction to something. Most likely a cleaning product or something on the floor in day care, since it is in places that would touch the floor when she hurries about while crawling.
Today, despite the heat, my little muffin is wearing a onesie and light, long pants, to protect all of her sensitive spots until they heal. Hopefully whatever she reacted to will abate while we are camping and life will return to normal. And by "normal" I mean "life where we react to one adventure after another."
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
However, there are a few points in the article that I find kind of yucky. The whole concept of Outsourcing Nursing is really appalling to me. For me, nursing was about my bond with my daughter. If, for some reason, I couldn't nurse, I am sure I would be upset, but I am also sure that I would introduce formula before allowing someone else to nurse my child. And, even though I still have several bags of milk frozen in my freezer, I plan on chucking these instead of donating them for someone else's use. Again, a concept that kind of skeezes me out. Yes, I thought it was weird that at LP's day care they would wear gloves when giving her a bottle of breast milk, but it is bodily fluids and I can't say I necessarily blame them for not wanting to touch it.
Another part of the article talks about La Leche League's guidance on nursing an adopted baby. I actually stumbled across this myself a few months ago when looking for information on increasing my production. It seems really really odd to me that you can will your body to produce breast milk; Because I can tell you that I sure as hell tried to increase my milk production toward the end there through mental telepathy and it didn't seem to work. Women who give birth to babies have a hard time nursing, I can't even imagine the frustration associated with an adoptive mom trying to force herself to lactate. There must be better ways to develop a bond with your new child.
Nursing or providing breast milk is not the only way to show your baby love. Better to focus on the things you can control than expend valuable energy trying to force something that isn't working or isn't meant to be.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
We have a list for the "usual" stuff - sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tent, flashlights, etc. Another list holds the food items (never mind that my sister-in-law and I are trying not to duplicate too many items in this category and already I have an overflowing bag of just the non-perishable items). You also have to consider the baby-specific items such as the hiking, baby-carrying back pack, the pack-n-play, the sleep sack in case it is cold, the baby Benadryl in case she gets stung by too many mosquitoes...I had to convince the Hoos that it was not necessary to bring a high-chair. You get the idea.
The good news is that the weather is supposed to be clear. The bad news is that my dining room probably will not have sufficient time to recover before our week-long vacation at the Cape.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
- Pro: We can hardly remember when LP was a few months old, if we had captured some footage on video maybe it would help our memories. Con: We have pictures of LP in the newborn stage. Pictures of me holding her that I look at frequently and I still have a hard time believing she was ever that small.
- Pro: Baby girl often does really silly things that would be great to show friends and family. Con: These events are usually one time only offerings and rarely occur when a camera is handy.
- Pro: It would be great to be able to show LP video of herself as a baby when she is older. Con: These are an embarrassment instead of an enticement. My high school year book had a picture of me in a Wonder Woman bathing suit wearing bracelets, a crown and boots with the caption "You will always be our Wonder Woman."
- Pro: We will be capturing memories in the making for posterity. Con: We will be see busy capturing the memories that we will not be enjoying them. Sort of like when you go on vacation and spend the whole time searching for "the perfect souvenir" for folks back home instead of enjoying the experience.
As of right now we are leaning toward upgrading our digital camera - the one we have was free with the Hoos' LexisNexis points - and forgoing purchasing a camcorder. Our digital camera does capture small snippets of video which should get us by for now. Other experienced parents have an opinion on the subject? Will we regret our decision?
Friday, June 22, 2007
I am very excited to share with you the news that I have been selected to receive the Geoffrey Roberts Award for 2007 and with it a prize of $6000 with which to finance a road trip across the United States in search of endangered American foods. I will be visiting small family farms, farmers’ markets, and chefs that produce or utilize traditional local ingredients, some of which may be produced in such little quantities that their very existence is now in jeopardy.
I have created a website to track my road trip: www.eat-american.com.
On it you will find information about the trip, such as the people we meet and the foods we discover along the way, as well as recipes, photographs, and links to websites that are related to this cause . I will be interviewing some famous names in the world of food and hope to share with you some of my adventures!
I have already been interviewed by NPR and the St. Augustine Record. I will post those interviews on my website as they become available online. For those of you in the Jacksonville listening area, my interview will broadcast on 89.9 FM tomorrow, Saturday, 23 June, at 7AM and 3PM.
My hope is that this road trip will generate enough interest about our threatened foods that farmers, chefs, and indeed the American public, will be sufficiently informed and moved to grow, cook with, and buy them before they are gone forever. In this way, we can help small family farmers and these national food treasures survive, while preserving a part of our nation’s heritage.
Our first stop is right here in my hometown of St. Augustine, FL where I will be highlighting one of our local treasures, the Datil pepper.
On Monday, 25 June, we will head for the Carolinas to investigate stoneground grits, Carolina Gold rice, and a few other items that are being artisanally crafted there.
Check our website frequently (www.eat-american.com) to get updates about our whereabouts and humorous anecdotes from the road. Also, please forward this email to anyone you know who would be interested and help us get this message out!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The essay topic: If money was no issue, would you work and what would you do?
I don't really touch on the second part of the question, but you can imagine my response to the first section. Check it out!
I solicited advice from the other moms from LP's day care and I received lots of ideas. Just about everyone reminded me that barefoot is best. Well, then why is my kid the only one that is always barefoot at day care? This is one of the reasons I was looking to buy LP shoes! Whatever, it wasn't the only reason. I realized the other day that when we stopped by the playground after school to visit one of LP's friends, I couldn't put her down. Her feet were bare - she didn't even have socks on.
Anyway, I decided to get LP a pair of Pedipeds. They were recommended by several moms, they were soft, lightweight and cute; more importantly, after checking them out myself, it appeared they would stay on. Here's hoping that this was $29.95 well spent!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
By the way, I was talking to [a colleague] and she says to me "What is that hanging out of your sleeve?" (the sleeves on my dress shirt were rolled up). So I look down and see something white kind of hanging out. I pull it out and it was one of LP's little white socks. How funny. What a "dad" thing to have happen.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Anyway, yesterday we went for a nice walk around the neighborhood. I gave LP a toy to play with while we walked. I also noticed that she had a cute little sock balled up in one fist. "Whatever", I thought, "at least it isn't a pacifier."
As we neared home, I heard a "thwack!" and the sock hit the pavement. I picked it up and it was drenched. In fact, I wrung it out with a tight squeeze of my fist.
Then is occurred to me that the sock was soaked with my daughter's saliva. I quickly picked her up and ran into the house to thoroughly wash my hands.
Last week, on the days she was home with me, I started giving her milk in a sippy cup while she ate and when she was done eating, I would try to get her to drink from the cup. She would typically only drink an ounce or so. I would then pour the rest of the milk into a bottle and hand it back to her; she would drain the bottle.
This week I started only giving LP milk in a sippy cup during the day. If she drinks it, excellent; if she doesn't, fine. This is horrible from a mommy perspective, especially since it is growing increasingly warm out. I don't want my little buggaboo to be thirsty, but I can see any other way. Before bed I still give her a bottle with her last milk of the day. I am trying to figure out if she is gaming me, holding out to drink until she gets her bottle at night. Next week we go all cup all the time.
Any one else have experience with this? Any tried and true methods for getting babies to cups?
Monday, June 18, 2007
Yesterday in the grocery store, LP started getting fussy. So, like any other parent trying to get through an errand without totally alienating the rest of the population, I popped open the box of graham crackers in my cart and gave one to LP. I then high-tailed it over to the in-store Dunkin' Donuts to liberate some of their free napkins to use to clean up the graham cracker goo that would surely coat my cart once the cracker had disintegrated in the baby's hands and mouth.
I haven't gone to the store without showering yet, or brought LP to the store in her PJs, but I can see how this might be a slippery slope. Instead of giving looks of pity, I will give these brave, hard-working women looks of sympathy and save the disdain for those who think they know better.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Since these two occasions are coinciding on this one date, I wanted to blog about what a great example my parents have set - both individually and as a couple. They gave me and my brother great values to build successful lives upon.
Value. Sunday mornings would find Dad sitting at the kitchen table clipping and organizing coupons and Mom making shopping excursions to find the best bargains. Thanks to them I walk to the back of the store first to look at the sale racks, bypassing the more expensive seasonal stuff that is two seasons ahead anyway. I also stock up on items that are on sale at the grocery store, and visit more than one grocery store a week to buy items at a lower cost.
Saving. I am a saver. That is not to say I don't buy things, because I do love to shop, but I like the security of having money in the bank. I remember going to Teacher's Federal Credit Union with my Dad and opening my first checking account. It was a long time ago, but I hope to teach LP how to save for a rainy day.
Education. My parents are both teachers. An importance was always placed on learning in our home. I remember practicing practicing practicing how to write my name so that I could get a library card. I was so desperate to be able to check out books from the library on my own card. I still love to read. So does my brother, who carries a used paperback with him just about everywhere.
Family. We spent a lot of time with family growing up. The holidays were always about getting together with my grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. My cousins were also at a lot of my birthday parties. It was important to me to move back to the NY-area, closer to my parents, when I decided to start a family so that we could celebrate special occasions together and so that my kids would know their grandparents as well as I know mine.
Love. We are not shy about saying "I love you." I talk or IM with my parents every day and each conversation ends with these three little words. I know that no matter what, my parents will always love me and be there for me.
Love ya, Mom and Dad!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
They arrived in the early afternoon, way before the Hoos would normally be home from work, but he had an event last night that precluded him from getting home before 10 anyway. We spent the day strolling the neighborhood, catching up, and being entertained by LP. She was in rare form, playing up all her silliness for our guests. Last night we drove down to the beach, walked out of the fishing pier and ate dinner. The weather was clear, the temperature was pleasant and it was a nice way to pass the time.
Five years ago we lived pretty similar lives. We would meet with them and other young couples a local restaurants a couple of nights a week; we would take turns hosting casual dinners and play on each other's company-sponsored softball teams. Now I am a married mommy, employed part-time in an occasionally challenging job, with a baby-proofed home. I wouldn't change having LP for anything in the world, but I couldn't help but wonder if I was boring then with my domesticity.
Friday, June 15, 2007
According to the Hoos, on the days he has to bring LP to day care she sleeps until 8:15 or at least entertains herself until he goes in a scoops her up to get ready for school about that time. Therefore, I was looking forward to sleeping until 8 or so, giving me enough time to get up and shower before LP was ready for her breakfast.
At 7:15 baby girl made some sounds. In a very un-Hoos like manner, the Hoos got out of bed to look in on her and put a blanket on her. He was cold so he figured she must be too. The way he explains it, as he was pulling a blanket up on her, she jumped up onto all fours and held her arms out to him in an "up, daddy!" motion. Of course, he had to respond by picking her up. He insists this has nothing to do with the fact that she was already asleep by the time he got home last night and he missed her.
I am not sure how it is possible that on Daddy days, LP sleeps until 8:15 and on Mommy Days and weekends she sleeps until 7:15. Does she have a sixth sense? Or does the Hoos have some unexplained power to keep baby content until he is ready? Anyone?
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Most days I wake up at 6:30, am out the door by 7:15 and work until 4:30. I pick LP up around 5:30, run any necessary short errands and take her for a walk. I then give her dinner and prepare our dinner. Usually when our dinner is simmering away, the Hoos arrives home and scoops LP into his arms. He takes her upstairs while he changes out of his fancy work clothes so I can clean up a bit and get the table set. After we eat dinner, we work as a team to bathe LP, give her her last bottle and put her to bed.
When the Hoos is not home and I don't have relief things are quite a bit more hectic. Of course, the weather has been cruddy, meaning we can't walk; add this to the fact that LP is trying out the new "one nap only" rule and crankiness abounds. To ease the dinner prep, I had picked up a rotisserie chicken at Stew's. I served bits of chicken, sweet potato chunks, watermelon and grapes to LP. After downing everything except the chicken, she proceeded to throw the protein off of the high chair tray - as if its mere presence was offensive to her. Of course, as I am picking bits up from the floor, she continues to chuck them, often hitting me in the head in the process.
This is not to say that we didn't also have a good time. We did manage to play and read a few books and climb the stairs several times. And on a practical note, LP did get a bath and her lunch did get prepared. But man, someone needs to conduct some research to explain how time can fly and crawl at the same time.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Now I have to brag. My Uncle Barry was featured in a fabulous article in Rochester, NY's Democrat and Chronicle. He is actually even nicer and more laid back than he is made out to be.
Now on to working mommy news. LP has decided that one nap a day is enough. By noon or so she thinks she is done resting for the day and can stay awake until bedtime. At school they put her in he crib for a second nap and baby girl plays peek-a-boo with herself quietly until they give up hope of her ever falling asleep. At home I put her in her crib for her second nap and walk away and complete a few tasks before coming back to liberate her. Sometimes I get lucky and she is asleep, most of the time she sees me, stands up and holds out her arms for a lift.
Without an afternoon nap, from around 6 pm until bedtime, baby girl is intermittently a total crankpot and a little angel. Changing her diaper is an adventure - she squirms, sits, stands and basically does anything she can to make it nearly impossible to gt her cute little butt into a clean diaper. Her pre-bedtime bottle is no longer quietly consumed while in mommy's arms - she downs it while standing on the couch, looking out the window or lounging on the couch - after crawling to the opposite end from me.
Granted, if only napping once a day is the price I have to pay for her sleeping through the night (which she has been doing for quite some time), I will gladly make the trade-off. However, one nap a day really isn't enough. I could use at least three myself.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Since I only work from home for a few hours on Mondays and Fridays, I try to make nicer meals than usual on those nights. Yesterday I was feeling both extra-ambitious and extra-guilty. A page from Bon Appetit has been posted on my fridge for the past month or so. A few weeks ago I purchased the necessary ingredients and yet they remained frozen and refrigerated.The recipe was for sweet pea and artichoke lasagna. It sounded good to me and the picture was appealing. It was vegetarian and seemed to be a good way to feed LP and me and the Hoos.
After easing LP into a nap around 4, I busted out the page and got to work. The first thing that I made was a mess. After skimming the article and starting to defrost the two main ingredients in the microwave at the same time, I learned they were to be kept separated which required using two bowls instead of the initial one. This also meant hand separating partially-defrosted peas and chopped artichokes. Also, since I don't own a regular size food processor, I employed a blender to puree peas and ricotta cheese. Well, a container of cheese, a bag of peas and a few other crucial items don't exactly fit well in a blender, meaning I had to periodically open the top (after wisely turning the blender off) and hand mix the ingredients to ensure homogeny. Each time was an opportunity to drip more light green stuff onto the counter, the newly tiled floor, and me. Hurrah!
Fortunately, the meal turned out pretty good, if a little dry. The Hoos was a bit surprised to see it and observe that no red sauce was involved (what can I say, we are culinary lightweights), but he ate it. Actually, I countered both his trepidation and the dryness by using jarred sauce as a dip. I am nothing if not creative in a pinch - in the kitchen at least. Just don't ask me to create art out of household goods and a bedazzler, that is just too much (my pudding painting fiasco should be evidence enough).
Monday, June 11, 2007
We got two new sleeping bags and a new tent at Dick's Sporting Goods. We actually didn't intend to buy a new tent, but when I saw the nice big tents all set up in the store, my first reaction was "ohhh...this is niiiice." It wasn't just that the tent was so nice, it is also that we were planning on sleeping in the Hoos' 15-year old tent. The tent has not been opened in at least 10 years and I was starting to be a bit concerned that we would take it out upon arriving at our camp site and discover that the thing was covered with holes and had families of moths living in for the last decade. The new tent is 12x10 - bigger than the "master" bedroom in our little cape. If we can't all three sleep comfortably in this new structure, well, then the tent isn't to blame.
Speaking of sleeping, we are also starting to wonder how that is going to work. LP is not exactly used to sleeping out in nature or even next to Mommy and Daddy for that matter. Will she be so excited that sleep will never come? Our optimistic view is that we will just lay in the tent with it all zipped up and the Hoos and I will go to bed and LP can just crawl around until she falls asleep. The thought process is that she will be safe - she can't get out (at least I hope she doesn't know how to open zippers yet!) and there is nothing to fall off of or hurt herself on. Okay, stop laughing. We know it ain't gonna work, but we are hopeful.
Sleeping is just one consideration - we also have bugs to contend with, dirt and sticks and other organic matter to constantly remove from LP's hands and mouth, and the weather. We are going with my brother-in-law and his family. Every time they go camping it rains. I hope our good luck counteracts their bad luck...Start praying for us!
Friday, June 8, 2007
The topics centered around her developmental progress in terms of interaction, movement, emotion, and communication. I actually received a written "report card" which included the following points of feedback:
- When LP is being fed and we take too long she gets upset
- Seeks familiar face when around new people and in new situations
- Has brief encounters with other children
- Imitates and exchanges sounds with other people
Some of our discussion also included the detail that LP is very observant and uses information to get what she wants. For instance, if she notices another child cry and get attention she will assess the situation and actually decide to fake cry in order to get attention. She does a similar trick when one of her favorite teachers walks into the room. As soon as the poor woman walks in the door, LP pretends to cry so the teacher immediately walks over to her.
All of this information was great, and I was really appreciative for the opportunity since I don't know too much about how LP interacts with other children or how she acts when her mommy isn't around. At the end, the lead teacher asked if I had any questions and I hadn't thought enough about it to ask anything meaningful. What I should have asked is for the teacher's opinion on LP's personality - is she a leader? A follower? A class clown? I have my opinions; for instance, any time someone picks her up she lays her head on their shoulder - is this doesn't epitomize a loving kid, I don't know what does; but again, I am observing her as a parent without a basis for comparison.
Then again, how much more information do I need? However she is, she is perfect. Just ask her grandparents.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
But really, how does one gauge if they are a good parent? The fact that my baby girl is healthy and growing - is that enough? Am I a better parent if she talks or walks sooner than other kids? Or am I a better mom if I sit back and let her grow at her own pace? Is being a good guardian reading two books a day to LP instead of one or none?
Maybe once LP starts talking I will get affirmation when she gives me a hug or says "I love you" (sigh, I am sure I will melt every time). I also know there will be times when she yells at me that she hates me for setting boundaries - I know I did (sorry mom and dad) and I hope that I will be thinking clearly enough to know that is a way of saying I am a successful parent in a back-handed compliment sort of way.
I know these questions for the most part are pretty silly, but as a goal-oriented professional, I find it difficult to accept that I need to wait for my daughter to be a healthy, thriving woman to know that I am doing the right thing as a mom. Do I have to wait for LP to have her own working mom blog?
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
First, let me say, I am not usually into this "touchy-feely" stuff. My typical view is, 'who has time for this stuff?'. However, after having gone through the process and getting the results I am wondering if this information will not only make me a better team player - but a better mom and wife.
Apparently I am a "Thruster-Organizer" which means that I am a "outgoing type who likes to make things happen by organizing people and resources so ideas, discussions, and experiments are turned into action." The profile also told me a lot of stuff that I could have told you without taking the test e.g., I put a heavy emphasis on getting the job done in an efficient and effective way. It also told me some things that don't really matter in my home life such as "you do not like things to be in disarray." Umm, apparently the human tornado that winds its way through my house daily is not a "Thruster-Organizer".
On the other hand, some items do come in handy for my "real job" as a homemaker (is that a PC term?). For instance, I "respect routine, organizational systems and roles and if such procedures don't exist, [I] will set them up." Well, when you first bring home your newborn, life starts out as having no routine. Time is just something that passes in the background. But, establishing a routine is helpful if you actually want to accomplish anything as your newborn becomes an infant. Obviously people on the other end of the spectrum might disagree, thinking that flexibility and spontaneity are the keys to a happy life, but fortunately another of my skills is to talk louder than those folks (no, this is not in my profile).
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Yesterday we had her one year check up. As part of this they have to take some blood from her toe. Unfortunately, this process requires "clipping" the toe and squeezing it to get the requisite amount of fluid to test. It took about 5 minutes. LP not only didn't cry THE ENTIRE TIME, but she watched the nurse as he did it, curious to see what was going on.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Last Wednesday, LP had a note in her school bag announcing the end of giving kids breakfast at school, effective the following Monday (e.g., today). This was a pretty upsetting notice, not just because of its content and how it would impact the morning ritual in our house, but because of the way in which it was communicated. The note alluded to parent concerns about teacher communication and how some parents felt that teachers were too busy feeding the kids to talk in the morning, but this did not seem like a sufficient explanation. Unfortunately, since most of us pick our kids up after 5 pm, the school's administration had already left, giving us no opportunity to discuss the policy change in more detail.
What happened next was most interesting. Thursday there was a flurry of email activity from most of the mom's of kids in LP's class. We don't know each other well, and for some of us the only thing we have in common is where we send our kids to school. But in this case, that was enough. There was outrage and venting and amazingly, everyone was in agreement - even if the breakfast policy change did not directly affect them. It felt good to be in the company of so many (okay, seven or so) smart, vocal women that all had the same number one priority as me - their kids.
After we had worked out how we would approach the administration to discuss the policy, things just got better. The ice was broken! Someone sent an "off-topic" email, asking what we all sent in for lunch for out hungry little infants. There were several immediate responses.
Then, Saturday morning there was an email sent to all asking if anyone had experienced the "bug" that was floating around the day care center; again, there was a flurry of responses. Within a few hours, we were able to determine that six or seven children in LP's classroom (and some of their parents and siblings - yup, that sucks) were struck by this stomach ailment. Fortunately, we weren't impacted (still crossing fingers) but this is not information we would usually have available (at least not until LP went back to school on Tuesday, which by then may have been too late) AND people were giving solutions and sharing stories and helping to determine how long the sickness would last (we think 24-36 hours).
It was wonderful - it was as if the community I had been craving suddenly appeared before my eyes and I had a group of working mom friends I could relate to.