Saturday, April 30, 2011

My 12 Tooth Wonder

So I know of all the things to be proud of, the amount of teeth that your child has is a bizarre one. But let me explain.

While all of Walter's little friends were busy getting their teeth at 5-7 months Walter remained my gummy grinned wonder. Month 7, 8, 9, came and went and still no sign of his teeth. Then right before he turned 10 months (like the day before) he was inconsolable. And when I say inconsolable I mean nothing worked, not even my fail-safe faucet trick. I didn't get sleep for two nights. I had no idea what to do. And in a sleep deprived stupor I thought a trip to Babies R Us would cure it all. So we hoped into the car, drove to Babies R Us and bought some diapers, a push toy, some baby Mum Mums (best invention for teething baby ever),  and some beach toys for the upcoming summer. After the retail therapy binge session was over I strapped Walter into the car seat noticed that he, for the first time in two days he was quiet. WTF? I thought to myself. I put my fingers into his mouth for the requisite feel around, and sure enough there it was, his first tooth, just north of the gumline. Walter had a tooth! One day before his 10 month birthday.

He had two teeth to ring in his 1st birthday. His two top teeth came in at the end of August. And the top side teeth were quick to follow and by the middle of September when most of his other friends had 12 teeth he had 6.

Walter and his 6 teeth trick-or-treated, Walter and his 6 teeth ate turkey dinner, Walter and his 6 teeth opened Christmas presents together, Walter and his 6 teeth rang in the new year together, I nick-named him my 6 tooth wonder.  And then one late January day after a nasty bout with the stomach flu, a new molar emerged. Seven teeth! And in the past 3 months teeth have been popping out left and right. And yesterday Walter doubled the amount of teeth in his mouth in three months.

Enter my mom pride. I am so proud. And I know its a really ridiculous thing to be proud of. Teeth, everybody's got them, and will get them. And Walter was by no means late in getting his teeth, but still when ALL his friends (even his friends a few months younger than him) have more teeth than him you begin to wonder. Will it happen? Is there something wrong. Nope. Walter is just a late bloomer when it comes to teeth and I am ridiculously proud of him for having 12 teeth.

Only 8 more to go!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Go the F*&! to Sleep

Okay so last night was NOT a good night. This mama got nary a wink of sleep. And I know I should be napping while Walter is and that was totally the plan but the thing is my mind spins and spins at nap time. Why am I lying down when there is so many other things that have to get done? So I made myself a cup of coffee and decided to blog (okay so I can check one thing off my list).

I ironically came across a book yesterday that I think will be an instant best seller. It is called Go the F*&$ to Sleep. It is made to look like a children's book, but judging from the title it is more of an adult book. It is written by Adam Mansbach, a dad  who just wanted his little one to go the fuck to sleep. I mean honestly how hard is it to close your eyes and sleep? I know, its not always as easy as it seems. Case in point me writing my blog instead of napping. But wouldn't you think after a full day of parks, farmers markets and house hunting you would be tired? I know I was.

So cut back to this book. I wish it were out right now. I wish I could have read it over and over again last night and the countless nights before. It is so hard to be patient and loving when all you need is sleep. And I know I haven't been some nights. Some nights I let Walter cry while I try and sleep, while saying those same words in my head, why not just go the fuck to sleep? Of course after about 2 minutes of this behavior I start crying and then console Walter and try and coherse him into sleeping. Just knowing that someone else has thought these words maybe said these words to their child makes me feel like I am not alone in this. And also a great comic relief for the middle of the night jaunts when all you want to do is go the fuck asleep, but can't.

You can pre-order the book on Amazon, I am posting the link at the end of the blog. I can't wait to have my copy. October 11 can't come soon enough!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Farmers Market Starts Today

I have eagerly been waiting for this day since last October. The Columbia City Farmer's Market opens for the season today! We live three blocks away! I am so excited! I love, love, love going to the farmers market. I love meeting the people who grow the food that I put on our table. From April to October we eat produce mainly from the Farmer's Market which means our fruits and veggies are all locally grown (yay for sustainability!). Just thinking of those peaches from last September make my mouth water.

The food is great, don't get me wrong, but my absolute favorite part about the farmers market is the relationship you build with the farmers and their staff. They are so knowledgeable about seemingly every piece of produce they sell. You can ask them how their produce is cultivated, a lot of times, especially with the more "mom and pop" farms they cannot afford to get the certified organic label but still follow organic farming practices--not having that organic label also allows you to pay for "organic" fruits and veggies at non organic prices, a deal! And speaking of deals, going at the end of the market makes way more sense than the beginning...why? The farmers don't want to schlep all the produce back to the wherehouse where it could potentially go bad, so you are more apt to be able to wheel and deal some amazing deals toward closing time.

And  don't let me leave out  the live entertainment that you get to listen to as you stop to enjoy your ice cream on the grass. Last year Walter was learning how to use his sea legs and didn't stray too far from me. This year I am sure he will find many adventures to be had. I can't wait to see his expression, to see if he remembers any of it at all.

I can already taste the amazing sausage from Olsen Farms and see the beautiful flowers that will grace our kitchen window. I am so happy and grateful the farmers market has come back for another season!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making the Sauce

This sauce rocks. If I don't say so myself. We eat a lot of pasta and Italian dishes that calls for red sauce in our house. I was on the hunt for a very economical, healthy and easy way to keep red sauce on hand. This sauce is it. It costs a fraction of what a jar of red sauce costs at the market and yields twice as much as well as you know exactly what is in the sauce. You can add carrots, mushrooms, peppers, sausage, more garlic (less garlic), cheese. I have provided the bare bones directions here. Enjoy!

1 can (28oz) organic whole tomatoes
3-5 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 gold onion
Balsamic Vinegar to taste
Fresh basil to taste

In a blender combine the can of tomatoes, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and 1-2 cloves of garlic, and 1/4 of the fresh basil. Mix it all together for no longer than 10 seconds. Set aside.

Chop onions up. In large skillet cook the onion in olive oil and a little bit of sea salt until the pieces are translucent and soft. Mince the rest of the garlic and add to the skillet. Throughly mix the garlic up with the onion. Cook together for no longer than a minute. Turn heat to simmer, add in the tomato mixture and the rest of the basil, chopped. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste sauce. Add the balsamic vinegar to taste. The purpose of the vinegar is to cut the acidity of the tomatoes down.

We had spaghetti with this sauce last night it is always a hit and I now have 2 cups left in my freezer waiting to be used in some other culinary delight soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Mom Squad

So I remember when I was childless and had just moved to Seattle and was thinking about how just truely awesome it would be if I had a child, if not for the soul purpose of, instant friends! I moved to Seattle six months before I turned 30 and the longer you are out of college, making good friends just gets harder and harder. I believe this was because the majority of college was spent drinking or studying, with the occasional shift at the coffee shop thrown in there. You had time, energy and desire for making friends. And then after college you start climbing ladders, getting married and buying houses.  To me it seemed simple, if you had children you would have to then be friends with your children’s friends parents.....

And then I became a mom. And whoever knew there was so many ways to be a good mom? I sure didn’t. I quickly found out that being a mom was much like working on your career. Cut throat. Now before I go any further I must say I am very fortunate in the fact that I found a very welcoming and non-judgemental group of moms. Whom I wake up everyday and am so incredibly greatful for having them grace my life. And since these are the first moms I met, Walter was only 2 weeks old, I kinda assumed all moms were like this.

Oh how wrong I was.

I have come to find out that moms are some of the most judgemental people around. Its almost like high school all over again. You have the designer moms who bring their Fendi and Prada to the parks in stelletos and forget it if your child isn’t dressed in Bon Bon Bebe, they aren’t allowed to play with your child. Then you have the working and mothering moms on their Blackberries as their children play alone in the park who can’t believe that there are some mommies out there that have sacrificed their careers for raising their children. Then there are the moms that go crunch that woudn’t serve anything but organic and breastmilk to their child and consider formula a crime.

Okay so weren’t we supposed to be the role models here? I never knew that mothering was so controversial AND a few steps backward into high school. I think it has something to do with the fact that in today’s world women have to be so many things to so many people and its just plain stressful when it comes to being the main caretaker of this little being that counts on you for everything. So when you see another mom that does something diffrently than you do, your first knee jerk reaction is “thats not the way I am doing it, so it must be wrong, my little Addison won’t play with her little Mckenzie”.

Like I said I feel so fortunate that I have a great, solid group of mommy friends. We formula feed, breast feed, dress our children in whatever was the best bargain, work, stay at home, but we respect each other because we know at the end of the day this really is the toughest job around and whatever works for their family must be working well because they have such happy and healthy children.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

There's a first time for everything.

I never, ever thought I would be feeding ANYONE let alone my offspring from a frog puppet we affectionately call Fred. Making Fred "ribbit" as Walter eats. Nope, never did. And my friends, tonight I did just that to get him to eat. I must go, I've reached a place I never thought possible.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Growing a Pair

This morning the sun was shining, the birds were singing and Walter and I had a most lovely walk to the playground. We found pill bugs and played with them. We found rocks and collected them in his stroller as we went. We met dogs and pet them. We got to the playground and played. Up and down the slide, up and down the slide, repeat 40 times more. Hoarding wood chips. Exploring the underside of the play equipment. I swung him. I helped him climb. And then he walked to the entrance and said "go". So we went. I let him decide left or right. And then we were off like a heard of turtles.

Then came the corner of Edmunds and 36th. He wanted to go east and we needed to go west. This was unacceptable to him and proceeded in almost running out into the street to show his protest.

What happened next is a blur of 20 minutes of crying, sobbing, kicking and pleading. We were on a walking thoroughfare to the main drag of our neighborhood and there were plenty of spectators to this spectacle. I was pulling everything I had out of my hat. "Look at that dog!" I would exclaim, and there were actually two really nice dog owners that stopped and let Walter in his hysterical mess pet their dogs. I tried giving him choices "you can play in the school yard" or "we can walk home". "Breathe Walter. In out, in out." I said with exaggeration.

Alas in the end there was just no reconciling with him. He wanted to go look at the buses and cars on the busy street an we had to go home. Had he not made such a big deal about it I probably would have given in. But I don't want him to think that going all hysterical he would be able to get his way.  It took some doing but I did manage to get him in his stroller and he rode in the stroller home crying and me beside myself, we had been having such a great time before that corner, how did it all break down so quickly?

And sure it was embarrassing to have people gawk at us, I think we provided temporary birth control for at least two couples walking hand-in-hand, but in the end I stood my ground. It is so hard going from "you can't spoil the baby" to "a toddler needs consistent boundaries". In one of the blogs/magazines/books that I read about toddler discipline they equated the need for setting clear boundaries and expectations to the working world where you have a boss that doesn't set those clear boundaries and expectations and then writing you up for something you were expected to do. And it was like a light went on. Because I've had those kind of bosses before.

And so it stands, when we are outside walking hold hands while crossing the street. No running out into the street from the sidewalk. And above all else listen to the word "stop". This morning it didn't happen. We made a scene, and I could have cared less. It was a learning opportunity for both Walter and myself. So hopefully next time I can better deal with a breakdown and he will be able to listen better. Until that time, wish me luck as a begin to grow a pair!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Growing Up

Sometimes I can taste the envy like a sweetly made Manhattan.

Over breakfast at a very fun diner my friend Bianca was just telling me about her night last night. It was an ordinary night, she got home from work, went to the gym where she flirted with "gym boy" for like 20 min, met some friends for dinner, and walked home. We then excitedly chatted about "gym boy" and the hopes that some day he will ask her out, or perhaps she just had to grow some balls and ask him out. "but there is something definitely there". All the while I wanted to be able to just have one of those nights again. Nothing spectacular. Just free.

Then it was my turn to talk about my night

I too went out to dinner, but ended up chasing a toddler around the restaurant or begged him to eat pretty much the entire time, we too walked home but halfway home Walter decided he didn't want to walk, nor sit in his stroller so I got to carry him. Once home I tried saying good night to him (daddy does bath time and bedtime) and he screamed and cried for 5 min after. 

As this conversation was taking place as I was simotaniously entertaining W, listening to Bianca and eating my breakfast at rapid pace as I had about 10 more seconds until W would want to get down and start exploring the restaurant.

Long past are the days where I stay up past 10pm, let alone go out on the town and have a evening not to remember. And 98% of me is glad for this. The other 2% longs to have just one more of those nights. For freedom. For spontaneity.  But here's the thing about being a mom, even if I did have a night out not to remember, I have a little man who needs me when I get home. 

I am so glad to have had the life experences I have had. They are the ones that help me wash the envy down and realize that it is someone else's turn in the disco spotlight. In return I have the most amazing little guy who does the funniest things. Like it or not we all have responsiblities in life. Haiving a child is a big one. One that changes your life in even the littlest of ways. But most of all you really do grow up and become an adult (98% of the time). 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pro-Planned Parenthood

It was the beginning of December. I was 10 days late and the pregnancy tests that we had bought at the pharmacy all came back positive. I literally had no idea what to do, I had never thought I would be in this situation. The directions on the pregnancy tests said that even if it was a positive you had to get confirmation of pregnancy by a health care provider. So I called my doctor up and I was politely told that I wouldn't have been able to be seen for a few more weeks. I guess this was common practice. But I was freaking out. I hadn't planned on getting pregnant, but here were three different sticks saying I was, I needed the guidance of a professional. The scheduler said that I could make an appointment at Planned Parenthood if I couldn't wait for the initial appointment with my doctor. 

So I did something at the age of 30 I never thought I would do. I went to Planned Parenthood. My whole life I operated under the assumption that Planned Parenthood was a place where 16 year-old girls go to get free birth control. Yet I found myself at age 30 walking through those doors. 

They had me fill out paperwork, my income, my insurance, when was my last period, ect, and had me pee in a cup. Then came the waiting. I waited. And I waited. It was unnerving. I knew I was pregnant, it seemed a little ridiculous to me to make me wait for something that seemed so routine. 

Finally my name was called.

As we made our way into the consultation room the nurse and I introduced ourselves. Once in the consultation room that had pictures of ovaries, uteruses and embryos in various gestational phases, the nurse offered me a chair and then once we were both comfortably in our seats she said:

"you are 5 weeks pregnant, your due date is August 7th, and I take it from your answers here this was not planned, are you okay?"

I will never forget her kindness. I will never forget her asking me if I was okay. I will never forget thinking that it was going to be one hell of a hot summer and where were my tears?

"yes, well, I kinda figured I was, you know because of all the tests we took" I managed to stammer.

"Have you been thinking of your options?" She inquired

"Yes, but they all seem pretty shitty to me right now" I replied. 

And with that, she spent the next 45 minutes or so going over my options. In that same kind voice, with that same non-judgmental air about her. I left that night with an overwhelming amount of information but also I felt like I was going to be okay, this wasn't the end of my life. It was just the beginning. I also want to add the subsequent doctors visits I had with my doctor lasted only 20 minutes, if I was lucky. There was no one who ever sat as patiently and as kindly as that nurse at Planned Parenthood did that evening answering my questions, reassuring me it will be okay and to drink ginger tea for my morning sickness. 

So Planned Parenthood may perform abortions, and the last time I looked, abortions aren't illegal. Abortion is the single worst decision a woman is ever faced with, and thank god there is a place where woman can go that gives the facts in a non-judgmental way so that she can make the most educated decision on what is best for her and her family. A place where they advocate for information and empowerment from that information.

And by the way, what has just been written was intended to be factually accurate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's for Dinner?

In another lifetime I thought cooking was a way to show off, a way to impress my gentlemen callers, or done on very special occasions such as Thanksgiving or a birthday. I only had a few recipes up my sleeve, full with flavor, drenched in butter and always a glass of wine to accompany. And they did the trick, they were impressive, but oh my goodness they were so labor intensive and the dishes afterwards took me at least three days to do.

Walter is not yet impressed with my culinary tricks nor do I think his growing heart could withstand the amount of butter I once used, and I know for sure the wine pairing is off the table for a few more years. So cooking has become more like a comedy of errors that miraculously comes out edible. While cooking meals I hear Padma from Top Chef saying "alright chef you have 15 minutes, time starts now". There is crying, on both my and Walter's part sometimes. But, somehow, someway well-balanced meals always seem to get onto the table.

What exactly constitutes a well balanced meal? How do I make it quickly? On (Tasty) Tuesdays I will attempt to share my little tricks. Granted I am not a chef nor a nutritionist and I only have the internet, a couple cookbooks and my own experience to draw from. Here is my rule of thumb:

  • Organic when you can (but always buy the dirty dozen organic), 
  • The meal must be at least 80% whole food--what do I mean by whole food? 
    • I must be able to imagine it growing
    • More than one ingredient  and the food is not whole
    • What has been done to the food since its been harvested? ie, refined, bleached, injected, chemically treated--you'd be surprised.
    • Is this part of a food or the whole entity
  • does the plate look colorful--the more colorful the more well rounded the nutrients will be.

The whole food bit throws a wretch into things because it means you cook a lot. But I make enough for seconds (which is either dinner another night or lunch for a few days), cook in batches and freeze so I can use it at a later time, and use the microwave when I can (gasp! I resisted the microwave for so long and then Walter really began to eat and I have reluctantly became a convert).

So what's for lunch?
Grapes halved, left over bow-tie pasta and black beans, steamed baby carrots (see how to below), with nice glass water of course. Very colorful and the only food group left out is dairy and lunch is ready in less than 5 min!

Steamed Baby Carrots
This is one of the reasons I am a microwave convert
Grab a handful of baby carrots put them in microwaveable dish;
put about two tablespoons of water in the bowl;
Cover with dish towel or paper towel;
Microwave the carrots for about 4 min, or until nice and soft;

Monday, April 18, 2011

A fresh beginning

This blog starts with a New Years Resolution. This year I made 12 resolutions all with the overall theme of getting back a little of the old me. One of those was to write, three (typed) pages a day, no matter what. And with varied success I have been doing it since February. I love writing. Writing is my extension of my emotions and thoughts. Another resolution is to write a book (that is for December--the resolutions build upon one another). A book about surprise motherhood. So where does this blog come in? See I tried keeping a blog up while I was pregnant and then after Walter was born, well there are about 10 posts in all. Not really great.

I think one of the very most important things people leave out when they are telling you about becoming a new mom is that your sense of self, your identity becomes one thing, mom. Or maybe they do, but there is no way to really conceptualize what that means until you become a mom, add in the fact that my trip into motherhood was a surprise journey and well I haven't been as graceful and as eloquent as I could have been.

When I became pregnant I wanted to read specifically on the topic of surprise pregnancy, and shockingly there are hardly any books that offer very unbiased advice. I wanted to hear that this had happened to other people and they came out okay. There were books, but some I found too religious for my taste (don't get that abortion!), some a bit condescending (I was up for my post-doc and then I found out I was pregnant) Basically I found one, good book The Single Woman's Guide to a Happy Pregnancy. One book!? For such a HUGE topic? There is a void to be filled. There is such a steep learning curve to begin with and add the fact that 9 months prior to that you were at your best friends wedding celebrating like it was 1999, well to say a lifestyle adjustment was in order is an understatement.

So anyway what I've just written was rambly. I take this new foray into blogging very seriously. It is my job until I find one, and after I have one. It is something else in which I will pour my unused "adult" energy into. A resource for everything whole food nutrition to breast feeding, the tales of the day-to-day, and of course tips and pointers learned along the way, and hopefully an online community of fabulous moms that are taking it as it comes. I hope, hope, hope that you will join me on this new endeavor. I promise to hang around longer than last time. Because I really do want to make a go at this.