Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Taste Test

Today the little man and I went to Whole Foods. We did some shopping and that was great. He was super behaved in the cart and didn't whine or fight to get out or grab a glass bottle and toss it onto the floor. He looked around and took it all in.

Then we had lunch with his Nana, my mom, who works nearby. That was a treat! I got a sampling of a bunch of things from their salad and food bar and put a bunch into a bowl for him. He'd reach in and grab things and look at them, if they looked interesting he'd put it into his mouth. Some things, like the grilled eggplant, he would chew for a bit and then hand to me. I guess he liked the taste but not the texture. Other things like the raisins he just didn't seem to like the look or feel of and didn't taste them at all. The mushrooms he kept trying but would spit out after only a chew or two - they're bland. But he LOVED the cranberry compote and the shredded beef and tomato. Sweet potato chips and sage bread were also big hits as we drove around the store and hit the sample stands.

He is really crazy in love with tomato, which I find funny because his dad and I really don't like tomato. He seems to be already rebelling against his parents.

He ate a good share of food, trying a variety of foods and veggies and the taste test experiment was really fun.

Mom Freakout

Ever since I found out I was pregnant I've had moments where it really hits me that I'm responsible for a fragile little life. Sometimes it hits HARD!

A couple of weeks ago my sister told me a co-worker of hers was about 3 weeks from the due date of her baby and he died. That really hit me - how fragile life can be and how lucky I was to deliver a healthy baby and even though he had to spend a week in the NICU he was strong.

My mom's cousin was riding a bike years and years ago with her two boys, and one was hit and killed by a car. That was always a sad story but now when I think - OMG what if that happened to ME I literally get tears in my eyes.

I'll think let's go out somewhere and sometimes I think "what if we get into an accident!"

I'll think let's go for a walk. We live in a larger city so there are busier streets and then I think "what if he runs into the street at the wrong moment!"

Last night I thought it would be nice to go to State Fair next year - then I thought "what if Hudson doesn't want to be in the stroller and we let him out and then he gets caught up in a crowd and we loose him!"

I now understand why my mom was so protective of me. I always called it overprotective. She wouldn't let me ride a bike, I didn't get to play baseball, I spent most of the winter in first grade inside for recess while the other kids played... So I was pretty sheltered. I don't want to be that way with Hudson, but I sometimes find myself thinking in that same frame of mind.

Am I crazy? How do mom's do it? We have this little human we have to keep safe. At Hudson's age he has no concept of what is safe and isn't, no grasp of danger. As a parent I have to protect him, it's the job I was given since he was conceived! But goodness it's hard to balance protection and freedom! Do mom's sometimes hold their breath and fight tears and say OK Go? Am I totally neurotic? I just want him to grow up to a healthy happy boy and then adult, yet the concept of it can make me cry.

Monday, December 13, 2010


We had a jar of leftover baby food. Hudson is WAY past eating baby food mash. He has no patience for others feeding him and while he does love to use the flatware and feed himself he's extremely messy with it.

So, what to do with that jar of baby food? It's over $1 and still perfectly good. Well, I also had some left over mashed potato and an idea was born.

I took the baby food and put it into a bowl and mixed in a bunch of the mashed potato and added some curry and parsley and leftover shredded cheese and put some into a hot fry pan. Well this turned out only OK - the pancake didn't hold together too well. So into the batter I added some pancake mix and a bit of milk. This time it was better, but now a little too thick and still not holding together as well as I wanted. So then I added an egg yolk and a bit more milk. This time my pancake turned out great. It was still a bit soft but I figure once they cool off they'll be good. I tasted it a few times and it was quite good. Now he'll get some protein and other veg in addition to the potato and it's different. I just hope he likes them!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Words

I write this hoping that a year from now I can look back on it and say I was worried about nothing.

My son, even though he was born 4 weeks early, has been developing ahead of schedule physically. He was rolling from tummy to back by 6 weeks old and full rolls by 3 months. He crawled right about on time but only did that briefly. He was walking alone for a few steps and around the house with assistance by 8 months. Just after 10 months he was a completely independent walker. Now he runs and climbs, dances and twirls.

One thing he hasn't developed are words. He babbles but most of his communication is done via gestures and grunts. He understands a lot - we can tell him to do a lot of things and he completely understands and does them. We ask him if he wants something and he'll nod his head enthusiastically when he does want it. He makes a loud grunt like a bark when referring to our dog or his stuffed dog or a picture of a dog. He points to trucks and says "ugk." He used to say something that sounded like "dad" but has stopped that. Now he is on a "mom" kick but it often doesn't seem to refer to me. Today we thought he said something sounding a lot like "milk" when we asked him if he wanted some.

My sister has a boy just about a year older than my son, and she seems shocked that my son isn't saying more words. I keep trying to remember her son at Christmas time, was he saying words or not? I can't remember--I was preoccupied with my new baby at the time and just don't remember much other than changing diapers and finding a place to breast feed him.

The parenting emails I receive do seem to indicate that he should have a vocabulary though, and I just don't think he does have much of one. Maybe a couple of sounds that are close to words, but that's it.

His grandparents watched a lot of TV when he was over there, they still do but have cut back. I have read several articles on how that can have a huge negative impact on the development of speech in children in my son's age group. He also walks around a lot with his tong sticking out and I wonder if it's too big for his mouth-Craig had that problem. He also pulls and rubs his ears a lot and had a lot of congestion that first year, so I wonder if something isn't right with his hearing. He's young and it could be any of these or something different or he just doesn't want to talk yet.

Plenty of people say not to worry. He isn't exhibiting any other signs that could indicate autism, so we should be ok there. Some children just don't say much and then one day you can't shut them up, or so I've been told. But I can't help but wonder why he's been so good at physical development but slow at verbal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Corporate Machine

I work for a corporation. I know lots of people that do. We are essential to keeping things going. Someone has to work for the companies. People would freak out if they walked into their bank and it was just a line of ATM's or into a McDonalds and were faced with vending machines. There isn't anything wrong with being the employee of a large corporation, and for lots of people they are very satisfied doing so.

But know this - the corporation doesn't care if you don't get to spend time with your family. It doesn't care if you don't have time to work out or read or do other things that are good for you and your family. It doesn't care, it can't. You are one of many mice on a wheel - there is cheese to keep you going but don't expect more than that. One cannot become truly wealthy working for a large corporation. Sure, the corporate job can be a means to and end, a way to get to your real goals, but expect them to keep you hungry so you continue to chase that cheese. The rules can change at any time and you MUST accept it or a new mouse will take over your wheel and you'll be without.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Active Toddler

I have a few more days off before it's back to the corporate world. Hudson and I have been having a great time outside, but today it's pretty cold and there's a lot of work going on outside for the gas lines, so we looked for something new to do. Today we went to Monkey Joe's. It's a place filled with those inflatable jumpers you usually see people rent for parties.

What was Hudson's first impression? He was unsure of the whole thing. Much like his father he was drawn to the arcade and spent a lot of time there. When there were other kids on the toddler jumpers he was more willing to play than when it was just him. I did find that if I put him over the wall on one side he liked to run to the screen door where I'd go to catch him. I think he thought it was a game of peek a boo like we play with his play pen. He did slide down the little slide a few times and loved it, but it was hard for me to get him up there as he wouldn't climb up it himself. I do think if we would have gone with his 2 year old cousin they'd have had a great time together because his cousin has been there before and Hudson would have followed him around.

It wasn't very crowded on an early Monday afternoon. No parties taking place. There were kids there but it was not at all crowded and we had a good parking spot fairly close to the door.

One odd thing - one of the two toddler areas was right by the window and the sun was coming directly in. It was blinding and HOT! They really should have had some kind of shade.

I would go again. I think the next time we'd wear t-shirts. Not thinking we were dressed for the weather, not for running around inside. I would also have him get a nap in before instead of being exhausted when we left. Doing those things would put him in a better mood and I think he'd be braver and have more fun.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Parents Don't Tell You

Recently a friend of mine posted a link to this column about what they don't tell you about pregnancy. To be honest I didn't find being pregnant to be all that bad. I was lucky and had virtually no morning sickness, and I had a c-section so the labor portions didn't apply to me either. I read it and thought that actually they needed to write a column about what parents don't tell you about your infant.

If you are like me, you knew people who had babies before you got around to it. They'd all say how wonderful it is and encourage you to join their little club. Your parents and in-laws tell you how wonderful it is to have kids. But later you find out it's all selfishness. Your friends want to be able to share horror stories with you - misery loves company. And your in-laws and parents want a child they can selfishly spoil knowing they don't have to put up with the fits when you don't give your little one everything he wants like they do.

I love my son. I enjoy being his mom. He is sweet and cute and I'm glad I have him in my life. But it's not easy. Being a parent is the toughest job I have ever had, both physically and emotionally, and I've only had the job for 14.5 months. Don't let anyone tell you it's easy or it comes naturally. It isn't, especially if this is your first baby. Let me tell you what parents don't tell you...

It is E X H A U S T I N G ! Sleep when the baby sleeps they tell parents of infants. But they don't tell you what to do when the baby won't sleep. The first few nights are a shock to his little system. The world outside is harsh and cold and not at all like his previous home. Truth be told those first few nights there will be very little sleeping for anyone. I don't care if you rock, swaddle, sing... there is an adjustment period. And once that goes by the little guy is still going to wake up every couple of hours, day and night. Just when you're falling asleep there will be another cry and you are back up feeding and rocking and fighting to keep yourself awake at 3 am as you try to feed or change or soothe your new little bundle.

And these wake up calls may continue for months. Sure, some parents will tell you that after a few weeks or a couple of months their little one slept through the night. But to be honest I think they are lying. I don't believe it happens! It didn't for me! Even your child's pediatrician will give you a look at the month 6 appointment when you admit that no, he does not sleep through the night yet. People will tell you to let y0ur baby cry it out for a night or two at the most and then he will sleep through the night. Well, the first part of that is nearly impossible and if you do manage to do it there is NO guarantee that after a night or two he won't go right back to waking up crying at 12 am and 3 am. NONE!

Do yourself a favor and stock up on coffee when it's on sale. You will need it.

Breast feeding is NOT easy! Sure, wild animals do it. Yes, it's the body's natural function when the baby is born. But if this is your first child you have no idea what you are doing. Your baby may also be quite confused. I managed to get through it and eventually successfully breastfeed, but I had several meetings with a lactation consultant and many struggles. No one would have blamed me for quitting. Even after you figure it out it's hard because holding the baby and keeping him in position and latched and not cramping up yourself is a constant battle. Just when one thing works the baby outgrows that and you have to come up with a new position or pillow.

Your family WILL drive you crazy. You are exhausted and if you breast feed you'll be popping out a breast every hour or two. Being tired and half naked and having a baby with little immunity to anything really doesn't make this a great time to visit or be visited. But you have this cute little darling and they will all want to see it. They will knock on your door at unexpected times. They will make you feel guilty if you don't come out with the baby after a few weeks. Even though the infant has no knowledge of what a phone is or the ability to generate a single syllable they will want to speak to him on the phone. They will not understand why you insist that they use the antibacterial hand gel and get flu shots and not kiss him on the mouth. When your breasts are ready to burst they will give you a look of either sadness or irritation when you take him into a different room so you can nurse him. You will hear about how they did it different and stories about yourself or your husband or cousin or sister as a baby and you will get advice that you will not listen to.

Then there's your husband. You love him. He gave you this little darling baby to share. You remember how you got that baby to begin with, right? Well, he's going to want more of that. He probably has been waiting over a month since your little bundle was born, per the doctor's orders. Now he wants a little lovin. Never mind the fact that you are exhausted and have had someone else, your child, sucking on your breasts all day. Maybe you're ready and willing to jump back on the horse and ride. I wasn't. I did it, but it was just one more thing I had to do in a long list of chores.

You will have no idea what's wrong with him. Babies have very little immunity. Their systems are all still developing after they come out. I read in one of my baby books that the human species is one of few mammals whose babies are born so incomplete and incapable of survival without an adult of the species. There will be fevers, stuffy noses, rashes, coughs, poops or no poops, nights where the crying won't stop... and in each of these cases you will wonder what is wrong. This is especially true if this is your first baby and you are not a doctor yourself. When you take the baby to the doctor there is a very good chance that Ms. Pediatrician will tell you there isn't anything wrong. That it's too soon for allergies, that a fever of 100 isn't anything to worry about, that it's normal for his nose to be stuffy for weeks on end just get a humidifier, that you need to eat less onion and your baby's gas will go away. But you will still think that something is wrong!

I know there are more things. But it's bed time for me. You parents out there feel free to expand on this. Let's let those expectant parents know what they're in for.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Banana Cream Pie

No big deal, but it was such I hit I had to blog about it so that I'd remember it again later.

I made Hudson some healthy banana cream pie today.

1/2 graham cracker, crushed
1/3 of a ripe banana, mashed
3 tablespoons plain yogurt.

Mix well and serve. It looked and smelled great, I tasted a bit and it tasted great. Hudson absolutely LOVED it. If I had one of those high-powered hand mixer thingies that can make whipped cream from skim milk I'd have whipped up the banana even more, but it was a little chunky and he liked it just fine that way.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Silly Playpen Fun

Hudson is so silly. He can stand, and even walk, in his playpen. He also likes to throw his toys out of there and lately mash his face up against the wall to make Craig and I laugh. Here's some pictures of just that. They're too funny not to post

Great Orange Foods

I recently bought bags of organic frozen sweet potatoes, carrots and peaches, among other things. I was just going to cook each of these and cut into pieces for Hudson to eat with his hands. But then I had another idea... mixing them together into a sweet, healthy power food!

Sweet potatoes are a power food. Full of great vitamins and antioxidants. Hudson loves them too, so those are an awesome food for us.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and Carotenoids, which is said to be helpful in preventing heart disease.

Peaches, just like the other orange foods, are high in vitamin A and are also a great source of potassium.

I put about 1/2 cup of each, still frozen, into a small casserole dish, topped with 3 tablespoons of Earth's Best baby cinnamon apple sauce and another 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then I added about a teaspoon of water, covered and baked on 350 for about 40 minutes.

When I took of the lid it smelled SO good. I let it cool a bit and then did a rough puree in the food processor (didn't make it perfectly smooth). I tasted it and it was very good, but I thought I could do even better. So I added about 1/2 cup of plain, whole milk yogurt into it and pulsed it in the food processor until it was mixed through.

I served this to Hudson with some graham crackers and he totally loved it. I put some of the graham cracker crumbs into the mix when I saw how much he seemed to be enjoying the puree and the cracker pieces. I also froze a bunch for later.

I didn't take pictures as I was making it, but here's the finished product, frozen and ready to store.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Harvest

I recently went to the local farmer's market and picked up some: Broccoli, carrots and zucchini. I made these into some food for Hudson, of course. He's over 10 months now and likes to use his own two hands to eat. But sometimes he forgets that he also needs to chew, so food still needs to be soft or cut very small.

The carrots I sliced and then boiled, it seemed like for quite a while actually, until they felt soft enough to eat easily but not so mushy that they wouldn't keep together. He eats these with his hands. These he usually likes, but occasionally pushes them away in favor of something else on his food tray.

The zucchini I peeled, seeded and boiled too, and then tossed in a bit of Parmesan cheese when done. This I cooked much less time as it's already fairly soft. He isn't a fan of this after a few feedings. Taking a couple weeks off and we'll try again.

The broccoli I made in the microwave. I've read several articles that say that's the best way to make broccoli because it doesn't dilute any of the great vitamins in it. I found a few caterpillars in it when I was washing it - so be SURE to really wash this veggie well if you're buying organic. Then I just broke it into small chunks and took off most of the thick stems. I put a couple tablespoons of water in the dish and microwaved on high for 3 minutes, stirred and did another 3. Then I food processed it with some cheddar cheese and added some additional water as I pureed it. The first tasting of this didn't go well, but after the second time he ate it easily.

It's nice to be able to make him foods that he likes and that I know what they contain. Being organic from the farmer's market lets me know that they aren't covered in poisons. And making them into food I know they don't have added salt, sugar, flavor, color, or preservatives.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cherries Galore

Right now it's cherry season, so they are fresh and readily available and at a decent price. When you buy cherries I encourage you to get organic. Cherries are one of a few fruits often VERY coated with herbicides and other nasty stuff, so organic is much safer, especially if you're making it for your baby. Cherries have fiber and vitamin C and potassium, among other good things.

Berries can be tricky when it comes to allergies, so you don't want to introduce them too early. But cherries are low on the allergy scale, so it's worth giving them a try. Like any new food, watch your child for any negative reactions and don't introduce more than one new food at a time.

Another good thing to note - the darker the cherries the sweeter they are. And remember nutrients slowly decrease in fruits and vegetables as they sit, so the sooner you eat them the better they are.

Washing the cherries is important, even more-so if you don't buy organic, but wash them anyway.

Next take off the stems and remove the pits. You could try a fancy pit remover or vegetable peeler, but I use my two hands - it's quicker. It is a little messy on the hands, but if you wash up your hands as often as I do and give your baby a bath you'll get the bit of cherry stain out in no time.

I added a teaspoon of water into the casserole dish, even though it really isn't necessary but I wanted the extra liquid. Then I microwaved them for 3 minutes.

Let the cherries cool down for 5 minutes or so. Keep them in the casserole dish with the lid on. Then they can continue to cook a bit more - which I think helps to soften and sweeten them.

Then puree the fruit and the juices - just dump it all in. I like to use my blender for more juicy items like fruits. When it comes to these more liquid foods I find it works quicker and cleans easier than my food processor. Just my opinion - do what you want. The cherries were pretty soft so I didn't have to blend them for more than about 30 seconds.

Once it's the texture and consistency you want it's time to freeze. I have these nice ice cube trays with covers from Fresh Baby. Just pour the puree in and freeze. I usually keep them overnight and then put the cubes into a labeled freezer bag the next day.

Cherries are great in a variety of things. They can be mixed with a variety of other fruit purees, into cereal, into pureed legumes, into yogurt... use your imagination.

Hudson tried the cherry puree with yogurt and a tablespoon of whole wheat cereal. He loved it. Tomorrow we're going to try them in the pureed legumes. He hasn't been really excited about the beans so I am hoping that the cherries will win him over


Cooking Polenta

Polenta is basically a noodle like food made from ground cornmeal. I used the organic yellow polenta and made it from scratch for Hudson. It is VERY inexpensive so it's nice to have, and the texture can be varied depending upon what you are using it for. I wanted to make it more like a large noodle so I could cube it up for Hudson to eat. It doesn't have a ton of nutritional value, but isn't filled with bad stuff either. It's a good, simple food.

The first time I made it I added too much water as I went and it turned out to fall apart when Hudson tried to grab it, so this time I did not add as much water and it worked much better.

I used 1/4 cup of polenta and a cup of water. This made a batch good enough for 4 servings. I added a tablespoon of butter, but could also use olive oil - but we're out.

First get the water boiling. Then add the polenta into the water VERY slowly, stirring as you pour it in.

Stir it at boiling for 2 minutes. I slowly reduce the heat during that 2 minutes too, keeping it boiling but not crazy burning hot. Then turn the heat down after 2 minutes to low and cover.

Set the timer for 10 minutes and stir. It will slowly start to thicken.

Continue stirring every 10 minutes for about 50 minutes. The polenta will start to have a texture like a dough by the time it's done.

I would add about half a teaspoon of water every other time, just to keep it from getting too dry. One could also mix in fruit or vegetable juice or probably even a puree in place of some of the water, if you wanted to give it flavor and other nutrients. The first time I made mine I added shredded cheddar cheese, which Hudson loved.

I poured it out onto a heat-safe greased plate and cooled it in my refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Then I took it off of the plate and cubed it up for Hudson, dividing it up into what I thought were good serving sizes. I refrigerated some, froze one, and he ate one right away. Polenta keeps in the fridge well for a few days. Not sure how it will hold up to freezing - I'll get back to you on that.

Hudson checked it out and ate just about every morsel, except for what fell onto the floor and was enjoyed by our dog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Experiments in Food Processing

I have been attempting to make baby food for the little guy. The store bought always seems so diluted compared to what I make - green beans at the store are light green but mine are bright, carrots are orange but SUPER orange when I make them. But it's not easy! He seems to like the diluted flavor and super smooth texture of the processed store foods. So, I have to really process the heck out of the food to get him to eat it. Often I'll mix home made with store bought so it's closer to what he's used to. I did recently discover that adding tofu into some foods works well to dilute the flavor, make it smoother in texture, and also ads protein.

As I start to do more of this I really should post my recipes here, or at least pictures of what I've made. Nothing fancy really, just a fruit or veggie cooked and whipped. But I'm trying to get a little bolder as he gets older.

Monday, January 4, 2010

4 Months Old Today

Today I turned 4 months old! So far it's pretty fun, I have some cool toys that I finally grab and play with. My favorite toy so far is the mirror Uncle Tim brought me. I find myself so interesting!

I did not like my shots though, that's the worst part of being 4 months old. YUCKY!!

I now weigh 16 pounds and one ounce, I am 25.5 inches tall with a 17 inch head. That's BIG! The doctor says I am doing really great. She even said I can start eating food now, not just milk. Mom is a bit hesitant, and Dad will have to get my high chair ready. I can't wait to get food all over everything!!!