Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today

Eliza,

Today, I watched you walk out the door with your grandma, on your way to a fun morning date to the Science Museum.  You walked down the stairs in front of our little white house, one hand holding the railing, the other holding grandma's hand.  You looked like such a big girl.  I said to myself 'where did my baby go?'   I thought of two summers ago, when I was waddling up and down those stairs, my belly so big and full of life - you were all curled up in there, getting ready to come out - and I was busy getting ready for your arrival: planning a nursery, washing diapers and onesies, all while dreaming of you, my sweet Baby P.  How are you already almost two years old?

Today, you played at a little indoor play area at our local mall with grandma and me.  We shared (and I use that word lightly because I think you drank most of it) a mango smoothie and you sat on my lap, enjoying the novelty of drinking out of three straws.  I told your grandma that last time you and I shared a smoothie (about 6 or 7 months ago), it was a much more equitable experience :)  But it's okay, I know it's all part of growing up.  You know what is yours, or, more accurately, what you would like to be yours, and you know how to defend it.

You are growing up.

Later, when you were playing (after you made sure that the mango smoothie was gone), you found it difficult to share the play area with the other children, telling them "No" and saying "Eliza's!" when they tried to play where you wanted to play.  You were upset that a little girl was on the slide.  You pushed her and were not very gentle with her.  I jumped up and came over to you and we talked about gentle touches and you told the little girl you were sorry.  It was hard for mama to see you do that; I know you are a kind, tender, gentle girl, and you were just having a hard time sharing today.

You are growing up, and this is all part of growing up.  As I watched you, again I wondered, 'where did my baby go?'


Today, you pooped in your potty for the first time and you were happy and proud of yourself, and yet, at the same time, it was like it was no big deal to you.  You just stood up and slammed the lid shut and (almost) walked away (there was still the small matter of wiping to be dealt with...).  When dada came home, you said "I pooped!" and we all laughed and high-fived.  When I called grandma and grandpa to tell them, grandpa said it made him a little sad - you are growing up.

Today, I am a very proud, very happy mama.

There are moments when this is hard.  Like, really really hard.  Moments when parenting you, my dear toddler girl, is not fun, or even The Thing I Would Like To Be Doing Most at that moment.  But that is normal, and those moments pass.  And I remind myself that each day will be different, each day you will change, that 'this too shall pass'... I remind myself that you are growing up.  And it is bittersweet.

Today, you needed me when daddy was rinsing your soapy hair at bath time.  You were scared and didn't want all the water splashing over your head.  You are usually okay with it, but tonight you weren't, and we don't know why, but you just needed to be held while daddy rinsed your hair.  I held you and told you it was okay and that the water wouldn't hurt you, but that I would hold you and give you kisses while daddy poured the water.  You agreed, and I gave you big raspberry kisses on your belly - just like I've been doing since you were one week old - and you laughed, which made me laugh.

Today, you grew up a little bit more.  But I want you to know that you will always be my baby and I will always be here to hold you when you are scared - even if all you are scared of is bath water.

Eliza, you are growing up, but you will always be my baby girl, and I will always be your Mama.  I love you so much.

xoxo

Mama

Wordless Wednesday - Video Edition

At the coral reef exhibit at the zoo

video

Monday, August 29, 2011

WSWO vs. WSA

A two-for-one installment of What She Was Offered is about all I have time for on this fine Monday.  It's been a good day, after a wonderful weekend, but this mama is beat!

For some reason I don't have the 'after' photos showing what was left over when she was done for either of these two lunches.  My camera ran out of batteries before I could snap the photo - both times!  What are the chances?  Oh well.  Her plates look sort of disgusting sometimes anyway...

1.

{fresh peach slices}
{leftovers: grilled chicken + melted cheddar cheese}
{black beans}
{edamame}
{center: pretzels standing in garlic hummus}

2.

{steamed broccoli}
{half a banana}
{greek yogurt + dried cherries}
{leftovers: baked tilapia}
{center: chickpeas + plain hummus}

What are your favorite lunch items for you and your kiddos lately?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Long?

"How long do you plan on breastfeeding?"  

This is a question I was asked recently.  By a (near)stranger.  Um... really?  Is this something we are asking people now?  

Anyway, I guess the question itself wouldn't have bothered me if I didn't feel as though it was asked with undertones of "you aren't going to breastfeed her until she's, like, 4, right?" 

This question has always bothered me...the idea that there is an age at which all babies/toddlers should stop breastfeeding is...ridiculous.  Right?  I mean, why should someone else tell me or my child when we should be done nursing?  And frankly, why on earth would someone else care?  I don't get it.


The fact of the matter is, she is not going to be breastfeeding in high school.  Or even in junior high.  Or elementary school (well, probably not, lol ;).  So, what's the big deal?  Why is it so weird for a 2, 3, 4+ year old to still want to nurse once in a while?  

Even if it's not for you and your family, why comment or judge others?  

Child-led weaning is not for every woman, every family... and that is my point, I guess.  The decisions you make will be different than mine.  But so what?  Why can't we all just make our own decisions about what's right for our own family without judgement or questioning?


I know that there will come a day when Eliza (or any toddler) is no longer interested in nursing; one day, she will decide she is done and she will wean.  I don't know when that day will be, and so, Stranger With the Inappropriately Personal Question, I can't answer your query.  Although, based on what I know about my dear girl, my guess is that it won't be this year, and it probably won't even be next year... but it will happen (so don't worry).

But really, for us, the question was inaccurate - the question really isn't how long am *I* going to/plan to breastfeed my daughter... the question in this situation is how long does Eliza want to continue nursing?  

So, I guess I should have answered her by saying: "ask Eliza!". 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WSWO vs. WSA

A quick one for today - sorry if these are getting boring!  I am sort of getting into doing these...


clockwise:
{cherry tomatoes from our garden}
{toast strips + eggplant hummus}
{cheddar cheese e}
{raspberries}
{greek yogurt + honey}
{center: chocolate covered sunflower seeds}


We were apparently not a fan of raspberries today...

{go here for the dish set we use}

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Raspberry Picking

We went raspberry picking last week and it was a hit with the girl.  She loved it - she got the hang of picking the ripe raspberries right away.  She also got the hang of stuffing them immediately into her mouth.  She was a girl on a mission, and her goal was to eat as many as she could.  It was so fun to watch her while my mom and I picked.  



The farm where we picked was about a 30 minute drive (we spent longer in the car than actually picking), it wasn't cheap - there was an "admission" fee (perhaps to pay for all the berries you inevitably eat while you're picking??), and then the raspberries were $4 a pint, and the sun was out in full force with no shade to be found... but it was worth it.  We made some fun memories, and we all enjoyed ourselves.


(and we got some yummy raspberries, too!)


As a toddler activity, I would highly recommend berry picking - as long as you go on a day when it won't be crowded.  It was nice that Eliza could walk up and down the rows without us having to be RIGHT next to her.  She had some freedom, which I think helped a lot.  Also, bring a hat and sunscreen.  One other nice thing about berry picking is that you don't need to pack a snack!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snacks

The last post had me thinking about snacks.  On-the-go snacks, specifically, as snacks at home are a bit easier to come up with...

Our go-to on-the-go (hehe) snacks are:

1.  Trader Joe's freeze dried Banana slices.  Eliza LOVES these things and they are just plain old bananas that have been freeze dried (there are not fried banana chips, a very different - and much less healthy - product!).  Eliza also enjoys the freeze dried Mango slices from TJ's.  They also sell strawberries and blueberries but she doesn't seem to like those as well.



2.  Fruit pouches, which I call "smoothies".  These have become very popular lately.  Originally developed, I think, as a fast way to feed purees to a baby, they have been discovered by toddler mamas and dadas as a quick and healthy snack on the go (and yes I find it ironic that Eliza is eating purees now, as an almost 2-year-old!).  Unscrew the top and they can suck the smoothie right out the top (beware - one squeeze and you have a fruit smoothie geyser on your hands! Eliza is pretty good at not doing that anymore...usually).  There are many different brands and flavors.  This is one of Eliza's favorites:



3. Annie's Cheddar Bunnies.  Thanks to a friend, these are often referred to as "hoppers" in our house, and they are one of Eliza's favorite snacks.  Not the healthiest thing in the world, but sometimes they are just the ticket to satisfy both mama and toddler when we are out and about and need a fast and mess-free treat.



4.  Mini boxes of raisins.  Franny's are my favorite raisins.  They are really big, and I think they are better than any other. The fact that they are organic is cool too, but honestly, I like them for their taste more than their organic-ness. :)  Eliza likes them, but is tiring of them lately, so I end up eating most of the raisins we buy for snacks.  But, these little boxes are easy to throw in a purse and go!
                   
5.  Babybel Cheese.  Fun, relatively mess-free and YUMMY!  We recently discovered these at Trader Joe's (cheaper there than at big box grocery stores) and Eliza really thinks these are neat.  They are little soft cheese rounds in a wax shell that you peel open.  I love that they don't get smushed if they are in my bag, and they keep for a few hours outside of the fridge, thanks to that handy wax shell!


(ps, I was not paid to say any of this, though I wish I had been!)


Friday, August 19, 2011

What she was offered...

Today I only have a photo of what she was offered - hubby was cleaning up the table and didn't realize I wanted to take a photo of her plate after she was done, so he threw the remainder in the garbage (or, in this case, the compost bin for the non-meats -- I have found that keeping a compost pile while doing BLW and feeding a toddler who creates a lot of mess and doesn't finish her plate has been great - my composter has never been so full of food scraps! :)


clockwise from top:
{leftover BBQ pulled pork}
{garbanzo beans}
{fresh mango}
{pretzels w/pb and raisins}
{babybel cheese round}
{center: fresh tomato from the garden}

She didn't care much for the pork, but ate the beans and all the mango - those were by far her favorite two things on the plate. She licked the pb out of the pretzels and ate about half the portion of tomato and half the cheese round.   She has been a fresh tomato FIEND lately with all the cherry tomatoes in our garden, and she ate almost an entire fresh tomato from my mom's garden last week.  I'm one happy mama when I watch her pick a cherry tomato (or five) and eat it!  I wonder if it will last?

I'm glad people are finding this fun little series helpful!  You'll see that I'm not all THAT creative with food, but I do try to offer her a balanced variety.  I definitely don't think that toddlers needs to eat something completely different/new from day to day, so there are days when she will get the same lunch (or breakfast) as the day before.  I just won't post the repeats here since that wouldn't be very interesting.

On-the-go snacks are also a big part of our life these days and I am getting bored of the same old few things that I bring out with me when we are out of the house... so I'd love to hear your suggestions if anyone has any?!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless-ish Wednesday

A toddler's plight: when mama can't/won't pick her up RIGHT THIS SECOND (but then does like 0.5 seconds later because she is pretty much a big 'ol sucker)...


"Oh mummy, why? WHY must you deny me?"


"Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaiiiieeeeeeeeeee!!!!" 

(That face could win an Oscar, don't you think?)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meeting Old Friends

On Saturday we met some good friends at a local playground so our kids could play and we could catch up.  We all went to college together and now we all have kiddos, so it was especially fun to see our little ones playing together.  One flew in from California (or, rather, was here already visiting family, she didn't fly in to go to the playground with us!) and the others drove from just down the street (practically).  It was a wonderful evening of playing (after we waited out the rain shower that passed over us by huddling under a tree!).  There were seven of us who graduated from HU there, and between us we had six children.  Of course I didn't get photos of everyone or all of the HU babies - why didn't I think to do a group shot?

Eliza hangs out with Thomas - they are only two weeks apart!

Randy and Eliza play peek-a-boo!  
It is just so wonderful to watch your friends play with your child and make them smile, isn't it?.  Warms my heart.

Dana and Thomas - he is the smiliest toddler!

Randy introduces Eliza to baby Avery (not his baby - there was a lot of baby swapping going on!)

Eliza gets a mid-play cuddle and kiss from Dada

Isey is hard at work playing!

Got your toes!

Adults can have fun on the playground, too!


Mama helps Eliza on the... what the heck is this thing called, anyway?  It's not really a teeter totter...


Wish we could do this more often!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

What she was offered vs. What she ate

I know I just did one of these yesterday, but I thought I'd keep the ball rolling today with another installment of WSWO vs. WSA!

Today is a good example of how Eliza sometimes - well, often, actually - doesn't eat much.  But that's okay!  Believe me, the girl is not starving.  

What she was offered:


clockwise from top:
{cantaloupe}
{pretzels and goat cheese}
{edamame}
{heart-shaped pb&j}
{in the center: raisins and chocolate covered sunflower seeds*}
{not pictured: 2% cow's milk}
...

What she ate:


So, one bite of the pb&j, two pretzels (actually, she shared one with mama), a few cantaloupe bites, most of the edamame (she's an edamame girl!), and - not surprisingly - all of the chocolate sunflower seeds :)  It was a small lunch, but then she sort of made up for it at dinner tonight.  It all balances out!

*I decided to offer Eliza a little treat with lunch today - this is not a daily occurrence, but it's Saturday so I thought it would be fun :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

What she was offered vs. What she ate

Let's talk food.  It's a familiar topic of discussion for toddler mamas, isn't it?  Why?  Because, if you're like me, you are constantly wracking (or is it racking?) your brain to come up with meal ideas (and not just for the toddler, but for the whole family!).  I'm sure I've said it before here -- we don't prepare special or different meals for Eliza; she eats the same things we do.  

The one exception to this is lunchtime.  

Eliza eats after her nap and I eat lunch during her nap (eating by myself is a rare treat, so I take the opportunity when it arises!), so on the weekdays we sometimes eat different things for lunch.

Recently I've started having fun with what I prepare for Eliza.  I make what I call "Bento" lunches for her.  'Bento' is the Japenese word for 'convenient' or 'convenience'.  A Bento Box is a lunch box made up of several little boxes, each meant to hold a different food.  Like this:


I took this idea and decided to offer Eliza a "spread" for lunch.  It's fun for me, I think it's easier than coming up with a different main dish + veggie or fruit every day, and Eliza likes it too, I think!  AND, it will allow me a reason to someday buy a cute, eco-friendly lunch box like this one for Eliza. :)

I thought it would be interesting to do a series of "what she was offered" vs. "what she ate" with Eliza's lunches on the 'ol blog.  Maybe it will help someone out there to share a few new ideas for lunches, and it will inspire me to come up with new fun things to serve.  And, it will also help assure you that, no, your toddler isn't the only one who sometimes eats next to nothing! 

Here goes!

What she was offered:


clockwise from top:
{pretzels}
{mozzarella string cheese bites}
{half a banana}
{rainier cherries}
{annie's cheddar bunnies}
{full fat greek yogurt w/honey on top}
{in the center: garbanzo beans}
{not pictured: 2% cow's milk}
...

What she ate (or, didn't eat, as the case may be):


{and she asked for seconds on the garbanzo beans!}

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Warning: Potty Talk

I decided not to talk about potty learning/training on Face.book.  Just didn't want to go there, I guess.  Figured that I have my blog to talk about baby poop, pee and other things related to baby [fluids].

So you, lucky reader, get to hear it all - no holds barred!

Eliza will be 21 months on Sunday.  When she was 18 months old, my mom bought her a potty chair.  We accidentally bought one that makes sounds when the child pees (it was used so we didn't know it when we bought it), but Eliza hasn't figured that out yet.  Not sure how we feel about that particular feature.  Anyway, this potty chair has been sitting in our bathroom ever since May.

We have, and have always had, a very open attitude with Eliza when it comes to using the bathroom (and bodies/bodily functions in general) - I never shut the door when I am using the bathroom, and even when I do, she is welcome to walk in as she pleases (though we have recently started teaching her the idea of knocking).  We have also talked a LOT about the bathroom, the toilet, peeing, pooping, diapers, etc. with her (along with the difference between mama and dada's anatomy in the same conversation).  From about 16 months on, she knew what the toilet was for, knew that she went pee in her diaper, and knew when she had pooped and needed a new diaper.  So, she has been "potty aware" for a while.

When the potty chair found a home in the bathroom, we told her it was Eliza's potty and she could use it if and when she wanted.  She loved sitting on it and "practicing".  She would sit down and say "Peeeeeeeee!", ask for a piece of toilet paper, shut the lid and then walk away - no, she never actually went in the potty, but we never expected her to, nor were we planning on starting to potty train anytime soon.  So, we'd just reinforce the behavior by saying "yep, that's where Eliza will go potty when she's a big girl" or "yes, that's how you sit down on the potty when you have to pee".  Very neutral, very easy-going, no excitement or convincing her to actually USE the potty.

Then one morning Eliza and dada were sitting in her room and Eliza was naked (her favorite way to be, don't you know!).  She started saying "toot!" (which she used to say when she actually was peeing), and hubby thought she might have to pee.  So, he asked her if she wanted to pee in her potty, and she said yes.  They went into the bathroom, Eliza sat down on her potty, and she peed.  Then - just like she practiced - she got a piece of toilet paper, put it in the potty, slammed the lid down and walked out the door.  Ha!

Since then, we have kept a very neutral attitude toward PTing, not pushing her at ALL, and lo and behold, she has begun to want to pee in the potty.  A few times, when she has been naked around the house, she will yell "pee!" and run to her potty.  She has made it there one out of the three times :)  And when she doesn't make it there, she says "uh-oh!" and points to the puddle on the floor (which is weird, because we have never said anything about having an "accident" on the floor or that being bad or "uh-oh" worthy, but I guess she gets it that pee goes in the potty or in a diaper!?).

Where are we now?  We are definitely not in active PTing mode with Eliza - I know she is not fully ready yet.  She doesn't yet anticipate having to pee or poop, so the cognitive/behavioral connection is not quite there (though, sometimes it seems to be, but it is definitely hit and miss).  But we are letting her lead the way, as we don't want to squelch any progress that she wants to make.  And we are also talking more about her using the potty if she wants to, instead of peeing in a diaper.  Once a day, before bath time, she uses the potty pretty consistently.  We noticed that she peed every single time she would get into the tub, and so hubby started talking to her about it and explaining to her that she could pee before she gets into the tub in her potty... and then one night he asked her before bath time, "Eliza, do you want to pee in your potty before you get in the tub?", to which she answered "yes", and then peed in the potty.  So, now that's what she does.

She has also started waking up in the morning with dry diapers, which shocked me at first (I thought she was dehydrated or something!?), so sometimes (if I am awake enough, haha), I'll ask her first thing in the morning if she has to pee and she will say "yes", and then go use the potty.  She wanted to do this one morning at the lake last week so I held her up on the big toilet (we don't have a potty chair there) and she peed!

I just think it is amazing to watch her learn about all this and figure it out in her own head.  I am fully prepared - and even expect - for her to be in diapers for quite a bit longer, but we follow her cues and will try our best to help her get there (PT'ed, that is) easily and without struggle.  We stay calm and neutral because we don't want a power struggle, we don't want a competition, and we certainly we don't want to set her up to fail.

I'm not a BTDT mama, so as always, I welcome any and all advice or experiences you've had on this subject.  I have already consulted a few of my expert mommy friends and their advice has been invaluable!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Since I missed WW last week...

This little monkey enjoyed goofing around in Grandma and Grandpa's hotel room this morning!



Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz