Thursday, April 29, 2010

You are what you eat

Food is a topic that most people enjoy. What to cook, how to prepare it, food philosophies, the good the bad, the delicious, and the putrid. Not Raising Brats author and reporter, Hillary, inquired about what her readers eat and feed their children. This topic is one I am passionate about and I didn't feel I should write a blog post in the "brats" comment section. So here is my response.

I will start by saying I am not a great role model. A picky eater that has vowed to learn to try new things-and been successful at it in some cases. I come from a midwestern, steak and potatoes and snacking family. I swore up and down I didn't like potatoes for about twenty years. Then when my chef brother made roasted redskin potatoes for me I changed my tune. I like them baked, fried, roasted, sauteed, mashed, with garlic, and learning to eat sweet potatoes.

When my daughter Sophia was born I was bound and determined NOT to take her down my wayward path of poor eating habits. I breastfed for eight months and started solids at eight months. The first food in her mouth was organic bananas-hand smashed by me, not Gerber.
I bought, boiled, and pureed organic sweet potatoes and smushed organic avocados. Being a spring baby I delighted in going to the farmer's market each Saturday looking for a new fruit or vegetable to try.

I still try to live by the "Super Baby Food" cookbook which easily and in detail lays out why and how you should make your own baby food. It talks about cost savings (a bonus for any budget conscience parent-even when buying Organic!) and nutritional value of the plethora of fruits and vegetables available to use fresh and frozen. I made my own rice cereal, frozen dinners, and Popsicles. For the skeptical, let me share that I live an hour from work if the traffic isn't bad and I could still mange to make time to make the food. I was even in Target the other day ogling a woman's four-month old baby in the baby food aisle and told her about the "Super Baby Food" cookbook!

Now that Sophie is two and eats "big people food" I try to include the following in each meal. Dairy, fruit, whole grains, protein, vegetables. So for lunch today we had a Boca Chicken patty, strawberries and some Snikiddy cheese puffs. (They are made with whole grains.) I do worry she doesn't get enough of this or that but for the most part I think we are on the right track. She loves fruit, has decided drinking milk isn't all that bad, enjoys water now so she isn't drinking as much juice and when we do snack I give her very small portions and try to make it something healthy.

I am gearing up to train for a 1/2 marathon so my wayward habits will have to disappear. I'm a much better eater in the spring and summer because I love the summer fruit varieties. But as I continue my quest to teach Sophie how to eat I am also willing to try new things. It doesn't mean I have to like it.

Potty Training *Warning* I'm talking about elimination here-pee & poop

I was so excited the first time Sophie used the potty, she was 21 months old and we were ahead of the curve! We have had the potty since she was about 18 months. It was easy to tell when she was having a "movement" and the next logical step to us was get a potty, put her on it, stop having her crouch in the poop corner.

She pushed her potty around the house, put toys in it, sat on it like a chair, returned it to its place of honor in the bathroom. The first time she actually used it she was mid-poop when I went to change her diaper so I scooped her up, set her on the potty and she finished her business. We both smiled and clapped! Put the potty in the big people's potty, flushed it away, washed our hands and commenced to mark this historic occasion with a butterfly sticker on the potty calendar.

As you can see there were only a few successes in January but they were successes nonetheless. We rolled into February.

Not many more attempts and successes than January but still she earned some stickers. We traveled early in the month and brought the potty with but then were hit by the Blizzard of 2010 so it's not surprising her "trying" got off kilter.
And then March came:

Spring has sprung! Look at all of those butterfly stickers! She was a potty champ. "You'll use the poooootttttyyyyy." Just like Elmo sings in "Elmo's Pottytime" video. We were on our way. I bought less diapers, bought pull ups, encouraged her to use the potty. We traveled again in March, toted the potty with, she used it all week. Even though she became constipated. She peed in the potty. I was a proud mama knowing I was potty training before age 2!

And then came April.

Nothing. Nada. No Dice. Zero. Zip.

She sits on the potty with CLOTHES on. Stands up. Claps. Congratulates herself with a hearty "Yea!" but has accomplished nothing. She loves her diapers. Hates the pull ups. I have no idea what gives or what to do. We use the potty together but she has nothing to show for it. I only have frustration.

Any suggestions? What has worked for your toddler?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sophie turns TWO

Whoops...guess I've been busy or neglectful. Better start bloggin'

Yesterday was Sophie's Second Birthday. We've been celebrating her birthday for about a month now. We had the "official" party in Ohio in March. This past weekend we went to the Udvar-Hazy Center which is an extension of The National Air and Space Museum. Sophie is all about "panes" and things that fly so the museum was a perfect place to spend the day. She loved looking at all of the planes and helicopters.

Tuesday, April 20, her actual birthday was full of sugar. I took the krispiest Rice Krispie treats to work to share with my co-workers, sent Sophie to daycare with chocolate suckers to share with her crew, and rushed home from work to make cupcakes. Her birthday will always include Rice Krispie treats because they are literally the first thing I ate after delivering Sophie. Mom had brought some to the hospital for sustenance through the night/day, and while the nurses were still cleaning me up I asked if I could eat something and when she said yes I demanded a Rice Krispie treat from mom!

We went to watch "ball pole" (a.k.a. lacrosse) and then out to dinner. Bedtime for everyone came about 9:30p.m. Needless to say I was exhausted.

This evening we did cupcakes and presents and will open even more later this week when care packages arrive from North Carolina. It's the birthday that will never end!

In the course of one year Sophie has learned to:
Potty train (well, sorta-that post comes tomorrow)
Sit at the table (okay-kneel or stand) sans high chair

She says: Mama, Papa, Doodle, chair, table, dinner, blue blue (blueberries), tee (teeth), chee (cheese), night night, pane (plane), ball poll, shoe, boot, baby, geen (green, her blanket) and a variety of other words. Just this weekend started putting two words together like No, Papa. Not in a scolding way but a factual way as in Papa isn't here.

She is about 35" and 35lbs. Loves to give hugs and kisses and hates separating from us to go to bed. Here is a year in review in pictures.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Sophie Smiles

I love Hall & Oats. I don't own any of their albums but anytime I hear one of their songs and realize who it is I realize I love Hall & Oats. Country singer, Jimmy Wayne, has recently covered
"Sara Smiles" by Hall & Oats. In my head though, I've changed the lyric to Sophie Smiles...

Sarah Smiles by Hall & Oats
Baby hair with a woman's eyes
I can feel you're watching in the night
All alone with me and we're waiting for the sunlight

When I feel cold, you warm me

And when I feel I can't go on, you come and hold me

It's you... And me forever

Sara Smile

Won't you smile a while for me


Language Acquisition

In college I took several hours in Linguistics. I actually took enough hours to get a certificate in linguistics but unfortunately it was before the program was a certified certification program so no gold star on my transcript or diploma for that! All that sentence diagramming for nothing!

I love learning about language and how our words are shaped and why our words are what they are. Often when I'm daydreaming I'll think about different words and what they really mean. Refrigerator has always held a particularly interesting spot in my brain. Some days it just sounds so weird to me. Re-fridge-er-a-tor. Weird. I wonder why we call the refrigerator a refrigerator and not a clock. Why a desk is called a desk...and on and on.

So as Sophie learns new words and meanings for things I am amazed at her language acquisition skills. One day she can only point to what she wants and the next day she has a word for it. For example our after bath routine usually includes Jean Nate (3 syllables Jean Na Te) after bath splash which I roll off my tongue with my best french accent. To Sophie this became "nah nah nah." She can correctly say and identify a car, train, and plane but mistakenly calls all trucks and motorcycles Trains or choo choos.

What is frustrating in this new phase of "semantic development" are the words I can't yet identify. Last night she kept saying "goo goo"-perhaps for the noodles I was preparing? But when I pointed to the noodles that didn't satisfy her need for me to understand "goo goo." On the drive home today she stumped me with "halla." Like she was saying "holla back..." Again, no clue. There are often times I have to ask for a definition from Phillip on new words but he doesn't have answers either.

So each day we will continue to learn and break her codes. For now though, I'll say "ni ni." Sophiease for "night, night."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sophie the Hippie

If someone says the word “hippie” certain images come to mind. According to the all knowing online resource, Wikipedia, hippies are described as “women wore jeans and maintained long hair,[68] and both genders wore sandals or went barefoot.[37] Men often wore beards,[69] while women wore little or no makeup.” A free lifestyle, living off the earth, using recycled goods, and even “dumpster diving” are also associated with being a hippie in this day and age.

And Sophia is among them.

Let’s start with her birthday: April 20. 4/20. Yup. A day celebrated by those who enjoy recreational marijuana. A big part of the hippie movement. Now, she doesn’t and hopefully won’t ever partake in this activity but when we tell our contemporaries her birth date they smile and give a little chuckle. And ask to pass the Doritos.

Feet: Sophie hates wearing socks and shoes. Although she was very excited about her new sparkly white Easter shoes and didn’t want to take them off for bedtime, she inevitably takes shoes and socks off in the car when we go anywhere and takes them off promptly upon coming inside.She much prefers to be barefoot.

Hair: growing slowly but wildly. Hardly enough to put in pig tails and doesn’t get brushed or combed out each day because there really isn’t enough to properly brush or comb. Sometimes after a particular tossy turny night or nap her hair is a mess and there is no fixing it. And nappy like unkempt dreads.

Makeup: well she is only 24 months old so no makeup.

Dumpster Diving: Really this is the crux of this story. Prior to Sophie and Phillip returning home yesterday I cleaned out my car-used Kleenex due to the onslaught of spring allergies, part of a newspaper, straw wrapper, stray jelly beans from Sunday’s Church Easter Egg hunt. I recycled the newspaper and put the rest of the debris in the trashcan. After dinner while getting something from my wallet I realized the Easter Bunny forgot to put something in the Easter baskets-scratch off lotto tickets! So we all scratched our tickets, Phillip won $2, and I instructed Sophie to “blah” (i.e. throw away, yucky, blah) the dud tickets. She obliged. Then I have her walk to her bedroom to get her diaper changed. I realize she is eating something.
“Sophie are you eating something?”
“Open your mouth.”

Hmmm what is she eating?

“Sophie, open your mouth again.” I go in for the smell test. Smells like pineapple and is white and gummy. I quickly rewind and recall throwing away the jelly beans, Sophie “blahing” the lotto tickets…and picking out of the GARBAGE a rogue jelly bean.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Can't a mama get a break?

We must be entering the terrible twos around here. And not the terrific twos as my sister called them the other day-you don't hit the terrific twos until you turn 21.

Just when I thought we had the bedtime thing figured out Sophie moved onto the next manic fit in the book-bath time. She used to LOVE bath time. Bubbles, splashing, toys, sticky letters, and "nah nah nah" afterward (just like my gramma used to give my sister and I when we would visit.) But this week it is standing up, not wanting to sit down, full on tears and hysterics and "MAMA, MAMA, MAMA!" as I try to bathe her.

I don't know if it was too many bubbles or the sound of the water but something has changed and bath time went from delightful to devilish.

And to top it off, she tosses in some bedtime fits too.