Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tearing off the bandage

It’s been a mad couple of days.  Wonderful, scary, sad, happy, stressful, all at the same time.

I had a job interview on Thursday.  Some history: I was laid off while I was still pregnant, so “going back to work” was a strange and stressful concept because I didn’t have anywhere to go back to.  Hubby’s job can take care of the household, but with both of us working we have a lot more breathing room and better ability to knock down some debt.  With the end of my maternity benefits, it was time to start looking.

Anyhow, I had an interview.  It went extremely well, I felt.  So well that they offered me a job, starting on Monday.  Woo-hoo!  I felt elated.  I met with a friend after the interview and we talked shop over coffee.  As I was heading back home, it hit me.  I’m going back to work in four days.  i have four days to get ready for this, to get organized, and to mentally prepare myself.

PANIC.

After a barrage of phone calls, I set up interviews with child-care providers.  I picked some friends’ brains about questions to ask, because I had no time to prepare.  After getting through the interviews, hubby and I enthusiastically agreed on one.  She’s organized, her home is spotless, and most importantly, A warmed up to her quickly.

Yesterday, I went out and got a bus pass, some work clothes, and a few other things.  Today we have a lot more running around to do to get ready.  We need a second car seat, since I’ll be dropping her off and hubby will be picking her up, and we won’t be able to just swap our seat between the cars.  A needs a lunch bag, and a few other items. Little stuff, but important stuff.

In all this, the hardest part is getting myself mentally prepared.  I’ve spent the past eleven months with my daughter, all day every day.  I’ve been raising her, cuddling her, feeding her, taking her to play groups, and suddenly, somebody else will be doing that for 8 hours of the day.  I won’t be able to peek in while she’s napping or blow raspberries on her feet while we’re playing.  All that will have to wait until I get home from work.  This makes me unbearably sad.  I’m tearing up as I’m writing and thinking about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to my new job.  I think it’ll be a great experience, and the people I got to meet were very nice.  It’s the right thing for our family, it’s the right thing for me, and A’s going to have a wonderful time with her care provider through the day.  It’s going to be hard to adjust, though.

Maybe it’s easier because I haven’t been dreading this for weeks and weeks, knowing that it’s coming.  I don’t know.  I don’t really have anything to compare it to.  I love her to pieces, and I’ll miss her, but I can guarantee one thing: she’ll be getting covered in kisses and raspberries when I get home.

 

Dear A: First snow

Being born on New Year’s eve, you have had the opportunity to see snow.  However, as a newborn, there’s no way you were ready to play in it, and I don’t imagine you remember anything from so early on.  However, the year has passed, and the seasons have cycled yet again (for the first time, for you).  At nearly 11 months old, winter is here again and you’ll get to experience it this time.  

We’re in the midst of a huge snowfall today.  Not a blustery, windy blizzard, but a slow, delicate, steady drifting of snow.  At last count we’ve had 22cm fall, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.  Like the first snowfall of every year, I paused in the window and watched it as it fell for a while, making the view brighter, cleaner.  Of course, you were up at your usual time, and my moment of reflection was short.

You were playing happily in your high chair (and by playing, I mean pushing your breakfast around the tray and making a fantastic mess) when I heard the snow plows come by.  You were safely strapped in and quite content, so I ran outside to hurriedly throw some of the snow off our car and into the laneway for the plow.  (Luckily our parking space faces the kitchen so I could watch you while I swept off the snow.)  I hustled back inside and you were none the wiser, still mucking around with your bananas and cheerios.

Having had to stand in deep snow beside the car, some had gotten stuck in the cuff of my jeans.  I carefully lifted it out and put it on your tray.  You picked it up and your eyes widened, surprised by the sensation of cold.  You explored, closing your hand around it, squishing, rotating your wrist around, and then putting it down to melt into your breakfast.

You will get more opportunities to explore this fluffy white stuff as time goes by, but I loved sharing this first experience with you.

Biscuits in the oven, gonna watch ’em rise

I’m not much of a baker.  My cookies are often black on the bottom and fluffy things tend to come out pretty flat.  In my opinion, cooking is an art, and baking is a science, and I’m much better at art in the kitchen.  Go figure, since I got great marks in chemistry class way back in high school.

However, in the effort to get A to eat more at the table, I’m trying my hand at baking.  Specifically, the Cheese and Broccoli Muffins from this site:

Cheese and Broccoli Muffins

6 cooked broccoli florets, chopped
6 grape/cherry tomatoes, chopped
4 oz (1 cup) grated Cheddar cheese
8 oz (2 cups) self rising flour (or – to reduce salt levels – use all purpose/plain flour plus 3 level tsp baking powder)
6 fl oz (3/4 cup) milk – use whole milk, or breastmilk/formula if you prefer
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 375 deg F, 180 deg C.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, cheese and chopped broccoli.
Add the chopped tomatoes, milk, oil and egg and blend thoroughly.
Grease a 12 hole muffin tin and spoon in the batter.
Bake for 25 to 35 mins until golden.

Please note that these muffins will be fairly dense and moist.

Cheese and broccoli muffin batter

The batter was stiff but easy to work with

Cheese and broccoli muffins

Letting the muffins cool. They look tasty!

I went with the formula option since A isn’t on whole milk just yet & I didn’t have any breastmilk pumped. I also only had whole wheat flour, so added the baking powder and crossed my fingers.  I tested them at 25 minutes and they were dry in the middle, so I took them out to cool.

Success! There were a few crumbs left over, but A ate most of a muffin. Woo hoo! They weren’t quite as moist as I was expecting, but A seemed happy enough to eat one so we’ll call that a win.

Post-muffin baby

All that remains is a few crumbs and a baby heading towards a food coma. 🙂

Dear A: our busy week

We had a wonderful, full  week, my sweet little baby.  We went to the university’s language lab to take part in a study on infant language acquisition.  It was neat, you seemed to have fun, and I’ll be curious to find out what the study’s results were. (Mommy’s a bit of a language nerd, you see.)

We had a quick visit with auntie Dani this week and we did a little Christmas shopping with her, but it was a short trip to the mall because you were determined to be unhappy unless you were being snuggled.  You slept like nobody’s business though and I even had to wake you up to feed you dinner.

We had a great swimming lesson this week as well.  You are starting to get used to splashing water, though you still haven’t figured out blowing bubbles yet.  All in good time.  You’re an enthusiastic kicker in the water now as well.

We also got together with some mommy friends and their babies, and went to the library for infant story time.  It took you a while to get used to the big crowd, but once you settled down you had a great time crawling around, exploring, and putting your fingers in the other babies’ mouths.  Things like this make me think you’ve skipped the “parallel play” stage.  You stare at other people, especially babies, and love reaching out to touch them and give them great big smiles (most of the time).

You’ve also mastered giving high fives, and this week you’ve also mastered clapping.  You do it all the time and it’s absurdly cute.  Mommy’s starting to feel like a bit of a rock star, with all the applause following her around!

I think our busy week caught up to you, though.  You were fussy last night and had a bit of a runny nose.  You woke up twice through the night, stuffed up and wanting to snuggle and nurse.  This morning you’ve got a full-on cold, with a very runny nose and an occasional cough.  No fever at all, which is good, but also no appetite.  You’re being a trooper so far, despite the reindeer-red nose and being constantly wiped down.  Let’s hope this is a short one and you fight it off quickly.

I love you, little bean

Puree? No way!

It seems that darling little A is less and less willing to eat purees these days.  She seems to only be interested in foods that she can put into her mouth with her own two hands.  If a spoon approaches her mouth now, she grabs for it & pulls the contents off.  She then either tries to put it in her mouth, or rubs it on the high chair tray and then in her hair.  While I applaud this little bit of independence, it leaves me wondering two things: What do I do with the meticulously-portioned cubes of frozen veggie purees in the freezer, and what on earth do I feed a ten-month-old to ensure she’s getting a balanced meal??

I know that “Food before one is just for fun,” but I also want her to try lots of flavours and get used to different types of foods.  Hubby is a picky eater, and I want her to have an open-minded palate.  Some hits so far include apple slices softened in the microwave, a grilled cheese cut into small pieces, French toast with banana blended into the mix, and well-cooked cauliflower.  Some misses include chicken meatballs (fun to tear apart, not so much to eat), mushy carrots (she liked them pureed), and cooked peas with the skin pulled off (possibly just too small).

This leaves me on the hunt for recipes appropriate for a ten-month-old with only her two lower incisors for chewing.  There are resources for baby-led weaning online, so that’s where I’ll start.  Have you gone through this with your little ones?  What foods did your independent eater enjoy?

"A" is for "All over my face"

“A” is for “All over my face.” Sweet potato, back when purees were cool.

Play Time Café

I recently got together with a group of local moms for lunch at the Play Time Café.  Located in Manotick, south of Ottawa, the Café is a quaint little restaurant dedicated to kids as much as adults.  The decor is cheerful, there are oodles of chairs in all sizes, and there’s a gated play area with a variety of toys for kids of all ages.

I was the last to arrive, and a bit late.  The other mommas and their babies were already enjoying lunch at the seating area closest to the door.  It was nice to have a cozy spot to ourselves with all the gorgeous sunlight pouring in.  One of the staff (I didn’t get anyone’s names, sadly) came over right away to greet me.  The menu is posted next to the cash, where people usually order.   Seeing my hands were full with A, she reeled off the day’s lunch options and took my order right at the table.

I plopped A into one of their high chairs & set her up with something to eat.  (The Café has a fantastic-looking children’s menu that is a little bit beyond A and her two teeny teeth.)  My latté came right away, and my ham, pear and brie sandwich was close behind.  The sandwich was absolutely delicious.  The latté was perfect. The staff supplied us with a jug of water, and were quick to fix it when we couldn’t get it to work.  When A started getting fidgety, they were happy to let me snag the activity table from the play area so A could keep herself busy within eyesight of Mommy.

All in all, the food was of excellent quality, the staff were friendly and very accommodating, and the price was quite reasonable.  I had a lovely time at the Play Time Café, and will definitely be going back.

(Disclosure: Nobody paid me for this review.  I’m getting nothing out of it other than sharing a great experience.)

New Years will never be the same

When i found out i was pregnant, a short three weeks after conception, I was ecstatic. Once I visited my doctor, she calculated my due date: December 24th. A Christmas baby! I thought a baby on an already special day would make that day even better. It didn’t take long for people to start telling me how much she would hate having a Christmas birthday, and how she’d get shorted on gifts. I pointed out that she’d come when she was ready, whenever that would be.  If she wanted to be born on Christmas eve she would, and she could deal with the consequences as she got older.  (And I had no intention of lumping her birthday in with Christmas, how unfair!)

The first ultrasound showed that she was likely about 6 days younger than the first estimate, pegging her due date at the 30th. Because the difference was less than a week, the official due date was left as the 24th, & this was what we shared with those who were interested. My pregnancy was about as easy as one could be.  I had no morning sickness, no major complications, and while the impaired glucose tolerance made my food planning a challenge (especially being diagnosed days before Halloween), I was diligent enough that I never had to take insulin.

By the beginning of December, I was more than ready for her to arrive.  I was both anxious to meet this tiny little person we’d created, and tired of being uncomfortable & waddling like a hippo.  I had borrowed a winter coat to get me through the December cold, but at the end, I couldn’t button it up anymore – I had to use a hair elastic looped through the button hole to give me some extra reach.  I felt done with being pregnant.

At around 10:30pm on December 30th, i went into labour.  Hubby rushed home from work, we went to the hospital, & at 10:47am the next morning, Baby G was born.  We had a holiday baby after all, and it was an incredible way to ring in the new year.

One day old

Our baby girl, on her birthday. Just in time to ring in the new year.

(note: we call our daughter Baby G as an occasional nickname, because that’s what they called her on the hospital bracelet.  We think it’s cute, we’ll see what she thinks about it when she’s older!)