Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parent of the Year

I would never run out of diapers

I always hear parents mention all the things they do now, they said they'd never do before having kids. From Elmo and macaroni and cheese to pacifiers and co-sleeping. I, admittedly, had no idea what I was getting into when we had Wesley.

The boy took my life by storm and I was taught right away, any plans I had were to be tossed out. I was on a new kind of ride, one where I was not the driver. Well, I was a driver, but not the only one.

Our choice was to have a natural home-birth and we had decided to opt out of all medical intervention unless necessary. This meant no vaccinations at birth (needles seemed like a harsh greeting), no gel in the eyes (again this seemed invasive unless necessary), and we would stay home and rest, nurse, and be alone with our new family for at least the first few days. Within 3 minutes of Wes' birth, there were 12 men (EMT's) in my bedroom and Wes had every medical intervention imaginable. From antibiotic IVs to respiratory intebation, he was poked, prodded, gelled, drilled, and sedated within an hour of birth.

I obviously had some letting go to do.

We weren't sure if we'd choose to use a pacifier (oh the things you ponder pre-baby), but when Wesley spent a week in the NICU due to a possible collapsed lung/infection, and we couldn't hold him for the better part of that week-- a pacifier was the only way to comfort him. Obviously the scales were tipped and it was clear the choice we needed to make.

When we took our healthy (yay!) baby home we worked really hard to start nursing. We had some major set back and were worried that he wouldn't get it. After a week of tears, frustration, and persistence, he finally took to the breast and we felt relief that at least this could be done "our way".

At 4 months, when some doctors suggest, to start feeding your baby rice cereal, we decided to post pone this transition to solid foods. We wanted to give him a little more time solely on breastmilk, giving his digestive system more time to develop healthy flora (antibiotics may have set this back too), and waiting till he could start with a vegetable as opposed to a grain.

At 6 months we fed him sweet potato and avocado and were happy that he seemed to enjoy vegetables and ate with vigor.

Somewhere between 6 months and 17 months, the act of feeding Wes has become a blur, a challenge, and extremely frustrating. It is obviously not me driving this car, and I am doing my best to be the most supportive and patient back sear driver I can be.

I have given Wes puff cereal, something I aimed to avoid. I have played airplane with his spoon, something I read "should not" be necessary. I have hidden vegetables in muffins, something I thought you'd only have to do, had you not taught your child "proper eating habits" by example (what an a-hole).

This list will continue to grow, I imagine, and with this list come my biggest lessons in life. Thank you my little, strong willed, my way or the highway, apple of my eye, puff cereal eatin' boy.

Things I thought I'd NEVER do:

1. Talk in the first person ALL DAY LONG: momma will make you breakfast, come with momma upstairs, momma needs to have some water, momma needs a shower

2. Sleep with my baby: Wes needed the comfort in the beginning (and we did too!), I was nursing through the night and it made sense. I'm still nursing like crazy (the eating thing is so tricky) and now we are in a holding pattern. I am reconciling the fact that despite the interrupted sleep, I love having him so near me, waking up to him, and knowing he is warm and snuggled.

3. Use a baby swing ('good mother's hold their babies'): my arms got tired.

4. Feed him "puffs"(or other baby marketed treats): I held out for a loong time. It turns out it was a crunchy finger food that would get him closer to where we needed him to be eating wise. I realize I say where "we" needed (not he) him to be, and this is true. I needed him to not only nurse for sustenance, I was wasting away and eating more roasts than I would like. Momma needs to take care of herself too.

5. Use sippy cups: Ha! I had this vision of sticky plastic cups under the couch, in the car, and being dragged around by my four year old every where we went. Turns out they are a great way to give independence to a baby, and water isn't so sticky.

6. Feed my baby products off the shelf while grocery shopping: I still have an issue with this one, (though if you do it--NO judgement--some people would say me nursing my baby in the grocery store is bad manners) though I've seen Chopper do it and I resisted to say anything. But--I do thank god for the food samples at Wholefoods, and now plan ahead with snacks from home.

7. Put my baby in front of the TV: sign language videos are a great way for Wes and Chopper to wind down when Chop gets home from work. He has learned so many signs and again, is gaining independence this way. Perhaps with all this independence he'll be out of my bed before I realize(!)

I guess my point with all of this is the practice/message, of balance and moderation. Expectations, disappointments, frustrations, limitations, and rewards are all equal partners in the business of being a parent or a human being. With a little cookie comes a green smoothie, with a little sippy cup comes a moment to wash the dishes and a moment of pride for a 10 month old. For all the mommas and daddas that do all of the above, or anything else they said they'd never do--may acceptance come to you when you check in and ask, is this the best decision I can make for my family? Baby, mommy, daddy included. As no one diet works for every one, no one parenting choice does either. And for those without kids, you have no idea.

Our adventurous journey

I didn't know all that I was getting into and would be getting out of.

When Wesley decided that he would not be eating pureed food by spoon at all--First I had to put away my baby food mill and second throw out the ice cube trays full of puree that had been sitting in my freezer for 3 months. Next came jars (maybe he has bought into all the food marketing too?), but he didn't like those either. Nor the cereals, so after they spent over a year in my cupboards I found a use for them.

Baby Food Muffins

1 ½ cup ww flour

1 cup grain cereal (rice or oat baby cereal

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

3-4 4 oz jars baby food

1 cup pureed raw spinach

¼ cup molasses

1 tsp vanilla


Mix all ingredients, put in muffin tin. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.

Then I discovered coconut flour. I had always wanted to try it, but Wesley was my motivation. High in fiber and protein, and gluten free. This is a superfood flour for baking.

Wesley's Muffins

1 cup coconut flour

2 bananas

2 Tbl butter melted

2 Tbl coconut oil melted

2 Tbl milk

3 Tbl honey, agave, or maple syrup

1/2 cup berries

1 cup pureed raw spinach

1 tsp b powder

½ tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients, put in muffin tin. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.

You can lead a horse to water... Wes helping me cook at 4 months--he's holding the garlic

First taste of sour...maybe this is what turned him off.

He had a lot of fun at his first birthday--but didn't eat a bite
(of his organic, fruit sweetened, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting)


Malika said...

Ok, that made me laugh, nod in agreement, cry, laugh, nod in agreement... Well put! I can't wait to try the coconut flour muffins. I picked up any of the ingredients I needed on my way home from work and am going to make them tomorrow morning! I hope she likes them.

Robert said...

I like this blog! It seems like you have fun and thats cool. Yeah I think I my try it as well. Thanks for the info.

marisa parker said...

haven't read your blog in awhile, but its great!