Monday, June 30, 2014

busy and self absorbed

I am rediscovering my body, the one that is quasi-normal and not sick or pregnant.  What an interesting time I am having!  First off, I started by exercising.  I found out that although I had not lost as much fitness as if I had never exercised at all, I was down to about half of my usual mileage in running and swimming.  I sometimes think that I am able to do something just because I could in the past, and then I realize that it I persist with this mad form of thought I will get injured...  The second thing is that I am busy trying to lose weight, because although I look fine, it is rather hard to run with an extra 20 lb on board.

I felt a bit selfish initially, because here I am, with a brand new baby, and I am expanding energy into fitness instead of gazing lovingly into his eyes 24/7.  However, I feel that I have reached a good balance now.  My exercise time is 6:30-7:30 in the mornings.  I take full advantage of it, I enjoy it, and then I let it go.  The rest of the day is spent with the kids at the park, and yes, gazing lovingly into their eyes comes in too, when I am not busy giving Emma time out in her room for throwing sand in some poor child's face... she keeps me on my toes.  (We were at the park, and she threw some sand at a young girl-18 months or so- who was throwing sand at her too, BTW, but was just not as coordinated as Emma is.  So Emma got her straight in the eyes.  I put Emma on the time-out bench, and administered first aid (i.e. removed grains of sand from poor baby's left eye), when Emma decided that she had done enough time-out and got off the bench without permission.  I asked her if she would rather do her time out at home in her room, and she agreed (to my surprise).  I personally would have liked to linger on the grass at the park a lot longer, but I had to keep my word so we went home and she went straight to her room for about five minutes, which is the longest time out she has had so far, but she did not mind).

That is how exciting my life is!!!

Daniel is coo-ing so sweetly.  I am going to try to make a video of him making his sweet baby sounds.  He is also looking at me and smiling, sometimes giggling, in the rare moments when my boob is not in his mouth.  For some reason he has thrush, which I am trying to cure with Nystatin suspension, but so far not very successfully.  If anybody has any other remedies for thrush (not so much gentian violet, which stains clothes) then please let me know.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Emma wants to be a doctor. I want to be a shepherd.

She is gone to the hospital with daddy, which is their special thing to do every Saturday morning.  They go on rounds "to see the sick people".  She loves it.

Here is a picture of her listening to daddy's heart.  I am pretty sure she thinks that the heart is in the big toe area but never mind...

As for Daniel, I was planning on taking some fabulous pictures today, but the light is not very good (it is cloudy and drizzly outside), so will have to postpone the great photography until tomorrow.  Here is something that I got so far, just of him in the swing.  I find that for most newborn photography to look good, I need my husband to entertain him somehow so that he opens his eyes:

Life is really good.  I am preparing for the triathlon, and have shaved off one minute from my 1 km time, which is really good.  I am still the slowest on the morning training team, but so what, I am the only one that just had a baby there, and by next year perhaps I will be able to keep up more consistently.  I have started running as well, and found that actually running 5 km is really not that hard, especially when I don't have to push a double BOB loaded with my kids and the neighbours' kids at the same time (for some reason I thought that was a great idea, don't ask!).

I do a lot of art and Romanian lessons with Emma in the mornings.   We keep it fun and light, and at 10:30 we wrap up all activities and go outside to play at the park.  She is learning how to cut with scissors, and enjoys cutting both paper and play dough.  The play dough part is very messy, so I am starting to get her involved in the cleanup on a more consistent basis.  So far, I would clean up her messes and make it fun for her to help if she wanted to.  Lately it still fun, but it is becoming compulsory.

I have started reading the book on Love and Logic parenting recommended by blogger friend Lara, and it is a great, great book.  I have realized that up to now I was focusing more on being a friend to Emma, and not as much a parent.  And it was the right, age appropriate thing to do.  However, she is growing up, and she needs to start integrating into society.  That involves doing her share of work in the family (which is her little society at home) and learning to interact with the outside world (her friends, the neighbours, people we meet at the grocery store).  She is doing really well, except for the sudden bursts of wanting to make a mess (she even says "mommy, I want to make a mess"), and then I know I need to send her to her room, because if it happens in daddy's office, it involves taking all the paper out of the shredder and spreading it joyfully all across the house, including in the flower pots.

She also needs to work on respecting the cat.  Our cat is very kind and gentle, and would never hurt my kids, but since the neighbour's kids play in our house, the whole gang thinks it is great fun chasing the cat and throwing pillows at her, which we (the parents) disapprove of. (Even though I think it is hilarious to see the cat challenged a bit, since all she does is sleep and shed hair, but ahem, don't tell Emma I said so).  Here is the cat, trying on some baby clothes.  That was my idea.  I was making baby clothes by hand before Emma's arrival, and was trying them over the cat's head to make sure that they were wearable.  (They were not wearable, by the way).

Anyway, life is smooth and wonderful.  I am baking bread tonight, so I took out the sourdough starter and am feeding it some flour.  Soon I will be milling the grains.  I should move in the prairies and get some goats.  Here in town I am quite sure that one cannot keep goats.  I am craving some fresh, unprocessed milk, lots of it, to drink and to make fresh cheese from.  Mmmmm...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The height of embarrassment

Here is how to get into a really embarrassing situation: 
Step 1.  Receive phone call yesterday from nice lady who says she would like to bring dinner tomorrow night (i.e today).  Make arrangements for 18:30 drop off. 
Step 2.  Forget all about said conversation.
Step 3.  Make dinner, put it on the table, and start eating with family at 18:15, finish and relax with conversation and coffee.
Step 4.  As soon as 18:30 arrives, hear knock on the door.
Step 6.  Whisper at husband to CLEAR OUT THE PLATES ASAP.
Step 7.  While husband (who has no idea what is going on) tries unsuccessfully to clear out the table, answer the door so that both kind lady and her husband step right into the dining room with a roaster full of chicken and a wonderful apple pie.  Too bad that the table is already full of dirty plates. 

I don't think anybody bought my story about serving dinner to Emma because she is a picky eater and just had gastroenteritis.  I have no idea what I should have said.  Nothing really made sense at this point to anybody other than myself. 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

on my own, and food reflections

My mom left yesterday, and so I have had two days of being on my own with both kids and I did actually very well.  I think that Emma seems to prefer my undivided attention (shocker!) and when my mom was here, we used to chitchat in Romanian all day long, which she did not really understand or like.  She is now my main focus of attention (I had no idea that a toddler takes way more attention and time than a baby) and this is a setup that she is thriving with.  She also does well with a lot of activities, and structured time, so I am trying to get together a schedule that will work for most days, in order to maintain routine (another toddler favourite:).  The baby just goes along for the ride, literally, on my back in the Ergo, or on my front in the Baby Bjorn.  He does not sleep much if left alone and unmoved, so until my swing arrives, the two carriers are getting heavy use.

Emma has made some friends with the kids next door, and she is playing with them every day at noon.  I got a plastic pool for her and filled it up, so they like to go splashing around.  The sprinkler that my neighbours use on their front lawn is an endless delight as well.

I am getting my first taste of how difficult it is to not expose my child to processed foods.  I am not strict about it by any stretch of the imagination, but generally Emma eats stuff that I make in the house from scratch ingredients.  Her cookies are made from ground up seeds, nuts, and dates, or from ground up wheat or rye berries and ground up coconut meat, eggs, maple syrup and held together with coconut oil.  Stuff like that.  I bake bread, but like to grind my flour.  I make ice cream from scratch, but most often she gets a fruit smoothie frozen in a popsicle mould.

Emma likes meat and fruit, but not vegetables.  Lately she started eating carrots and sweet peas.  I am trying to add zucchini and cucumbers, but so far I don't have huge successes to report.  I have noticed that she takes from my hand whatever I am eating, so it really is a "lead by example" kind of world out here.

The neighbour's kids however do not eat any of my cookies, and did not like the popsicle smoothies either.  They are more into pizza and deli meats for lunch, and sometimes Emma does eat with them. I am never against sharing a meal, I think the act of sharing is far more important than being super strict about nutrition, especially at the age of 2-3 years old.  However, sigh, I wish that the kids would share some of my goodies too, and not just drool over pizza from Domino's, or ice cream from the gas station.  I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.  I find it not uncommon that a four year old does not know what a cucumber is, let alone a zucchini or cauliflower.  With Emma helping in the kitchen as much as she does, I doubt that this will be her case, in particular as she already knows a lot of whole foods by looks (if not by taste).

I am happy that more and more people are turning to a whole foods diet, and that even in my Little Town I can find jicama and okra, but we still have a hugely long way to go, in particular when it comes to toddlers, who are such difficult creatures to feed.  Part of me wonders whether they don't naturally avoid foods containing phytic acid, since they need the minerals more than the antioxidant effect of the phytic acid, and so they prefer refined flour to whole flour, and fruit, milk and meat kind of foods to beans or salads.  Or is it that they just go with the taste?  And what is it about toddlers and sugar?

Anyway, I am typing this at 2 am since it is the only time I have when I am left alone to think, so I guess I should better get back to bed.  I have just fed Daniel, and he is lying on my lap making content gurgling sounds and trying to burp.  Life is good.