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.