November 2007


Sorry for my long silence recently. Even though I blog everyday (in my head) I don’t always get around to posting all the witty and brilliant thoughts I have about life. So here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the past two weeks:

  • Mike and I went to the Major League Soccer Championship game – Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution. It was lots of fun, even though Revolution lost. The highlight of the game was when the crowd (mostly DC United fans) started chanting “YOU GUYS ARE BOORING” and then moved on to chant “DC UNITED”. That was when the game started picking up…
  • Thanksgiving happened. We had a great time on the Eastern Shore hanging with my dad, stepmom, sister and stepbrother. Except when hunting season started on Saturday. Then we got the hell out of dodge. I wanted to write a big long post about all that I am grateful for (and there’s a lot) but then the tryptophan kicked in…sorry about that.
  • Emma learned how to clap yesterday. Just like that. My mom was clapping and singing a song to her and she just started clapping along. And she hasn’t stopped since. Clapping seems to be her new expression of happiness – every time I turn around she is grinning from ear to ear and clapping. When we are in the car and I look at her in the rearview mirror, she’s clapping. Taking a bath, she starts clapping. Changing her diaper, she starts clapping. It’s a riot. But now I feel like we need to stock up on some quality children’s music so she has something to clap TO.
  • And finally, Emma is officially a toddler. She walks everywhere, and fast. It was an overnight thing really. One day we were propping her up and convincing her to take a few steps, the next day she was walking around the house like she had been doing it all her life. She is unstoppable and into EVERYTHING.

Which brings me to the main point of this post: someone please help me. My sweet toddler is wreaking havoc everywhere she goes. The tupperware from the kitchen ends up in the living room, her books from the bedroom end up in the dining room, her toys from the den end up in our room (and I am pretty sure I have already mentioned the dog food that ends up in her mouth). She requires constant supervision and almost never sits still.

When she was six months old and I needed to make dinner, she could sit pretty happily in her jumpy seat while I cooked. When she was nine months old the activity center was the thing. Now? I am lost. Now, I am looking for that magic toy that will occupy her for more than five minutes. She doesn’t watch television so that won’t work as a solution (although I am beginning to see why so many little kids do) but I am pretty open to almost anything else…

Anyone?

Alternatively, any good recipes for dinner that only take 5-10 minutes to prepare?

I went to the grocery store hungry yesterday. I know I know. Big mistake. And one that I normally don’t make, but between chasing Emma all morning and trying to get some work done I kind of forgot to eat lunch.

I never go down the “snacks” aisle, because nothing good can come from it, but I needed peanuts for the pad thai I was making for dinner, so I risked it. I grabbed my peanuts and turned to get out of there, when my eye caught the Chex Mix WALL. There were at least five shelves of the stuff and I was helpless. And hungry. I grabbed the Chocolate-Peanut Butter version and ran for my life.

When I got to the car home, I opened the bag and had a little snack. I noticed on the bag that it said “50% less fat!” Well, heck, I had no idea I picked up the HEALTHY Chex Mix. Good for me! See that? Maybe the snack aisle isn’t so bad after all. Then I looked a little closer and noticed that under the “50% less fat!” it said in veeery tiiny letters “than potato chips”.

Huh.

I mean, clearly I didn’t pick up anything that said “chocolate” or “peanut butter” on it thinking I was getting diet food, but what a weird thing to put on the bag.

Next thing you know Breyer’s is going to be putting “75% less fat” “*than a Big Mac” on cartons of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Yeah, and I would buy that too.

I went to a first birthday party for a friend’s child once. I spent the whole time thinking that it was a little odd to have a birthday party for a 1-year-old who clearly couldn’t appreciate it and would never remember it.

Now that Emma is one and I have invited everyone I know to my completely filthy house planned a party for her, I totally understand.

A party for a 1-year-old is not for the 1-year-old. It’s for the parents. It’s a time for them to celebrate the fact that they have survived the first year without divorcing, committing hari-kiri or getting started on a serious meth habit. It is a time for parents to shout from the rooftops “Look! We did it! And our kid is pretty cute too!”

The first year was hard. From labor and delivery to the sleepless nights to the transition from a twosome to a threesome to the constant doubts about whether we are doing it right, it has been hard. And now, as we move towards her first birthday and find ourselves with a toddler who laughs and talks (sort of) and interacts, it seems like the fog of the past year is lifting, and a celebration seems in order. Besides, this is the last time we will be able to serve beer at her birthday party without involving the authorities in some way.

So, if you have a near-1-year-old and aren’t sure whether to have a party or not, I say go for it. It’s a chance to celebrate your child’s new status as a “year-old” instead of a “something-months-old” in addition to celebrating your accomplishments as a parent and your transition to a family. Party on.

I saw a segment on CNN yesterday morning about toxins in kids products, specifically bisphenol A and phthalates in baby bottles. At some point in his report Dr. Sanjay Gupta told the viewing audience that years ago we were told that 70 something-or-other-measurement of lead in our bodies was an acceptable amount and now we are being told that 70 is way too high and that 10 something-or-other-measurement is a much more acceptable level – which just goes to show you that sometimes it takes a bit of research before we know for sure what we are dealing with. At the end of the segment Kiran Chetry asked Dr. Gupta whether there was enough evidence of a problem with various toxins for people to switch to non-bisphenol bottles. The good Doctor got a deer in the headlights look and then…hedged, saying that people have to make whatever choice is right for them.

We have been struggling with this issue in our house, so we were watching the report with extra interest. We have made the decision to replace our old bottles with Born Free bottles (the glass ones are really cool.) We know the jury is still out on the whole issue, but we have this sneaking suspicion that years from now we will get information about bisphenol that is similar to the one we are now getting about lead. In the end, for us, why not just replace the bottles to be on the safe side? I fully expected a similar sentiment from Dr. Gupta when he was asked about it and was really disappointed that he seemed to take the I-can’t-risk-pissing-off-any-sponsors road.

Obviously bisphenol isn’t the only toxin parents have to deal with lately. Every week it seems like there is a new recall for some product that is covered in lead or puts kids into a coma or makes them act like George Bush.

So because we are coming up on the gift giving season I thought I would share some of my favorite links for non-toxic, natural and handmade products for kids.

And of course, check out Cool Mom Picks, where I found all of these links in the first place.

Slowly but surely if we all start putting our money towards products that are safer for kids there will be a higher standard universally. Then baby bottle makers and others will be compelled by pure economics to offer products that are healthier for all of us and Dr. Gupta won’t have to worry about pissing off his sponsors. Happy gift-giving!

Update: Via Ewokmama’s, recent great post about toxins and recalls, comes another site for handmade products – Etsy.

New cap

Emma turned 11 months old on Monday.

She is walking by herself. She looks like a drunken sailor, but she is doing it. Most of the time she walks by herself only when we stand her up and make her, but lately I have found her getting into a standing position by herself and walking just for the sheer joy of it. She also dances when we turn music on, although her gyrations usually knock her to the ground.

She has four teeth now – two bottom front and two top front – and they have not been kind to her. With each one she suffers through a lot of pain (it seems to me) tons of drool and a few sleepless nights.

The only baby food she eats anymore is the baby oatmeal she gets in the morning – but as soon as that box is finished we are going to move to the grown-up oatmeal. She loves cheerios and tofu and peas and squash, but her favorite thing is little baby goldfish. Oh and dog food, but we try to limit how much of that she gets.

She is so curious about everything around her and has started looking at people expectantly, waiting for them to make a face or smile at her. Because she is now mobile she has discovered that she can follow the cats wherever they go – including under the dining room table. To their credit, they are pretty patient with her and seem to enjoy the game as much as she does.

I feel like she grows and changes every day. I guess I have always felt that way about her, but there has been something about her development since about 9 months that has felt like someone hit the fast forward button. She is such a different person than she was at 6 months, and in some ways is so much the same.

As we approach her one year birthday I am blown away at how quickly it has gone. I look at the pictures of her as a newborn and little baby and realize I had no idea at the time how much fun she would be just a few months down the road. Thinking about how fast life has moved in the last year makes me realize that I don’t really want to waste time stressing about whether I am parenting “right”. I just want to enjoy every moment with her.