You Crazy Animals!

Halloween festivities are quickly wrapping up. Though our ghoulishly grueling party schedule has all but drained the life from us, we'll rise from the dead for one last haunt. Let's hope that Noah Finn's suit o' cephlapod lasts through tomorrow's spooktacular trick-or-treating frolic and feasting fest.

Some friends from this week:
Felix, the Meerkat
Ainsley, the Lion
Noah Finn, the Organic Octopus
Nico, the Insomniac


Announcing The Launch Of A Brand New Workshop: "Little Finger Feasts" in 2010!

Feeding Little Foodies is so very proud to announce the launch of a brand spanking new workshop for 2010--"Little Finger Feasts"!

The "Little Finger Feasts” workshop will be a two hour workshop held at my home that will provide hungry families with a place to seek--and hopefully find--culinary inspiration, as well as, helpful instruction on how to make fresh, healthy, and delicious homemade food for little foodies that the whole family can enjoy.

This workshop will be tailored for:
  • wee ones who are ready to graduate from purees to finger foods
  • moms who are looking for a fresh new take on preparing finger foods for an experienced little eater
  • families who are seeking inspiration for preparing fresh, delicious and nutritious dishes that the whole family can enjoy--"family friendly" dishes
The workshop will include:
  • sauteing demonstration from start to finish
  • sample menus
  • sample recipes
  • food allergy guide
  • tricks and tips
  • your own container of food to take home with you
  • discussions with other moms/dads about common feeding-time concerns/fears/anxieties/problems
The workshops will begin in January of 2010--specific dates are to be announced. Please visit my other blog, "Feeding Little Foodies" for further information or feel free to contact me at: feedinglittlefoodies@gmail.com.

**I also teach a workshop that is geared towards the beginning eater called "Little Foodie Feasts". Please click here for more details.


Octobaby Monsterpus.

We have a ghoulishly grueling Halloween schedule this week--the Octobaby Monsterpus has an appearance everyday this week:

This past Sunday--Pumpkin decorating with the L.A. M.I.L.K.'s
Monday--Spooky storytime at the library
Tuesday--Costume Gala at our Mommy & Me group
Wednesday--Halloween Bash with "Babies On Blankets"
Thursday--Halloween Park Playdate
Friday--Spooktacular Potluck at Diego's
Saturday--Trick-or-Treating and Pizza Party

Sheesh, I hope my novice sewing skills hold up! Or else, Octobaby Monsterpus may be short an arm . . . or two . . . or three . . . or eight!

Happy Haunting!

Baby Einstein Ain't So Smart.

FINALLY! Some validation from the mainstream media about at least one aspect of mine and Dean's rogue parenting choices. I don't need validation, no. But it sure does feel nice every so often.

A recent article in the New York Times, entitled "No Einstein In Your Crib? Get A Refund" confirms mine and Dean's rigid anti-t.v. stance for young children--DVD's and so-called educational t.v. programs do not and cannot educate children under the age of two. Essentially, the Walt Disney Company, Baby Einstein is a hoax. Electronic babysitter--yes, miracle teacher in a box--um . . . no. And, truly it takes no genius to figure that out.

Despite the fact that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends no tube time before the age of two, I cannot count how many times advice that touts the raving success of baby videos has been offered to us--and "it's educational!", they validate. When introducing children to the ol' box of brain junk at the tender age of 6 months, it's a no brainer why childhood obesity rates, early claims of attention deficit disorders and drop out rates are on the rise in the U.S.

Parents desperate for a moment of "me" time no doubt find relief in the distractability that television brings. I get that--I really do. But as I defended in an earlier post, the right choices in parenting are usually those with the most difficult follow-through. Finding other distractions for your children while you pee, brush your pearly whites or prepare dinner is possible--it's just harder, yes--as are the endless possibilities for finding teachable moments sans t.v. But it's doable, so very doable.

Being a parent is hard and being a really, really good parent is even harder. But I believe that we owe it to these little guys to offer them everything that this incredible world around us has to give: music, animals, art, nature and positive interaction with others all offer cheap and intriguing endless opportunities for distraction and education.


Feeding Little Foodies--New Look For A Splendid Season.

There are so many exciting things happening over at "Feeding Little Foodies": fresh and fabulous new fall, finger and family friendly recipes! And to celebrate this gloriously festive season, it has undergone a small makeover--a refreshed header.

Come, visit! If you are interested in preparing fresh, organic, homemade and delicious dishes for your little foodie--and your whole family--stop on by my other blog, "Feeding Little Foodies" for recipes, tips, advice, workshop information and much, much, more!

Happy Fall and Happy Feeding,


All In A Good Day's Play: 7th Edition.

I haven't written an "All In A Good Day's Play" post for some time now and thought it frightfully overdue! Though this one diverges from the typical format somewhat, it still manages to capture the essence of of our beautiful day together.

Yesterday, daddy had a surprise middle-of-the-week day off, so we frolicked to the park before going to a late afternoon playdate together. We topped whole the day off with a fabulously fall dinner--baked cinnamon & brown sugared acorn squash, sauteed garlic asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes with cumin and basil--and then snuggled into a bath and jammies for a somewhat restful night.

Happy days, happy nights, happy family.


Doing The "Right" Thing Is Never Easy.

Baby knows best. Really. They are perhaps not scholars just yet, but they do know what they need better than any of us and well, we should listen to them. And, if we would listen they would probably say . . . that doing the "right" thing is never easy.

Like when you were a kid and were forced to apologize and admit error--it was the "right" thing to do, but it was so hard to say that you were wrong. Or, choosing to skip a party in order to study instead of cheating on a final exam in high school. Studying was hard work, but it was "right", right?

I've come to the conclusion, or even grand epiphany perhaps, that doing the "right" thing as a parent is also not the easier choice. I came to this conclusion after struggling once again following sleepless nights and clingy days with the attachment parenting philosophy that we have adopted as parents. The attachment parenting tenets are simple really and were so appealing to us initially because they essentially support the beliefs that we already held about parenting. To us, AP principles just seem like no-brainers: go to your child when he cries--he needs you, breastfeed your baby--it's food that's literally made for him, sleep with your child--because you are a parent at night too, use positive discipline to teach your child--negativity punishes, hold and wear your baby--it fosters bonding and security, etc.

Even rereading these as I type them, I find myself nodding in agreement--unable to imagine parenting any other way. But problems arise for this gentle parenting scenario not from any inherent flaws in a plan that seeks to parent gently and respectfully, but from other parents who have found an "easier" way. See, this kind of parenting requires a mom and dad who are fully committed to sacrificing much of their own needs for that of their baby's. In other words, it takes dedication and patience--a lot, a lot of patience--and a great deal of self-sacrifice.

I am specifically talking about the issue of nighttime sleeping. Fewer issues get as much airtime during playdates, mommy groups, or any other gathering of moms and babies--it's simply at the heart of every discussion. Exhausted, delirious and desperate mommies eagerly compare notes and exchange sleep tricks in search of something that will help them get more sleep. And, no matter how you try and spin it or how much you try to avoid the inevitable final conclusion, the sleep issue comes down to two dismal options: "sleep training" your baby, or not.

Sleep training methods vary greatly from one to another, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they all include some degree of crying. I have written before about my feelings as they pertain to "crying it out" and though that was many sleepless months ago, I still do have a problem with my baby crying--yes, I've said it, I do not let my baby cry without intervening in an effort to alleviate the cause whatever that cause may be. Why? Because I believe that my son is communicating with us when he is crying--I do not believe that babies cry just to cry, in other words. Sometime this communication may be asking for basic needs to be met and other times it may just be a way to ask for a hug, a cuddle, or a kiss. But, you see, one does not surpass the other in importance for me. My baby's need to be touched is just as importance as his need to be fed or changed. I will respond in either case and at any time. And that is where myself and my husband diverge from the parents who try to sell us the success of sleep training and tout the amount of sleep that it has brought them. But, at what cost, I want to ask them.

I believe family bed advocates when they claim that co-sleeping raises independent, confident and secure children--I also believe that leaving your baby to fend for them self during these times of nighttime need may produce children who are more dependent, anxious and insecure. I also know that these one or two or three years dealing with his sleeplessness as a baby is small in scale when compared to the number of years that we won't have to. I will be old and he will no longer by my baby--I will look back on these years with a tender heart yearning for the moments when I was able to hold him in my arms to return.

I do, however, from time to time grow weak--very weak. I do whine and fuss and complain about exhaustion and the need for a moment to myself. During these times I do momentarily wonder if we should not also "train" Noah to self soothe, to sleep alone, to quiet his need for love, comfort and affection just because it is the moon, not the sun, that has risen above the horizon. Those parents are convincing and proud. They're confident and I suppose, maybe even some look rested.

But, then I give it a second thought. I listen to my heart and am reminded of why I have chosen the more challenging path. When I grow weak and weary, I turn a listening ear to my instinct, my mama gut--and find that I know deep down in my heart that parenting this way, for me, is the "right" way to parent. And, like all things that are "right" it is most certainly the more difficult choice--it may continue to be for a while still to come. But . . . doing the "right" thing is never easy, right?


When Challenges Are Challenging.

Noah has been challenging during these last two weeks. Getting him to eat, getting him to sleep, getting him to stay asleep, getting him to play independently if even only for a few minutes, have all been insurmountable challenges during these last two weeks.

I am sure that there is a very good explanation for it all--perhaps teething, perhaps a growth spurt, perhaps this new heat wave following a deliciously fall rain has got him feeling down. I am sure that there is a very good explanation.

Reminding myself of that helps. And then there are times when it doesn't: In the dark of the night when my nipple is being turned into pâté from yet another hour of sucking, when he is wide awake at 5:00 a.m. hanging from the headboard squealing and squawking after another sleepless night, when he hasn't napped for 9 hours and clearly needs to sleep, when he won't go to bed at night when clearly he is tired, when he is hanging over the side of his highchair letting every ounce of what just went into his mouth dribble out all over the floor, when he is hollering--not crying--at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, when he is hanging on my legs whining because I have put him down just to pee.

Gear that I would recommend all expectant parents to be equipped with in time for junior's arrival is, patience. And, unfortunately it's baby gear that's not for sale. You can't find it used on craig's list, purchase it with a Babies "R" Us giftcard from Granny, or get it handed down from a sister or friend--no, you've gotta dig real deep down to the tips of your toes to find it, scrape as much of it together that you can possibly gather and use it real wisely. Stock up on it. Put some away for safe keeping. Because you just might run thin during weeks like these.


Beautiful Things.

Align CenterBeautiful things recently found in my home.

Clap, Wave, High Five, Repeat.

Noah is growing not slowly, but in leaps and bounds. I guess that is a given--even a cliche that you always hear but never realize it's literal truth until you have a child of your own.

His current most favorite activities of the day are those that involve the two incredibly complex and wiggly things at the ends of his arms. His hands provide endless hours of fascination for him. He stares at them intently as he holds them close to the tip of his nose and jiggles his fingers and open and closes his fists--open and shut, open and shut.

"Golly gee, that's cool" I can hear his little voice repeating over and over in his head with each concentrated clinch.

It isn't surprising then, that he has discovered some great new things to occupy his little hands with. He claps, waves goodbye and attempts the high five every chance he gets--that is, with the exception of when I try to get him to do it when someone is watching or worse yet, waiting. Usually he's most proficient after the person leaving has just turned their back to walk away or closed the door after salutations. And he claps best after the joke has long turned stale and left the room along with the teller.

Nevertheless, Dean and I know he can do it. Jeesh, he does it in his sleep. He whops me in the nose each time he does.

And, "Golly gee, that's cool" I can hear a little voice repeating over and over in my head with each of those dreamy clinched fists in my face.


Sigh, Chuckle, Cry.

Today started like any other Tuesday.

Noah wakes up. Dean and Noah get up first. Mommy rises later. Noah naps--but Noah never naps. Mommy gets dressed. Mommy sighs and looks at the clock. Mommy packs the diaper bag. Noah continues to nap--but Noah never naps. Mommy & Me class begins. Mommy huffs and puffs around the house--this is the only thing Mommy really, really cares about going to each week. Noah continues to nap--but Noah never naps. Mommy wonders why Noah chooses to nap and only nap at this exact time on Tuesdays. Noah wakes from nap. Mommy & Noah arrive at class--one hour late.

That's how the day began--just like every other Tuesday. Until we got home from our mommy & me class, that is.

Mom sets Noah down on the bathroom floor. Mom removes Noah's dirt, grass and banana stained romper to give it a soak in the sink. Mom turns on the bathroom sink faucet to let the sink fill. Noah removes diaper. Mom smells poop. Mom sees diaper beside poop pile laying in the doorway. Mom sees trail of poop. Mom finds Noah. Mom sees poop on Noah's hands, legs and torso. Mom puts Noah into the bathtub. Mom hears water dripping. Mom sees water pouring out of the sink onto the counter and onto the floor. Mom turns off sink faucet. Mom turns on bathtub faucet. Mom bathes Noah. Mom dries the counter and floor. Mom diapers and dresses Noah. Mom cleans poop trail.

Wednesday. Rise and repeat.


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