24 August 2014

Feelings About Others Feeding My Toddler

So I'm not really a mommy blogger, despite motherhood being the thing that defines this season of my life best. I start and stop writing about my daughter, even though there's so much to say I try to think about her privacy vs. sharing my parenting experiences.

(Total random aside: I read a lot of mommy blogs, and one version I can't stand -- but still hate read -- are the non-stop complainers. Yeah, I get it. Motherhood/parenthood is hard. But get over yourself/mix in a little bit of the wonder and joy now and again! /rant)

Anyway, this is something that's been bugging me and I want to write about it as a way to organize my thoughts and consider my next steps.

What Jane eats is important to me. I'm not a perfect hippie, but I aspire to some aspects of the lifestyle -- in particular whole foods free of chemicals, dyes and extra sugar.

So far I've been able to do an OK job for Jane. Being in charge of her meals means she is at least offered a variety of choices, all of which are good for her. She does not eat super sweet things -- including ice cream, candy, cookies, Kool-aid or even juice -- no matter how much I know she would love them.

That's not to say things don't slip in -- she eats her share of processed crackers, cheddar bunnies or rockets (Trader Joe's brand goldfish), pretzels, dip, pizza and salad dressing. She's tried cake (and talks about is a lot!) and gets whipped cream on her berries occasionally plus sneaks a few chips every now and again too. She can eat a grilled cheese the size of her head and loves quesadillas.

Let's just say that her diet isn't perfect but it could easily be derailed. Especially as she grows and is going into more situations where I'm not in charge of what she eats. A particular sore point for me is our church Sunday school. Jane was invited to join the preschool class this fall. I've decided to wait on letting her start -- partly because I want her to be fully potty trained -- but mostly because I don't want her being fed junk food every week.

I want our church to do better by our kids -- ALL our kids. I know I can't wipe out the mentality that "treats" for kids are a way to show love, which I think is a big part of the food selection at church. Truthfully I find myself wanting to do that often -- whether with food or toys -- so I fully realize this is a "pot-kettle-black" situation too. (In more ways than one, since my own diet leaves a lot to be desired ... Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper addiction are clear examples of that!) There's also the ease factor of most unhealthy foods -- packaged, keep forever and kids will actually eat them.

But I don't know if I've got the fight in me to even make the change for the littlest kids, and so I've put it off. I said I'll reevaluate sending her to the class when she's 3 in a couple months.

But every Sunday I feel a tug -- of what she's missing in the class in terms of spiritual education. The nursery where she is (and where I complained about the snacks there until they agreed to cheerios, pretzels and water) doesn't include any type of Bible story or praying, both of which Jane is ready for.

I shouldn't have to choose between her spiritual health and her physical health, and I know in both instances Shawn and I are the primary factor for now. I don't see a solution yet, except for getting into it/really pressing for better food choices at the preschool class level.

Or should I change? Am I being overly controlling about what goes into Jane's body? Is it inevitable that she consume junk, and therefore just go with the flow? It seems like the other parents at church take that approach. (And I'm not questioning anyone's dedication for their kids or their kids' health.) Can I hold it off a little longer?

How will I know?

08 August 2014

Crochet: Leaping Stripes & Blocks and Mary Jane Shoes

 I've used Mooglyblog patterns before and loved them, but I finally subscribed to the blog itself. It's amazing and full of great crochet ideas and patterns. Love.

Anyway I made the Leaping Stripes & Blocks pattern for a to-be-born baby using dark grey, white and honey bee yellow. I didn't like the color choices at first, but as I kept plugging away they grew on me. There are a lot of great yellow & grey crochet inspiration pins that I looked through to help myself believe that this combination was winning. I'm pretty much won over, although I think I would have liked it more had I made the stripes of color wider.

I added a soft ruffle edging, which I borrowed from a pattern in my Gumdrops and Rainbows pattern leaflet. It's basically *double crochet, chain 2 in first stitch, (dc ch2 dc ch2) in second stitch and repeat.

I had checked out a Crochet to Go ebook from my library and tried a pattern there too. It was for crochet baby Mary Jane shoes. I followed the pattern exactly and made the sock with my first attempt. They looked somewhat crazy, in part because I couldn't figure out what "curved part" meant when looking at an oval, and also because the sock is open in the back and very floppy.

For my second try I omitted the sock and used yellow for the sole and grey for the shoe itself. I made them in about 2 hours (watching TV, so not working the entire time). Very easy and adorable. I love the way the second pair turned out. They'll go with the blanket when it's closer to due date!

07 August 2014

TIBTIL: Starbucks Iced Coffee

This is a ridiculously expensive treat, if you look at it from the cost of brewing and chilling coffee yourself. If you look at it against the cost of buying individual iced coffees at Starbucks then it's a downright bargain! Either way it's a thing I bought that I love.

I grabbed it on a whim when I was looking for buttermilk (none to be found in my regular grocery store). I really like it -- although I'm not super particular about my coffee so results may vary! I put it over ice and add some milk or fat-free half and half. Sipping from a straw completes the experience for me.

This is not a sponsored post.

04 August 2014

Punctuality is Killing My Toddler's Social Life

I keep screwing up moms group meetings. A couple weeks ago it was because of my lack of smart phone and a non-sending text message that said it sent.

Today it was a park playdate near our house. I saw it yesterday but only decided we would go today after we did wake up and get ready and Jane agreed that she wanted to go. They were meeting at 10 at the park. A few people had written "can't make it til 11" but the others didn't say anything so I assumed it was still 10. Bad assumption of course, but I cannot bring myself to be late. Even though taking my time and being a little late today would have been so easy.

I was the first one there a few minutes after 10 -- and on our own save for another couple of unrelated to the group kids until well after 10:30. I should really stop being punctual (at least when it comes to this group).

The other moms started to arrive closer to 11 and all had brought lunches for their children. I didn't pack Jane anything other than water, so it was a bummer to her that we had to leave for lunch at home.

ALTHOUGH it was ridiculously hot and humid, so an hour and a half outside was more than enough for me anyway. Jane and I were both soaked through with sweat, despite the cool towels.

Once we were home and cooling off she was happily playing with her toys no problem. I'm still a social malcontent, but I'm really trying to make connections. I guess I need to understand the dynamic of the group a little bit more ... and always pack food!

My conversations with the other moms were fine. I do a lot of listening and not much talking. Especially with one of the moms; she told me something about her daughter and I said something about Jane to affirm that little girls act that way, and she cut me off and told me no her daughter didn't do that exactly. It was bizarre and a minor thing. Meh.

I'll keep plugging away and making it to play dates even if I don't totally believe I'll ever be able to make real friends for myself. Pessimist much?

28 July 2014

Luddite or Purist? No, I'm Just Cheap

I don't have a smart phone.

Not my current phone, but basically
the same deal.
It is usually no big deal, but lately I've missed two or three group meetings with people because I didn't have access to the MeetUp site where they posted "20 minutes late" messages. So Jane and I explored the strawberry farm and zoo without the rest of our group.

Otherwise my flip phone with a pay-as-you-go plan is just fine and a great money saver (average $8/month for talk and text) ... as long as it works. Sometimes the texting feature doesn't work correctly, like at the last zoo trip I texted the group leader and she apparently never got the message. Or when in Chicago trying to meet up with a friend her "in the lobby" texts started coming hours after we had met up. (Luckily when she called me the phone did work.)

When someone at church borrowed my phone to call her husband she said "wow, you are a purist." I'm not sure that's true. I'm also not sure I'm a Luddite, because I certainly use technology. I'm almost always at home with my wifi -- and so I have access to everything I smartphone would have via my iPod Touch and/or my Kindle Fire (both gifts from my mom ... so maybe she's the only thing keeping me from true Luddite status?). There is wifi in a lot of places out and about too -- the library, Target, etc. But there are times when I am disconnected, and to be honest it isn't that bad.

I think I'm just cheap, because I don't want to spend $70 - $100/month on something I wouldn't use so much (given that I rarely talk on my cell phone and my iPod/wifi hacks are enough right now). I'm sure that will change if my life does -- being more on the go, in a job, Jane at school, etc. 

25 July 2014

Imperfect Parenting

Babywearing was so much easier when she was small.
We practice attachment parenting and gentle discipline. It came so naturally during infancy and even early toddlerhood. Now it is so much more of a struggle as she becomes more and more independent.

Example: Last week she ran away from me. At first it was just from one end of a library meeting room to another. She waited for me at the door and I caught up as we left. As we're lining up to check out our books she BOLTS out through the front doors, laughing her fool head off. I sprint after her -- as much as a fat lady carrying 3 bags and a picnic blanket can sprint -- and catch her just before she hits the sidewalk and the parking lot traffic beyond. AH!

I dragged her back into the library, to big protests, but I had to take the books, which had set off the alarm, back in. I held her hand while she struggled and begged to be free, and I checked out the books. In hindsight I should have left them there and walked out with her.

In the moment part of me wanted to spank her -- and believe me this is an not an isolated feeling -- but in cooler head moments I can see how that would accomplish nothing except letting me vent my rage. And I certainly don't want to vent my rage on my precious baby girl, no matter what she's done that upsets me.

But at the same time I feel distaste for other people who advocate for any one parenting style to the exclusion of others -- for OTHER parents! I'm all for living into a chosen discipline and parenting style, and while I think our choices are correct I don't think that means other parents' choices are not equally valid for their children.

24 July 2014

Mama Fail, Summer Edition

I pulled another good one today, and in the process wound myself so tightly I'm still coming unraveled.

Earlier in the summer I had perused a local moms blog calendar. It listed lots of things to do for the summer, some of which seemed like good ideas for Jane. One of them was a weekly $1 kid-friendly movie at a local theater. I looked at the linked PDF, made note of the dates and movies I would actually consider taking her to (had to be G and we had to be in town), and today was the first one: Oceans.

Jane and I had been SO EXCITED to go see her first movie. And we had raced through a trip to the church where we were helping with the bulletin. I had stressed out last night about how I was going to get it all done, and then WHAMMO ... that was all for nothing.

The document that was linked was the 2013 list. I would have noticed if I'd looked at the file name, but I never noticed it on the PDF flier itself.

First, the movies are always on Wednesday. (7/24 was a Wednesday last year of course) Second, the theater wasn't even open so there was no one to ask/no sign about the program. I had to wait until a UPS person got someone to open the door for her to ask my question.

I was so perturbed and thought maybe I'd just gotten the theater wrong and raced across town to see if I could catch it at the correct theater. No dice, because I had the YEAR wrong. Not the theater.

Dejected doesn't begin to describe it. And I feel pathetic for being upset over such a small thing! We came home and found the Oceans movie on Amazon to rent for $3, basically spending $1 more than we would have at the theater (minus the popcorn I might have sprung for to mark her first in-theater movie).

The movie itself was fine -- didn't totally hold her attention but probably would have been more dramatic and engaging on a huge screen. We may try again next week with The Lego Movie when my sister and Owen are visiting. We'll see...