Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Catching Up

The babe was home from school for 11 days straight.  And you know what?  We made it!

Spring break is a wonderful concept, but it has the ability to really mess with your schedule.  Luckily my amazing Mom flew down from Ottawa and helped take care of the kids, the house, and me.

In the week she was here, we managed to take the kids to the National Museum of Natural History (LOVE IT!), the National Building Museum (not a whole lot of love for this one), Costco, the shoe store, and the park (numerous times).  In addition, I managed to take myself to the dentist (yuck and ouch), for a (Groupon inspired) massage (yum), for a baseline mammogram (it wasn't that bad and I'm gratefully in the clear), and on a variety of solo shopping quests (yes, shopping for just moi).  Oh, and I managed to go on a dinner date with my Mom, and ANOTHER dinner date with my husband.  Not too shabby! 

I also spent six hours with the babe at the allergist's office doing her second "food challenge," this time with sesame.  She slowly ate measured pieces of bread with fake cream cheese and sesame seeds over a period of a few hours.  And I am so pleased to announce that she passed her sesame challenge and is officially able to enjoy sesame in whatever she pleases (bring on the hummus!).  This is super good news because she has now outgrown 2 of her allergies (the first was egg, which we cleared last month).  According to her doctor, things look good for outgrowing the majority of the remaining ones (although the babe will likely have to live with her peanut allergy for the rest of her life).  I have spent about 17 hours in the same small room at the allergist's office since last month, and every minute has been worth it.  I really can't explain how awesome it is to see your kids move beyond a food allergy. 

As you can see, it was quite a week here.  After all the excitement, it was odd to go back to our old routine on Monday.  My Mom had left, the babe headed back to school, and all of a sudden the little guy and I were left staring at each other.  Unfortunately his classes don't start up again until next week, so we've been drifting through the days and catching up with fun things like groceries and laundry.  I did however take him to the community center gym to run around for an hour this I'm not as evil as it sounds. 

Anyway, I had no real deep message about how I've grown as a parent in the last few weeks, but I did want to let you know I'm still standing...even after 11 days straight with my kiddies. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


As part of my positive parenting shift, I have been trying to let go of things I can't control, or that are not worth trying to control.  And what I'm learning is that it feel good to let go.  It feels liberating to loosen the reigns.  And I am now in a position where I am looking for things that I can stop worrying about.  One of the things I no longer stress about is my daughter's ridiculous and at times inappropriate fashion sense.

Part of growing up is learning how to dress yourself.  I will admit that I was, until recently, pretty controlling in this department with my daughter.  I felt I had a better sense of her daily needs and the most recent forecast information.  There's just so much about clothing choice that my young child could not grasp, so to keep her her warm (or cool) and dry, I would choose every item she put on.

Eventually we started fighting about what she was going to wear.  I still thought I should be making these decisions so I would allow myself to engage in these battles.  There's no better way to start off your morning than a screaming match with a preschooler over clothes.

I have now come to my senses.  The babe decides what to wear, puts it on, and usually struts into our room to show off her amazing abilities to choose her outfit and cloth herself.  It is awesome, and I don't care that she looks like a nut most of the time (and I also don't care about all the put together kids at her school because they probably aren't getting to learn how to be independent and to take care of themselves!).

Sadly I allowed myself to fall into my old ways this morning.  She came in with a tank top type dress (with leggings) that her Uncle and Aunt had bought her in Argentina.  It is a very stylin' little number, but it is still cool here in DC and I didn't want her runny nose or cough to get worse, so I casually mentioned/suggested that she may be more comfortable if she put a shirt on underneath the dress.

The babe did not like being told what to do and pretty much refused to change.  She grabbed a polar fleece and said she'd wear that to keep warm.  Trouble is I know she'd take it off the second she was at school and you couldn't even see the cute dress underneath the fleece (which incidentally her Nana had bought for her in Scotland).

I managed to rummage in her dresser and pull out a sparkly T-Shirt she LOVES which had been stuck at the back of the drawer for some time.  She immediately agreed and put it on under the dress.  Mission accomplished, I thought to myself.

When I dropped her off at her class she immediately walked in and pulled up her dress to show the first kid she saw her very cool T-Shirt.  I'll admit it bugged me that she was pulling up her dress as that's not really the kind of thing I want my daughter doing so confidently in public.

I shrugged and turned to leave when I saw a young girl in the hallway one classroom down looking through her cubby.  Only thing is, she was looking through her cubby naked from the waist down.  Hmmm.  Guess there's no point in worrying about the babe showing off her T-Shirt!

At the end of the day, I suppose I just have to keep it all in perspective.

Friday, March 11, 2011


This week I had a moment of panic.  Am I over analyzing all this parenting stuff?  Am I over thinking every decision and what its potential impact on my children may be?  Does it mean that I'm slightly crazy because I'm taking a parenting class? In fact, does it make me even crazier that I have just signed up for the second session of this parenting class?

This was all brought about because I had my annual visit to the OB-GYN doctor.  I think my doctor is awesome.  She's smart, young, easy to talk to, and always makes you feel better about things (like telling you it's OK you were drinking beer before you knew you were actually pregnant).

But this week, while she reassured me that everything looks good with my body, she didn't reassure me about my parenting.  In fact, my doctor's comments made me question myself and the fact that I have pretty much dedicated myself to tackling this positive parenting stuff.  I mentioned to her that I was taking this class because I was really struggling with my "spirited" preschooler.  She made a few comments about how my daughter was just a normal kid and that it all goes with the territory. 

As I have mentioned, I am taking my course work seriously and am really trying to apply what I'm learning in the class room and in my text book to my daily life as a Mom.

I spent a good chunk of time wondering if my doc was right (and I don't like spending good chunks of valuable time questioning myself).  I brought this up with my husband, and in explaining the story to him, I came to the realization of why my doc didn't understand what I was talking about.  My doctor, as awesome as she is, has not yet become a Mother herself.  She has helped many women become Mothers (such as yours truly), but she has never been in the challenging situations in which I find myself daily (she faces much different daily challenges, I'm sure!).

As soon as I came to that realization, the questioning stopped.  And that's a good place to be.

In the Kitchen

I just wanted to share a few "in the kitchen" successes of the past week.

I have been experimenting with making granola bars lately as the babe can't eat store bought ones because of her food allergies.  I have always been a fan of the granola bar and thought it would be a nice addition to her lunch box. 

This week I created a Chewy Chocolate Chip Banana Granola Bar recipe that I am happy with:

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter (non-dairy kind for us)
1/3 c. honey
5 c. granola
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
½ cup chocolate chips (non-dairy kind)
1 mushed up banana
1 beaten egg (because we can do that now!)
½ cup applesauce

  • In a saucepan combine brown sugar, butter and honey. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.
  • Stir together granola and whole wheat flour. Pour brown sugar mixture over granola mixture. Stir until granola mixture is well coated.
  • Add egg, applesauce and banana. Stir well.
  • Add chocolate chips.  Stir well again.
  • Press mixture into a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
  • Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
It doesn't take long and you can easily add/substitute in raisins, cranberries, nuts, etc.  To continue my quest for the perfect "babe friendly" granola bar, I think I will throw in some cinnamon and vanilla next time for additional flavour.   

I tried a new recipe on Tuesday which I was quite a fan of.  We do vegetarian dinners on Tuesdays so I am always on the look out for easy and yummy veggie meals.  This week I took a magazine recipe and gave it a whirl.  You can grab the recipe by clicking here: Chickpeas With Chard and Pan-Roasted Tomatoes.

I should have used the good camera for this shot as you can't really see all the stuff going on in this dish, but it has tomatoes, rainbow chard, raisins, garlic, chickpeas and lemon juice.  It was an explosion of a lot of very interesting flavours and I am looking forward to making it again.  It has also made me a fan of chard which can only be a good thing. 

Feel free to share any great foodie finds from your kitchen and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Alarm

Sometimes I think that new ideas from my parenting class will never work in our home.  This isn't the best attitude because how do you really know unless you try, right?

So the other day, when it was almost time to leave the park, I asked the babe if it would help if I set the alarm on my phone to go off when it was time to go to the car.  I wasn't sure what kind of reaction I'd get as I only pulled this on her about 10 minutes before my desired departure time.  She looked at me from mid-swing and said "Sure, Mama." 

I fiddled around with the phone until I managed to set the alarm (it was my first time) and I let her choose the ringer sound (a Rooster crowing).  I told her it was now set to go off in 10 minutes and when it went off, we were going to have to listen to it.

I highly doubted she would pay any attention when it went off and I was fully expecting a battle over leaving.  When we were close to the 10 minutes I took the phone out of my pocket so the alarm would be heard loud and clear.  And off it went.  Cockadoodledoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I looked at the babe, smiled and asked her what that meant.  She said "It's time to go, Mama."


When someone had suggested I set an alarm at the park during my parenting class this week, I had been laughing at the idea in my head.  "The babe will never fall for that," I thought.

Well guess who's laughing now?  Yep, still me.  I am hoping that I have discovered a new magic way to end our regular battles over leaving the park.  The alarm speaks for itself, and I am no longer the bad guy.


My lovely son is now at an age where he will reply "OK" to me. 

I will be busy doing something and he will ask for another thing.  If I cannot meet his need I will give a brief explanation as to why he will have to wait, or I will tell him to "please wait a minute."

And for the past few weeks I have been hearing a sweet little "OK" as the response.  I have to say it melts my heart.  Just like when he started saying "sorry." 

He is beginning to understand that these are important words because they involve a true interaction with another human.  It's verbal communication and it's awesome. 

Honestly, it makes me feel like after 2 years of mostly talking at him, I am now speaking with him.  This is a critical development because babies don't do that, and now my little love bug does.