Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Me, pack a lunch for her?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Reid has always attended day care, school and camp where lunches were provided. Today, though, is the first day that I’ve had to pack her a lunch. I wasn’t quite sure how what to send or how much of it to send, for that matter. Reid was super-excited to take her lunch and eagerly gathered cherries – 9 of them – to put in a container and asked for a Babybel cheese to accompany her tortilla with cream cheese, lettuce and ham roll-up. I added a container with cucumbers, cauliflower and carrots, a Clementine and a peeled, hard-boiled egg as well as water. I’m quite sure that there is twice as much food in Reid’s lunch bag than she could possibly eat at lunch – they provide morning and afternoon snacks – but I didn’t know what to take out. I told Reid to eat at least half of her sandwich and three pieces of the vegetables. I’m going to have to visit the Vegan Lunchbox blog to get a better idea of how much to send and whatever comes again. Of course, I’m not sure whether Reid can open the containers that I packed her lunch in. She might bring it all home…

Cosmic Adventures is pretty much around the corner from our house and so we walked over this morning. As we walked, Reid said how this was a VERY GOOD day. She was bringing her lunch for the first time ever without me AND she was walking to camp for the first time ever! We observed the universal rules of kids walking: crossing with the walk signal and not stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk. Reid said the latter was to ensure that we didn’t come into contact with poison ivy. Not that we knew there was poison ivy there or not. “We don’t know, right, Mama?” Nope, but I like that better than contemplating a broken back for either me or *my* mother. Maybe I should’ve taught her the rhyme about cracks and mother’s broken backs. It’s the sort of thing she’d pick up if she walked to school with neighbourhood kids. Not that I’ve ever seen that happening in our neighbourhood, what with the 4 school boards.

All in all, a momentous day in a very small way.

Chicago, day 2

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

We had breakfast and then a swim, just to start our second day in Chicago off right. I’ve been assured by some parenting magazine that you don’t need to wait half an hour after eating and, since I needed a prod to get the kids focused on eating their breakfast, I chose to accept this advice. We were kind of slow though and ended up rushing to the Adler Planetarium. On the way, Dylan said that he liked Chicago a lot but it had no swings and he really likes swings. I made a point of keeping my eyes on the lookout for swings but we never did see any.

We got to the Adler Planetarium at about 9:58 for Elmo’s 10:00 walk around. Really, he was standing at the end of a line-up corral waiting for kids to come and have their picture taken with him. We were behind only four other families and that made it worth that spurt of rushing. There was an extra fee for viewing the One World, One Sky movie, or I should say there was a fee since our admission was covered by a reciprocal agreement that’s part of our membership to the National Museum of Science and Technology. The 23-minute film, which was projected onto the dome-shaped screen, was magical from the kids’ point of view. There was enough motion that I had to close my eyes for a bit so that I didn’t throw up. Reid asked me a couple of times if our chairs had moved. She’s never been to a movie in a cinema since Aunt Karin took her to the first 90 seconds of The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. After the movie, I told Reid and Dylan that Elmo was a  newcomer to Sesame Street and they seemed dubious. Elmo, who was on his way back to his room for a rest, overheard and looked disdainful. Okay, he had the very same expression as he always does, since his head has no moving parts but I imagined he thought I was old school and not in a good way. I noticed in our conversations that Reid refers to the big yellow bird as “Big Bert”. I told her the correct pronunciation but she is having trouble making the change. Habits are hard to break.

We looked at a few displays, including one of the robots sent to explore Mars, and did a couple of crafts. First, the kids attached a view of the globe to a paper that showed night and dark to help them see that when it’s dark in Beijing, it’s dark in Chicago and vice-versa. It’ll be good to use the next time that Ken is Afghanistan. They also decorated tubes to represent new modules for a space station. It’s pretty close to how they add on to the International Space Station. We also spent time admiring ourselves in some distortion mirrors that represented the effects black holes have on the space around them. Or at least I think that’s what we were supposed to learn.

After lunch we walked along the steps near the planetarium and then along a lake front path, searching for the Field Museum of Natural History. We stopped at a small park that was astronomy-themed. The kids climbed and played while Uncle Chris and I rested in the shade.
Once we were seated, we noticed that the Field Museum of Natural History was just across from where we sat. In the Crown Family Playlab, Reid dressed up as a couple of different animals – she can’t walk by a costume, my girl – and they examined some artifacts, including a mask, chest plates, etc. Reid sat and filled in a scientist’s observation sheet about two different kinds of fossils. She had to record the measurements, the name, etc. and draw the fossil she was observing. I’m going to try to remember to make and take a sheet like that the next time we go for a walk in the woods. Reid and Dylan looked in some drawers that had some artifacts in them and then moved into the dinosaur area. Dylan, in particular, enjoyed the dinosaur puppets. We went to the main part of the museum to see Sue, the world’s largest, most-complete Tyranosaurus Rex, galleries of taxidermied animals in small tableaux – old school for a nature museum but I prefer them to newer displays which rely on computer screens and videos and less on the majesty of the natural world. (Like is being done at the Canadian Nature Museum)  Reid and Dylan flitted from one to next, tableau to the next. We would have spent more time if we’d started at the Field Museum and we’ll definitely go back another time.

We went looking for a bus but they were, rerouted due to Taste of Chicago and we ended up walking about an hour back to hotel. I suspect that we may well have spent the same time in a bus because of the heavy traffic. I encouraged the kids to sleep in their strollers while Uncle Chris and I pushed them along. Dylan resisted the motion but Reid succumbed and she napped with her head flopping around, poor thing.

We had supper at Heaven on Seven, a Louisiana-style restaurant. We started with bread with sweet butter or bean spread. Uncle Chris and I each had a bowl of gumbo and then shared a Taster plate of beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, bbq chicken with sweet potato polenta, coleslaw and black beans and rice on the side. We’d asked whether there was enough food to share and the waitress assured us we’d probably have food to take with us. She was right. Reid and Dylan each ordered cheese burgers and fries and got an ice cream sandwich for dessert, though Reid sent hers back unopened. I’d definitely go back to Heaven on Seven but I’d try to entice Reid to try some Louisiana food.

Everyone was ready for bed by the time we got back to the hotel. That’s a good way to end a day of touristing, isn’t it?

Prelude to a vacation

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

At T-75 minutes, we said our goodbyes to Ken and went to Reid’s first soccer game. Reid gave him super-squeezy hugs in the house and by the time she got into her carseat, her lip was quivering. Ken came to the end on the sidewalk to wave and Reid started to cry a bit as she told me, “I’ll miss Daddy sooo much!” She gave him a sad, half-wave and returned his “I love you” in a quavering voice. She talked about how much she’d miss him all the way to soccer. For example, she wouldn’t have anyone to read stories to her or give her shoulder rides. I offered myself as the story reader and even said that *I* would try to carry her on my shoulders – with my long hair and Reid’s long legs it could be a challenge. It didn’t really matter because Reid said that she needed someone who was tall and strong. I offered up Uncle Chris as tall and Reid agreed that he would be okay. She declared Uncle Roger to be suitable because he is strong, though not as tall as Daddy. I, apparently, am neither tall nor strong. Thank goodness we have power steering or I couldn’t have even got Reid to soccer. ;+)

A humid 30 degrees is crazy weather for soccer, I think. The coaches seemed to agree, at least partially, and there were many water breaks. There were also 10 or so players on each of the blended teams and the coaches decided to give them a second ball so that more of them could make contact. After the game, one of the parents on another team pulled out freezies but only enough for his kid’s team and a selected few others. Reid didn’t seem to notice but a few of her school friends did and their parents decided to go to the Dairy Queen just up the street. It delayed our departure a bit but I could say “no” to ice cream and fellowship. We were only 25 minutes late getting on our way and Reid was oh so happy to have played with the others.

We made it maybe 30 minutes into our drive before Reid told me that she had to pee SO BAD! I stopped, thinking I was being scammed but not willing to take a chance, and thought she’d fall asleep afterward for sure since we were past her usual bedtime. An hour later, and after a few times when I thought she was asleep, Reid asked to stop again. We were just passing the last sign for a service centre and so I decided the universe was on my side at last. After our stop, I told Reid that she absolutely, positively had to go to sleep and she told me that she needed to help me stay awake. I gently but firmly told her that she was wrong, wrong, wrong. Since she fell asleep, I can only conclude that she finally saw the wisdom of my words.

We got to Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry’s about 10:30. Reid woke up enough to stumble inside and use the bathroom. Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry had both stayed up but they didn’t get any words from Reid. I was as gracious as I can be that late at night and we were both asleep short minutes after getting into bed.

Two more part days of driving and we’ll be in Chicago. But first, we’ll have a quick visit with Grandma Joyce and whoever stops by her house tonight.

Planes, trains and automobiles – we’ve breastfed in them all

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I wrote this post as part of the June Carnival of Breastfeeding. You can read other great posts that discuss nursing in public by following the links at the end of the post.

Given the challenges we had establishing our breastfeeding relationship, no one was more surprised than me when I nursed Reid sitting in the front seat of the car in a parking lot when she was just days old. I hadn’t planned it but Reid was hungry and we were away from the house and so I nursed her. I can’t imagine having had to listen to her cry while we drove home before I could breastfeed her. I was so glad that I had what she needed, when she needed it. This is one of the best reasons to breastfeed, at home or in public – giving your children what they need, when they need it.

When Reid was 3 months old, we took flew to see my mom and siblings. I’d read that nursing on take-off and landing would help my baby. I hadn’t planned on the business men on either side of me but I decided they’d rather see a happy baby and (possibly) a bit of my skin than an unhappy baby and my total modesty. In the end, I doubt they saw any of my skin as I’d worn a great nursing t-shirt and Reid was a business-like nursling. When we were leaving the plane, people in adjacent rows were surprised to see my tiny girl. I smiled serenely, as all mamas do when people say their babies are great, and was glad that we were a breastfeeding pair. We took advantage many times of the “kids uner 2 fly free” offers of airlines and have flown a few more times since; each time Reid had the comfort of nursing when she needed it.

Once Reid could no longer fly at no additional cost, we took to the rails to visit my mom and siblings. Since extended nursing isn’t common, despite the World Health Organization and Canadian Association of Pediatricians’ recommendations of nursing to 2 years and beyond, I wasn’t sure what would be the reaction of our fellow travellers. But then I remembered that lesson I learned in that parking lot – give Reid what she needed, when she needed it. The only particular memory of nursing on a train that I have is holding a 3-year-old Reid while she nursed herself to sleep for a much-needed nap. The bunched-up coat that I’d been using to support the arm that was holding her head fell into the aisle. I’m quite sure that the twenty-something man who put the coat back had no idea that Reid was breastfeeding. Or maybe he did know and didn’t care and was just helping out a mom and her little one.

Reid started daycare when she was 11 ½ months old. She nursed just before Ken took her to daycare and then as soon as she came home. If I picked her up, we went straight to the car and she nursed. I was happy to reconnect with her as she was with me and relieved that my seat reclined. Occasionally, I’d have to explain the toe prints that I’d leave on the windshield but that was never a problem. Of course we nursed in parking lots on long trips – or short ones that coincided with hunger – and our car became our nursing room away from home.

Shortly after I returned to work, I had to work a lot of overtime and Ken would bring Reid to me so that I could nurse her before bed. I was pumping during the day but wasn’t willing to give up seeing my baby for so many hours at a stretch. At one point, a colleague knocked on my office door and I told her that she could come in but that I was breastfeeding. She stood in the doorway awkwardly, asked her question, and said something about me doing that “mothering thing.” I thought it was sad that she felt discomfort at being in the presence of something that should be considered normal but I liked that she equated breastfeeding and mothering.

Reid and I were never skilled at nursing with a covering blanket but as she got big enough, I told Reid that I wanted privacy for the parts of my body that were covered by my bathing suit and she needed to help me keep me covered. It was much easier to keep covered when Reid was an infant or a pre-schooler than when she was an acrobatic toddler but I never put the sensibilities of passers-by ahead of the needs of my child for nourishment or comfort. I used nursing rooms in malls, stores and museums – in Ottawa, we have many options and most are quite comfortable but some think a straight-backed chair in a glorified closet is acceptable – but also breastfed on benches in mall corridors, restaurants or wherever we were when the need arose.

One cold February day, Reid nursed while I sat on a bench along 5th Avenue in New York City and on a sunny March day at Coronado Island in San Diego. Whenever I nursed in public in the United States, I was a little worried since I’d heard of more women being confronted but I decided that I’d rely on my hyper-polite Canadianness if anything was ever said. Happily no one ever said anything.

For the most part, I tried to live up to Health Canada’s “Anywhere, Anytime” public service announcements. I’ve never checked against the Seuss-inspired poem but we have nursed in most places that we’ve ever been.

Wander over and hear what some other women have to say about nursing in public:

Lucy & Ethel Have a Baby: Nursing In Public (Boobs) Out and Proud
Chronicles of A Nursing Mom: Why Worry About NIP?
PhD in Parenting: Would You, Could You Nurse in Public?
Dirty Diaper Laundry: Breastfeeding in Public Talent – I Haz It
Kim through the Looking Glass: Here? At the Restaurant?
GrudgeMom: Nursing in a Room Full of People You Know
MumUnplugged: Aww, Is He Sleeping?
Massachusetts Friends of Midwives: Nursing in Public: Chinatown, the Subway, the Vatican, and More
Mother Mary’s Soapbox: Breastfeeding My Newborn in Public
Tiny Grass: Nursing in Public as an Immigrant
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: To Cover or Not to Cover
Mommy News and Views: Tips for Nursing in Public
Stork Stories: Little Old Men…& Nursing in PublicWarm Hearts Happy Family: Breastfeeding and the Summertime
BabyREADY: A wee NIP in the park!!
Mama Knows Breast: Products That Can Help You Breastfeed in Public
Breastfeeding Moms Unite: Nursing in Public: A Fresh Perspective on Nurse-Ins
Never A Dull Moment: Breastfeeding Hats? Yes! Covers? Not So Much….
Breastfeeding Mums Blog: Nursing in Public –What’s A Breastfeeding Mother to Do?
Hobo Mama: Easy, Discreet Way to Breastfeed A Toddler in Public

Hearsay from Grandma Joyce

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Grandma Joyce relayed a couple of stories from her last visit today. She and Reid spent quite a bit of time at the front of the house, to Reid’s delight. Reid likes to be around if R or V from next door or B from the next house over are outside.

Grandma Joyce offered to watch over R, who was asleep in the van, while his mom ran into her house because the baby was hungry. Grandma Joyce asked it the baby was still breastfeeding and the mom said that she’d stopped at 3.5 months. Once the mom had gone, Reid asked Grandma Joyce, “Did I have milkies longer than three-and-a-half months?” Grandma Joyce said, “Yes.” It’s a good thing I wasn’t expecting gratitude for the four-plus *years* I nursed Reid. She has forgotten them already, it would seem. (Umm, maybe I was subconsciously expecting she’d be grateful some day, or would at least remember.)

The woman next door has noticed how fascinated Reid is by R and V. (Pretty much anyone who is conscious would notice, in fact.) And so our neighbour asked Reid if she would like a brother or sister. Reid replied, “Mama says it ain’t gonna happen.” Grandma Joyce said that Reid mimicked by intonation perfectly. Doesn’t Miss Manners say that you’re not supposed to discuss other families’ family planning issues with kids? At least it wasn’t as awkward as the stranger/lady who brought her kids to trick-or-treat at my door and encouraged Reid to press for a little sibling.

Sleep over envy

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Reid is going to Aunty Amanda’s for supper tonight while Ken and I go to hear Malcolm Gladwell (author of Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers). Reid has been looking forward to this visit ever since I first mentioned it. Amanda asked me to confirm that Reid eats rice. I responded strongly in the affirmative and said that we need to encourage her to also eat meat and vegetables. My little carbohydrate lover would eat bowl after bowl of rice – white and otherwise – if permitted.

We were discussing Reid’s visit to Aunty Amanda’s last night and how Nam and Nam’s parents would also be present at supper time. Reid wanted to know the names of Nam’s parents. I was stumped. Reid calls most of the adults in her life by their first names, including her teachers. I don’t know how Nam’s parents will want to be addressed. I played it safe and said that I wasn’t sure but that she might need to call them Mr N and Mrs N (only I gave the full last name). Since Mr and Mrs are unfamiliar, I explained that some people call me Ms Dundas (not many, of course ;+) instead of Barbara and some people call Ken, “Dr Reynolds”. The latter caught her off guard, “But why do they call Daddy, ‘doctor’?” she asked. I explained about his doctorate and Reid nodded as though to say, “Oh, that was obvious, I can’t believe I forgot.” She chattered about him being a doctor and the boss of soldiers. Reid clearly thinks that Ken’s job is important. I asked if Reid she thought I had an important job. She said that she thought I did and so I asked if she knew what I did. Reid said that I “write for the government”. Bingo! I was flattered that she knew.

This morning, I reminded Reid that Aunty Amanda would pick her up this evening. Reid asked me who would take her to school tomorrow morning and I told her that it would be me because she was coming home at bedtime. Reid was not pleased. She wanted to sleep over. I said that wasn’t going to happen and Reid asked, “But can I stay overnight the next time I go there?” I don’t know what Aunty Amanda will say if Reid shows up with her sleep toy and toothbrush.

Reid is determined to stay overnight at someone’s house, especially a friend’s. I’m not so sure that I’m ready for Reid to embark on sleep overs. On the bright side, lying with Reid to put her to sleep doesn’t seem to have hindered her readiness for sleep overs.

Food testers

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I read an article on the Internet on Monday that said that Obama travels with a food tester who samples everything before the president eats it. This might be a career for Reid and/or Uncle Roger. While Uncle Roger was barbecuing chicken for supper, he sampled a piece of the peanut butter-chocolate Rice Krispies squares that Grandma Joyce had just finished making. Reid asked, “What are you doing, Uncle?” He told her that he was testing the Rice Krispies square to be sure that it was good enough to eat at supper. Reid quickly asked to “test” a piece as well. No moss grows under Reid’s feet – or tummy. As I’m sure you’d expect, Grandma Joyce’s baking passed the test.

What we’re not having for supper

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I asked Reid if there was any meals she wanted me to make this weekend. She was stumped for a minute and then said, “Can you not make sausage casserole?” I agreed to her request but then Reid said, “Or if you do make sausage casserole, will you make me spaghetti?” It’s good to have a back-up plan, don’t you think? For what it’s worth, Reid doesn’t like cream-based casseroles and we don’t make her eat them since she eats pretty much everything else.

I had to figure out what to make all on mine own – the hardest part of meals, I think – but at least I know what not to make.

Don’t judge a food by its name

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

When Reid asked what was for supper last night, I told her we were having fajitas. Reid announced that she didn’t like them in her “and I don’t want to hear anymore on this subject” tone of voice. I said that I doubted she ever had them and told her that fajitas had meat – a longtime favourite food of Reid’s  - inside of tortillas – a new favourite that would be a candidate for food obsession if we allowed it. “Oh!” said Reid. “I’ll like them. But the name sounded yucky.”

Ken cooked and at one point said that he couldn’t find any onion. I rarely buy them because Ken doesn’t like them. Reid said she doesn’t like onion, either, because they’re too spicy. I told both of them that we didn’t have any onion and that the fajitas would be fine without them. Maybe not great or authentic but fine, even without the yummy carmellized onions.

At supper, Reid spread the cottage cheese, that I’d mistakenly put on the table in place of sour cream, on her tortilla, added the meat and then asked me to slice her wrap. The meat was pretty spicy, a two-and-a-half glass of milk meal, and Reid complained a bit about her lips being hot. Onions were rejected as too spicy but the cajun spice on the meat was okay.

We need to remember to put Vaseline or Blistex on her before supper for protection against the spices. It’s especially rough to be the sort that sticks one’s tongue out when concentrating, which causes awful chapped lips, when one also likes spicy foods.

If you don’t know what it is

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Apparently I have a few more things to teach Reid about eating. The “if you’re full, stop eating” advice I gave a while ago wasn’t as exhaustive as I thought it was.

We were in the car one night recently and Reid was eating a hard-boiled egg and some veggies. After a bit, she held a bit of something up and asked me what it was. Being a good and conscientious driver, I kept my eyes on the road and told her not to eat things she couldn’t identify. Reid said, “I think its egg. (And then, while chewing) I’m sure it was egg.”

So Mama’s Helpful, Healthful Tips for Eating now include:
If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it; and
If you’re full, stop eating.

What would you add?