Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Snack sharing and grocery budgets

We recently joined a family music class for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. The class is fun, and I'm really happy with the program, the structure and the teacher. I'm also really happy with the class rules. Well, one class rule in particular: no food or beverages in class.

This makes my life so much easier because I do not have to spend the hour keeping cereal, crackers and string cheese out of H's reach. I do not have to find a way to politely decline when other moms generously offer to share their snacks with my daughter. We can just enjoy the class. I love it!

Almost everywhere else we go is a different story, though. Last month we attended a few Mommy & Me events at The World Forestry Center, and snacks were provided. I'm sure most moms totally appreciate the free munchies, but for me it is troublesome. Kids run around with little cups of Cheerios and puffs, and I am constantly intervening as H reaches for their snacks (not because she is hungry, but because she wants what they have). I didn't intervene fast enough on every occasion, though, so much to my chagrin my paleo baby has eaten a Cheerio or two. C'est la vie, but I don't want this to become a regular thing. I started bringing my own snacks for her after the first incident, and that helped. Still, it doesn't take away her curiosity about what her friends are eating and it doesn't change the fact that we are going to have lots and lots of experiences like this in the future. Experiences where people offer her food and we have to turn it down. Experiences where she gets a hold of some processed food items. Or experiences where I have to be "that mom" who won't let her child eat the party food. I just wish the practice of non-stop snacking among kids wasn't so prevalent, and I wish more places had no food or beverages policies. I mean, is there really any reason why a child can't go 45 minutes without a snack? I think not (unless the child is truly hungry, in which case perhaps the parent could take them aside and give them something to eat?). But I highly doubt this is going to change in my favor, which means I just have to continue to be hyper-vigilant and I also need to carry patience and grace with me at all times.

Now, on to another topic. Grocery budgets. Or lack thereof. We spend a lot of money on food. A lot. Today I went to the store and spent $144. Some of it was not food (like a mother's day card for my mom and some sunscreen), but it is still a lot -- especially considering that I spent $72 on groceries on Sunday and will probably need to go the store again before the weekend is up. Sometimes I cringe when I swipe my debit card, but then I quickly remind myself that quality food is so, so important. I've noticed that there seems to be an expectation among a lot of people that food should be cheap, and that it is somehow an accomplishment to leave the grocery store having spent as little as possible. While I realize that many families need to be very, very careful about the amount of money they spend on food and other necessities, cheap food is not the answer. I remember seeing a meme on Facebook that said something like "you are what you eat, so don't be fast, easy or cheap." So, so true! I pay $4 a dozen for farm-fresh eggs, and we easily go through four dozen eggs each week. I know I could spend 50% less (or more!) by buying eggs at Winco, yes, but those eggs are not the same as the farm-fresh eggs. They are often pale, small and flavorless. And they tend to come from corn-fed chickens that live in substandard conditions. Their nutritional profile is very sad. Not the type of eggs I want to serve to my growing toddler (or myself!). I personally believe that quality food should be a priority in the budget, even if the budget is $200 a month for the whole family. I'm not saying that everyone should spend and prioritize the way I do, but I think it would be so helpful to public health as a whole if we could somehow move away from the mentality that food should be cheap. Of course, this is a complex issue and I am not even scratching the surface. I'm just stating my thoughts!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Diapers, weaning and sleeping through the night

Hi! I am in the process of trying to get back into more of a groove with blogging, so today I am leaving a mess in my kitchen and forgoing the laundry folding in order to write a quick update. I might regret this later, and I know for sure that H and I are going to need to leave the house as soon as she wakes up from her nap so I don't have to look at the mess. But for now, I'm just going to turn my chair away from the dirty dishes and do my thing. Hopefully I can finish this with a few minutes to spare.

Here are few things that have been happening around here ...

I am a cloth diaper failure. Well, not entirely. We are using gDiapers, but with the disposable inserts rather than the cloth. We started out with Thirsties, and I did not love them. So, when H outgrew the newborn size I invested in lots of little gPants and gCloth instead. Not long after (this was when she was about 9 months old), she got a rash. A really, really bad rash followed by a yeast infection and then a bacterial infection. It was awful! Poor girl! We wound up trying out the disposable inserts while we were fighting the rash. It finally went away. When we switched back to cloth, the rash returned. After a few rounds of this, I decided to just quit messing around and forget about the cloth altogether. She hasn't had a rash since. This scenario is not what I had hoped for, but I'm happy with the solution we found. When/if she outgrows her current little gPants, I'll probably just use regular disposables until she is potty trained (because I don't really want to invest any more money into a diapering system).

Sleeping through the night = love. It seemed to take forever, and at times it felt like I would never get a full night's sleep again. But sometime in January, H's sleep patterns started to improve drastically and she started to sleep through the night pretty regularly. Then we went out of town for several days. Regression. Ugh. Desperate, I pulled out my aromatherapy book. The book suggested putting a drop of geranium oil plus a drop of chamomile oil in a bowl of warm water under the child's crib every other night until sleep improves. A complete miracle! She's been sleeping 11 or 12 solid hours each night for two months now. It. Is. Amazing. I love aromatherapy!

Weaning. We did it. We officially stopped breastfeeding last Tuesday, the day before H turned 18-months-old. The weaning process was seamless in a lot of ways. I didn't really push it, I just kind of let nature takes its course ... slowly dropping the last few feedings as time went on. For several weeks, we were down to bedtime and wake-up only. At some point she stopped expecting to nurse at bedtime so I casually let it go. No big deal.

When it came time to drop the morning session, I decided to take One Fit Mom's (always excellent) advice and gave her a heads-up that she wasn't going to be getting milk in the A.M. for very much longer. One day, she suddenly seemed more interested in breakfast so we skipped it. I thought we were done, but no -- the next morning she was frantic for milk. We did every other morning for a while, and I kept telling her we were almost done. Eventually, we were down to once every third day. Last Tuesday, though, I decided to just close the deal. I knew that if she could go three days, it wasn't really necessary. Admittedly, the next few mornings were difficult. Carl had to get her up and take her downstairs for breakfast before she saw me, but she was not happy about it. And as soon as I walked in the room ... major tantrum. I felt terrible, knowing how significant of a change this is for her. We got through it with some extra cuddles and lots of distractions (shoes and sunglasses always cheer her up). Anyway, in some ways it is sad and hard to believe that this stage in her life is over. But I am truly thankful for a successful breastfeeding experience.

Now, on to potty training ...