Passing Judgement

I have a secret to tell you…. You know those food pouches that are all the craze now? The little ones for infants and toddlers?

Well, I used to proclaim them the next fast food-esque convenience item and swore I would never give one to my kid(s). It’s not that I judged parents for using them, although I sort of kind of did. For me, it was more about wanting my kids to eat actual veggies – eat the whole pea rather than pea puree. I wouldn’t mask my child’s veggies under a blanket of sweet fruits. By God, they would know they were eating broccoli and they would enjoy it! They wouldn’t need it drenched in apple “concentrate” which is probably just a nice way of saying sugar.

Even after having a child, I still stuck to this ideal. I deemed pouches on the same level as purees, but with an added heaping of parental laziness. While not fully on-board with Baby Led Weaning for some safety reasons, I did hope that we’d pass through purees pretty quickly and move on to “real” food. And we did!

But now…. now I see the flaw in my reasoning and the brilliance behind pouches. You see, my child has graduated to “real” food and enjoys everything from avocado to chicken. Although he ate pureed veggies exceedingly well (his daycare teachers always commented that they’d never seen a more enthusiastic child over green beans), he’s gotten to the point where he wants to feed himself. He does not want your spoon – NO. He’ll take the spoon from you! Even gets it to his mouth most of the time. It doesn’t have any food on it by that point, but hey, baby steps.

And so I gave him actual veggies like I always said I would – peas and green beans and carrots steamed to within an inch of their lives so that he’d be able to gum them to death. And he ate them! Well, I mean, like four or five before getting bored. Close enough. So I sent them to daycare in place of his purees. And he did not eat them. Wouldn’t even touch them. Fail.

I went back to the grocery store in search of I’m not even sure what. Magical veggies. Veggies with the consistency of watermelon or grapes. Veggies that I would be able to throw in his daycare lunch bag because I already spend a half hour each morning prepping the rest of his food. Actually, I started in the applesauce aisle because the dumpling had been having a few – ahem – digestive issues that could be helped with applesauce. Except last time we tried his beloved applesauce, via spoon, he didn’t want it. And there, next to the cups of syrupy fruit and jars of applesauce, were pouches of applesauce. I even found one (several!) that met my no-sugar-added criterion. Hey! Belle’s brain went, maybe if he can feed it to himself, he’ll actually eat it. 

…..

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when the brilliance of pouches hit me. It’s not parental laziness and definitely not about convenience (although the fact that they are easy and convenient are decisive pros), it’s about getting your child to actually eat some, any, veggies. The dumpling will happily eat 4 ounces of pureed garden veggies (which, by Gerber’s count contains 92 peas, 2/3 of a carrot, and 3/4 of a spinach leaf). If I sit him down in his high chair to eat, he might eat ten peas. Maybe? On a good day? If the stars align?

So where do I turn when he refuses the spoon because baby principles but won’t eat the same amount by hand? Pouches, my friend. Pouches.

I know! I know! Experienced parents are rolling their eyes at my naivety. I’d missed the whole piece of the puzzle that he would simply eat more vegetables via puree than he would whole. He’s got a short attention span and better things to do, apparently. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop giving him whole veggies to practice with. It just means that I can use the pouches on occasion to make sure he’s getting all the vitamins and fiber his little body needs. And yeah, I’m still a stickler for veggies. Even with the container purees, I only purchased vegetable or vegetable heavy varieties. I still compared fiber and sugar content and scanned the ingredient lists. But I’m happy to have found a solution for now.

Ducks as been-there-done-that parents pelt me with half-eaten pouches.

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Somewhat sleepless in Seattle

Hello again! Luffy and I made it back and the dumpling did wonderfully, sans parents.

We went to Washington (Seattle area), primarily for a concert Saturday night. It was a whirlwind weekend of eating and drinking and driving (but definitely not in that order). We arrived Friday around noon and promptly dove headfirst into soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung a restaurant I feel positive I’ve mentioned before. Since it was our first vacation since having a child, we ordered a bottle of champagne to celebrate VACATION!!! It was real good. We spent the afternoon doing touristy things and traipsing up and down the downtown area enough to (hopefully) burn off all those soup dumplings.

On Saturday, we got waffles (WAFFLES!!!) and crepes, killing time until our noon check out. We then drove about two hours east of Seattle, to a tiny town in which we were staying. The concert was being held at a venue that is literally in the middle of nowhere (the Gorge Amphitheater). Our little town was only about 40 minutes from the amphitheater, so once we checked in and freshened up, we headed back out. The amphitheater itself is gorgeous, overlooking the Columbia river. The weather was cool, getting downright cold once the sun went down. I quickly realized that we only really know how to do outdoor festivals in Texas. Between three of us, we brought three 20oz bottles of water, as well as one refillable Camelbak. We were supposed to have two, but our friend forgot his. We also bought sunscreen and dressed in layers that we could “take off” as needed. …… Yeah. I was ridiculously cold by the end of the night even though I thought I’d dressed warmly. I realized that I should have brought a blanket after watching very nearly every other festival-goer huddling under a blanket at different points in the evening. We only finished two of those bottles of water and, though we filled it as soon as we got there, we didn’t even touch the Camelbak (probably because it wasn’t a thousand degrees out and thus we weren’t losing water through sweat as fast as we could replace it). And I completely forgot the sunscreen that we purchased expressly for the concert. Eh, we didn’t need it.

The concert itself was incredible. Just beyond words. And over too quickly, as wonderful things tend to do. We made it back to our hotel around 1 in the morning, which is when we discovered that my driver’s license (which I’d needed to get into the concert) was missing. Sigh

So this is where our story devolves into my usual absurdness.

Luffy realized Saturday night in the wee hours of Sunday morning that my ID wasn’t in his pocket anymore. Being one in the morning, we decided to search more thoroughly after some sleep, but found nothing the next morning. As I was about to try to get on a plane, I managed to dig out a copy of my passport from my email. TSA was actually really nice about the whole thing. I provided the copy of my passport, along with a debit card and my health insurance card, and essentially got an expedited though thorough passage through security. They went through my bags and gave me a pat-down, but they let me on the plane! Woohoo!

Monday I went to the DPS. That was rather uneventful, even fortuitous in a way. I happened to lose my license close enough to its expiration date (this November) that they just renewed it at the same time. So helpful! Plus, I’ve hated the picture on that license since I got it four years ago and got to take a new one. Double yay!

But then – on my way to lunch with Luffy I picked up two nails in my tire. I went out to the garage Tuesday morning to discover a pancake for a tire, completely derailing my plans of having Luffy pick me up from our mechanic after I dropped it off for patching. We were unsuccessful in pulling the flat tire off to replace it with the spare (the lug nuts were practically cemented on there) and had to cash in a free AAA tow. In more not-so-great news, the leak couldn’t be patched because the nails were too close together. We had to replace the tire. Now, I’ve honestly gotten nails in my tires maybe a handful of times before 2017. Right before the dumpling arrived last year, we replaced all four tires on my vehicle because they were due and we figured we might as well knock that task out before the baby arrived. Since then I’ve managed to have two, TWO, unfixable flats necessitating the replacement of a practically new tire. I’m sort of wondering if the driving gods are mad at me or something.

So that was fun. We picked it up yesterday and handed over the keys to Luffy’s car because he had three mechanical issues pop up yesterday. THREE. Like he’s trying to one-up me or something. Sheesh. Sit back down, this here’s my blog.

So yeah, that’s been us over the past few days. Lots of tedious adulting. Today is picture day at the dumpling’s daycare and I can’t wait to view the proofs. Last time he had picture day, we got several gems back including one alarmingly (or hilariously??) similar to this meme:

Good work son! You’ve got a knack for expressing your disregard for the whole school picture thing. Already getting a head start on years of this fool business.


A last aside – the dumpling is sporting a new tooth! One of his top center erupted while we were gone! He’s now enamored with grinding the top and bottom together, but I’m hoping he gets over it.

Yes, I am a capable adult…

Why do you ask?


When I work from home, my agenda for the day typically includes several home-related tasks or errands. A trip to Target at lunch. Running a load of laundry. You get the idea. All of these things take place in the time I would ordinarily spend dicking around on the internet in the office, (I am just so productive at home!) Anyway, today’s to-do list included getting my car washed. We’re leaving my car at the house for my mom to use this weekend (for car seat reasons) and it was beyond time to get it thoroughly cleaned out.

So off I went!

In the wonderful tradition of me, I managed to play out a mini-drama while I was at it.

I pulled into the local car wash chain and surveyed the options, having my first dilemma of the day. You see, I am a pansy when it comes to car related things (again linking to this because it explains everything) and while I knew that the interior of my car really, really needed a thorough cleaning, having it cleaned would also mean dealing with such terrifying tasks as choosing a slot to pull into and interacting with the attendant. In my car! About my car! And exiting my car!! GASP!! So I pulled into the longest line, thinking that would give me plenty of time to mentally debate whether I had the guts to get a full cleaning or not.

To my horror, the occupants of the cars ahead of me either (a) had their shit together enough to know exactly what they wanted or (b) did not have as much anxiety about this purchase as I did. Regardless of which option it was, the line dwindled quickly until it was my turn far too soon and I blurted out the first option – the full cleaning – and pulled away. Whew. Crisis averted. I congratulated myself on navigating that minefield and girded my loins for the real battle: getting my interior cleaned out.

Now, I know – I KNOW – it’s not that big of deal. You find an empty spot, pull into it, hop out, and the rest is taken care of. The problem is that I constantly worry about the unspoken-ness of it all. There are rules, rules which are not stated, and what if I break those rules? What if I’m not supposed to use this spot? What if the attendant that is here isn’t actually the one for my wash? Do I tell someone my car’s here to be cleaned? Do I just wait off to the side? Do I wait inside? Do I take my keys with me?  Plus, being in my vehicle just adds a extra layer of visibility that I’m not up for.

Anyway – geez Belle, is there a point to this story? – I hopped out of my car and staked claim to a nearby bench, firing up the latest game on my phone and that was about when I remembered that I didn’t have any cash on me. Zero cash. No back-up five or random one hanging about. I went through all of the pockets and folds of my wallet – naddah. I did have a solitary gold coin in my car, but that’s it. I lamented to Luffy via text that I was the world’s worst human before realizing that I was sitting right next door to a giant gas station. CASH BACK!! I could get CASH BACK if I bought something.

I hesitated for a minute, paralyzed by fear over leaving my car unattended (what if they got done and I wasn’t there?????) and then literally took off running for the gas station. Grabbing a soda from their fridge, I headed to the front.

“Do you still provide cash back if I pay with a debit card?” I asked the cashier.

“No, but there’s an ATM outside if you’d like,” she helpfully replied and then asked me if I’d still like the soda.

“Sure,” I quipped and explained that I was trying to get cash for a tip for the car wash next door.

I hit up the ATM on my way out, almost blowing the entire transaction because the very first option was to withdraw $200. Which, holy smokes, why is that the very first option? Do people routinely pull $200 in cash out of the gas station ATM’s? Why was the option for a measly $20 way down at the very bottom, behind all sorts of other ridiculous options like $400 or $300? So many questions, but it didn’t matter because I had my cash! I had my twenty dollar bill! I had my tip! ….. Oh, right. My tip. I most certainly did not want to leave $20 as a tip and the gas station wouldn’t break my fresh bill for me.

Whomp whomp.

I walked back to the car wash with my ice cold soda and my crisp twenty and lamented to Luffy – again! more! – that I didn’t have tipping cash. After all that!

It’s times like these where I really sometimes wonder why Luffy puts up with me. And can I claim that I am an intelligent human being when I am routinely befuddled by the most simple of problems? Is overthinking issues an actual problem? Because I think I have it.

Why don’t you buy a pack of gum? Luffy asked me, when I told him the gas station wouldn’t break my twenty because I wasn’t buying anything because I had already bought something. Oh yeah, that would have been a good idea,  said my brain.

Since I was already back on my bench, I yet again debated the decision to abandon my car and head back to the gas station, but I did. I couldn’t let this situation get the best of me, not when I had come so far. So back I went, to get into an even longer line this time, to buy gum. To break my twenty. That I got here just moments ago.

The cashier gave me a confused look when I got to the front but it dawned on her pretty quickly what I was doing.

“My problem solving skills aren’t always the sharpest,” I joked, as I waited for my change.

But! I managed to leave with a five that was more suited for a tip and I got back to the car wash before the attendant was done with my car so I got to avoid those particular disaster scenarios playing out in my head. She finished a couple of minutes after I got back and I was very relieved to be able to hand her my hard-earned tipping cash in exchange for my immaculately cleaned car.

All in all, procuring cash for a tip last minute is an excellent way to pass the time while you wait for your car to be cleaned. 10/10 would recommend.

Hold Please…

In a grand tradition of this little blog, I’m gonna need you to hold please.

This week will be crazy for me. Luffy and I are *GULP* going away this weekend. We’ll say bye-bye to the dumpling Friday morning and be back Sunday (although most likely after he’s in bed). I …. have mixed feelings about this. On the one-hand, I absolutely can’t wait to get away with Luffy. We haven’t left town since well before the dumpling was born and even that was just a quick little jaunt down to Austin for a friend’s birthday (and waffles). It’s going to be a wonderful weekend and I can hardly wait. But on the other, it’s the first time I’ve ever been away from the dumpling over night. I know he’ll do great (my mom’s coming in to town to watch him), but I worry. I worry about what will happen if or when he wakes up in the middle of the night and I’m not there. I worry that he’ll wake up a million times to scream for hours. I worry that he’ll realize we’re gone and wonder if we’re ever coming back. I just worry.

So, to quell the worry, I am preparing like the apocalypse is coming. To-do lists abound and I add more to them each time I think about them. So, uh, come back next week?

Hello Sleep Regression?

Well, despite our worries Saturday, the dumpling perked right up Sunday. He never ran a fever again and, though he still has a cough, has seemed perfectly normal. So yay! Not sure what bug brought him down, but he seemed to kick it pretty quickly.

HOWEVER – I would like to more thoroughly chat about something I brought up there: fighting bedtime. Oh my lands, has the dumpling been fighting us on bedtime. I feel like it started about a week ago. At first, Luffy and I thought it was a problem with the bath – was it too hot? was the tub too small for his liking now that he’s mobile? was he just not in the mood for a bath? – as the dumpling would burst into tears after a few minutes in the tub. Luffy and I would salvage bedtime as best we could and, for a few days, everything still went pretty smoothly.

Then, the dumpling started waking up early in the evening, around 10 or 11, usually just as Luffy and I were headed to bed. At first, I didn’t mind this so much because that meant he usually slept all the way to morning (as opposed to waking at 4:30 or 5). So I was delayed getting to bed, not that big of a deal! Except that he usually wouldn’t go right back to sleep. Just like I mentioned Saturday, he kept having hour long chats with himself. Mildly annoying, as he was just loud enough to keep waking me up, but I didn’t really have to do anything, so eh, not terrible.

Then, yesterday happened – stares at the horizon, eyes battle weary as she brings her third cup of tea to her lips – oh dumpling. Nights like last night still make me feel that a second child is a terrible idea. (And don’t even get me started on all the parents out there with four or five or nineteen children – y’all be crazy.)

So it was one of those days that we could tell, early on, was going to be a little weird. I mentioned that he’s in the midst of the transition from three naps to two and, unfortunately, he didn’t sleep quite long enough for his second nap (or his first, really, if you want to nitpick). He woke, happy enough, from his nap around 1:30, but quickly became cranky. We decided to try for a nap at 3:30 in one of those fits of well, he’s not happy playing and he doesn’t want to eat and he’s not happy being carried or read to or basically breathed on so…… TO BED WITH YOU TINY MONSTER!! I mean child. ahem. That went as well as you probably expected. We tried again at 4:45 and, though he was clearly tired, he refused to settle down. We got him back up for a hot minute (while Luffy and I scarfed down dinner) and started bedtime at 5:30.

Which went well! Oddly enough. He played in the bath, nursed for a bit, was all smiles for dada while reading. He even went down without a fuss. And then he sat up. Pinches bridge of nose. You see, he’s recently figured out that he can sit up in his crib! Which is great fun! Except that he’s also exhausted. And you know what, he should really lay down and get some rest, said no infant ever. That child screamed like I have never heard him scream before. At top volume and looking pitiful over the monitor to boot. We tried pats; I nursed. He wanted nothing to do with us and the moment we laid him back down, he would just push his way back up to sitting. Rubs temples. Finally, finally, after literally an hour of crying at the top of his lungs, he quite literally passed out. For those playing along at home, that’s one hour past bedtime, which is really two and a half hours after his failed third nap and THREE and a half hours after he probably should have slept. That poor baby. Someone should really talk some sense into you.

Oh, but the night had only just begun. Since he’d basically passed out from exhaustion, he, of course, couldn’t stay asleep. He woke back up after a half hour, but settled back down pretty quickly. He was then up at 10:45, mere moments after I had fallen asleep myself. It was more of the same from his earlier bedtime rebellion. Screaming, crying, pushing up to sit-ing. He would calm down while Luffy patted him, but would start crying before his head even hit the mattress again. He wanted nothing to do with nursing. In a moment of desperation, I made him a bottle, thinking he might be hungry (my letdown wasn’t strong and he didn’t stay latched for long and I freaked out thinking my supply was low, although that turned out to be his refusal to nurse, not a problem with my boobs). No bottle. Nurse, but no nursing. Pats, but no pats. Sit up, but oh-my-gosh-I’m-so-tired. That went on for an hour and a half. It happened again in the wee hours of the next morning.

So yeah, not really at my finest right now. He slept in, thank goodness. I’ve read that a sleep regression hits them right around this time. There’s just so much going on and so many new things to learn and new skills to practice – sleep is for the weak! Experts tritely remind us to be consistent in handling the night wakings, so I’m trying to figure out how to handle it all this evening.

On the plus side, my expectations for sleep over the next few days are pretty low, so maybe he’ll surprise me? I can dream right? Lol, except nope because I can’t sleep cause the dumpling’s howling again.

Sick baby

My poor dumpling is running a fever this evening. It’s the first time he’s ever run a fever and, while I rationally know what to do/look out for, I am worried. Luffy and I are both worried. 

My poor baby. 

We’ve been having quite the week – sleep wise. He’s been so proud of his new found crawling skills that he seemed to want to practice it all the time. Naps were fine, but bedtime? No sir, he did NOT want. No thank you. Good day sir. I SAID GOOD DAY. 

Bedtime protests and shenanigans, we had it all. On Wednesday, we made the mistake of giving him a nap too late (never been a problem before, mind you, but he’s transitioning from three naps to two). He refused to even entertain the idea of sleep until 10pm. Luffy went to bed at 9:30, for comparison purposes. Last night, we put him down for bed, only to look at the monitor and find him pitifully howling, sitting upright in his crib. Lay back down, baby, I wanted to say, but, of course, you can’t reason with infants. Around 12:30 last night, I was woken up by more howling and found the dumpling, yet again, fully upright. After calming him down, he randomly stayed awake for at least two hours – I lost track. He wasn’t upset; he was just chatting with himself. I dozed, checking on him on and off, until I finally found him asleep again around 3am. 

So when he was tired today, we figured it was just because he had a two hour crib party last night. Then, he developed a bit of a cough and what sounded like some chest congestion. We watched him closely, but other than the fatigue and slight cough, he seemed ok. Right before bed, Luffy took his temperature again: 102.9. Officially a fever. We took his jammies off under his zippadee zip and gave him a dosing of Tylenol. He’s sleeping now, but I worry. A momma’s job, I suppose. I’m sure he’s ok, but still. My poor dumpling. 

Goodbye pump!

I walked out the door this morning, headed to work, sure that I was missing something. Computer bag – check. Wallet – check. Phone – check. …… I guess that’s it. I didn’t know what to do with all my free arms and shoulder space now that I’m not dragging along my pump and its accouterments. I mean, I’m practically naked without the extra bags!

I did the math earlier this week. This time, it was much more favorable. Even if I keep adding an ounce of breast milk per bottle, we should make it to a year on my current stash. By then, we’ll be free to introduce cow’s milk and be done with the whole breast milk/formula thing. I realized that I was free to stop pumping during the day whenever I wanted. So, I did that day. WHEEEEEE!!!! I’m also not quite sure what to do with all this extra time.

I can’t completely pack it away yet. Luffy and I are headed out of town in a couple of weeks – just the two of us. I’ll need to pump then to make sure I haven’t dried up by the time I get back (and also to make sure my boobs aren’t the size of watermelons by the time we get back – that too). But after that – I’m packing that thing away. Banishing it to the back of the closet, past the disassembled swing and bouncer, beyond the newborn clothes – TO THE BACK WITH YOU!

It’s very odd to think that this chapter in my life is closing. For now, anyway and who knows what the next, hypothetical child will bring. The dumpling and I still nurse, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the morning and night sessions become more tedious than anything. (Speaking of, who decides when to wean? Is it me? At some point? Or will the dumpling just up and refuse to latch one day, all rip-the-bandaid style?) I do have to admit that it’s so nice not to take my shirt off hundred times a day and to put a real bra on (and keep it on!) in the morning. It’s also very nice to regain control over my body again, a little at a time. For the first time in a very long time, between the hours of about 8am and 5pm it doesn’t matter at all what I put into my body. Caffeine? Yes please, giddy up. More caffeine? Why sure! A snack/no snack/crap snack/healthy snack? You know, Belle, you do you – have at it. Again, I’m not quite sure how to best enjoy this newfound freedom. Since we’re going into a three day weekend here, I think I’ll celebrate it with mimosas*!

*Hypothetically speaking. I am, in fact, still at work. And they frown upon that sort of thing.