Newsletter – July 2012

Hello and Happy Summer, Girls! We started off the month of July with a sunrise. Apparently you were both just so interested to start this month that you needed to wake me up at 4:30 in the morning. Honestly, a month down the road, I can’t quite remember what woke us up. Regardless, we were awake early enough that we decided to cuddle up on a chair and meet the sun (though not in the dying sense, as they do in my favorite vampire television show that neither of you get to watch). It was loads of fun, given that we didn’t get enough sleep and we didn’t actually see the sunrise since there were houses in the way.

Passed out post-fireworks.

Of course, since it’s July, there were fireworks. Until this year, we hadn’t bought any ourselves since before Peanut was born. We thought we might try some out this year since you’re getting old enough to enjoy them, so I bought a small amount to try. Well, we all ended up getting scared and finding out we don’t like aerial fireworks. The small ones on the ground from when I was a kid though, those are pretty cool. You liked the flower spinning ones a lot. I think more than the fireworks themselves, you loved walking around with the bag of them for 3 days showing everyone. Of course, we went to the city fireworks too. We all cuddled on the blanket and watched them (until about half way through, Twig decided she was too tired and wanted to nurse).

This month, Miss Meredith really found her voice. To the point where I feel slightly abashed when we’re eating in a restaurant. Luckily, you’re cute enough that no one seems to care that you’re screaming at the top of your lungs. The noise is literally just “Ahhhhhhh!” as loud as you can. You especially like doing it in echo-inducing rooms. Towards the end of the month, you learned how to cry with a “ma” sound. It’s quite heartbreaking.

You girls certainly love each other. You’re always playing together and having a ball. Sometimes the ball gets a little out of hand and Twig starts crying, but most of the time you’re smiling like crazy while sister is playing with you. You started laughing a while back, but you were what I liked to call a “stingy laugher” because it took a lot to make you laugh and it was only once every few days at best. Over this last month though, you’ve really started to laugh. Sometimes multiple times a day. And you know who is making you do all that laughing? Sister. Literally about 90% of the time. Sometimes it’s her playing peek-a-boo, sometimes it’s her running at you, sometimes just her laughing will set you off. It’s awesome to see the relationship you two have.

Mama decided to pull Peanut out of her preschool. Life was getting too stressful with making it out of the house before 9am 3 days a week. I know that many other people do it even more frequently than that, but I had a choice in the matter. I’ve been looking into unschooling too, which is really interesting to me. Along those lines, you’ve been really interested in bird and butterflies lately. You’re always asking questions like “how do baby birds learn to fly?” and “where do butterflies get their wings?” We’ve been reading books from the library, watching videos online, and we decided to visit the Tracy Aviary, which you thought was just grand. You especially liked hearing about the birds and looking at the colorful ones. Next, I’m thinking of taking you both on a five-hour drive to the closest butterfly house. We’ll see if we get that adventurous.

A few days before Twig’s technical 6 month birthday, mama decided to just let her have a piece of watermelon at our picnic we were having outside of the local train museum. You were initially very disturbed by food actually coming off in your mouth, but quickly grew to love it. You now want to try everything that we do, which makes it difficult for sister not to share her cookie that mama asked her not to. We’re avoiding sweets (not sweet things like fruit, but more like things with refined sugar) as long as possible. If I can will away the family sweet tooth, it will happen! Along with trying table foods, gone are the days of breastfed baby poo. I already miss them. Within one day, you had your first “real” poopy diaper, first haircut (too many silly whispy hairs), and got your first tooth! That was just a few days ago and you already have a second.

Lastly, Twig will likely be crawling by the next newsletter. That’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it! You’re still doing the rolly-polly around the room, but you’ve started lunging forward when you’re sitting. You can’t quite figure out how to get that second leg onto the ground as opposed to on a foot, but you’re persistent. I’m sure you’re going to figure it out soon. Beyond that, it’s just a small step (pun intended) to actually moving forward on those hands and knees. You’ve actually gotten to the knees a couple of times on soft surfaces (you love grass, so we spend a lot of time on that). Soon, sister will be begging me not to let you chase her!

Well, that’s all for now girls! Write you next month!

Mama

Bye Bye Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays

After some thought, I’ve decided to stop posting Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays post.

Really, where we are at in our Baby-led Weaning, it’s mostly just the same stuff over and over. I feel like I’m fighting to find interesting/useful things to write about and that they’re still not very good.

If things come up that I think will be helpful for other Baby-led Weaning parents, I’ll definitely do more posts. It’s just not going to be a weekly thing anymore. If you have any particular questions you’d like me to address, you can email them to theadventuresoflactatinggirl {at} gmail {dot} com.

So for this last official post, here is a slide show of all of our Baby-led Weaning photos.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Sandwich Update

For some reason, this is all sandwiches/hamburgers end up:

I guess it’s a step up from entirely taking the sandwich apart like she used to? For whatever reason, she’s decided that all sandwiches must be opened. There was about a mili-second of time where she would actually take bites of a sandwich as a sandwich if I handed it to her, but it quickly turned into running away to go open the sandwich on the living room floor. Guess what Peanut? It’s peanut butter and jelly in there just like yesterday! Can you please just eat the sandwich? No, the whole sandwich! Don’t just lick the peanut butter off!

Needless to say, we now eat all sandwiches in the high chair.

Also, my child isn’t too hot about hamburger meat. The surprised the heck out of me earlier this week by eating only the meat in a hamburger, but other than that, she hardly touches the stuff. She’ll eat the veggies and the bun, but not the meat. This isn’t a phase either because she’s never really liked hamburger meat. After reading something on BabyCenter about children’s dislikes of food having more to do with texture than taste, it makes me wonder about the hamburger meat. Maybe she doesn’t like the texture of hamburger meat? It is pretty weird. Does anyone else’s baby-led weaner not like hamburger meat?

Finally, one more cute/ridiculous photo of Peanut eating her hamburger.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Feeding Her Baby

This post isn’t really much about Baby-led Weaning, but it’s really cute. You see, Peanut recently realized that her baby doll is supposed to be a little human. Ever since, she’s wanted me to put her diapers on the baby doll, put the baby doll in her car seat, etc. I decided to take some pictures of her “feeding” her baby doll.

First we give it to the baby.

Oh, you’re done with it baby? Guess I’ll try it.

Peanut also started saying baby (like be-be) which is hecka cute.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Corn on the Cob

One of my favorite things about summer is corn on the cob. I love corn not on the cob, but somehow it’s just a billion times better straight off the source. No need for butter or salt—just give me some of that corn!

Needless to say, we eat corn on the cob frequently in the summer. Even if you’re not a corn-lover like me, I’m sure you do too since it’s so ridiculously cheap and pick-your-own farms everywhere seem to have it. Peanut has always liked corn too and in the beginning of the summer, I used a steak knife to cut the corn off of the cob for her. Then one evening a few weeks ago, she reached for my corn before I was done dishing everything out and it suddenly occurred to me that she could probably handle it off the cob. So I gave it to her and of course, she was a champ at it.

Now she eats corn off of the cob all of the time. Yeah, sometimes she chews on the ends. Yeah, sometimes she keeps trying to bite it off of the same place over and over. What matters is that she loves to do it. (Not to mention less work for mama. We always like less work for mama.)

Look at how happy she is!

Chomping on the end.

She ate a good portion of it!

So what have I learned from this experience? Let my child try things for herself! It’s the big theme of Baby-led Weaning right from the get go, but somehow I lost it a little. I need to remember to back off and let her try things on her own. Only if she can’t figure it out should I step in an help a little.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Soup

And we’re back! It seems like everything is getting in the way of my weekly Baby-led Weaning post! We had the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival for the last two weeks of August and before that there were weeks of planning the Carnival. To be quite honest, my posting is going to get pretty scarce in the near future because I’m going back to school full-time for the first time since Peanut was born. Hopefully I’ll at least keep up with my weekly posts!

With Peanut being a full-blown toddler, I’m feeling a bit more adventurous with foods lately. I’ve shared everything I’ve eaten with her for the last 10+ months, but there were certain foods that I gave her in easy-t0-handle ways or possibly just avoided all together. Now that she’s using utensils and maybe-kind-of-sort-of less messy, I’ve been branching out. So I gave her soup.

Yes, she’s had soup before. In the past I’ve given her just pieces out of the soup or just loaded the spoon and handed it to her. This time I just set a bowl of soup in front of her, gave her a spoon, and let her party!

Here are my tips for your first experience with soup:

Tip #1: Naked! It’s easier to clean a toddler than her clothes. Some people are opposed to naked toddlers—especially at the table. We spend a lot of time with a naked Peanut running around our house, so it’s not horribly unusual for her to be eating dinner naked. Maybe we’ll pay for it in the future when she’s 4 and wants to eat naked when we have guests over? Guess we’ll deal with that as it comes.

Tip #2: Ice! Soup is now an automatic favorite because I can put ice in it. Peanut is a food freak and will scream the whole time I’m cooking because she wants to eat NOW! (yes, she still screams if I cook when she’s not hungry yet) Then I put the food on her plate and put it in the fridge and that’s when the hissy-fits begin. How dare I not give her the food on the plate?!? Awful Mama hiding food from the toddler! I will kill you Mama! Soup is great because I stick an ice cube in, stir, and it’s good to go!

Tip #3: Don’t use the good china. Yeah, as if anyone uses their good stuff with a toddler! We personally took an old fold-up table outside to eat on. You definitely don’t want to use anything that doesn’t wash off easily. Also, since it’s summer time and we have our new lovely patio, we decided to eat outside. Really, nothing even got on the ground, but I’m still happy that we ate outside rather than risking getting red all over the carpet in our kitchen (Yes, we have carpet in our kitchen. Yes, it is awful). Most of it got on Peanut.

Tip #4: Bathe immediately. I figured that washing her off with the hose (no, it’s not as bad as it sounds) would do the trick, but oh no. It might just be that it was a tomato based soup, but that stuff dyed her skin! After hosing her down we let her play around outside for a while and I’m certain that if she was scrubbed in the bath sooner that she wouldn’t have had that reddish hue for the next few days.

All in all, soup was a good experience. It’s nice to give her something and just let her go at it. There’s zero effort for me in the actually food-eating stage so I’m able to sit back and relax—something rare for a parent of a toddler. She certainly had fun with it too. It was kind of hard to fight the urge to clean her up when she was literally rubbing it all over herself, but I just kept telling myself that she would just get messy again so it would be wasted effort. We’re not big soup people around here, but I think I’ll probably make it more often now.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Turning Point

It seems as though we’ve come to a turning point in our Baby-led Weaning. From day one, I’ve been handing Peanut very large pieces of food so that she can take bites off. For a long time she didn’t even eat grapes because one time that they made her gag. Now that Peanut is a toddler, we have to cut things up for her so that she can try to eat them with a fork. Not only that, but she wants to pick up the small things. If you give her a plate of Chinese food, she’ll pick all the peas, carrots, and ham out of the ham fried rice and leave everything else.

It makes sense to me that she’s at this turning point. I realize that she still has the ability to choke (heck, we all do), but we’re past the really critical stage. She also wants to use her silverware. She used to dive into casseroles without hesitation and now she gets upset because her hands are messy. It all feels like very toddler behavior, but at the same time it feels almost as if I’m going against everything that Baby-led Weaning has taught me. I need to dig out the book again and read over the 1 year and older chapter(s). Maybe that’ll give me more insight to this.

We got some silverware from Ikea that looks like normal silverware, but smaller. She has some silverware made from corn, but it’s hard to stab things and I think she didn’t like it because it looked different. Peanut kept trying to steal my forks and it made me nervous that they were so sharp. This silverware is sharp enough to poke her food, but not so sharp as to poke herself.

Did you feel weird when you had to start cutting your Baby-led Weaner’s food? Any safety tips you’d like to share for older Baby-led Weaners?

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Vegetable Question

How do I get my child to eat more vegetables?

The age-old question every parent asks at one point or another. Now, I shall pose this question to you lovely readers.

Peanut started off loving vegetables. When there were many different things on her plate, the fruits and vegetables were always gone first. I wasn’t horribly surprised because I personally love vegetables.

All the broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower are gone, leaving only the rice.

Then she started with stages. First she hated breads, then she hated meats, then she hated vegetables, then she hated breads, and so on (inconspicuously skipping fruits and dairy). It seems like she’s gone in these stages pretty much all of the time that she’s been eating solids.

The meat and cheese are being consumed while the lettuce and bread are thrown onto the floor.

Most recently, she hated meat and vegetables at the same time. She got over the meat part and is now eating that like a champ, but not so much on the vegetables. Broccoli used to be one of her favorite foods and now she takes one bite and throws it. She’ll eat small things like peas and cut up carrots like in ham friend rice, but many other vegetables. It’s been going on for a few months now, which is long enough to make me worried.

I know it’s pretty early to be worrying about such things (with Peanut being only 15 months old), but I want to set good habits for the future. I want her to grow up to be one of those people who eats more than their daily five fruits and vegetables. Not only that, I want her to be the kind of person who enjoys eating her daily five.

So how do you get your children to eat more vegetables?

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Apples

Peanut started doing something very interesting over the last week—she now eats whole apples. I used to cut them into slices, but she won’t even eat those anymore. She must have a whole apple handed to her. It all started when I got out an apple to slice, but had to set it on the floor because there were various tools on the counters (because of the painting and what not). I grabbed the knife and went back for the apple and it was gone. She had already taken little bites out of it all over, so I just let her have it.

Now we have a routine down. I wash the apple, remove the stem and the sticker, and hand it to Peanut. She chops on it until she gets bored with it (when she’s not very hungry) or until I have to steal it back from her to cut the core out (when she is very hungry). Then of course, she finishes it. She ate a whole apple all by herself the other day. Every. Single. Bite. Amazing!

The only real downside to her eating apples like this is that if she decides she’s tired of it, she throws the whole thing on the ground. When it was just a slice, it was easier to throw that away (though the logic of such things is beyond me), but now that it’s the whole apple, I find myself trying to salvage it a lot more often. At the same time though, I feel like she’s suddenly that much more of a toddler and therefore less of a baby. While it’s cute and I love that she’s growing up, it also breaks my heart just a little bit. Aww.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Cereal

I had a lot of conflicts about whether or not to give Peanut cereal when she turned one (and therefore was old enough for cow’s milk). She already ate Barbara O’s (organic Cheerio type cereal that’s sweetened with fruit juice) dry, but whether or not to put milk on them threw me for a loop.

We don’t give Peanut milk to drink. Well, we do give her milk to drink, but that’s our word for breastfeeding. I see no point in giving her Moo Cow—the name we came up with for cow’s milk because we called breast milk “milk” for so long that if we even called it “cow’s milk” she would want to breastfeed—while she’s still breastfeeding because I already have the best milk for her. So what about putting it on cereal? I decided we’d give it a go.

Here are some helpful tips I’ve come up with in regards to toddlers eating cereal:

First off, don’t let any extra milk be sitting in the bowl. If your Baby-led Weaner is anything like mine, they’ll grab the bowl and try to flip it over. This applies for expressed breast milk in cereal too (yes, I tried that once, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference to her and I hate pumping). The goal is just enough milk that the cereal is sticky.

Second, you need to put something below the kiddo to catch all of the dropped cereal. I don’t know about you, but we’ve gotten to the point that I don’t often put something below her because she doesn’t drop much. Lots and lots of cereal will be dropped and it’s very, very sticky. Be prepared for clean-up.

Third, give them the bowl and spoon and let them go at it! It’s hilarious to watch.

She tries the spoon for the first little while…

and she’s even successful sometimes!

Then she gives up on the spoon and uses her hands.

Blurry, but you can see how she shoves the food into her mouth. :-P

We don’t do cereal for breakfast often because we try to eat whole foods as much as possible, but when we do we both get a kick out of it. I suggest you try it!