Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The joys of baby-proofing.

These days with Rhonda are quite an adventure.

I've already told you that she's started learning at double speed, which has emotional implications, but the physical consequences are a little more exhausting. 

The other day we were out on a picnic with neighbors and a woman put a plate of food down on the picnic blanket, not two feet away from where her newborn baby was lying. I could hardly believe Rhonda had ever been so helpless and immobile. 

Nowadays, she's all about ripping off my jewelry, pulling books and DVDs off shelves, tearing up magazines, and putting electrical cords in her mouth. It's exciting that she's so curious and clever (I'm trying to focus on positivity here), but it's all I can do to keep up with her.

Baby-proofing used to seem like a pretty simple task, consisting mainly of putting up baby gates, fastening child locks to doors, and putting those little doohickeys in electrical sockets. 

Not so, people. NOT SO. 

It started with my efforts to protect her from electrical cords, which are probably her favorite things in the world. (What's so exciting about a stupid cord, I ask you?!) Unfortunately, since my husband is an electronics junkie, we have cords lining every wall. My solution was to lay blankets on top of the cords, but I have no idea how long that brilliant idea is going to last. 

It only escalated from there. I've tried to protect the bookcases by putting various furniture and her old infant car seat in front of them. (It sort of works, but she's becoming quite deft at getting around the obstacles.) I tucked a blanket around a particular electronic that she couldn't leave alone, and it seems to have tricked her into thinking it's not there anymore. When I suddenly found her on the third step of our stairs, it was time for a baby gate--the first truly obvious solution to a baby-proofing problem. 

So my living room is a lovely mess of strewn blankets and caddywompous furniture and baby toys. 

It's not because I don't clean. It's because it's the only way to keep this child safe.

With an infant fast turning into a toddler, I'm starting to think that having a pretty house isn't within the realm of possibility.

Well, since becoming a mom, it's not like I've had a lot of time to decorate anyway. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making baby food.

I make my own baby food.

But before I begin on my baby food tirade, I want to say this: While I have my own reasons for making my own baby food, I'm not going to tell you that you should do it, too. Some people act as though you might as well feed your child poison as give them jarred baby food. You know, like with formula. What kind of a monster would give her child formula, I ask you?!

(Oh, yeah. Me.)

Anyway, moving right along. I don't care if you feed your baby carrots from a jar.

But can I take a moment to commiserate with my sisters (and maybe some brothers too) out there who are making their own baby food?

Whenever someone encourages you to make your own baby food--whether in person or in some book you read, if you're like me and read way too many books that make you feel guilty as a parent--they always talk about how "it's so easy!"

I mean, all you do is cook up some veggies, fruit, or meat, and toss it in the blender. What could possibly be easier? Why wouldn't you do such a simple thing that could give your child such wonderful benefits in both nutrition and taste?

Well, I've been sold on the nutrition and taste thing (obviously, since I continue to soldier on), but I would like some credit for the time and effort I put into this gig, thankyouverymuch. 

I mean, okay. Is it hard? No. You don't have to be a cook or anything. Do you know how to cut vegetables and boil water? Then you can make baby food.

But it feels awfully time consuming. If you're making anything that has to be peeled (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, etc.), then you have to spend all that time peeling. And then you have to cook it, which can sometimes take forever to get it to a puree-able state.

Oh, and by the way, people seem to have an awful lot of opinions about how to make your own baby food. All fruits and veggies must be steamed in order to retain the most nutritional value! (Really? I can't just boil it? It's not enough that I'm making the darn stuff from scratch, I also have to cook it in the perfect way?) Some people say to cook it into oblivion, while others say you should cook it to the same doneness you would for an adult, otherwise the child is losing out on all the wonderful flavor.

Plus, you have to be careful about which foods you give your baby. Some people will tell you that you can just take whatever food you're eating for dinner and whiz it in a blender. Wa-la! Perfect for baby!

BUT! You have to make sure it has no salt in it. (Of course, you should really eat less salt anyway, so while you're at it, you might as well cut all the salt out of your diet. Major lifestyle change? No biggie!) And no honey. And no nuts. And no citrus. And no egg whites!

Hey, here's an idea! Why not just make baby puree for the whole family? Easy peasy! And homemade baby food is just so darn delicious, anyway!


Anyway, I guess I don't mind making baby food too much, but one of the worst things about it is that you always think your batch is going to last longer than it does. It feels like you have just cooked up the world's biggest batch of carrots, and then it yields a woefully small amount of puree. Before you know it, your child has gobbled it all up and it's back to the drawing board.

You know, some days I actually kind of enjoy making baby food, which is probably one of the reasons I keep doing it. It's fun to try new things and see how they turn out as a puree. And there's a real satisfaction in knowing that I make all the solid foods my child eats and I know exactly what goes into them.

But most days, it's a chore.

This is why I don't judge people for buying baby food in jars.

That stuff is starting to look pretty good, man.