Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thank heavens for Ben...I'm not cut out to be a single parent

Day 2 of being a single mom, and I'm tired. I guess it doesn't help that the fourth molar is coming in, which is making her extra clingy. I think that it's not just the physical help that my parenting partner provides, but it's also the emotional support. We're having a bit of a tough spell getting Abby to eat anything other than fruit, cheese/yogurt, and bread lately. And knowing that someone else is frustrated sometimes helps me feel like I can take control and not be the frustrated one, as if I can foist the burden onto someone else for a few minutes until the heat of the moment has passed.

Ben is going to be in Lafayette all week to make an electric guitar and get *paid* for it, plus meals/hotel expenses covered. When he first talked about this workshop, I was pretty set against it. But then he found out that he's getting paid to do it and suddenly, the week didn't look so bad. But yesterday was bad. It just had some seriously lousy moments bookending an enjoyable playdate in the afternoon. Supper was the zenith of the day's lousiness. There were tears. Abby and I cried together. And then it was okay, and she went to bed happy (enough).

This eating situation is getting more difficult. If this were in the middle of the school year, I think that my tears would have come sooner and repeatedly. Abby never had a problem with veggies before she hit her first birthday. This kid literally would eat pretty much anything except avacado. She would have a couple of spells were she wouldn't want green peas, for example, for a couple of days, but overall, she still ate veggies.

Admittedly, this is much of a pride issue--I'm determined that my child won't be a picky eater. I'm determined that I won't make separate meals for everyone. I'm obstinately convinced that picky eaters come from parents who coddle their children too much and/or don't expose them to enough of a variety of healthy foods. This is probably another of those pre-pregnancy ideas that I was pridefully sure that I knew I was right about. Thanks Abby for bursting that arrogance bubble. And now to reality...

Right now, Abby only eats veggies if they're dipped in hummus. Granted, we haven't offered her many other dip options because I also don't want an ignorantly chubby kid because the parent gives them too much sugar and fat. Hummus, in our opinions, is the perfect dip--full of protein, healthy fat, low in sugar...ideal. But we've just figured it out that the redness she often gets after eating is coming from the hummus. Not good! So she can't eat it. What this means for the next few days when we try to coerce her into eating what we make for her is hard to tell. And I'm going to be on my own with this, too. There might be more tears and a lot of fruit in her future.

Abby and I drove over to Lafayette today for tonight and tomorrow since his hotel is paid for, we're bumming off of Ben's good fortune. We have a suite so that we can put Abby down to sleep in the extra room. Lovely idea in theory. The kid decided not to sleep this afternoon which means that she had 1 hour of sleep today. She's been down for the night for almost an hour and a half now, and she's still standing in the corner of her pack-n-play. Just standing. Not making any noise for an hour now. Did she fall asleep standing up?!?

Friday, July 23, 2010

advertising geared towards children really does work!

We don't have the TV on all that much whenever Abby is awake, and when it is, it's usually something like a baseball game or the Food Network, both of which Abby could care less about. Ben also watches The West Wing once in a while in the morning. Yesterday, he had it on for a few minutes, and during commercials, an advertisement for "Pillow Pets" (definitely a very kid-oriented product). Yesterday when it came on, Abby stopped whatever she was doing, and stared at the TV during the commercial. Unusual reaction for her. This morning, Ben happened to be watching The West Wing while folding clothes, and the same commercial came on again. Interestingly, Abby's reaction was the same--stop and stare at the screen. This time, she even got up and walked over to the TV, pointing at it.

These advertisements really work. A 14-month old is being swayed by a jingle on TV. Scary!!

Ben's response: "Sorry, I'm not buying that for you. I have some will power."

I guess we can only watch baseball.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

baby talk

I'm sitting outside watching Abby put copious handfuls of rocks into the back of her little jeep. At one point, something made a noise and she paused in her rock moving, looked up, and talked about...something.

What do babies talk about? You know, she's quite verbal, and we even have conversations, but what is she saying? If they can't understand the concept of "purple" or "grass" what are they saying? She didn't hear a noise, look up and remark "Oh, that yellow finch just flew by again." So I wonder what she said.

And now she just picked another green tomato before I could catch her. Sly little one.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Organic living, 2nd quarter

I know that you've all been waiting waiting waiting for my 3rd (of 5, the end is in sight) post on organic-ness. So, tah-dah! It's here. Good thing for the few who may read this, it's going to be a short one. Why??? Not much to update, but I'm trying to be faithful to my New Years resolution. Craziness, I know. This is kinda like something that's on my personal bucket list: complete one New Years resolution at least once.

This quarter's update:
*We're in a groove where it's almost comfortable to choose organic broccoli for $3.29 versus "regular" broccoli for $1.79 (totally making these numbers up, but it's something like this).

*Ben doesn't question my organic choices. Maybe he's just learned to hide his squeemishness? Maybe he's more comfortable as well.

*I have found out that people who would in no way be exposed to this blog and therefore have virtually no idea that this is my goal this year are in dialogue with me about organic and/or environmentally friendly living in interesting ways. My babysitter randomly mentions a place that she knows of to buy organic eggs. My mother-in-law tells me about vegetarian cooking and then invites me to eat it. My closest community is increasingly like-minded, though this is probably because I'm leeching onto others' ideas, not because anything I'm doing is groundbreakingly brilliant. Regardless, it's encouraging to know that we're not exclusively hippie in a land of McDonald's addicts. I also recognize that at least 50% of my green community does not live in Kokomo, which does introduce some challenges in communication. My siblings-in-law may have a really cool farmer's market that I'd love to go to, but they live nearly 3 hours away, not convenient.

*Convenience is probably as much of a challenge as cost when trying to live organically or earth friendlier.

*We haven't changed our cleaning habits as much as we could.

*It can be a bit difficult to talk with people who are close to me and don't make the same choices as I do. We don't spray every weed on our property with harsh chemicals or pay for lawn treatments, which isn't always understood by others who see these actions as expected.

*We LOVE our gDiapers!!! Love love love them and wish that we had invested in them much earlier when we had first heard about them months ago. And, after 2 months, they have half-way paid for themselves. I haven't bought diapers in 2 months, and that's with Abby wearing a disposable every night.

*We switched to a low-flow shower head for a reason that wasn't solely because we love the Earth, as in we had a monetary reason for doing so, and I personally love it quite a bit.

Basically, it feels good where we're at right now. I'm still not losing weight by not eating nearly as much meat. This continues to be a huge disappointment in my life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

for the love of reading

I kinda feel like I don't know how to read anymore. Me. The reader.

The one who used to keep track of every book that she read (only for like 6 months) when she was a (super dorky) teenager.
The one who routinely was laughed at by her brothers (which secretly hurt) because she would read the same books that she really liked repeatedly.
The one who prided herself on reading Gone With the Wind in 10 days (basically 100 pages/day).
The one who used to think that she didn't fulfill some sort of reading quota unless she did read 100 pages a day (especially during the summer).
The one who secretly loved the library's summer reading program because they gave away free books just for reading (free stuff for doing what she was already doing! sweet!!).
The one who would love being by herself down in her parents' basement so that she could watch baseball games and read (double tasking and yes, she still does this, just not in her parents' basement anymore) to the point that she sometimes anti-socially did this rather than hang out with her friends (really, what were they doing anyway?).
The one who will now admit that she reads more often than not by moving her mouth (yes, she truly believes that this helps her read faster and focus better and no, it's not the same thing as reading out loud and yes, it does also secretly hurt her feelings when she is teased about this).
The one who is super duper happy that her husband is a reader (yeah, they each took books on their honeymoon and spent time every day just reading with each other...awww cute).
The one who majored in English with concentrations in literature and writing as well as Secondary English Education at Manchester.
The one who is almost (big cheers) done with a masters in English Literature.
The one who ranted on here not too long ago about reading & the lack thereof (or the lack of priority given these skills) in our society.

Basically, I'm a reader, can'tcha tell? I mean, I even pretend to be profoundly funny with the title of the blog. And so my newest realization: I have largely forgotten how to enjoy reading. It's been rather pushed to the back of my priorities these past few years. I mean, I've tried treating it like a daily routine and forcing myself to read every day, like before bedtime, but that just feels like punishment or a mundane task, like brushing and flossing. Now, when the fall semester ends, Winter Break flies by and I realize that I haven't read a book for 2 weeks.

Darn you college & teaching: you've ruined me. If I'm not the reader, then I'm going to have to find a new hobby and perhaps a new identity? Maybe I'll take up the cello (this could lead to a multi-part blog post; my next one will be about the bassoon).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Food for thought...so to speak

For several days now, it's become really obvious to me, again, that even in the summer time when I'm not officially punching in and out at a job every day that I spend a LOT of time every day thinking about food. I didn't take into account how introducing a child also introduces the need to take food into consideration in a different, more complicated way. Constantly, I'm thinking "What is something new and interesting that Abby will like and is also healthy for her?" I find that when Abby rejects certain foods, it's probably not because she doesn't like them but probably because she's bored with eating roasted broccoli for the third day in a row. She lulls me into a false sense of security: Day One--love it, Day Two--can convince me to eat it, Day Three--throw it off my tray with incredible quickness whereupon it sticks to the wall or slides behind something so that Mommy finds it three days later.

So I'm always trying to think of new, easy, healthy things that I can prepare, preferably for all of us. But she doesn't care for or just can't eat everything that we do. If Ben and I want to eat a spinach salad, it's just not the best thing for her as she struggles with things like lettuce. I'm not sure if this whole food stuff is easier or harder in the summer time. On the one hand, I'm home all day and can figure this all out day of and have more time to work in the kitchen, BUT it means that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and usually make a greater variety of food for lunch and supper rather than just thinking about supper. On the other hand, I don't have to prepare everything the night before, which is time consuming, monotonous, a pain, no fun, and generally something that I've quickly come to loathe.

So this summer has been all about food in my mind. Last year, Abby was, obviously, not needing such time consuming attention. It's not that we think Abby is a picky eater, but it always helps to have humus around. Thanks be to the gods who invented it because it's already helped us through many a meal. Thanks be to fruit too as there hasn't been one yet that Abby hasn't adored.

On a somewhat sidenote, I started working on the basic background work for my Masters thesis about two weeks ago and am almost done reading the first of three books that I'll be using. I feel stressed about this upcoming semester already. I'm feeling stressed right now at the point that I usually get about 2 months into the semester. My semester will look something like this: one night class commuting to Ball State, writing my thesis, teaching full-time with four different preps and two of the four classes I haven't taught before *and* 2 sections of Composition and 11H each which are both heavy writing/grading classes (sidenote to my somewhat sidenote--Taylor H.S. offers essentially 14 different language arts classes that aren't electives, after this fall, I will at one point have taught all but 2 of them...that's insane. Ben has taught three different classes in five years. I've taught 12 at Taylor and another couple at Frankfort that aren't offered at Taylor. Constant turnover like that is always a non-ideal situation for a teacher.), and being what largely amounts to a single mom for about 2 months while Ben is coaching in the fall. It's going to be a busy semester. And then I'll also need to worry about food...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I could retire here...

Ben and I took Abby to Carmel today--her first exposure to my favorite place in Indiana. I could live there, oh yes I could. Ben agrees. Maybe we'll retire to Carmel. Who needs sun and polyester-clad swarms of old people in the winter time?

@ the park

I like the colors in this one.

On a separate note, I find it highly amusing watching Abby drink juice. She acts like she's utterly dehydrated...very dramatic. :-)

the only thing that can keep Abby from enjoying her reading

she's on to me...