Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jesus. Bunnies. Babies. Family.

Easter was nearly a month ago, but I wanted to get some pictures up before we head off to our next adventure this week...

We had a few egg hunts, visited the beautiful Cantigny Park, had a visit with Mr. Easter Bunny and apparently he has a wife (who we also visited, to Claire's dismay). We ate good food, enjoyed the company of Grandpa and Gramie and even got out for a little date night while they were here.

We also colored eggs. That's an activity I have since learned from after Benjamin dumped the entire cup of pink coloring on the floor, which quickly transitioned into the next activity, cleaning. We will either be skipping that fun event in years to come or doing it outside.

Claire was overall confused with the hoopla surrounding the holiday, but had no problem finding eggs and popping crackers into her mouth like a boss. Benjamin fully enjoyed the egg finding (except when he found eggs with coins inside them. Clearly one gummy bear trumps a quarter to a 3yo). He was an expert at finding all the pink eggs at the park we visited and at home, found every one and ate the treat as he found them. Next year might be a little different when he has competition in the form of a 2yo little sister who will know better than to sit around watching him take all the treats!








Jesus. Eggs. Sugar-filled kids. Bunnies who bring gifts (and also make toddlers cry). Grandparents and lots of love. Easter 2015 down on the books.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Well, That's a Wrap

I spent 27 of the last 38 months of my life breastfeeding.

It was wonderful, sometimes stressful, but I'm just overall grateful for the experience.

On Saturday morning, I sat in bed with Benjamin and fed Claire for the last time.

She is 15 months. Benjamin was 12 months, but definitely ready to be weaned by 11 months. It was like wrestling an alligator that last month with him. He was done within a couple days of his first birthday. Claire was not so keen on quitting. She was down to two feedings, which she seemed fairly content with.

In the next three months, we will leave the kids twice for overnight adventures together and I've already sent my pump packing along with all the breastfeeding supplies I own. I never saw her happily feeding to 15 months because Benjamin was completely disinterested.

I'm not excited about the enormous prospect of other womanly things returning very soon, but man. Twenty-seven months of freedom from that was pretty sweet.

But you know what's not sweet? How I'm feeling right now convincing my body that the shop is closed for good.
                                               

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Benjamin Babble II

Scene: Listening to The Beach Boys in the car (borrowed from friends) and the song Fun, Fun Fun (until Daddy takes the T-Bird away) comes on. It ends.
Benjamin: "Again. The Daddy Take the Kefir Away song."

-----

Scene: Telling me what they do/sing in preschool. Starts in on saying the Pledge of Allegiance + a song that they sing to follow. Recites the whole thing, not accurately, but surprisingly well for his age!
Benjamin: "Pledge Allegiance to the Flag ... Red white and blue, I love you. Your flag and my flag, red white and blue... okay put your flags away and go to your seats."

-----

Scene: Opening kitchen cabinet doors and stacking Tupperware and such, talking to sister.
Benjamin: "Claire Mae Wilson, this is a factory (loves calling her by her full name)."

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Scene: Leaving Benjamin with my parents (in Arizona) to go for a 3-hr hike (who he loves and has never fought to be left with ANYONE, he's that chill). We get down the hall and hear him wailing. Return and he was in the process of losing his mind.
Me: "We're just going for a walk and will be back in a bit, but we can't take you."
Benjamin: "You can take me and push me in the stroller."
Me: "No, the stroller can't come on this walk."
Benjamin: "Yes it can. You can push it."

-----

Scene: Claire falls and bumps her head on the nightstand, making her look like we beat her. Which we don't, in case my obsession with her wasn't clear. Benjamin is on the bed about 5 ft. away. Comes down from bed once he hears her crying.
Benjamin: {comes over and embraces her} "I'm going to help Claire." (this empathy thing is RARE and totally amazing when it happens!)

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Scene: Driving away from Dad's work after having lunch with him.
Benjamin: "I want Daddy be in the car, too, but Daddy's at work."

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Scene: Talking about a movie he saw at Redbox that he wanted to rent (Barbie Princess), because it's pink and he loves pink.
Benjamin: "I cannot watch Barbecue Princess. Barbecue Princess is not good for my belly (I tell him it's not good for his brain, because BARBIE. He must have confused it with things I tell him aren't good to have too much of-- sweets.)"

-----

Scene: Driving home from the train restaurant tonight.
Benjamin: "Do you not have a penis, Mommy? Mommy does not have a penis. Claire does not have a penis. Benjamin and Daddy have a penis. Claire, do you have a wugina?"
Claire: "No (she says no to everything, because she doesn't know to answer any other way)."
Benjamin: "Mommy, Claire say no, she doesn't have a wugina."

-----

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Citrus Wild Blueberry Compote

I recently purchased an enormous bag of chia seeds. I've been incorporating them into smoothies, grinding them into a powder for pancake mix and adding them to yogurt. I'm always trying to think up the next way to get those little extra proteins and omega 3's into foods we eat often. Both of my kids eat fruit.

New idea: compote. 

Wild blueberries are one of my favorite fruits because they can be purchased frozen at a great price (and therefore used all seasons!), are rich in color, flavor, antioxidants and they're adorable. Okay, that last one is true but totally not a prerequisite.


Wild blueberries + chia seeds come together in this recipe to soften the seeds and fruit and marry them both together in perfect harmony. Bam. Power food that the kids might actually eat. The citrus adds a sophisticated flavor that even adults will totally dig.


Ingredients:
2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla
zest of 1/2 orange

Method:
In a small saucepan, add the ingredients and cook down on low until the fruit has completely softened and most of the moisture has evaporated. The fruit should remain in a somewhat whole state, but if you'd like it more preserves-style, cook down and smash the fruit a bit. I like it somewhere in between with some whole fruit pieces and some pureed in. Chia seeds thicken the mixture so if you leave little liquid in your cook down, it will resemble more of a pectin-based preserve (without the pectin) when cooled. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.


Substitutions:
Agave for honey, pure maple syrup, sugar
Orange for any citrus (lemon, lime, clementine - I actually used a mineola)
Chia seeds for flaxseed


This makes a great topper and mix-in for so many things. I've tried it on waffles in the place of syrup and my one-year-old gobbled it up! I've also mixed it into plain Greek yogurt. 

More possibilities: ice cream topper, replacement for pancake syrup, incorporated into pancake batter, smoothie addition, oatmeal topper, replacement for jam/jelly/preserves on toast or in sandwiches, by the spoonful even. It will totally jazz up a brunch spread in that cute and totally trendy mason jar.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Bridge to Active Parenting

I spent the entire drive home from preschool pickup on Thursday in tears. Both kids in the backseat and me sobbing.

Benjamin was TERRIBLE last week. He was sleeping until like 11 and refusing to allow us in his room when we tried to wake him. He broke his Dropcam in a fit of rage. Locking him in his room doesn't work. It does give me a break, but it doesn't work in giving him time to show remorse. He just doesn't. He's angry and even angrier when I end it. Can go on for hours. 

I chalked last week's crazy sleep up to (mostly) him still recovering from this terrible sickness when he didn't sleep well for an entire week and was on PST zone, but I feel like other kids transition easier regardless. Transition better.

So, I told his preschool teacher at pickup the other day after two days of screaming at dropoff that I didn't know anymore. That things are getting out of hand and we've nearly considered a child psychologist because all of my understandings of parenting and tantrums and sleep habits and all the reading I've done seems to be aiding me nil in the process of parenting this one.

She told me she didn't think that would be a bad idea and that maybe they would provide more insight into what is going on (seeing a child psych). 

I cried. BIG FAT CROCODILE TEARS. I was thinking, but then she validated that my kid has issues. If you've never been told by someone that your child is anything but awesome, you may not understand this feeling. And really, it's not so much he has issues (we all do, really, especially his bereaved parents!), but needs his parents to understand how he needs parenting applied to him

I went home and called Elliot after another meltdown (that broke the Dropcam). We decided that for now, the problem with a child psych is that while B has good verbal skills, he's not verbal enough to fully understand the breadth of his problems enough to communicate them aloud. We figured they would send us to literature, so we're seeking that out first. We actually went on the website for the child psych my pediatrician recommended (because her advice made me laugh-- sit by his door during tantrum-- what for two hours?, ignore them-- what and risk my entire house being completely mutilated?). 

The child psych website recommended this book: The Explosive Child 

We had that in our hands hours later via Barnes and Noble.

Elliot's almost done and I'm still reading. It basically sums up that when he starts to shut down (you can literally see his eyes close and his mind go elsewhere), that he doesn't interest being "bad", but simply doesn't have the necessary problem solving skills that most kids have innately driving their decisions. That we need to help him process through this. Essentially, this is a learning disability because he has not learned and does not possess the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and problem solving. So, me rushing him to get moving each morning for preschool at a reasonable 7:30-8:15 to get dressed and eat a granola bar is sometimes too much for him. He isn't the rush-able kid. But really, he has to be ready sooner or later because kindergarten isn't far down the road. We're learning and trying new ways to smooth transitions with him.

The biggest trick is that with a kid like him, just shutting down and telling him no for things he desires or views as the correct solution isn't the answer. It's all about trying to understand his brain and help him process through the why of how the world works. I hate that he isn't the type of kid that can just be read the law. That would be too easy. Instead, I fear we will be looked at by outsiders as a weak parents who allow our kid to "get what he wants", when in reality normal parenting tactics just don't work for him. I do believe he wants to be good. He can be the biggest sweetheart. The book is also helping us take his behavior less personally (i.e. What did I do wrong?) and see him as not as much of a punk 3yo, but someone who is lacking the ability to process through problem-solving.

It feels like we've left the soft parenting stage and entered the real deal here. Not that every age isn't impressionable and creating a foundation, but this stage being one that is crucial to really set things into motion. Healthy eating, literacy exposure, hugs and kisses aside. This is active parenting.

It's easier to see things in perspective after the fact, but during his fit where I insisted he get moving on picture day last Thursday? That he simply wake up and put on some freaking clothes (I had him pick out the night before sensing an issue might arise) and threatening that I was leaving which then resulted in him running outside and stripping all of his clothes off in the driveway on a 30-degree morning and ultimately was dragged into school unwillingly dressed in mismatched clothes he reluctantly allowed me to put on him?

Not so easy to gain perspective. These are going to be some interesting years ahead.

We probably won't be investing in those spring pictures.