Archive for the ‘Parenthood’ Category

Evolution of a Bed

We decided it was time to get Milo out of his crib and into a toddler bed.  For some families, this change can be traumatic because the child has a hard time transitioning into the larger bed.  For our family, the drama came with the actual bed itself.

Blake is a very spatial person and things need to fit well in his living space.  We’d seen the IKEA Kura bed at a friend’s house and we liked how it could be elevated to allow more play space underneath.  We also liked that it was a full twin-sized bed and that Milo could grow up with it, rather than outgrow a toddler-sized bed in a few years.  I was a little iffy about the elevated bed at Milo’s age, but Blake felt confident Milo could adjust fairly quickly.

When we saw the bed in the store, it was configured as pictured in the link, with the ladder on the left and the play space opening up to the left.  We needed the bed to be configured in the opposite way, with the ladder and the play space opening up to the right side.  In Milo’s room, there’s really only one spot for his bed, because of the mural and the optimum feng shui for the room.  If the bed wasn’t configured correctly, it wasn’t going to work.  But Blake was sure IKEA would be smart enough to design the bed to be assembled with flexible configurations, so we went ahead and bought the bed.

When we got the bed home, we started running into some problems.  It turns out the bed could not be configured in the way we needed.  We mulled over rearranging the room, but decided we really liked the current arrangement.  So Blake decided to pull out his drill and hack the bed into the correct configuration.

Then we found that the bed covered up more of the mural than I liked.  I spent a lot of time painting the mural while I was pregnant and I didn’t like that it was getting covered it.  (See post Baby Registry for photo of me preggers in front of mural, based on a silkscreen by my friend, the artist Nancy Hom.)

before hacking, covering mural

So Blake decided, since he was already modifying the bed, he would hack off a foot from the length of the bed.  This, of course, required pulling out the table saw and cutting the pressboard as well as the beams.  The mattress was foam and could easily be cut down to size.  We just had to tuck the sheets underneath and it would look just dandy.

after hacking, mural intact

It’s not a full twin, but the size seems more appropriate for Milo.  Plus, he’ll still be able to fit in it for several years to come, though maybe not through high school.  That’s okay.  He’ll probably want a bigger bed by the time he hits puberty.

Here is the completed bed:

completed bed, version 2.0

Milo loved his new bed.  He could barely go to sleep, he was shrieking, “New bed!  New bed!”  He loved trying to climb the ladder (which he could do with assistance) and he loved playing underneath the bed (dubbed “The Tunnel!”) and he loved being elevated on his new bed.

Most of you must be thinking, is it safe to have such a little guy elevated that high?  Yes, well, the first few nights, Daddy placed a piece of plywood over the ladder opening to keep the kid from falling out.  And in full disclosure, Mommy ended up sleeping with Milo those first nights.  It was a little awkward climbing up into that thing, but I managed.  After a few days of new bed, version 2.0, Daddy had to catch Milo from tumbling off the side.  Then Daddy starts thinking about hacking the bed even further to build and attach a pipe railing on the sides to keep Milo from falling out.   He’d have to get PVC pipe and make handles and figure out how to attach them to the wooden beams…

So I say, “Why don’t we just flip the bed over?”  IKEA designed the bed to be reversible, so that it could be elevated or not.

Daddy doesn’t think Milo will go for that because he loves being elevated and he loves the play area underneath, aka. The Tunnel.  But Daddy agrees to try it.  “We’ll see what Milo thinks.”

This is what Milo thinks:

New bed, version 2.1

Great climbing structure AND safe.  Milo is happy, which makes Daddy happy, and Mommy is happy too.  Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.

As for Milo’s adjustment to the big bed, he’s done surprisingly well.  He’s fallen off the bed only once.   It’s also nice that Mommy can snuggle up with him sometimes in the new bed (and not have to climb up the ladder).  Hopefully he doesn’t outgrow the snuggling too soon.

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Missing Daddy

Blake is in Africa for a month.  He’s building a school in South Sudan.  (You can read his updates from the field on Rebuild Sudan’s blog.)  He’s been away almost two weeks now and I’m adjusting to single motherhood. Exhausted.  Single parents are saints, I tell you.

Overall, Milo is doing okay with Daddy’s absence, but he’s definitely not the same.  On the day Blake left, we took Daddy to the airport and said goodbye.  Milo didn’t understand what was going on until that afternoon, when he looked for Daddy in every room in the house, but couldn’t find him.  It was a distressing moment.  Daddy, one of Milo’s most important objects of permanence, was no longer here.

Now, Milo won’t let me leave his sight.  Friends and family had lined up to help during this month of Blake’s absence, but having someone else babysit has been traumatic for Milo.  Previously, he’s been okay as long as he was familiar with the person babysitting him.  (The one exception has been my mother, but that’s for another post.  Tiger Grandmother, anyone?)  Last week, a friend was watching Milo so that I could go to a yoga class.  It was the mom of one of Milo’s playmates, someone he saw a few times a week.  Thirty minutes after dropping him off (and 10 minutes into the yoga class), I got the call: Milo is freaking out.

In general, Milo is definitely more sensitive than he was when Daddy was around.  Previously, he was pretty easy going.  Other moms noted that he didn’t even cry when he fell down.  He would just pick himself up and keep going.  Now, he’s much more prone to weepy outbursts.  Falling, tripping, moments of frustration normal to toddlerhood–any of these now set him off.  And it may be something in my reaction too that feeds his sensitivity.  I’m perhaps a bit too eager to pick him up and hug him these days.  Who knows?

One thing I’ve noticed is Milo’s increased attachment to Baby, his doll.  (See previous post, A Doll for Milo.)  Before Daddy left, Milo would hang onto Baby only around naps and bedtime.  Now he carries Baby around everywhere.  He wants to take him to the store, to visit friends, to the sand box, to potty.  Today, he even wanted to bring Baby into the shower.  Baby has become a new object of permanence.  But he can’t replace Daddy!

Blake does call when he can and Milo enjoys listening to Daddy’s voice over the phone.  We did managed to skype once.  Milo kept kissing Daddy’s face on the computer screen.  In the meantime, we’re keeping busy, doing fun things: lots of play dates, bowling, a trip to Boston’s Children Museum, Milo’s first parade.  We will be visiting friends who live on a farm this week.  Next week, Grandma comes for a visit.  We’re so proud of Blake and all his work building this school in Sudan.  But if Milo could count, he’d be counting the days until Daddy comes home.

Milo and Baby at the Memorial Day parade in Nashua, NH.

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I had to run a quick errand at Rite Aid this afternoon and I took Milo.  On my shopping list: shampoo and body wash for Blake. (Yes, Blake likes body wash.  He also likes that little poufy thing that comes with body wash.  That’s another story.)  Since Milo is walking and loves exploring, I thought it would be fine for him to run around the drug store.  I gave him his own shopping basket to carry around.  As long as I kept an eye on him, he would be fine, I thought.

I was wrong.

Milo did love running around the store.  Everything was so bright and colorful and shiny.  He selecting the following for his shopping basket:

4 pairs of sunglasses

1 bottle Revlon blue nail polish

1 jar American Crew Molding Clay for hair

1 bottle American Crew Light Holding Gel

1 bottle American Crew Grooming Spray

1 bottle Cover Girl orange nail polish

5 boxes of Calgon gift sets in Ocean Breeze scent

1 jumbo bottle Paul Mitchell shampoo, Lavender Mint

2 jumbo bottles Rite Aid body lotion

2 jumbo bottles Vaseline body lotion

1 bottle Calgon body mist, Ocean Breeze

1 bottle Calgon, body mist, Morning Glory

1 set Calgon body mist, sample pack of five refreshing scents

Mommy got a good workout putting things back on the shelves, including re-installing a glass shelf that Milo had knocked over.  I wonder if I’m inadvertently training my child to be a consumer.  Our family budget is very tight, so I’m always trying to look for deals and save money, or even DIY for some basic toiletries.  (I wash my hair with baking soda.)  But beyond the economic reasons, I don’t really like the idea of teaching Milo to buy stuff and throw stuff away and then buy more stuff.  It’s irresponsible.  We  American consumers live such entitled, spoiled lives.

Can’t wait to take the kid to Costco.

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A Doll for Milo

I’ve been struck by how distinctly gender roles are defined in baby stuff.  Clothes are definitely geared for girls; the choices for boys are mostly limited to sports or transportation themes: footballs, baseballs, fire trucks, etc.  The same goes for toys: cars and trains for boys, dolls and clothes for girls.  Blue for boys, pink for girls.

I am trying to be conscious about what messages this early gender marketing is sending to Milo.  It’s okay to wear blue, but not pink.  You’re expected to be athletic and like sports.  Boys like cars, but girls don’t.  Why?  Why send these messages to our children?  What’s the point?  In an era where the definitions of masculinity and femininity are fluid and evolving, why box our children into their gender roles at such a tender age?

Blake likes to think of himself as a “sensitive New-Age guy,” not your stereotypical man.  He is especially sensitive to how societal pressures may squash Milo from being himself.  In addition to the cars and blocks in Milo’s toy stash, Blake suggested we get Milo a doll.  This would encourage his nurturing side, he explained.  Milo had recently learned the word “baby.”  He’d been pointing out pictures of babies, or even photos of himself, and chanting, “Bay-bee! Bay-bee!”  Now would be an opportune time to introduce a doll.

It was unlikely we’d find an appropriate doll at Toys R Us, however.  Blake wanted a doll that was plain, with small features.  Such a doll would be like a blank canvas that would allow Milo to use his imagination to create its personality.  This idea comes from Waldorf teaching philosophy.  (In a past life, Blake had considered training as a Waldorf teacher.  Sensitive New-Age guy.)  A simple, small or no-featured doll made sense to me too.  However, most of the dolls on the market already had their personality, pre-stamped by Disney.

So I decided I would knit a doll for Milo.  I consider myself an advanced intermediate knitter and I thought knitting a small doll for Milo would not be too difficult.  I knit this:

It took me a little longer than I had anticipated, partly because I had to make a lot of little decisions: size, color, what kind of yarn, hair, etc.  “Milo’s Baby” is machine washable, complete with belly button.

One morning, we left Milo’s Baby in his room, in a spot where we knew he would find it.  Milo declared, “Baby!” and seemed to know exactly what to do with his doll.  He gave it a hug.

We’ll see whether giving Milo a doll will break open the gender role boundaries for him.  Milo has been both nurturing and ambivalent towards Baby.  He finds it convenient to carry Baby around by his hair.  One day, his hands were full so he decided kicking Baby down the hall was the most efficient way of transporting him.  But one night, Milo sat in the rocking chair and rocked Baby to sleep in his arms.  Then he pointed to the crib.  Daddy put Milo and Baby to bed together and they both slept through the night without a peep.

Knitting pattern for Milo’s Baby can be found at Wee Folk Art.  This is a great website for making all sorts of Waldorf type toys.  You know, for the sensitive New-Age guys in your life.

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Spilled Cheddar Bunnies

Yesterday, my dear little boy did this:

He poured out almost a full box of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies on the floor.  Oops.

I was reminded of a story a friend told me years ago.  Her first child, who was then about the same age as Milo is now, had gotten into the flour pot and spilled flour all over the kitchen.  The little girl had flour all over her face and hair and she had made a big mess.  As my friend was telling this story, I would have thought she might react with annoyance at having to clean up after her baby.  Instead, she said, “Oh, well!” and let her daughter continue to play with the flour.  She figured the deed had already been done and she might as well let her daughter play in the flour.  She could clean up later.

I remember this story struck me because I admired my friend’s sense of humor and grace in this situation.  It would do no good to freak out and yell at the baby, who was just innocently curious.  And since the mess had already been made, you might as well let the baby explore and have fun.

So when Milo poured out the Cheddar Bunnies, I stifled my urge to say “Uh-oh!” and grabbed the camera instead.

It was great fun for about 20 minutes or so.  And afterward, Milo helped me clean up!

I get the feeling we’ll be finding Cheddar Bunnies in strange places for the next few weeks.  But it was worth it.

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It’s been a very long winter here in New Hampshire and it’s still going.  Yesterday, I posted a link on facebook from Merrimack Valley Moms about indoor activities for kids with cabin fever.  My friend Angela commented on the link: “Corn starch and water.  All you need.”

This reminded me that I had come across a recipe for finger paints that used corn starch, water, and food coloring.  So this morning, I decided to wing it with the corn starch.  I mixed up the corn starch and water to consistency of gravy.  This didn’t work terribly well.  The corn starch kept gooping up at the bottom of the bowl.  But I didn’t have time to actually look up the recipe, so I went with what I had.  I divided the goop up into 2 bowls and added food coloring: blue and yellow.  Milo was fascinated.

Ingredients for fun?

This didn’t really work as finger paint, but it did work for bright colored goop that Milo liked playing with.  I spread butcher paper on the table and let him go.  He had fun dipping sticks and spoons and hands into it and smearing it everywhere.  He took my silicone turkey baster and used it as a paint brush.  He drank a little of it.  He experimented dropping some blue into the yellow and created green.  This occupied him for almost a full hour, which is an eternity in toddler time.

This stuff is cool

I like that I didn’t have to police Milo with the goop.  He could make as big a mess as he wanted, waste as much goop as he wanted, play with mixing colors, throw it across the room, etc.   It was an opportunity for him to play, which is how babies learn.  After it was all done–meaning when the colored goop was emptied out of the bowls onto the table, the floor, and Milo–clean up was easy.  The goop dried up into splotches that easily wiped away with water.  They looked like those sugared dot candy that you peel off strips of paper.  Maybe I stumbled on the recipe for sugared dots?

When I looked up the recipe for finger paints, I had gotten it wrong.  You’re supposed to use corn starch and dishwashing liquid or shampoo.  I’ll try that recipe some time, but this one was pretty fun too.

Basic color theory: blue + yellow = green

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Tiger Motherhood

This essay, Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,  came across my facebook newsfeed and pretty much gave me post-traumatic stress.   This essay is an excerpt from the soon-to-be published book, The Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua.  The article recounts Ms. Chua’s own parenting philosophy, contrasting the Chinese parent and the Western parent.  There is a particularly harrowing scene in which Ms. Chua, trying to help her daughter master a piece on the piano, tries to “motivate” her daughter by calling her “lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent, and pathetic.”

If I had a dime for every time my mother called me “lazy,” “undisciplined,” or “stupid.”  Her favorite phrase was, “What’s wrong with you?”  She was trying to “motivate” me too.  Intellectually, I know she did so out of love.  She wanted me to succeed so that I would be accomplished and financially secure in America, and accomplishments and financial security is what she equated with happiness.  Intellectually, I understand why my mother parented in this way.  But emotionally, I have always felt unworthy of my own mother’s love.  This has made me feel unworthy of love in general, an insecurity which has plagued my friendships, relationships, self-esteem, and marriage.  In so many ways, I have failed my mother’s expectations of me.  I was not very good at piano, I did not become a doctor, I didn’t marry a doctor or even someone I could call a sugar daddy.  As a writer, I am far from financially secure.  And now, as I am a mother myself, my mother can be critical of how I mother my own child.  It never ends.

I’m far from alone.  Most of us who have Chinese mothers can relate.  The top comment on the New York Time Motherlode column is this, from “Catie”:

I was raised by a Chinese mother like Ms. Chua, with the added “bonus” of frequent and harsh corporal punishment.

The postitive side of this style of parenting: I have a couple of advanced degrees and a faculty position at a prestigious University. I own a home and am financially stable.

The negative side of this style of parenting: I have no emotional connection to either of my parents and I was greatly relieved when my mother passed away. I moved thousands of miles away from my father to get away from a man who stood idle while a small child was beaten, degraded, and humiliated. I have stayed in abusive relationships because I have an unhealthy threshold for mistreatment– it’s easy to minimize bad behavior when my own mother treated me even worse in the name of love.

Is it worth it? My parents would probably say that it was, and that academic/financial success, social prestige, and family honor outweigh any of the emotional and psychological consequences. I disagree.

Needless to say, Ms. Chua’s essay struck a chord with many.  It recalls some primal defenses many of us developed against a barrage of criticism, of growing up in a household where love was withheld unless you performed perfectly.  Mine is a generation of Asian American adults that collectively struggles with the collateral damage of what the essay calls Chinese parenting.  We vow not to do the same with our own children, but we have no models of how to do it better.

To be fair, as I read through the essay, I did not get the sense that Ms. Chua was actually advocating for “Chinese parenting.”  (I put this term in quotations because I am loathe to generalize all Chinese parents.)  I thought the essay was an attempt to shed light on the differing parenting philosophies and how each of them find the other equally horrific.  Westerners would call “Chinese parenting” borderline abusive.  Chinese would call “Western parenting” undisciplined and self-indulgent, a failure to prepare a child for survival in the big, bad uber-competitive world.  Westerners value self-confidence and critical thinking and individuality to make one’s dreams come true.  Chinese value honoring the family and the ancestors through tradition and virtue.

My husband is a Westerner who can trace his lineage back to the Mayflower and he was raised with a fairly Beaver Cleaver childhood.  His mother is the sweetest person ever and he calls her several times a week.  They can talk for hours.   But, quite frankly, my husband, with his Beaver Cleaver upbringing, has as many dysfunctional issues as an adult as I do.  Even his mother would say so.

Of course, my husband had a visceral reaction to Ms. Chua’s essay.  He couldn’t stop talking about how wrong she was and trying to poke holes in her argument.

“Argument?”  I said.  “I don’t think she’s trying to argue for anything.”

“But she titled the essay, ‘Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.'”

“Hm,” I said.  “I highly doubt she chose that title herself.”

I know a thing or two about publishing and I know the writer doesn’t always get full control of how his or her material is marketed.  A headline like “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” is designed to get people to read it.  I suspected the essay itself may have been edited to create buzz/interest/outrage about the upcoming book.  Nothing helps book sales better than controversy.

It turns out I was right.  A few days after the essay was published in the Wall Street Journal, Jeff Yang, who writes the AsianPop column in the San Francisco Chronicle actually read Ms. Chua’s book and interviewed her for his column, which he entitled “Mother, Superior?” From the article:

Apparently, it [the essay] had been edited without her [Chua’s] input, and by the time she saw the version they intended to run, she was limited in what she could do to alter it.

“I was very surprised,” she says. “The Journal basically strung together the most controversial sections of the book. And I had no idea they’d put that kind of a title on it. But the worst thing was, they didn’t even hint that the book is about a journey, and that the person at beginning of the book is different from the person at the end — that I get my comeuppance and retreat from this very strict Chinese parenting model.”

Because of the Wall Street Journal essay, Ms. Chua has received a firestorm of criticism from the public, accusing her of being a horrible mother, “wrong,” “a monster,” “pathetic.”   (Hm, criticism not unlike that from a Chinese mother.)  But it seems the publicity is doing its part.   Discussion of Ms. Chua’s “excerpt” has been on the Today Show, NPR, The Huffington Post, and all over the blogosphere.  Advance book sales of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother have been through the roof.  Unfortunate how Ms. Chua’s reputation has to be sacrificed for the business of publishing.

My mother did cut out a copy of “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” and gave it to me, two days after I had already read it online.  She probably read it as a justification for her parenting style.  I get it, I want to say to her.  You did it out of love.  But the damage has been done.  I don’t tell her this, of course, because my mother has never listened to me, as much as I’ve tried and keep trying.  On this occasion, it’s too much emotional energy to spend on a talking to a deaf ear.

My relationship with my parents is strained at best and we will probably never be “close,” the way many Western families tell each other everything and can talk for hours.  As much as I wish things were different, I don’t really blame my parents for their shortcomings.  They didn’t know any other way of parenting.  They had Chinese mothers too.

I will write more about this, I’m sure.  As Flannery O’Connor said, anyone who survives childhood should have enough to write about for a lifetime.

My mother and me, circa 1972

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Milo turned 1

on November 30th!


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Composting Diapers

Being a good, conscientious liberal, I was torn between disposable and cloth diapers for Milo. Daddy is clearly a convenience guy when it comes to diapers and he convinced me to go with disposables when Milo was first born. There were all these changes in our life, nighttime feedings, hormonal changes, no sleep, etc., why make more work for ourselves? Go with the disposables. I agreed at the time, but every week, when I lugged a big bag of used diapers to the transfer station, I feel my liberal guilt weigh me down. All that shit goes to the landfill. All that shit from my one little baby. Wow.

So when Milo was six months old, a friend lent me some cloth diapers to give it a trial run. Prefolds and diaper covers, pocket diapers, al-in-ones. It turned out to be less scary than I had thought; even Daddy had to admit it wasn’t so bad. By this time, Milo was pooping only once a day (as opposed to the 4-5 times a day when he was a newborn), so changing a pee diaper that was cloth was very manageable.

But the problem was laundering. Daddy (who was an environmental economics major) felt the laundering used so much water that from an environmental standpoint, it was almost as bad as shoving disposables into the landfill. I was not as convinced of this as he was, but the laundering was quite time consuming. Using disposables, we did Milo’s laundry once every 5 days or so. With the cloth diapers, we were doing laundry every other day.

The diaper system I chose was a hybrid system, which means you can use both cloth and a biodegradable/flushable insert in the diapers. During the day, we use cloth, but at night, we use the flushable insert because they are much more absorbent. However, since we have a septic system, it’s not possible to actually flush the insert down our toilets. Bummer. It is, however, possible to compost the diapers. (The pee ones, at least. The poopy ones are much more complicated. We just toss those, but since we’re using the inserts only at night, they’re typically not poopy.)

layer of diapers on the compost pile

So a few weeks ago, we build a compost pile and threw in five months’ worth of pee diapers. I’d been keeping the pee diapers in a big paper bag on our porch. We mixed the diapers in with layers of mulched dead leaves, kitchen waste, and soil. We used the compost recipe from How to Grow More Vegetables, by John Jeavons, which calls for 45% mature organic material (like dead leaves), 45% immature organic material (like kitchen waste), and 10% soil.

I had been storing up my kitchen waste for several months and much of it already started decomposing by the time we opened it up to build our compost pile. It seemed like we ran out of kitchen waste quite quickly. But Daddy thought our diapers could be categorized as “immature organic material” because of the nitrogen in the urine, which is what you really want from “immature organic material.” So we went with that. No idea if it will work. According to the book, we should turn the compost pile once, about three weeks after we built it. After that, leaving it alone, we should have cured compost in about six months. In the springtime, we should build another pile. So we’ll see if the diapers actually do compost well and add all that nitrogen to our compost.

Milo had great fun the day we built the pile. A fall day out in the yard with Mommy and Daddy and his diapers. What could be more fun?

Composting is fun!

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Here’s the Skinny

Milo is a long, skinny baby.  He is currently 10 1/2 months old and he weighs just under 16 pounds.  He’s fallen off the growth charts.  Granted, these growth charts are predominantly Caucasian babies and Milo is half Asian.  (Asian and Latino babies tend to be smaller than Caucasian babies.)  Still, the low weight is a little disconcerting.  It’s not like he doesn’t get enough food.  In fact, he eats about 1000 calories per day in solids, plus 4-6 feedings of breastmilk.

Our pediatrician is not too concerned at the moment, as long as there is an upward trend in Milo’s weight gain, however small that might be.  Also, he is on the chart in height–currently 27 inches.  We do note that Milo is an extremely active baby and always has been.  He is constantly moving, crawling, climbing, bouncing.  Our pediatrician thinks this could account for the slow weight gain–he’s just burning off the calories faster than we can feed him.

Both grandmas think we should be spoon-feeding Milo to get more down him (see previous post on Baby Led Weaning), but we are quite confident this is not the problem.  Milo has a friend, born on the exact same day, who is also feeding himself by Baby Led Weaning and he weighs over 20 pounds.

At this point, Milo refuses to be fed by the spoon anyway.  But he still eats plenty.  A typical lunch includes the following:

Milo stuffing his face with carnitas

  • 2 slices of pear with soy butter   (188 calories)
  • 2 pieces of roast beef   (100 calories)
  • 6 chunks of sweet potato  (100 calories)
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt  (85 calories)
  • 2 slices of cantaloupe  (35 calories)
  • 4 tablespoons hummus with pita bread  (150 calories)

TOTAL  = 658 calories

That’s a big meal!

Still, because of Milo’s high metabolism, we’ve been charged with trying to feed him even more calories.  In particular, more fat.  So now we pour olive oil into his vegetables and dunk his fruit into yogurt mixed with coconut milk.  We fry up his sweet potatoes in bacon fat.  We slather butter onto his bread.  It’s a totally different diet from one we might consider “healthy.”

I’m not entirely sure the added fat will make a difference, as I note Milo eating a little less when we make his food richer.  It makes sense.  He’s used to self-regulating his food intake, so he stops when he’s satisfied.  He’s not waking up hungry every hour at night (he feeds 1-2 times at night), so that would seem to indicate he’s getting enough food and calories during the day.

Hubby and I argued over the addition of sugar to Milo’s diet.  Hubby thinks allowing some sugar would get additional calories into him.  I have been adamant about avoiding sugar.  To me, it is critical that we instill healthy eating habits in Milo early.  His palate is very sensitive at this age.  He already gets plenty of natural sugars from fruit.  Refined sugar would be like crack to a baby.

But after one discouraging weigh-in (he gained only 1/2 ounce in a week), I relented and agreed to let Hubby try some added sugar.  We went to the health food store and got some “all natural” fig newtons and some organic whole milk ice cream.  Milo seemed to take to the fig newtons fairly well and now he eats maybe two a day (for a total of 140 calories).  Hubby was particularly excited about the ice cream, loaded with both calories and fat (and sugar).

One afternoon, when I was out, Hubby fed the ice cream to Milo.  Evidently, Milo liked it a lot.  He ate spoonful after spoonful and Hubby felt quite good about feeding all those calories to his skinny baby to fatten him up.  Until about 30 minutes later.  Milo, usually fairly mellow and even-tempered, started rooting manically on Daddy’s knee.  Rooting is a combination of sucking, slobbering, and shaking his head, searching for something with his mouth.  As a newborn, Milo would root for my nipple in order to nurse.  Rooting on Daddy’s knee was an entirely futile exercise, but under the influence of ice cream, it was essential to his survival.  He was like a muppet on speed.

After this episode, Daddy agreed to lay off the ice cream.  Like crack to a baby.

Other than the weight issue, Milo is a perfectly healthy baby.  He’s meeting (and surpassing) all his developmental milestones.  Our pediatrician is not too concerned.  She doesn’t want us to freak out.  Milo could just be a small baby and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that.

I do find myself (and everyone around Milo) overly anxious about what my baby eats.  I’m sure Milo must sense this.  It is important to me that Milo develops healthy eating habits, but maybe this is more likely to happen if everyone around him just relaxes.  We’ll do our best to feed him healthy foods with his share of fats and calories.  He feeds himself quite well.  And even though he refuses to be fed by a spoon, I note with particular pride that he will–quite happily–eat off my chopsticks.

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