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Breakfast, sweets

8 Apr

Ok, so here is the situation. Baby Bilbo eats when he wants and finds something he really likes. For instance, he loves breakfast. Pancakes, he’ll eat a prodigious amount. His normal breakfast is two instant packets of maple brown sugar oatmeal. Or a big bowl of Kashi cereal.

But there are days, a few a week, when I take him out, and on these days he eats banana bread, or muffins. We’re big on muffins. Yesterday (a Sunday) he ate some banana bread, some oatmeal, some cookie, some apple, some apple cider, some cashews, some chicken cutlet, some chicken broth with ABC pasta, some blueberry muffin.

Is this, I ask, too much sweets? I genuinely do agree with wife that I’m the culprit here, and it is mostly true that he doesn’t eat veggies. But I also just don’t know how much is too much, when to be all ‘meh’ and when to worry that we’re inculcating bad habits.

Plus, Jules always makes us (well, me) look bad by eating raw carrots and such. The healthiest thing ours will eat is lentil soup.

So seriously, should I even give a crap? I’m not going to put spinach in cupcakes or other silliness, but I can certainly cut back the baked goods baked into papa-baby rituals..

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Curious behavior

14 Mar

The last few days, Brooklyn Baby has begun to manifest some weird behavior. This morning, at like 6am, he started coughing, then started crying, “mommy!’ Kind of soft, kind of crying, interspersed with a bit of sleep and a bit of coughing. I finally got up to get him at 6:30, whereupon he seemed…mad? He was fine once I got him up and changed his diaper. But then he sat on the floor, crying and kind of unresponsive. Not sick, no fever. I suspect psychological origins.

Actually, my hypothesis is that he wanted water at 6am, but then felt a little betrayed that we didn’t get it for him (well, there’s also the perennial hypothesis that he’s 2). So he was a little resentful. This is kind of new behavior for us.

Last night at dinner, he wouldn’t touch the pumpkin ravioli or the vegetables, and sat crying and crying, and crying and crying (I want cheesy rigatoni! I want chicken! I want yogurt!). We had been edging towards a harder-line stance for some time, but last night we sort of hit a ‘No, this is your dinner. Like it or lump it.” When I finally went to start his bath without him eating anything, he took a bite of ravioli, then spit it out.

We responded with a sort-of spontaneous “Wow! Look at that! You tried it! Great! Woo-hoo!” and then gave him some chicken cutlet (which he calls Chicken Parm and will eat happily). I mean, we do want him to try stuff, and I have been a pushover about food. But I somehow ended up with a feeling like the US experience in Afghanistan: declare victory and go home.

Anyhow, it feels like baby’s psychological wants and needs are becoming more…interesting.

Sunday supper, the first

22 Oct

As part of my New Year’s resolutions this year (2012! Woot!), I wanted to try hosting ‘Sunday Suppers’, a quarterly event where I would make food, we would have a bunch of people over early-ish on Sunday evening, and we would sup and laugh and kinwork the hell out of the place. It would be a new iteration on our Wednesday Night Movie Nights, which we used to host back in the day.

Of course, I did not manage to do this, over 10 months this year. But this past Sunday, we did indeed host one. I thought I would invite a handful of our friends at a time, hoping that some if not all would come. This time I invited eight friends, with a bunch of their kids – if everyone came, we would have a dozen or more people in our (tiny) apartment. I have in mind to eventually invite everyone we know, but it might take a while.

Naturally, just about everyone bowed out, due to scheduling or unexpected events. We ended up with our old neighbors and their two little ones.

The food went off beautifully. Herbed bibb lettuce salad (Boston bibb lettuce, salted a bit, and tossed with a generous handful of herbs – tarragon, parsley, chives, a bit of thyme – and a shallot vinaigrette). Beef short rib stew (Brown the ribs on three sides in a big lidded pot, with some olive oil, in batches. Remove. Sautee some diced carrots, a couple roughly chopped onions, a tied-up bundle of thyme, chives, parsley, all until a bit brown. Remove. Pour in 1/2 bottle or more of red wine, and reduce by 2/3. Add back in meat, vegetables. Add in chopped tomatoes from a big can, with or without juice, a roghly diced head of garlic, a lot of salt, some pepper. Maybe toss in a big peel of orange. Fill up to the top of the meat with broth of some sort. Stir. Put on the lid, and cook in a 325 degree oven for 2-4 hours, until the meat is soft). Roasted broccoli (salt, pepper, olive oil, cooked on a tray at 375-400 degrees until browned and as soft as you like it).

We also had two kinds of ice cream that I made, salted caramel and chocolate. They were the best things eaten.

All of this is a prelude to what I wanted to talk about, which is about small children and adults eating dinner. Our ideal practice is that baby sits at the table and eats what we eat. Sometimes, if we eat beef stew with bread, he can eat just the bread and that’s fine. Plan B is to do this, but if he doesn’t eat, to give him yogurt or fruit at the end of dinner, which he normally will eat. Plan C is to make something separate for him that is easy (some pasta with just cheese, or tuna fish). In almost all of these plans, he has to sit at the table until we are done, or basically done eating.

In practice, we hover between plan A and plan B, and it is much more often me who is willing to move towards plans B and C. This is surprising for both of us, frankly. We kind of thought I would be the hardass. But alas, I’m a bit of the pushover. Or at least we take turns being the softie.

But our neighbors, they let the kids play in the middle of dinner, if they didn’t want the salad but were waiting for the meat course. I am not judging here, I swear, particularly because they have two kids, one of whom doesn’t eat that well, and if they want to do whatever they want, goddess bless ’em. However, this made it impossible for us to execute our ‘ass in the chair’ policy. And what a difference it made for Brooklyn Babe! Baby had a mini-meltdown, presumably from the stress of having people playing with his toys, and not really having the run of house, combined with the unwillingness of mama and papa to actually play with him during dinner.

All was forgiven when we all came together as a family to gorge ourselves on ice cream. But wow this eating thing is a minefield.

House is now back in order, the bathroom is clean, and there are some leftovers in the freezer. It’s too soon to contemplate another Sunday supper quite yet, but I’m going to call it a qualified success.

Cracked the pasta barrier

17 Sep

A mixed blessing, true, but baby just wouldn’t eat pasta until now. Until the rigatoni with Brussels sprouts, bacon, and cheese. Erev Rosh Hashana indeed.

Of course, he didn’t actually eat the sprouts or bacon, but we will take it as a hopeful sign.

Cookie cookie cookie starts with ‘c’

7 Aug

What has two thumbs and made cookies this weekend? THIS GUY!!

12 for ’12 – Vanilla

12 Jan

One of my projects for this year is to make homemade vanilla extract. The process is simple (vanilla beans sit in a neutral alcohol until their flavor is, well, extracted), but it takes about 6 months for the vanilla to extract fully. No time like the present!

I’m making three different kinds. Normally, vanilla extract is made with vodka since it is about as neutral as you can get. So there is vodka. But I’m also making vanilla extracted into rum, and bourbon. Without further ado, here is Day 1:

See you in 6 months, my pretties. Baby mama is going to design some labels, I think we’re tentatively calling it Sweet B’s Vanilla (suggestions welcome, I’m not in the least bit convinced by that name). Our tentative tag line is ‘he may be vanilla but he’s not plain’.

Solid foods

8 Jan

Baby is starting to eat solid foods now, for reals you know, and it’s pretty amusing. I would say that about 15% of the time, he’s going to eat something that’s a little too big for his mouth/throat and throw up the whole lot of it, but about 85% of the time, he’s tossing it down. On the suggestion of baby mama’s Boston friends (whut whut to Boston!), we started him with frozen waffles, just to let him gnaw on the things. I had been feeding him out of hand for a while now, fruits mostly, but this was the first time we would just give him a big handful of food and let him chomp on it for a while.

We never went for the munchkin pack or it’s kin, that thing seems too sad to me (and this user’s submitted photo really confirms it for me).

Puffs are big in our household now, as are animal crackers (yep, Hatsengater’s, the crazy-ass Chinese ones that are shapeless but for the animal written on the cracker…’Zebra’ says one blob, ‘Snake’ says another equally shapeless one). These are treaty-treat-treats. Today we gave the little one some pizza. The thought was to cut it up small-like, but in the end, it worked tons better to give him the crust-side of a slice, with some pizza still on it. Man, too cute. And grapes, we quarter them, and he slurps them down as fast as he can get his grubby little paws on them. Anyhow, life is coming fast and hard for the little man. This week, I’m making chicken parmesan, we’ll see how that goes.

At the end of the day, the ongoing question of ‘bite-sized pieces he can’t choke on’ versus ‘big pieces he can grasp and gnaw/chew on’ has not yet been resolved. I know, gripping.