In my constant desire to get food on the table, I seek out recipes that sound yummy and are relatively healthy. I also look for things which are easy to cook and do not require hard to find ingredients. One of my favorite places to get recipes is from the Splendid Table. I hardly get to listen to the show anymore, but I still stay in touch through newsletters and twitter. Recently a recipe for Chickpea Sloppy Joes came through; as I scanned the recipe, I almost started to drool. All of my criteria were met; plus, the recipe promised only five minutes of prep time. I have learned the hard way that it takes me longer to prep than most recipe recommendations; I am a slow chopper. As I was cooking this recipe, I also realized that I get interrupted a lot. I had to stop to feed the baby, play with the preschooler, or take a nap while I could :) What was supposed to be five minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cooking, ended up taking me most of the night. I am still counting it for the Getting Food on the Table Resolution because Partner and I did eat it for dinner. The food was so yummy and still held up the delicious flavor the next day.
Two things I would love suggestions or ideas for how to improve: (1) How do you power through a recipe with little ones under foot? I try to get the kids to help, but I am nervous about chopping near my daughter as she tends to get into everything. (2) How do you chop faster?
Dear Little Mister:
On January 11, 2013, your dad and I went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday. Your sister was spending time with one of her favorite people. Your aunt was in labor and we were excited for the arrival of our nephew. We were also hopeful because I had not gotten my period yet (we will talk more about how babies are made and where they come from later) and were hoping that I was pregnant. We came home to your sister happily asleep. We were hanging out on the couch and then heard our nephew arrived. We were so excited to welcome the new addition! Even though it was his day, we wanted to extend the baby fever and I took a pregnancy test. We were thrilled that it was positive and when we looked up the due date and found out that it was the day before our daughter's birthday, we laughed. We decided to wait to tell people so that our nephew could enjoy being the new baby for awhile.
A year later, we returned to the same restaurant. Instead of being seated in the romantic couple section, we were in the family area that was bustling with the noise of excited kids and filled with bright lights. You were asleep in your car seat for almost the entire meal. Your sister was home with her favorite baby sitter. We had all celebrated your cousin's birthday earlier in the day. We marveled at what a difference a year makes. At the start of my journey to meet you, I had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead. In a year where my self-esteem took a lot of hits, your arrival and existence is a shining star.
I am so glad to be your mom for many reasons; the one that I keep returning to over the past few weeks is that I am thankful for the chance to go through the newborn and infant stages again as I know how quickly they pass. I have said some version of this in almost every letter I have written and sorry for being repetitive. Even with that knowledge, I must confess that I sometimes feel hopeless and frustrated with long nights and exhausting days. Even at my worst, you still fill me with gladness with your sweet smile and contagious laugh. Here are some of my favorite things about you and the last month:
- You have started smiling when you see me, your dad, and sister. We just enter a room and you light up. Your dad especially seems to have an incredible super power.
- As I am preparing to nurse you, you sometimes slam into my breast as if to say, "Let's get this show on the road." You will sometimes open your mouth wide and go for my nipple which does make latching easier.
- You are drooling A LOT and enjoying putting your fingers in your mouth. You stick your fingers into your mouth and then look at your hands like, "You are AMAZING!"
- When your sister reads you a book, sings, or tells you a story, you seem to pay full attention. Sometimes, she says, "Look at that smile" to which you grin bigger and then my heart expands.
- You appreciate my performances. One of my dream jobs is to be a 90s rap artist. There are many reasons that this dream is not being fulfilled, among them is that the 90s are over. I still want to nurture that skill and I am supposed to be talking with you a lot during the day. I have taken to performing for you when we are home alone. You are such a good audience. You smile and laugh at my enhanced lyrics and what I regard as my stellar dance moves.
- You are starting to sleep through the night. While this is still not a regular occurrence, I am deeply appreciating a glimpse into the future with more sleep.
- We have been practicing having you sleep in your sister's room with mixed results. You alternate between the crib in the room you share with your sister (in theory because we have not really put up any decorations for you and all the signs of your existence in that room are in the crib) and the pack and play which is in the guest room. The most exciting and (a little) sad part about these changes is that you are no longer in the bassinet. We also had to take the napper out of the pack and play, so that you have more room to stretch.
- When you are concentrating or looking intently, you look like your grandfather. It is still surprising and startling to see a picture of you and look at your face and see my dad. Your dad says that he sees his grandfather in you as well. One of my favorite things about kids is how you connect us to our families in surprising ways.
Finally, I want you to know that I admire your courage. You are so brave in social situations. Over the past month, we have gone to baby book times, birthday parties, and people's homes. Each time, I have anticipated that you are going to be shy and just want to snuggle. Instead, you surprise me both with how energized you become and your desire to watch everything. At your well child visit, the doctor was impressed with how attentive you were as we discussed your progress. The nervousness I have in some social situations or trying something new gets diminished when I am with you. Being your mom makes me feel empowered.
You are so small and yet are truly mighty.
I love you!
I am not quick enough with the camera to capture all the precious and funny moments as they happen. Plus, the Little One and the Little Mister have a habit of immediately stopping whatever they were doing as soon as they seen anything resembling a camera aimed in their direction. I know that there is a lesson in needing to be fully present and appreciate the moment without feeling anxious about trying to capture it, but I would really love some cute/sweet pictures!
As her personality continues to develop, we have noticed that the Little One can be pretty mean and rude. We are constantly working with her to use her words and listen. It is exhausting. One of the hardest things to manage is how she can be horrible and within two minutes will say something super sweet. In those hard moments, I want to try to remember the funny kind things she has done to help me stay calm.
Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:
Little One is obsessed with getting her hair done. Her favorite hairstyle is putting her hair up in two buns. The other day she said, "I have two cute buns!"
This morning, we were having a battle of wills over her needing to sit still so I could do her hair; I left her alone until she was ready to listen. When I came back into her room, she said, "Thank you for being nice to me."
The Little Mister is starting to use a bouncy chair more. The Little One likes to sit in front of him and chat with him. This morning, she was reciting the entire plot to the book, "Llama Llama time to share."
The Little One has been helping us give baths to the Little Mister. She is noticing differences in their bodies. She pointed to his penis and asked what it was; we told her it was a penis. She asked if she had one and we said no. Then, she was deep in thought. She started asking if various people had a penis. After we had gone through a lot of people, she said:
"Mommy, I do not have a penis."
I said, "That is right"
She shrugged and said, "I don't need one."
The Little One also really wants to have a birthday party; she invites people to the party regularly. One of her favorite activities is to plan the menu. At our last party planning session, she said that she wanted to have chocolate cake, cupcakes, ice cream, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bagels, masaman curry, and some green curry for Daddy.