Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Llama llama Red Pajama

Gunnar has a new favorite book.
Llama llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney has fantastic rhyme and repetition...and since Gunnar knows some of the rhyming words he has started "reading" with us! Gunnar fills in "down", "phone" "moan" (which he picked up just because it rhymes with phone") and most of the "mamas"(there are a lot of those). He also adds sound effects like 'smooching sounds' when we read "kisses" and "La La" which is Gunnar's idea of singing when "Baby llama hums a tune."  Lately when we get to the last few pages he realizes the book is about to end and he gets upset and frantically starts turning the pages back to the beginning again...
You know it's a good book when you don't mind reading it 10 times a day! I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever get old...but I think the real joy is watching Gunnar participate.

In other news: I am so mad at myself. My dad came into town for 3 days to play with G and I did not dig out the camera once...I've been so bad about this lately. But it was an incredible and awesome weekend for G getting to spend time with his "Pa!" They played hide and seek, chase and the "drop" game all weekend. And they even enjoyed a fun trip to the Children's Museum on Sunday! When G realized "Pa" was gone today he went from room to room calling "PA!" and when I told Gunnar that Grandpa went bye bye he got super sad and cried some big crocodile tears and needed to be held and kept throwing his head on my shoulder in sadness....I'm pretty sure it was his first official heart break. So sweet...and sad at the same time.

Friday, February 24, 2012

No TV for G

Before having Gunnar I was a TV addict.
I turned it on the moment I woke up in the morning and it stayed on until I went to bed at night.
Even when I wasn't watching it...it stayed on as background noise.
This was a hard habit to break. But I'm glad I did.
By the time Gunnar turned 4 weeks old the TV has never been turned on before 6:30pm or whenever Gunnar goes to bed.
There is just so much to learn in the early stages of life...the TV will only distract. So we cut it out of our life (or at least the better part of our day). We read more...do more...it's a good thing.

This video makes a better argument than I could write about  TV and Babies.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Support Artist Mamas

You may or may not know that I have an online business through Etsy, The Happy Hoot. It's a little venture that I decided to tackle when I was six months pregnant with nothing better to do than sit, applique, and embroider the days away as I bided my time waiting for our little surprise to arrive.  Little did I know that it would become my part-time job. This little shop-that-could has allowed me to stay at home with Gunnar and live my dreams as a theater artist. Etsy is flooded with moms just like me...support us...choose unique lovingly homemade goods over commercial sameness and support fellow mamas like me.

My friend Bergen just opened up her amazing etsy shop, Lilla Barn. Support her...or read her blog...or both!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When it's cold and your bored...5 Fun Free things to do with BABY!!

When it's gloomy outside and you are trapped inside with a toddler...it might as well be snowing inside...

Here are some things we like to do together to "shake the gloom out":

1. Build a fort/tent with pillows and sheets, blankets and chairs. Play inside, read stories inside...and the best part when you're all done...(drum role please).....WRECK the TENT!!! Tear it down and LAUGH laugh laugh!

2. BAKE!! Have baby help dump ingredients in and stir...get's them interested in food that's for sure. When it's done sit down and have a hot cocoa party with your baked treats! (Think your toddler is too young? Think again: read more here)

3. Take a field trip to your local MALL! Not all malls have indoor play areas but most do...and they're free. Our favorite indoor play mall in Chicago is at Northbrook Shopping Center. They have this amazing tree house that is not only fun to play in but educational too! It's also completely enclosed with gates so you don't have to worry about your toddler sprinting off faster than you can follow.

4. LIBRARY Field trip! We are so lucky to have our local library branch right across the street. We go once a week to pick up new books, cd's and we often go to free programs offered for toddlers. We can also pick up FREE passes to Chicago museums which make for bonus FREE trips on boring cold days.


5. Dance Party/Band Jam!! This is Gunnar's favorite thing to do in the whole wide world. We crank up different kinds of music everyday...anything from Raffi to Disney to Rolling Stones to Hip Hop to Classical to Musicals...Reggae...whatever! If there's a beat we hit it...Gunnar has a drum set, shaky eggs, a tamborine and a xylophone. If he's not tapping one of those to the beat than he's bouncing, twirling, spinning or dancing his crazy hands up in the air...he'll even sing "LALALA"right along if you ask him to.  And I'm not joking when I say...we can do this for a solid hour! PARTY ON!!!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baking with Baby

So after discussing our "food issues" with my aunt who is a nutritionist, we learned a few helpful tips about "Picky Toddler Eating".

Here's what she advised:

1. Don't make eating an issue.

2. Include something that he likes in each meal or snack.

3. Do not short order cook and play to food jags. Make what you are having, put it on his tray, when he starts messing around and is done, he is done with the meal.
Very common for good eaters to become picky at his age.

4. Nursing is good.  Breast milk makes up for lots of erratic eating.

5. Remember that portion size for him would be 1 tablespoon of maybe 3 foods at a meal. *1 T. per year of age. Start with that, if he eats it and wants more, give it to him.

6. Continue to offer a variety...takes 10-15 tries before he may try a new food.

7. Don't make a big deal out of food. It's nourishment and not a power struggle. Not worth it. Kids learn so fast that two things can really tick their parents off and create power struggles...food and potty. Don't give them the power by letting yourself get angry about what they're eating or not eating.

8. Let him "help" you in kitchen....They love to stir and dump ingredients in and you would be surprised how much that increases interest in what they eat.

After utilizing this advice Gunnar has been a pro eater all week! In fact...tonight he ate CHICKEN!!! After trying "fish sticks" with much success we decided to try organic chicken nuggets to see if he would like those and they were a big hit! We've also had less throwing and playing...awesome!

But I really feel like Tip #8 was the biggest hit in this house! I don't know why I thought Gunnar (at almost 15 months) was too young to help me in the kitchen. His favorite game is to put "things" in other "things" so naturally baking has been a HOME RUN with Gunnar. I hold him while explaining the process and let him dump ingredients in the bowl. He likes to toss the empty egg shells in the sink when we're done with them, and knows that we have to wash our hands after touching the eggs. He helps me stir and joyously giggles and squeals with every new step!  



So far...Gunnar has helped me make: cupcakes, scones, and banana bread  
This has really made meal time so much more enjoyable!  Thanks Aunt Lisa... 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why eat when you can squish it?!!

I hate meal time.
No seriously. I do. My child has quickly become the pickiest eater on the planet.
I get it...I don't like to eat food that doesn't interest me either. But I don't then proceed to pick up the food and throw it all on the floor or, worse, purposefully put the food under my bum and SIT on it.
My son has an obsession with squishing food. Mostly with the foods he doesn't want to eat...but sometimes with the few foods I can actually expect him to eat.
I think it's because he'd prefer everything to come in a pureed consistency. But I mean, come on. My son currently has 10 teeth with 2 more coming in up top. He is perfectly capable of eating a proper meal, and has on rare occasion. How long should I have to give him fruits and veggies through blenderized spoonfuls? And how I wish I could just put down the bowl and spoon and let him explore feeding himself...but every time I've tried this...we end up with a bowl on our head and a guaranteed immediate trip to the bath tub. I don't have that kind of time...

So if I want him to eat I must either give him freeze dried yogurt bites, blueberries and beans or spoon feed him yogurt and pureed fruits and veggies which also end up decorating the floors and clothing of everyone in our household.

And then there is the fact that my son is clearly a vegetarian...he can't stand meat. Even when I offer him chili he will take in the spoonful eat everything else but spit out the ground turkey meat. I've tried deli meats, ground turkey and beef, beef hot dogs, popcorn chicken you name it....he refuses to touch the stuff. The ironic thing is...he'll EAT a veggie corndog, but not a real corndog. It's like he honestly detests the flavor. In fact he even turns away soups with chicken broth. So in seeking alternative proteins he occasionally accepts peanut butter spoons, hummus, yogurt (but never cheese), sometimes milk and of course the beloved bean.

Beyond those foods Gunnar will occasionally eat sweet potato fries, peas and the rare banana or cracker. But generally eating...REALLY eating takes a back seat to squishing, throwing and sitting on our favorite foods. I'm at a loss of what to do. I've tried taking away the food when he throws it...but 10 minutes later he'll sign "eat" and we sit him down to do it all over again...to him "eat" must mean "play with my food." But even when he really is eating...he's dropping food on the ground with his other hand or squishing it with his bum or smearing it in his hair.

Today after Gunnar threw all of his apples on the floor he asked for "more"...so I offered him an apple from the floor. For some reason that didn't go over too well. 

WAR...
I hate wasting food. I hate picking up squished food.
I need a TODDLER/FOOD intervention...HELP!