Sunday, November 14, 2010

Changes to Moomser

I have decided to rearrange things a little here on Moomser, Moomser Food and Moomser Baby. I’ve decided to group everything under one blog: Moomser (www.moomser.com)
I simply am not organized enough at this point in my life to maintain three separate blogs. I’ll still be writing about the same things, I’ll still be posting recipes and talking about specific child-related concerns, you’ll just find it all under Moomser along with the slightly neurotic ramblings of my sleep deprived brain. And if you’re just interested in recipes or babies you can click up top on Moomser Food and it’ll automatically select only the posts labeled food (recipes and such), or on Moomser Baby for the baby and child stuff. I hope this works for you! Any suggestions are welcome as always.
I will eventually be shutting down the separate moomserfood.blogspot and moomserbaby.blogspot accounts so if you've bookmarked anything you won't find it anymore, but it's all on moomser.com already. (phew! sorry about the confusion!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There's no such thing as baby proofing

There comes a time in every mother’s life where she has to get down on her knees and… figure out what could be dangerous for her baby. Baby-proofing your home is important, it’s vital. Literally, your child’s life could depend on it. Stores are filled with baby proofing gadgets and I’ve even heard of services that will come in and baby proof your house for you (now that would never work in Italy!). So I’m not saying you shouldn’t baby-proof. What I am saying, is that you can hire all the professionals in the world and you can spend three days at ground level trying to figure out what could harm your child, and I promise, your baby will find something dangerous anyway. Children are maddening that way. So baby proof away, cause you’ll be reducing the truly, obviously dangerous stuff, but don’t get complacent. Don’t think that your house is actually baby proof cause no house ever is. You have to watch the kid like a hawk anyway. The only time you can really relax is when your baby is sleeping, in the lead-less, no drop-bar, slats are the proper distance apart, crib you just bought.
I’m not being facetious. I just think that watching my child is the best baby proofing I can do, that teaching him to go down the stairs on his butt will eventually benefit both him and me, but I did put in the baby gate for when I have to turn away for a minute cause kids are fast! The thing is, we can’t baby proof the world. You will end up taking your child places that aren’t kid friendly, you may go to a restaurant that has no high chairs and you’ll have to make do with pillows or (a favorite here) a phonebook on the chair, you may travel and believe me, the rest of the world does not baby proof like Americans try to. I grew up in Texas and I live in Italy, I spend half my time going those crazy Italians and the other half going those crazy Americans. So make sure your child is aware of the danger around him, if the gate at the head of the stairs is open I expect my kid to not careen down the stairwell head first cause he knows that stairs are dangerous and he has to hold my hand. Put it this way, the gate is for my peace of mind! Also, there are dangers at any age, so getting in the habit of teaching them what they can and cannot do, will make our lives as mothers easier, cause we’re going to be doing it for a very, very long time. And teaching them to recognize danger and using their brains to assess it will help them all the way into adulthood.
We can’t baby proof the world, so teaching our babies to be careful is the best thing for them, and getting in the habit of being ever vigilant is the best practice for us mothers and in the end a little trust goes a long way!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Applesauce

If you think it’s ridiculous to actually post a recipe for apple sauce on here (can I even call it a recipe?) I’m sorry for my ridiculousness but hey, I’m sure someone will find it useful. Applesauce is really, really, ridiculously easy to make, and it’s so much better fresh than packaged that if you have the time and a few apples on hand, you may as well try it at least once.
All you need are apples, peeled and cored, water (I’m partial to bottled or at least filtered water cause it makes me feel like I’m giving my kids fewer chemicals, but if your tap water’s good, then use that) and, well, a pan…
Just cut up your apples in quarts and then half so they’re easier to beat once cooked, cover them with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until quite soft. Try to cook them so that most but not all of the water evaporates, so you’re not losing any nutrients. Then puree, I like to use an immersion blender (easier), but anything you have that will leave it very fine and smooth works. You can freeze it or can in glass jars.
A few things: don’t add sugar even if your apples are really tart, sometimes pureed fruits taste sweeter once they’ve cooled.
You can spice things up by adding spices. Cinnamon is a classic with apples and babies tend to like it, though wait until month eight to add this and just in case ask your pediatrician.  And for older kids you can make Spiced Applesauce by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and allspice, when you make this the first time, go easy on the spices, this way you can figure out what combination of spices and quantities you like!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Handy Tips # 1

Let me tell you what I’ve been doing for two days, sorting socks, teeny socks, not so teeny socks, toddler socks, socks, socks, socks. Get it? I’m so sick of going through socks, matching them up and trying to figure out who’s wearing what, when and where that I’m tempted to just throw out the whole lot and make the kids go around sockless. Unfortunately, it’ll start snowing soon, and that’ll be considered child endangerment or something so I really can’t. So, I came up with a solution, it’s not the most practical solution in the world, but it’ll keep you from finding yourself where I am right now, going crazy with socks. I went and got me some iron-on clothing tape and a clothing marker and I’m going to iron-on little tags with the damn sizes of the socks on them. Why on earth would I want to do this, you ask? Because, when you have one child and he outgrows the socks, who cares, you just put them away with the rest of the outgrown clothes you’re saving for the next kid and go on with your life. Fast forward a few years and you have your second kid, out come the old socks, and all the socks your first born is using right now and when they’re folded you realize YOU CAN’T TELL THEM APART. So you occasionally find your toddler with teeny socks on his huge feet or your baby with socks that come up mid thigh. Or, you know, this is what happens to me. So what I suggest is write down the sizes on your baby’s socks right away, ideally before the baby is born and keep doing it as you go along because when number two comes along and half your socks have shrunk and faded you don’t want to find yourself looking at four pairs of slightly different dark blue socks and wondering who the hell they belong to.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To sleep or... well, not to actually

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right away so we can start again with a clean slate, sleeping when you have a baby just doesn’t happen. People who tell you their babies sleep through the night at five weeks are either: a) lying; b) delusional from lack of sleep; c) the exception to the rule; or d) one of those people who consider sleeping through the night as sleeping between four and five hours in a row.
I, on the other hand, am none of these things, so I will tell you how it is (or, in any case, how it’s been for me). I used to love sleeping, if I didn’t get my full eight hours, no interruptions, a night I was one grouchy gal. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost three years. The most I’ve managed to sleep uninterrupted is five hours. Now, I know that some people sleep five hours a night and are perfectly happy and totally functional, that, however, is not and has never been my case. It’s all relative, you see. If you’re one of these people, you can stop reading now, this post does not apply to you.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I stopped sleeping three years ago, cause I was in my third trimester and peeing every thirty minutes, then my first baby, the Boy, was born. He ate twice a night for the entire first year of his life, he then reduced it to just once a night until he was 18 months, by then I was in my third trimester again with the Girl and peeing… well you know how it goes. But I’m not writing a negative, poor little ole me post, I want to give you hope, because you see, I may not be sleeping much, but nothing terrible has happened. I tire a little more easily, sure, I’m not as reactive as I once was, not as quick on my toes, my memory can be a little foggy, but I’m fine and the kids are fine. A little lack of sleep never killed anyone, parents have been raising kids on very little sleep for a very long time and here we all are, the human race, healthy and thriving as can be.
The other thing I’ve come to realize is where children are concerned nothing lasts, nothing is writ in stone. And this heartens me to no end, because I know, I know that sooner or later I’ll start sleeping again. In fact, I know that sooner or later I’m  going to be the one waking them up and that is going to give me so much pleasure! In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret, sometimes when one or the other wakes up crying and I’m nursing or prepping a bottle or changing a diaper at 3am I fantasize about the day when I’m going to wake them by crying for pancakes in the middle of the night, and they damn well better come with melted butter and maple syrup.
So the point of this post is, be prepared, resign yourself to the fact that the first few years you won’t be getting much sleep but that’s ok cause you’ll survive and that first full night’s sleep you get, that first night when no one wakes you, not even your own overly neurotic brain that wants to make sure the kids are ok since they haven’t made a peep yet, that first night will be magical, glorious, fabulous. It gives me hope and I am so looking forward to it…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Breastfeeding is f***ing hard

Breastfeeding, every new mother’s nightmare. From the day you start telling people that you’re pregnant you’re going to be talking about little else, and everyone has an opinion. Hell, you probably have an opinion right now too. Most subjects relating to babies and parenting are hot button subjects, generally it’s an either you agree with me or you’re totally wrong approach, and nowhere is this truer than for breastfeeding. Now, I really, truly, honestly don’t care what you do. I’m just sharing my own personal, no judgment about what anybody else does, views and I’d appreciate it if the same courtesy was extended to me, thank you very much.
When I was pregnant with my first child, the Boy, I wasn’t all too sure about the whole breastfeeding lark, I mean, I was bottle-fed and I turned out just fine. (Yes, I was born in the 70’s, the dark ages of breastfeeding – so was the Husband, this’ll be relevant in future posts.) Then I bought the La Leche League book “The Womanly art of Breastfeeding” and started thinking that maybe breastfeeding wasn’t so bad after all and I might just give it a try. Basically, I had a pretty laissez faire attitude about the whole thing, sure I’d like to nurse my baby, but if I can’t for whatever reason it’s no big deal, and I certainly won’t be doing it for over six months.
Though for some reason whenever someone started in on me with a “you must breastfeed or you’re a horrible mother” attitude, I would find myself being totally contrary and telling them I was too busy, plus I liked my boobs north-facing and why don’t you just mind your damn business already. Anyway, during my first pregnancy I did my homework, thought I had figured out what position the baby was supposed to be in for optimum nursing, memorized the pictures of what a proper latch-on was supposed to look like, I even got a cream to prep my nipples and reduce the chance of pain. Ha, ha, ha. Sorry, but seriously, new mothers are so na├»ve!
So I birth the boy, (and that’s a story for another post) and full of hope and optimism I put him to the boob. OW! Oh, right, the book says that if it hurts it means you’re not doing it correctly, let’s try again. OOOOOWWWW! Oh, ok, he’s not opening his mouth enough, and the chin isn’t positioned right… hellllooooo, he’s a newborn, he’s busy doing this new cool thing called breathing air, and what’s with all the light, he does NOT want to have to figure out how to latch on without hurting mommy he just wants the damn milk already. You know the saying, start as you mean to go? Yep, that’s what happened here, two months of pain, frustration, weigh ins, top up bottles, frustration, crying (both of us), and oh, did I mention the frustration? And then, VICTORY, month three and I was solely breastfeeding, no more bottles. Of course, it didn’t last, by month four he decided he did NOT WANT TO WAIT FOR THE STUPID MILK TO LET DOWN and we went back to mixed feeding. At that point though breastfeeding him had become such an obsession that I wasn’t doing the smart, practical thing (i.e. giving him formula in those two bottles he had a day), no, I was expressing so he only had breast milk.  By the end of month five I threw in the towel and switched to formula. My heart broke. I felt like such a huge failure. Look at me, I can’t even feed my baby.
So the next year, when the Girl was born, I was gung ho about the breastfeeding, no bottles, no pacifiers, just the boob, anytime, anywhere. This time it went fine, of course, so fine in fact that now that I want her to stop breastfeeding, I CAN’T GET HER OFF THE DAMN BOOB. But the point of this post is this:
Breastfeeding is hard. Sometimes a feeding takes forever, cause the baby is a slow eater, or your milk takes a while to let down (and how do you even know it has let down), or he keeps falling asleep. My life got marginally better when I realized “a feeding” was nowhere near the 15 minutes per side that the nurses in the hospital had told me about, but fell much, much closer to 40 minutes per side. Actually just enough time for two shows on tv or a shortish movie. And at first it hurts. Yes, even if the kid latches on properly. Put it this way, a newborn is on the boob a LOT, I promise you, your boobs have never seen so much action, your nipples are going to get sore. How sore depends on a lot of things, let me just say that I got cracked, bloody nipples with baby number 2 and I KNEW how to latch her on properly by then. But, she woke up every two hours to nurse, day and night, so my boobs hurt. Though to make you feel better I can tell you this, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, in parenting is a phase and it will pass. I used nipple shields for a few days and my sore boobs got better, and now, ten months on my baby has teeth and it phases me not one bit.
All this to say that breastfeeding is hard, it takes a lot of commitment and it takes a lot of time, something not everyone has the luxury of having. It’s incredibly fulfilling, for some of us, but not for all of us. So if you want to breastfeed, good for you, and if you don’t, good for you too. All that matters is that you’re feeding your baby and loving her and nurturing him.
This is my first post on Moomser Baby, I chose it because it seems like it’s a difficult topic for a lot of women, it’s certainly all I could talk about those first few months, but it definitely won’t be the last post on the subject! Now, tell me about your experience, the best thing when you’re a new mom is to know that you’re not alone. Really, you’re not alone. Oh, and if you do decide to breastfeed, know that sooner or later your boobs will once again be your own, though they probably won’t be facing north anymore…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Setting up

Still setting up here, sorry!
Check back in, in just a few days, and we should be up and running! THANKS