Dining with Kids

Tonight I took the girls to dinner at a restaurant by myself. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I just didn’t want to cook a meal at home and clean up after it, so I talked to Ellie and Piper about it advance and they were in a good place. Ellie is at the age where she can relatively behave herself, minus the fact that she still feels the need to yell everything she says, a la her uncle Chad – love you Chad! We went to the local Mexican restaurant we’ve been to many times because that’s where they said they wanted to go. Overall, it was just fine – I can’t complain. But the whole experience got me thinking – why don’t they have a playbook for servers for handling tables with young kids? I know we’re not the only ones – I see them everywhere we go. Normally parents aren’t brave or dumb enough to go by themselves with two kids under four, but I think there some tactics servers could use to make it a more pleasant experience for everyone, including themselves. I want to make sure to include the fact that I served tables for many years, basically from when I was 18 to somewhere around 23 or 24, so I get it. No one ever told me back them what to do when I get parents with young kids in. I wish I would have had some sort of training or playbook for those types of situations. If I were to make one, it would go a little something like this:

  • Bring a stack of napkins pronto
  • If there’s a kid under 1 or 1 and a half, bring a spoon and a straw for them to play with – a paper or plastic cup with ice cubes isn’t a bad idea either
  • Remove the condiment section altogether – let me know you’re doing it and that you’re happy to leave anything I need
  • Have something at the table for the kids to munch on as soon as possible – Mexican restaurants are good at this
  • It’s ok to talk to the kids – they have voices and can speak
  • Fill their drink cup half full – I have yet to encounter a restaurant with kids cups that are too small
  • Don’t set a sharp knife or a scalding hot plate right in front of my child, not to mention my glass of wine or cocktail – it will only result in more work for you
  • If there are toys or coloring things or anything else around to keep their attention, bring it. We went to an Italian restaurant recently that brought a little thing of pizza dough for the girls to play with – effing brilliant!

That’s it. I think most of these things are relatively easy, especially if it’s a slow night, which it usually is when us parents come to dine at an ungodly early hour. Like I said, I’ve been in your shoes you hard working servers – this just might help you survive my toddlers a little easier and would almost certainly result in more dinero in your pocket.

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Piper’s 8 Months!

One more month until the doctor says she should be sleeping through the night! I don’t think I can wait that long though so I’ve sought the council of a sleep doula who is putting together a program for us. It seems the problem is the association with feeding and sleeping so we’ll change our bedtime routine stat.

As far as development, Piper is humming right along. We’re pretty sure she says “hi” and “mama” now, based on the context of the words. She’s also standing on her own and she’s taken one step after standing a few times. She’s such a funny character – when she wants something she grunts really loudly. She’s started drinking some water and if we give her some and she wants more – grunnnnttt. If we give her food and she wants more – grunnnnttt. The other night we had some amazing salmon, so I rubbed some between my fingers to break it apart and she was devouring it! We did the same with egg yolk and she really digs it. She’s super sleepy in the below photo, but sometimes they can’t be perfect, eh?

Piper's 8 Months

Time Flying

Now time is really starting to fly by. Every day it seems like Ellie is doing something more exciting than the last and I just can’t believe how much she is really growing up. She’s definitely crawling now and she is very interested in standing all the time. She’s working really hard on the balance things and getting better every day.  We had an awesome Labor Day weekend and really most weekends should be three days in my opinion.  We work way too much in this country!

For Labor Day weekend we celebrated cousin Addie’s second birthday, where I snapped the pic below. Then we went on a hike with the fam up Rattlesnake Ridge. It was extremely crowded, but more on the way down than the way up, which was nice. There’s a video and photo (from the top) below. It was pretty funny to pull over on the path to breastfeed her! You gotta do what you gotta do though.  Speaking of eating, this child is eating like a champ! After trying so hard to find a quality selection of organic baby food, I did what I usually do and turned to Amazon – hello?!?!? I ordered apples, sweet potatoes and string bean and sweet pea Sprout Organic Baby Food.

I also think Ellie might be teething, as she’s been salivating incredibly and wants to gnaw on everything.  We tried something fun today, which was to put frozen blueberries in these mesh food feeders and she loves it – gnaws and gnaws until there’s hardly anything left!

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A Big Week Indeed

This week has been interesting and exciting, partly due to the holiday smack dab in the middle of the week, but mostly because of all the fun stuff going on.  I went back to work this week, which was better than I expected.  The build up was worse than the actuality.  If I would have had to go five days straight though, I think it would have been incredibly difficult.  It was great having the holiday in the middle of the week and it’s wonderful that my boss agreed to allow me to work from home two days a week!  I honestly think that’s going to make such a difference and help me ease back into the swing of things.

Ellie’s been eating solids now for a little over a week and she’s really starting to get the hang of it.  She’s had rice cereal, sweet potatoes and squash.  She eats the whole packet of baby food every time.  She’s eating a pack of baby food and then some rice cereal every day on top of her milk.  Here is an updated video showing her improvement:

We had a great Fourth of July, going for a run in the morning, visiting with Elai, Jon and Miri, and then spending the evening at The Thompson’s.  Here’s a pic of Ellie playing outside at Terry and Molly’s:

We’ve also been working on helping Ellie sleep through the night, trying something called the No Cry Sleep Solution.  We’ll let you know in a week or so if it’s working or not.

Ellie’s nanny, Diana, took Ellie to the park today for a play date with a friend of hers that nanny’s a 7 month old boy named Hank.  We love the interaction with other babes!

Lastly, here’s a video of Ellie doing tummy time on her new mat.  She’s trying really hard to lift up her bum and push up on her arms.  Once she gets the hang of it, we have a feeling we’re in trouble; she already wants to be on the go all the time!

Solid Foods

Ellie has been very interested in us eating our food, she holds her head up very well, and doesn’t slump over when sitting assisted, so when I was at Whole Foods today I picked up some rice cereal.  Based on my knowledge of food and how whole grains are better than white starches, I went ahead and got a whole grain brown rice cereal.  I compared two options and went with the one with less ingredients.  That may not be a very scientific method, but I don’t have a better one.

When I got home, I started doing research on how to introduce solids to babies and am finding some very fascinating information. First off, most resources, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, are recommending babies not be given anything other than breast milk for the first six months.  Okay, check, I’m on board with that. Here’s an article for more information if you’re curious: http://www.babycenter.com/0_introducing-solid-food_113.bc

Next, I read on one blog that babies first food shouldn’t even be rice cereal.  This blog, (http://www.foodrenegade.com/why-ditch-infant-cereals/), states that babies don’t develop the enzymes to break down starches like rice until their molars are in.  It said the food that babies need in the beginning is fat and then fat soluble vitamins, such as those which come in traditional baby foods.  This blog stated the first food to feed your baby is organic egg yolks and the next thing should be raw organic grass-fed calf livers.

I wonder what Michael Pollan would say?

I found this article, which also suggests skipping the rice cereal: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/solids.htm

I know a lot of you out there know a lot more about food than I do – any tips???

I also know a lot of you also have done a lot of research on transitioning babies to solids and would be very interested to hear more – please help advise!

UPDATE 6/26: So when we went to the doctor today we learned a bit about foods. He said the American Academy of Pediatrics changed their recommendation of starting foods to doing so at 4 months. He said there was speculation previously that starting this early led to higher risk of allergies, but they now believe that is not true and that delaying solids could be a bad idea because of the lack of iron babies get from breast milk. We asked about rice cereal versus vegetable baby food and he said the  main reason they recommend the rice cereal is because it’s fortified with iron, something babies need right now. He said the green vegetables also have a lot of iron, so if we prefer we can start there. Hope this information is at least helpful to someone else:)