Aug 31, 2011

A different kind of hungry

The weaning continues and baby-boy has taken to food with remarkable speed. As are his coordination and sitting skills. The difference in a week or so is remarkable.

He still prefers breast milk by a long shot, but as long as he is neither hungry nor tired, he is happy to experiment with food. Since we had an allergic episode with a banana, I have been introducing new foods a bit more slowly, repeating foods that have been "ok" and combining them with new stuff.

Baby-boy is starting to react differently to different foods: beef paddies (made with egg yolk) were a so-so. He was unhappy with the texture, I think, and didn't want to swallow the coarser pieces, so I had to fish bits of half chewed beef out of his mouth for about 45 minutes after he finished his meal to soothe his complaints. Sweet potato is a definite thumbs up. He eats them baked in french fry sticks with gusto. Carrots apparently are a no-no: he pulls a face. And he threw it up. Non-ripe mango he ate but couldn't surpress the shudder reflex. Cheese was a definite wow. He couldn't stuff it in his mouth fast enough. Since I don't eat it myself I had to gain my mom's reaasurance, even though it was already grated, that it melts quickly in the mouth. Rice cereal is good, but messy for me, especially when trying to have him eat it in the mall's food court: some people actually laughed at him (I wasn't too pleased with that). Pear proved a good choice for lunch today while we were at the zoo.

In between, we breastfeed as needed. This means that sometimes he just isn't interested (probably not hungry). Like today, when we were about to drive home and I tried to feed him. He gurgled, smiled, laughed ... Everything but eat. So off we went. The very instant we hit the highway, however, he changed his mind about being hungry. LOUDLY. For the next 20 miles. Because that was the nearest exit. Oh my gawd. Can that boy scream. He almost never does, because his needs are usually met swiftly. But I had no choice and my mom was in the front too and couldn't reach him either.

Thankfully, it was over the minute we stopped and he ate right away. And not altogether a bad thing because I needed gas anyhow and might have missed that fact otherwise.

But one thing is for sure. He is experiencing a different kind of hunger.

Aug 22, 2011

On the agenda

The baby-led weaning is a learning experience. Both for baby-boy and myself. A number of days in now, and things are still going well, but baby-boy is showing frustration with some foods. Especially if it's too mushy or slippery, which means he can't get it into his mouth without it falling out of his hands first. He's developed a kind-of strategy for this: shoveling the food directly from his tray to his face. This would probably work, if I eased the straps enough for him to plant his face into the tray. Except that baby-boy's abilities to sit up are still somewhat random. And the possibility of a serious face-plant is very real. So, for the moment he strains the straps to hang over his tray, scoops the food up in his hands, makes it half way to his mouth, and drops the majority of it into his lap.

Our dog loves it. But it's a real exercise in restraint for her. She has to wait till the meal is over. And she has learnt to shoot over to the high chair the moment I lift baby-boy out of it.

Meanwhile, I'm learning what to cook, for how long to make it just the right consistency and the appropriate shapes to cut the food into for little baby hands to pick up. It's an effort. But one I'm willing to go forward with.

For now, the BLW is the main item on the agenda. One change at a time. We plan, soon, to move baby-boy to his own room. By most standards, he probably should be in his own room by now, but our summer has been hot and we only have one aircon. Now that the weather seems a little cooler, it may be possible to put him in a non-airconned room.

We will also be starting swimming classes soon. I've signed us up for a weekly Sunday morning swim in a specially heated pool so that he doesn't freeze while in the water. Should be fun. Since it's on a weekend, hubby should be able to come along and go into the pool with him. Bath time is associated with daddy time at the moment, and we can extend that to the pool.

Today is also his official 6-month check up with the doctor. More vaccines ... a long evening ahead, no doubt!

Aug 20, 2011

Baby-led weaning

The past week or so, my life has been consumed. Mostly with travel - again to Toronto. This time to apply for Dutch passport for baby-boy. I had obediently followed all the online instructions, booked my online appointment, and rocked up at the embassy first thing in the morning with a pile of paperwork. All set. Or so I thought. Stupid of me to assume that the information on the embassy's website was complete and correct. Turns out that a bunch of the legalized documents they claimed they needed actually need to be apostilled as well. Nowhere does it mention this on their site.

I stayed polite but pointed out firmly, in Dutch, several times that they really need to say this in their instructions. The woman behind the counter was frazzled - probably in general, not just because I was being firm but polite. She was all over the place. In the end, I got her to stamp and sign all the documents that were right, so that baby-boy and I don't have to go back there in person, but hubby can just rock up with the other documents in tow and get the damn application done. At least, so the lady claimed. We'll see whether the Dutch decide to change their minds again with half-arsed instructions. 

So, the next week will consist of getting necessary documents apostilled, by mail or in person depending on the destination. What a pain.

Meanwhile, baby-boy reached 6 months this week. Happy half-birthday to him. We celebrated by letting him recover from his flight back from Toronto and then began the process of weaning the following day. You will probably think this means I spent days in the kitchen puree-ing stuff. Not so! My cousin introduced me to a new concept used widely in Europe called baby-led weaning. It's a simply idea. You just give your baby whatever food you eat. With some minor modifications: e.g. babies shouldn't have salt or sugar and a few other things.

I was excited to start this process. All the evidence, though not a large scale statistical study, suggests that babies become very comfortable with food this way, and it never becomes a battle-ground. Perfect for me, since I was such a picky eater when I was a child. So the main question was what to feed him first. You can give them anything you want, in no particular order, and a mix of stuff (none of this "introduce X for 3 days, then move to Y"). The theory is that if you wait till the baby is 6 months old, his digestive system is strong enough to handle pretty much anything. You don't have to puree stuff; the baby can chew things with his gums. The main challenge is making things the right size and consistency so that he can actually pick it up from his tray or plate.

We started with pear slices for breakfast. Hubby and I held our breath as we positioned baby-boy in his high chair and presented the slices on his tray. Of course, no one had told baby-boy what the plan was. So he looked at us curiously. Smiled. Laughed. Explored his bib. Ate his bib. Explored the high chair strap. Ate that. Smiled some more. And eventually got fed up and asked to be let out.

So much for that then. But you're not supposed to interfere, so I trusted the process and moved on to lunch.

Lunch time came with some rice cereal and avocado slices. Avocado is super slippery, as it turns out. But baby-boy showed interest in the stuff on his tray. This time, he mushed some of the cereal around and even tried to stuff it in his mouth. Better. Maybe he was getting the idea.

Dinner: I cooked some chicken pieces, with fusilli and roasted veggies (squash, bell peppers and carrots). Baby-boy's interest was picked. Now there was a bunch of stuff on his tray he could try. We'd followed the advice of only putting a few things in front of him to avoid him becoming overwhelmed, but keeping some food aside so that the tray could be replenished as needed. Baby-boy thought dinner was fabulous. Especially the squash. He manoeuvered everything into his mouth, though most of it fell down into his lap. But I believe he did manage to get some squash into him, and he even sucked on some chicken. 


After a second day, I'm thinking I really like the BLW approach. Baby-boy has shown interest in everything on his tray so far. And he even really likes the washing off process afterwards because I sit him in the sink and let him play with the water. The only drawback is the mess. But our dog, very happily, helps out with that.

Aug 5, 2011

August resolution

So August is here, and with it a new birthday resolution to return to the blog. I miss the writing, in all honesty, and it is something I'd like to prioritize in my life. In what form, I will need to consider. Right now it seems to be mostly academic (apart from the blog). I'd like part of it to be non-academic too, perhaps even fiction. My subconscious keeps reminding me of the 150 or so pages of my fantasy book that are waiting for me to *do something* with them.

This year, I'm 38. It's not young, but not yet that old either. Somewhere in the middle. Plenty of time to get to life. At least that's what I tell myself. Of course, with new challenges, since we have baby-boy, but as he gets older, somehow things also get easier. Maybe it's just that I'm feeling (physically) my old self again, full of energy and inspiration. That's good.

I got an iPad for my birthday, and am liking it much more than I had expected. I still prefer the intuitiveness of the Blackberry Playbook, but the iPad has its own advantages. Such as the thousands of free applications. And I spent a good two days downloading the ones I wanted, and asking friends for their favorites. So now I'm back to playing Scrabble with a friend (or a version of), and have come across a wonderful app that combines news with gossip from my social network.

There are disadvantages too. I hate typing on it. One thing is for sure, the iPad was never meant for typing. Instead, it relies on tentative and sporadic touching, which about 80% follows your intentions and 20% selects something random that you didn't want. Annoying to say the least. And doubly annoying for someone like me who can touch-type and finds that the moment you rest your fingers on the virtual keyboard, all hell breaks loose. So I find myself back to my trusty old laptop for things like email and blogs, even though I now have an app for all that. Besides, the apps make my inbox look horrendous and incomprehensible. 

So there it is. My birthday has passed. I'm ok with being 38. I like my gift. I have energy again. Generally all positive things. I will have to make sure I don't get too sucked into the app thing -- but I'm not too worried, since I don't have an addictive personality.

In the meantime, look out for more posts! I should be able to work on baby-boy's website again soon with the help of an HTLM-skilled friend. And, I have lots of notes on ideas for blogs (that's a first!). So, August, here I am.

And let's ignore the fact that summer is almost over. That's too depressing to think about.