Thursday, February 21, 2008

notes from my dirty kitchen

When your kitchen smells like petroleum jelly just after you take a batch of cookies out of the oven, something is desperately wrong.

Tonight is the West Hollywood Stitch n Bitch Yarn & Cookie Swap. I remembered this fact at about 10 p.m. last night. Rather than running to the store at that late hour for cookie making supplies, I decided to flip through my cook books to find a recipe I could make with items from the pantry. And I found what looked like a great recipe: Soft Molasses Cookies. I thought they would be a nice antidote to an overdose of sugar and chocolate. I'm sure they would have been, but alas, that petroleum jelly smell...

I shouldn't have used the questionable shortening. In my defense, I had no idea that shortening could go bad. But I knew that the texture looked more like hair pomade than shortening. And it definitely smelled... off. I should have trusted my instincts and used butter instead, or god forbid, run to the store. But I didn't. And I ruined what otherwise would have been 2 dozen very yummy cookies.

Before tossing the cookies in the garbage, I actually asked Richard to taste one of them, in the desperate hopes that maybe my taste buds were just too sensitive. He took one bite, then slowly spit it out into his hand. "This is terrible."

I may try this recipe again tonight before I head to SnB. But this time, I'll buy fresh shortening.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A V-Day photo post

My Valentine's Day present for Richard:
I embroidered this onesie using a Sublime Stitching pattern given to me at my baby shower by Allison, of I think he liked it. He gave me a new watch, which is beautiful and I love. Yay!

Here is Vivian at the Professional Bull Riders event in Anaheim on Sunday. Yes, we went to see young men try to stay on the back of bull that are trying to throw them off. It was really cool.
You can see Viv embracing her inner redneck by chowing down on the latest issue of the PBR Insider. Well, given the start we gave her, I don't see how we could expect anything less.

This is Vivian in her new sweater, the 5-Hour Baby Sweater (not actually made in 5 hours -- more like, Made Over A Weekend While Caring For A 7-Month Old-Sweater):

Oh, and Vivian received her very first Valentine today -- an awesomely cute handmade card from Sam, Annika's beautiful son. I about melted into a puddle when I opened it! Thank you Sammy (Annika!) for making Vivian's (my) day!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

the bumps and bruises of parenthood

Parenting is a tricky business. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books-websites-experts that tell anxious parents that YOU MUST DO THIS OR YOUR CHILD WILL SUFFER/HAVE UNDERAGE SEX/DEVELOP ALLERGIES/USE DRUGS/NEVER DEVELOP SERIOUS RELATIONSHIPS/ALWAYS NEED A NIGHT LIGHT. After 9 months of pregnancy where you are obsessed with avoiding caffeine, mercury, sushi, alcohol, etc., (and who knows how long obsessing over trying to get pregnant), trying to figure out what to do with your bundle of joy once he/she gets here can be even more nerve-wracking.

Trying to negotiate the swiftly moving waters of daycare/nanny/SAHM, breastfeeding/formula, crib/co-sleeper/family bed, or cloth/disposable/"elimination communication" can open you up to instant criticism from everyone from your mother to the grocery clerk to random people on the internet. It may take a village to raise a child, but does that give every village resident the right to critique a mother's (or father's) every decision? Most parents are just trying to do the best they can for their children.

Some of the decisions that Rich & I have made for Vivian maybe aren't for everyone. But they work for us, and for her. For example, we are breastfeeding. Viv was exclusively breastfed through 6 months, when we started to add solids. I plan to keep breastfeeding until she's at least a year old, but I'm trying to stay flexible (and not pressure myself too much), so if it doesn't work for either of us at any time, we can stop. On the solid food subject, I'm making Vivian's food, rather than buying pre-packaged. For me, it's cheaper, I like to cook (although it's hardly cooking -- boil or steam and throw in the blender!), and I know exactly what's going in to the food. But again, I'm trying to stay flexible, so when we travel, she eats organic pre-packaged stuff. And if it gets to be too much, I'm trying to give myself permission to stop. But for now, it's working. On vaccinations (a very touchy subject for many parents), we decided to vaccinate. It was our feeling that Vivian was at more risk from those preventable diseases than any potential side-effects.

But you know what? Other parents, in their efforts to do the best for their kids, come up with different decisions. I also use disposable diapers and Vivian is in daycare full-time. I have friends who choose to keep their kids in cloth diapers and friends who are able to stay at home. I have tremendous respect for them for making decisions and sometimes sacrifices to do their best for for kids. Those options just didn't fit with our lives. And you know what? It's ok.

Sometimes I feel that so many people are quick to assume that parents make decisions out of ignorance, stupidity or a lack of interest. Believe me, if the parents I know are any indication, almost every decision is taken with care and thought. It may not be the decision you'd make, but that doesn't automatically make it the wrong one.

All of this has been a long lead up to a confession. I made a decision this morning that was the wrong one. In my struggle to get out of the house only 30 minutes late, I put Vivian in the middle of the bed while I ran into the bathroom to put on some makeup. And then I heard something every parent dreads, "thump! WAAHHH!" Vivian, who is newly mobile, had rolled off the bed.

First of all -- she is fine. She cried for about 2 minutes and then calmed down. I iced her head and then nursed her. By the time I dropped her off at daycare about a half an hour later, she had only a faint red mark on her forehead.

I am a wreck, though. I knew she was mobile. Richard and I had just had a conversation about how we had to be careful and observant. And because I was tired and hurried and not thinking about how much she has developed (this whole rolling thing is very much a new development!), she got hurt. As her parent, it's my responsibility to keep her safe. And no matter how much I have going on at a time, Vivian is always my priority.

I know that kids will get bumps and bruises. It's part of being a kid. I got my fair share when I was little. But I'm a mom, and I will beat myself up every time something bad happens to Viv.

Parents make decisions every day, some good, some bad. I guess that's the point of this whole long-winded essay. Life is a series of decisions, and hopefully we learn from each and every one. Parents are responsible for making decisions for their children, and most parents work really hard to make the best decisions they can. Some decisions don't work out, but hopefully we learn.

But hopefully you won't have to learn the hard way not to leave your mobile 7-month-old on the bed in another room. Just take it from me.

Monday, February 04, 2008

No fatties

If Mississippi legislators had their way, it could soon be illegal to serve obese people in restaurants (courtesy of Junk Food Science). Because what this country needs is more public shaming of fat people.

I'm all for better nutritional education and options. I'm going to go on record that smaller restaurant portions and less trans-fats are good. But if I, as an obese person, want to treat myself to a night out at Roscoe's Chicken n' Waffles, then damn it, the government has no right to step in and tell me that I don't deserve it. That is my decision. It is my responsibility to make smart decisions about my diet -- I certainly don't need the little man at the Hollywood Zankou Chicken telling me that I'm too fat to eat there. Will I be reduced to standing forlornly beside the line at Pink's, asking skinny people to please order a Huell Howser dog for me?

There is obviously a government interest in the public health -- healthy people are less of a financial burden on the country's health care system. But this effort is flat out wrong. The fact that some politician thinks this is a good use of his time and public resources is maddening.