Posts tagged ‘Surprises’

October 10, 2011

The Early Bird Special

Looks like the little man wants to eat with the senior citizens.


Jacob and I fell victim to a “witching hour” . . . or three . . . almost every day last week. He’d wake up from his afternoon nap about 3:30 with his cranky pants on. Nothing I tried seemed to help. With a fresh diaper, plenty of toys, and a bucketful of snacks, he was still whiny like I’d never seen him before. Friday I snuggled with him for an hour, and he cried through most of it. At that point, I’d given in to desperation and turned on Netflix, so at least I had Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy to keep me company.


Sunday afternoon, John and I put a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together and thought that maybe Jacob needs an earlier dinner. He’d been eating so many snacks in that late afternoon/early evening window that I was freaking out about how little he ate at dinner proper. When I thought about it, I realized breakfast and lunch are served immediately after he wakes up—either from the night or from a nap—so maybe the timing of his snack and dinner needed to be switched.


We tried it, and while he didn’t eat a whole lot of dinner (ironically he ate it for snack later), he did do something else.


He walked. By himself. A lot. (Video coming soon, we hope!)


Now it might have been that after a full five weeks of a few steps here or there, he was ready to show us what he could do.


It might have been that the Jets were heartbreakingly crumbling under the pressure of the Patriots, and he knew we needed some good news.


It might have been that Daddy was home and we finally had a good chunk of time, just the three of us, at home.


Or it might have been that there’s more magic in the early bird special than we not-yet-seniors realize. Maybe I need to start eating dinner at four o’clock, too.

September 19, 2011

Monkeys, Uncles, and Birthdays

Last week Jacob and I set out to find a card for John’s brother’s birthday (hi, Karl!).

The first shop we went to was a fancy paper store, but their cards were a little too jazzy and hip and didn’t convey the love we wanted to express.

The second store was, admittedly, a drugstore.  But I have a history of finding some pretty great cards at drugstores.  Here I decided we should not only get a birthday card, but an “uncle” birthday card.  This decision was made, in part, because the only non-funny (they’re rarely funny to me) “brother” card was way too sappy.  The hurdle now was that there were no “uncle” cards at this store.  None.  “Aunt” cards? Yes. “Niece” cards?  Yes.  “Nephew” cards?  Oddly, yes.  But “uncle”? Absolutely not.

Confused as to how someone had rationalized that all the nieces and nephews in the world—who were happily celebrating their birthdays with folded paper greetings—only had aunts.  People have brothers.  And aunts get married.  Where’s the love for the uncles?

Bummed, we moved on to another drugstore.  (There are lots in these parts.)  Again, no “uncle” card.  Really?  Really?

An afternoon walk turned into a trip to Target and there, finally, we found it.  Nay, them.  Four—count them—four “uncle” cards to choose from.  This sounds like a great discovery, but if you’ve seen the hundreds of cards for myriad occasions Target has to offer, you may not be so impressed.  I was, but only momentarily.

Giddy with victory, I picked up the cards one-by-one and read them.  The first was sweet, but was written with the voice of an older niece or nephew, i.e. referring to things Jacob hasn’t done with Karl yet, like ask advice (as far as I know).  The second was funny, but probably only to me and the guy that wrote it.  That left two.  Incredible—I’d used the process of elimination twice and still I had a choice.

As if shopping for an “uncle” card hadn’t taken enough strange, and perhaps inconsequential-in-the-long-run turns, I realized that my two options both had monkeys on them.  One made reference to the amount of fun contained a barrel of monkeys.  This one was signed “xoxo” and I just can’t see Jacob writing that.  The other—and ultimately the chosen one—made no direct reference to monkeys.  It just had a monkey on it.  The bit of humor about a “bunch” of love could have been as much about grapes as it was here about bananas.  But apparently monkeys and uncles just go together, in a way that uncles and birthdays do not.

Moral of the story:  Make a card next time.  And don’t forget to draw a monkey on it. Uncles like that stuff.

August 16, 2011

Lessons in Being Allergen-Free

So we’ve been at this dairy-free, nut-free, wheat-free, egg-free thing for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve learned some lessons I’d like to share—in part, because they may help someone else, in part because I kind of think some of this is hilarious.

First up:  SunButter.  What is SunButter, you ask?  It’s fake peanut butter, made from roasted sunflower seeds. Because it’s fake peanut butter, it’s shelved—you guessed it—with the peanut butter.  Not with the butter.  It only took me three trips to the grocery store to figure that out.

When I grabbed a jar from the shelf, I instinctively read the ingredients list (because that’s what I do now) and then proceeded to have a not-so-silent pity party for myself.  Could anything really function as a peanut butter replacement? Doesn’t it seem silly to even try?

Turns out, SunButter is surprisingly good.  I prepared myself for it to not taste like peanut butter; I only wanted it to taste good in its own right.  It’s good enough that I’m planning to make some SunButter cookies this week, and I may even keep a jar around once I’m off the nut-free diet.  It just doesn’t sit in my stomach the way peanut butter can.  Like when I eat too much of it.  Which I don’t intend to change.

The bummer about SunButter is that I don’t have real bread or crackers to eat it on.  Instead, I have what I’ve dubbed “birdseed crackers,” because they are essentially steam-rolled piles of birdseed.  Wheat-free, gluten-free crackers?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  Indeed.  But with enough SunButter, who cares?

Though there are foods I sometimes miss, there are some that simply shouldn’t be tampered with.  Ice cream, for example.  Rice ice cream, my friends, is as horrendous as it sounds.  Who looked at rice and said, “Hey, I can make ice cream out of that”?  Sorry, friend, but you can’t, and you didn’t.

Rice is an obvious alternative to bread or couscous with dinner, but I realize in these three weeks, we’ve only had it in its natural form when we ordered in Asian food.  That’s probably because now we have rice milk and rice flour on hand.

Seriously.  Did you know they even made those things?  Again, I did not.

I’ve had dreams recently in which everything around our little allergen-free family is made of rice, and we are all tired and sad because we’re missing out on key nutrients.  It makes me cranky to wake up from this kind of thing in the morning.  It also makes me cranky to make “pancakes” when two of the main ingredients are byproducts of rice.  At least breakfast sausage and homemade berry sauce aren’t off limits!

Really, there is still a lot I can eat; I just need to be prepared. For me, that translates into copious amounts of baking.  I made some pretty good banana bread and some solid granola (that was supposed to be bars, but crumbled into cereal).  My oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were okay, but crumbly as well (thank you, rice flour!).  Plus, at the end of the day, vegetable shortening is simply not an adequate substitute for butter in cookies.  Nothing is, and that’s okay.

I’ve accepted there are just some things I can’t have.  Hopefully this is only a stage for us, and not our entire future.  I guess it’s good to know that the world doesn’t end if I don’t eat cheese for three weeks.  Who knew?

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