* written over the month of January, in dribs and drabs as I catch moments here and there.
DOING: sitting on my bed, typing. I’ve got a coffee to my left and further to my left, Joan is sleeping on the single mattress next to our bed. My, times have changed since we used to babywear for practically all our naps. I suppose I should talk more on the transition. Alright, I’ll start a new post and share some thoughts on the matter. But just know that it will be a while until it’s ready. For big posts like that I tend to dump all my thoughts, then spend a long time editing. I’ll try to be succinct, but you know that’s not my strong suit. Ha.
HEARING: Regina Spektor, live, via my earphones. I adore this woman’s music. And now Joan is starting to appreciate it, which pleases me. We play “On the Radio” and sing the “O Oh” part together. She calls it the “O Oh” song, and it’s adorable.
DRINKING: Lots of water and smoothies. Summerrrrrrrr! Yesterday we made a smoothie for breakfast (see the above pic!) and it really hit the spot, so I thought I’d include the recipe for you. I made it for two, and Joan and I devoured it while Ben slept (he’s been working hard and travelling, and not sleeping a whole lot). I poured 1.5 portions into my cup and gave Joan a half serve, with some yoghurt to extend it and make her feel like she was having a big portion like mumma. I’m making sure I eat lots and keep a good amount of fat on my body to help with my lady hormones. So it’s been an extra scoop of this and an extra serve of that… Joan adores smoothies, and likes to have exactly what we have. She also insists on saying, “cheers!”, while looking directly into our eyes. It’s really sweet. This smoothie also works well as “ice-cream” simply by reducing the milk content. Use any milk you like, we favour organic full cream cow’s milk in our smoothies, though sometimes coconut milk. I plan on making want to make almond milk one of these days, too. Homemade roasted almond butter makes this smoothie even more delicious, so I do encourage you to try that (see this post for details). Next level good.
There are few things my baby girl enjoys more in life than sitting at the table with her favourite people and a big plate of food in front of her (and to be honest, a second big plate of food to her left that she can steal food from). Since Ben and I introduced Joan to solids at six months of age, she has taken to it with gusto. We have ourselves a girl who will try everything that is put in front of her, mood permitting, and usually enjoy it, which makes the whole experience fun and rewarding. On reflection, I think her readiness to eat is a combination of nature and nurture. Joan definitely has food-love in her blood, from both sides of her family. In addition, while I was pregnant I ate a wide range of foods, which they say encourages babies to have an adventurous palate. And finally, perhaps most importantly, Ben and I have been strict from the beginning in how we approach food with Joan. We’ve put a lot of effort into being relaxed about it all, which seems totally contradictory, I know, and I’ll explain more below.
Over the past six months I’ve received a number of requests to talk about what Joan eats and to share a few tips on raising an adventurous eater, and at last I’ve written a bunch of thoughts down. But before we get into it, I want to note that I am completely aware that I have one child and hence only one point of reference. Yes, I am also a dietitian, and have studied ways to encourage healthy eating habits in children, but that’s not the same as having a child who is very challenging in this regard and being able to share real life experience. I am not standing on a pedestal saying that this is the only way, it is simply what works for our family. Furthermore, I know that although Ben and I try hard with this eating business, our babe has made our job easy. We will see how much of Joan’s (so far) easy eating is down to nature vs nurture when we have more kids. Therefore, as with any advice or sharing of experiences that you receive as a parent, take from this post whatever resonates with you, tune out the rest and ultimately do whatever works for your family. Always and forever.
Alright, let’s start at the beginning.
For the past six and a half years, since I started Apples Under My Bed, I have always written a Christmas post. I’ve shared pictures from our day of feasting with family and reflected on how grateful I feel for my people. My family are always keen to get together and celebrate, and while we are not religious, Christmas is an important time for us, even more so since losing my brother on the 22nd December 2007. It’s a hard time of year and a wonderful time of year. We focus on the food and being together, and although there’s a sombre undercurrent to it all, Christmas is always lovely. This year was no different, however, for whatever reason, I don’t feel the desire to share the pictures I took on the day. The food was the same, which is not to say that it wasn’t outstanding, we are just sticklers for tradition (and my brother would possibly refuse to sit at the table if we didn’t serve the usual pork), and we were gifted some beautiful presents. After spending the day with family, we came home to watch Love Actually on the computer in bed, snuggled next to our sleeping babe. We are blessed and our hearts are full.
Joan was not delighted by Christmas lunch, which was a surprise. I assumed she would attempt to bathe in the gravy while grabbing fistfuls of pork from the serving platter, but no, she preferred to sit with a bowl of peas, outside on the grass where no one would look at her or try to get her to open a present (introverts, unite!). Despite Joan’s underlying desire to simply be home with Ben and I, she did have moments of joy (like discovering and falling in love with shortbread) and Ben and I got that special, Christmas morning moment you dream about when you have kids. When bubba woke, I said that we should say “Good Morning!” to the Christmas tree, just as we had each day since bringing home “the smallest possible tree” from the local Scouts. I told Joan that I thought there was a special present for her under the tree, and we should go and see what it was. Curious, she ran out to the lounge room and when she laid eyes on a toy lawn mower (which is identical to one she has played with/bogarted at playgroup), her eyes grew even bigger than they normally are, and her face lit up! Her mouth dropped before turning into the sweetest grin, a mixed expression of “Oh my goodness!”, “What is happening?!” and “Is it mine?!” on her face, as she looked back and forth between us for confirmation. And then she let out a squeal. It was magical.