A bit of everything.
My kid smells like a skunk. I need to strip his dipes again. It’s the second time in five months, so I’m not complaining. Especially, because I never used any product to strip them last time (lucky ducky). And also lucky because I don’t have to buy Pampers in France for EUR 17 for 44 of them, or 10 days worth. Can you imagine!?
I love when I get up before my family. There is something really special about my boys dozing in the wee hours of the morning and getting a little head start: researching cloth diaper stripping methods (like this one), plumping up prunes in water for baby’s breakfast and thinking what healthy treat I want to bake my morning coffee guest. I sound more and more like a crunchy mama. Pahaha!
I had a bit of a laugh looking back at old posts and realizing that flight debriefing makes up a lot of my entries. But, I don’t want to make this blog just about debriefing flights. So, I’ll just say, Ayo’s flights #11 and #12 went as well as they could. I sat next to a Chinese background American on our GVA->IAD flight. I usually hate talking with complete strangers on flights but we really hit it off. We talked almost the whole flight about China, motherhood, working as a mother, American parenting, Chinese parenting etc etc. In a way, she helped me process some of my own reflections on the Battlehymn of the Tiger Mother book. I really will post them someday. Anyway, she was missing her kids, so she offered to hold Ayo, entertain him, make up the bedding inside his joke-of-a-bassinet. I mean, United..really? After the minuscule stretcher-like contraption fell off the wall, the stewardess deemed it unsafe to use, so she gave us the floor version. It looked like a little casket made of sweaty plastic. Even passengers around us confirmed it was creepy. It is way smaller and not nearly as nice as the Lufthansa ones. As we know, American airlines tend to go cheap on the creature comforts. Sadly, my freebie miles tickets never seem to allow both legs to be booked on Lufty, so this is what we got on our way back. I might as well just stick him in my duffel bag next time.
Otherwise, it pays to stay fit: we sprinted in IAD for 1.5 miles with the baby in a stroller, nearly chopping some limbs off along the way (why people move to exactly where you are running, will always confuse me). In the end, we only just made our connection: sweaty but happy. Then.. we deplaned for three hours. In the end, we were delayed five hours total due to mechanical errors and a snowstorm. Ayo was so exhausted that he slept on me for four hours, bobbing his head with confusion about every 10 minutes, then nodding off. I didn’t dare sleep and miss out on admiring my snuggle muffin. On the jetlag side of things, it has been so much better than on our outbound trip. It has taken him four nights to retrieve order, and even those haven’t been so bad. I am so thankful. No need to dread the nights, mama.
Coming back to the States is always really hard – no matter how soon I leave again. I always get a little depressed. I sink deeper into a pit of despair when I smell the strong processed food odor at the airport or drive along Santa Fe Dr. or the airport and see the most ugly industrial zones you could ever imagine. I guess it doesn’t help that I left the warm, golden trees at the end of last month and came back to them bare, cold and lifeless. Seeing family, friends and neighbors really do help with the adjustment, as does the fact that the long trip over allows plenty of time to reflect. I am so thankful for that. I also don’t want to spend my time complaining and miss out on what is in store for this season of our life in America. There are lots of really special things about this season and I want to live for today. Not for tomorrow as I so often do.
Baby is eight months old, meaning that we get to introduce new foods. So far this month, we introduced spinach, brewers yeast, kelp and ground spouts. As it turns out, alfalfa sprouts are off limits for baby. Who knows if that is just some overcautious warning. I’m always a little skeptical about these warnings. How do mothers in Africa know about this? Anyway, we’re learning all about which sprouts to grow in our kitchen and enjoying eating them in our salad too. On the baby food subject, I love ensuring that each day is filled with the nutrition Ayo needs for brain and body development. What I don’t like, is the common assumption that you can just mix everything up into an unappetizing glob and think that baby won’t care. After all, the goal is that he ends up eating what we eat, right? So, what if he ends up asking mama for pumpkin-broccoli-prune-kelp-yogurt-fish-egg yolk instead? Eww! He might not care at this point, but aren’t we educating a palate here? So, I am trying to put a little more effort into separating out the individual foods or serving mixed foods that actually go together. It does take more time to do this. Last night, I tried Karen Le Billon’s Baby Vichyssoise recipe on Ayo. I had so much fun making this for him.
Here is the simple white leek recipe minus the honey. It’s sweet enough. Besides, didn’t you know, there’s totally a warning against honey for babies too. 😉
1 small potato, peeled and diced small (about 1/2 cup)
2 small (or 1 large) leeks (about 1 cup), washed carefully, peeled, and sliced (use white stems only)
1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
1. Steam (if you have a pressure cooker) or simmer the potato and leeks in just water to cover them (about 1 1/2 cups) until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. In the last 2 to 3 minutes, add the pear. Drain, saving the cooking water (you’ll need between 3/4 and 1 cup).
2. Blend the vegetables, adding cooking water until the desired consistency is achieved.
Last but definitely not least, I got to hang out with sis last night. Totally kid free and uninterrupted. We busted our butts to be able to leave our kiddos with the hubs. Jet lag really affected my supply this time, so I pumped for 1.5 days to be able to leave the hubs with a nighttime bottle. No, seriously. Sis did way more to leave her two kids. We went to D-bar, where a small TV celebrity plates deserts in front of you. He wasn’t there last night. Who cares, because the company was awesome. I still can’t believe that my brother married a woman who would become such a sweet and close friend of mine. So, we stayed really really really late until our eyelids were closing. Or at least until 9:30pm. Hehe – gotta love mommyhood.
Vichyssoise image courtesy of Bon Appétit