August 4th, 2011

Mom’s Stuff:
A while ago I came across a post I wrote (but didn’t publish here) when LP was a week and a half old.  I titled this post What I Wish I Had Known, but Wouldn’t Have Listened to Anyway.  Some of the things on my list are things that I don’t think anyone told me about, and some of these are things that I know friends and family told me about, but I didn’t really understand until having a baby was a reality!  I thought it would be fun to finally publish this here and add to this list a year and a half later:

What I Wish I Had Known, but Wouldn’t Have Listened to Anyway (March, 2010)

  • Being in labor hurts like nothing else – but it will end, and I did (you can) handle it
  • Pushing was the easiest part because I had some control over it (this may not be the case for everyone, but it was comforting to me!)
  • Eat lots of iron-rich foods before you go into labor!
  • When you are in labor have at least one person in the room who has gone through it and/or that you are willing to listen to and trust
  • Trust your instincts – especially when you are overwhelmed with information from the rest of the world
  • In the first couple weeks there will be little or no pattern or routine to your life – learn to live with it. It will not always be this way (or so I’m told)
  • After giving birth about the only thing your body is capable of doing is feeding your child. Let everyone else do other stuff for you. People want to do things to help you – let them!!!
  • Don’t feel guilty or upset if you find breastfeeding both difficult and boring
  • There are a million different emotions you can have with regards to your baby that range from frustration, indifference, joy and excitement – and you will probably have them all at various points. That is how it is – don’t get stressed about it.
  • If the baby is calm and quiet but awake, you are allowed to put him/her down and do something for yourself, whether it is sleep, eat, take a bath or call a friend
  • Babies make funny faces that may or may not mean anything yet
  • Being a mom doesn’t stop you from being the person you were before – it’s an added piece, not a whole new identity. Don’t be afraid to do things you would normally do, even if others find it strange

What I Wish I Had Known, but Wouldn’t Have Listened to Anyway (August, 2011)

  • Even if you don’t want to, you will probably compare your kid to other kids, both favorably and unfavorably.  I’m ridiculously proud of LP walking early (although it had nothing to do with me) and I worry about the fact that he doesn’t talk as much as other kids his age.  I don’t want to feel this way, but I do, and the best I can do is squelch it so that I don’t act obnoxious.
  • No matter how much you want to challenge gender stereotypes (like the fact that boys are active and girls aren’t, or boys should have shorter hair), other people will have no problem applying them to your child in front of you (even if you are an avowed feminist).
  • Apparently it is normal for mom’s (especially ones who work outside of home) to feel guilty all the time.  Or so my fellow moms tell me.  Sad as that sounds, I hope this is so, because it describes me in a nutshell.
  • Copied from above: There are a million different emotions you can have with regards to your toddler that range from frustration, indifference, joy and excitement – and you will probably have them all at various points. That is how it is – don’t get stressed about it.
  • It is hard to keep a straight face when you are disciplining your child and he sticks his tongue out at you.
  • At some point you will probably want to throw a tantrum alongside your child.  Occasionally it might even be helpful to do so.
  • Your child’s perspective on the world is fresh, new, amazing and very different from yours.  Embracing his/her perspective and enjoying the world his/her way is not only one of the best things to do for him/her – it is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself.

LP’s Stuff:
Last week LP enjoyed a whole week visiting his Grandma and Grandpa in Lake Almanor.  He practiced his putting (mostly by whacking the putter on the ground), he moved rocks for his Grandpa, he played in the sand, he rode in a boat and he worked on blowing bubbles and swimming in the lake.  LP (and his mom and dad) had a fantastic time!

During and after our trip LP continues to work on his talking.  He now identifies me as “mama” both in person and in pictures, and he goes between “gaga” and “dada” for the G-man.  He continues to say “ga” for just about everything else, but sound for truck/van/bus/large vehicle (one of his favorite sites) is distinctive enough that the G-man and I recognize it.

Food (and Travel) Stuff:
Last week LP went on his 8th round-trip airplane ride (his 5th cross-country trip).  Needless to say, the G-man and I have figured out how to be pretty prepared for these long excursions in confined spaces.  While there are plenty of travel tips out there for folks traveling with children (and I will post some of mine soon) we have some strategies that work well for traveling as vegans, and especially as vegans with a hungry toddler in tow.  So, here are our food-related travel tips – some apply to any traveling vegan, and some apply mostly to traveling with a young child.  Enjoy!

Bring snacks!
Snacks provide two services: they keep you and your child full and happy (as opposed to hungry and cranky) and they can provide entertainment as well.  These days it is hard enough to get food on an airplane, let alone a healthy vegan and baby friendly snack.  So, come prepared, and remember that you can take food and beverages through security if they are for your child.  Check the TSA website for the details on this.  Here are some of our favorite snacks for both LP and ourselves:

  • Hummus and pita chips/crackers
  • Almond butter and crackers (crackers work as your utensil!)
  • Cheerios or similar cereal (such as Trader Joe’s “Joe’s Os”)
  • Blueberries, halved grapes, peach cubes.  (note: we tried to bring orange slices to-go once – they were yummy but pretty messy!  Just something to keep in mind with your fruit choices!)
  • Halved olives (LP loves them – go figure)
  • Marinated tempeh cubes (link to recipe)
  • Carton of soy yogurt (best enjoyed at the start of your trip, or before you board, and it does require a spoon)
  • Baby food (obviously we are past this now, but when LP was younger I flew with a few small containers of homemade baby food.  We always got through security, although they occasionally had to do the strip test with the jar ).

What you can get at the airport:

  • Hot water (for formula mix, or tea):  I have been to lots of airport coffee places – Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, Cosi, etc.  All of them have filled my empty thermous with hot water at no charge.  I just bring my thermos empty through security and then fill it up with hot water on the other side.  The water stays hot through the trip, so that we can easily make some formula uysing the dry mix we premeasured into the bottles before the trip.
  • Soymilk: If there is a Starbucks, there is soymilk after security.  It will be sweetened vanilla, but sometimes beggers can’t be choosers.  I’ve never done this myself because we still use the formula, but I’m sure you could buy a small cup of soymilk for your little one if necessary.
  • Food: See what food places are in your terminal.  If there is a Starbucks or Cosi there is a good chance you can get oatmeal.  If there is a Subway you can get a sandwich with a ton of veggies and no meat or dairy.  If there is a burrito place you can probably get a veggie and black bean burrito – hold the cheese.  All of these will provide you with some sustenance, and (depending on their age) give you something to feed your little one.

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