Thursday, January 19, 2017

2015, in one post

Spring #risotto
These excerpts from my journal provide a montage of Georgia’s first year with food. In internet speak, she was EBF before BLW.  We followed the baby-led weaning approach because of its emphasis on eating together, letting her feed herself, and feeding her what we eat. This seems to have worked well for Georgia whose appetite and tastes as a toddler have far surpassed mine as a teenager—and are, in fact, on par with my current food intake.

January 2015

We started sitting G in her high chair during lunch and letting her get used to some foods. She's played with cucumber, apple, carrot, butternut squash so far.

***

Georgia has expanded her edible play treats to lettuce. It is very easy to clean up. I am so proud of her when she's playing with food and she hasn't even really eaten anything yet.

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She has had green beans and toast and pita—taking bites of both breads, but I panicked before she could try chewing/swallowing.

February 2015

Georgia ate the most she's ever eaten today. She had a whole parsnip (in pieces) and a strip of chicken—balled up. She is also taking sips of water from a straw I fill. Post-meal forensic reconstruction was very exciting today. Tomorrow: sweet potato, beans, cucumber are the options.

***

Georgia is not particularly interested in cauliflower, though her enthusiasm peaked for the cauliflower as we had it: oiled, salted, spicy, garlicky, and covered in sausage drippings. She tasted lime and mustard today. The mustard made her eyes water, but she kept going back to the lime.

***

Georgia is currently enjoying a pear. She took one big bite, tried to swallow, and gagged a few times to spit it out—I am much more relaxed about choking, seeing her learn to manage too-big pieces.

March 2015

She ate "gruel" today: hemp milk overnight oats with frozen-from-summer peaches and cinnamon. It was not not messy.

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We had lunch at Pleasant House yesterday and she ate cod, beets, and potatoes. I made her a little plate of cheese, strawberries, lettuce, and avocado the other day but she wasn't very interested. She didn't love hemp milk gruel with strawberries either and ate cheese off the floor instead.

***

Gave G a crumb of chocolate donut. She also tasted the foam of my latte at Nightwood. Hoping she likes the new flavor and always keeps an open mind.

April 2015

I am concerned that she wants to be eating MORE. She grunts when we aren't feeding her fast enough or are eating in front of her. Planning to increase her diet as the farmers' market season unfolds makes me more at ease.

***

Everything about Georgia's life seems to be food related. From my pregnancy diet to my breastfeeding diet to her first foods. What I could eat, what I couldn't, when I could eat, how I could eat, when I could cook, what I could cook. One-handed, no dairy, good fats, protein, no salami, peanut allergy fears, take-out, finally having time/hands to make risotto, where we could go out to eat. Rainbow cone after low-carb diet. No booze.

But it feels like we are coming into the home stretch: Georgia is approaching the one-year mark (which expands the allergen foods), the farmers' markets are about to bloom, and we have established a rhythm that allows for cooking time and shopping excursions and restaurant adventures.

Just in time for summer's food bounty, Georgia appears to have four top teeth coming in.

May 2015

Thought I should write down a few of the things she's been eating lately:

B: oatmeal (overnight oats) w/ grated apple
L: asparagus w/ green onion risotto
D: turkey and white bean chili w/ lettuce

B: clementine
L: pad Thai
D: fish, asparagus, potatoes

She's also a big fan of pizza crust, smoothies, and yogurt bites. She  is also VERY into the rhubarb crisp I attempt to eat without her.

***

She has a new thing where she puts both hands up to her face—fists to mouth—while eating, to keep everything in?

I love her tremendously.

June 2015

I am becoming concerned about her diet, thinking I should be making sure to feed her rounded meals vs. just letting her have a pear or a piece of toast. More veggies, more protein, more fats.

***

Georgia now enjoying some taco filling (summer squash and kohlrabi greens snuck in) while I peruse a new cookbook. Breakfast was sweet potato pancakes and strawberries. Lunch: chicken, peas, and broccoli.

July 2015

Grandmother enjoyed seeing Georgia, who she called "wonderful" and also "a piece of work" by the end. She tried to sneak G an m&m—I saw the red on her lips.

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We had oatmeal pancakes and blueberries for breakfast. I like to split her pancakes in half and spread with peanut butter.

August 2015

Yesterday at Green City Market she "graduated" from Club Sprouts, which means she successfully tasted 8 market items over the summer. The final items for her to taste were the grapes she had been snacking on all week. She was pointing at them and yelling as we approached the table, so: a sure thing.

She had a quesadilla for dinner and leveled up on fork use: spearing and guiding food to her mouth for consumption.

September 2015

Last night at Medici, Georgia grabbed one of our onion rings and ate the whole thing right up. I was so proud.

October 2015

Georgia can climb into her high chair. She likes to do this and then surprise us when we walk into the room.

November 2015

She looooooooves pasta. And pomegranates.

Today she helped me whisk eggs for lunch.

December 2015

Georgia's first word over meatballs and Brussels sprouts and rosé this afternoon:

"More."


Sunday, January 15, 2017

On routine

These tip-toes🙈 On Mondays and Fridays I wash my hair. On Thursdays I wear it high in a big messy flop.

Most weeks on Thursdays we go to dance class, Mondays music class. Wednesdays are for story time at the bookstore while Thursdays host story time at the library.

On Saturdays we go to the farmers’ market.

On Sundays we try to outwit our neighbors and snag two cartons of a limited winter supply of our favorite local eggs from the bodega down the block.

This is the structure of our week. My first few weeks at home with Georgia were downright jarring, not just because of the screaming, but because I was floundering being off a routine I’d established years ago and faithfully followed. These activities are my touchstones, keeping the days from running together in a mash of endless mini-sequences that make up our days.

UIKEYINPUTDOWNARROWWhile I would not describe my daughter, who casually tosses her beloved Baby over the side of the couch yelling “BABY FALL!”, as delicate, I have no qualms tossing out the word sensitive. All through the day she requires many snuggles, a feature we discovered in her programming early in her newborn days. She is observant and understanding, and like me, she thrives on routine. She repeats everything. She literally repeats questions, requests, comments. And makes me repeat myself back. She wants to watch the same movie (101 Dalmatians), read the same book (Blueberries For Sal), listen to the same song ("This Town" or "Baa Baa Black Sheep", depending on how lucky I am), play the same game (Memory).

I get up at 6 am. Actually, Georgia gets up at 6 am. She plods down the hallway into our room and announces, “I waited for my green light!” Her green light is the $30 contraption that keeps our day from starting earlier than 6 am. It is worth a million more dollars. She climbs into bed, answers “No dreams” to my foggy, routine question and I try to drift back to sleep for any more minutes I can.

“I ready to go to the liv-room when mama’s done restin.” Sigh. We get up, get water, and I try to drift back to sleep for any more minutes I can from the big brown chair in the living room. She gets her own breakfast from a plate we set up during the bedtime routine the night before (an oat/carrot/zuchinni/apple/coconut/walnut/banana/blueberry/craisin/whatever-was-on-hand muffin that I make in batches to keep in the freezer and a satsuma).

This is how we start every day.

Nap is at 11:30 am, daily. We eat lunch together at 10 am and Georgia has dinner at 4:00 pm. In between we tinker, do dishes, take walks, do dishes, run errands, do dishes, cook, and read books. We sing, we dance, and we do dishes. I do so many dishes.

Then we end every day the same way: bath time at 5:45 pm, followed by Georgia picking her jammies (“I want my penguins!”), making breakfast (“Time to clean up.” “Let’s do muffin fiwst!”), cleaning up the toys (“Mamahelpme!” #herfavoriteword), brushing teeth (“I strong teeth!”), reading the Going To Bed Book (“What’s bear wearing, what's rhinosasaur wearing, what's Woofie wearing, what's bunny wearing? Red jammies, yelwoah jammies, pur-pah jammies, bue and white stripe jammies.”), and getting into bed by 6:30 (“Let’s chat!”).

The same every night. Down to her little comments. It’s like living in a play, she's got her script and I’ve got mine. Nobody flubs a line.

And it's these repetitions that can become monotonous, tiresome. Her relentless "What else is a bird?!" Until she learns something new, wonders something else, picks a new favorite, and there’s a revision to the script. And I realize we’re saving over instead of saving up. There’s no going back to an older draft, no track changes I can recreate by comparing documents. Just my unreliable memory trying to simultaneously host each Georgia we’ve known. An impossible feat when I’m completely consumed by her current self, crowding out the older versions. Because it’s not living in a play, it’a a living play. So I say my part, hit my marks, and hope I can remember this stage and that, and that she doesn’t put the phrase “what an asshole” into the revised script.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Some editorializing

You can hear it in the silence Back when I had a professional job, I was an editor. Not the cool kind who coaxes a story out of a writer, pulling it together from a sloppy mess of paragraphs, nor was I the clever kind who can recite passages from CMOS (I went back and italicized CMOS in case that kind of editor is reading this (hi mom)). No, I was the anxious kind. The kind of editor who wants to keep editing and never publish. Publishing was the worst. Publishing meant printing your mistakes. You can’t fix it once it is in print.

That’s what I find hard about my new job being a professional mother. There are no take-backs. Once something happens, it is done, over, published in Georgia’s memory and mine as A Thing That Happened To Us. Once I yell “I’m never taking you anywhere ever again!”at the end of a very cold, very loud tantrum it’s printed, inked in my mind next to every fall I wish I could have prevented if I had just sat her in a different spot/caught her/seen it coming/known better. Which is where we find the silver lining. Once I know better, I can do better. Because even though this is a live show, I get another chance in the next moment; there are endless next times.

I can’t fix the specifics that have come and gone, but I can influence the gallery of work, nudge it toward a theme of my choosing, fill it little by little with instances where I get it right. I can improve it, which, more than getting it right, is the point of editing in the first place.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Georgia on my mind

Untitled
I resolved two things a week ago: Write and walk. The handy step-tracker on my phone reveals that I haven’t taken “walk” very seriously so far in 2017 (I scored a “.33 miles” today but we had one of our family-favorite Lazy Days, kept inside by single-digit temps and the slog that is the end of The O.C.’s third season).

Since I haven’t been walking, this is me attempting to honor the other half of my 2017 goal list. It has been quiet on this blog for some time, the time it might take for a person to be born, learn to eat, walk, sleep alone, talk, and open the fridge to look for a snack. This blog is so disconnected from the person I was when I wrote it years (literally years) ago, and admittedly, like anyone confronted with their past self, I find it sloppy and juvenile. (I’m eternally thankful that Facebook did not exist during my high school years.) I thought about taking it down or starting in a new place, but I get a lot of texts from my sister about the Authentic Self and some of it must be sinking in.

This blog  started as my attempt to “join the conversation”—a phrase learned from my favorite and only young smart lovely woman English-professor in college. The conversation at the time was about what food we eat and the places we go.  Which, interestingly, are the two main focuses of most of my conversations with Georgia. “What we eat?”and “Where we go?”: two of her biggest concerns. My blog hiatus started with Georgia’s birth—when everything felt so intimate and so confusing. I didn’t know how to capture the positives of what I was feelings or the negatives—that she was so lovely and perfect and that I had changed my life to be home with her and I didn’t feel like I was any good at it. I journaled some, when my brain could put words in sequence. Other blog-kades (see what I did there?) include her right to privacy and whether a teenager might not want stories about her hilarious toddler antics on the internet. I’m still wrestling with that, but a private Instagram account isn’t fulfilling my inclination to output.

As it turns out, my life now revolves more around food than ever. As a homemaker (a term I prefer to “stay at home mom” because I think it better represents my goals and agency), I shop for, cook, clean up after, plan about, and teach food. Besides our favorite local bodega, we frequent four grocery stores and two farmers’ markets regularly. I am a creature of favorites and I just can’t settle for not-the-right-kind-of mustard. Or pickles. Or yogurt. Basically anything. Bread, potatoes, prosciutto, chicken, crackers, you name it. I like the one I like. And I’m willing to devote the time to procuring it. And I have the time. Or, we do. Georgia and me.

As I said, she loves to go places. And she loves to eat. And talk about food. She sits on the counter and she plays on the kitchen floor. She is underfoot and touching stuff and in the way and knocking things down. She eats chopped vegetables (except onion which is too spicy or “fispy” and she “doesn’t like raw”) and grated cheese off my cutting board and hands me eggs. She asks why I’m washing the dishes. She tastes salt, oregano, and nutmeg. She yells “Let’s go to the SAMPLE SECTION!” the minute we pass through Trader Joe’s double doors. She lists all the foods she “learned to eat when Georgia was a little baby” before bed and randomly exclaims “Let’s talk about Fanksgibing!” months after the fact.

This afternoon while awaiting Marissa Cooper’s inevitable demise (#spoileralert) and preparing to enjoy the rise of Taylor Townsend, we broke into a bag of gummies. After picking the one she wanted she spent the next ten minutes pushing them on us, “Poppy want a yelwa? That's a good one.” She chorused encouraging “mmmhmms” as we accepted her recommendations, enjoying in our enjoyment. She is an Eater. She is my eater. And I can’t write about food or my life without her.

Georgia is now clad in Christmas jammies and blue polka dot socks, talking to Alex in the living room as they complete the steps to our bedtime routine—a well-honed procedure of exacted timing executed every evening that puts her asleep in bed promptly at 6:30 so the grown ups can… watch more of The O.C. But not have to share our snacks.