As if my son’s expanders weren’t enough metal in his mouth now he has braces too. He’s been a real trooper. It takes him much more time to eat and it takes me more time to plan and cut his meals. Take for instance his lunch. It’s tough to bite in to a sandwich and not end up with it all stuck to his braces. So now we cut the sandwich in small pieces. Here’s a photo of the new lunch.
Actually eating with a spoon or fork makes things the easiest. Although he doesn’t think lunch should need “dinner utensils”. We’ve worked in a few extra smoothies, shakes, and creamy desserts to keep things sweet and easy when his mouth is feeling achey. We even tried this new smoothie from What Color is Your Smoothie? (review soon) that’s made with oatmeal, banana and maple syrup.
Coincidentally my daughter now has a wiggly tooth. So we’ve applied the same cutting rules to her food. Here’s a photo of her pasta salad lunch. This is such a colorful lunch, I just had to show it off. The best part is the lunchbox came home empty. But the tooth is still intact. It shouldn’t be long before the toothfairy is making a visit…
We’ve definitately had our share of contractors over the past few years working on our house projects. One thing I have learned is that they appreciate and rarely turn down food. This is good because I feel really awkward having someone in my house and not offering them food. I know this may sound odd. I just have to be a hostess and offer someone in my home a drink or food.
I realize this isn’t the approach everyone takes. I grew up thinking if you go to someone’s home you bring something – cookies, wine, flowers, small gift. However when I became a mom, I realized I was the odd one bringing flowers to the playdate host. After a few times coming to what is now my daughter’s best friend’s house, the mom (my friend now) requested I stop bringing things. Actually a pineapple was the last straw. I took the hint.
I assume everyone that comes to my house should be fed and/or wattered, or at least offered to be. For playdates I always have or make something. Even if the neighbor comes over for a brief moment I offer something. I can’t help myself. So having someone working on my house makes me feel like I should provide something as well. The good thing about the contractors is they are usually hungry and are not picky. I’m not running a restaurant (and they’re not family) so I don’t ask them what KIND of sandwich when I offer a sandwich. This makes it easy. They can eat it or not. But they always do (or at least hide it and I don’t know). Actually I like this approach for everyone. I make the food, you eat or don’t eat the food. But there’s no discussion, critique, or complaining. Just a simple “thank you.”
Once we were having our driveway repaired on a hot day. My kids and I made ice cream cones for the contractors. I enjoyed watching my kids bring them to the guys and seeing their surprise. A simple act of food and kindness goes a long way.
The past weeks we’ve been remodeling our dining room. The kitchen is right next to the dining room, so it’s awkward to go to the kitchen if I’m at home and not offer lunch. So sometimes I avoid the kitchen if I don’t have time to make everyone (the contractors) lunch. Tonight I didn’t know what to do as two guys came to finish something unexpectedly around dinner time. I held off dinner as long as possible, not wanting to sit down for a family meal while they are working. Finally we (the rest of my family) gave in. I kept thinking we could of at least ordered them a pizza. Maybe I’ll make them muffins tomorrow…
Today was rough. It wasn’t about not enough food, it was about not being near my food when I needed it.
First I woke up with swollen eyes. I’m guessing because of the sodium in the canned tomatoes from the fondue from last night’s dinner.
For breakfast I had my usual oatmeal and half a banana. Although we were running late for school, so I didn;t get to finish it. My daughter had her yogurt, with granola and fruit. My son had a 42 second egg and cinnamon toast. What’s a 42 second egg? I crack an egg into a ramekin and mix in a splash of milk, then cover with a piece of wax paper (important so it doesn’t explode all over). This timing works for my microwave. But you may have to adjust for yours. It’s a great, quick way to make an egg.
I made the school lunches. Typical veggie, fruit, crunchy snack (here crackers) and roll up. His is turkey and hers is hummus (remember she doesn’t eat meat). It looks like an orange color theme today.
My planning problem was mid day. I dropped the kids, went for a run, got ready and went to a meeting. I figured it would only last about an hour, so I’d grab lunch before getting the kids when I got home. Well the meeting was with a wonderful group of people and we were talking and went over 2 hours. During the meeting we sat down for their coffee break and they invited me to join them for birthday cake. I turned down the cake and explained about the challenge. At this point I was very hungry (red velvet cake smelled great), but hadn’t had lunch and even if it wasn’t the challenge the cake on an empty stomache would’ve felt bad. Turned out I felt bad anyways – since I hadn’t eaten since 7 am. If it weren’t for the challenge I would just stop someplace near the school (La Boulange or Whole Foods) and get a salad or sandwich and eat it leisurely. Instead I remembered I had a Cliff Z-bar (emergency for the kids) in my purse which I ate on the way to my house because I had a horrible headache. I think from lack of food and lack of iced tea. (I unfortunately bought unfamiliar, inexpensive tea bags and brewed it myself thinking I was prepared with hot and cold options. But, yuck. Too much spice and cinnamon. I miss my Mighty Leaf and Tejava). When I got home I had 5 minutes to use the bathroom and make a wrap (turkey, cheese, hummus, tomato) and ate it in the car on the way to pick up the kids from school. That wasn’t until 2:20 pm.
The kids were happy with their smoothie popsicles for their after school snack.
Dinner was still just the kids and I. My husband is back tonight. We got home late from Tae Kwon Do, so I put out some of the left-over cut veggies from the fondue to ease everyone’s hunger, while I made dinner between kids’ showers and homework. They chose minestrone soup (Trader Joe’s from a can), tuna melts and spinach salad. This was good and quick. However halfway through dinner I got a horrible heartburn pain. I actually had to take an antacid and lay down for a few minutes. I’m guessing (and who knows?) maybe I was so hungry and ate too fast that I gave myself the gas and then heartburn.
So if I’m planning to be out and about I need to pack something for myself to eat (an apple, half a sandwich), so I’m not stuck having to come all the way home to make food. I would usally have some raw nuts with me, but didn’t think I should splurge at $9 a pound for this week’s shopping.
I find myself sometime wrestling with my parental guidelines. You know those things you tell yourself you’ll never do with your kids. These seem to be set before you even have children (and don’t know what you’re in for). It could be something you don’t want to repeat your parents did with you (licking your finger and wiping child’s face) or something you see your friends doing (giving in to tantrums) or even a situation you witness at a park (ignoring crying child while on cell call). There’s always something we tell ourselves will never happen at our house and then it does. At that moment, three things could happen…1. You look around and wonder “did anyone else notice I did that?” 2. You tell yourself “O.K. just this once”. 3. You realize the parental guideline needs to be revisited or ammended on a case by case basis.
So here’s one of my guidelines… do not reward, discipline or comfort with food. Sounds good enough. We reward at our house with priviledges (child gets to pick an activity or outing, such as miniature golf) when things go well. We disclipline by taking away priviledges or discussing why we won’t be getting more freedoms, choices and priviledges. However I am finding times where the priviledge (choice, freedom) is tied to food. Child picks favorite restaurant when given the choice of where the family should eat. Child wants to go for ice cream as a “treat” for doing a good deed (helping in the yard, etc). Child (and mom) want to make hot chocolate together, after hiking in the rain. Here the experience and choice of priviledge is related to food and that’s o.k. with me.
Here’s last week’s example. I took my son to a great (everyone said) day camp at a place where kids build (using real tools) in a woodworking studio or create a craft (beading, jewelry etc). Trouble is, for my son it was not so great. After being there 1 1/2 hours I picked him up expecting smiles and got sadness. For him it was a bit overwhelming (too many kids and not enough structure). We decided to have lunch just the two of us, at a favorite lunch spot (La Boulange – that’s another story) before picking up my daughter so we could talk about the camp.
Feeling sorry for my son, I told him he could have whatever he wanted. I figured he’d have a sandwich and want a cookie or croissant after. However taking full advantage of my guilt he ordered the most decadent (and delicious) sandwich ever… banana and Nutella with cream on toasted brioche. Really, they make that? That’s what you’d like for lunch? There was no going back. It came with a side of fruit, which made me feel a bit better. But this was quite a sandwich, even if it had come on a bed of spinach – this was quite a sandwich (yes, he shared a bite with me). My son thoroughly enjoyed every messy bite and couldn’t wait to tell his sister and dad about “the sandwich” when he got the chance. He also confided in me about the camp (for him it was a bit overwhelming with too many kids and not enough structure/assistance).
By the time his dad got home my son was more relaxed and even left room for the possibility of trying the woodshop again. My guilt was lessened and the lunch experience was fun.
I guess I covered the pain in Nutella. Will it happen again? I’ll go with #3 above – it will be on a case by case basis (but the cases need to be spread out).