Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Toddler had no dinner tonight

There is a first for everything, right? Tonight was the first time Tristan did not eat a thing for dinner. Why? He was tantruming and didn't want to eat what we wanted him to eat. His unfinished corn bake from last night was combined with his leftover corn bake from daycare's lunch today. That was his dinner. If he finished that, we would have given him part of a ham and cheese slider. He only wanted the ham and cheese slider. We tried offering the corn bake for about 30 minutes and he screamed and cried and then we called it quits. Everything was taken away and he went up for his bath. After his bath, he went straight to bed. No playing, no reading, nothing. Bedtime was an hour earlier today. This was another first.

It's so sad really. I'm not sure who is more stubborn. Him or us. Or him or Jean-Louis. If it were just me I would have done thinks a bit differently. People talk about being careful with implementing discipline because it could create issues for the child in the future. What about the issues the child is creating for us parents? Now and in the future? I joked on Twitter about needing to save money now for therapy for myself in the future. I could use some now too. It's just one of those days, you know? :(

We tried holding toddler hostage in his highchair

Almost 10 years ago, we invited Jean-Louis' cousin, her husband, and their toddler over for lunch. We were living in Paris at the time and they were in Vernon in Normandy. Before they came down, I had asked his cousin if her toddler would eat salad rolls. Everyone I know likes salad rolls and it was one of Jean-Louis' favorite. It has shrimp, pork, mint, lettuce, bean sprouts and vermicelli all wrapped inside rice paper. You eat them by dipping them in a chee hou type sauce. It was summer, it was healthy and I thought it would be the perfect thing to make. I asked if our toddler guest would eat this. His cousin said maybe and told me what to leave out so I made a couple of separate ones just for him. When it came time to eating, everyone ate and loved the Vietnamese salad rolls, except the toddler. Now, I haven't been exposed to many toddlers back then. I was still in my 20s after all. Her toddler didn't even try it. He looked at it and said no. His parents tried to convince him to try it and did everything they could to have him eat some. I remember thinking, oh my god. What a picky little eater! Since the meal didn't work for him, we offered to open some crackers if he wanted some. He said yes so Jean-Louis opened a new pack of crackers. Right after it was opened, the toddler said he didn't want any anymore. Goodness! Then came more lecturing from his parents. He basically didn't eat anything at all and I can't remember if he drank anything either. It wasn't until the end of the day closer to dinner time did he feel hungry and wanted to eat something. I was told to make plain pasta and serve it with a bit of olive oil and salt. He ate it all!

Now that I have a toddler of my own, I understand what went on back then. Although, Tristan has never been that picky, he can be picky and when he does, we want to pull out our hair! I mean he ate salad rolls for the first time and liked it. Of course, eating outside of the home may be more challenging. First of all, we're very strict with him about what and how much he eats. If he doesn't eat a balanced meal, it kind of makes us mad. I always try to include foods from every food group when I cook and he has to eat his main meal before anything else. We have very high expectations from him but we always had and he knows it. For the most part, he has benefited well from it and eats all kinds of foods. When I say that Tristan is picky, I mean that he doesn't want to eat what we want him to eat or says no to something we offer him.

Last night, we tried something new. We held him hostage for the first time in his highchair. It lasted around 2 hours. I didn't want to do this so Jean-Louis was put in charge to watch him since it was his idea. How did this come about? I made easy food last night. I made ham and cheese sliders and served it with corn and pepper bake. We presented both of them to Tristan at the same time. After he ate the slider, he picked at his corn. There were yogurt, cheese, and fruit as usual for afterwards but he had to finish his main meal first. It didn't happen. This is maybe the third day in a row he has been picky like this. The same day, he came home from daycare with most of his hummus, half of his pita, and he had only taken a few bites from his corn on a cob. Earlier in the week, he chose to eat only the noodle and fish parts of his stir fry and didn't eat much of the bok choy or mushroom. We know he can eat way better than that so we got mad. He normally loves mushrooms and eats bok choy fine. We tried threatening him with removing his toys and told him we wouldn't read to him at night but he didn't care. He was even helping Jean-Louis remove his toys in the evening!

Every time this happens, I know Jean-Louis likes to blame daycare because they give him snacks and that spoils his appetite for his main meals. It's not really fair to blame them since what happens at daycare is nothing new. Of course, it doesn't help us either :(

We tried holding him hostage but after the trial last night, we're done with it. After tweeting about it, I started to receive many replies from people basically telling me "that's bad" and "don't do it." You know it's a hot topic when everyone on Twitter has something to say about it! It's great though because it probably saved us a few days of stress. Apparently, some of my followers were held hostage when they were children and they now resent their parents and have food issues. The idea of being held hostage never sat well with me anyway. How long would we be able to keep this up? I wasn't convinced it would work at all and it would just suck too much time. I also didn't want to be the one doing it and I felt sorry for Tristan. Were we punishing him for being a toddler again? Another dumb parenting idea.

What now? We're going to try to stay cool and relax a bit. The stress of feeding is what drives us to crazy ideas like holding a toddler hostage in his high chair :) He is only 2.5 years old. He must be going through a phase so we'll just continue doing what we're doing until the phase passes. There is nothing more we can do for now.

Cupcake Math

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Every mom gets criticized for something

I recently read an article called The Mom-Judging Olympics: A competition nobody meant to enter. It goes through results from their survey asking moms what kinds of behavior would make them judge another mom. 26 000 moms were surveyed and 90% of them would judge another mom. I hate to admit it but I would be one of them.

Have a bratty kid? 66% of moms will judge you. It depends on the circumstance but if you brought a bratty kid to fine dining, I would sure judge you. Tristan is mostly well behaved, which is why we can travel with him and dine out with him. If he were different, we would definitely stay home. Ruining it for others would only ruin it for us even more.

Breast-feeding your 3 year old? 43% would judge you. I don't think I would judge you. I breastfed Tristan and can now understand why some people can be attached to this. I have no problem with breastfeeding as a way to provide milk for thirst but if it were used simply to soothe a bratty child, I would judge you.

Have an overweight child? 37% would judge you and yup, I would too.

Give your kid junk food? 34% would judge you. I wouldn't if I saw this for the first time. We're even beginning to give Tristan a bit of junk food tastings here and there. Even though, there are a lot of things he has not tried and I hope he doesn't eat any time soon like cheezies, flavored chips, McDonald burgers, and pop. If I knew that you were feeding your kid junk food daily, I would totally judge you. If you were feeding your 6 month old junk food, I would totally judge you. But these are sort of different questions, aren't they? I make my own healthy meals so of course I would judge you.

Let your kid watch TV/play video games too much? 32% will judge you. I would judge you. There is no reason your child should be doing this too much.

Co-sleep with your child? 23% would judge you. I would judge you but not harshly. I remember bringing Tristan into bed with us maybe for a few hours a couple of times when he was a baby. We were super tired and just couldn't handle it. We felt guilty every time since we didn't want to develop a habit and have him not sleep in his own bed. It was part of us being scared of too much attachment. Lucky for us the few hours of bed sharing had no effect on his sleeping habits. He sleeps great in his own bed and has been there since day one :)

You work too much? 20% would judge you. I wouldn't judge you, assuming you have proper childcare arranged for your child. I am a work-at-home-mom but I do most, if not all of my work while Tristan is in daycare. Having said that, I really don't over work. If anything, I would love to work more!

Didn't try to breast-feed? 18% would judge you. I would judge you. Not breastfeeding because you find out you can't or it's not your thing is cool. If you don't even try and I mean really try, that's uncool. Breastmilk is the best thing for your baby. Everyone knows it. You got to at least give it a good try.

There is something that didn't make it on their top 9 list, which surprised me. It's something I know I would be judged harshly for. Do you let your child cry it out for sleep training? I did this and was criticized for it. I made the mistake of commenting on an attached parenting site about the issue and then I got bashed over here on my own blog. I was totally outnumbered over there! What was I thinking?

No matter what you do as a parent, there will always be something for someone to criticize. I feel like Jean-Louis and I are pretty solid good parents. We are strict, yet loving, and gentle with Tristan. He is well behaved, polite, average sized, and sleeps well on his own in his own bed. He was breastfed for just over a year but I would have gone longer if he wanted me to. I love to cook and bake so most of what Tristan consumes is healthy and balanced foods. He only drinks water and milk. We rarely give him junky foods and we have no TV so he doesn't watch at all. We do let him play on the iPad maybe 5 to 10 mins a week, which is really nothing. He can play with his toys alone and he loves to read with us. We receive compliments about him a lot and it always makes us proud :)

Overall, it seems like we have it really great here. Ah, wrong. We let him cry it out when we sleep trained him. He didn't end up crying much but we were dying inside when it happened. We yell at him. Sometimes we lose our temper in front of him. We sometimes remove all his food if he refuses to eat or try to eat. That means no food at all until the next meal, which could be more than 12 hours later. We bribe him a lot with things like sweets or a DVD movie if he eats all his main meal. And so on. Basically, there are a lot of things you can criticize me for about parenting. It doesn't bother me as much now that Tristan is 2 1/2 years old. It bothered me back then when he was still a baby and parenting was so new to me. I know what kind of parent I am now and I'm pretty happy about it and that's all that really matters.

Monday, August 22, 2011

1 month boot camp completed

Boot camp actually ended for me last Wednesday. Just in time for all the desserts for our anniversary the day after :) Yeah, that was somewhat planned. So the results are in! I lost 7 pounds. That's the good news. And that happened after the first 2 weeks. The last 2 1/2 weeks I gained a pound and then lost a pound. That's the bad news:( Oh well.

What did I do for boot camp? I had to drastically cut down my food intake and eliminate sweets. A typical breakfast was suppose to be a slice of toast and a couple pieces of fruit. I would skip lunch or have a few pieces of fruit and then a typical dinner would be 2 cups of whatever we were having, then some fruit. This food contract may have worked 6 years ago when I wasn't so overweight and addicted to sweets. This time around it proved unrealistic and I pretty much cheated on food every day! I couldn't help it. By the time dinner came, I was starving and ended up overeating. Instead of 2 cups of food, I may have eaten 3 or 4 cups. Also I cheated with the sweet desserts maybe once every week or two:( Boo. I suck.

In terms of exercise, I had to run 5 times a week and do body exercises for 10 minutes 5 days a week. The run was pretty much the only thing I did. I did body exercises maybe 3 times a week. Again, I suck.

With all the cheating, boot camp really wasn't that bad. The first week was horrible. Then every now and then was horrible. Now that it's over, I'm not going back to my old ways. No way! I'm going to run a bit less and I will still be careful not to overeat. The baking and sweet treats is my biggest weakness right now but I will try my best to control that too. Wish me luck! ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

10 years ago, I got married.

We've been together for 13 years and married for 10 of those. Time sure flies. Because it's 10, I felt like making a big deal out of it. Because it ends in a "0." Isn't that how it works?

We normally don't do much for anniversaries. We'll wake up and say "Happy Anniversary" to each other and then make sure we have a nice meal that day. We don't exchange gifts or even give cards. There were a few instances when we went on fancy dinners but all that was before Tristan arrived anyway.

Since this year was the big 1-0, we did a little more. I woke up to find a card for me at my computer. I was shocked! Jean-Louis had not given me a card for years. We did electronic cards for awhile and then even gave that up. Generally cards don't mean that much to us and is just a waste of money. We both agree. If you must give a card though, pick one out from the store. This at least suggests you put some time and thought into it! Because I didn't expect a thing from Jean-Louis, I was thrilled to get a card:) Inside of the card said the following:

"You're not only a great wife, you're my very best friend! Happy Anniversary"

My gift or surprise for Jean-Louis came in the form of dessert. Surprise? :) I had a couple of weeks to think about it but since my first plan to create us a photo book didn't go as planned, dessert seemed the way to go. I even went on Amazon the week before out of desperation browsing tins and aluminum, hoping some magical gift idea would appear. Honestly tin and aluminum for your 10th anniversary!???! Who comes up with these things?

In the end I came up with the following. He was instead surprised:)
Devil's food layer cake & lemon sugar cookies
I had to keep Tristan busy while I decorated :)
Unfortunately, Jean-Louis came home too early that day and caught me in the middle of creating it. The kitchen was a mess and I was a mess but he was still happily surprised. It was funny really. In case you were wondering about the presentation, I was in fact using aluminum mini bread tins to display the cookies. These were bought from Amazon and delivered just 30 minutes before Jean-Louis came home!! As silly as giving aluminum may sound, I was still able to incorporate it into the gift :)
That night we went out for dinner. Mainly because I spent a good part of the day baking and dining out is a bit of a luxury for us since we seldom do it.  It turned out to be a great day. After we got home, we all had dessert around 8:30PM, including Tristan. He ended up sleeping at around 10PM instead of the usual 9PM. Here's to 10 fabulous years of marriage together! We're not as lovey dovey as we were back then but I think we're in a much much better place now :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy 1000th day birthday Tristan!

Hey, it's not every day you get to acknowledge that someone is exactly 1000 days old! I couldn't resist making Tristan a cookie cake :) Then after dinner, bath, and teeth brushing, we gave him a new toy. Can we spoil a toddler or what??? :)

Just like his 500th day birthday, we found out about this 1000 day by accident. We bought an app to count down my labour when I was pregnant with Tristan. Now that the labour is complete it just counts up in days, hours, and minutes since his birth. We don't monitor it anymore since we have no reason to know. Last time Jean-Louis looked into it for fun, it said Tristan was 499 days old. Oh, interesting. Last night, I was having a conversation with one of my friends on Twitter about anniversary and numbers. It made me think of Tristan and how he was nearly 500 days old when we last checked so I asked Jean-Louis about it. I figured we probably missed the big 1000. Imagine how amused we were when we found out Tristan was 999 days old! True story I swear! Honestly, what are the odds that we could have found out in time in both cases? Crazy.

What a 1000 day old boy looks like :)

Taken this morning on his 1000th day birthday

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taylor Park's Bike Skills Park

A few weeks ago, we discovered a bike skills park in our neighborhood. It's funny because we have been going to this park for years but we never ventured into the area south of the basketball courts. We drive there occasionally with Tristan's bike so he can bike in the field. Lately, I have been taking advantage of the opportunity to run laps around the field while Tristan bikes. It's usually on a day that Jean-Louis does his crazy 100KM bike ride so he doesn't need to run and he just watches Tristan while Tristan bikes.

The bike skills park area is not well maintained but I was so thrilled to see it there. There are weeds growing everywhere but it's still bike-able. I love that it had easy areas for toddlers and harder areas for more experienced bikers. Tristan loves it there and he loves being able to do more challenging things than just biking on leveled ground. He has developed great balance on his Strider and puts up his feet when he goes fast or down slopes. He's taking more risk and of course getting more bruises. It's all part of the process! He's 2 1/2 now but I think next year he may be ready for a pedaled bike and maybe biking camp :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My version of chewy granola bars

Since making granola bars for our Whistler trip back in May, I have been making regular batches about once a week or two. I was never a fan of granola until now really. You know what they say, homemade is always better :)

I have made them many times and have tweaked the recipe to my liking. It's based off this thick and chewy granola recipe, which one of my tweeples recommended. Unfortunately, I can't remember who that was that gave me the tip:( The granola bars are great for snacks when hiking or just to take on road trips. The nice thing about them is that you can put whether you like in them, as long as you keep the wet and dry ingredients in proportion to the recipe. We like to use organic ingredients where possible and we don't like anything too sweet. We make granola so much now that each batch ends up being very inexpensive, even though we're making high quality granola each time. And did I mention how great these healthy bars are? Addicting great! :)

Here is my version of the thick and chewy granola bars.

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 brown sugar
1/3 cup oats, grounded in a blender (or use oat flour)
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups dried fruits, nuts, seeds etc.
1/3 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp agave syrup (or honey)
1 tbsp water

For dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, I use 1 cup mix of dried cranberries and currants, 1/2 cup of sesame seeds, and 1 cup of pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds/flax seeds/roasted nuts. Make sure you buy the unsalted or natural seeds. Keep in mind that if you add more dry fruit to the recipe, your overall granola will be sweeter unless you reduce the sugar further.

Melt the butter in a bowl, add all the wet ingredients to it. Mix. Measure out all the dry ingredients and add it to the wet. Stir to mix. In a brownie pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil pour the mixture and level it out. Bake at 350F for 35 mins or until the sides are brown but not burnt. If you want to cut them into bars, here is a tip that will help. Once removed from the oven, use a spoon and press down on the granola some more and level it out. This way it is nice and compact. Let it cool completely before you cut them into bars. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BC Day long weekend

We went shopping, visited a botanical garden, discovered a new park, had a barbecue, and watched library dvds. Just the three of us. We had no plans with anyone and it was sort of nice. We did what we felt like doing on our schedule and it ended up being really fun!

My family went to Portland. We were invited but we declined. Having gone away to Whistler in May and heading on another vacation later this year, we didn't want to take more time off. It seemed like everyone but us were going away this weekend. When we drove around or even when we were at the mall, Vancouver seemed a bit deserted. Wow.

On Saturday, we visited VanDusen Botanical Gardens. It was our first time and we were surprised to find that it was so big. The garden took up nearly the entirely block! We brought a panini for Tristan and lots of cherries for us to share. It was a lovely garden but we regretted not bringing the stroller. Afterwards, we drove to Stevenston Farm to buy corn. It's not really corn season right now but we did buy a bunch of other fruits and vegetables. There is just something about being at a farmer's market that makes be so excited! This farm had complimentary Salt Spring Island coffee too:)

That day Tristan got splinters in his hand. He was touching all sorts of stuff at the gardens so it wasn't a big surprise. I'm amazed he hadn't gotten splinters before actually. After his bath that night, I had to use a needle to remove his splinters. We tried to blindfold him so he wouldn't see the needle but he sort of freaked out so we abandoned that idea. He whimpered a bit and tried to pull away from time to time but overall he was very brave. It didn't take long before I removed all three splinters. Phew!

On Sunday, we did our usual shopping at Metrotown, chores around the house, and went running. Blah, blah, blah. Ok, Sunday was totally boring but we can't expect to have fun every single day.

On Monday, we headed to Stevenston Village. We brought Tristan biking at Garry Point Park. The park reminded me of Dallas Beach in Victoria because it was so windy! The wild flowers there kind of blew me away too. The park is great for picnics, flying kites, biking, running or just walking. I was surprised to find no playground though. From the park, we walked to Rocanini to have coffee. On the way, we bought Tristan a vanilla ice cream cone. Not only an ice cream cone but his very first taste of ice cream!!! I think we won the best parents in the world award that day :) He ate his ice cream while he walked and made such a big mess. Tristan is a super slow eater and he didn't know that he had to lick from the bottom up and of course it was a hot day. We were getting all sticky and messy ourselves just from cleaning him along the way so we put a bib on him! If you were cruising Stevenston Village and noticed a little boy walking and eating an ice cream cone wearing a orange bib and his parents holding a bunch of napkins, that was us! :)

We couldn't let BC day long weekend pass without having a barbecue. Isn't it tradition to have barbecues on long weekends in the summer? Well, it should be! I know it was just the three of us but we were cooking for the winter. You may think we're nuts but when we're eating barbecue soulvaki in November, we'll see who's laughing then! :) We made pork soulvaki, quinoa burgers, soy chicken wings, and hummus. We served the quinoa burgers with roasted tomato, avocado, hummus, lettuce and pita bread. We opened the coconut water and we had a feast! Oh so good! That evening, I ended up foodsaving around 75% of the food and throwing it all in the freezer. Yes, it was another great weekend :)
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