Baby Lelan- 8 Months!

Dear Lelan, 

How are you 8 months old already? Where does the time go? I’m with you almost every single day and have been watching you grow with such heart bursting pride. You have exceeded my wildest imagination in the way you process the world around you. You are so determined to go, do, see… it’s awe inspiring. You fall ten times and get up a 11th and keep trying. If only I was like you, imagine how much I would accomplish. Adults are so quick to give up… I hope you never lose your sense of wonder and never let an obstacle stand in your way. 

This was the month when you became mobile… it started out slowly with an army crawl, but quickly escalated to you pulling yourself up on to the crib. It was the day after Christmas when I found you standing in your crib. I can’t lie, at first I was baffled because you had barely started crawling. But, then I saw your beaming face and instantly my confusion vanished. You were so proud of yourself and I couldn’t help but share in that feeling. Seconds later, you fell backwards and hit your head in the railing and started bawling and I scooped you up to console you. That day I saw a glimpse into your nature. I was reminded of the Vonnugut quote, ‘We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.’ You are my daredevil! I can’t pad every surface that could cause you pain, but I will be there to help you back on your feet after the fall. 
This month also brought Christmas and New Year. You had a wonderful time with friends and family. You got tons of presents from grandma and your aunts Kate & Eileen. You met your cousins Shane & Hanna and really took a liking to your cousin Hanna. You also played nicely with your second cousins Peyton  & MacKenzie. For New Year we stayed in and had a quiet celebration. You were in bed by 7 and mommy and daddy followed suit shortly. 

The new year brought us 2 fresh teeth. Your bottom ones have sprouted and the top ones are really giving you a hard time. But, you’re a trooper and coping with it as best as you can. Your vocabulary is improving. You started saying cat and daddy’s hat recently. You pointed to the bin with all your books and said ‘buh’.You’ve been vocalizing a lot lately and we’ve enjoyed listening to you. But, everytime I say mama, you repeat dada and laugh like you just made a joke… you are a rascal!

Your interest in reading has grown tremendously. You point to books that you like and prompt us to read it to you. We have a rule in our house that each person should read atleast 3 books to you everyday. We’re running out of new material but you have your favorites and don’t mind listening to them over and over again. 

I need to get better about posting these updates on time. So many adventures await you my love as you begin to put one foot in front of the other. As the weather warms up, I can’t wait to take you places. There are so many wonderfully beautiful things in this world and your daddy and I are looking forward to sharing them with you. Just remember, no matter how far you go, we will be right behind you. 

Love,
Mama

Baby Lelan- 7 Months!

Dear Lelan,

I can’t believe I almost forgot to write an update this month. The holidays have got us all crazed but, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to reminisce about you, my darling!

wp-1482899458713.jpg

It seems like you are determined to grow as fast as you possibly can. Some days I catch you playing in the crib for several minutes without making a peep. It’s like you want your alone time already. The sentimental fool in me wants to say… slow down, but I totally understand your spirit. There is so much out there and every day is an adventure. And, having an imagination is so much cooler than anything you can watch on TV. Instead of slowing you down and babying you, I’ve decided to clear the path for your growth. I will always give you your space, so you can be exactly who you are meant to be.

For Thanksgiving, we took you to North Carolina and you handled the trip like a Pro. You were an awesome travel companion- adjusting and going with the flow. I’m sooooo proud of you, even now when I think about how much fun it was to travel with you. In NC, you hung out with your cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We made sure you were on your schedule and you responded by being your best person ever. Thatha and Paati were so impressed with how easygoing you are. Your cousins were so smitten with you, that I heard they cried the day you left.You are so loved by so many people and our family unit is very close. They will always be there for you whenever you need them.

You are still a good eater. You eat just about anything, but definitely have a taste for the sweet stuff. I’ve been trying to slowly introduce you to spices and so far you’ve enjoyed them all. You’ve started drinking from a sippy cup. Your coordination has improved a lot and you are learning to pick up things with your finger and put them in your mouth. You are doing so much in such a short time that I’m constantly amazed by you.

You are talking up a storm these days! You started saying DADA around the beginning of December. The first time your dad and I heard those sweet words we both burst into happy tears. I swear it was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life. You haven’t said any other new words, but you make so many sounds and I know you understand us perfectly.

I’m going to keep this short… because already this is 10 days late. 🙂 Don’t ever forget that we both get each other in ways that are incomprehensible. I’m on your side and will always help you grow in whatever capacity you choose. My trust in you is already growing strong and I hope we can maintain this connection for years to come.

With Love,
Mama

Baby Lelan- 6 Months Old

Dear Lelan,

You have spent half a year on this planet already and every single day is a treat. Life has settled into a nice rhythm with you. Most days, you are the clock by which we set our schedule. Your pace is steady and predictable, which makes all of our lives that much easier.You really are the happiest baby on the block! You smile, belly laugh, giggle and grin more than you ever cry. Even on those days when you’re going through growing pains, you make an effort to be happy. Your positive disposition is downright contagious, buddy!

wp-1479346232024.jpg

We’re still waiting for your first tooth. I think I’m more traumatized at this point than you are. We’ve had a couple of bad nights where you were in a lot of pain, but hopefully they are few and far in between. You’re still a champ through it all, my darling! You had a little cold last month, but the humidifier helped you recover faster. Other than that, you haven’t had any major health issues. You’ve even handled all your shots without much fanfare, which makes me believe that you have a healthy composition. At your last doctor’s visit you weighed a healthy 17.6lbs and measured 28.5in long.

You are turning into a good eater. You prefer sweet tasting food to savory, just like your daddy, but you’ve yet to taste any processed sugar. You’re still eating purees that I make from scratch and it’s been fun trying our new fruit and veggie combinations. You will try anything once and will definitely let us know if you don’t care for it a second time. You’ve started holding your own bottle. You are starting to self-feed using a mesh and by holding crackers in your hands. Your coordination has improved greatly in the last few weeks.You are my fiercely independent boy and I’m here to help you reach your developmental goals.

You are still into music, especially Tamil movie songs. Our babysitter was amazed at how quietly you played while listening to these songs today. When certain songs come on, you visibly perk up and start bopping your head or clapping your hands. When you go for a walk on the stroller or are getting changed on the changing table, you’ve started tapping the sides with your hand as if you’re hearing a beat. I wonder what song is playing in your head??? Other artists you like are Bill Withers, Michael Jackson and Ella Fitzgerald.

You’re babbling a lot these days… mostly coo’s and vowel sounds. You’ve definitely said dada already. You say yum-yum when you like something and blow raspberries all the time, and repeat/ mimic our sounds whenever you feel like it. You are into books, but would rather eat them than finish reading them. For the most part, you would rather be left alone to play. You don’t like being held and prefer to roll around freely. You’re still not crawling, but you have figured out that you can roll towards your goal… You are a determined boy!

You love being around people but take your time warming up to strangers. As long as I’m holding you, you feel reassured and will flash anyone your brilliant smile. I fully support your nature and encourage you to keep up your guard. The world is a scary place and you have every right to be weary. Your dad and I are committed to never allowing you in a situation where you feel uncomfortable. We will always respect your feelings and act accordingly.

A couple of weeks ago, papa taught you how to clap and you’ve been perfecting it ever since. Today, you wouldn’t stop clapping your tiny little hands all day. You are such a fast learner!!! The next month will bring a lot of changes for all of us as you start to become more mobile. We’re also on tooth patrol every day! I can’t wait to help you through these transitions. We’ve come a long way, kiddo and still so many adventures await… We’re with you every step of the way, so go ahead… the world awaits!

Love,
Your Mom

Love Trumps the President!

trump

In the aftermath of this crucial election, I am angry, deflated and disappointed by the outcome. A billionaire businessman convinced a white working class that he was one of them. How did he pull this con??? His hate-filled, fear-inducing, racist rhetoric has resonated with so many Americans that I’m genuinely shattered by their betrayal of our social contract. What has happened to this country? He preyed on people’s fears and won bigly. I’m not okay with that.

Elections matter and the positions we take matter even more now as we contemplate the future. This election had a lot at stake… women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, universal healthcare, wall street regulation, supreme court nomination, securing our borders, bringing jobs back, saving the environment, income equality… these are all very important and personal issues for so many. We’ll probably never know the exact reasons why Trump was more appealing than a seasoned veteran like Clinton. The argument I keep hearing is that it was a referendum against the same-old same-old in Washington, but what puzzles me is why then did they vote the same people into the house and senate???

I’ve always maintained that no matter who wins we must come together after the election, setting aside our differences and work towards perfecting our union. But, how can I reach out for, let alone hold, someone’s hand when I’m not even being acknowledged? How can I let my voice be heard when I’m discounted even before I speak based on my skin color, looks and sex? How can I feel safe when the man holding the highest office in my country has openly and repeatedly legitimized hatred and division? Where we go from here is largely unknown but one thing is for sure… we cannot let hate win. We may have lost the battle, but the war against bigotry, racism, sexism and any and every kind of discrimination is ongoing and we must fight the good fight.

Trump is flawed in so many ways. He’s the sum of everything that’s both good and bad in our society. He is not someone I would choose as a role model for my son, let alone president of my country. But, elections must be respected and he has won decidedly. He’s our president for the next 4 years. I believe Trump wants to be a good President. It’s a legacy issue for him. While it’s impossible to discount everything we’ve heard over the last year and a half as mere campaign rhetoric – red meat- could it be that he was pivoting in his victory speech last night?  The one we’ve all been waiting for throughout his campaign? Is it too little too late? Can he actually become the President for all Americans as he claimed? One can only hope!

There was a time to be cynical…but that time has come and gone. Trump may have taken a very unconventional, controversial route, coveting a subset of the population who were angry, disenfranchised and aching for change, to win. But one could argue that it’s just good politics, though fanning the flames of bigotry is never a righteous path to victory. He outwitted every one of his opponents, pundits and naysayers. He has exceeded our wildest expectations time and time again, so we know he is capable… cunning even. He has an air of unpredictability, which gives him a slight edge over his opponents. If he doesn’t get in his own way by allowing himself to be baited by foreign leaders or become a pawn in the religious wing of his party or feel confined by his own ridiculous promises and statements made throughout the campaign, he has the potential to be a good president… one we can endure for 4 years. But, can someone as impulsive as Trump manage that effectively? Only time will tell!

Still, I’m rooting for him. Unlike how the right treated President Obama, I want to give President Trump a chance to fulfill his destiny. I want nothing more than to be proved wrong about him… because I love this county so much. If he succeeds, America succeeds.

He said… She said…

Him: Why does it look like the men are stalking the women in the Tamil movies we watch?

Me: It’s called love. Stalking is how they convey their interest.

Him: Wow! Do you think it’s appropriate for our son to watch it? I mean, I don’t want him to think that stalking is acceptable.
Me: ???!!?! He’s 6 months old! Relax!

Sick Baby Boo

My boo is sick…

There is absolutely nothing worse than watching your child suffer. They say good anwp-image-1679107974jpg.jpgd bad things come in three’s and Lelan has not been spared this week.

Firstly, our little dude has been teething like CRAZY. He has been chewing on anything and everything he can get his little hands on. His chubby cheeks are swollen and red from all the inflammation. We’ve been giving him lots of iced soothies and chew toys and it seems to be helping… some. Zen the Zebra is Lelan’s constant companion and he’s just as good, if not better than and half the price of the other famous teething animal out there.

Secondly, he has acquired a dry cough. We think it’s a teething cough. The kid is constantly drooling and all the saliva pooling at the back of his throat is causing him to cough to clear his throat. We Googled it and lo and behold it’s actually a thing. It makes us both cringe to hear him cough in the middle of the night. We desperately wish there was something we could do. I hope he sleeps through the night tonight after the day he has had…

Speaking of which, thirdly, I believe he may have had a reaction to grains. Yes, we tried oatmeal for the first time today and Lelan has thrown up at least half a dozen times since this afternoon. Earlier in the week, I called my doctor to ask him about egg yolks and he casually suggested that I start him on oatmeal. ‘Grains are okay in moderation’, he said. Most kids tolerate it just fine, but Google again confirmed that some babies having violent reaction to cereal and throw up a lot. He’s also very young, so we’re just going to stick with the pureed veggies and fruits until he’s a bit older.

In spite of everything, Lelan has been in good spirits. Apart from the occasional fussing, he’s really fighting through it and I’m very proud of him. At one point this evening, he was gnawing on his fingers while coughing and spitting up at the same time. He looked absolutely miserable with his rosy cheeks and bleary eyes, but the minute our eyes locked, he flashed me a dazzling smile that just sent me into a puddle. What an absolute sweetie he is! During his bath, I let him splash around for a few extra minutes and before he fell asleep, I held him in my arms a little longer, even though my independent boy would rather soothe himself. I can’t wait to talk to my pediatrician tomorrow to make sure everything’s okay. Until then, this worried mama will be glued to the baby monitor all night…

Foodie Baby- Part 1

This is going to sound somewhat judgmental… It may come across as me thumbing my nose at some of you and for that I apologize in advance. But, I ask this sincerely, why do people buy baby food in cute little jars when it’s so easy and 1/3 of the cost to make them yourself??? I get that it’s convenient, but not so much to your wallet, right?! In as little as 1 hour you can make an entire month’s worth of simple yet nutritiously healthy baby food without any additives or preservatives, so please tell me…WHY ARE YOU STILL FEEDING YOUR BABY OUT OF A JAR? end rant.

wp-1476732036579.jpgAround the 4 month mark, my son started showing interest in food. He would intently watch us while we ate. He was gaining more control of his neck and was sitting up for longer stretches. He was guzzling down an 8 oz. bottle of formula and some times hungry for more. When our pediatrician suggested that we start him on cereal, I had my concerns. I promptly took to the internet to research the do’s and don’ts of starting solids. What I found shocked me. Perhaps one of the biggest and most frightening crimes against young infants by pediatricians, food marketers, and parents everywhere is the recommendation that young infants should be eating rice cereals or other grains. I will let you read, research and come to your own conclusions about what’s best for your baby, but I was not going to feed my son that crap. On that note, can I just say… PLEASE DON’T TAKE YOUR PHYSICIAN’S WORD AS GOSPEL. There are many motivating factors why your pediatrician might suggest something, but you should absolutely feel empowered to ask questions, do your own research and initiate a dialogue with your kid’s doctor.

When you’re a new mom parent, hey, dad’s should help!, making your own baby food sounds quite daunting. But trust me, it’s easy. With a little organization and planning, it can be a fun experience for both you and your baby. I’m not a nutritionist or a medical professional. I’m just a concerned mom wanting to do what’s best for my baby. Since my boy is still very young, I opted to start him with one or two natural, raw foods. Bananas and Avocados lend themselves nicely as first foods for baby.

wp-1476731942436.jpgBanana Puree: Slice a ripe organic banana and mash with a few drops of breast milk, formula or water until it forms a smooth puree. Make sure to mash well so there are no chunks that can cause a choking hazard. Mashed bananas can stay fresh in the fridge up to 3 days.

Bananas are the ultimate super food… Wonderfully sweet, fleshy and firm they contain a fair amount of fiber and antioxidants. Who doesn’t like bananas? Actually, I know one person who hates bananas, but I digress… We fed our little one this puree for the first couple of days starting with 1/2 teaspoon and working our way to a full tablespoon and from the look on this face, you can see just how much he enjoyed wearing it!

wp-1476736273361.pngAvocado Puree: Cut open a ripe avocado, remove the pit, scoop the flesh using a spoon into a bowl. Mash with a few drops of breast milk, formula or water until it forms a smooth puree. Voila!

Lelan was not a fan of this puree on its own… Just check out the look he’s giving me, pursed lips and all. But, he doesn’t mind it mixed with bananas or other sweet fruits.

On that note, pay close attention to your little one’s body language. Pursed lips, swatting the food away or turning the face are all signs of displeasure. We want our son to develop a healthy relationship with food, so if he didn’t like something we didn’t force it. Also, if he’s done… he’s done. We don’t force him to finish what’s in the bowl, or the bottle though this is never an issue with him. Lelan loves eating!

Seeing how my son handled these simple foods gave me the confidence to try others… Armed with a list, I went to my local Trader Joe’s to buy the following:

  1. 1 large sweet potato
  2. I bunch of carrots
  3. 1 bag of fresh green beans
  4. 2 medium size beets
  5. 3 large pears
  6. 3 large gala apples
  7. 1 bag of fresh peas
  8. 1 bunch of broccoli
  9. 5 juicy plums

Total cost at the checkout counter- $22.70 incl. tax

35264941258507pNext stop was at Bed Bath & Beyond for 4 lidded ice trays. Because, I wanted to freeze the food for easier access. Also, each cube is approximately 1 oz. of food, so you can  calculate how much your kid’s eating. Childhood obesity is on the rise and we wanted to be sure that we weren’t overfeeding our growing boy. We store the baby food in Ziploc bags, which are paraben free, bpa free and oil free.

Cost: $19.96 plus tax

Later that night, after my son went to bed, my partner and I proceeded to make our first batch of baby purees. We didn’t follow any specific recipes… just our own steam, boil, mash technique until we felt the consistency was acceptable. I would cook it and he would mash it… and we both had a blast making them!

Here are a few of the recipes that are kid tested and parent approved!

wp-1476731983056.jpgApple Puree: Peel the apples, remove the core and cut them into cubes. Put them into a small pot, covering them with water and let it boil until the apples are tender. This took approximately 5-6 mins. Then, throw all of it including the water in a blender or food processor and blend until no chunks are left. Pour into ice trays and freeze overnight.

Our son loved the homemade applesauce. We feed it to him mostly for breakfast and it’s instantly become his favorite. After a couple of weeks of eating this puree, I decided to add a dash of cinnamon to see his reaction… and this look says it all.

Who says baby food has to be bland and if you’re breastfeeding, your baby is already tasting everything you’re eating anyway, so go ahead and be adventurous. Just stay away from salt, sugar or anything really spicy.

wp-1476731989321.jpgCarrot Puree: This was another easy recipe. Boil carrots in a little bit of water until they are tender where a fork can slice through. If you have a steamer, even better. We don’t own one yet. Throw into a blender or food processor and puree until silky smooth.Pour into ice trays and freeze overnight.

Lelan couldn’t get enough of this puree. From the bright orange color to the natural sweetness, this was a definite treat for the senses. After a couple of weeks of eating this puree, I added a dash of nutmeg and this kid loved it even more.

wp-1476731997807.jpgSweet Potato Puree: When I was at Trader Joe’s I noticed they carried roasted sweet potatoes in a bag. When I look at the ingredients, it simply said, ‘sweet potatoes’. I was sold. If you can’t find them precooked, you could easily roast a sweet potato in the oven.

Preheat oven to 375, wash the sweet potatoes well, prick with a fork, wrap in tin foil, and roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size. Check at 30 minutes by squeezing one of the potatoes in a oven mitt protected hand and inserting a sharp knife or fork into the center. It should feel quite tender and the knife should glide all the way easily. Let it cool, remove skin and puree in a food processor. You may need to add water as you go until you reach the desired consistency. Pour into ice trays and freeze overnight.

Sweet potatoes are Lelan’s absolute favorite! He can’t get enough of them and thankfully we were able to make a huge batch from the bag I bought from Trader Joe’s. He will eat anything as long as it’s mixed with sweet potatoes.

wp-1476732005715.jpgBeets: I have to admit, beets are an acquired taste. They are earthy and fibrous, yet rich in immune-boosting vitamin C and essential minerals like potassium and manganese.

For a simple puree, we cooked the beets in the oven the same way as sweet potatoes and mashed them in the food processor. Or look for precooked beets at your local Trader Joe’s to save time. Pour into ice trays and freeze overnight.

Lelan loved this at first but after a few bites, he started to turn his face. So, we mixed in a teaspoon of yogurt to cut the earthiness and that seemed to do the trick. He devours it every time and I know that we’re also introducing healthy Probiotics into his gut. Another suggestion is to mix it with chick peas and a little butter, which I plan to try when he’s a bit older. Beware of beets as they tend to stain EVERYTHING. Also, don’t be alarmed if your baby’s poo is red. It’s all part of the journey.

So far, Lelan has done beautifully with everything we’ve introduced him to. His reaction to the tastes, the textures, the smells, is PRICELESS. It never gets old whether it’s the first time or the 10th time and these are some of the memories I will cherish forever. They say, children form food preferences by the age of two, so introducing them to a variety of flavors from the start is a great way to set them on the path of healthy eating.

We filled all 4 ice trays with these purees in less than an hour and they’ve lasted us for over 3 weeks now. We’ve since made pears, green beans, plums and blueberries, which I will share in part 2 of this post.

If you try any of these recipes, please feel free to leave a comment. 🙂