I Have Invented a Toddler Breakfast Recipe!

I got inspired this morning and came up with the following. The cub loves it and right now is swinging by his little table to pick up more bites while he plays. Raisins are his FAVORITE, so this was an easy win.

Rice Pudding Pancakes

1 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup rolled oats, ground
¼ cup self-rising flour or pancake mix
¼ cup raisins
½ banana, sliced thinly
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
(optional: ¼ cup ground almonds – use a little more milk if you do this)
2 eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
(optional: 1 tsp sucanat sugar)

Combine first six ingredients in large bowl (include ground almonds if using) and lightly stir with a fork so that fruit and rice are evenly sifted with flours. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with a fork. Pour wet ingredients onto dry and combine. These pancakes can be a little tricky because they may want to stick. It may help to spread the batter with the back of the spoon to make a slightly thinner pancake.


Looking Back on a Great Weekend

Many things made last weekend fabulous. For one thing, we had dinner with friends Friday, Saturday AND Sunday nights! And we only actually invited ourselves over for one of them! Friday night was pizza night at the Type A household, and friends came over with their 2 month old darling to join us for that. Then Saturday night, when we usually would have gone out for a cheapy family night out at Vinny's or Threadgills, we were invited to join friends for a Whole Foods buffet. Sunday some other friends cooked Ethiopian fare which was very very good, especially considering that these friends had never been to an Ethiopian restaurant and this was their first go at a very different method of working with spices and butter and such.

(Aster, if you EVER want to open another Ethiopian restaurant and are looking for investors, groupies, whatever - just let me know.)

Also, we went to the new Half Price Books on Parmer on Saturday afternoon and had a great time. There were balloons and lemonade and animal crackers and a large man in a green worm costume that all kept the little guy very entertained. He had a great time running around the aisles laughing and giggling and every one was pretty tolerant of this in the festive atmosphere. Plus, I picked up two books from my Amazon wish list and a couple others that would have been on my list if I'd known of them: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Living to Tell the Tale (the first of three promised volumes of memoirs from one of my most favorite authors), Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World (have I mentioned the Type A thing lately?), Isabel Allende's Zorro, and a(nother) toddler cookbook. I can't wait to get started on them, and the cookbook has a rice pudding recipe that's more like rice pudding casserole that I might actually be able to get the cub to eat - rice and eggs! Woohoo!

But now for the "awwww" moment: the cub has made his first REAL FRIEND. Yes, he's just 16 months old, and parallel play is pretty much the thing, but the Ethiopian-food-cooking friends happen to have a daughter just three weeks older than the cub and they are truly two peas in a pod when they're together. She already has a name just for him - her little version of his actual name - and he is pretty much enthralled with her when she's around. She spent the evening bringing him little things that she thought he might like, and he could barely take his eyes off her when they sat across from each other for dinner. DH told me today that the cub had also gently patted her on her shoulder, but that he was the only one to see it. This is HUGE. See, when DH or I hold the cub, we pat and rub his back to give him love. Lately, the cub has taken to gently patting us on the shoulder when we hold him, giving the love back. So when he did this for his friend, he was expressing comfort and affection the only way he knows how.



Get Out Your Sweaters!

My new absolutely favorite website is www.accuweather.com. You can look up the weather forecast for anywhere on the planet. Really, type in Kathmandu, and they'll tell you that they are expecting thunderstorms tonight, about the time that you and I are sitting down to enjoy lunch.

I'm obsessing about when, exactly, the oven I live in will start to cool off; when will the Great First Cool Breeze of Autumn make it's arrival? Now, by cool, I mean a day that the high stays below 95, so stay with me folks. So, every day I look at the forecast in the morning paper for the next five days: 100, 101, 101, 100, 100. Then I find accuweather, whose forecast goes out to fifteen days, and now we're getting somewhere.

I used to do this same thing from the other perspective when I was in college in New York and just dying for the feeling of warm sunshine on my face around late March, and there were still a few weeks to go. Frequently, just to cruelly taunt my southern ass, it would snow in April. April, man. That's just wrong.

So here's the fabulous news from accuweather: the high for Saturday, August 25, is 93! And then Sunday? 91!!!! Don't even ask me about Monday - it's such a great forecast I'm afraid to repeat it and maybe scare away the nymph of cooler breezes. But, through September third, the high stays below 95 every day. I've been checking the forecast again every day to see if they've changed their minds, but so far they're standing by their numbers, those plucky guys. So go get your shirts with sleeves on them back out, because winter is upon us!


Can You Prevent Ear Infections?

The cub starts back at daycare full-time on Thursday. If the whole ear infection thing starts up again, we're royally screwed. Our insurance now is high-deductible coverage through Golden Rule. As a result of the cub's medical history (how much history can a 16 month-old child rack up?) they excluded anything to do with his ears or his upper gastrointestinal system from coverage.

Well, shit.

So, when he starts to get sick again, as is highly likely once he's back in daycare, and if it all goes straight to his ears again, as it frequently did, then ALL OF HIS ILLNESSES ARE ON US.

So I'm ready to try anything that his doctor says won't hurt him to ward these things off. For starters, I bought some kick-ass probiotics this morning. Of course I forgot to give him any of the magic stuff today, but at least it's there, in the fridge, for when I do remember it. His doc says it won't help, but won't hurt either, and if we avoid just one visit to her office as a result of the probiotics, they will have paid for themselves SEVEN TIMES OVER.

Step number two is making sure he's getting all of his minerals and good protiens and fats and fiber and basically has a well-rounded, nutritional diet of real, whole foods - as little added sugars (esp. HFCS), over-processing, hydrogenated oils and other assorted crap as possible. I'm not into vitamin supplements because the body doesn't absorb them as well and because some things in too high quantities shift over from boosting immunity to compromising it, like iron for instance.

Step number three is making sure he gets enough sleep. Although naps at daycare will be hit and miss, he zonks out around 7 - 7:30 each night. And his canines are coming down now, so we're almost through the worst of the teething. Sleep won't be a problem.

So, if anyone's still reading my blog, and you have any suggestions for how to protect the cub's ears from end-to-end ear infections this season, I'm all ears.


There's Too Much Going On and I Don't Feel Particularly Funny About It

So that's a silly, long title, but it's what I've got. The cub will be starting at a new daycare soon because we were worried he was getting too isolated and not enough stimulation hanging out at home with the nanny all day. I really like the daycare that we found for him, and their play areas absolutely ROCK. But, there's no way they'll be giving him the constant hugs and kisses that he's used to at home and with his sitter, which sucks, and makes me sad. Also, he'll start getting sick a lot again, and we only have a high-deductible insurance policy and they excluded anything to do with his ears or his upper gastrointestinal system because of his history of ear infections and acid reflux, so if anything goes wrong or the doctor raises the specter of tubes again - it's all out of our very own wallets.

So, it's a good thing I've signed on another client while DH looks for a job. I'm busy and (starting next month) finally making enough to support all of us and our crazy habits, but I miss the cub.

In other news, so far the acupuncture and herbs are not working their magic. My last cycle was a measly 25 days. I guess it's a good thing it's months before I'd consider talking with DH about trying to get pregnant again. DH will be 40 this year, so we are going to Paris to celebrate over the new year. NO WAY am I going to Paris pregnant: no wine, no unpasteurized cheese, no bleu steaks, no SHOPPING.

I've been so busy the last month or so - time has flown by. We went to Houston for my 20th high school reunion, which was both weird and a blast. I knew a lot of those people from elementary school, and I walked around with DH saying things like, "See that guy? He got nosebleeds all the time after recess in the first grade. See that woman? I accidentally beaned her in the head with a softball in the fourth grade. See that guy? He got me into trouble all the time by getting me to lean back in my chair in the third grade." I stopped by to say hello to said third-grade trouble-maker, who was always a cutie, even as a boy, and met his girlfriend (who was not the wife I'd met at the 10-yr reunion) and had a laugh about the leaning back in the chair thing, and the girlfriend says, "Thank you so much for not saying you remember him for being a great kisser!" Ha - I wouldn't know, but it wouldn't surprise me. Some of the shy girls were now absolute knockouts, some of the trashy girls still were, some of the loud obnoxious guys still were, most of the popular skinny girls still were, but mostly everyone just seemed well, happy, and enjoying their lives. It was just good to see people that I'd known as a kid doing okay and looking happy. It lifted my spirits and made me think maybe the world isn't imploding slowly into a piece of angry ash. I should stop reading the news.

The next day after the reunion we took the cub for his first outing to the beach. Let me just say that sticky sunblock, combined with airborne gritty sand, combined with a tired cub rubbing his eyes, equals a very unhappy cub. He loved being out in the water with us, but that was short-lived. We'll try it again next year.