Wednesday, 18 April 2012

What's Working: Saturated Fat and Other Stories


Okay, here's the rest of my laundry list of stuff that is working. It wasn't going to do a laundry list - I had plans to write something vaguely meaningful, but clearly that didn't happen. So, ummmm..... did I really write a post about nail polish yesterday? Gosh, I really was tired. So what else is working around here? 

Saturated fat, white sugar and refined flour

So much of parenting, for me, is about eating my words. Just as well, because some days that's all that does get eaten around here. l've blogged before about my children's terrible eating, and the one big thing that has changed recently is that we have started bribing them to eat their dinner, and then a few slices of apple, with the promise of cake afterwards. As Blue says: "Firsss apple, THEN CAKE!" Indeed, little man, indeed. 

I don't object to cake - I love cake, and I want them to, too. But this is against everything I stand for, foodwise. I know I should probably take a chill pill, but I hate that we are convincing our children to eat one part of their meal by promising them another. I hate how it creates a dichotomy of good foods and bad foods. I hate how it isn't encouraging them to regulate their own food intake using their own appetites.  I hate being the person who is sitting there saying 'two more big bites then you can have dessert!' Ugh. 

But it's working, so for now we're doing it. And I have become the food bribing mother I swore never to be. I guess I am learning to enjoy the taste of humble pie. 

Okay, what else? 


Hair. Hair is working pretty well around here at the moment. I owe much to the lovely Amanda who taught me the secret of soaking their hair for half an hour in a mix of super-rich conditioner and coconut oil . We do this once a week in the bath now. Their hair soaks up the goodness while they play with their ducks and sing and I love, love what it has done for their curls.  On a side note, why do I find it so impossible to photograph their curls? I only ever seem to do it either from the back, after styling, or just before I do their hair again, after a week of them playing in the dirt and smearing butter in it and all the other things that go along with being two.  Here is Pink's hair just after hair time: 


And here it is, a week later, just before hair time: 


It never stops being gorgeous but it does get pretty crazy by day six sometimes. 

As for what she's doing in this picture?  She's doing 'beep-in-the-ear'. Because I take her temperature when she's not feeling well, and then give her medicine, she thinks it's the digital thermometer that  makes her feel better. So when she's feeling unwell, now, or even just a bit sad, she looks at me forlornly and asks for beep-in-the-ear.  I always say yes, because ehhhhh, what's not to say yes to? 

Thinking of saying yes - or no - to the kids, here's another thing that's working: 

1,2,3 Magic.... Sorta.   I mean, it works as anything works with a two year old, you know? Here is my number one parenting epiphany lately -  there's no way to stop a two year old being crazy. Not attachment parenting, not super-strict parenting, not any other kind of parenting.  And by crazy, of course, I mean horrible. What I really like about 1,2,3 Magic - or any kind of similar plan - is that we have a plan in place for how we're going to deal with mental behaviour before it happens.  They get a warning, then a second warning, and then they are in time out.  No ifs no buts. 
Yes, even if we are at the park. (C'mon, you would have taken that photo too). There is no chit-chat, no lecturing. Just one, two, three. (Talking comes later, once they have apologised, but not while they are in the middle of a screaming fit). I like it because this is pretty much the most complex strategy I can remember when they are pushing my buttons and I'm losing my mind.  It's definitely not magic, but it's consistent and I think that's enough. 

And speaking of losing my mind, here's another thing that's working: 

Mood altering chemicals My comment about taking a chill pill, above, reminded me that hey, actually, I am taking chill pills! And they are definitely working. I'd say that facing my fears and asking for some medical help with how awful I was feeling last year was by far the most sensible thing I've done lately, maybe ever. I am so incredibly grateful. 

Another thing I'm grateful for? It's mundane, but I love it: 

My kitchen timer.  Honestly, I love this thing. I don't know how I lived without it. I don't so much use it for cooking as for a cleaning aide.  Thing is, I face a horrible room full of mess and I think 'Urrggghhhh, I cannot bear to clean this!' And then I think 'No, but I can bear to clean it for ten minutes' and then I set the timer and work hard until it beeps. With little kids, it always  feels like the work to be done around the house is infinite. I never, ever ends. I don't want to surrender to the mess, but I don't want to be a slave to the cleaning, either - I find that frequent timed cleaning sessions are a good middle way.  I work hard and then I stop. Unless I want to keep going, in which case I press the button again. Cutting all the work - especially in the kitchen - into manageable chunks is the most effective way I've found to deal with the house. Case in point: 

My horrible, horrible kitchen one evening after I hadn't really cleaned it all day. I hadn't even emptied the dishwasher from the night before. Believe me, I wanted to walk away. 

Ten minutes later, it was a lot better. If I had shut the dishwasher and left the room, it would still have been a big improvement. But another ten minutes really nailed it:


Kitchen timers - for benches so clean even a cat will sit on them. Hmmmmm. 







The other kitchen thing I'm hugely into at the moment is: 

Smoothies.  I bought a serious blender and it's now competing with the magical hair dryer for favourite appliance - which is a big deal around here, people. Instead of trying to justify it with words: 


Mango, Pineapple, Lime and Malibu smoothie. Oh yeah. I bought the beast for it's spinach-blending capabilities, and I do that too, honestly, but it's hard to beat anything with Malibu, right?  Unless, of course, you're two. The children always want to drink a bit of whatever I've blended (actually, that's part of my long-term strategy with getting them to eat more than just pasta and cake) but I draw the line at Malibu. I do not, however, draw the line at:







Bottles of Milk. My kids still drink milk from a bottle every morning while I hold them (they're getting pretty big, as you can see. Also, please excuse the smug expression on my face this photo. I have no idea what was going through my head). We call it cuddlemilk. Well, J and I call it cuddlemilk and they call it 'cuggen-mook' because we are still working on their D's and L's. 

Apparently some people think this is terrible, to still be bottle feeding at two and a half. Although, to be honest, I've never actually met a person who does think it's terrible, just people who think that other people think it's terrible. So, I'm not apologising. In any case, it's definitely one of the best parts of the day. They wake up (okay, actually they wake up long before this, but I finally admit that they have woken up and go into their room) and then we sit on a chair that we all snuggle into nicely and they drink and I talk to them and then maybe we read a book before the day starts. I love it and they love it, and when it's J's day to be at home, he loves it too. 

I don't really know why some people are in a rush to make their kids give up bottles. What could be nicer than to cuddle my babies close and sing to them while they drink? You don't get that in the same way  with a sippy cup. And what could be nicer, for them, than to lie down in their parent's arms and have a slow calm start to the morning? Rhetorical question, people, rhetorical question. Probably Disneyland would be nicer. But we are in no rush to stop the bottles here. 

I was going to do a further point about toxic chemicals, but it's nearly midnight and what does not work very well is me staying up really late when I have to get up for work tomorrow.  So, I think that's it. I write so much stuff about what is not working in my house - it's been really nice to see that actually, some things are. 


(And - I can't wait to read everyone else's posts. I've been away from my computer a lot lately and have a lot to catch up on! I haven't even linked this one yet- tomorrow after work!)


48 comments:

  1. I miss you. And am glad I'll be with you IN PERSON again in a few months. So we can drink smoothies and talk more hair. By the way, AWESOME job on pink's hair my friend! I'm so glad all of these things are working. We use the 1,2,3 timeout plan as well and it works wonderfully. Have you moved to big kid beds yet? That's what I was going to write about - what's working. Maybe. Someday. Maybe I should get a timer to force me to blog for 10 minutes...

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    1. we are still a loooooong way off the big kid beds. They need to stay in baby jail for a while longer, I think!

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  2. My kidlets had a daily bottle + cuddle long past the "acceptable" age, too. (For one it was in the morning, for the other it was at night.) I figured that if I had nursed I would have easily done extended nursing with them without thinking about it twice, so why not bottles?

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    1. Exactly! Why not bottles indeed!

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  3. I wish my kids cuddled more with me!

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    1. I'm very lucky to have two super-snugglers. My sister in law always complains that she has to come to our house for a cuddle because her little boy is always running around and doesn't want to sit still and snuggle. I'm making the most of it while I've got it!

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  4. Girl, my kitchen ALWAYS looks like that! Well, except for when I've just cleaned it, and then it looks like that again two hours later.

    I have been coveting a blender.... for some reason I didn't think of boozy drinks. Now I'm even more motivated to get one!

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    1. oh yeah... the boozy ones are AMAZING. My other favourite - strawberries, oranges and cointreau. YUM.

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  5. I love, love, love this post. Also I do love kitchen timers. If you put kitchen timer in the search on my organising blog, watch out!!!

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    1. I can totally see you with a kitchen timer :)

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  6. I always love reading your blog even though I missed getting linked up this time around. I'm fairly proud of myself (which in reflection this is ridiculous) for making time to get caught up on my blog reading. Maybe that's what works for me, reading blogs while surrounded by packing boxes! :)

    Here's my two cents on the bottles (and because I'm a jerk, I'm going to link to a post I wrote) I would keep that morning snuggle and bottle going for as long as you can, and if sometime soon they start to seem like they're outgrowing it then I'd personally do something to ENCOURAGE it to keep happening...add some honey or chocolate to that milk. You are meeting their needs and backfilling their hearts from those days when you weren't there. You're rocking it!

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    1. no way, that is NOT ridiculous! Considering that it took me until today to be able to read all the lnkups on this,I'm very impressed!

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  7. Oh, and here's the link I said I was including. http://www.zehlahlum.com/2012/03/hold-your-baby.html

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  8. okay, back off the ipad so I can type properly. Pink is so gorgeous!!!

    also, am I blind or am I not seeing the linky?

    How do I link up?

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  9. It is so refreshing to read your post here at my breakfast table ... an indulgence that is working while my paper subscription has lapsed!

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    1. I do much of my blog reading at the breakfast table too - just as well there's something to do ... are your kids as SLOW as mine???

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  10. AAuuuuuuuggghhhh!!! OMIGOD, I could EAT her!!!!!

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    1. I know! She just needs a little caramel sauce and hey presto. Perfect.

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  11. I'm very much into the kitchen timer as a cleaning tool, too. :)

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    1. I'm glad someone else does thsi too, Kim - it works really well, huh? Although of course right now I'm replying to comments rather than doing the 10 minutes of cleaning I should be...

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  12. My 2 1/2 year old still clings to his bottle like a security blanket. And...we use it far more often than once a day, and you know what? I make no apologies, even though with the looks people give me, it dawns on me that maybe people think I should. I can't quite see how drinking out of a bottle is so awful. I think they're still babies for heaven's sake, who will be thrown out into the bigger landscape of the bottle-free world soon enough, so why not allow them to have something that comforts them now?

    I just adore your blog, by the way. Your wit and honesty are perfect. I've been awful at catching up on blogs for the past few years, but yours I have made it a point to not miss!

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    1. NO APOLOGIES! High five! Yeah, this bit of their life is short enough. What's the rush??

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  13. A friend just told me about your blog and I'm loving it! I'm going to try the kitchen timer for cleaning & you're right on about the bottle. There is nothing wrong with it if they enjoy it and it keeps them calm for a little bit. :)

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    1. Hi Sandy, lovely to meet you! Good luck with trying the timer, it really does work, I swear!! Not that my house is great now, but... you should have seen it before.

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  14. I put my two year old in time out in a cave once. Love the picture at the park!!

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    1. A CAVE???? You are totally my hero. My HERO.

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  15. I read recently to let them eat dessert first (life is uncertain, eat dessert first?) and then they will self-regulate on their "good" food. I find that it doesn't take much sugary food or beverage for T to decide he's not at all hungry for dinner, so I'm not sure about that strategy. But it is suggested as a way to avoid force feeding a kid those last few bites they may really not need.

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    1. Yeah... our kids are the same as T. This plan sounded like SUCH a good idea, and we tried it for quite a while, but they only ever wanted to just have cake. Sigh. Now at leat they hav eto eat something before they get the cake!

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  16. Nice job on her hair--looks really pretty! I love the kitchen timer idea--I'll have to try that one.

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  17. OK so now I am semi regretting forcing our kids to give up their morning bottle about two weeks ago after our pedi told us we needed to...it was pretty sad for a few mornings but now they drink a few sips from their cup and then get right to playing but still...Maybe I won't feel too much pressure to lose their night one, as I do love rocking them with their bottle right before laying them down--AFTER brushing their teeth which is crazy but it's what is working for us right now :)

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    1. eh, you've still got the night one! We just did it the other way around and quit the nighttime bottle first. I have a tiiiiiiny bit more patience in the morning than I do by the end of the day!

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  18. I'm going to paste your bit about two year olds being crazy (read horrible) in my kitchen. My child hits me. He's only been home 30 days so I'm cutting him as much slack as a black-eyed mama (just kidding, not, yes yes I am kidding) could. Brilliant Mummy!!

    Fabulous hair on that kid!

    My main point though. We've just STARTED the bottle at 23 months. Because we need it to attach, and boy does boy love his bottles! He's having about 5 a day. And we're going to have oodles of dental work to do. And we don't care! Because we'll do it for AT LEAST the 15+- months that he was robbed of it while he waited to have a mama & dada to give it to him. So I don't give a hind tit what anyone, including our dentist and doctor think about it.

    But I can tell you what it will cost, $8500 USD. That's what our 14 year olds braces cost. She's the one who still had a bottle when she was able to pour the big jug of milk into her slim neck bottle that she got out of the fridge herself. I think she was 3 1/2. If he has it at 4, I don't care. Oh, and BTW- Sippys are worse actually because they carry them around. I figure the therapy from attachment disorders will be at a far greater cost!

    They'll eventually stop wanting to cuddle, so keep it until then. Unfortunately it's coming in about a year or so probably.
    Go Mummy Go!

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    1. oh no! Better get saving for the dental work now! Ouch!

      Sorry about the hitting. The hitting (or kicking) is the WORST.

      And I think that 'don't give a hind tit' is one of the best expressions I've ever heard. Love it! Never heard it before!

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  19. that hair is gorgeous! i love all your smoothie recipes and pictures on instagram. :)

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    1. Yeah.... sad that I put more instagrams up of smoothies than my kids!! But hey, they are better at staying still!

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  20. Oh my gosh, Pink is so adorable. Did you by any chance get a Via-Mix? I bought one last year and can't even describe how much I love it.

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  21. "(okay, actually they wake up long before this, but I finally admit that they have woken up and go into their room)"

    I'm so glad someone else admits to this.

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  22. My son drank out of a bottle until he was four and in reception! It was comforting to him after a long day and he drank a lot of water too which I liked. Finally the bottle fairy had to come and take the bottles for the children who didn't have any, but she left a toy space rocket.
    I love the idea of the timer, I'm going to try it!
    Amy x

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    1. Okay, that makes me feel good! I keep teling myself they wont' be still taking bottles when they are school but on the other hand.... hey, why not??

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  23. I really loved this post. I love the photo of her curls. I love the honesty. I was horrified about the cake, but only because I fear we may reach that point!

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    1. Oh yeah. BE HORRIFIED. Prepare for your future! (Okay, I hope not, for your sake).

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  24. Love the 1,2,3 Magic - we were struggling to actually get our kid to stay in a time-out spot (think of a bucking bronco ... ) then Hubs added the timer to the time-out and voila ... we have Magic! One minute to calm down, regulate, lose the bat-shit crazy behaviour and then we might have her in the right state to either (1) apologize or (2) do a Re-do.
    Also love your kitchen timer strategy for cleaning. I shall adopt that too. I use it for exercise - that same kind of trickery will frequently get me through a 20 or 30 minute session.

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    1. Oh, I never thought of using it for exercise! VERY SNART!

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  25. Echoing others by saying Pink is gorgeous and love the hair. Oh - and I just got a prescription for my chill pills today! Yay chill pills!

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    1. YAY indeed! Whoever invented them is totally my hero. Along with anybody who puts their child for time out in a cave, obviously :)

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  26. I finally thought of something that's working for us.

    Swaddlers. With velcro. Dire warnings issued about swaddling older babies, but we do not care.

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Over to you!