Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Eating Habits, or Hobbits Eating

I have noticed lately that my husband and I clash a bit over eating habits. We've always been different, but until recently it hasn't been a big deal. Now we're trying to establish guidelines and house rules for Charlotte, and it's becoming more apparent how different we can be.

My husband likes meat. And he can eat a rather large meal at one sitting. That meal rarely includes broccoli. In fact, I think he prefers to get most of his calories at 2-3 meals a day with little or no snacks in-between (we won't count liquid snacks for the moment, though sodas and Starbucks probably should count). He has basically no sweet tooth (except for the aforementioned sugary drinks), so he rarely eats dessert. He is truly one of those people who can be satisfied with a *bite* of a dessert. He also somewhat frequently skips meals. He has gotten much better over the last year or so about eating breakfast every day, and eats a rather healthy one (lately, granola cereal with milk and orange juice), but is known to forgo lunch (or wait until 3pm to get around to eating it). He claims that he gets too busy to have time to eat.

I on the other hand am much more of a carb lover. I love my steak and veggies, and dairy products. I have a major sweet tooth (especially when it involves chocolate). Basically, I like all kinds of food. I eat breakfast every day, no exceptions. I don't skip meals. If my husband skips lunch, he is rather grumpy by dinner time--if I were to skip lunch, I'd be that grumpy by, say, 12:30. I cannot eat 2 or 3 large meals in a day with no snacks. If I eat the 2 or 3 large meals, I will still need a snack 2 hours later. After about 10-15 pounds that I put on when we first started living together, I realized that I need to eat a lot less than my husband does at any one sitting, and plan for the snack later. Otherwise, I just pack on the pounds. If I eat until I'm stuffed and can't eat for 4-6 hours, then I'm quite miserable (between an overly full tummy and low blood sugar, it's just not pleasant going). For me, there is no such thing as being too busy to eat. If folks at work were demanding my time and I was hungry, I would either excuse myself or eat in front of them (sometimes, you just can't get through to people otherwise). Pregnancy makes all of these things a bit worse. Actually, when I was preganant with Charlotte, I ate much more like my husband (didn't want chocolate, downing 12 oz of meat every night for dinner, couldn't touch a veggie, etc)--and I gained nearly 60 pounds for my trouble. This baby seems to be content with a more normal diet for me, and I'm on track for closer to a 35 pound weight gain.

When we were a family of two adults, we merely accepted each other's eating habits and took care of ourselves the way we need to. But now, we have a toddler. A very hungry toddler, who seems to combine both of our eating habits. When I was pregnant with her, I joked that I was having a hobbit--one who ate first and second breakfasts, lunch, noonsies, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, etc. Well, she still does that. And she can still pack away the meat (the kid eats 2 hotdogs in a sitting, or 4-5 oz of steak, and I've seen her down 5 sausage links as part of her second breakfast of the day).

As much as I want to help her develop healthy eating habits that don't involve as much of my sweets and chocolate cravings, I tend to feed her when she says she's hungry. My husband tries to force her to wait for official meals, and tries to discourage her from wanting a snack in-between (even when she ate her meal).

Last night, for example, she ate the bbq pork from her plate, some of her bread (all of the butter...another trait she inherited from me...), and most of her milk. I think the only thing she didn't eat much of was her corn (which is kind of unusual for her). An hour later at a friend's house, she was asking for a snack, and my husband tried to tell her that she should have eaten more at dinner. By bedtime (fully 2-2.5 hours after dinner), she was still insisting that she was hungry, so I got her a bowl of Cheerios and milk (which she devoured). I am trying to respect my husband's desires not to let her snack so much that she doesn't eat proper meals, and not to feed her sugary treats for every snack. But at the same time, I have a feeling that our little hobbit has a metabolism like mine, that requires smaller meals more often. I don't want to force her into feeling like she has to clean her plate full of too-large portions and then sneak snacks later, which could lead to her gaining too much weight later on (ask me how I know). I wish sometimes that there were a single answer or formula that we could use, something that doesn't make us defensive of our own eating habits.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Road Hazard

We've all seen them driving down the road--a rusted pickup truck belching smoke and piled 15 feet high with odd-shaped scrap wood pallets. The pallets are inevitably stacked high enough and crooked enough to resemble a Dr. Seuss illustration, and are tied down with a length of off-color rope that appears to be the same vintage as the car. The rope is never secured from the front of the truck to the rear, always side to side, as if items don't slide forwards and back when a vehicle starts and stops.

Where are these vehicles going with their cargo? And why oh why do they have to drive 80mph in the fast lane of the interstate to get there?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Monkey Business

Toddler antics are amusing....most of the time. Here are some of the week's highlights.

The first thing is more of a lowlight than a highlight. Charlotte has apparently decided that she doesn't like "mommy's house" after school. She likes cooler places, like Grandma's house or going to the pool with her aunt Katie. Or, going on the choo-choo train to find Daddy if he's not already home when we arrive. Since both grandmas are several hours away by car (along with aunt Katie), and you can't actually get to Daddy by choo-choo train, I get to deal with an upset toddler who can't be convinced as to *why* her demands to go bye-bye aren't being met. Nor am I going to let her drive, as she requested last night ("My turn", she said while pulling on the driver's door handle....).

Wednesday night we were outside hanging garlands across the front of the house. Charlotte and I had walked down to the end of the driveway to see the overall effect. Charlotte suddenly paused from her snow-stomping to tell me she had to go potty. I told her to go, expecting a dash for the front door. Instead, she pulled off her pants and pull-up right there on the driveway. I had to pick up a half-naked baby and heft her into the house and to the potty, hoping that she wouldn't pee on me on the way, and trying to explain that she has to go to the restroom *before* removing her pants...

Last night I tried putting her to bed. She was still a bit keyed up from playing, but climbed into her bed all by herself. Then she stood up and started jumping up and down, attempting to sing the Monkey song ("5 little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell down and bumped her head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, 'No more monkeys jumping on the bed.' 4 little monkeys jumping on the bed...."). She actually could sing quite a bit of a verse of it, including shaking her finger when the doctor says "no more monkeys jumping on the bed"...all while hopping up and flopping on her butt. I don't think she quite gets the point of the song.

Later, she got picked out several books for me to read to her. Goodnight Moon has been a favorite lately, and she wanted to read it to herself while I was reading Hippos Go Berserk. She is actually looking at photos and saying some of the words ("Goodnight mouse" "Goodnight Moon" "Cow Jumping over the moon"). I guess that's good, but she didn't seem to understand that I am not reading Sandra Boynton for my own edification and would really prefer to wait until I have her attention before beginning another book.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reasurring tests

I had another ultrasound yesterday to check the growth of our little boy. This one was quite reassuring. His growth seems to be on track--estimated 1lb 6oz, which puts him in the 41st % for his gestational age. That's a nice, average number as far as I'm concerned, and it means that he doesn't yet seem hindered by the 2-vessel cord. I don't know if they checked his kidneys or not this time--I think I asked but I dont' remember the lady measuring them. I believe the amniotic fluid levels were also fine, so perhaps they won't do a lot of checking until closer to birth (or after). At my last ultrasound, it was pointed out that the length of the baby's femurs were slightly short proportionally compared to the rest of him, which could be a "soft" marker of a chromosomal problem (though our bloodwork had shown that to be statistically unlikely). This time, they are fine. I'm chalking that up to some strange stage of a growth spurt--kind of how my toddler chubs up for a while and then all of a sudden grows an inch taller.

In general, the baby seems to be doing well. He's kicking and moving all the time (including at 1am when I'm trying to get back to sleep after using the restroom). I'm hungry all the time, and tired a lot, and starting to crave more red meat (mmm...steak). And, my belly is really growing rounder, though the rest of me isn't really packing on the pounds (unlike with Charlotte when I'd already hit the 25 pound mark by this time, most of it in my upper arms and face I think....). My only complaint is that my hip joints have gotten really sore since yesterday--probably related to carrying a recalcitrant toddler out of daycare and into the house, plus the extra trip back up 2 flights of stairs at the OB's office to find the ultrasound photo that I'd dropped on the way to the car....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend Power

The winter storm that hit the midwest last Thursday night has had some interesting effects. Apparently, half a million people in the greater St. Louis area lost power. Like with our big summer power outage, we were lucky once again to not lose power at our house. Our daycare, however, did on Friday. So, we had a snow day. Between my husband and I, we did not both have to stay home from work to care for Charlotte, but both of us did anyway.

We had a nice easy morning where I had time to bake a couple of loaves of bread. Our friend S. brought his son G. up to play and the two toddlers spent some time romping in the snow. Charlotte got to wear her new snowpants, which match her winter coat. I normally wouldn't have bought the snowpants, but the set cost about the same as the coats that had no snowpants, and I hoped that she'd get to wear them once before outgrowing them. It turned out to be a good deal. The kids came in and we all enjoyed some hot cocoa and lunch, our friends went home, and Charlotte took a much-needed nap. Friday afternoon, my husband and I tried to venture out to pick up a few odds and ends to complete the Christmas lights for our tree and outside our house, and found both Garden Ridge and KMart closed. Target, which was right across the street, was powered, and we found what we needed (as well as running into S. and G. who were out running errands too).

Saturday we attended a birthday party for one of my coworker's kids, who was turning 2. It was at a place called BounceU in Chesterfield, which had several inflatable bouncy toys, including a giant slide and an obstacle course. After an hour straight of running, climbing, jumping, and squealing, Charlotte (and my husband, who had to accompany the whole time) was quite exhausted. The party finished with pizza, cake, and presents. There were really a lot of other toddlers there, and the whole thing went pretty well for a 2-year old's birthday. It was more than we would have bothered with for such a young kid (we had a quiet, family-only "party" at home), but the kids definitely had fun.

When we got home, we set up and decorated our Christmas tree. Charlotte was very serious about the whole ornament-hanging part, and kept digging out more and more ornaments to put on the tree. We probably have enough to do 2 or 3 trees because I change my mind on colors every couple of years (currently, we have blues, gold, and silver and a sort of snowflake theme). We had to cut her off (and move some of the glass ornaments up out of her reach after she discovered that some had jingle bells and started testing all of them by wildling swinging them around their hangers).

Charlotte slept in until nearly 9am Sunday morning after such a full day. Sunday was pretty relaxed, with church, lunch and playtime with her aunt & uncle N & S. They babysat while my husband and I did a little Christmas shopping. We drove to the closest Toys R U (which is not close at all), and found them running on generator power. The place was packed, so I guess it made good business sense to be open through the blackout, but its the first time I can remember having to zip my winter coat up inside a store to keep warm (they were funneling all their power towards minimal lighting and cash registers, not the heating system). Charlotte actually cried harder when N&S left for home last night than she did when her daddy and I left to go shopping earlier in the day. Unfortunately, the kid is starting to realize that she can't see all her favorite people whenever she wants (she's also been asking to go to Grandma's house a lot lately...the fact that the Grandma's are 4 or 6 hours away by car doesn't really sink in yet).

Today, back to normal. Daycare's open. We're at work. We need another snow storm.