Category Archives: Baby

Baby / Lark / Motherhood

Motherhood Update: Lark at 12 months

February 15, 2018

Posting this a day early since there is another post planned for tomorrow — the day Larky turns ONE!

Saying: Lark says Mama, Dada, all done, and “tweet tweet” now. She is clearly trying to communicate with gusto and spends much of the day shrieking at me (clearly annoyed that I don’t understand and cater to her every want and whim).

Eating: Lark is just coming off of the stomach bug that took down the whole house last week (apparently it’s normal for babies to have symptoms up to two weeks! Ugh.) so there’s been lots of bland white carbs happening lately. Taking that BRAT diet to a whole new level over here.

Sleeping: I recently transitioned Lark to one nap, which has been such a nice change. I have to admit that I hate the two nap schedule (it’s so hard to leave the house!) so as soon as it seemed like she was starting to transition, I took that and ran with it. It was definitely a bit of a struggle the first couple of weeks, but both girls are going down at the same time for one nap now and on the days it doesn’t fall apart it feels like winning the lottery.

Doing: Lark is chattering away right now and is clearly frustrated that she can’t communicate verbally yet. I remember this phase being particularly difficult with Prim as well (the 12-15 month span, in particular) because they can understand so much but communicate so little. I am trying to remember that this too shall pass (this is definitely one of the hardest ages for me, parenting-wise) and enjoy the sweet parts of this age, but some days are tougher than others.

Latest milestone: Lark is starting to choose books to read at bedtime and can recognize and make sounds for the the bird and fish in the Brown Bear book. It’s so fascinating to see how much they start to pick up as they near toddler-hood!

Favorite toys: Lark likes to take small blocks and stick them through whatever small hole is nearby. I find legos and wooden blocks stuffed into the baby carriage and the wooden refrigerator (which has a small hole in the back) every day, which makes the evening toy clean-up even more interesting.

Sweetest things: Lark is kind of attached to me at the hip these days. Prim went through this phase around 12 months as well — separation anxiety, stranger danger, and mama-attachment seems to all come together into a very clingy few months around age one, which while challenging, isn’t without it’s upside. I’m certainly getting lots of sweet Larky snuggles these days.

Favorite thing about this age: While Lark’s attempted communication with me seems to be largely based around insistent shrieking, seeing her trying to communicate with Prim through various sounds and gestures is so adorable. I love the relationship these girls have with each other and can only hope that they are always this close.

Baby / Lark / Motherhood

Motherhood Update: Lark at 11 months

January 16, 2018

Saying: Lark is continuing to babble more and more, and regularly shouts out nonsense words at me as though she’s saying, “Listen to me, woman! I have needs!” She seems to still know “all done” and “Dada,” but language at this age is so all over the place it’s hard to really be certain.

Eating: Lark still loves to eat and devours pretty much anything I make for her. She loves salmon with lentils (a staple in this house) and recently had Indian food, which she inhaled. The girl loves herself some curry spice, who can blame her? She is also very, very fond of what we call “cookies” in this house, which are really like less-sweet animal crackers. I try not to give Lark sugar, ever, (though KC introduced her to gelato in Italy while I wasn’t looking! Second kids, man. Haha.) but these cookies have only one gram per biscuit, so it’s a nice compromise on my part since the kids think they’re getting a treat but they actually only contain as much sugar as one serving of Cheerios.

Sleeping: Lark sleeps through the night like a champion still. I have no idea what I did to get this lucky (because Prim didn’t sleep like this until after 11 months, and I actually thought that wasn’t bad!) but it just goes to show that the whole good sleeper/bad sleeper thing might just be a whole lot more nature than nurture.

Doing: Lark is busy crawling, dancing, and getting into everything. She is at the stage where she loves to pull out all of the toys from inside the toy baskets and all the “groceries” from inside the wooden refrigerator. I don’t keep a lot of toys out for the kids (I have at least half of our toys stored in my closet at any given point and change things out periodically when I notice certain toys aren’t holding their interest anymore), but man, even with a minimal amount out for the girls to play with I still feel like I’m picking stuff up all the time. How do parents with tons of toys do it?? (Also, I have a serious love/hate relationship with Legos right now. I’m sure other parents know what I’m talking about.)

Latest milestone: Lark pulled up by herself for the first time on the last day of 2017 while we were in Rome. She isn’t pulling up and cruising all over the place like Prim was at this age, but she has figured out how to climb up onto things (the coffee table, into Prim’s bed) which Prim was not doing, so it’s been both exciting to watch and a little stressful for this poor mama’s heart (because my brain is always like, “she’s going to fall off onto her head for sure.”)

Favorite toys: Like I said earlier, she’s fascinated by objects that contain other toys these days, like the toy refrigerator. She loves pulling the magnetic doors open and pulling out all of the empty spice jars and containers.

Sweetest things: Lark is currently getting somewhere between 4 and 6 teeth (and Prim’s top molars are coming in too — we’re in full teething hell over here) so she’s been understandably extra crabby lately. While I don’t love the fussiness, all she wants is to be held and snuggled in the afternoons, which is so sweet. It makes cooking dinner quite challenging, but like everything with kids, it’s temporary, so I’m trying to take a deep breath and enjoy these little moments in between the trying ones.

Favorite thing about this age: Lark is getting very good at communicating what she wants now with her insistent babbling and body language. She will now crawl over to KC or me and lift her arms up to be picked up, which is one of my most favorite milestones of this age.

Baby / Lark / Motherhood

Motherhood Update: Lark at 10 months

December 18, 2017

^^ big shot in a big chair at Esplanade 1925 in Croatia ^^

Saying: Lark has been saying variations of “Mama” and “Dada” a lot, but I’m still not fully convinced that she’s using them correctly to refer to KC and I. “Dada” seems to be her favorite word these days, because of course.

^^ devouring a croissant at Velvet Cafe in Croatia ^^

Eating: Lark is a champion eater these days and regularly out-eats Prim at dinner time (ahh that 2 year old picky phase! It’s a joy.) Her favorite foods right now are truffled mushroom risotto (girl has good taste) and the Bavarian sausages we ate while in Berlin.

Sleeping: Lark is sleeping through the night consistently from 7:30pm to at least 7:30am. Having a full night’s sleep more nights than not has made this mama a whole new woman.

Doing: Lark is all over the place these days and is soclose to pulling up now. She will grab onto the edge of the coffee table and get up onto her knees and even place one foot on the floor, but she hasn’t managed to actually pull herself up yet.

Latest milestone: Lark has started dancing (it’s Christmas music non-stop over here) which is ridiculously adorable. She rocks back and forth on her hands and knees or will wiggle around while on her belly, usually while she watches Prim bop around the living room as she scream-sings her interpretation of the lyrics of whatever song is on.

Favorite toys: Lark is mostly interested in whatever toys Prim is playing with, which right now tends to be legos or cooking stuff.

Sweetest things: Unlike Prim who was a mama’s girl through and through at this age, Lark is a bit of a daddy’s girl. She looooves KC and gets so excited whenever he comes home from work. She starts yelling as soon as she sees him and will army crawl as fast as she can over to him and kick her arms and legs until he picks her up. Seeing how much she loves her daddy just makes my heart burst (and obviously makes me want to have approximately 400 more babies).

Favorite thing about this age: Lark has so much personality now! While I absolutely love the sleepy, cuddly newborn stage, seeing their personalities start to develop around 9/10 months is so sweet and exciting to watch. Lark is silly, sweet and giggly, and always has a big grin and shriek for whatever family member we’re FaceTiming with.

Baby / Motherhood

Our Philosophy On Food

November 17, 2017

I’ve gotten a few questions now about how we approach food with the kids (you guys seem to be especially interested since I mentioned that they eat curry — so funny), so I thought I would write a post about my overall philosophy on food and how we are implementing those values with the kids. I am not an expert by any means, and this is just what works for our family.

When I was pregnant with Prim, one of the many topics KC and I discussed related to parenting was about food. I grew up in a big Italian family where everyone cooked and pickiness was not tolerated. I want our children to be good and adventurous eaters, so my goal from day one was to do everything in my power to expose them to a variety of foods and flavors to help foster an openness to different kinds of tastes, textures and cuisines.

I started both Prim and Lark on solids at 6 months. To date, neither has ever had any pre-made baby food (no jars or pouches or anything). This is certainly not necessary, but I didn’t think it was a big deal to make their food and I wanted to know exactly what was going in their bodies, so I opted to make their meals myself right from the start. Early on, I would often spend part of a Sunday making 3-4 purees or soft finger foods and freezing them in small portions to be defrosted throughout the week. Both Lark and Prim started with pureed food, but I introduced finger foods very early on (within the first month of starting solids) as well so that they could practice their dexterity. As soon as I could move the kids off purees (meaning that they could feed themselves relatively well on their own and could eat what KC and I were having for dinner), I did. I haven’t read Baby Led Weaning, but understand the basic principles, so I follow a sort of modified version of that.

  • More often than not, the kids eat what we eat for dinner and there are no alternatives. They often have more options than we do (KC and I will have just curry and rice for dinner while the kids will have curry with rice, fruit, and half of a homemade muffin or something). I am not a short-order cook and I certainly do not want to make two or more dinners every night, so there is no “mac and cheese” for the kid who doesn’t want to eat what I’ve cooked.
  • I make sure to serve at least one thing that I know the kids like if I am introducing a new dish. (i.e.: fruit, plain yogurt, etc.)
  • I do not dumb-down food for the kids, but will make spicy food a little milder for them. The curry and chili I make are SPICY, so I will add plain Greek yogurt, rice, avocado, etc. until I feel that the spice is at an ok level for them. I do not make the food non-spicy, just less spicy.

When Prim was really little, I made this soup, intending for it to serve as dinner for all three of us at the time. When it was done cooking, I realized that the brand-new cayenne pepper I had purchased was really spicy. I had this idea that kids hate spicy food and so considered feeding Prim something else, but I had just spent all this time making the soup for dinner and didn’t really have a good alternative for her. I opted to cut the soup with some Greek yogurt and goat cheese, but realized that even after adding those it still had a good kick. I decided to feed it to her, assuming that she would hate it, and lo and behold — she LOVED it. She could not get enough of the soup. I was totally floored, but realized that it actually made a lot of sense. Spicy food is delicious (in my opinion), but I think many parents don’t introduce spicy foods to their kids simply because they assume that kids don’t like or can’t handle spice. In other countries this is totally not the case (India, for example), and children in those countries grow up tolerating heat and loving spicy foods. Since then, both my kids have been exposed to spicy foods and tolerate it quite well for their respective ages. As I mentioned yesterday, if Prim asks to try something spicy, we tell her it’s spicy but still allow her to try it if she wants to.

  • They don’t have to finish anything, but they do need to try everything. 

I should also note that one of the kids “not liking” something does not mean that I will never serve it again. I assume that if they don’t like something at this age it’s most likely because they are either unfamiliar with it or just having a picky day. I believe that you have to try something many times to form a solid opinion about it, so I will just continue to introduce the food next time I feel like cooking whatever it is. I also believe in introducing foods in different ways (for example, broccoli: it’s good roasted with garlic, steamed with lemon, and even mashed with potato).

  • I will usually serve their dinner in courses, beginning with the vegetable, then main dish, followed by fruit/other side (applesauce, yogurt), then dessert if we’re having it (which we usually don’t).
  • We don’t tolerate negative words about the food like, “Ew, gross, disgusting” etc. Right now if Prim doesn’t want to eat something, we either ignore it, or if we have to address it, say, “You’ll like this when you’re older.”
  • We don’t pester the kids about eating or their food. We serve them the food, sit down to eat as a family, and let them eat. We try not to intervene at all while they are eating so they can try things in their own time.

Have you ever noticed how much people like to bug kids while they eat? “Eat more! Take a bite! Try it! Isn’t it good?” It makes me a little crazy.

  • Dessert is not a nightly thing and it is not contingent upon whether you finished your plate at dinner. 

Dessert is a rarity around here, to be honest, and if we do have something special after dinner, it’s usually a homemade sugar-free muffin. My kids are little, so I really try to limit their intake of added sugar. Often if we have real treats, it will be when we’re traveling or on a random trip to the ice cream shop on the weekend.

  • The kids eat on a schedule. Breakfast at 8am, Lunch at 11am, snack after naptime, Dinner at 5:30pm.

Having a schedule helps eliminate the all-day snackfest that tends to ruin mealtimes. Having consistency with the schedule also helps the kids understand that we will eat at specific times, making their day more predictable overall. That said, we obviously leave room for deviation sometimes on the weekends and when we travel.

Following the above does not mean that my kids are perfect eaters by any means. Prim is in the process of asserting her independence with us, which extends to meal times as well. This approach is helpful in that it doesn’t assume that picky phases won’t occur, but provides an approach that can remain consistent throughout those phases. If you’re looking for a good kid-food book, I read and really liked French Kids Eat Everything.

Baby / Lark / Motherhood

Motherhood Update: Lark at 9 months

November 16, 2017

^^ even cute with a cold ^^ 

Sleeping: Lark is still sleeping through the night most nights. She just got her first tooth and the second is due to come through any day now, plus she unfortunately got my cold, so there have been some nights that are far from perfect lately, but that’s kind of par for the course at this age.

Eating: Lark is currently loving Winter Minestrone (the amount she ate is sort of insane, given her size) and is also very into Thai green curry. I introduced Prim to spicy food really early and have done the same thing with Lark. I cut the spice in the curry with some plain Greek yogurt, but it’s definitely still got a kick and the kids eat it and love it. My philosophy is that the kids should be introduced to and eat pretty much what we eat, so long as it’s not prohibited or dangerous, we just try to dial back the heat a bit if we’re eating something really spicy. That said, if Prim asks to try something we know is spicy (for example, bitterballen is served with a spicy mustard here), we let her — we just tell her it’s spicy beforehand and make sure we have something close by to offset the spice after.

Saying: Lark is on the verge of saying her first words. She babbles nonstop and might actually be saying “all done” (which she already signs) and “Dada,” but I’m not totally sure enough yet to really call either her first word.

Latest trick: Lark is very quick with her army crawling these days and is getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. She hasn’t mastered full-on crawling yet, but she’s so fast at creeping around on her belly that I wonder if she will actually crawl at all before she starts pulling up and cruising.

Sweetest things: Lark is still obsessed with her “Lamby” (evidenced by the photos in this post). She now holds onto it when we take her out of her crib and she sleeps with her face right on top of it at night. It is so sweet to sneak a peek at her while she’s sleeping and seeing that little stuffed lamb head peeking out from underneath her cheek.

Favorite thing about this age: Lark has so much personality now. She squeals, laughs, smiles and screeches. KC has been traveling a lot for work lately, and when he gets home from one of his trips and she sees him for the first time — well, basically her reaction just makes my heart explode and I’m like, “Let’s have another baby RIGHT NOW.”