Drawing Games

I want to share with you a game that Aiden and I have recently been playing.  He loves to color, and he especially loves it when I color with him.  He points to the paper wanting me to draw on it.  I draw something, and he says what it is.  I mostly draw shapes, numbers, and letters.  If he doesn’t remember the name of the item I drew, he waits for me to say its name, then he repeats it.  He’s not very good at saying some words, so he makes up his own version of the word.  Frog has become fuff; circle is sirsel; you get the idea.  Aiden points to another spot on the paper, and I draw something there.  Sometimes I draw more complicated things.  I drew a picture of Daddy (he has curly hair).  Aiden said, “Mama.”  I had to laugh.  I said, “That’s Daddy!”  Aiden exclaims, “Daddy!”  Apparently, I am a horrible sketch artist!

You can see that Aiden has colored all over the paper. Then, he had me draw in specific places.

Daddy gets in on the fun, too! Most of this page is his sketch work. He drew the curly haired figure this time, but it’s definitely not a self portrait!

 Here’s a summary of the game:

  1. Grab some paper and a writing utensil.  Crayons are great.
  2. Draw a shape, a number, or a letter.  (Or if you are brave, you can draw an animal or person.)
  3. Ask your little one to tell you the name of the item.  (“What shape is this?”  “What number did I draw?”  “What letter do you see?”)

 This game keeps Aiden occupied for quite some time.  And the best part?  He is practicing what he knows and learning at the same time.

 This also works for practicing and learning colors.  Just ask your little one about the color of your drawing.  (This is why I said crayons are so great.)

 One more tip:  I keep a mini composition book (it’s smaller than my wallet) and some crayons (or at least a pen) in my purse.  This drawing game provides a wonderful means of entertainment when you are in a place that your little one cannot run around (waiting rooms, lines, church, restaurants, etc.).  It can be a silent game if you just take turns drawing things.  A bit of a warning though:  If you usually play this game while talking about what you draw, don’t expect your little one to understand when you want him to play the game silently.  He’ll mostly likely yell out everything you draw even if you don’t want him to.  That’s what Aiden does anyway!  Not to worry though – most people find it adorable to hear him calling out letters and shapes – it’s way better than a screaming child!

Try a drawing game with your little one soon!  Let me know how it turns out!

The Intentions of a Good Mom: Part 2

Last time I talked about my good intentions regarding diapers and being a green mama.
This time I want to talk about my intentions of being a good mom with respect to baby food.

For the first 10 weeks of Aiden’s life, I stayed home with him. Oh, how I didn’t want that to end.  You see one of my best mom intentions was to be a stay at home mom.  I worked my way up to that goal, but, at first it wasn’t a reality.  So I savored every second with my baby boy knowing I would have to give it up.

The time came when he had to go to daycare – an in home daycare with only one other child 6 months older than Aiden.  I was a good mama here and pumped at work hiding in the supply closet until I found out using the nurse’s office was so much better.  I still used the supply closet when I really didn’t have time to go down to the nurse’s office (when my friend was teaching the last few minutes of my class).  I found nursing to be super easy (well, after getting the hang of it – we had our struggles at the beginning).  I like the fact that I didn’t have to deal with formula and was feeding my son what I knew to be best.

Then, we had to introduce solid food…  Life got a little more complicated.  My intentions, of course, were to make my own baby food and to make sure it was organic.  We started with rice.  The first time I pureed the rice, I broke our food processor.  It was 10 years old, but it had always worked fine before – I had never tried to puree anything though.  I researched tons of food processors and blenders and even read consumer reports.  I settled on a food processor that has performed nicely for me over the last year and a half.  I found a new way to make the rice.  The first recipe involved cooking the rice and then pureeing it.  This took forever, which is why I burned the motor out on my old food processor.  My new recipe required a coffee or spice grinder, which, thanks to my foodie hubby, we had.  I grinded up the organic brown rice until it was dust.  Then, I cooked it (similar to the stuff you buy).  I’m forgetting why now, but somehow we ended up with a box of organic baby food rice.  I think we bought it while I waited for my new food processor or before learned about the spice grinder trick?  I remember liking the boxed organic rice better than the stuff I ground up – we continued to buy the boxed stuff.

About this time, Aiden had a bad reaction to a rotavirus vaccine.  He actually got the rotavirus.  The villi in his intestine were messed up and he could no longer digest cow’s milk protein.  I had to eliminate all dairy from my diet. (I wasn’t eating a ton of dairy products anyway because I knew too much could cause problems for some infants.)  This was just an experiment.  We didn’t really know what caused Aiden’s intestinal troubles.  We were referred to a pediatric gastrointerologist, but the nearest appointment they had was 2 months away.  We were put on a waiting list and got a call a couple weeks later (while I was conducting my experiment).  The doctor basically said, yep, he can’t process cow’s milk protein right now; you need to continue eliminating cow’s milk from your diet. He mostly based this diagnosis off of my experiment.  Aiden no longer had troubles once I stopped eating dairy.  While we were figuring all of this out, our doctor asked us to delay the introduction of new food.  Well, we had only introduced rice.  We took that away, and there was no change.  We took dairy away from me, and there was a change.  The peds gi doctor said he should grow out of the cow’s milk protein allergy/intolerance and I could try eating dairy at 9 months, but Aiden shouldn’t have dairy until he was a year old…

So now we could start introducing solid food again.  I made most of his baby food veggies by steaming and pureeing them.  I baked the sweet potatoes and pureed them.  The best part of making your own baby food (besides the cost – it’s way cheaper) is the fact that you can control the chunkiness and the thickness.  As Aiden got older, I made the food a little chunkier.  The transition to finger foods was super easy since since I was already used to making his food.  Check out http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/ for some great baby food recipes and feeding tips!

Now here’s where I failed with my good intentions again.  When it was time to start introducing meats, I tried pureeing them.  Aiden wouldn’t eat the meats pureed by themselves.  I had to sneak the meats into the veggies and grains.  This wasn’t a big deal when I was cooking foods for Patrick and me that would be Aiden friendly – I just pureed up what we were eating.  But, we don’t really eat that much meat protein.  I felt that Aiden needed more protein than we were eating, so I opted to feed him the jarred baby food.  In my opinion, this is a bit of a mom failure on my part.  My compromise was to only feed him organic jarred baby food (Earth’s Best Organic).  During this time of Aiden’s life, I had just started a new school year and was pretty busy.  Not having to cook two separate meals actually saved me lots of time – more time I could spend with Aiden.  I know there are other protein options and I could have been more creative, but I was too tired at that point to deal with it.

I don’t think I knew just how many choices I would have to make as a parent.  As Aiden gets older, this becomes more and more apparent!

How do you deal with all of the parenting decisions and best of intentions?