Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Easter

The three of us on Easter morning ready for church.

Grace with Nanna and Gigi (great-grandma)

Grace with her cousin Raymond.
We had a wonderful Easter this year. On Saturday we went to my mother's house to celebrate. Grace and Raymond hunted for eggs. Some were outside, so it was so special for her to be outside looking for eggs. I can't remember how long it's been since it was nice enough to hunt outside. We had a nice lunch of ham and potatoes. It was really nice. On Sunday we got up and the girls hunted for eggs in the living room. Those eggs were empty and were there for fun. After services the other guests arrived and we had a nice lunch. Afterward, the kids looked for eggs in the basement. Those had coins in them. Grace went down first because she's the youngest. When the older children came down, it was complete mayhem. Later, I distributed some coloring pages of Russian eggs. The kids sat down and and colored...I was surprised. We left early because Brian had to run and do some work. He got paid like double time for the couple hours he was there.... All in all it was a REALLY nice holiday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Two steps forward and one step back

I feel as if we took one step forward and now we are taking one step back. Grace has come a long way with her eating in the last six months. When we were in Russia, she would eat anything and everything we put in front of her. We would give her some rice cereal in our hotel room, and then we would go down for breakfast, and the ladies at the hotel would insist that she eat the yogurt and egg that they made for her. The first morning I thought "well, she just stuffed herself on cereal, there's no way she'll eat that too!" I was wrong. She ate it all. It didn't matter what we put in front of her...she'd eat it. Well, as long as it was really soft like scrambled eggs or pureed foods. She couldn't chew yet. 19 months and didn't know how to chew. We came home and I started the same routine. However, we quickly discovered that she did NOT want to eat lunch or dinner. We made sure she got plenty of healthy snacks in between, but when it came to actually eating lunch or dinner, she refused. One day, I was desperate. My friend called and offered some stew. She made too much and wanted to share with us. I pureed the food, and approached Grace. She downed the whole thing! That's when it hit me...she refused to eat the American baby food because it is bland. The Russian baby food has tomatoes, garlic, and onions in it.

So, in an effort to get her to eat lunch and dinner, I started cooking regular meals for her and pureeing them. Her eating improved drastically. Gradually, I started pureeing the food less and less. Around January/February, we started noticing another problem. Her lunches were still fine. We were now feeding her sandwiches, mac and cheese, Tyson nuggets, etc at lunch, and she had a great appetite. At dinner, however....not so much. She was back to having her temper tantrums. Now, my food isn't bland. Sure, I don't use tons of spices and such, but it's not totally without flavor. But she stopped eating anything except pasta and sometimes mashed potatoes. I became stubborn. You don't want to eat your dinner-fine, you go to bed hungry and tomorrow you'll eat a big breakfast. While that relieved us of frustration, it didn't encourage her to eat her dinner. We were watching Supernanny one night, and she had a little blurb about picky eaters; she said to just put the food on the plate and let them eat what they want. So, for a day or so I did that-but sometimes she wouldn't eat anything. This week, I had a little breakthrough.

I know that sometimes she won't eat the protein because she doesn't like the texture or because it's too tough. So, the other day when I made stew, I decided to puree it a little bit; just to break up the meat into more manageable pieces. She ate a whole bowl. Usually, what she would have done is taken a bite and swallowed the potatoes while spitting out the carrots and meat. However, since it was all blended together, she couldn't. She enjoyed the flavor of the whole thing. I also discovered that cheering her on by offering her an occasional goldfish cracker also helped. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. The next day we were having chicken tacos. I'm trying to get creative with our leftovers. So, I knew she wasn't going to eat the chicken, but I also knew she would like the flavor. So, I did the same thing. I took all the "stuff" to make a taco, and I blended it all together for her. I added some crushed chips and she ate the whole bowl. Once she figgured out there were chips in it she was more enthusiastic. So now, I've gone two steps forward by realizing that other than tough meat, there are no limitations to her chewing now...big difference than six months ago. However, I've taken a step back by having to puree her food so that she will enjoy the flaovorful meal rather than picking and choosing just the carbs. Perhaps I'll take it a step further; perhaps half her meal will be all the "stuff" seperated so she can pick and choose, and the other half will be the same thing only pureed. Perhaps she'll eventually she'll realize they're the same only one is all put together and the other is all seperate. I'll post again to see how it all works out. Tonight we're having leftover stew from the other day. I'll giver her two plates; one with the meat, potatoes, carrots and juice and one with it all pureed together. Hmmmm.....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Easter

We are really looking forward to celebrating Easter with Grace. Today we went to the mall to get a picture with the Easter Bunny. she did an amazing job. Not only was she in a good mood, but she did not freak out when the EB picked her up. We were the first there when the mall opened for the day, and so the EB could spend a little time playing peek-a-boo and stuff to get Grace comfortable. She /it (don't know who was in the suit...I shall guess it was a she) ....anyway, SHE did a great job getting Grace comfortable. She smiled for the picture! As a matter of fact, we were there when the next child took his turn. She was actually jealous that someone else was with "her" Bunny!

Anyway, she has grown some more latele, and I've had to switch out her closet again. THis time I've had to switch her shirts to 2T/24 month (same size as I see it) and also her pants. When she wears her cloth diapers, the 12 month pants were a little tight. So, I brought out the 18 month bottoms. The only problem is that the 18 month pants are way too long, so I'll have to either roll them up or under. I spent some time today matching up her pants with a top, so I have more "outfits" to choose from instead of having to pull out a pair of pants and match it with a shirt when she needs to get dressed. Is that a little anal? Anyway, it will make mornings much easier to have the outfit already matched. It seems that every two months or so I'm switching out her closets. At this rate, she'll catch up to where she needs to be in no time! She's pretty close. Certainly with the tops. Anyway, I also pulled out her 24 month pajamas because the one-piece 18 month ones are a little hard to zip. The 24's are a little long, but when I use a loose scrunchie around her ankles, it keeps the jammies from falling to her feet and tripping her. I also notice that I may need to start buying 24 month dresses. I'll have to see. They may be a bit long by the knees, but she might need the waist lenght.

She has gained two and a half pounds and grown three inches since December. She had her two-year check up last week. She got her two-year shots. She didn't need the chicken pox vaccine because she had the chicken pox right before our first visit in June. In fact, she still had the blue medicine on her, and a few scabs. She now has one little scar left on her left cheek.

She's doing very well, and it seems that she learns new words every day. I've stopped counting how many words she can say. Last week for the doctor's office it was up to 45, but I think now it's around 50. She also knows about 25 signs. Her newest is "help". I get so frustrated when she cries because she can't do something. I tell her to ask mommy to "help" "please". She'll sign the words, and then I'll help her and encourage her to say "thank you". She's catching on.

Hope everyone has a great Easter holiday.