In honor of those little leprechauns at your house and mine, we’ve made nine toddler and preschooler-friendly dishes. From rainbows to Irish recipes made kid-friendly to food gone green, these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the kitchen.
Charity Curley Mathews
Charity Curley Mathews is the founder of Foodlets.com, a haven of tips, tricks and kid-friendly recipe makeovers, and also a mom to three real-life foodies in the making…maybe. She’s a former VP at Martha Stewart.com turned consultant and overseas foodie blogger. The kids were born in Italy where Foodlets also began. But after four years abroad, the whole brood recently repatriated. Charity now cooks wheat germ infused concoctions for her family on a mini-farm in North Carolina. Besides transforming decadent recipes for knee-high critics, she’s also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Food Network’s Dish and Upwave.
Making baby food is simpler than it sounds. I head up a blog about cooking for kids and with three small fries of my own, you can believe I’ve made a lot of baby food. I’m gearing up to do it again when our fourth is born in May and these are my favorite ways to do it.
I know Slate is an edgy site but what does the world gain with headlines like this one: “Your Kale-Eating Baby Does Not Impress Me”? In this saucy article, Jessica Grose describes the “smug” attitude conveyed by another blog post, this one in The New York Times’ Motherlode. When the Times writer adopted “baby led weaning” (giving babies soft finger foods as first foods instead of purees) and wrote enthusiastically about how easily her baby took to it, that was it. An e-fight practically broke out. She’s “adding more fuel to the fire of what she refers to as breast versus bottle 2.0,” laments Grose.
A slew of severely bumpy flights have reignited the debate about airlines’ policies to allow lap babies—is it safe? This is something I’ve wondered about for a long time. When our first daughter was born we lived in Rome and having access to all of Europe within a couple hours’ time was too tempting to pass up. We flew all over with her, not to mention back to the U.S. to visit family.
Each airline, each country, had a slightly different policy about lap babies, who fly at 10 percent the cost of an adult ticket for international trips (and free domestically). Some offered seatbelt extensions that you looped around your own seat belt but most didn’t. On long international flights, some airlines have attachable bassinets available in bulkhead rows. They’re only for infants but we used one for our daughter and it was great.
Picture your very worst fear for a newborn: he suddenly stops breathing. That’s just want happened to Pamela Rauseo as she was driving with her 5-month-old nephew on Miami’s Dolphin Expressway this week.
Leaping out of the car and yelling for help, other drivers immediately left their own cars (and in one case a 3-year-old) to help. CPR was administered, medics arrived, and the baby, who was born prematurely with respiratory problems, is now reportedly in stable condition at a Miami hospital.
The photos in the Huffington Post piece are amazing, thanks to the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who happened to be driving behind Ms. Rauseo—and was one of the first to help.
How long did your labor take—or should it take? I’ve had three natural births in Rome, as in no epidurals, and the main reason I chose to forgo medication was because I was so worried about this very situation. I was afraid that with an epidural, labor wouldn’t progress fast enough to suit the Italian medical guidelines and I’d end up with a C-section, possibly times three.
I didn’t realize the same thing could’ve easily happened here in the U.S. until I read NPR’s recent reported on new birthing guidelines. Obstetricians hope they will reduce the number of C-sections—and they’re all about timing.
“Women with low-risk pregnancies should be allowed to spend more time in labor, to reduce the risk of having an unnecessary C-section, the nation’s obstetricians say.”
As we gear up for our fourth baby, we have more shopping to do than most. We gave away our well-worn, mostly hand-me-down baby essentials before we left Rome last year but as luck would have it, we need it all again. I know this is our last baby and want to shop carefully, so I thought about what worked well in the past, then asked other parents what’s the one thing they’d buy again. Here’s what they said, along with a few recommendations of my own.
Well, the New York Times has done it again. In the Motherlode blog, we get this recent dispatch about an affluent New York City couple in the throes of applying to prestigious and highly competitive pre-K programs in Manhattan. They’re very, very stressed about it and so are their friends.
“The seeds of panic had been planted when Zee was 6 months old,” explains writer Judy Batalion. “A friend was genuinely concerned: ‘You haven’t signed her up for preschool prep at Gymboree?’ Another friend warned: ‘If you do, hire a consultant who can help your daughter act as if she didn’t take the class to hide it from the admissions officers.’ (What?!) And another: ‘You need to start giving these schools charity. That’s how you get in, if you’re not racially interesting.’ (White Jews—like us—being the definition of uninteresting.)”
If you’re rolling your eyes and frantically typing #firstworldproblem right now, you’re not alone. “Schmoozing”, as Batalion mentions elsewhere in the article, is not something I’m interested in doing for my child. Don’t get me wrong, I have three kids and I’m their biggest champion and cheerleader. But I’m not their agent, I’m their mom. I’ll not be negotiating on their behalf, especially for something as straightforward as preschool.
Between feeding three babies (with another coming this spring) and running a mommy food blog, I’ve made a lot of baby food. I’ve also figured out that it can be as high-tech or straightforward as you and your wallet want. From both ends of the budget spectrum, here are the best tools for the job.
Dental care is my biggest dust bunny as a parent. Feeding the kids healthy food? That, I pay close attention to. Church? Every Sunday! Finding great local Montessori programs? Yes, we’ve done that. But caring for the teeth that bite into all those homemade, low-sugar muffins…not nearly so much. Our kids were born in Italy where things were very relaxed in the dental department but that’s not really a good excuse. The older kids, ages 4 ½ and 3, do brush their teeth every day, but can I admit that it’s only once?
And here’s where it gets even worse. We haven’t really made it a habit to brush the little guy’s teeth at all. At 19 months, George’s toothbrush is more of a play toy. So you can imagine my horror when I read the new post on The New York Times Well blog and saw this:
“Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt, instead of waiting until children are older, according to new guidelines by the American Dental Association.”