We recently found out that our fourth baby is a girl and she arrives in May. That gives us a few months to decorate the nursery, otherwise known as her big brother’s room. George is a little guy; he’ll turn 2 about two weeks after his sister is born, so they’re natural roommates. (It’s all about synchronizing sleeping schedules at this stage.) The good news is that we haven’t decorated his room in our new house yet, so we’re starting with a blank slate, going in the unisex direction of blue and gray with pops of white and red along the way. Here’s what’s in my cart at various sites all over the web.
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.
It’s official! Our fourth (and final) baby is a girl. She’s due in May. That means she’ll have two older sisters and one big brother. That little guy is on my mind right now. Will it be hard for him to be the only boy in a house full of girls? Everyone else seems to think so. More often than I expected, this is the response from friends when I share the news: “Poor George. All alone.” But I don’t see it this way at all–I think it might be great.
George is only 19 months old right now so we can’t really have the mom-to-son talk that I’d like, but when the time comes, these are all the things I want him to know.
Sometimes a news story feels like it could’ve been written at my house, or in this case, in our nursery. When I read the headline of the NBC news website declaring, “Baby wipes causing itchy, scaly rashes in some babies,” I just nodded. Been there!
My oldest daughter is now 4, but when she was a baby in Italy, she had such a recurring rash problem that our European pediatrician used to write prescriptions for three different kinds of creams that we’d blend together before liberally applying with every diaper change. Even with that trilogy of anti-rash medicine plus a few prayers too, nothing seemed to work. Then we tried something truly Italian. We stopped using wipes and the rashes cleared up. It turns out we aren’t the only ones.
OK, I’ll fess up immediately: I’m biased. I love cooking and I have a house full of preschoolers, in fact I write a whole blog about what happens when you combine the two at Foodlets.com. So when I heard about the First Bites preschool cooking class program, I was immediately intrigued. What are they teaching 2-year-olds? Do they use knives? And how did one teacher get her whole class eating red peppers with fresh guacamole when the other class wouldn’t touch the stuff? That’s what I wanted to know, and it turns out there’s so much more.
Out of my four pregnancies, I’ve only received a flu shot once, and it was just a couple of months ago. To say I was reluctant is an understatement—I was totally against it. But I’m glad I went through with it because this year I’ve skipped the flu entirely. This week, I found a new reason to be grateful for that temporary arm ache: It can help prevent my baby from being born too early.
“Pregnant women who are vaccinated against the flu are significantly less likely to deliver premature or low-birth-weight babies compared to unvaccinated expectant mothers, new Canadian research finds.” This comes from an article in the Vancouver Sun explaining that pregnancy doesn’t just affect women’s dress sizes, sleeping habits and general appetites for Oreos (ahem). It also makes us more vulnerable to catching the flu, which in turn puts stress on the fetus, causing premature births or low birth rates—both potentially dangerous situations for newborns.
Many supermarkets carry popular fruits and veggies year round, but the best flavors always come from crops grown locally and that means buying in season. I’ve made baby food for three babies now and love having a baby food maker that I swear by on hand to do it. But all you have to have is a pan and a blender, so let’s feed some babies.
The front page of a recent New York Times is chilling. A shrouded woman holds a baby with a face so gaunt from hunger that his skin hangs in folds. He looks like an elderly man as he cries out in her arms. Malnutrition among the very young is on the rise in Afghanistan, and with so many possible reasons why, experts are confounded to declare one specific cause.
It’s a story so grim, so full of defeat that I could hardly get through the whole thing. As a mom with three little kids and one more on the way, I can barely read this stuff anymore. It’s simply too painful. I know what it takes to make my kids cry, and it’s not much. When I think about how much effort I put into their well being every day—preparing fresh food, making sure their growing bodies get enough rest, teaching them the fundamental truths I believe in—and how exhausted I am by assuming their care, I can’t understand how it works in the opposite direction. If it takes so much to raise a child in a happy and healthy environment, how can these children in Afghanistan survive such horrific experiences and go on?
Dear self, please stop. Just stop.
In the past, I’ve told plenty of anecdotes that have fallen flat–stuff about potty training or how great Montessori is, you know, all the things that people find boring unless they are also going through it. Or sometimes I’ll overshare, thinking it might be funny to vent about my husband’s inability to recycle cans or match socks in the laundry. But the tone isn’t right. My own irritation shows through too much to be funny. I usually give a little story a couple of tries, and if the response is silence–or, worse, embarrassed silence–I delete it from my repertoire. But for some reason, there are two things that I just can’t stop saying.
Next year, I say, they’re out.
I love the idea of writing down moments of gratitude, but my resolution for next year is a little different. Since so many days end with me feeling totally wiped out, I’ve already started my resolution for next year: To notice ONE thing I did well that day, and to tell my husband about it when the kids go to bed. That is, to give myself a bit of credit, to notice a job well done or even a sweet moment. Sure these are things to be grateful for, but they’re also little ways to build more positivity into the end of each day. Even if it’s done on the couch.
It’s a small thing, but I think it can change my whole year. In fact, I already started. Here’s how it looks so far:
We have our fourth baby coming in May, and our oldest child is 4 right now. That means we have a house full of wee little monkeys (ages 4, 2 and 1), with one more to come. My husband and I thought it would be fun to do something special to announce the news to them. It was, but only in the way all parents’ “special plans” for their kids turn out at these ages, somewhere between ha, ha and wah, waaah.