Moving…

We’ve moved!  The new and improved Barefoot in the Kitchen is here.

The blog and Daily Photo are now sharing a website, something I’ve wanted to do for a while but not had time for.  Thanks to today’s snow and Joe’s afternoon off, we’ve had time to do it.

Having a self-hosted WordPress site also gives us greater control.  We’ve got a new theme which wasn’t available on a wordpress.com blog, and lots of shiny plugins back here where you can’t see them.

Let me know what you think.  My contact details are listed on the new About page, and the Daily Photo will be going up at midnight, as usual.

Enjoy!

Katherine

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New Year

What does the first day of your New Year look like?

In the wee small hours of this morning, it looked like this.

During the HOURS we spent tidying up and getting ready to officially move today, it looked like this:

Later on, when we were walking in Stratford, it looked more like this.

And this evening, it looked like this:

As you can see, I’m doing rather well with my New Year’s Resolution: take lots of photos!

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Food Glorious Food

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Here’s a belated post about my insight of 2009: it should have been written two days ago, but we are staying at the in-laws’ and I’m forced to be sociable and away from the computer.

David is a fussy eater.

Let me clarify that.  David eats four things: garlic bread, sausages, chocolate buttons, and Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches.  David will not touch fresh fruit or vegetables, never mind put them in his mouth: they might bite back!  Rice?  Pasta?  Anything that might be served with a sauce or have a sauce touch it?  No way.  (Yep, he’s his mother’s son!)

Until last week, Joe and I could reassure ourselves that “food is for fun until one”.  We kept offering fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, different kinds of meat…  He would poke at them, look disgusted, and throw them on the floor, mostly before they’d been anywhere near his mouth.  We tried bribery: “Put this piece of banana in your mouth and you can have a chocolate button!”.  We tried letting him get on with it: more food ended up on the floor and none was eaten.  We tried all-out war: “You WILL eat this risotto.  Here’s a lovely spoonful…”.  It was spat out.  As a result, he “topped up” on milk, to the point where most of his diet was milk, with a few snacks thrown in.  He wasn’t sleeping as well as he should, he was waking up screaming hungry in the morning, and he was refusing to eat anything solid.

Two days ago, I did something mean, nasty and awful.  I took his milk away.

Not completely away, you understand.  I know that he still needs it for growth and development and vitamins.  We just drastically reduced the amount he drinks overnight.  We don’t offer it an hour before a meal or half an hour after: if he’s thirsty, he can drink water or juice.  We offer it in the newborn-sized Avent bottles, and when he finishes it he can have water, unless he’s desparate.  We’ve set ourselves the target of 5-600ml/day, and we’ve got there straight away.  David, as you can imagine, is unimpressed with this state of affairs, but still doing really rather well.

This morning, he got up with Joe, and for breakfast he ate a whole croissant and a serving of plain yoghurt with pureed blueberries and blackberries.  Half-way through this morning, he decided he was hungry, so ate a fruit pouch, two breadsticks, and a biscuit, and drank half a cup of juice.  At lunch he tried quiche and baked potato, which he wouldn’t previously have touched, and ate four slices of garlic bread.  At dinner, he spied the leftover profiteroles from Joe’s relatives’ Boxing Day family lunch, and was bribed into eating a fruit pouch.  That was followed by both profiteroles, a large piece of Stollen, and a whole cup of juice.  His total formula intake today?  500ml.

We’re not there yet.  He still doesn’t like the texture of anything runny, he won’t touch sauce, and vegetables are apparently the work of the Devil.  I was surprised that he ate the profiterole after the inital touching and poking, and still asked for more.  I don’t think it’s a taste issue, but to do with texture: it certainly explains why he’ll eat purees but nothing lumpy or slimy.

So, there we are.  My insight of the year: to do with taking away milk (and therefore being the meanest mother in the whole, world, ever, or so David will tell you) and making David eat Real Food.  It works.  I shouldn’t be scared to make parenting decisions and worry about what other people will think, because we need to do what works for us.  I needn’t worry about David’s reaction, because he’ll survive.  I am starting 2010 more confident as a parent than I ever was, and it’s fantastic.

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Filed under baby led weaning, David, Food & Drink, pictures

Christmas 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Today, a special Christmas post about the best gift of 2009.  Also, there is another photo from today over at the Daily Photo.

This time last year, we left hospital in the winter sunshine, wondering what on earth we’d created and how we’d survive.  It’s been a wonderful year in many, many ways, but it’s been hard.  And we’re not doing it again.

Christmas this year has been all about David.

Paper was ripped and parcels were unwrapped.

Boxes were played in.

New garages were played with.

Footballs were hugged and headed.

And Wilfred had a great time with his sock monkey:

David’s favourite present (and our favourite of his!) is by far and away the simple, no-batteries-required, quiet football.  Mine is the morning of advanced driver training from Joe, and his was the wooden bricks that my parents bought for David!  The best thing ever, though, was spending Christmas as a family.  Here’s to many more to come.

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One

Dearest David

At 3.14pm today you turned one year old.  My word.

This has been an awesome month.  You’re still sleeping well, and having two or three solid hours’ sleep in the morning, and an hour or two in the afternoon.  This makes you happy and bouncy and full of energy when you’re awake, until you crash and fall asleep again: you’re hardly ever grumpy and tired.  You also like people other than Daddy and I.  This is a relief, I can tell you.

You’re still a fussy eater.  You won’t eat ANY fruit unless it’s pureed: if it’s not, you poke it and look disgusted, and refuse to put it anywhere near your mouth.  Vegetables are similar, but you do at least eat potato, peas, and carrots mashed together, and vegetable soup.  However, bread, biscuits, breadsticks, and ESPECIALLY garlic bread go down very well, as do Swedish meatballs from IKEA.  Oh, and chocolate birthday cake.

You’re getting better at walking: you can do it when you forget to be scared!  I don’t think your current growth spurt is helping, because it makes you fall over all the time.  You’re also too lazy to try sometimes: why bother when you can speed-crawl?

Daddy has been working a lot this month, and we haven’t seen him as much as we’d like.  You miss him dearly when he’s away, and you’ve figured out how to press the redial button on the phone so that you can talk to him.  (This means we need to keep his number as the last-dialled, so that you don’t confuse anyone else.)  When you’re together I no longer understand what you’re both on about, you’re so much on the same wavelength.  It seems to centre around fart jokes.

You play like a toddler now.  You sort things into groups, put things in places, try to fit one thing inside another or stick things together.  You are starting to use language and sounds to describe what you’re doing and what is happening around you, too.  New words this month include “Stop!” “Go!” “ERIC!!!” and too many others to count.  Eric prefers to hide (currently under the Christmas tree, which has the added bonus of things to BAT!) than to play with you.

You now travel in the front of my car.  I was getting fed up with the back of the passenger seat being kicked!  You have much more room in the front and you stay still while I strap you into your seat.  We then have a conversation until you fall asleep without a fuss, and I find myself talking to myself without realising.  When a traffic light turns green, you shout “GO GO GO!!!”.  (You have also done this when we followed an old lady in her Nissan Micra.  I’m teaching you patience, honest!)  The view in the front is much better than the view in the back!

You’ve had two birthday parties so far, and a constant stream of presents over the last few days.  That’s what happens when your birthday is so close to Christmas!  On Sunday we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and had cake and presents there, and today Kathryn and Harry and Benjamin and Naomi came to visit at Nana and Grandad’s house.  When you wake up from this nap you can open some more presents!  (And tomorrow, and the day after, and probably the day after that.  That’s why we’ve brought Daddy’s car down to Kent and not Mummy’s!)

A year ago today, I held you for the first time, and you were perfect.  You still are.  I love you.  We both do.

Love,

Mummy and Daddy

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Complete

Over the last few days and weeks and months, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the number one.  Specifically, the number of children we have and are planning to have.  My mother is constantly asking if we’re planning another.  (Having one, apparently, will lead to David becoming spoiled, selfish and antisocial.)  My Nana said that we should have a girl next.  People assume that, because we’re young and because David is nearly one, we’re ready to start trying for another baby.  “When you have another…”, “Just wait until you have two…” and various phrases along those lines are used regularly.

Here’s the thing.  We aren’t going to have another baby.  I can say now, without hesitation, that our family is complete.

The road that led to having David was a long, hard one.  I had an abortion at fifteen: it was the “right thing to do”.  After all, I was clever.  I had sixth form, university, a career to look forward to.  My previously supportive boyfriend got scared and ran away, and I would’ve been a single teenage mother.  I was nine or ten weeks pregnant when my parents discovered it, and had little time to think about the decision: I went along with what they thought was right, because I didn’t know.  I couldn’t think, I just couldn’t make the decision.  I knew that I wanted qualifications and a career, but I never considered the alternative.  I never thought that I could have the baby.  I would’ve been about twelve weeks along when I finally had it done, and it hit me harder than I ever imagined it would.  I will forever regret that decision.

I hadn’t known until then that I wanted a child.  When I’d thought about it hypothetically, I’d reasoned that I’d want to concentrate on having a career, and anyway, noone would commit to me, would they?

Fast-forward a few years.  I had put all thoughts of having a baby out of my mind.  Joe and I had been together for a few months, and although we were serious, we weren’t quite serious enough to think about babies in anything other than abstract terms.

Well, whoops.  One broken condom later…

During my pregnancy, we struggled to adapt to life as a couple, soon to be a family.  Friends and family were shocked that we “hadn’t been more careful”.  They questioned our decision to continue the pregnancy.  (We had discussed it, but it wasn’t an option for either of us after the initial shock had worn off.)  A couple we knew had been trying to conceive for a long time, and we both felt guilty about how it would affect them.

I loved David the moment he was born.  Everybody did.  It didn’t make things any easier.  I’ve written about postnatal depression before, and all that needs saying now is that I, we have come through it, mostly, but it was hard.  There are times when The Crazy still comes back and slaps me round the face, just to remind me that it’s still here.  I don’t want to choose to go back and feel like that again.  It’s not fair on Joe or on David.

All the history and the drama aside, there is one overriding reason why I feel we are complete.  This.

David is enough, more than enough for me.  I don’t have the words to express how much I love him.  He learns something new every day, he’s starting to listen and respond to instructions.  He’s affectionate and caring and kind.  He travels next to me in the car, and we have conversations about traffic lights and slow old ladies in Micras driving in our way.  He gets ridiculously excited when he sees the other yellow Seicento that belongs to somebody who lives near us, and when a traffic light turns green he shouts “Go, go, go!”  He wouldn’t have this attention with a sibling.  He deserves my time, my attention, and all of my love.  I cannot offer him anything more.

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