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Jan 21 2013

8 Tips for Raising Competent Little Chefs

By at 12:45 pm

Back when my bigger boys were small, it seemed we had plenty of time at home to hang around. What we needed was stuff to do.

So, along with reading and doing puzzles and playing with trains, I took my cue from cookbooks like Molly Katzen’s Pretend Soup, a bright cornucopia of recipes explained with words and pictures like those simple picture books that preview reading with images in the place of certain words. Together, we made bagel faces and carrot pennies. We baked. We sampled the batter. As the boys got bigger, things got busier; school schedules and activities filled up that unstructured time–and another baby arrived. Our together-in-the-kitchen projects evaporated like so much steam. And then, another baby–years later–joined our family. She is 4, and this time I’m heading back to the kitchen more conscientiously. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 15 2013

When You’re Not the Only One Feeding Your Child

By at 4:10 pm

handing over a popsicleWe all have plans for how our children will eat. The other parents will drool with jealousy over the varied and sophisticated palate of our little ones. They’ll run around the playground clutching carrot and celery sticks and turn their nose up at white bread. This works for a while, until your child leaves the house. Then it’s all over.

For the first time since I had my son, in January of 2012, I braved going to a Friday night Shabbaton dinner at my shul. With Shabbat starting early in the winter, it was pre-meltdown time for him and my 4-year old-daughter. Of course I forgot our little booster seat, so my eating-dinner-like-a-mentschette plan was in major jeopardy. When a family friend (aka the “baby whisperer”) told me it would be his pleasure to hold little “Dimples” on his lap during the fish course, I threw him the baby and ran to my seat to stuff my face while I had two hands and a lap free. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 10 2013

Mixed Marriages–Vegetarian & Carnivore Edition

By at 12:09 pm

We all know studies have shown that married couples who share religious beliefs, practices, and values have an easier time maintaining a successful relationship. What about food values? This also matters.

First it’s just about the two of you. Then you have kids. That united front every child development expert will tell you to present, should probably include food. That has proven easier said than done in my house. I think we’ve become experts at the art of compromise. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2012

Coming to Terms With My Son’s Allergies

By at 2:37 pm

When my son was 10 months old, we started giving him some of the foods that you normally test with a baby.

Many of them went well; egg did not. He threw up and broke out into hives. In subsequent weeks, as we were trying other foods, he developed rashes and had other strange reactions. As we were a few short weeks from a big international trip, we insisted that the doctors run a blood test so we could see what his other allergies were before we left. We had no idea that we would find out that he was off-the-charts allergic to peanuts. We were given Epi-pens before we left on our trip. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 20 2012

My Husband Is Fat—And I’m Not Happy About It

By at 12:46 pm
alina adams my husband is fat

My husband at his heaviest.

I read Yael Armstrong’s piece, “I’m Not Going To Make My Kids Weight Crazy,” with great interest, as weight is a frequent topic of conversation in our house.

Not my weight. I’ve never had much interest in my weight. Due to a variety of chronic problems and food intolerances, I grew up a skinny kid whom every Jewish grandmother was constantly trying to fatten up. As I got older, I never even owned a scale. The only relationship I had with eating was, does this make me feel sick, or does this not make me feel sick? I stick to a pretty strict diet for health reasons, but it’s not a hardship as early conditioning has made it so I recoil from most foods. (Yes, stand-up comedians, I am that very special brand of stupid that I sometimes forget to eat. The only time I ever felt hungry was the three times I was pregnant, and the new sensation took me by surprise every single time.)  Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 15 2012

A Cheap Person’s Guiltiest Secrets

By at 3:01 pm
first day of school

First day of school!

In August, I confessed to being cheap, and wondered if it was messing up my kids.

I followed that up in October with Five Easy Ways to Save Money for Your Family.

But, now comes the deepest darkest confession that an out and proud cheap person like me can make. I am going to talk about the things that I actually will–unashamedly–spend money on:

Item #1: Hebrew School/Jewish Day School Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 8 2012

I’m Not Going to Make My Kids Weight Crazy

By at 5:35 pm

Last week my mother came to visit us for the first time in almost a year. Because my kids know my father and his wife (who I lovingly refer to as my second mom) so well, I was very excited for them to get to know my other mom, too.

She got off the plane, jumped in the car, and immediately began talking about her weight.

It didn’t take long for me to remember what I thought I’d forgotten. My life, for the first 18-20 years, had been consumed and terrorized by weight.

My mom never called me fat. She always said that I was “perfect.” She never criticized me at all.

She criticized herself endlessly. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 25 2012

Repairing the World, Starting With Your Snack Bags

By at 1:44 pm

So my daughter is in school now, which is a topic unto itself that I promise to address another day, and every day she needs to bring lunch.

Lunch!

I grew up in the day of brown bag lunches. You’d sit in the cafeteria and everyone had a brown paper bag, with plastic bags inside that were filled with their assorted foods, from sandwiches to Doritos and Oreos.

Except for me. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 7 2012

Food Challenges: My Husband’s a Vegan & My Son’s Hooked on Pouches

By at 10:27 am

fruit juicerThere’s an old saying that you can put three Jews together and get four opinions. Well, that’s the way it is with diets in my family. My husband is a vegan, my son is a vegetarian, and I am an omnivore who is abstaining from meat and poultry for the summer. I am going crazy trying to figure out how to feed everyone.

My husband has never tried to veganize me. He has encouraged me to be more informed about my food choices, but until recently I resisted. I was so overwhelmed with learning a new way to cook for him that I couldn’t stomach any more education. Tempeh? Soy? Seitan? I can make chicken soup so good you can taste it in your soul and roast chicken, briskets, and noodle kugels that practically forced me to start a waiting list for Shabbos dinners at my place. I used to pride myself on being a fabulous Jewish cook. Now it feels like I have to start all over and it is very, very hard at times. Read the rest of this entry →

May 17 2012

The Day to Day Woes of Food Allergies

By at 12:03 pm

peanut allergyI never thought my diaper bag would save a life. But the EpiPen that I carry in that diaper bag serves as a reminder that my child’s life could be in danger at any time, in any place. I need to be prepared to recognize his allergic reaction, stab him in the leg with the EpiPen for 10 seconds while holding him down, and get emergency help ASAP. All while keeping his 16 -month-old twin brother safe, too.

The challenge of food allergies hasn’t been the countless trips to the dermatologist when my son’s face, legs, ankles and diaper area were weeping, seeping, and raw. It wasn’t the day my mother held him down while a nurse drew blood from his tiny veins and I paced the hallway holding his brother, waiting for his screams to erupt the silence. It wasn’t giving up dairy and eggs while breastfeeding. It wasn’t even the morning my husband awakened to find the baby’s entire face swollen so severely that we couldn’t see the whites of his eyes–and within minutes we were on our first ambulance ride. Read the rest of this entry →

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