Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pardon my French

Parlez-vous francais? Neither do I. But I secretly wish I could - definitely my favorite language to listen to.

But before we talk about the French, can I get a Rock Chalk? I have to start this post by congratulating the Kansas Jayhawks for their improbable run to the Final Four. No one predicted this team to get this far.


Just a few years ago, I would have been making plans to head to New Orleans for the games this weekend. But it isn't that easy with two little ones to plan for. So instead we will be cheering from home, wishing we were there. At any rate, I'm not sure they can top yesterday's win over UNC and our old friend Roy. Call it a season, wrap it up. It can't get any better than that. 


Besides basketball, I have a couple parenting issues on my mind this Monday morning. This past Saturday I did something I've never done before - hire a babysitter to watch the kids while I'm also at home. We're trying to get our house ready to put on the market and it is near impossible to work around the house with both kids under our feet. We especially needed to work in the basement, the most non-kid friendly place in the house. So our favorite sitter came over at 9am on Saturday morning. The kids were just finishing breakfast. Charlie was excited to play and also relaxed that Mom and Dad weren't going anywhere. So Ryan and I got to work and the kids went on a walk and played outside. The sitter fed them lunch and then put them down for naps. I ran to Target and back with the greatest of ease. It was the best of both - I was around the kids, interacting with them, but not fully responsible for them. It was what I imagine having a nanny would be like. It was...awesome! We're planning on asking our sitter if she would like to move in with us. I'm sure her live-in boyfriend won't mind. Heck, he can come, too! It would be so worth it.

Besides my new desire to have a live-in nanny - or as the French would say, an au pair -  I'm trying to think like a French parent these days. I'm reading the book, Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Anyone heard of it? As the tagline of the book reads, "one American mother discovers the wisdom of French parenting." She basically points out all the ways in which French parents are superior to Americans, and I agree with quite a few of her points, but not all. I'm not sure I like the author all that much, but that, and the major parenting issues she discusses, I will save for another post. What's on my mind right now as a result of reading the book is food.

French kids, apparently, are mini-gourmands. The day cares serve four course meals (including a cheese course) to toddlers. The book makes some great points about kids and eating (the French do not have 'kid's menus at restaurants) and if nothing else, as a result of reading this book I've resolved to try even harder to feed my kids healthy foods. While Ryan does the cooking in our house, I feed the kids. And it is a real struggle. The two things I'm struggling with the most right now:

1) Where do I find the time to plan, prepare and fix a healthy meal for two kids? Most days I have about 20 minutes between when I get home with the kids til they need to eat. I need something fast, healthy, and - if I'm thinking like a French mom - something that inspires my kids to love food! I haven't seen my kids all day, I want to play with them and read books when we get home. Not chop vegetables in the other room while they watch tv. Some nights I stay up past 11 prepping items for their dinner, other times I try to squeeze in a little prepping/cooking in the mornings before they wake up. Anyone have any other tricks for this age-old problem? I'm all ears!

2) What do you do with a one-year old while you are trying to prepare dinner? Charlie loves to help me in the kitchen. He will pull over his step stool and help me stir, nibbling on things as he goes. This is one practice that Druckerman recommends in Bringing up Bebe that gets kids excited about food, makes them feel a part of the process. And I do think it's true - the days when Charlie helps me and watches me make his dinner, he seems to eat a little better and is a bit more enthusiastic about what he's having. But now that Izzy is so mobile, she does not want to sit in an exersaucer or be strapped into her high chair. And holding her at the counter is treacherous as she innocently reaches for everything from a chopping knife to a hot pot boilling on the stove. There is no way for Charlie and I to enjoy our meal prep if she is crying at our feet.

So how do I inspire my 3-year old to eat and keep my 1-year old from melting down at the same time?? This is something 'bebe' does not address. Leave it to the wannabe French to skim over the details!

I'm really interested in other insights or solutions to this question of what and how to feed kids. I am not so interested in raising mini-gourmands as I am in exposing my kids to a variety of flavors and foods, and providing them with a healthy relationship with food. Is having dessert with every meal healthy? Is not ever having dessert or treats healthy? Charlie has developed a sweet tooth and lately has begun asking for a treat if he finishes his meal. I'm not sure this is a habit I want to reinforce - eating your veggies only to get a reward at the end.

I won't find all my answers in a day, but I'm going to keep looking. To be continued...


And finally, on a fashion note, Izzy is sporting a blue and whilte DVF for the Gap dress - ooh la la! I don't often splurge on clothes for Izzy, despite all the temptation out there for cute girl's clothes, but this time I did. I just had to see what this wrap dress looked like on her. She was the envy of the playground this weekend. I wish they made one in my size!

5 comments:

  1. I once had a mini gourmand and then she turned 2...hoping the hot dog phase leaves soon, never to return. Check out Design Mom - family of 6 (with young kids) moved to France for a year. I know she covered the amazing French food for kids previously, as well as, French parenting philosophies.

    In terms of food prep, have you given thought to freezer meals? 'Cupcake' omelets, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, mini meatloafs/meatballs...all homemade and healthy. I have a growing list of ideas, but have yet to actually execute any. I imagine it would take a day to prep and cook everything, but a day well spent if there are a month's worth of kiddo meals available.

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    1. Great suggestions! I do think prepping/cooking more on Sunday would help a lot. Which means making out my menu and list earlier than 5pm on Sunday from now on...

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  3. Can't help you too much on the time management and meals...although I think you already do a great job introducing the kids to all types of food.
    My comment is on Izzy's dress....LOVE IT!

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    1. Thanks Jules - she is a fashionista!

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