Thursday, March 22, 2012

can't you just nap with him?

Yesterday I was at the 6 month (one month late!) visit for our baby. I was lamenting our sleep problems, when I realized that our pediatrician is cool in many ways (wise with natural remedies, and so on) and I do really like her, but she's seems a tad out of touch (with me) in other ways.

Like when I told her that I was having trouble getting baby to sleep anywhere but the guest bed (not safe!) for his nap. And she said, well then just grab a book and nap with him. And do what with my 3year old? Put him in front of a cartoon until he turns into a drooling aphid?

And when I mentioned that none of us were getting any sleep (and I mean that almost literally) and joked that we needed 2 night nurses and we'd be all set. With a straight face she said she had a list of numbers of good ones. Clearly she's not in our tax bracket.

I don't really expect our doctor to solve our family sleep problems. I don't even know why I asked, since I have read up on almost every approach to baby sleep that our library affords us. Perhaps that is the problem, though, with modern parenting-- information overload. And the cynical me thinks (and knows) that most of these books are out there so that books are sold, rather than babies are allowed to sleep. From the great and growing empire of Sears family books (if your child cries he will become a sociopath and it'll be your fault!), to the sleep training quick-fixes (watch movies with your hubby while teaching your baby to sleep and wake up singing Hallelujah!), they all have the answer, and it's only one or two sentence that acknowledge the reality that most parents need to hear: Do what works for your family.

But you see, all of the books do say that at some point. And that's not going to sell anyone anything. My old pediatrician from our old town said that we were doing a great job as parents, and to just do what we needed to do. That was nice. I should remember that. It would also be wise to remember that she may say that to every parent, no matter how rotten, knowing that parents will do what they will do regardless of her advice. Sure, blow smoke in your kid's face, you're doing a great job! AKA, the high-self-esteem for all parents philosophy.

It seems, in the small survey of parents I know, that many of us don't seem to have to confidence to know what it means to parent without identifying with a book, method, or expert's opinion. I wonder if this has always been the case, or if it truly is a symptom of the media-glut that we parent in these days. I have taken out so many parenting books from the library, only to open many of them, say "yeah right," and snuggle up with a good book of MFK Fisher essays, where I am told how to eat spring peas, not how to care for the babies I love more than life itself. It just gets tiresome to be told over and over again conflicting stuff... and then feel like a martyr or monster if I don't/can't/won't follow the advice.

Some of it I could and did follow, until #2 came along. Then whether I am supposed to snuggle our 3 year old to sleep every night, or let our baby fuss for a while before sleeping, I can't because there are now two with needs. And those needs can't both be met at the same time. And certainly not at 3am.

So I'm going to try to listen a little harder and see if there is a mommy-voice inside that does exist despite all the loud competition. And, if you have any advice of your own, join the chorus, please.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

eating the tomato crop

We've been occasionally dipping in to our freezer and using some tomatoes we froze last year. I posted at the time about trying it as an experiment, and reporting back. Well, it hasn't been a failure entirely. We have used many tomatoes, and I like that we used our freezer for keeping some of the harvest. Next time, though, I'm going to puree them first. I had the big food mill that I bought for applesauce-making out yesterday to puree some winter squash for a recipe and to see if our little one likes it. That's when I realized that I could fairly easily slice the tops off the tomatoes and run them through this food mill and have pureed tomatoes! Then, we can easily freeze one-cup (or more) servings in glass jars and use them as needed. I like this idea more than freezing whole tomatoes, since all I really need them for is sauce and soup in the winter. I just tried it on some frozen Juliettes, and it worked really well for making beet soup tonight.

What's your favorite way to keep your garden crops?