Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well, I got E some French teething biscuits at Whole Foods, and he loves them. The package features a picture of a baby gazing at a biscuit as if it contains the answer to age-old mysteries. The little blurb on the package practically suggests that you try one yourself. Maybe I will (just kidding). They look pretty hard.

While we were in the store, some song by Squeeze was playing and E danced a little to it, tapping his stroller in time to the beat. A guy who was sitting on the floor, drilling or something, made friends with him. I mentioned that he was teething and the guy said, "Yeah! When my kids were teething, we took the milk we were feeding them - soy or whatever - and mixed anisette in. It works!" I explained that I was still nursing, and he said, "Then you pump and mix the anisette in! It works!" He was really enthusiastic. I'm not sure. Maybe I'll stick to Tylenol?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baby fever

It is here. It is strong. For a while, after I gave birth, I looked at pregnant women and thought, "Thank God that's not me." The last month of my pregnancy was very hard for me. I had put on so much weight that it was hard to walk (though I had to, since this is NYC and we have no car, and strangers admonished me not to use the subway - I think they thought I would pop at any moment, and their fear was contagious) and I was often short of breath. I'll never forget when, a few days before giving birth, I was walking along and my hat fell off. The distance to the ground was daunting. I couldn't bend over because of my huge belly and I was staring at the hat, trying to figure out how to get to it with minimum sturm und drang. Then this tall, willowy blond creature passed me and elegantly dipped to the ground to retrieve it. I was grateful, but couldn't help feeling like a barge.

Anyway, I now look at pregnant women the way I used to, with a mixture of envy and awe. It's sort of like watching a miracle happening. But I'm going to wait a little while, maybe till next year. I want to make sure this is what I want. (D is on board, whenever I'm ready...it's the opposite of the first child...we were married 5 years before he got comfortable with the idea. But I think he really likes being a daddy.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Love/hate relationship with travel

Part of me wants to see the world (or at least part of it). I'd like to go to Greece, Australia, Hawaii. I've already been to France, Italy, England, Ireland, Bahamas, Canada, California, Florida, etc. I have no interest in going to China, India or Africa.

This weekend I'm going to DC to see the pandas, cherry blossoms and a certain blogger mommy and baby. But I find myself discomfited because they probably don't have the yogurt I like in DC. It's called Wallaby.

It's probably no accident that The Accidental Tourist is one of my favorite books. It's about a guy who writes travel books that let people believe they never left home.

Update: It looks like the weather in DC this weekend will not be conducive to panda viewing or any outdoor activity...so we'll go later. Oh well. On the plus side, a beautiful baby slept for seven hours straight...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So today E and I got out and enjoyed the beautiful weather. After a vegan panini (smoked tofu, sundried tomatoes and pesto) on ciabatta bread, followed by a vegan cupcake, we headed to the Union Square Barnes & Noble. This is my favorite bookstore in the city (probably), although the Strand has its own charms (half-priced reviewers' copies, often available before they've hit the shelves in other stores). The Union Square B&N has multiple levels and the most extensive cookbook section I've seen. They have a children's floor, but the secluded bench in the cookbook section is actually better for nursing.

I was a little alarmed because the woman who used the bathroom stall before me seemed to have the croup. She kept blowing her nose and it was bright red. WHY DON'T SICK PEOPLE STAY HOME? Anyway, after using the stall after her, I rolled my sleeves up and soaped my hands vigorously. A non-sick woman, after seeing me do this, did the same. Maybe she figured I knew something she didn't. Or maybe she saw the red-nosed girl too.

I bought 3 cookbooks (Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - I haven't baked in a long time, but maybe I'll make these for a birthday party or holiday or something; Eat Drink and Be Vegan; and Quick-Fix Vegetarian). I also looked at The PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Cookbook but it quickly became apparent that by "quick," they meant "using almost all frozen ingredients." By "quick," I mean a recipe that involves some chopping and sauteeing and/or oven time, preferably in the 30-minute range. So that was not the cookbook for me. I like fresh ingredients.

We stopped at the Children's Place afterward. I've noticed that 12- and 18-month clothing often slips through the cracks. It's somewhere in the limbo between baby and full-blown toddler. But I do what I can. It's a little scary; E is not quite 10 months old, but he fit into a pair of 18-to-24-month pants (a gift from D's cousin's wife) this morning. They were a little long, but the waist fit perfectly.

And finally, I am reading two books at once - Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty (part of the Jessica Darling series) and The Best of Animals by Lauren Grodstein (a short story collection). I like them both, though they are very different. The series is getting a little bit old, but still enjoyable. The Grodstein collection is fun and surprising. They both have new books coming out soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today was a nice, lazy weekend day. D and I went to our favorite diner, which has really cool art deco decor and a fun menu. I had a tofu/vegetable stir-fry (billed as "New York Meets Hong Kong"), followed by a carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting from Billy's Bakery. The cupcake was tres petit and thus not guilt-inducing.

Our Saturday sitter came and instead of going out and doing something productive, I thought, why not lie down and read? So I rested and read Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani. It was fun and mindless and will pass the time until the next Adriana Trigiani book arrives at the library.

What did you do today?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bottomless pit

So lately, I've been a bottomless pit. I'm not pregnant; maybe it's the 500 calories a day burned up by breastfeeding. Or maybe I was always a bottomless pit (who are we kidding). At any rate, I walked with E to the vegan cupcake place, had one with a golden base and white icing, walked back home, peeled a mango and ate it. It was all delicious.

I took a brief stop on the way home at a park, because E was sleeping. I have a favorite bench in the park; the sun falls on it in a certain way. A man we know with a small, fluffy orange dog walked by and said how he's getting older. He feels like the guy in Sanford & Son, all stiff when he wakes up. I've never actually seen the show. E slept through the whole thing.

We also tried to go to a preschool in our neighborhood. It has a garden and everything. However, I was looking between the wrong 2 avenues. We're paying a formal visit in April. (Yes, I know it might seem early, but I live in NYC, where some parents write admissions essays for their babies with sentences like, "He's a lover, not a fighter.")

E also noticed his first dog. He usually either ignores them or is lost in his own musings - hard to tell which. This dog was fairly large, with black-and-white markings. E leaned forward, giggled and touched the dog's nose. The owner reassured me that the dog is very friendly, loves children and has "a 2-month-old at home." Still, I didn't know how the nose-tapping would be received, so I moved the stroller away from the dog.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

So D, our friend J, and I (plus E!) spotted Malcolm Gladwell today. He had his trademark 'fro and a laptop computer. He was eating at the same place where I had lunch with the babies not long ago. They have the best cupcakes in town. I don't know if Malcolm knows that or not.

There was some debate about whether it was actually Malcolm, but J was decisive. "It's him," he said. "Very distinctive." Plus, J mentioned honor wars, and I asked him what they were, and Malcolm heard me and his head swiveled. Apparently it's a concept from his books - in the past, Swiss people fought to keep their sheep or something, because their sheep were the best. Or something like that.

I've never read MG, but do know what he looks like. Another distinctive-looking author was John Updike, whom I've also met (when I worked at a movie theater in Massachusetts during the summer, back in college, and John came in to see Tin Cup, a golf movie starring Renee Russo).

Friday, March 13, 2009

So we tried out a new babysitter today during lunchtime, and had a bite to eat at a place where we can't bring E. It's vegan, but a little formal. We both had the portobello ciabatta (portobello, red onion, and bell peppers with vegan cheese and vegan mayo on nice chunky ciabatta bread). Then we shared a piece of cheesecake (made with tofu, of course) drizzled with strawberry sauce with a fresh strawberry on the side. It was delicious.

Caro did a post about grocery prices and I realized belatedly that our local store's costs have been creeping up. In fact, Whole Paycheck is now cheaper (as long as you get conventional instead of organic most of the time, and 365 Brand canned goods). Their produce is better, as well as cheaper, so it's a no-brainer. I'm trying to go during off-hours. And the conventional bananas are actually better than the organic - not as soft, and they don't go bad as quickly. I know - pesticides doing their work. But it has a protective peel, anyway.

On Sunday, we're going to a party for my SIL's new boyfriend. In honor of the occasion, she designed and made two cakes - one will have a pair of sunglasses, I think (maybe made out of frosting)? I might not try them because she has had a cough for a month and I am paranoid about such things. We shall see.

And finally, I'm really digging Adriana Trigiani's books. Lucia, Lucia was the right one to start with. Then I read Very Valentine. Next, the Big Stone Gap books...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I love this:

The Pink Teacup on Grove Street has the best coconut cake in the city. Made from scratch, it's a yellow cake so moist, for a moment it seems like it may not have cooked through. The batter is full of tiny pineapple chips, and the icing is butter cream whipped so light that the coconut curls sink into it.

(from Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani)

I am coming around on Adriana Trigiani. I resisted the whole Big Stone Gap phenomenon. But this book (from the library) is lovely. Can't you taste that coconut cake?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I just made a vegan pot pie. It's excellent. The crust has margarine in it instead of butter, but actually tastes better. It's from this cookbook by Sarah Kramer that I've been loving for a while - La Dolce Vegan. I still wouldn't "present" as a vegan (I have the occasional yogurt or macaroon, which has egg whites in it) but I feel better when I'm eating less dairy. Of course, when I was pregnant, I was the Dairy Queen. I think it's more important to have oodles of calcium when you're preggers.

With E and movement, it's the calm before the storm. From sitting, he rocks forward onto all fours and he's - almost - so close! - to pushing off. You can feel his frustration and desire to move. He can also pull up to standing or almost-standing, using the side of his crib (until we lowered the mattress) or the bedrail.

I'm reading Sleepwalking in Daylight by Elizabeth Flock. It's a bit darker than my usual picks, but I'm enjoying it. She captures the hairy underbelly of adolescence...