Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What blog?

October has been ghoulish, schedule wise -- a good thing for us, as we're having a bit of fun, but not so good for our lives in blogville.  We had Grasshopper's Dada and Dadi visiting, threw a barbeque for our friend Martha, will go to DC this weekend for GreenDaddy's friend Mike's wedding, and then Grasshopper's Grandma from Myton will arrive.  And, oh, yeah, we're trying to get work done, as well.

So we're not giving up on the blog...but say adieu until the end of the month, I'm guessing.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wanted: Daddy Friendly Playgroups

I received an email today from someone I don't know. A common friend referred her to me. Here is what it says:

Hi! You don't know me but I'm a student at UH working w/ Dr. B- on a thesis. I mentioned to her that I had a pair of friends doing the stay-at-home-dad thing and they were having a ridiculous time finding a playgroup for their youngest (about 16 mos.) that would allow Dad to bring her instead of Mom. Dr. B- recommended you as the man to ask about such matters. If you do have any leads on father friendly playgroups in the Houston or Baytown area, it would be a great help.

First, does anyone know of father-friendly playgroups around Houston?

Also, I would like to congratulate those fathers for taking a lead role in the care of their children. Staying at home is a big risk for any parent because it can lead to a lifetime of difficulty. Once you have a gap in your resume, it will always be there. The journal I work for, Feminist Economics, will be publishing a study next year that shows how caring for children lowers women's income over their lifetimes. I hope that these fathers will not face the same employment difficulties that mothers have. Perhaps with men taking time off, or going part-time like me, the gender norms that create the conditions for income gaps will change.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Raising a Healthy Vegetarian Baby or Toddler

Here's to the illustrious, healthy vegetarian baby. Reading the newspapers, even talking to doctors, and certainly talking to my parents you might worry it's as rare as the three toed astronaut. But vegetarians have been raising healthy babies for centuries, throughout the world. But how to do it in Houston?

The major caveat in raising a healthy, happy, vegetarian baby is that you have to expand the kind of items you put on your grocery list. You need to start buying the exotic goods staring out at you from the bulk bins in your health food store or co-op of choice. The other major caveat is that you have to learn how to cook. No more sandwiches for both of your two meals a day, no more a slice of pizza here and some french fries there. If you can manage both these tasks, you can raise your vegetarian baby just fine.

Grasshopper, our resident vegetarian baby, usually has six or seven meals a day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, snack, dinner, snack. She eats so frequently because she doesn't always finish a meal, and that's okay. If she eats three bites of lunch, I operate under the assumption that that old demon hunger will compel her to munch more heavily during her later snacks. (GreenDaddy's mom -- Grasshopper's Dadi -- visited this weekend and told me she'd read an article suggesting that part of the obesity epidemic in the US is linked to people forcing their children to eat every last scrap on the plate...that is, to eat when they're not hungry. I love studies that support my habits!)

The best thing about Grasshopper's frequent snacking, I think, is that it makes it much easier for me to ensure she's eating from the Green Parenting Food Circle (not a triangle because somedays she gets more of one than the other): protien, fruit, grains, water, dairy & vegetables daily between snacks and meals. I should also mention that she still breastfeeds once a day, though she's forgetting to ask everyday now.

With all this in mind, I thought I'd put out this list of foods that Grasshopper is inordinatley fond of, and/or, doesn't know she eats but does regularly. I'm certain I've forgotten or don't know about other great ideas, and I'd love any new ideas to widen our range.

Grasshopper's Favorite Vegan Foods:

Quorn. It’s a brand of meat-aping protein consisting primarily of fungus n’whey, you find it in the frozen food, next to the Boc-blech Burgers. I like giving it to Grasshopper because I don’t want to overload her with soy. It comes in fake chicken & fake meatball forms. Whole Foods has it on sale once a month, usually, and I stock up, or I can’t afford it.

Veggie/Bean/Tofu Burgers. We make them at home, usually. None of us like the store bought much.

Tofu. What can’t you do with tofu? It goes into homemade veggie burgers, in Chinese food. While I’m not such a huge fan of tofu blocks in food, Grasshopper is. In a pinch, I buy the pre-made teriyaki tofu from the Whole Foods salad bar.

Frozen edamame and lima beans. I microwave them in water for about 45 seconds. A favorite snack of MaGreen and Grasshopper alike.

All the other beans. Since I got my pressure cooker in gear I love buying all sorts of crazy looking beans at Whole Foods. Turtles, Aztecs, Black Beans, Navy, Kidney. Usually I cook these with greens.

Lentils & Dahls GreenDaddy has a favorite traditional Gujurati dahl, and I have a few favorites I make. Grasshopper munches them up.

Rice. A quarter of our meals are served over brown or white Basmati. This was one of the baby's first favorites.

Hot Cereals. I alternate between oat grout, seven grain, and plain old oatmeal from the bulk bins.

Rainbow Light NutriStart Multivitamin Powder. Grasshopper needs Iron supplements and the iron drops the doctor prescribed taste exactly like you’re eating a pole in winter: metallic and you can’t unstick the flavor from your tongue for hours. Rainbow Lite is a brand my friend Kayte turned me onto when I was looking for prenatal vitamins. They’re free of “artificial colors, flavors, sweetners, preservatives and other objectionable additives often found in vitamin products.” Since they don’t have any goodies in them they taste like blech, which is why I buy the powder packets. I put them in her cereal.

Quinoa & Amarynth. Super protein filled seed-grains of the Aztecs. I add them rice whenever I cook it, put a little in her seven grain cereal in the morning.

Noodles. Who doesn’t like a good noodle every now and then?

Sunflower & pumpkin seeds. Sometimes I grind them and put them in food, sometimes I just put them in food, sometimes we just snack on them.

Nuts. Walnuts, peanuts, cashews. No allergies in this house, thankfully. She’s just learned how to chew them well enough to snack on.

Peanut butter. Grasshopper likes it on slices of apples.

Dried, unsweetened cranberries we always have on hand. And I also usually have another sort of dried unsweetened fruit, pineapple if it’s available, or mango.

Veggies. Broccoli, corn, carrots are her favorites. I don’t put any sauces on them, except butter on occasion. I remember my dad trying to “mask the taste” of broccoli with melted cheese and just destroying the vegetable for me. I was shocked to discover I loved it when I was twelve or thirteen and my always dieting stepmother demanded he serve the cheese to the side so she could eat hers with lemon juice over it. I believe I told every single person I met for a month about this amazing discovery of lemon juice on broccoli.

Greens. The vegetable that one ups all the others. We're in the south, we get a variety of Kales, Collards, Mustard, Beet, Dandelion, Chards, Spinach...and a few I just can't think of. For grashopper I choose the more tender varieties and least pungent: Spinach, Chards, Dinosaur Kale. I usually cook them with beans or if it's a tough green, I boil it in the water with pasta. Grasshopper loves them sometimes, hates them sometimes.

Mushrooms. She likes cooked mushrooms.

Berries. Frozen blueberries. Seasonal raspberries, blueberries, strawberries.

Fruit. Apples, oranges, bananas, mango, melons, grapes.

Crackers. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies or TLC cheddar crackers. But also just regular wheat crackers.

Catsup. What can you do? She loves to dip.


Whole Yogurt. Grasshopper eats a few bowls of plain yogurt with honey in it a day. It’s her primary dairy intake.

Honey. She inherited her craving of honey from my mom. For yogurt and cereals.

Whole Milk. In her cereal. On occasion she’ll drink it.

Eggs. She’s on and off with eggs, and we eat them rarely.

Cheese. Grashopper isn’t a fan of cheese, but some other babies might be.