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Posts tagged ‘Ellyn Satter’

4 Parenting New Year’s Resolutions, and Books for Inspiration

This time last year, I had a week-old baby, and my New Year’s resolutions were simple: Be present with my family, find gratitude in each day, and take care of myself. These goals were simple but not always easy. Still, it helped me to come back to these intentions for the year when I started to feel overwhelmed. I’m reaffirming those resolutions for the coming year, but I’m also feeling more ambitious and inspired about bringing more creativity, fun, and learning into each day with my kids.

I love books for inspiration, especially for projects with Cee. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I get too easily side-tracked or overwhelmed on Pinterest. I like to find great books and work my way through them. So for each of my resolutions, I’ve found a book or two as a jumping-off point for the year. (All of the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, so I receive a tiny commission if you buy through a link, at no extra cost to you. More here. I received no compensation for this post, and unless otherwise noted, I purchased these books myself.)

1. Do more art together.

I think everyone needs to make space in their life for creating something, and kids naturally want and need to explore different ways of doing that every day, whether it’s through building a fort, making music, cooking, or painting. This year, I want to do more creative art with Cee. We often need a quiet activity in the afternoon while BabyM naps, and this feels like a special way to spend time together.

Inspiring this resolution is the beautiful book, The Artful Parent, by Jean Van’t Hul. This book immediately drew me in and kept me up late for a couple of nights of reading and scribbling notes about how to set up a great space for doing art, supplies that I want to add to our collection, and projects I’d like to try. But before I even got my hands on this book, Cee intercepted it and thumbed through it carefully, leaving sticky notes on every page that showed something she wanted to try.

The ARtful parent

Our copy of The Artful Parent, with Cee’s color-coded sticky notes marking projects of interest. (Light pink indicates two inspiring projects, dark pink one.)

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4 Signs Your Baby Is Ready for Solid Foods

Want to know when your baby is ready to start solids? Watch your baby for these signs of readiness (and mostly ignore the calendar).

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What’s Your Feeding Style? (Fearless Feeding Review and Giveaway)

Do you have a feeding philosophy? What’s your feeding style?

These are not the most common topics in parenting discussions. We’re often too busy talking breast and bottle, baby led weaning or purees, organic or conventional, and how to get our kids to eat more vegetables. But the question of feeding style, I believe, matters more to children than any of these oft-discussed topics.

I am really pleased to have a new book on my shelf that covers the HOW and WHY of feeding children just as well as it covers WHAT to feed: Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School, by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen. Both authors are registered dieticians, mothers, and bloggers. They take a long-term view on feeding – that we shouldn’t just be concerned with what our kids are eating today, but also about teaching kids to eat well for a lifetime.

9781118308592_Castle.inddFeeding style is one of the first topics in Fearless Feeding, so if you’re not sure how to describe your own feeding style, here’s your chance to give it some thought. Castle and Jacobsen discuss 4 feeding styles, analogous to parenting styles that may be familiar to you: Read more

Reclaiming Happy Hour, Toddler and All

When Cee was an infant, I remember lamenting to a friend about how difficult the evening hours could be. Cee was often fussy. Husband was usually returning home from work hoping for some quality time with her, but instead she would cling to me.  Meanwhile, I had some crazy idea about getting a balanced meal on the table. Sometimes, I wanted nothing more than to be alone in the kitchen with both hands free. With a demanding baby, dinner usually ended up only being accomplished when Husband stepped in to finish what I had started and to clean up the mess left in my wake.

My friend empathized. She told me that she had deemed this time of day between about 5 and 7 PM, “Unhappy Hour.”

It is a fitting name, I think. Pre-kids, we would have been meeting friends for drinks and appetizers after work. Or maybe Husband and I would be cooking dinner together, glasses of wine in hand, telling each other about our days. It was often my time to go for a run or to a yoga class or to take my dog for a long walk. Regardless, happy hour used to be that time of day when we could reconnect with our friends and family, unwind from the day’s work, and recenter ourselves.

Reconnect. Unwind. Recenter. Is that even remotely possible with a toddler awake in the house?

These days, Unhappy Hour is daycare pick-up, sometimes errands, and dinner preparation, all within about an hour in order to stay on track for an on-time bedtime. Cee seems to fall apart at the least discomfort or injustice, and my efforts to console her can completely throw off my dinner preps. If both Husband and I are home, we can tag-team this – one of us hanging out with Cee and the other taking the lead on dinner. Sometimes Cee seems to need one or the other of us more, just as she did as an infant, and we make adjustments as needed. Things are tougher though if one of us is working late, and given Husband’s weird work hours, this happens a lot.

I’ve been reading Ellyn Satter’s Secrets of Feeding a Happy Family. It is required reading for one of the courses I’m teaching this fall, and I highly recommend it. It is really a comprehensive guide to feeding – from attitudes about feeding and eating, to meal planning, to cooking itself. Satter even addresses Unhappy Hour, which she calls “Bewitching Hour.” That she included this is brilliant. You can preach all you want about the value of the family meal and balanced nutrition, but if you can’t get past Unhappy Hour, you’ll get discouraged fast. That’s when the fast food drive-through suddenly seems like a great idea. Read more