Monday, June 28, 2010

More Bentos

Here are a couple pictures of bento lunches I made for SchmoopyBoy recently.

The first is a really cute 2 tier stacked bento box. The smaller bottom tier has mixed fruit and veggies. The larger top tier has penne noodles and a couple of pieces of 'smart bacon'.


This one is a fairly plain bento box, thus no picture of the lid. It is half filled with macaroni, with two muffin tins - one with sliced apple and one with sliced veggies in the shape of a flower.


I'd like to report that SchmoopyBoy was so taken with the appearance of his meals that he ate everything. Unfortunately, he's been in the habit of not eating much at daycare yet. He typically eats all the fruit and drinks some milk, but barely nibbles on the rest. Oh well. My job is to provide a healthy lunch for him. It is his choice to eat or not eat. I think as he gets more comfortable with the routine he will eat more.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Early Intervention

Earlier this week SchmoopyBaby had his evaluation with Nevada Early Intervention. He had been referred by his pediatrician back in March because he wasn't talking yet. Since then he has gone through a bit of a verbal spurt of sorts - something like 3 new words a day over the past week alone. Nonetheless we wanted to follow through to see if he qualified for services. In order to qualify for NEI services, the child needs to be 50% delayed in one area or 25% delayed in two or more areas.

He was rated at having a 25% delay in language. No surprise there. In all other areas he is on track. No surprise there either.

So here's the good news - with only a 25% delay in language, he does not qualify for services.

So here's the bad news - my son has a 25% delay in language and does not qualify for services.

Why that's not really so bad - the specialists we spoke with told us that frequently young children focus on one major developmental area, and once they master that area, then they move on the next area. SchmoopyBoy has really been focusing on motor skills, and is actually quite advanced in that area. Now that he has mastered his motor skills, he seems to be transitioning on to language skills - as evidenced by the current word explosion. They gave us a few tips, and we will be receiving a full report with suggestions and next steps sometime soon.

In summary, I am completely confident that he will catch up in language skills soon enough. (And probably too soon, I'll long for the days that he didn't talk so much! ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Stylish Hat

He picked out this hat himself. I chose a more practical summer hat - white with a rim that goes all the way around to cover his ears and neck. He was not impressed. My boy is way more stylish than I can ever hope to be.


And on another day...

For the record, I don't send my kid outside in my apartment complex mostly naked on a regular basis. At least he let me put some shoes on before running outside.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

SchmoopyBoy and I had a lovely weekend. For Fathers’ Day, John wanted a day off. Unfortunately, due to bad planning on my part, I had to work this weekend. So, John got two most-of-the-days off.

I don’t get a lot of fun time with SchmoopyBoy, so this was fine with me. Usually my evenings after work with SchmoopyBoy are so hectic. Between preparing dinner and getting ready for bed and trying to squeeze in chores where I can, I tend to be a bit more frazzled than I would like, and I don’t always feel like my quality time with my child has as good of quality as I would like.

So, despite the fact that both Saturday and Sunday started too early for me (seriously kid, 5:15 am is not sleeping in on the weekend) I got loads of fun time in. We spent virtually all morning Saturday outdoors, which considering the state of our crowded apartment, is always a great way to spend a morning. After walking the dog, we went back outside to play with rocks and twigs and leaves (hours of entertainment, don’t bother with all those high tech gadgets and gizmos – just find him some rocks). Then inside for a snack and back outside for “Bubbles!

There’s a new farmers market in town close by the apartment. It only happens once a month and lucky for me it was scheduled for this Saturday, so off we went to the farmers market. On one hand, I have to say it was somewhat disappointing – there was only one farm with a stand for fruits and vegetables. All the other stands were either jewelry or snowcones or something like that. On the other hand, the farm that was there had a great variety of produce. We scores apricots, blueberries, Japanese eggplant, bellpeppers, tomato and onion. And the biggest score of all was that they were giving away Armenian cucumbers for free to all their customers! Check out this gargantuan cucumber they gave me! It’s bigger than my arm!



The other great thing is that this farmers market is held at Floyd Lamb State Park, so there’s the benefit of being at Floyd Lamb State Park. SchmoopyBoy got to see (and chase) peacocks! There were several mama peacocks with their babies – how cool is that? There is one white peacock that SchmoopyBoy found particularly intriguing until it started calling out (which sounds a lot like a siren screaming) and he got startled and ran away and hid behind my legs all like “What the heck was that?!” Here are a couple of pictures at the park with the peacocks.




On Sunday we had more outside playtime with rocks and leaves and “Bubbles!” in the morning. Then for a bit of change in pace in the afternoon I took SchmoopyBoy to the apartment pool. We start swimming lessons at the YMCA next Saturday, and I was curious to see how he would like the water, as he hasn’t been in a pool since last summer. He loved it! We stayed in until he was shivering, and then he still didn’t want to leave.

Besides giving John some time to himself, he also got some Fathers’ day treats – some vegan chocolates and a chocolate cookie, a cute poem with a picture of SchmoopyBoy and his little footprints that he made at daycare, and a tree (which I thought was such an appropriate gift for John ;) For dinner we had yummy Thai take-out I picked up on the way home from work.

All in all a nice weekend.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

You Must Read This

TRIGGER WARNING on the link below

I know I share what I think are fun or interesting links from time to time. But every once in a while I read something that so thoroughly rocks my world, I must share with a little more urgency, because it is just so important. Yesterday I came across such an article.

This should be required reading for everyone - man and woman.

And thou shalt teach it to your children and your children's children. It's that important.

Melissa at Shakesville did a stellar job of defining and describing, in all it's all-too-familiar ugliness, what is rape culture.

Filled with links and references, it may take you some time to read through the whole thing. It may be quite eye-opening to see and acknowledge how pervasive the problem is.

So go to this link, send everyone you know to the link, and teach it to your children in hopes that we can find ways to resist, oppose, and dismantle rape culture one day soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Was Shakespeare a Jewish Woman?

Here's something for all you academics and book worms out there. I found this article on the Tikkun Daily Blog today, which in turn referred me to this article that makes the case that the plays credited to William Shakespeare were actually written in full or in part by a Jewish woman named Amelia Bassano Lanier. They make an intriguing case. Go read it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Baby!"

We have reached the age of categorization.

There are 2 types of people in SchmoopyBoy's world at the moment - babies and non-babies. Anyone clearly not an adult is a baby. Or, I should say, "Baby!"

Infant - "Baby!"

Three or four year old neighbor walking with her mom - "Baby!"

Seven year old neighbor walking his dog - "Baby!"

Teenage neighbor practicing riding his skateboard - Not an obvious adult and therefore, "Baby!"

I'm not sure if these people particularly appreciate being pointed at and called "Baby!". Fortunately people tend to forgive (or ignore) people SchmoopyBoy's size when they don't get it quite right.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on Religion and Spirituality

A few weeks ago I wrote a post in which I expressed a lot of anger at the Catholic Church over the excommunication of a nun who approved an abortion at a Catholic hospital, which saved the mother’s life. There were a few comments, which inspired me to write a follow up post, explaining my perspectives on organized religion, so that readers might better understand the place from which my criticism comes. I may write future posts with critiques of actions by various religious groups, including my own, but for now here is the background from which I critique any and all institutionalized religions.

Allow me to start by stating that I am not, in fact, an atheist. I am not even completely anti-religion. Religion offers a number of benefits to society. First off, it provides Community. Community provides its members with support and hope during tough times, and celebration during good times. Along with Community, comes Charity. There are innumerable charitable organizations providing vital services to underprivileged sectors of society, from the elderly to the homeless. The main purpose, as I would idealistically like to believe, of religion is Spirituality. It is to raise the spiritual consciousness of all individuals in order to bring about a more peaceful, compassionate, and empathetic society.

A few notes on my own experience of spirituality. I do not do acts of charity, nor do I refrain from stealing, robbing, or otherwise hurting other people because I have any hope or expectation of reward in any kind of afterlife. Nor do I do so out of fear of punishment in any kind of afterlife. I do so because I feel a spiritual connection to all life on this planet. When I cause pain to another living entity, I put more negative energy into the world. When I hurt another person, I therefore also necessarily hurt myself in the process, because I have contributed to making the world a more negative place in which to live. That is why I try to protect the environment the best I can. That is why I do not eat animals. That is why I try to practice gentle discipline with my child. That is why I try to treat people with respect and empathy – because I share the same spiritual energy with them and am therefore spiritually connected to all of them.

Now back to religion. All religions have basic, fundamental spiritual teachings. And they are all valuable. In Judaism, we have the golden rule of empathy – treat others as you want to be treated. In Islam, there is the teaching – first try to understand; then try to be understood. In Catholicism, as my anonymous commenter pointed out, there is a consistent teaching of not being a direct cause of death of any person. To quote him/her: “They aren't too fond of war, the death penalty, abortion, fairly equally.”

When people come together and pray or meditate or chant or whatever each group does, and everyone’s spiritual consciousness raises, it can be an amazing thing. Even I have experienced leaving a service high as a kite, such was the spiritual energy surging throughout the room and the congregation.

But here is where I start to have issues. When lots of people come together regularly, Institutions start to form. Leaders begin to emerge, and start to accumulate power and frequently wealth. What do people with power and wealth want? First, to retain their power and wealth; and second, more power and wealth. Ideals start to go out the window, while the people in power start to figure out ways to control their followers. They point to writings and say “If you do not interpret it my way and behave the way I say then you are BAD”. They point to writings and say “See, God wants us to have this, so it’s ok if we conquer, kill, banish, or otherwise hurt people (contrary to the spiritual values we’ve been espousing) because God wants it so”.

Jews do it when they think they have a God-given right to the land in and around Israel (I'll talk about my own relationship with Israel in a future post). Muslims do it every time they strap bombs to their chests and set them off in populated areas. I have personally met way too many Christians who use their religion as validation to be racist, homophobic, holier-than-thou, judgmental assholes. Which is not to say that all Jews, Muslims, or Christians are bad people. I believe that the Institution of Religion (whichever their personal religion happens to be) has failed them, and moreover has failed all of us and society as a whole in the process. Consequently we have MORE war, MORE lack of compassion and empathy, MORE xenophobia and othering than we should in the world.

If everyone threw out their holy books, told their religious leaders to piss off, threw their dogma and rules out the window, and focused on living life according to the true spiritual values, what an amazingly different world we would live in.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My first bento, SchmoopyBoy's first "school" lunch

I really need to stop taking pictures with my lousy phone camera. The lighting is usually so bad, I can rarely even use the pictures I take with it. Anyway, I just wanted to share my first attempt at making SchmoopyBoy a bento lunch. For those of you unfamiliar with bento, it is a 'single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine' (definition by Wikepedia). For more information on bento as well as some great ideas and quality pictures of bento lunches, check out the sites Just Bento and Lunch in a Box.

For SchmoopyBoy's first day at daycare, I wanted to prepare him something fun and special. Peanuts are not allowed but almonds are, so I made him an almond butter and jelly sandwich in the shape of a dinosaur (sandwich cutout from Albertson's), with sliced cucumber, a baby carrot, a cupcake holder filled with grapes, and a slice of apple. He tends to be a bit picky these days, so I wanted to give a variety of foods so he could find something he would be willing to eat. Hopefully he'll get so hungry from all the activity that he'll eat everything. We'll see.

The container I bought at a local shop called Tokyo Discount which has tons of cute (and cheap!) bento boxes and accessories. Needless to say, I went a bit crazy. SchmoopyBoy has quite an assortment of containers to choose from. ;)

So here is a horrible picture of my first bento. I'll start using a real camera if I start making some nice bentos so I'll have some decent pictures to show.


This is a bento box from Japan. In case you can't read the phrase, it says "Let's enjoy a time with me." Cute.

-----------------------
Update @ 1:30 pm
I just picked him up. He did all right, had a few moments of "Hey, Where's Mom and Dad? I want Mom and Dad!" but overall he did well for his first day. Didn't eat much during lunch time - only the fruit. But, when I picked him up, while we were waiting for some paperwork, he decided he was hungry and ate his veggies while sitting on my lap. The dinosaur sandwich, I'm sorry to say, was a flop. A cute flop, but a flop nonetheless. Oh well, we'll work on it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My boy is growing up

How so?

1. We have officially dropped the before bed nursing session. It went remarkably easier than I thought it would. I talked to him about it for several days. Each evening while he nursed I told him that in X number of days the boobies are going to sleep early. He wouldn't be able to get milk from them, but he could have strawberry milk (Pediasure) with a straw or a bottle of soymilk if he wanted instead. The first day he complained a little, but I reminded him that there would be no milk from the boobies at bedtime anymore and he was fine. By the third night (which was last night), he didn't even ask.

I haven't dropped the wake up session yet. For one, my body is still regulating itself with the dropped session, and by morning, since it's been 24 hours, I still feel full enough to want him to nurse and give me some relief. Second, I expect this one to be more difficult to drop, so I don't want to push too hard too fast. Maybe in another week or so I'll start talking to him about dropping the morning session.

2. SchmoopyBoy starts school next week! Well, ok, at the age of two it's still considered daycare, but this will be his preschool too when he is old enough. I'm really excited about it. It's a really nurturing place that uses gentle discipline (no time outs, teaches the children to solve their own problems with words, etc), one of the few nationally accredited daycares/preschools in the area, and most importantly SchmoopyBoy loves it. Every other place we've gone to, he has kind of held back and clung to me and/or John - but every time we have taken him to this place he has immediately taken off and was like "Mom? Mom-who? Dad? What dad?" which I think is GREAT! For anyone in the area who reads this and is considering a daycare or preschool for your schmoo, I totally recommend checking out the campus child care at the local community college.

During the summer he's only going twice a week, as he still has some other weekly activities and play dates that we don't want to cut off quite yet. But starting in fall he'll go 5 half-days a week.

Good luck to SchmoopyBoy on his new adventure!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Vintage Schmoopybaby - Cute, Cute, and More Cute



Thank you Scott Adams for acknowledging the Power of Cuteness, back in January of 2006:


I was oogling at old pics of SchmoopyBoy when he was under one year old and had to share, because you know you can never have too much cute.




Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wow, that was ugly

I'm finally feeling better after the longest, nastiest cold I've had in years. Pretty much wiped me out for almost a week. I've had a couple ideas for posts floating around in my head. Maybe now I'll have the energy to actually go ahead and write them.

Hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend!