Good News

We’re not popping the champagne yet, but we got some good news from the doctors this Wednesday.

The Monkey gained 1 pound in one month, so he’s growing adequately, according to Heels, his pediatrician. She asked about the food he’s eating, then said she wasn’t worried about him. Especially since he was grinning at her through his eyelashes and cooing at her. Damn but that boy can flirt. She also noticed that he’s got two teeth coming in on his lower jaw.

McDreamy was also mostly satisfied with the Monkey’s growth. It looks like he stayed on path with the 35% percentile in weight gain from last month. McDreamy checked out the Monkey’s nose (he hates that) and says things look bigger than last time (wahoo!). He asked about the Monkey’s diet, then said he wants to see us in three months. As long as the Monkey doesn’t drop into the 10% percentile for weight at that time, when he’ll be 13 months old, McDreamy said: “Maybe we can say goodbye at that appointment.”

Do you have any idea what that means?! No more specialist appointments. No more worries about his nose not allowing him to breathe. No more talk of surgeries. No more talk of sleep apnea. No more surgery talk. Did I mention that? Cause I’m especially stoked on that particular subject. I wasn’t too keen on McDreamy talking about drilling holes into my son’s skull.

Since both doctors talked about what we feed the Monkey, I figure I’d add it to the discussion. He’s still breastfeeding — until he’s at least 1 year old, and then I’ll seriously think about how much longer to take it. He also drinks formula, and downs at least 4 oz with each meal.

I also make his food. As in, no jarred baby food. I’m not going to get preachy here, you do what’s best for your family, be it making the food or buying it. Initially, I wasn’t going to make the Monkey’s food. But a friend, whose daughter is a year older than the Monkey, was making her own and raving about how easy it was, and how it only took a little bit of time.

She kicked me down a recipe book, and it sat on a shelf until the Monkey was 5 months old and I went to the store to pick up some rice cereal. And that’s when I looked at the prices on jarred baby food. On sale, it worked out to about $1/jar. Now, depending on your kid’s appetite, and the size of the jar, it works out to between 50 cents and $1 a serving. That may not seem like a lot, but I can buy a bag or organic apples for $3.50, peel them, cut them up, and cook them with a little water for 20 minutes, then puree them with an immersion blender and feed him for nearly 2 weeks. That works out to about 25 cents a serving. At the least, a savings of 50%.

But I was still skeptical. Would I really be able to do it? Would it be worth it? Would the kid even like it? In a word, yes. It just takes some planning. During the week, I flip through the cookbook and look for recipes: meat, veggie, fruit. I plan the grocery list and integrate it into the meal plan for the Hubbs and myself. For example: A baby recipe calls for 1 cup of broccoli. Guess what me and the Hubbs will be having as a side dish one day this week? Broccoli.

I suppose this also exposes how much of a nerd I am. I plan our weekly (adult) meals. We’re on our own for breakfast during the week (cereal or oatmeal or whatnot), but I plan out our lunches (which we brown bag 4x a week) and dinners. Why? Mostly because I’m too tired at the end of a work day to THINK of something to make. Its easier to look at a list and say “oh, spaghetti and steamed broccoli” and just start making that. Secondly? It saves us money, because I usually only buy fresh ingredients at the stores each week and supplement with pantry items — which I only refresh every 3 months or so, when they’re on super sale. This strategy has saved us a TON on our grocery bills. It also makes me be more imaginative, and has turned our garage into a second pantry. You do NOT even want to know how many jars of spaghetti sauce I bought when they were on sale for 75 cents each. I bought two cases of chicken broth when it was on sale for 25 cents a can. And then I kicked myself a week later that I didn’t buy an additional two cases.

But back to the Monkey: His first puree was apples, which I bought organic, and at the weekly farmers market. They were huge, juicy, and fresh. I ate one by myself while I was peeling, coring and chopping them. And about 30 minutes later? I had homemade apple puree. Or fresh applesauce, no sugar added. And you know what? It was GOOD. In fact, it was (and still is) the best darn applesauce I’ve ever had. And the Monkey is ADDICTED to it. And since I’m making all these purees, I taste each one. I figure, if I think it tastes good, the kid will too. I make a big batch of each new food/entree and freeze them into individual portions (via ice cube tray) for ease of use.

Pears came next. Then peaches. Then roasted butternut squash. Apple oatmeal with cinnamon and a smidgen of brown sugar. Chicken with sweet potato, leek, and apple. Fish with cheese sauce. Beef stew. Spinach with leeks, peas, and potatoes. Broccoli and cauliflower with carrots and peas in a cheddar cheese sauce. Lentils with sweet potato, carrots, and celery. Minestrone soup. Fresh mangoes. Fresh, pureed plums.

This week I made him the lentils and broccoli/cauliflower with cheese sauce. He’s eating bite-sized pieces of rotisserie chicken (from the supermarket) sans skin/fat/bone. Tonight I’ll make him tuna pasta with creamy tomato sauce. (His first pasta meal.) He eats oatmeal with fruit and yogurt for breakfast each morning. He loves the pureed minestrone soup, with peas, potato, and green beans. Broccoli is probably his favorite vegetable. I can mix butternut squash with practically anything and he’ll eat it.

And these are all things I’d order at a restaurant. I’m particularly fond of the broccoli/cauliflower dish. And I’m hoping that all this work pays off in the end: That I’ll have an adventurous eater with a wide palate who is willing to try new foods.

As a bonus, its cheaper than the jarred stuff. And those chicken stick things in water that you serve at room temperature? They just look … gross.

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