Wednesday
Jun062007

Encopresis

Do you know what this is? Because I sure do now. Go ahead and google it.
J has been a champ with the potty, giving warning for pees, holding it until the appropriate time, all that good stuff. Maybe he felt that the pressure was off or something, I don't know. Mr. Perfectionist, however, got himself good and blocked up from holding the poo in. He wants so badly to get it right, even though there's NO pressure from us. He spent two days running to the potty every 30 minutes for poo. Nothing was coming out, and on the second day, the screaming began. He'd be all hunched over, saying, "I'm afraid!" and crying. He stained 6 pairs of underwear, all due to leakage, not missed signals. The poor guy told H , "Sometimes I don;t know what to do about pooping and peeing."

I wish I could get him to relax about it. I think, though, the worst is over, but I did buy baby food stewed prunes to put on his pancakes tomorrow just in case. And he's going to have straight soymilk, no more rice milk, from now on. They have it in powdered form here, all vitamin-fortified and stuff. There was no staining or BM today, so I'm glad his body got a rest.
Other than that, he's slept poorly the last few days, so I'm not exactly flowing with ideas. He woke up at 3 am to go pee, which is great, but then never got back to sleep. I think I'll disable the little song his potty plays, to help keep it nice and quiet for him when he pees at night.

So I'm off to break the potty, and then bed.
More when I'm rested, thanks for hanging in there.
-Anne

Monday
Jun042007

Eating out in Lithuania

It's only been three days , but I feel like it's been an eternity since I wrote. H had both days off this weekend, so I didn't have an opportunity to write. We all had some fun together, and an actual good restarant experience Saturday night.

O and A, both players, came over Saturday night to watch J so H and I could go out. J has had his Nana put him to bed before, no problem, but these girls, being all young and not having children, were unsuccessful, and said whenever they told him it was time to read a book he cried. I talked to him on the phone and told him to read with them until I got home. They spent the time making him an intricate Lego playground, though, so it was a good time for all.

He said he was afraid if he went to sleep I wouldn't come back. When we got home, he pushed past his father to get to me, and as soon as the girls left, he said, "Let's go in my room so I can go to sleep." I'm sure he was a little confused becasue A usually comes in the daytime, but it was no big deal. H only has two whole weekends off per month, and the alternate weeks he only gets Sunday off, so it's not like it's something that would happen every week. I think next time we'll go out earlier and come home earlier, though. I was totally bored by 8:30, not to mention my feet still hurt from the crazy boots I wore.

As far as our dinner, we went to a marginally reccommended Indian restaurant, and I was quite pleased with the meal, although the speed was on par with other restaurants around here. It's completely noraml here to be the only people in the restaurant and have it take and hour for the food to come from the time you ordered it. In that hour, you will have to be satisfied with your tiny, room temperature mineral water that tastes like dirty hair to keep you from starving. Because the waitress will not check on you. Ever. The food will also be cold when it gets there, and you will have exactly one cocktail napkin with which to clean yourself and your food-snorgling toddler.

If you are lucky, the food will be what you ordered, but have no resemblance to the picture on the menu, or to previous dishes of the same name that you have had in a real country. See my earlier post about pizza. And they will bring your child's food 10 minutes after they bring yours. Who does that? Not to mention their national dish, Cepelinai, which is pork in some kind of boiled potato dumpling, looks like this, and tastes just like it looks.

At the restaurant, Sue's Indian, I had the tomato mushroom soup, cooked with a lamb base, I beleive. It was well balanced, expertly spiced, and delicious. The chicken kabob I ordered was perfectly cooked. The waiter asked us if we wanted ice, and didn't even have to write down our orders. So hooray for comparatively good service.

Even in the States, we don't eat out much. I've found that I can cook food that tastes better at home, and if I have some time to myself or just with mu husband, I often don't want to waste the time on a marginal meal. I'm a big fan of the Whole Foods salad bar when I'm out by myself. I'm also at a point wheer I can taste what's wrong with the food, like a freezerburnt fish I once had at a place called blu, or the perrenial favorite, overcooked, gluey pasta with wilted, overcooked vegetables. Available everywhere.

But with all that, we had a nice time, and it was fun to get out. J even had a good time with his team, and I'm sure thay appreciated the opportunity for more cash.
That's it for now. Thanks for reading.
-Anne

Thursday
May312007

Popcorn for dinner

I saved the culinary energy for H tonight tonight, so that instead of handing him a plate while he sits in front of the computer, we could actually eat together. At home, he's very good at sitting down and not reading or anythign and being with us, although I admit I had to train him not to bring magazines to the table. Nothing says, "I don't want to be here," more than watching TV or reading at the table. I think it's acceptable at breakfast, and sometimes lunch, but that's just us.

So J and I had crushed FinnCrisp Sesame Rounds on the couch while watching Polish TV, and microwave popcorn at the dinner table. He asked for chopsticks, because we always eat popcorn with chopsticks at home. It keeps the grease from getting all over your fingers. Works well for chips and such, too. We actually learned this froma Make-Up girl ( I know, I'm sexist) that H worked with a few years back. It's pretty cool to see a two year old gain chopstick proficiency, although I'm sure millions of Chinese children do it, too.

H and I had a green salad of iceberg, tomatos, cucumbers, onions, and a vinagarette, and pork chops with an orange/soy sauce on them. The chops and sauce were loosely based on a recipe from "The Working Stiff Cookbook".

I can't get about half the ingredients, but the basic idea is to mix a half cup OJ with two tablespoons oil, sesame in the book, olive here, and add one tablespoon soy sauce, then reduce it after you've cooked the chops. You also add ginger, which I could get but forgot, and something else, but I don't remember.

To cook the chops, you have to start with nice thick ones, at least an inch, but thicker is better, and then brown them for one minute on each side on high heat. Then you flip them again, turn the heat to meduim (although I prefer more of a medium low) and cover. Cook four or five more minutes on each side, and let rest on a plate. The book says to then drain the extra grease, but that's up to you, as I find there's really not that much grease, and if you're cooking with cast iron or enameled cast iron, or even heavy gauge stainless, this is a bit awkward, and somewhat dangerous.

Anyway, turn the heat to high, pour the premixed sauce in, and let it reduce, which usually happens very quickly. I double the sauce recipie, because it gives me more time to keep it from turning instantly to glue. As usual, I don't really do much exact measuring with this, but go with what feels comfortable to you. This is one of my husband's favorites, and he is always happy to have pork chop night.

I quite like this cookbook, and it was the first cookbook I bought for myself. I got it becasue it had good, easy, and quick recipies for two people, and a few for four. The Thai fish recipe is disgusting, don't even try. But I did get my first good rosemary potatos from this, although now I prefer a lavender/rosemary mixture instead of just rosemary and salt.

As a side note, J has decided he wants to wear underwear all the time, but still poos in them. Good thing he's got lots. He'll take my hand and say, "We have to go do something in the bathroom," and take me there. Then he says, "Get the wipes".

Thanks for reading,
Anne

Tuesday
May292007

Where do we pee?

After a good five weeks or so of potty attempts, my frustration level has exceeded J's ability to use the potty, so I think I'm going to tone it back down. He still has no problem going, he just won't stop what he's doing to do it, or admit it. I realized I was getting frustrated not becasue he wasn't going, but because I was feeling like a failure. He, of course, doesn't really care, and I certainly don't want him to think that the potty is all I care about. So from now on, I will ask him at his diaper changes if he wants a diaper or underpants, and we'll go from there.

I think it's complicated by his overall maturity in other areas, especially language. He has the verbal skills of a five year old, and he's also kind of a big kid. Not huge, but about 38 inches and 31 pounds, and so sometimes I expect too much out of him. He is only 2 and a half, after all. And why do I even care about when he potty trains? He's not going to day care or preschool or any place which requires potty training, so why do I care? I think I feel like, as a stay-at-home mother, my child should be more advanced in everything to justify my time with him. I don't get this message from H, but I think in general I am a defensive person, even before I am questioned about anything, and this is one way it comes out.

I need to focus on what he CAN do. For example, as of this morning, he can cut all the way through a small peice of paper with scissors, he can peel and stick his own stickers, and he can trace lines pretty decently. He also has amazing narrative abilities, and remembers absolutely everything we tell him, including me saying "your stupid train". He thought that was it's proper name, and called it, "My stupid train" all day. Great.

He can also remember about 20 different songs, about 20 nursery ryhmes, and can crack an egg without getting any shell in the bowl. He can identify several different kinds of birds and maybe 10 different flowers, and is generally the most amazing person I've ever met. He can wear diapers forever if he wants. Soon enough he'll be able to change them himself.

And he can type his first name on the computer. Sweet.
Thanks for reading,
-Anne

Sunday
May272007

Marinara time

I know, I know, I promised this about a week ago. But it's worth the wait, really.

I never had any real desire to make my own pasta sauce, being perfectly happy with what came in jars. Newman's Own Bombolina was the winner in our house, mostly becasue H preferred it. I'm partial to a sauce with mushrooms, but he doesn't like mushrooms. I'd rather not hear about it than fight for mushrooms, so I probably haven't had sauce with mushrooms in years.

Back to the sauce-making. So we were fine with jarred, but the last time we were in Eastern Europe, we discovered they have a completely different idea of what should go on noodles and pizza. The sauce is somehow both sweeter and more peppery than we're used to. They also are still figuring out pizza, often throwing things like corn and ham and sardines and goat cheese together, so I was motivated to make a pizza that tasted good.

The recipe I am using is somewhat based on the one in "A New Way To Cook"

I tend to triple this recipe, then freeze it in one meal-portions for later use.

Get your big pot out. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in it and turn the heat to a medium lowish. Chop up a medium red onion and a few cloves of garlic. I only use two, but some people might like more. Fry them in the hot oil for about six minutes.

Open one 28 oz can of peeled plum tomatos, then seed and chop them. I use my hands to seed them. I don't even know of any other way. Empty one 28 oz can of tomato puree, and half a can of tomato paste into the pot, along with the seeded chopped tomatos. Stir. Then I add a few teaspoons basil, a few of oregano, two teaspoons sugar, and about half a cup of red wine. A cabernet or a burgundy works just fine for this. Add one teaspoon of salt, and then just simmer at a low heat until dinnertime. I often adjust the spices as I'm cooking, so I apologize for not having exact measurements.

I did make this completely from scratch one time, peeling and seeding my own plum tomatos, no puree or anything. It took FOREVER to reduce the tomatos to a sauce, and just was not worth it to me.The above will taste delightful in about 30 minutes of simmering.

One nice thing I've noticed from this is I don't get the swollen tounge from the tomatos when I make my own sauce. Eating fresh tomatos swells my tounge and makes it even bleed sometimes, and so did eating jarred sauce. Even though I'm using canned tomatos and canned puree, I don't have this efffect with the homemade stuff.

Make sure you use Italian Plum tomatos grown in Italy. And your puree should have one or two ingredients, tomatos and salt. If you can find it without salt, even better. I can't remember if that's possible, because I've been here too long, but I'll find out when I get home.