Hats of a Mom

Today as I was enforcing naptime for Island Boy, it occurred to me just how many different roles I take on during a typical day (discounting the days when Island Dad is gone for work-related things, which means many more roles for me to take on).

To name a few:
Wife - Self-explanatory. I do my part to run the household, and maintain our marriage. Most of my other roles fall under this one in the "chain." I will go on to explain, though, that I feel like in many capacities, this one is far and away the most important role I take on. First, while I adore my kids and would give life and limb for them, I'm not at all cut out for single parenting. Were it not for being a wife, the "Mommy" title would have driven me to the psychiatric ward awhile ago (some days more quickly than others). Second, most of my other roles wouldn't likely exist (in my case) were it not for this one.

Mommy - I make sure that the kids are happy, healthy, well-behaved, well-adjusted, and generally refrain from hurting themselves or each other.

Jungle Gym - What can I say? My kids love to climb on, jump on, and tackle me. Often randomly and without warning.

Teething Toy - Island Girl finds fingers (often other people's) particularly appealing for teething soothers. She is also not opposed to using hair, shirts, arms, knees, or anything else that is easy to reach and grab on someone else.

Naptime Enforcer - It's not really "naptime" for Island Boy anymore, but I still enforce quiet time for him. A lot of days this means having to go back into his room when he asks for a drink, but having to leave him whining when he wants to come out of his room again after only 20 minutes of "quiet" time. For Island Girl, it means I go in and replace the binky that she continually throws BEHIND her crib.

Children's Librarian - We have a fairly extensive collection of kids books. Island Boy loves being read to. He also loves pulling books off of the shelf. I am not only the one reading to him, but often also the one ensuring that the books get put back where they belong.

iPod - Island Boy has been known to request songs to be sung at random times. And the songs are never what would make sense for the location (i.e. quiet songs in a quiet department store). I try to play along when I can.

Teacher - What mom doesn't take on this role? Especially while your kids are still in the infant/toddler stage.

I'm sure if I think about it, there are many many more jobs I take on in a day. Generally speaking, I love each of them.


The Best Laid Plans...

Island Dad returns on Wednesday (our time)!!! I have been doing everything possible to try and kill time between now and then.

Tonight, I had a spouses club function to attend/help at. I got everything set up for a baby sitter (two, actually. They're sisters). Island Boy was BEYOND excited.

I even went so far as to put together a muffin tin meal for him to eat while the sitters were here. 

Top, l-r: star-shaped sun butter and jelly sandwich, pretzels, and sugar-free chocolate pudding (a.k.a. "chocolate dessert").
Bottom, l-r: grapes, J-shaped sun butter and jelly sandwich (J being for, um, Island Boy), and more grapes. All but the pudding cup served in Elmo muffin cups. Island Boy is a GIANT fan of the furry red monster.

I was stoked for how well it turned out. Then the sitters' mom (a friend of mine) called. She had actually forgotten to tell them about the sitting job, and then their teacher sent them home with a huge assignment.  So she was calling to offer to keep the kids at their house, so she and her husband (and their younger children) could help out. So....I packed up the Island Kids, threw the sandwiches, 1/2 of the grapes, and the pudding into a Tupperware toddler to-go plate (I did leave the sandwiches and grapes in their Elmo cups), and rushed the kids into the car.
The sitters' mom reported later that not only did Island Boy LOVE his meal, but her own kids were all really impressed, as well. Apparently the J-shaped sandwich was the icing on the cake for everyone.

But at least he got to enjoy his meal!


Kids and Muffin Tin Meals

We've been busy again! Once Island Dad is back (10 days!!) I should be able to update a bit more. Mostly, we've just been up to the same old routine, but that takes a fair amount of our time!

I got brave and took both kids to the beach again yesterday. The beach we went to was one that we've only been to once before. It's less protected than the one we've been frequenting lately, and so has more waves. Island Boy, who usually is part fish, wanted absolutely nothing at all to do with the waves, and was perfectly content to play in the sand the whole time! We had fun, he learned how to bury feet, and Island Girl spent some time chewing on a sand toy (that did not have any sand in it).

Island Girl has been making developments in all areas lately. She's going great guns with self-feeding. She still loses a fair amount of it, but her pincer grasp is getting better daily. She is not crawling on her hands yet, but is pushing up on them more and more. She is babbling a lot more instead of just shrieking at the top of her lungs. And, thankfully, the pitch of the babbling has come down some lately, too. It was getting pretty ear-splitting.

On to our muffin tin meal for the week! Lately, the meals have been Sunday night dinner, instead of Monday lunch. Between playgroup and other errands on Mondays, lunch time doesn't end up happening at home. When Island Boy saw that he was having a muffin tin meal again tonight, he declared "yummy yummy yummy!!!" And was jumping up and down in the kitchen :D

This week's theme was pumpkins. I did jack-o-lanterns, to make it a bit more obvious to a two-year-old.
Top row, left to right: Jack-o-lantern corn muffin, jack-o-lantern macaroni and cheese, and jack-o-lantern peach yogurt. On the muffins and Macaroni, the eyes and nose are red and yellow bell peppers. On the yogurt, the nose and eyes are raspberry pieces, and the mouth is a slice of strawberry.

Here's a close-up of the corn muffins. I just used Jiffy mix, and turned it orange with food coloring. I should have accounted for the batter rising when I placed the faces on, but on the whole they turned out fine.

Island Boy LOVED the corn muffins (in cement mixer mini-muffin cups, which he adored) and didn't even notice the peppers baked into those. He immediately picked the peppers off of the macaroni and cheese. He also gobbled up the yogurt and berries. I actually thought the macaroni would be the most popular part, but he proved me wrong when he ate only one tin of that, and then asked for several more servings of strawberries and raspberries, while he kind of picked at the remaining bits of corn muffin.

But since he didn't seem to mind the peppers baked into the muffins, I think I will probably resort to "vegetable espionage" in the future, as well, much as I would prefer he eat them by themselves. Lately, they usually get picked out or around.


It's like a Three Ring Circus Around Here

Or maybe it's just Island Boy's muffin tin meal this week. The theme for the week was "circus." As with previous themes, I was initially at a loss for what to do. Then, my package of new goodies from Wilton arrived, and, slowly, so did the ideas.

Top, left to right: Chocolate chip banana bread "Circus Train," circus animal crackers and yogurt-covered raisins (which Island Boy, oddly, insisted were "nuts") and a jicama and fruit clown. On the bottom, in addition to another jicama and fruit clown, we have two cheese, cracker, and olive lions.

The obvious hit were the animal crackers. He also loved the "nuts." But he did not disappoint me, either. The big surprise for me were the strawberries (clowns' hats, smiles, and noses). Being that they have visible seeds, he's often lukewarm on strawberries, but I keep trying (because, come on, how can you NOT like strawberries if you're not allergic to them?!) Tonight, he gobbled them right down, and then asked for more when he had finished everything else! He also inhaled the oranges (clowns' hair).

The jicama came about as the result of Island Boy's current book obsession, The ABC's of Fruits and Vegetables, by Steve Charney and David Goldbeck (2007). The book talks about "J" being for "sweet jicama." So, I thought we'd give it a try. Unsurprisingly, Island Boy was not a huge fan (something that crunches? The nerve of me to offer!), but he did at least take one bite. I also ate a jicama clown (made one for myself), and eaten in combination with the other fruit, it was pretty great! Fairly non-offensive, but with just enough non-sweet flavor to offset the fruit.

He was surprisingly so-so about the cheese, but I think because he was too interested in the fruit and the crackers. He did eat it, though. I was also surprised about his only moderate reaction toward the banana bread (which is homemade, and, if I say so, pretty darn good!), but again...in his world, fresh-ish fruit will beat out banana bread any day, which is awesome! In addition to all but the one bite of jicama that he took, he also left the olives on the lions completely on the side.

My goal for next week will be to find a way to get more vegetables in. That is an area in which all of the Island Family is majorly lacking lately!