Archive for the ‘The spawn’ Category

Hello. No, I don’t really have a blog post, just a recipe. Someday I will have time to write for myself again. This is not that day.

Anyway, more experiments with okara: waffles! These are amazingly good and my two-year-old likes them, so you will too.

Carrot apple okara waffles


–          ¾ C cooked wet okara*

–          1 medium carrot, shredded or chopped very fine in a food processor

–          ½ a medium apple, shredded or chopped very fine in a food processor

–          3 T brown sugar (if you substitute a liquid sweetener like brown rice syrup or agave, reduce the liquid by 2 or 3 tablespoons)

–          3 T vegetable oil or melted, cooled vegan margarine

–          1 ½ C non-dairy milk (soy is good for extra protein, but whatever you’ve got is good)

–          1 ¾ C flour – feel  free to use up to 1 C whole wheat if you’re trying to sneak whole grains as well as vegetables and protein into your family’s waffles

–          1 T baking powder

–          1 T cornstarch

–          ¼ t cinnamon, or to taste

Preheat your waffle iron. Mix the okara, carrot, apple, and non-dairy milk in a large bowl. Add the sugar and oil and beat until dissolved and slightly frothy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain. Don’t over-mix – you don’t want your waffles to be tough. Oil the waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve hot with vegan margarine and maple syrup, spread with pumpkin seed butter, or just eat them standing up in the kitchen directly off the waffle maker.  Your call.

Note: As the moisture content in okara varies a lot, both from machine to machine and from batch to batch, it’s a good idea to make one test waffle on its own. If it’s a bit pale and floppy, add 2-3 T flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the batter thickens a bit. If it’s thick and undercooked, add 1-2 T non-dairy milk.

*You must use cooked okara in this recipe. If you’re using a soymilk machine, that’s what you’re getting anyway; if you’re making soymilk by hand you have to either simmer the milk before squeezing it out or cook the okara on its own. I believe if you steam it for 10-15 minutes that’ll do the trick, but don’t quote me on it. Toasted okara won’t work in this recipe, but feel free to invent your own toasted okara waffle recipe if that’s what you’ve got. Please be careful with this as uncooked soy is toxic to humans.

Read Full Post »

So a few days ago Cecil had his 1st birthday. Yes, that’s right, he has managed to survive his first year on this planet, and while I don’t think he had any great epiphanies about what he wants to do with his life just yet, I think I can confidently say he has had his best year so far. Also he got his first cupcake and was all WHAT IS THIS AND WHY HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING IT FROM ME.

We had a little party for him this weekend. It ended up being about 20 adults and 5 children (aged 9 months-8 years), not including ourselves, crammed in this little house. Cecil had a blast. Madeline was in heaven, except for the part where she got so over-excited we had to lock her in the basement for an hour, and Gus tolerated the whole affair.


…I wish I had some profound or witty observation on my first year of motherhood to add, but I don’t. It’s been a year. Parts of it have been amazing. Parts of it have been awful. Parts have been unforgettable, and other parts very dull. But overall it’s been great. And I expect this next year to be even better.

Read Full Post »

Actually it’s a recipe for baby granola bars. With one caution.

Baby Granola Bars
Makes 12-15 small bars

Perfect to pack some more calories into your active skinny baby/toddler. Don’t give until the baby has a number of teeth and is good at chewing.

Start with

– 1 cup dates, PITTED. *CAUTION* – This is the important bit. Dates have pits. You may know this already, but I didn’t. The first batch I made had bits of pit all through them, which is a major choking hazard. Oops!

Put in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add

– 1/4 c maple syrup or agave nectar
– 1/4 c peanut or almond butter
– 2 tbsp canola oil

and process until relatively smooth. Add

– 1/2 c coconut
– 1/2 c oats

and process. The mixture should be crumbly but hold together when shaped. Add more oil if it doesn’t. Add

– 1/2 c puffed rice or wheat cereal. Pulse until chopped and combined, about 15 times. You don’t want to completely pulverise them.

Shape into miniature granola bars. Store between layers of wax paper in the fridge. Should last a week if your mother-in-law doesn’t feed them all to the baby in a single afternoon.

Read Full Post »

Hi, I don’t have anything in particular to say. Just that I am awesome and have done practically everything on my to-do list and it’s only 2:30!

My recipe for success:
– Get up at 6 with your baby
– Do the stuff you can do while he’s awake while he’s awake
– Take a nap
– Take him to the drop-in centre (if you don’t have a baby, these are government-funded centres where you can take your baby to play and interact with other babies; sort of like the off-leash dog park, but for babies) and tire him out
– During the long nap which follows, do everything else


For various reasons this is what Cecil sleeps in now

For various reasons this is what Cecil sleeps in now

Read Full Post »

So, uh, everyone who stopped by the other day to read my impassioned defence of the right of parents and small children to take up public space, hi! I hope you like it here. I don’t want you to get your hopes up or anything, because this blog is primarily made up of complaining, dog pictures, and awfully repetitive sentence structures, but hey, stick around if you like.

Of the handful of posts I managed to publish in 2012, almost all were about Cecil. Understandably, as having and raising an infant are all-consuming tasks, when I did find time to write he was at the top of my mind.

Going into parenthood I had few set ideas. I knew that:

– I was going to try my best to be the most open, responsive, and loving parent I could be;
– but I was not going to beat myself up if I needed to cut myself some slack here and there.

Cecil, as it turns out, is an awesome and good-natured baby. He has not tested me in any dramatic ways, at least not more than you would expect from a tiny dependent creature. His biggest problems – or the things that are most challenging to me, anyway – are feeding him enough to match his activity level, stopping him from swallowing something fatal or otherwise endangering his life, and his sleep.

Up to four months he was a great sleeper. He regularly slept 6 or 7 hours in a row, and since he went to bed late, at 11 or 12, so did I. There were still very difficult nights, but overall it was manageable. At four months he suddenly stopped doing that and was up every 90 minutes-2 hours for a few days. That was fun! After a few weeks he settled into a pattern where he’d wake up twice, usually just before I went to sleep, and once around 3 AM. That was liveable. He would get up really early, but it was liveable. At eight months he had about a week of great sleep where he woke only once (the 3 AM waking), then suddenly his sleep went to hell again. He fell back into the two wakings a night pattern, but almost every night one of his wakings would last two or three hours. It was horrible.

We tried some stuff from “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”, and he made some progress, but every time he would start to improve something would happen and his sleep would get worse again. He would catch a cold or have a new tooth break through and we’d be back where we started.

Finally last week, after two nights in one week where Cecil was up from 10 PM to 2 AM, Ben talked me into trying a cry-it-out method. We had successfully gotten Cecil to the point where you could put him down in his crib when he was sufficiently drowsy and he’d fall asleep (this is one of the major No-Cry Sleep Solution things: you gradually reduce the amount of intervention you do to get the baby to sleep until they fall asleep on their own), but if you put him down too early in the process he would howl in rage.

“To get him past this stage we’ll have to let him cry anyway,” Ben said. “We might as well just let him cry and get it over with.”

If you are not a parent, or not a reader of mommy blogs, you do not know what a minefield this is. Cry-it-out vs parent-to-sleep are HUGE controversies. If you don’t let the baby cry itself to sleep you are stunting their development; if you do you are a horrible child abuser. (These are stereotypes, of course. Very few people ACTUALLY think this way.)

There are good arguments for it and against it. I held out for as long as I did because it felt really, really wrong and unnatural to leave my child alone when he cried. And it is unnatural. Babies who cry when separated from their parents are much less likely to be left behind than ones who don’t, so it’s inevitable that evolution would select for babies who want to be close to their parents, especially at night.

But I am human. I need to sleep too. And while “just sleep when the baby sleeps” is great advice when you have nothing else to do, or your baby is a tiny newborn who can hang out in a sling while you do other stuff, it is not such a hot tip when you have projects you’d like to work on in the brief time you do get to yourself, but you can’t when your baby is sleeping because you’re either sleeping or so tired you should be sleeping and you can’t when he’s awake because he never stops moving.

So we did it. We did the Ferber method, which is heart-breaking. You have to go into your child’s room, see them crying and reaching out for you, and have to leave them again, but…it worked. The first night he took about an hour to get to sleep, which was awful, but since then it’s only taken him between 5 and 15 minutes. Apparently after a week or two they don’t cry at all when you put them down. Naps are more iffy – it depends on how tired he is, really. If he’s super-tired he goes to sleep almost immediately; if not it might take half an hour.

Anyway. I am really sad that I had to do this…but I don’t regret it. Cecil is still his sweet, energetic, bubbly self; if this has traumatized him he is hiding it really well. Everyone is sleeping better; everyone is happy.

I’m not necessarily recommending this method, because there are real reasons why it might not work for you or your baby, but I can tell you that at least in our case it was a good idea.

Now flame away!

Note: I’m not linking to anything because I really, really don’t want to get a bunch of either judgemental or cheerleading comments, but if you want to read about why cry-it-out is wrong check out a site called PHD in Parenting; if you want to read arguments for it check out BabyCenter, which has good info on a bunch of different sleep issues.

Read Full Post »

So this morning my Twitter feed exploded with the latest iteration of the eternal, asinine debate: should we allow strollers on public transit? In this case: should we charge extra for strollers?

Because there is NO OTHER POSSIBLE REASON for our system to be overtaxed than the selfish choice of your Roncesvalles and Leslieville yummy mummies overloading it with their little Peytons and Vanessas in their Bugaboo Frogs, right?

SO LET’S STOP FOR A MINUTE. I haven’t got a lot of time to write this because I have to take Gus to the vet for a follow-up ultrasound – DOGS ON THE TTC! – but I have pretty much exactly three things to say about this.

1) Let’s check our class assumptions for a moment, shall we? The so-called “rich bitches” pushing those $800 strollers are a minority of mothers. (They are also not necessarily rich – there is a thriving second-hand stroller market and grandparents will frequently buy a nice stroller. They are also not necessarily bitches. I know a fair number of these ladies and they are the same mix of awesome, normal, and awful as everyone else.) Also those $800 strollers are usually much more compact than the $150 Safety 1st stroller you get on sale at Walmart. The woman you fume at for taking up so much space on transit with her infant probably has no choice when it comes to transportation. [Note: this paragraph has been edited to correct some unfortunate implications. “Rich bitches” is a common characterization of certain mothers, not my opinion of them. -kmh]
2) AND EVEN IF SHE DID – even if she has a nice safe car at home to whisk her child around town without exposing you to the indignity of having to share space with a tiny human being, she still has the right to use public services. As does her child. And be honest, when you see a woman driving a car with an infant in the back, do you say something like “Look at that selfish bitch, polluting the environment”? I bet you do.
3) AND HEY SPEAKING OF BABIES BEING HUMAN. Babies are human. They are not miniature robots designed with the express purpose of annoying you. They are human beings and members of our society, they have legitimate needs and desires, and have the right to use the same services as anyone else.

No matter what they do, mothers can’t win. I tweeted about this extensively this morning, so you may want to skip this if you follow me on Twitter, but I feel the need to go into it again. You are excoriated for being environmentally irresponsible by procreating, but also for being environmentally responsible by taking your child on public transit. You are told over and over again that you have to breastfeed or you’re a horrible selfish parent, yet people give you everything from the side-eye to the horrified stare to outright discrimination if you do it in public. You are expected to bring up a perfectly socialized child…without ever bringing them into society, because you can’t expect people in stores or restaurants or, hell, streetcars to put up with your child crying or whining or running around or otherwise acting like a child. Mothering is expected to be perfect, joyous, and invisible.

And I am really, really done with trying to live up to that impossible standard. Let me tell you a story.

Last May I was home alone with the baby for several days. Ben was away on tour for almost a month, but I did have either my mother or my mother-in-law here for a lot of that time. Anyway, during the time I was alone, Cecil knocked over my phone and broke the screen. The only place I could take it to be repaired was near the goddamn Skydome. I also had to get a birthday present for my dad (Bobby Flay’s Grill It!), and the only place I could find it for sale downtown was the Eaton Centre. So on a Tuesday towards the end of May I put Cecil (then about 3 months and 12 pounds) in the ring sling and went out to do these errands.

Have you ever slung a 12-pound weight around your neck and carried it around in 27 degree weather for four hours? It gets really, really heavy, and really, really hot, and really, really squirmy and uncomfortable when it’s a living creature who would rather not be confined in yards of fabric on a hot day. (To top it all off I was wearing giant rubber rain boots because the forecast called for a thunderstorm AND IT DIDN’T EVEN RAIN. Bastards.) But I did it, because the only stroller I could use with him at the time*, a giant plastic monstrosity, was much too large to take on the subway and streetcar.

And you know what? I still got funny looks and judgement and assholes questioning my right to exist in public space with my infant. No matter WHAT you do, whether you drag your huge-ass stroller up and down the subway steps or bite the bullet and carry your infant in a decidedly un-ergonomic sling for hours and hours on a hot day, SOMEONE will feel they have the right to tell you to GTFO.**

I still take (11-month old, almost 20 pound) Cecil around in a carrier – an Ergo, because he’s long outgrown the ring-sling – but if I need to, I do not hesitate to take my stroller. For one thing, he will only put up with being in the carrier for so long, being a very active near-toddler, and for the other, I do not want to carry 20 pounds of unhappy human if I don’t have to. And I shouldn’t have to in order to access a public service that is as much mine and Cecil’s as it is yours.

And if people are going to be assholes to me no matter what I do, I might as well do what’s most comfortable for me and my child.

For all the gains women have made towards equality, for all the strides men have taken towards being more active and involved parents, things are still not equal. Women are still much more likely to be primary caregivers of their children. If you limit the access of children to a public service, especially infants, you are limiting the access of women to that service. And if that isn’t a feminist issue I don’t know what is.

*The little umbrella strollers people talk about when they say “why don’t they use those little strollers you get for $30 at Walmart?” are not suitable for babies under the age of 6 months as they don’t provide head support and can’t recline enough. We started using one with Cecil about a month earlier than you’re supposed to because it was SO HOT that it was unsafe to take him anywhere in the sling, and his head control was pretty good.

**This story, of me going really above and beyond to avoid inconveniencing my fellow transit riders, I liken to my sex ed story. Due to the woefully inadequate sex ed I received at Catholic school, when I needed to know more I went to the public library, found the Sex for Dummies book, hid in a corner, and read it cover to cover. Good for me for taking responsibility for my sexual health, I guess, but you can hardly base a system around the assumption that everyone is resourceful and a good problem-solver. You cannot expect parents to do what I did any more than you can expect teens to do what I did.

Read Full Post »

Back when I was pregnant I would have random and baffling hours of depression – literally an hour or two when all of a sudden I would feel worthless and horrible. Though I knew it was a hormonal illusion, I did eventually pinpoint exactly what the feeling was: every now and then I would lose the sense of my own awesomeness.

I did not realize I had a sense of my own awesomeness. Like my sense of balance or my sense of where my body is in space, I had taken it for granted – that inner voice that told me over and over again “You’re awesome!” was just in the background until it was randomly turned off by progesterone or something. Fortunately this passed along with the fatigue and mild nausea by the 2nd trimester and I have been feeling my awesomeness pretty much consistently ever since.

But I seem to have another and contradictory sense: I always feel bad about my career. No matter what I have accomplished/achieved/done, I feel like a wastrel and a failure. Call this my sense of my un-awesomeness, and while it doesn’t dent my self-satisfaction all that often, it is every bit as omnipresent as its opposite.

And the only way to shut it off is to rewrite my resume. Seriously. Every now and then I rewrite my resume for something – I list my recent gigs I think “Oh yeah, there was that…and that…and that…I guess it’s not so bad after all” and that nasty undermining voice gets turned off.

I don’t know where this comes from, and I suspect no one cares (a combination of genetics, upbringing, and culture, like everything else, I assume), and as problems go I wouldn’t call it big compared to a lot of things, but…I don’t like that I constantly and instinctively devalue my own accomplishments. You could not by any stretch of the imagination call me financially successful in my chosen field, but artistically I have done some good stuff, and that is success; I need to honour and own that. And I feel like I need to work this out before I waste my entire life beating myself up for not doing stuff I’ve already done, if that makes sense.

Anyway. Sorry for being a downer! I assure you I am actually pretty happy with life. I just only seem to write here about stuff that’s bringing me down. I will try to post some cute pictures or something.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: