Learning Curve

We’ve been having a time of it here at Chez Funkytown.  Knittymunchkin has been going through an extremely exhausting fussy stage, complete with wailing, waking up several times a night (from dead sleep to frantic crying in 1.5 seconds flat), not napping, and crying & pulling while nursing.  The only thing that keeps him mildly content is for me to carry him around all day long.  Needless to say, my back hurts.  Though he’s taken quite nicely to the Baby Bjorn that he used to hate.  Bonus!
 

When he was born, we found out he had acid reflux, which can be really common for preemies.  We have been giving him medicine for it for a few months and he’s been doing so well (not spitting up & not grunting with discomfort while laying down) that we thought we’d try discontinuing the medicine.  He seemed to be doing really well for a day or two, other than the increase in fussing & the waking up at night. Silly me, I didn’t put two and two together until he started spitting up again the past couple days.  D’oh!  Maybe it’s because he still needs his medicine, dummy!  So we’ve started that again and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will bring him, and us, some relief.  Because this waking up every two hours all night long has got to stop.  I feel like spawn of the dead, all groggy and stuff all day long.  And knitting?  There’s been zip.zero.nada.
 

Sometimes this works too.....


 

I started doing some more extensive reading when he began having so much additional trouble sleeping recently.  It could also be a growth spurt or teething, but I don’t see any evidence of new tooth sprouts, so I don’t know about that.  I really think it’s the reflux coming back.  But I also found out that, apparently, I am a prime candidate for the SMITU award (Shittiest Mother In The Universe – smite you! – I just made that up), for even considering the notion of letting my child “cry it out” like I mentioned the other day.  Dr. Sears says so, so I guess it must be true.  I was just going by the books I’ve read up to this point which tell you you need to “train” your child to fall asleep on their own, otherwise they’ll never learn how.  But surprise surprise, Dr. Sears says you’ll just cause your child to cry more because you aren’t meeting their needs and when you do this you are cheaping out on creating a wonderful relationship with your baby.  Wow.  I really have a lot to learn.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably never be a militant full-on attachment parenting advocate (people should do what’s right for them, without judgment), but I do think we’ve  benefited from a kinder, gentler, approach towards bedtime. Yes, he does still need to be rocked to sleep for the most part, but he falls asleep faster than he used to and cries less.  Plus, I think we’re bonding more.  I guess it really is a win-win.
 

Meats & Veg In One Big Pot!


 

Despite all this crazy mama drama, I have still managed to find time to try one new recipe (part of my Day Zero Project goals).  I apologize to all you vegetarians out there who will be offended by my pot roast photo up there.  I’m sorry, but I still do eat meat.  I’ve never been very good at cooking it because, frankly, when I lived alone I mostly ate chicken, veg, & pasta.  But I now live with a bona fide carnivore and meat is what’s for dinner.  It’s been dang hot here so I was looking for something to cook in the crock pot that wouldn’t heat up the house.  A friend of ours came over to meet Knittymunchkin for the first time and was talking about going home to cook a pot roast.  He made it sound so easy I thought, why not?  I hopped on the inrawebz and found a likely recipe here.  Following some of the advice of the reviewers I changed it up a little and settled in for a 10 hour wait.  It smelled great and looked good when we dished up.  The flavor however, was missing something.  It’s not like it was bad, it just wasn’t amazing.  R. Darling gave it an 8 and I gave it a 7 for the meat and an 8 for the veg.  As in, I would cook it again, but it sorely needs something.  Any of you lovely readers have a secrety squirrel ingredient you’d be willing to share for fantastic pot roast?  I thought the balsamic vinegar I added would do the trick but sadly, no.  Maybe I didn’t add enough.
 

Well, it’s all part of my learning curve. I’m still on the upward climb, but I will get there someday. I have to!

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14 thoughts on “Learning Curve

  1. Wow … I’d say you have your hands full.

    As for the whole ‘letting the baby cry it out’, I know that is what my Mom did with me. I turned out reasonably alright. I just think you have to do what you think is best. With giving serious effort to trying to have a baby, I’ve done so much reading on various techniques for, well, everything, and it seems one thing is clear. There are at least three opinions for everything.

    But I can assure you that you are not a shitty mom, although that term you coined made me snarf my cola. :-)

  2. Suggestions for the baby: This to shall pass. If I knew the baby was not hungry, dry, etc, I used to set a timer for about 5-10 minutes and sit and play cards with my husband. If the baby was still crying I would wordlessly go in, lay her down, rub her back for the few minutes, and reset the timer. For Number on daughter, the first night we did this for a a few hours. Number one slept through at 3 weeks, and number two at six weeks. I don’t do well with lack of sleep. I defined sleeping through as about Midnight until 6:00 a.m.

    Suggestions for the pot roast: Add bay leaves, garlic, shallots, spices such as oregano, basil, and rosemary. Put in a touch of hot pepper. Try using beer instead of water. Add some low salt soy sauce. Parsnips are also good.

  3. I’ve heard several ideas for seasoning meat, and I think it has something to do with what your Mom did when you were growing up. Mine used Kitchen Bouquet and Worchestershire Sauce. I would be more likely to use the W sauce and some carmelized onions to the point that they’re almost crispy. Garlic is smooth and delish if you bake it before you use it. Black Pepper? My favorite! I’ve heard that all beef should be quickly seared in a pan before further cooking.

    You’re not a bad Mother, silly!

  4. I’ve discovered that you need to up the flavor since the long cooking time can sap some of the spices. We’ve learned that at times we need to salt and pepper after we serve it up, but don’t be too skimpy with seasoning when using the crockpot.

    Also red meats should be seared before hand to get that browning flavor that you can’t get in the crockpot.

    I’m like you, not so great with cooking meat. I’ve actually ruined organic beef steaks. So I’ve gotten to the point of just cooking via the crockpot. If you need book recommendations let me know… plus there are some rocking websites and blogs that help out.

  5. I completely feel you on the baby drama. I thought we were never going to get more than 15 mins at a time recently. Exhausted me feel asleep while baby was nursing recently and launched a month of sleeping problems. It seems we are better on track now, but the second tooth is on the move.

    You don’t really see any teeth sometimes, but if he is excessively drooling, rubbing his face or tugging on his ear – he’s teething. Cavebaby turned 10 months yesterday and rewarded us with a 24 hour low-grade fever. First we’ve had of those in well – forever. We just tried to keep him cool and happy, but he was definitely up for cuddling more than normal. This was all because of this teeth.

    PS: You are a great Mom!!!

  6. Oh Maryanne, I really do remember those days. We (I) never could do the cry it out thing…I couldn’t be the one who went in to do it because you see, I was the food source, and that did not calm them if I just left when they were crying. If I did stay, they nursed until they fell asleep, and I was afraid to move them. Now, I can’t believe we ever had such trouble..

    I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, and hope that you make it through this fairly unscathed!

    xo
    Shannon

  7. I think a friend of mine uses Lipton’s onion soup (dry packet kind) to season her pot roast. I, however, am not much of a cook. Good luck with the little one! Hope he gets to feeling better soon.

  8. One person already posted it, but it bears repeating. This too shall pass. You never think you’ll get thru it because you are slowly losing your mind, but somehow you do. You need to do what feels right to you. Books can make you crazy because they all say different things. PLUS it also depends on what’s *in style*. AND in different cultures.

    and I’m repeating this as well but you are NOT a bad mommy! The fact that you care shows that you aren’t. and making mistakes doesnt mean you are. How some of us survive (both child and parent) is amazing to me!

    I have no words of wisdome, just know there are alot of us that understand.

    As far as pot roasts, I use a crock pot and dump in the meat, a can of mushroom soup, fill that can up with some red wine and a package of onion soup mix. YUM! Plus I dont add veggies. It seems when I do, everything tastes the same. Like mush.

  9. I agree with everyone, there isn’t just one way with babies… I think that the books are great for ideas and suggestions of things to try, but you should do what you think is best. Is that helping? ;-) Good luck with the pot roast, I think that herbs, garlic and pepper would be great though I don’t cook much red meat either. Have a great weekend!

  10. We’ve done the attachment parenting – and still do! Our little one took a nap every 5 hours and slept for only 30 to 45 minutes! We were tired, dazed, confused, and cranky…but we rolled with it, and now four years later she is such a confident sleeper! She doesn’t fuss, cry, or fight sleeping. She just sleeps now. Yahoo!

    So just go with it and follow your mothering instincts-you know your baby best.

    As for the pot roast, this may sound a little weird, but I always add a squirt of ketchup and some fresh lemon juice. :)

  11. Don’t be so hard on yourself – you are doing a great job as a mom! I can’t even believe you would say that about yourself, even half-kidding. As everyone says, it sounds like (as with everything else) there are a million different opinions on the subject and every situation/baby/mom are different. So don’t blame yourself for trying it – how else will you know?

    Anyway…the pot roast sounds great. I tried a new way to make steak (for one of my dayzero project tasks) and it worked really well. I also did not know much about cooking meat but I also am married to a carnivore, and am actually becoming one myself – the running makes me crave PROTEIN. Here is the link to the steak recipe/instructions:

    http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/How-to-Cook-Steak/Detail.aspx

    I even added a comment to the page at the end to say what I would do differently next time.

    I have found allrecipes.com to be an excellent cooking resource as well as “How to Cook without a Book” by Pam Anderson (no, not that one) which focuses on techniques as opposed to recipes. Kind of the approach of “figure out what you have in the cabinets/freezer and make something with it based on what you’ve learned in the book” instead of “follow the recipe”. I really like it. I couldn’t believe I cooked dinner every night last week – pork, chicken, fish – you name it girl, I did it. I even figured out how to use my ricecooker. What I do is pretest/practice on something at lunch time when I go home for lunch, and then tweak it when I make it for Jim as he’s pickier than me.

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