Friday, May 28, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Breastfeeding: STRONGLY for
Cloth diapering: reluctantly for
Vaccination: slightly against -- there are some I'm considering getting
Spanking: depends on the child and the circumstances -- certainly never out of anger or with anything but a bare hand
Co-sleeping: theoretically for, but I'm not doing it myself (both baby and I prefer our own beds)
Baby-wearing: so much fun!
Crying it out: against ... at least not for infants
Solid food: not till 6 months, planning to start with egg yolk
Daycare: you know I'm against it
Homeschooling: again, as you know, FOR
Would love to discuss any of these choices in the comments! Though, to warn you, I am extremely opinionated and unlikely to change my mind. ;)
Monday, May 24, 2010
First, the starter. I made my starter with plain flour and water in equal amounts. I fed it each day between 1/2 and 1/4 cup of each. I used filtered water, because I am not sure if our water has chlorine. That can kill your starter, and I didn't want to risk it. After a week, it looked like this:
This is soon after a feed. The top was bubbly and it smelled sour. (Sour enough that John asked, "What is that? Can I throw it away?" In the background you can see the cloth I use to cover the jar -- it's actually a flat-fold diaper. Since I use prefolds, those flat fold diapers have been doing all kinds of useful work for me -- they're a lot like cheesecloth, which is what was recommended.
I mixed together 1 1/2 cup starter, 1 1/2 cup flour, and 2 tablespoons olive oil, as recommended. The recipe said I might need to add water to get a "soft dough." But my dough looked like this:
It was not forming a ball, and it was not even reasonable to expect me to knead it. I kept adding more flour in little sprinkles as I stirred it with a wooden spoon, but if I'd had half a brain I probably would have just dumped in another half cup at least. It definitely needed it. Later I realized that the writer of the recipe dumps out the separated liquid at the top of her starter, though she says you don't have to do that. (Next time I will -- it made for a very sour taste, more than I wanted.) Obviously I had more liquid than she did, so I should have added more flour.
Here my two recipes conflicted. One wanted me to form the dough first and then let it rise, and the other said to rise first, and then form. Seeing as I wanted a rather complicated shape which would need some handling, rather than a flat crust, I should have formed first and then done the rise ... but of course I didn't. Mistake #2. I let it rise for about five hours before forming the knots. The last batch got a little more of a rise, because I left them for awhile after shaping and before baking, and they were better than the rest. Next time I am certainly shaping them first!
Once the dough had risen, I got ready to shape the knots. The dough had not come close to doubling in size. I suspect my starter wasn't really ready. Maybe I should have let it rise longer, too. After all, sourdough needs to rise much longer than yeast dough.
As I tried to shape the knots, I discovered that the dough was much too wet to shape into anything. I had read that sourdough turns out better when it's wetter, but this was just ridiculous. My second batch didn't get shaped at all -- I just did blobs like drop cookies. My third batch, I added a lot more flour, and these were the ones that turned out the best.
This is the shape you're going for:
Just stretch out a rope of dough and tie it (as best you can) into a knot. The first time I made these, I was rolling out a little "dough snake," but really, dough is stretchable, so you can just take a little blob and stretch it out. Remember that the finished product will be bigger than what you're shaping -- so think small.
The first batch got baked for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Then the fire alarm went off and John came over to wave a towel at it. The second time he had to do it, he asked me to please stop whatever I was doing. So the next batch was baked at 350, but for much too long, and they were pretty well ruined. They were like little rocks. The third batch got 350 degrees for 15 minutes and were the best off. So that is the time and temperature I recommend.
The insides of the first batch, I thought at first weren't done, because they were so dense. I thought that was doughiness -- but it was really just failure-to-rise.
They tasted good though!
Last step: put knots in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic salt (or chopped garlic and coarse salt). Toss them around to coat.
Here are the directions I would recommend following.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until light brown.
Cool enough to handle, then roll in olive oil and garlic salt (or crushed garlic and coarse salt). They're best while they're still warm.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
*Hold his head up when on his tummy. He could hold it up a little in the hospital, but now he can hold his whole head and shoulders high up for as long as he wants.
*Push himself along the ground with his feet, if you put your hands behind his feet to push off on. (Then if you stop he gets all fussy because he can't get where he's going! This kid very much wants to be crawling already.)
*Hold his head up when you hold him in a sitting position. He likes to look all around.
*Smile. It's still pretty fleeting, and there's no way to make him do it (he doesn't seem to be ticklish yet, and if you make faces he just raises one eyebrow and looks puzzled), but those are real smiles! He smiled yesterday, a lot, when I read him Chesterton's "Lepanto." I'm raising another Chestertonian!
*Move his eyebrows independently. He could do this since birth. I can't do it for all the trying in the world. Go figure.
*He's rolled over a couple times, but I haven't gotten him to keep at it. Perhaps it was an accident before.
*Be still (and cute and smiley) for his diaper change. A good thing too, because mama isn't so good with the pins. If he were moving around, he'd get poked for sure -- oh no!
*Sleep in 4-5 hour blocks at night, and wake up only 1-2 times. This is nothing less than miraculous to me, who have had four younger brothers and sisters who wouldn't do this till much older. I feel it's important to mention that I have not practiced any formal "sleep training" with him and that this level of sleep was obtained without any crying. I may write a post on my methods, but I really think it's more the kind of baby he is rather than anything I've done. He's a good sleeper and runs an extremely predictable timetable. Honestly, you could set your watch by this kid. Yet another way he does NOT take after me.
*Recognize mom and dad. He knew John's voice from the day after he was born, and would turn his head trying to find him. Now he stares at John with big eyes whenever he's in the room.
*Recently, make noises more like "ah, ah" then his old sounds, which were mostly grunting and "mmm, mmm." I read someone saying their newborn's only sound was a cry. That's not the case for ours at all -- whenever he's awake and happy, he's making little noises. Sometimes I talk to him and he shouts "Gah!"
At this point I realize that I am quite the doting parent, listing the noises that he makes as an accomplishment. Ah well, what can I say. This kid can't pass gas without making somebody proud of him.
Friday, May 21, 2010
However, the reason I branched out from Enchiridion, while keeping the old blog going (something I haven't been doing well lately, but hope to get back to) was to have a blog without a set topic, so that I could talk about whatever I wanted to. So that I wouldn't always be writing blog posts in my head that never saw the light of day because I had nowhere to put them.
The trouble is, now the blog is threatened by being taken over almost completely by baby stuff, at least for awhile. I'm only really reading baby blogs most of the time, and I find myself wanting to address topics like breastfeeding and cloth diapering. Yet I am quite aware that some of my oldest readers, especially guys who showed up for the poetry, are not the least bit interested in diapers. I don't want them to be saying, "Darn, such a nice blog and now it's taken over by stuff that doesn't interest me." However, a lot of new readers are more interested in baby stuff, and so are all the family members who read this. I've already gotten one comment asking about diapers.
I'm torn. How much baby stuff is too much? And, while I'm at it, how personal is too personal? I debated putting up my birth story for a long time, because it is rather personal and detailed ... hence the warning. If I continue to write on that level, will I have a lot of people skipping over a lot of posts?
One thing I'm definitely going to do is be careful about my labels, making sure to label each post so that you can click on the labels that interest you and only get what you're interested in. If Blogger supported it, I'd probably separate my whole blog into tabs like I've seen people do. But even with plain labels, it should be fairly simple to sort things out. Unfortunately you can't filter out one kind of label (as I've often wanted to do on those baby blogs: there's no label for "everything except reviews, giveaways, and memes"), but I don't have a ton of labels, so it's not completely impractical for someone to read all my labels in turn. Still, that is a lot to ask.
What is your opinion? Please take a moment to comment and tell me what kinds of posts you enjoy most, and what you'd like to see less of. I only partially blog for myself, you know -- I'd just get a journal otherwise! I think you'd better know that I have one post already written about diapers, one half written about baby sleep, and several in my head about breastfeeding, nursing in public, and my parenting choices. If you tell me you want baby stuff, you're going to get it!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The real advantage to living here is that we're closer to friends. We've already had more of a social life than we had in months of living in Philadelphia, and that's with a baby keeping us at home! Once we've got a couch and table, we're going to invite all our local friends over for an apartment warming. We actually have room to entertain them!
So, check him out. Here's him in his fancy cloth diaper. I only have four of these, but they are so much easier and more absorbent than prefolds. Wish I could give you a link or something, but I lost the business card that came with them. At any rate, they are made of bamboo fiber and organic cotton and probably cost a bundle ... but they were a gift from my grandma. I am quite appreciative for their convenience! Besides that he is so cute in them.
And here's him sucking on his hand and gazing at ... something. I believe the window. He'll just stare and stare at the same thing for ages sometimes, but it's hard to tell what he's looking at.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
How could I regret anything? I can't honestly wish for a single day more without him ... because I already love him so much, a day without him would be terrible. Sure, I long for some time alone, without all this responsibility, but you know the second I walk out the door without him the first time, I'll miss him awfully. He's a wonderful little guy and I wouldn't trade him for anything. Not for all the fun times and movie nights in the world. Not even for an extra bathroom break.
In this next video, he fake sneezes. This is absolutely the most adorable thing he does (in my opinion). He sneezes twice, then he does this little shout, which is him trying to sneeze, and then he manages to sneeze again. The little shout is the cute part.
He is four weeks old today!