Monthly Archives: March 2012

This Is Why I Don’t Wear Shorts Anymore

I’m majoring in Trophy Wife with a minor in MILF. ~ Unknown

Let’s talk for a few minutes about personal grooming. It is described in Wikipedia, that bastion of academic excellence, thus: “Grooming in humans typically includes bathroom activities such as primping: washing and cleaning the hair, combing it to extract tangles, and styling. It can also include cosmetic care of the body and removal of the pubic and axillary hair for women and shaving of the beard for men.”

We stay-at-home-moms (and, to a lesser extent, those moms who work outside the home) are not generally known for our personal grooming habits. People who don’t have kids frequently seem to wonder just how difficult it could possibly be to shower now and then, or to comb our hair and put on a touch of makeup. So, in an effort to help you well-groomed folks understand where we’re coming from, a bit of a before-and-after comparison taken from my own experience.

Showering, Before Baby:

Step into shower.

Enjoy the hot water for a few moments.

Wash face with fancy exfoliating scrub. Wash face again with facial soap.

Wash body with exfoliating cloth.

Shave things, including (but not limited to) the legs and underarms.

Wash hair.

Condition hair.

Pumice feet and elbows.

Enjoy the hot water for a few more moments.

Step out of the shower, and spend the next ten minutes or so moisturizing body and face, trimming toenails and fingernails, and tweezing eyebrows.

Get dressed. Put on makeup.

Total time, beginning to end: 45 minutes.

Frequency: Daily.

Post-shower, pre-baby. Why yes, this really is what I looked like.

Showering, Since Baby:

Place Baby in his seat on the floor.

Step into shower.

Make faces at Baby through the shower door to make him laugh, since he is not showing any interest in the toys attached to his seat.

Forget to wash face.

Suds up body. Begin singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, in response to Baby’s whining.

Rinse body. Put shampoo in hair.

Get out of shower to remove the plastic bag (that I didn’t think Baby could reach while in his seat) from Baby.

Step back into shower. Rinse shampoo out of hair and straight into eyes, because I am distracted by Baby screaming about the plastic bag.

Forget to condition hair.

Attempt to distract Baby by singing “American Pie” while attempting to shave underarms.

Bleed a little.

Finish shaving underarms. Realize that I no longer know all the verses to “American Pie”, and that Baby is Not. Having. Fun.

Decide that legs really aren’t that hairy anyway.

Step out of shower. Realize that I forgot to pre-position a set of clean sweats to put on after the shower. Decide that Baby is too antsy and annoyed to tolerate being left in his chair while I go get some. Put on dirty clothes from floor.

Forget to comb hair. Later, wonder why it has dried so strangely, making me look like a redheaded Rod Blagojevich.

Nothing says “Stylish, hip young mom” like the Blago ‘Do.

Total time, beginning to end: 10 minutes.

Frequency: Two to three times a week.

As you may have gathered, I don’t look as good after a shower now as I did after a shower a few years ago.

Post-shower, post-baby. Only not as well dressed as this.

So on behalf of moms everywhere, I beg you to have some sympathy. If we are out in public, wearing moderately clean jeans, with no noticeable body odor and no patches of mashed banana or vomit in our hair, we are doing quite well and should be praised, not scorned. And if you should see one of us, dressed fashionably, clean, shaved, and wearing makeup, you should definitely buy her a drink and ask her secret.

Please post it in the comments, because seriously, I look like a hot mess. You would be doing the world a service.

Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Potato

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~ Douglas Adams

Do you have a baby? Have you ever looked at a raw sweet potato* and thought, “What the heck am I supposed to do with this?” Well, this is the right place for you to be, my friend! Here are my favorite things to do with sweet potato, in the baby feeding sense (not in the OH MY GOD GET IN MY FACE sense, which is also a legitimate lifestyle choice.)

Both of these recipes** rely on having one or more cooked sweet potatoes on hand. I find that I prefer to bake them in a 400° oven for about an hour and a quarter (for a medium to large potato), as this seems to maintain their flavor and texture better than boiling. But you may feel free to cook them in whatever way you like best. Who am I to judge?

Sweet Lentils

Ingredients:

One large, cooked sweet potato

One third of a cup (uncooked) red lentils

At least one large glass of beer (this takes a little while, so you don’t want to get too messed up. If you have backup from another adult-type cooking person, to make sure you don’t light the kitchen on fire, then go ahead and have wine or whatever.)

Tunes (something that’s good for singing along and dancing)

Technique:

Set the potato aside. Unless you haven’t cooked it yet, in which case, get on that. Turn on your tunes. Put the lentils in a small saucepan with a couple of cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that you’ve got a nice simmer going on. Stir frequently, since this stuff will burn and stick to the pan pretty easily. Add water as necessary. You’re likely to be cooking this for at least twenty minutes, so rock out and drink your beer while you keep an eye on it and stir and add water and all that jazz. So, how do you know when it’s done? Here’s a brief pictorial guide.

This has just started to cook.

Partway there. Don’t you love the PERMANENT STAINS on the stove? We just ADORE living in rental houses.

Pretty much done. Taste it and make sure that the few lentils that haven’t dissolved are fully softened. Once they are …

Poof! Cooked lentils! Dump them into your blending cup along with the sweet potato (scooped out of its skin and chunked up into pieces) and blend with your hand blender. You shouldn’t have to blend very much, since it’s all mush anyway — mostly just to mix it up well.

Sweet Lentils is a really great, sweet-ish blank canvas for you to experiment with spices with your baby.

Another thing to do with sweet potatoes:

Sweet Chicken

Ingredients:

One large, cooked sweet potato

Two roasted, unseasoned chicken drumsticks with skins removed

Aww, look at the sweet little chicken! Let’s eat it.

Technique:

Remove the meat from the bones and remove any gristle. Tear up the meat into small-ish bits, the better to blend it. Dump the meat and the sweet potato (again, scooped out of its skin and chunked up) into your blending cup and blend it up with the hand blender. Easy easy!

Yum! Look at you! You’re a baby food chef extraordinaire!

* Here’s an interesting little tidbit for all you sticklers.

** So, here’s the thing about sweet potatoes. They are the perfect baby food. Mash or purée them and they are great for even the littlest of solid-food eaters. They also are pretty great with other vegetables and various spices. The two recipes I chose are ones that I use all the time to get some protein into my young’un.

Speas and Peachy Blue

I don’t like spinach, and I’m glad I don’t, because if I liked it I’d eat it, and I just hate it. ~ Clarence Darrow

Here are two recipes that I’ve found to be winners in the endless guessing game called “Will The Baby Eat It”. They also, coincidentally, happen to be loaded with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. That’s right! This just may get your child eating spinach! WOOT!

Speas

Ingredients:

One-pound bag (or carton) of washed baby spinach leaves

One pound bag of frozen peas

One ripe pear

Tunes of your choice (something that you find relaxing, I think)

A nice glass of wine

Technique:

Turn on your tunes and pour your wine. Have a sip. Now, remove the stems from each spinach leaf (this is boring, time-consuming, and the reason why you need both wine and tunes.) Once they are all de-stemmed, put them with a healthy splash of water in a covered, microwavable container and microwave them on high just until they are all wilted. Try not to overcook them, as they can become bitter. When that’s done, cook the frozen peas as you normally would for yourself (I use a ‘frozen vegetable’ setting on my microwave to steam them). While that’s cooking, chop the pear. If you want, you can stew it a little, but it’s not really necessary. Drain both the peas and the spinach. Add everything (except the wine and the tunes) to your mixing bowl or blender and puree it as smooth as you can. Because the peas don’t tend to puree very smoothly, Speas are best served to babies who can handle some texture, say, six months and up. It is also BY FAR tastiest served a bit warm.

Peachy Blue

Ingredients:

12 oz bag of frozen blueberries

Roughly 8 oz of frozen peach slices (two thirds of a bag)

Still got that wine? Maybe another glass?

More tunes. Blues are appropriate, but you can just leave on whatever you were listening to if you’re liking it. We’re cool like that.

Technique:

Dump the peaches and blueberries into a microwavable bowl. Cover loosely and microwave until thoroughly defrosted, or even a bit cooked (it’s mostly just important to get all the excess water out). Once done (the blueberries should be looking a touch shrivelly), strain the fruit as well as you can — you don’t want to squeeze all the juice out, but you do want to remove any that’s already out from the defrosting process. Set the juice aside (maybe to use in a bit of a cocktail, hmmm? Maybe with some vanilla vodka?) Puree the fruit with your hand blender and chill it well in the refrigerator. Don’t add any cereal or thickeners to it before you chill it — it’ll seem quite runny when it’s warm, but it’ll thicken up as it cools. If you still want it thicker after it’s completely chilled, you can add baby cereal.

Now, you may be wondering why I paired these particular recipes. I found that, although my baby will eat Speas, they’re not his favorite. But he eats them happily enough when I alternate spoonfuls of Peachy Blue with the Speas. I feel good about the combination because he’s getting all the nutrients of dark green leafy vegetables AND the antioxidents from the dark fruit. It’s an all-round winner of a fruit/veg course! Hurrah!