Baby Led Weaning: Taste The Rainbow

by Nadine on March 22, 2016

Yesterday, my 9-month-old daughter (!!!!) ate some of each of the above items. Not bad, huh?

There’s no wrong way to feed a baby. Scratch that. Don’t feed your wee one a diet of 100% Cheetos. (95%? Maybe.)

We have friends who fed their babies iron-fortified cereals and baby food. The kids turned out fine. Others adopted the Sprout Right method. Wonderful. We’re doing Baby Led Weaning. It’s been awesome so far.

Our family doctor — a gem of a find when I was 8 months pregnant — has the most encouraging approach to introducing solid foods:

Do whatever works for you. Or do what your mom did. Just don’t introduce too many foods at a time (at first), and make sure your babe is getting some iron. The end.

I can live with that.

Anywho. Back to Baby-Led Weaning.

It made sense for us. I get to eat WITH my child instead of just make her food, feed her the food, and then wonder why I’m so hungry all the time. AND I don’t have to make baby food. She’s eating real food. The kind of food that goes on my grocery list anyway.

We’re eating meals as a family, 100% blender-free, and everyone’s happy.

(Warning: It can be messy. Like, M-E-S-S-Y. Especially on Let Your Kid Feed Herself Yogurt Day. Buy a few bibs and don’t dress your offspring in silk.)

The surprising benefit of this approach is that my lunches are healthier than they’ve ever been. If she’s eating eggs, avocado, cucumber, tomato and berries, so am I! I’m “eating the rainbow” as nutritionists everywhere advise.

It allays my fear that life with kids turns your diet into a revolving door of pasta-a-la-pasta, grilled cheese and pizza pockets. It doesn’t have to be that way. At all. I’ve got a baby who already loves roasted eggplant, beef brisket and kiwi. (Maybe all at the same time. Who am I to judge?) We’re off to an encouraging start.

I look forward to cooking with her. To shopping at the market with her. Maybe even to gardening with her.

Today I’m thankful for a kid who makes me eat my veggies.

Happy 9 months, Ursula. I love sharing my (baked) sweet potato fries with you. (And I don’t usually share those.)

P.S. I still eat cookies during her nap sometimes. Because I’m not a robot or a Paltrow.

P.P.S. Not every food is an instant win. Two days ago, Ursula refused to eat broccoli. Fortunately, Pixar is always right. An airplane had to intervene.



And They Called It ‘Puppy Love’

by Nadine on March 18, 2016

Don’t be fooled. This is not a puppy.

If someone tells you that having a dog is good practice for having a baby, that individual has never had a baby.

(Also, if you start with a puppy, note that you will be stuck with a dog when you do eventually decide to have a baby. Unless you’re waiting for that puppy to grow old and die. In which case, good luck, ovaries. Some canines live forever.)

And yet.

Yesterday, I took the carrier — we LOVE this one — out of the front closet and asked Ursula, who was on her hind legs standing up in the crib, if she’d like to go for a walk.

She started panting.

Dogs and babies. They’re the same.*




*Except when it comes to everything else.

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Parent Fantasy Hotline

by Nadine on February 24, 2016

So much truth.


So Many Pins, So Little Time….

by Nadine on January 18, 2016

My most-saved/liked pin is a photo of a pair of pants that I do not own.

I guess I’m not the only one excited for the return of the wide-legged trouser?

Katharine Hepburn for life.*

*When it comes to Hepburns, my husband prefers I look to Audrey over Katharine for style inspiration. But I refuse to play favourites.


The 2016 Red Carpet: Characters Edition

by Nadine on January 8, 2016

I have not been to the movies in approximately 42 years 7 months. I have not read a fashion magazine in almost as long. Usually, I’m on top of award season, both critically and sartorially. This year, I got nada.

I hear Spotlight is the movie to beat.

And Cate Blanchett is going to be nominated. Which means FASHION.

Have you ever tried to binge-view photos from fashion week(s)? It’s overwhelming. I tried. But instead of making dress predictions — my favourite thing ever — I ended up only seeing modern takes on fictional characters. (Folks, exhaustion is a brain-screwer.)

So while I have no idea what Cate and friends will be wearing on the red carpet this year, I do have an idea what Anne Shirley would be wearing if she were invited to the Oscars.

Anne Shirley in Alexander McQueen or Temperley London

Alice in Reem Acra

Elizabeth Bennet in Elie Saab

Annie Hall in Temperley London

Holly Golightly in Christian Siriano

Carpet in Valentino

Bowtie pasta — You know, from that movie with all the pasta? — in Christian Siriano


16 Things in 2016

by Nadine on January 7, 2016


Long-time readers will know that every year I give myself a list of challenges/goals. Last year, it was “15 things in 2015.” I did…a few of them. Apparently brewing, birthing and raising a baby takes ALL THE TIME AND ENERGY.

It’s exhausting.

And the best.

I like to-do lists. Ursula does not yet appreciate them. Calendars aren’t her thing either. And routines? Fuhgettaboutit.

But that’s okay. Productivity is so 2014.

I’m learning to manage my expectations for my day — meaning: “lower them” — and look for moments of joy instead.

I’m learning to slow down my brain, not just my schedule.

I’m learning to be present.

I found encouragement in this article about new mamas getting “nothing done”:

There is no greater task than the nothing you did yesterday, the nothing you are doing today, and the nothing you will do tomorrow.

Today I showered, drank coffee, washed avocado off the floor, went for a walk and played peekaboo. Success.

Yes, I have goals for the new year, both personal and professional. And I’ll share some of them here. But they’re soft goals, made malleable by a 6-month-old girl who likes to rub squishy handfuls of cucumber in her hair.

She’ll only be this little once. I don’t want to wish that away.


Murray Christmas!

by Nadine on November 24, 2015

One of the weird things about having a kid is that everyone tries to figure out who she looks like.

A FEW PEOPLE: She looks just like her mommy.

MOST PEOPLE: She looks just like her daddy.

CAREFUL PEOPLE: She looks like both of you.

ME: She looks like Steve Zissou.

Her new hat is the best ever.

P.S. Netflix watchers, A Very Murray Christmas is coming soon! Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. 

P.P.S. The awesome hat was made by my super-talented and lovely cousin Margaret Murray. (Thanks!) So it really is a Murray Christmas!


Identity Crisis?

by Nadine on November 1, 2015

[Print by Sebastian Millon]

On Friday morning, while I was putting Ursula down for a nap, I missed a call.

There was an automated voice message from Purolator: my package was available for pickup at their warehouse location, affectionately known by everyone as “The World’s Most Inconvenient Spot To Pick Up Anything. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.”

(Case in point: It takes less time to drive to Orangeville than it does to take transit to their warehouse.)

I was unimpressed. Here’s why:

  1. Either Matthew or I had been home during business hours for the entire week prior. And no one once tried to deliver a package.
  2. No one even left a “we missed you” note.
  3. It seemed that they didn’t bother to try to deliver my package AT ALL.
  4. I was under the impression that online shopping — I had ordered a shirt from a small American company — was supposed to make my life easier, not headachier.

Because transit would end up taking over two hours (round trip), Matthew offered to drive me. We bundled up Ursula and drove to the other end of the city. Rush hour starts before 3 on a Friday. It was brutal.

When I got to Purolator, the woman at the front desk seemed confused by the reference number left on my voicemail. Fortunately, my phone number was on file.

After waiting for approximately forever five very long minutes, she presented me with a package. She looked confused.

“Only one of your names is right.”

Sure enough, the package was to an Elizabeth — my middle name — who has a very different last name and address than me. But she has my phone number. Or at least she did at one point more than 10 years ago and hasn’t bothered to change it with certain clients/customers/companies/friends/family members/mail-senders.

We headed back home, empty-handed, an hour gone from our day.

And I’m still waiting on my package.

Moral of the story: If you change your number, make sure EVERYONE knows it. Or a stranger could end up trying to pick up your mail.


Netflix for New Parents

by Nadine on October 6, 2015

This spring, we cancelled cable and got Netflix. (Had we known the Jays would make the playoffs, we would have kept cable a tad longer. Sigh.)

Some recent recommendations:

The Up Series

(Includes the following docs: Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up and 56 Up.)

This documentary series checks in with the same group of Brits every seven years, from the age of 7 to the age of 56 — so far. (Think Boyhood, but non-fiction.) It’s a fascinating look at childhood — specifically exploring different socio-economic backgrounds and their subsequent expectations and trajectories — with its premise based on this quote attributed to Francis Xavier: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.”

Watch them all in a row and you’ll literally see 14 kids grow up before your eyes.

(Yes, you will have favourites. And, yes, you will be scared for some of them. And, yes, you’ll want to punch a couple of them, too.)

Are you the adult you thought you’d be when you were a kid?

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

I don’t want to spoil this doc for you, but it packs a POWERFUL punch. There’s a Canadian angle to the story, too.

Essentially, the doc begins as a tribute. A man was murdered by an ex-girlfriend. He left behind a baby boy, Zachary. His best friend decided to create a film that would honour his memory.

That’s all I’m going to say. Other than don’t watch it alone. Especially if you’re hormonal.

The Drop Box

What a beautiful film. As the end credits rolled, I was struck by how insignificant I suddenly felt. What do I do in my daily life that requires an iota of real sacrifice? Am I motivated by love at all costs? This doc made me want to be a better person. Not many movies do that.

The Delivery Man

Yes, I’m watching Call the Midwife — like everyone else. But this British sitcom about a male midwife also deserves some Netflix love. Both Matthew and I enjoyed it immensely — and ploughed through all six episodes in an afternoon. Do it.


A Good Day

by Nadine on October 5, 2015

The past week had been a rough one. Ursula went from sleeping through the night to not sleeping. At all. Bedtime became an hours-long screaming match, with only short bursts of shallow sleep in between. In her three months on the planet, these nights were the worst she/we had lived through yet.

Hello, sleep regression?

And while many encouraging parents say that if you survive the first three months, you’re golden, I was far MORE tired at the three-month mark than at any point before it.

Naps became mythical experiences experts claim happen to babies, but were no longer applicable to our child. One afternoon, I rocked her for an hour just to get her to sleep for 20 minutes.

Nighttime, however, was the worst.

I exhausted my entire lullaby repertoire. I sang every church hymn, Disney ballad, pop hit, country tune and TV theme song I could think of.

Matthew put her in the stroller and rolled her up and down the hall.

We rocked and bounced and jiggled her.

She just screamed at us. Or worse, stared us down.

One night I could barely nurse her as my arms were shaking with sleep-deprived weakness. I had to wake Matthew to rock her back to sleep. I just couldn’t do it.

Then today happened.

She woke up babbling to herself — and continued to do so for an hour, letting me sleep in.

She charmed everyone at our Mommy Connections class, making eyes at the other babies and then falling asleep in the wrap during our salsa dancing lesson.

She slept through most of my coffee date with the other moms after class. One mom commented that my baby “is so chill.” When Ursula woke up, she just smiled at me, as if knowing she had a reputation to uphold in public.

When we got home, Ursula played quietly on her mat while I had lunch with Matthew. Then she dozed off in my arms. She slept for more than two hours in her crib.

(At one point, all three of us were napping. Family bliss.)

She was content in her stroller while Matthew got his skates sharpened. She started to yawn at the coffee shop we visited afterward, but didn’t make a fuss.

And after we changed her and I fed her, I put her in the crib with her pacifier and Sophie and just walked away. And she put herself to sleep. No crying. No fussing. Just a few minutes of babbling and reaching for the extra sleep sack draped over the crib. (Never leave loose fabrics in/on the crib. I broke an important how-to-have-a-baby rule.)

I realize today may have been a cruel trick our daughter played on us. She might wake up hollering in a few minutes or decide to poop all over her crib in the middle of the night. Tomorrow might be a nap-less, tear-filled day for the both of us.

But today was a good day. And I want to remember it.