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Is peer pressure the reason I feed my baby cow’s milk?

A slow day at work. My health-obsessed coworker and I discussed milk today.

Coworker: I hate milk. I think it’s disgusting. Do you drink milk?
Me: Milk? Eww, no. I haven’t had milk in years. Now I drink almond milk.
Coworker: I know..milk is bad for you..How’s almond milk?
Me: Way better than milk. And cheaper. And it doesn’t contain hormones that are going to make me grow testicles.
Coworker: Yeah…
Me: (hesitant) Do you give your kids milk?
Coworker: Of course! Why? You don’t?!
Me: Of course I do! What kind of mother do you think I am?

Apparently, I am the kind of mother who won’t touch milk with a ten-foot pole but gives my baby at least 18 oz of it per day because society tells me to do so.

Curiosity led me to do some light research on the various milk products we can feed our children after age 1. Here’s what I found:

Goat’s Milk — from wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com:
“A lactose intolerant baby, and even a baby with a cow milk protein allergy, may benefit from goat milk based food products. Many parents have been told that goat’s milk may settle easier and also digest easier in the tummy of a baby with a known lactose intolerance. However, goat’s milk is not lactose free; it actually contains lactose and not all babies will benefit from goat milk based foods. As mentioned, goat’s milk is NOT lactose free but it does contain less lactose than cow’s milk.”

More on goat’s milk — according to Gazzaniga-Moloo, a nutrition instructor at California State University in Sacramento: “It packs as much calcium as whole cow’s milk and contains more tryptophan, an essential amino acid.”

Almond Milk — According to Gazzaniga-Moloo
“Protein is sparse in almond milk, with only 1 gram per cup, compared with 7 and 8 grams for soy and cow’s milk, respectively. It’s not suitable for those with nut allergies and lacks the B vitamins in cow’s milk.”
Blogger’s side note: have you tried vanilla almond milk? It’s a dessert, for god’s sake. And one of the benefits of being an adult: we don’t need all that protein. Right?

Rice Milk:
Low in fat and calories; low in everything else, too. Lacks Vitamins A and C and as little protein as almond milk, only not as exciting because it’s made from one of the dullest foods on earth.

Coconut Milk
According to Livestrong.com, “Coconut milk is high in iron, with 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance. It also has 110 percent of the daily recommendation of manganese. Coconut milk is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C. It also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, pantothenic acid and calcium.”

Hold the phones: coconut milk also has 552 freaking calories per cup! So it’s a healthy, drinkable Big Mac.

Soy Milk
Rich in protein and calcium, low in calories, fine for lactose intolerant folk. Still, the question over whether soy can act as a hormone in breast cells or trigger cancer keeps me from reaching for it on grocery shelves (as much as I love Silk Chocolate Soy Milk…again, dessert).

Regular old cow’s milk
Cow’s milk has the most protein and calcium of all the aforementioned options. So, what’s the problem, you ask? Spend a bit more on organic milk for baby and be done with it.

Too many opposing views on organic milk to list them all, so I’ll focus on what Brittany from ahealthysliceoflife.com has to say, because she did a far better job than I will at breaking it down for you:

“ALL milk (organic or not) is closely screened for antibiotics. If even a trace amount exists, it isn’t allowed into the food supply. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration. Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance – 2005 Revison. Washington, D.C.: USDHHS, PHS, FDA, 2005.) If a farm has two antibiotic infractions, it’s shut down. Clearly, it’s taken seriously.

Ok, great. But what about hormones? Well, saying any milk is hormone-free is a flat out lie. A very small amount of naturally occurring hormones are present in all milk, organic and conventional….”

Read on — good stuff…

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Open letter to my period, which needs to follow my demands for once in its stubborn life

Dear Period,

Remember how when I was 13 and all the other girls had their periods, I desperately wanted you to come? How I wanted you to bring your snobby friends–breasts and curves– with you and how they refused to grace me with their presence until I was 16 and the novelty of boobs and curves had worn off? Remember how I lied to Josephine and told her I got you about a year before I actually did and how I even crumbled that pink maxi pad paper in my wastebasket before she came over so I could prove to her that I wasn’t lying? Yeah, that was pretty psychotic.

But you didn’t answer my prayers. You came when you felt good and ready and consequently, while the other girls were being “felt up,” I would only go as far as kissing because I had nothing to feel up (so I guess that’s a good thing and I owe you one..but I feel I’ve reciprocated enough by enduring years of cramps and by making Mr. Midol just a little bit more wealthy. What have you done for me lately?)

And now here I am approaching 35. I understand where you are coming from—you’re tired and bored with me. You gave me one beautiful, healthy child. Don’t be greedy, you seem to be saying. Perhaps you are teaching me crucial life lessons?

Well, ain’t no one got time for that. I demand that you stop psyching me out each month by providing pregnancy-like symptoms and teeny spots that cause me to run and Google that mythical thing everyone calls “implantation bleeding” on the 22nd day of each of my cycles.

A second baby fits into my life plan right now. Not in one year, and certainly not in two. Get with the program, Period.

Sincerely,
Not Pregnant (Again) This Month

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5 great toddler apps for when I’m a bad mommy

Don’t stick your child in front of a screen.

We’ve all heard this advice. And I don’t, I swear.

Unless:
**We’re at the doctor’s office and I don’t want her playing with germ-ridden toys
**We’re in the car and she starts kicking my seat and trying to get us killed on the Belt Parkway
**I have to cook dinner and she grabs my legs and tries to block me from the stove, while also attempting to burn herself and the house down to the ground.

All I’m saying is my iPad becomes handy at times and here are some of the best apps I’ve found to keep toddlers temporarily amused and occupied:

1. Another Monster at the End of this Book, Starring Grover and Elmo — $3.99

An adorable interactive story featuring Elmo and Grover. I really love the way children can tap on the words as Grover or Elmo speak and the Sesame Street characters will repeat and even spell out words for them. And this app is magic, did I mention that? I was able to stop another child from having a tantrum in the dr’s office with this baby (true story).

2. Elmo Loves ABCs– $4.99


With Elmo’s guidance, toddlers can trace both capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet, as well as learn songs about letters.

3. Best Kids Songs Stories, by Samsung Publishing (you get three songs for free with this free app, then pay for the rest)

This is the silliest app on earth, but my K loves it. Popular songs like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” appear in animated music video format, complete with lyrics.

4. I Hear Ewe — Free

A tech spin on the classic animal wheel toy. This app got me through K’s infant months in one piece. I give additional points to this app because, in addition to featuring the usual animal suspects (cats, cows, and ducks), children–and parents–get to hear the sounds of a rhino, a helicopter, firetruck, and adorable bicycle bell.

5. Petting Zoo — $1.99

Interactive animations of over 20 animals. I should have ranked this number one because it’s the most amazing app I’ve ever seen. I watch it in private sometimes when K is asleep. A combination of art, creativity and interactivity. I’m not even going to try and explain–just watch:

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In attempt to not jinx possible 2nd pregnancy, crazy woman drops $$ on size 4 dresses

The first time around, I became pregnant with K less than 60 seconds after my husband and I decided to try for a baby. But Baby #2 is being a real tease.

I am using the Clear Blue Ovulation kit ($25 for 10 sticks. So…$100 so far? Ouch). I have an adorable app called Pink Pad that lets me track the days I’ve been intimate with a romantic red heart. I refuse to learn anything about basal body temperature because that’s getting a bit too scientific for my liking, but I’m willing to do nearly anything else to get a move on this thing.

And every single month I think–

Oh, shoot. This feels different. I am cramping days–weeks–before my period is due. And I’m so hungry, all of the time. Is that spotting? Can spotting be dark yellow or am I just dehydrated? My boobs are definitely bigger. Let me ask my husband if my boobs are any bigger. Because that’s a question every husband wants to be put in a position to have to answer.

And this month, oh, April, you are so very different from the others. It was meant to happen this month because, according to the Pregnancy Due Date Calendar, which I religiously check, Baby #2 would be born on December 31. Can you think of a cooler day to have a baby? Plus, I will not yet have celebrated a birthday that puts me in the mid-30s age range, which I have decided isn’t part of my overall family planning plan.

And I’m feeling cramps. I am tired all of the time. This can’t just be because my schedule gets all out of whack when I watch Mad Men on Sunday nights, right?

Rather than think about the possibilities, last night I did what any woman who can’t face reality does. I shopped it off. I shopped for size 4’s and I shopped for stupid peplum dresses that could accommodate no pregnant belly on earth.

You will not have the last laugh, body. When my period comes in 7 days, I will greet it in peplum.

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5 dumb reasons why daycare freaks me out

The jig is up.

Over the past month, our caretakers have been slowly exiting the scene, like visitors at a wake. My father-in-law is sick. My mother-in-law avoids our calls. And my mother recently confided in my brother that she’s burnt (thanks, mom for telling me! thanks brother, for sending me a panicky Facebook message at 3 am instead of picking up the phone and calling me the next morning…next time, just post it on my wall–much quicker).

It’s not that I blame them. Watching K is like what I imagine it must be like to be married to Joan Crawford. But now daycare, which was an abstraction for so long, is becoming a reality.

And I am freaking.

I’m not sure what to expect. In no particular order, here are all of my unfounded and idiotic concerns:

1. Another child will steal my K’s beloved marker, which she carries everywhere and at various times of the day serves as a spoon to feed her stuffed animals, a doctor tool to examine their eyes, and a brush to comb mommy’s messy hair. She will quickly learn that other people are mean and this experience will deeply impact her ability to form attachments later on in life. Plus, I will want to beat up this marker-stealing child’s mother. And I’ve never been in fight, so these negative feelings will simply bubble beneath the service until I snap at a nice clerk who can’t help me find mangoes at Foodtown.

2. K will steal everything not tied down, including other children’s prized possessions. Popular Toddler Head Cheerleader with cult-like toddler following will influence the other girls to stay far away from my kleptomaniac, doesn’t-know-how-to-share little peanut.

3. Daycare snack break room will serve double duty as creepy place where uncredited workers take pornographic photos of babies, similar to those described in vague detail in two-part episode of Diff’rent Strokes.

4. I will pack organic homemade meals for K, but she will be lured into the temptation of eating Hostess Cupcakes and Cheetos, all of which will be readily available at daycare. Naturally, pot and cocaine will follow.

5. She will cry uncontrollably when I leave in the mornings. She will cry and cry all day and wonder why I abandoned her.

Or

She will not cry at all and wish me gone. She will refuse to leave with me in the afternoons and call her daycare provider “mommy.” I will smile and die a little death each time.

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Dear Tupperware, I hate you…

Dear Tupperware,

Prior to giving birth, I didn’t need you. You were an insignificant part of my life — so small it would be laughable to even consider you a “part” of anything. You were a mere particle in the universe. Chicken feed in my cabinetry.

But, boy, have you made yourself at home. It seems you sniffed opportunity the moment baby appeared. I needed a place to store pureed fruit and you opened your plastic arms to me–joyfully feeding into my fear of store-bought baby food. I try to save money by overcooking at night and you whisper, “yes, yes, do it. Make enough minestrone for 14 people. I’ll convince you you’re prudent instead of irresponsible and really bad with a measuring cup.”

But seriously, WTF is going on, Tupperware? How is it that you’ve reproduced with the rapidity of libidinous rabbits? How haven’t I noticed? Why are my shelves now teeming with plastic containers of all shapes and sizes–containers that aren’t made to fit any cabinet, anywhere on earth? Furthermore, where have all your lids gone?

And why, for the love of god, does a lid that previously fit you now appear to be some hybrid of oval and triangle–ovangle?

That is all for now. Shape up, Tupperware.

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The four worst things about being an urban mommy

Do you live in a suburb rife with verdant lawns, mosquitoes, and American Dreams? Can the aisles in your local supermarket accommodate more than one shopping cart at a time? Do you frequently get bored and find–as you lounge about barefoot on your porch–that there is simply nothing to do?

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of being a mommy in the big city. Maybe you want to switch places, come live in Brooklyn, and become an urban mommy for a day. Well, here are just a few things that are in store for lucky old you:

1. No matter how organized you are, grocery shopping will take no more or less than 2.5 hours. The breakdown of your time will look a bit like this:

* (half hour to park your car in the always-crowded lot (assuming you are of royal lineage and are wealthy enough to own or rent a 4×4 apartment and a car). Otherwise, you may find starvation more appealing than lugging groceries onto a train or bus.
* 15 minutes until you realize you can’t find spinach in the produce aisle because urban grocery stores stock whatever the hell they want to for the week. On the plus side, you’ll learn how to substitute every vegetable with Dandelion.
* 30 minutes spent navigating your teeny cart in and out of Haunted Mansion-style aisles
* Tack on 15 more minutes to the above 30 minutes in which you will have to stop baby from pulling everything off the shelves. Because the shelves are so close to her face she can’t breathe.
* 15 minutes driving around your apartment looking for parking and finally finding a spot four black away
* 5 minutes walking back to your apartment with baby in tow and four grocery bags killing your left arm bicep
* 5 minutes explaining to your husband where you parked the car so he can retrieve the rest of your packages. You won’t remember the exact street and will identify the road by its landmarks (“The one with the pothole..no, the other one with the pothole.”)

2. Sharpen those catlike reflexes as you monitor toddler/child milling about playground equipment that almost always features Pitfall-like apertures and Tetanus-inducing swing chains.

3. Spend nights researching private preschools because you work at a public school and would rather prostitute yourself than send daughter to one. Spend three hours scribbling numbers on a piece of paper and panicking ($700 a month…not bad…and 700×9 is..? Holy crap). Realize at 12:10 am that you work at a public school, can’t afford to help private preschool build a new library wing, and will therefore never gain acceptance to private preschool. Contemplate moving to Ohio.

4. Upon completing the actions listed in number 3, retreat to bedroom shared with toddler, who promptly lifts her head up when she hears the door open and asks, “Juice? juice?” Luckily, juice is just 10 feet away because you live in an apartment the size of a tool shed.