Have you read the article about the absurd(ly expensive) service in New York that you can hire to come teach your nanny how to cook? I’m not talking about boiling water 101, I’m taking about “fancy” food so you can, and I quote “We want to give [our daughter] the advantage of having a palate diversified enough to enjoy all of the delicious food from around the world”. Because you know, those of you with palates that are not diverse get stuck going to state school. Or something. Ok fine, the article didn’t say that exactly but it did insinuate that with an undiverse palate you are as bad as a nanny: “And their nanny, from Wisconsin, does not always know the difference between quinoa and couscous.”
Anyway, I’m not the only one raising an eyebrow or ten at this article and these people. A few of my Facebook friends chimed in (equally horrified) and one of them shared this response article, which made me feel a little bit better about humanity. The good news is, most people agree that a fool and their money are soon parted, and the people hiring this service are beyond foolish. (Also: if food is that important why not: (1) hire a chef; (2) cook themselves; or (3) hire a nanny that can cook for a diversified palate in the first place?)
The truth is, as someone with a nanny (that we love and we don’t ask her or pay her to cook, her job is to WATCH OUR CHILD) and someone who wants my kid to enjoy the same food we do, I’m working on introducing Gracie to all things tasty, from the speckled green end of the spectrum to the truffle end of the spectrum*. But I work on it myself because I don’t need a service for it. Also: hiring a chef for your nanny pretty much gets you an invitation to the First World Problems Awards followed by the Nobody Cares About Your So-Called-Problems cocktail party, and the next morning you can go to the Out of Touch With Reality brunch.
There are some foods I don’t like no matter how I’ve tried. As I lamented on twitter, I will never enjoy olives, scotch or mushrooms. It just isn’t happening. This is not because my parents did not hire a fancy chef, or introduce me to new flavors (well they introduced olives and mushrooms, scotch was not on their kid-friendly-meal list). They encouraged me to explore new flavors, I always had to try everything on my plate. This is how, over time, I grew from detesting tomatoes to enjoying a nice ripe tomato in the summer, when mixed or served with the appropriate items. This is how I learned that dessert beyond Chocolate Topped with Chocolate was satisfying and that salad could in fact be a fulfilling meal. But eating interesting/unique/weird things as a kid doesn’t guarantee a “diverse palate”. When I went to British preschool I ate and enjoyed a lot of pate sandwiches, just like my peers. Today I can’t stand pate, foie gras or anything of that nature.
Will feeding my kid a single truffle oil fry topped in pecorino cheese do anything other than enrage some that I gave my baby a french fry and give her truffle breath for the rest of the day? Only time will tell. For now I expose her to as much green, orange and eveything in between in hopes that one day I won’t have to judge a restaurant menu on whether or not they offer chicken fingers. But if that day comes, I’ll realize it isn’t because I didn’t spend $2500 on a private chef for my nanny but because I have a kid and they tend to like chicken fingers. Come to think of it…so do most adults. They just call it the fancy fried chicken meal at their local Southern-influenced bistro.
*Gracie’s favorite foods: green beans, roasted veggies and fruit (onions, broccoli, sweet potato strips, apple wedges), Cheerios/yogurt melts, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, pasta mixed with veggie puree, chicken and rice, pickles, cheesy eggs, garlic bread.
To make it short and sweet, our trip to Sonoma County was fantastic. (Thanks much to the reader who alerted me to the fact that Sonoma is a town and county…turns out we were headed to Healdsburg in Sonoma County). There was good food and friends, breathtaking views, awesome food and delicious wine. We even managed to make our way up to the nearby state park to check out the redwoods.
Please note that that I opted to do zero research before packing so our family of three walked the forest trails in items such as ballet flats, boat shoes, and twee sandals. (Bonus points if you can guess who wore what). I did manage to pack jackets for everyone.
I love wine country. It just smells so wonderful and no matter where you stop the food and drink, no matter how humble, are wonderful. On a whim I grabbed a biscuit in a coffee shop and B and I agreed it was one of the best biscuits either of us had ever tasted- that kind of culinary gem seems to be everywhere in wine country.
We were a little nervous about Gracie and the time change (especially after we botched our attempt the week earlier to transition her to the time change but accidentally pushed her bedtime the wrong way….) but she was a champion. An early rising champion but we made it work. B graciously took two early mornings with her, opting for a scenic walk through historic Healdsburg one morning and a drive among the vineyards another. We rented a huge house on the Russian River with 5 other couples and we were trying to prevent Gracie from turning the whole house into early risers. I definitely recommend riverside accommodations- we saw all sorts of birds and animals and really enjoyed how peaceful it was. One of our group even saw a river otter on our last morning!
Gracie even attended a few (casual) wine tastings where she was perfectly interested in what the adults were doing before finding what she could use to lean on and bounce.
I was tempted to let her tour this dog house but B told me it would be in poor form.
We had such a great time in Sonoma County before heading to Sacramento to visit with my Mom’s family. Gracie got to meet her Great Grandma which was really special for all of us, and B and I got a chance to catch up with Grandma as well as my aunts, uncles and cousins. It is always nice when you can combine a trip to see family and friends. We managed to get the baby to sleep for the majority of both four hour+ flights, and spent the rest of the time entertaining her with Cheerios (duh), toys and people watching.
B and I realized it has been a long time since we took a vacation without an event like a wedding or graduation driving it and we both agreed it was just what we needed before hitting the holidays running. I told B that one of my goals is to have a family vacation every year even if we stick close to home – those are the trips family memories are made of. Next summer we are heading back to Harbor Springs, Michigan and I’m hoping next fall we might be able to make it to Door County, Wisconsin. How about you..any favorite family vacation location? Growing up my Dad’s family had a lot of reunions on St. Simons Island, Georgia and I still think of those days with a smile (and we hope to get Gracie out there soon)!
Now we are homing and I’m realizing I need to finalize our Thanksgiving menu, our Christmas cards, I need to make and freeze cinnamon rolls for the holidays…..
We have an upcoming vacation in Sonoma, California, followed by a jaunt to Sacramento to visit some of my Mom’s family. Normally I stay tight-lipped about vacations on social media until after the fact because, you know, empty house and dangerousness, asking to be robbed. But…we have a house sitter, a dog who is staying home and some hyper vigilant neighbors who are in town and have their eye on everything so I’m asking for advice.
For our honeymoon (four years ago, hmm, suspiciously long ago….) we went to Napa Valley and absolutely adored it and we can’t wait to check out another famous wine region in California. We are meeting a group of B’s college friends and roommates out there and a few things have been planned, but we are hoping maybe some of you have awesome suggestions for fun places to eat/taste/explore/shop/relax. Our honeymoon was wondeful, due in large part to readers who left me comments about places to be sure to visit, and so when it comes to travel I’m a big fan of group think and using social media as Google. We are not planning on heading back over to Napa (well, some people are, but we really want to explore Sonoma) and we are super excited to take Gracie out to California for the first time!
So, internet, what say you?
(Don’t suggest In-N-Out though, because, TRUST, it is on the itinerary.)
(Also *whisper voice* soliciting suggestions for entertaining the baby on the plane to California because something tells me it is NOT the same as flying with a 6 week old…)
Gracie is nine months old and suddenly the holidays are upon us. It was around this time last year when the concept of having a baby was growing more and more realistic…and a year later I found myself Googling options to keep the baby from playing with the DVD player.
She is officially on the move. She stops for no one but the dog. She has been busy the past month. She had her first night away from Mom and Dad (more accurately: Mom and Dad’s first night away from the baby, aieeee) and did just fine. She spent a lazy Monday with me when I took the day off of work, and road tripped to Grand Rapids where, once again, she was a champion in the car. (Slept the entire way there, and most of the way home). She celebrated her first Halloween and learned to crawl and pull herself up to standing in the matter of a few days. She is now cruising along furniture and has to be watched like a hawk, lest she try to scale furniture or poke the dog’s eye out.
Speaking of the dog, he is very into the baby now that she often comes with a little bit of a snack stuck to her hand/cheek/leg. He hangs out under her high chair, watches her play time with a careful eye (we all know snack time comes right after play time) and is very accommodating when she pets him. We keep their interactions pretty supervised, she is still learning the concept of “gentle” and he’s still a dog that thinks the world revolves around him. Despite their learning curves they are fast little friends.
Having a mobile baby really, really changes the dynamic in a house. We moved a lot of decorative things out of our living room today, opting to put them away or move them to less accessible areas. Our single baby gate will soon be joined by a few more barriers and we are installing cabinet locks this week. It is also a reminder to sweep more often, as those little baby socks are very critical of one’s housekeeping. This newfound mobility+ pulling up has caused us to seriously reasses our intended Christmas tree placement. The dining room now appears to be the winning location, far away from little hands.
Gracie continues to eat and sleep well, the only exception during her first ever cold, which was miserable to watch. Saline, humidifier, saline wipes for her nose was all we could do, and you could tell she was mystified we were not doing more. Sorry kiddo, but if you grow up to be a scientist maybe you can cure the common cold. I bet there’d be a prize in there somewhere. Her third tooth is working its way in, and pretty soon she’ll be sporting little teeth on top and bottom. Truth be told, both B and I miss her gummy little smile. Last night we went through photos, reminscing about her tiny newborn days and marveling at how much time has gone by in the blink of an eye. Parenthood = total cliche. We are ok with it.
We love reading bedtime stories with her, she squeals when the first page of The Going to Bed Book appears and will sit in your lap and read books for long periods of time. It is as close as we get to snuggling, so I’m happy to oblige.
Being a parent is exhausting and wonderful. We both are shocked at how much fun it is just to watch her figure things out and by her continual understanding of her little world. Our nanny is a sign language pro and Gracie understands a multitude of signs (although she isn’t repeating them back yet). One night last week B and I spent part of evening learning the signs for ourselves. Sure enough she “gets” what we are saying with them- more, finish, milk, eat, home, sleep. She is saying “mama” and “dada” although there is no real purpose behind them and we got our first ever wave out of her last week. She is slowly becoming her own tiny person and it is an amazing thing to watch.
I can’t wait to see what your future holds baby girl. You can grow up to be anything.
17 lbs 11 oz
Likes: crawling, the dog, pulling up, activity table, peekaboo, Cheerios. The Going to Bed Book
Dislikes: diaper changes, having to get dressed