Monday, April 29, 2013

Lunch For Acorn

I'm still a little shocked that Acorn will be going to kindergarten in the fall.

One of our big concerns is lunch - he's picky, and it's an all day kindergarten program, so we'll have to work something out, lunch wise. Though the staff at his new school are quick to assure us that many kindergarteners can't figure out their lunchboxes the first month or so, Acorn's fine motor skills are a little behind, and that makes it an even bigger challenge for him.
One tool in our tool box is the PlanetBox lunch boxes I bought last year. Unlike many other lunchboxes in my stash, Acorn can open these on his own.

My lunch earlier this week - sandwich, salad, cookies

Being able to open his lunch box all by himself will be a huge step towards independence.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hospital Food

Hospital food is a mixed blessing - on one hand, it's generally available much of the day, and in many hospitals now, it's available for delivery right to your child's room.

On the other's expensive, and of mixed quality.

When Acorn and Leaf had RSV earlier this year, we were trading off who was at the hospital and who was elsewhere; the person coming in to switch shifts brought in food. K brought us dinner a couple nights too. We had a similar pattern in the fall of 2011 when both were hospitalized, just before Leaf got her trach, and the weekends we stayed at the bigger hospital with her, we brought in food in much the same way. This winter's stay made me think, "you know, we ought to write up a plan for what we're going to do about food when we're stuck here so that we can just tell someone to go shopping or go raid our pantry, and bring back X, Y, and Z."

When Acorn had his tonsils out, we almost ended up spending the night. The doctor wanted us to stay longer and make sure he was going to drink well enough; the nurses were panicky about his sats dropping very low and the amount of oxygen he needed to come back up to normal. In the end, we went home on oxygen, because the doctor knew us well enough to know we would be fine at home, but that was long after we'd bought lunch and eaten in the recovery room waiting for transport to the floor, and not before we'd started making plans for someone to go retrieve dinner.

So, that had me thinking again about what an emergency food run would look like for a hospital stay, and I figured I'd share with you all.

First, of the three hospitals we have doctors at, we only will allow for inpatient stays at two of them. Of those two, all but a few areas have a bedside cube fridge. They do not have vending machines in easy reach of the rooms - one has them on the same floor but out in the lobby, and the other has them on some floors out in the entry, but not on all. Too far to walk unless a child is napping (and for us to be inpatient usually involves a child who's not well enough to wander the halls without a mask, and of course mine won't wear masks).

Both hospitals have microwaves available on the floor. And silverware and plates, if need be, though I think it may be worth setting up a stash of plates and plastic ware here at the house for someone to grab. They also have cups, straws, and ice readily available. Both have coffee and milk easily available too.

Acorn is pretty picky when it comes to eating, so if he's inpatient, we've found that it's worth packing in some things he will eat - multigrain or honey nut cheerios for example. His Boost is another good choice - he'll drink it under almost any circumstances, and at 360 calories and 1/4 of his daily vitamin and mineral needs per juice box, it's a reasonable substitute for food when he's not interested in eating.

Leaf subsists mostly on purees and formula. We know the closer hospital doesn't carry her formula, so we need to pack that if she's inpatient.

That leaves food for us adults.

For breakfast, something easy, like muffins or bagels is probably the best choice. They store and transport well, and we can eat them whenever we're up.

For everything else, our best so far has been sandwiches. A loaf of bread, some cheese, and some lunchmeat will last a fair number of meals. Chips of some sort, individual sized fruit cups, and some soda make the second most useful batch of foodstuffs.

For slightly longer stays, prewashed lettuce, tomatoes (and a good knife), croutons and salad dressing, grapes, and other snackable foods make a good addition. Lettuce and tomatoes can go on sandwiches or become salads. Fresh fruits and nuts make good snacks too.

And in the end, we can eat fairly healthy all from the confines of a hospital room, without breaking the bank.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Swamp Sensory Bin

Acorn had his tonsils out last week. It's been a rough few days here.
Acorn loves Kermit. I thought, "hey, how about a swamp themed sensory bin for this long weekend?"

Thanks to Tammy at Praying for Parker, I had water gel to use for the base, which I colored with green food coloring. It says a half teaspoon to 4 ounces, but I doubled the water because an early test showed that to be the texture of very firm jello, and I wanted something less thick.

Frogs, snakes, and lizards are from a party supply store.

Yeah....he wants nothing to do with it. He touched it, made a face, and shook his hands until it all flew off his hand.

So much for that idea.....

Uncharted Territory

Parenting is only uncharted territory in that all of us have our first time being parents, and in that no two kids are just the same in every aspect.

Pagan Parenting is definitely the road less traveled (as opposed to parenting from another faith background). There are fewer supports - few places have an organized equivalent to Sunday School, there are (at least as far as I know) no Pagan parochial schools (though there is an umbrella school in Alabama for homeschoolers, and there used to be GoddessMoon Academy, a virtual school that got mixed reviews), and things like MOPS don't exist for us. While there is SpiralScouts, it's definitely not on the same scale as most other programs - secular or church-based. There are no summer camps like the Jewish faith offers.

Special needs parenting, too is somewhat off the beaten path - though there are more and more of us every day, and we are finding ways to work together and support each other regardless of our children's diagnoses. Even with a fairly rare condition, you can usually find someone else whose child has the same thing, or nearly the same. And even with a fairly rare condition, it's usually pretty easy to find other families with similar symptoms - for example, trachs due to preemie lungs and pulmonary hypertension are  a dime a dozen if you look for them, but even kids trached for completely different reasons still have a lot of the same trach-related issues. Autism is relatively common, which means that all families with non-verbal kids can find resources.

So, again, add them all together, and you find yourself walking a very thin line where you have overlaps with a lot of different communities, but your list of people who have experiences very similar to yours in most ways is tiny.

The number of Pagan parents with children with special needs is growing, but we're still a very tiny number. Working through how to be a Pagan parent is challenging on good days - doing it when your child is complicated sometimes feels impossible.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stuff in a Pot

Repost #5 - last one!


Ever have one of those moments when you realize you picked the wrong pot?

Of course, I don't actually have a "right" pot for this - my bigger stockpot is about 4 times the size of this one. I used to have a perfect pot, but it scorched, and now burns anything tomato based, and rather than risk people ruining dinner again, I retired it. It's ok, it cooks down as the leafy things cook.

There is a lot in tonight's dinner that I never ate as a kid - that we would never have been allowed to even buy or cook when I was growing up, because my dad is a very picky eater - he makes my kids look like great eaters :)

This has been my go-to for using up veggies before they went bad, but now that we're not getting a big box every week, I had to buy stuff specifically for this.

"Stuff in a Pot"

1 (or more) packages of smoked sausage. I like kielbasa for this.
Lots of random veggies
garlic - we have a jar of minced garlic, so for this pot I used a big spoonful, probably 1/4 cup. Use less if you don't like garlic, or more if you're making a bigger pot
pepper (1 T or more if you make a bigger pot)
basil (1 T or more if you make a bigger pot)

Tonight, we have a bundle of Swiss chard, a leek, most of an onion, most of a bell pepper, a half dozen small redskin potatoes, the leftovers of a bag of shredded cabbage, and 3 carrots. We've used eggplant, apples, grean beans, peapods, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, sweet potatoes, and probably some other things before too.

Chop into bite sized pieces, and cook for 30-60 minutes until everything seems cooked. Serve with warm crusty bread or garlic bread.