Monday, April 26, 2010

Grumps and Stumps

A friend came over today to help me rearrange my kitchen. Even if you were reading this then, you may not remember that there was insane flooding in our town when we first bought the house. All those months we'd planned to spend fixing up the house and moving in slowly were crammed into just a couple of weeks, and most of our moving was done in one day. So my kitchen was arranged somewhat haphazardly, with newly acquired items and products crammed in wherever they fit, but not in any logical manner.

I'm terrible at this sort of thing. With nowhere to even start, I'm paralyzed. It got to be too much this week, and I posted (jokingly) on Facebook that I needed Martha Stewart to come rearrange my kitchen for me. My friend offered instead. Can you believe she likes this sort of thing?

So she came over, stood in my kitchen, and pointed at things while I told her how often I used them and where I used them. Then she told me where to put them. Or she did it herself, sometimes. Did I mention she has a newborn? Her first baby? Who hardly sleeps? And needs to be carried at all times in a Moby wrap?

I think I may have spent half the visit gaping at her in awe. Grace slept like a champ within two weeks, and I was still a mess until she was about 6 months old.

I consider Emmy to be our second chance. Poor Grace was the experiment. She seems a little emotionally disturbed, but otherwise okay, so maybe I shouldn't feel too bad.

Anyway, my kitchen is now arranged perfectly to my liking. Acres of counter space that were once crammed with stuff. All my utensils within easy reach of food prep areas. Most-used dishes and silverware right next to the drain board. It's magical. I made dinner in about five seconds tonight. And it wasn't microwaved. Three different burners going on the stove at the same time.

(If you know me and know how big a flake I am, you will know that this is remarkable; zero multitasking skills here.)

Grace may be more damaged than I realize. We've started teaching her the Catechism for Young Children. We're still on question one, for obvious reasons:

Me: Grace, who made you?
Grace: Oatmeal?

Every single time.

Grace has always been a little slow to do everything (except talk). She took forever to roll over, took forever to sit, took forever to crawl and walk.

Emmy is her polar opposite in almost every way imaginable: She looks like me. She started out being a poor sleeper (compared to Grace, at least), but a great napper. And now she's a far better sleeper overall than Grace was at this age (sleeps 10.5 hours a night at 10 weeks, please don't hunt me down and kill me). She started out tiny, and is now a Babyzilla. Grace started out as Babyzilla and got skinnier and skinnier every day. Emmy started out grumpy and is now happy almost all the time. Grace started out happy and got really grumpy for about three months.

I did some research (read: I looked up a developmental milestone chart on Babycenter), and it turns out I'm NOT an overly proud, biased parent. Emmy actually IS freakishly advanced.

She's two and a half months old.

Going by percentiles, she is about the size of a 4.5-month-old.

She has gained an average of 12 oz/week since she bottomed out about three days after birth. Normal is 4-7 oz.

She's been doing mini-pushups for over a month now (half of all kids can do that at 3 months).

She can roll over front to back. Half of all kids can do that at 4 months.

She is in size 3 diapers.

Her torso is the size of a 6-9 month-old's.

The hilarious part is that her legs are still newborn-sized. We call her Stumps. James has taken to calling the two of them "Grumps and Stumps." Grace's sleeping patterns have devolved again, though they're not as bad as they were. She's semi-grouchy much of the time instead of freaking out all of the time. I'll take it.

One last little thing. I love cooking. LOVE it. But I'm slow. And scatterbrained. And no one ever really taught me. I fumbled my way through it on my honeymoon and have been slowly acquiring skills ever since.

(Uuuuh. Ignore the double meaning there, that I didn't even notice until I'd already typed the sentence.)

Are there any books that tell you how to get better at cooking? I try new recipes all the time, so I've got that part covered. But I mean cookingING books (not cook books) that are kind of like textbooks. And that aren't really dry. Something I'll actually read, use and enjoy.

Anyone? Thanks.


  1. Cookbooks that teach you how to cook, what a novelty idea! I'm sure there are, but I don't know where to find them. Maybe look at books geared to kids? I don't mean that in an insulting way, just that they might explain things like what various techniques mean, or how to time everything to be ready at the same time.

    I'm tempted to start a website called "What it looks like and where to find it at the grocery store." So that when you run into, say, shallots, in a recipe, you can figure out what they are and what section they'd be in. Instead of looking stupid when you find out that "scallions" and "green onions" are the same thing, or that it really does matter what kind of onion you use.

    I didn't learn much cooking, either. Baking, yes; cooking, no. I sort of try new recipes and rely on Google to answer any questions I have about recipes.

    That's hilarious about Grace thinking she was made by oatmeal. I wonder what the link in her head is?

    And awesome about your little precious Emmy! Wow! Color me impressed. My oldest was somewhat advanced physically, but not precociously so (rolled over at 4 months, crawled at 6, walked at 10) so it was hard to see my youngest take months longer to reach those milestones and not worry. Of course, we do tend to fixate on those milestones and usually the kids all end up pretty much the same by 4 or so anyway (please the hair, please let it grow in by 4).

  2. If you get the Food Network and have a PVR, check out Good Eats. If you like the topic of the particular show you watch, PVR every single episode :) Alton Brown (host) is really great at breaking down cooking techniques and even the science behind cooking. He also has a few books (haven't read them yet but I've heard they are good). I've been watching it for about a year and learned TONS.