An Etta Update

20130706-163932.jpgYou know, Etta’s never had an update of her own, though Claire’s had many. So here’s the scoop on our littlest lady.

She’s the littlest big kid I’ve ever seen.

She’s like one of those super concentrated detergent packages, a big punch of personality in a tiny body. She’s in the 10th percentile for both height and weight, and I often find myself calling her things like “Peanut,” “Little Britches,” “Itty Bitty Etta Baby,” and “the Tiny One.” And yet, despite her small stature, there’s no denying that there’s very little “baby” left in this toddler. She’s on the go go go, climbing furniture yet lacking the confidence to let go and walk without holding onto something. In fact, this is a pattern with her, fierce independence paired with strong attachment, which is really how attachment is supposed to work, as I understand it, with a strong attachment giving her the trust to strike out on her own. She likes to play near but not with us, but returns frequently for a hug or to lay her head down on me and have me stroke her hair. She loves trying new things as long as we’re nearby, and she loved a recent trip to the splash park, laughing with almost maniacal glee as her daddy walked with her through sprays of water that kind of freaked her sister out.

Splashing happily at the splash pad.
Splashing happily at the splash pad.
I left the room for a split second and she ended up here.
I left the room for a split second and she ended up here.

She’s also a total ham. She’s mastered the wave and the blown kiss, and she pairs both with an adorably squeaked “heyyyyyy” or “haiiiiiii” or “byyyyyye,” for maximum effect. Recently we were at a party standing with a group of people. I asked Etta if she wanted to go outside, and she waved to the group and said “byyyyyye!” They all “awwwwed.”

This big personality means very big feelings too. When she is happy, she is very very happy, and when she is sad, she is very very sad. Often, her sadness is related to my thwarting of her plans for mischief and mayhem: why won’t I let her sit on the end tables? Why won’t I let her fling herself off the couch? Why won’t I let her chew on iPhones and remotes? Why won’t I let her turn the Xbox on and of and on and off and on and off? Because I’m the worst.

My tiny tot often has disheveled hair, dirty knees, grubby hands, and a mischievous gleam in her eye. I’m so glad she’s mine.

Coming back for snuggles, with a bottle stolen from sister.
Coming back for snuggles, with a bottle stolen from sister.

Feeding Miss Etta

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I’ve posted a little bit about feeding my girls, but after a few comments on Twitter and Instagram about Miss Etta’s eating habits, I thought it might be helpful to go ahead and write a more detailed post about my semi-Baby Led Weaning table-food-eating one year old.

We started introducing solids in the form of purees around 6 months, but from the start, Etta wanted little to do with being spoon fed. She likes to do things by and for herself, and the whole thing was largely a very messy battle with her wanting to control the spoon, and very little food winding up in her mouth. By about 9 months, she was still mostly not eating food, so we decided to try “Baby Led Weaning,” which I had mostly heard of on mama message boards. Basically, Baby Led Weaning is giving kids pieces of food that they can feed themselves. I never read the books on the subject, but there are many, as well as websites, so feel free to seek that stuff out. We just started giving her steamed hunks of sweet potato and carrot, about adult finger sized, and from there eventually wound up graduating to just feeding her foods.

These days, my entire fridge is full of little tupperwares of Etta meal components. Then her meals are basically just multiple choice problems. Breakfast is usually fruit+grain+dairy, and lunch and dinner are protein+veggies+grain, with an occasional dairy item thrown in.

Fruits:

  • No sugar added applesauce (the only ingredients are apples and apple juice, but I may start adding cinnamon to give her some flavor), served in a Yummi Pouch.
  • I buy canned/jarred fruit a lot, and either give it to her to feed herself in chunks, or puree it in my Ninja Blender and serve it to her in a Yummi Pouch, often adding oatmeal baby cereal to it. We like peaches, pears, pineapple, and mixed tropical fruit in juice (not syrup).
  • Fresh fruits like pears, sliced into wedges she can hold and gnaw on. Hunks of banana or mango, sliced berries, and clementine segments have also gone over well. I’ve even bought frozen berries, thawed, and served them to her, though they were a huge mess. In the future, I may restrict berries to purees in the Yummi Pouch so she looks less like an extra from a zombie flick.

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Grains/starches:

  • We are big fans of toast+spreads, both for breakfast and dinner. Toast is usually a halved multigrain English muffin or multigrain bread. Spreads include guacamole, butter, hummus, jam, pumpkin butter, tahini, almond, and peanut butter. I cut the toast into strips of about adult finger size, and she goes to town. 
  • Tortillas, spread with any of the above spreads, or as a cheese quesadilla.
  • Earth’s Best baby crackers or graham crackers
  • Veggie pastas, like the kind with spinach and tomato in it, either plain or tossed in some simple tomato sauce (this is messy). Bowties and Penne seem easy to hold.
  • Spinach and cheese raviolis, cooked and cut into quarters.
  • Rice
  • Mashed potatoes, though this is a messy proposition and usually necessitates a bath as she smears it in her hair.
  • Roasted potatoes.
  • The occasional French fry.

Proteins:

  • BEANS! Etta loves beans. I buy organic canned beans (I admit, I’m not stressing about BPA in canned foods at this point, though I buy BPA free items whenever possible), and she likes kidney, pinto, black, and garbanzo beans. I just rinse them and keep them in a container in the fridge. She gets a handful at a time. Hummus on toast, as mentioned above, also counts as a serving of beans. Warning: you will see the bean peels when you change a poopy diaper. Do not be alarmed!
  • Cooked chicken, shredded or cubed. She usually only gets this if we’re having chicken for dinner.
  • Fish. So far she’s just had salmon when we were having it for dinner, but she was a fan. She loves flavorful stuff.
  • Scrambled tofu. She loved scrambled eggs until we had a pretty strong allergic reaction, and she likes scrambled tofu almost as much, particularly flavored up with chili powder and cheese.

Veggies:

  • Frozen mixed veggies have been a staple. They’re easy to steam in the microwave and store in a tupperware, and she gets to try a large variety. I often add butter or olive oil and some sort of spices or herbs, because I’ve discovered through serving her bits of our meals that she really loves flavor. Peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, squash, butternut squash, edamame, and lima beans are all easy to get in the freezer section.
  • Sauteed, steamed, ora roasted fresh veggies are great too– whatever we’re having for dinner, she often gets some. Zucchini seems to be a fave.
  • Halved cherry tomatoes. She loves these. The acidity often irritates the skin on her face and hands though, so I can’t give them to her as often as she’d like. She noms all the goodness out and spits out the peels.
  • Weird stuff, like hearts of palm from a salad we had, are always fun for her to try, and she often ends up loving them.

Dairy:

  • YOGURT. I make homemade yogurt, and she eats it in a Yummi Pouch.
  • Cheese. Cubed cheddar, jack, or mozzarella are easy, as is pre-crumbled goat cheese and feta. She loves them all.

When I have several of the above components, meals just become a simple matter of pulling out the containers and giving her a little of each category. Any time I don’t think she’s eaten a lot of the food, I give her a pouch of yogurt or apple sauce to round out the meal and fill her up. So far, she’s pretty willing to try just about anything, and she’s not very picky. I will be sure to update with a new post once we’re further into toddlerhood!

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