Dinner! Get in my belly!

Brown butter tomatoes and herbed farro? In my belly!

I think it’s safe to say he liked it.

Diced nectarines with creme fraiche were a huge hit. Somebody had two servings.

Diced nectarines with creme fraiche were a huge hit. Somebody had two servings.

Peanut

Julian: 46 Weeks Old

“He’s a little peanut!”

Those words were spoken by Julian’s new pediatrician, shortly after she breezed into the exam room for our son’s first visit. Apparently, at a little over 18.5 lbs. and 28 inches long, our little guy is, well, little for his age.

I expected to be shocked by the numbers at this visit, but this was not at all what I was prepared for. Mike and I have been talking for weeks about how heavy and solid Julian feels when we pick him up and carry him around, how he seems to be stretching out before our eyes, so much longer/taller than before. So to find that he’s now in the lower end of the percentile range for his height and weight (though above the curve for head circumference) was startling. The doctor didn’t seem at all concerned, though Mike and I are going to work on giving him more frequent meals of solids, and increasing the amounts of the things we offer him (though we won’t ever force him to eat if he’s truly not hungry).

Julian’s appetite is great, he loves to eat and demands to try anything he sees us eating, and he’s got so much energy… so why am I worried that we’re doing this all wrong? I know that every baby is different, that breastfed infants tend to have a different growth pattern than formula-fed babies, and that as long as he’s healthy and happy and otherwise developing normally and well, we shouldn’t be too concerned, but I’m feeling more than a little frustrated and disappointed in my parenting skills in the wake of yesterday’s appointment.

looking back and forward

Feets.

Now that the dust has (mostly) settled after our big upheaval, we’re working hard on establishing our new routines. Julian is doing great here in New York, is happy as can be and is growing like a weed. We’ll meet his new pediatrician next week, and find out just how much he has grown since his last checkup. I’m sure I’ll be startled by the numbers, though there’s no denying that my little baby can more accurately be described now as my little boy.

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He’s got charm that radiates, and the most incredible, winning smile that reaches right through strangers’ stolid subway faces, garnering smiles in return. He loves to laugh, and more now, to make us laugh. He loves his kitties, squealing with glee whenever they’re around (“ka” was his second word, after “da-da” and before “ma-ma”). He crawls like a flash, zooming across the room like a little wind-up doll, but he’s more interested in standing these days – and he’s good at it, balancing on those solid little legs without assistance, blocks or wooden spoons in hand, for a good minute or more before lowering himself down to the ground, or using the table’s edge to maneuver to another spot. He’ll be walking in no time, I’m sure.

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He’s got six teeth now – four on top and two on the bottom, and he loves to chew on anything he can get his hands on. And he loves, loves, to eat with us. We’re still nursing, cruising along to our one year goal, but he has embraced solids with gusto, and demands at least a taste of anything we eat.

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He still loves eggs and avocados, applesauce and plain yogurt (which he sometimes gets with a bit of jam), and any kind of cheese, but his diet has broadened to include all sorts of vegetables (garlicky sauteed chard or kale are favorites, as is this broccoli, roasted carrots, fresh sweet corn and buttery peas). He’s had, and liked, cherry tomatoes, roasted down until sweet and jammy, blanched and sauteed broccoli rabe, eggplant roasted and layered with sauce and cheese, and German butterball potatoes mashed with lots of local sweet butter and cream. Peaches and strawberries are favorites among the summer fruits flooding our farmer’s markets right now, and, like his mama, he loves beans.

pondering the bagel

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He also loves any kind of meat – chicken, beef, lamb, duck, and pork, in just about any preparation – and to my delight, he has really dug the seafood we’ve given him. Wild salmon? Loves it. Sardines? More! Anchovies? Can’t get enough. We finally got back to Russ and Daughters last weekend, and brought home some beautiful schmaltz herring for him (and us, too). And now that it seems he’ll eat anything we put in front of him, we’re adding whole grains – steel-cut oats in the morning, a little whole-grain pasta (wheat or farro), and the occasional bite of bagel or bread.

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I can’t believe Julian’s first year is already coming to a close. He’ll be a year old in September, just a little over a month from now. Feeding him has been a joy and a delight, by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and we’re only just beginning. Mike and I are thinking about how we’ll celebrate Julian’s first birthday, how we’ll ring in his next year, and you can bet that a meal – and a cake – will play a big part in it. It’s how we celebrate in this family, after all.

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