Glance Back at the Week

1. Our kitty Velcro is at it again. She always picks the BEST times to get sick, I tell ‘ya. Wednesday evening, I noticed a little blood in her pee, in tiny little puddles in front of the litter box. Her signature move when she’s got an infection. So, I take her in, thinking we’ll get the (expensive) injectable antibiotic, seeing as how I’m due to deliver a baby at any given moment, and we’d leave. Done and done. Well, wrong and wrong. She’s lost a pound since the beginning of the summer, and since a) her appetite has increased; b) her vomiting has MAJORLY increased; and c) she’s got another (suspected) bladder infection, they think she might have thyroid problems. So, they had to do a full senior blood panel, even though Lady is only 9 years old, and a lengthy urine culture to rule out other bladder issues. At least I was able to talk them out of the $200 x-ray I got suckered into last time this happened. $200 I may as well have thrown in the trash, as it came up showing nothing and her problem eventually cleared up on its own. This kitty. She is our problem child, no doubt about it. The vet tech made a comment about her “thick file” today. She’s been to the vet more than our 19 year old cat and our dog combined. More than our HUMAN SON has been to the pediatrician. I think of all the kitties who skate by on their good looks, she’s the luckiest to have been born so cute. She’d have been out on the street so long ago.

2. No baby yet. Not even a hint of baby. Well, at least up until this post goes to print. I know that I’ve got another week until my due date. And I know that Bowie came 8 days late. I just held out hope that the whole Second-Babies-Come-Sooner thing might hold true. I have stubborn boys, I guess. But, a fellow mama at preschool today did tell me, “Your baby is coming soon. You just have that look.” So, yay?

3. This post from one of my favorite blogs, Smacksy, brought up a pretty scary memory for me, one that I don’t like to think about but I suppose we should think about those kinds of things once in a while. It keeps us on our toes. It’s crazy being in charge of little people, being responsible for their well-being in every single aspect of their lives. Molding and shaping them with your every move, every second of the day. And dear God, I’ve got another one coming. PANIC. (But, no, seriously dude, you can still come out.)

Have a great weekend, and may my next Glance Back post find me the mama of two.

38 Weeks

38 weeks 2 days as of today, and he’s still in there. I was thinking do I post a picture or not? I can’t possibly look that much different from the last picture. But um, HOLY WOW I AM SO MUCH BIGGER.

Click through to see the 36 week picture again, for a frame of reference.

Not much I can tell you that’s new, I’ve complained about it all so much before that I will spare you this week. I alternate about every 30 seconds between paralyzing anxiety about labor and delivery (and parenting two children at once), and wanting him to get out of mama’s belleh right nooooooowwww!

Any time now. Aaaaaaannnnnnnny time now.

P.S. I made the Circle of Moms list! Thanks so much for your votes!!!

Glance Back at the Week

1. The preschool director had requested a meeting with me last week, to “discuss Bowie’s progress and where he is now”. And I sort of dreaded it, just unsure of what they’d tell me or expect me to say. I met with them this past Tuesday and, oh you guys. Amazing meeting. The teachers are completely floored by his behavior, and how far he’s come. The director said he’s “a completely different kid.” They applauded us for putting him in therapy and being persistent with him over the summer, and they said it has paid off in a major way. And they’d even like to use us as an example for future families who might be hesitant to seek help. I used to cry in their office out of frustration and embarrassment, and that day I was able to get misty out of pride and relief. I knew there had been a change in him, but I wasn’t sure others would be able to see it too. But, they were so surprised, and so happy.

2. So, if you’re a semi-regular reader, then you know I had a salmonella infection in 2006. It was a little bit traumatic, and I talk about it a lot, using my blog as a therapist (thanks you guys, you’re way cheaper than an actual therapist) and I like to get the word out about recalls and warnings. Because it was hell on earth, and I just don’t want to see anyone else get it. But I have to say that lately, I am pretty freaking overwhelmed with the news stories and warnings and recalls and possible contaminations and outbreaks. They are everywhere I turn. Peanut butter and mangoes and lettuce and spinach and canteloupe and tomatoes and ground turkey and MY GOD MAKE IT STOP. It’s enough to make even the bravest eater among us wonder if anything we ever put in our mouths is safe. And being pregnant makes it even scarier, because it’s not just about me right now, ya know? Funny story (also that you’ve probably already heard)–when I went into labor with Bowie, I actually thought I’d contracted salmonella again. The gastrointestinal distress, the abdominal cramping, it was all so reminiscent of my illness. I told my husband to take me to the hospital because I was sick and I didn’t want to hurt the baby. He could see through the crazy and knew I was in labor, but I was inconsolable, surely I’d somehow gotten salmonella again, and now my baby had it too. Wow, the crazy, looking back.

3. Since Tuesday, I have been having some mild cramping and lots of pelvic pressure. I’m sure I have a ways to go yet, but it’s nice to feel like things are progressing a little bit. I am SO hungry. All the time. It’s nuts. (Mmmm, nuts.) And between the peeing, the sore hips, the sweating to death and the insane dreams, sleep is a thing of the past. I’m trying to learn to cope with it, instead of complain about it, because I know I won’t be getting sleep anytime soon.

4. For your weekly dose of insane cute: Bowie found this outfit in the dress up area at school. It’s a witch’s dress, but some of the trim is green with spiders and spiderwebs on it. And he’s totally latched on to the thing, proclaiming it the “Nice Spiderman Princess” outfit. He wears it all afternoon at school, and the other night I just couldn’t get it off of him, so he wore it out to dinner too. And the the whole next afternoon at school, and following evening. It’s so cute and hilarious, and we can’t wait to show him pictures when he graduates high school.

Discipline, Psychology, Swear Words and Me

So, I’m going to blab at you about kids and swearing again, sorry. If you’re a bit sensitive to swearing, now’s a good time to move on to some better blog reading. The thing is, the swearing preschooler in our house is still going strong, even at school, and I’m kind of perturbed that no one’s advice is working.

Thankfully, the F word seems to have waned a little bit. It still comes out from time to time, but nowhere near as often as “shit”. Shit is probably the word he uses the most on a daily basis. Well, it’s in the running, along with “want” and “juice”.

These are the main things we have tried to combat the swearing:

1. Pretending not to hear the words. This trick is a lot more effective when we are at home. Because when you’re at a preschooler birthday party, packed with other parents and kids, and he yells at top volume, “You’re just a stupid shit mama!” and you try to ignore it, you just look like a loser. Seriously. Like you don’t care, and aren’t trying. But, at home we’ve tried the tactic of seeming unfazed, to take the power out of the words. Because, that’s what it’s really all about, right? He’s somehow learned that particular words hold power. He has power by saying them. And power is all a preschooler really wants out of life, because their opportunities to have any are so few. But, all this tactic seems to have done for him is made the word more accessible, and more a regular part of his daily vocabulary. It’s similar to an adult’s use of swear words in that manner. Have you ever challenged yourself to not swear? Or even to stop saying any word? A college friend and I challenged ourselves to cut out the word “like”, at least in the context of “you know, like, totally awesome” and I think we made it…an hour? Point being, the more regular use a word gets, the more likely it is to pop out at every given chance. So, this isn’t working. At all.

2. Getting super angry when he says the word. We’ve also been known to make threats, like taking toys away, not going somewhere special, even the dreaded Soap in the Mouth (which pre-parenthood I was sooooo against, funny how things change. But, we get organic, plant based soaps so…are we less evil???). But, this comes right back to the power element of it. Us getting angry gives the behavior some pretty big time attention. Negative attention, yes. But when you’re 4, it doesn’t really matter if the attention is negative or positive, as long as it’s there. Hey, when I say “shit”, mom and dad flip out at me, awesome! So, obviously, this isn’t going to work. And in general, it makes all three of us miserable.

3. Replacing the word with other words, or encouraging him to choose words to say in place of swear words. We’ve repeated his own sentences back to him with different words, similar to the preschool teacher from my last post. We have also asked him to choose different words to express his anger and frustration. AND, we have ALSO suggested he choose and/or make up a new word that he can use in the same context he would use a swear word. For instance, “shoot” or “fudge”. So, you can still release the bad feelings by yelling out a word, but that word doesn’t actually have to be a swear word. This suggestion seems to offend him, and he gets angry and refuses. Still hammering home with this one, it seems like it should work so well.

4. Referring to all swear words as bad words that we don’t say. And if he hears it in a movie, or out in public, we will point out that the person saying it is an adult, but he is still just a kid, so it’s not appropriate for him to say it. Now, any fellow parent or child psychologist or anyone really can tell me this method is not effective with any child for any behavior. But, that didn’t really stop us from giving it a go. We are very, very desperate.

We were still seeing the occupational therapist when all of this first started, and her response was that he’s picked up the words, figured out how to use them in context, and refuses to stop using them no matter how much mommy and daddy plead because, “He’s so smart!” Which is a nice and thoughtful thing to say about my son, but really, not so helpful.

And I know my son well enough, and know parenting well enough, to know that eventually it will all pass. It will fade away, the luster will be lost, the words will make their way out of his everyday vocabulary. But, it seems to be taking an awfully long time for this to happen. And, I can’t really do anything about the Shock and Awe he’s causing the general public. All those perfect, do-good parents out there who never allowed these words into their child’s pristine ears. In addition to making a dramatic, taken-aback face at him, they also look to me for some kind of response. Something to the tune of one of the four aforementioned methods, which have all failed miserably for us.

I didn’t get much of a response last time I posted about this. I think simply because you guys just don’t know what to tell me. You probably haven’t had to deal with it (and I hope that you never do!). And that’s fine. But, what are some of your other methods of getting through to your kids about an undesirable, yet very stubborn behavior? How can we get inside their little brains, and make them think curbing their bad behavior was actually their own idea?

Behavior chart? Some version of a “swear jar” that will resonate with a kid? Any advice or idea very welcome at this point.

 

Glance Back at the Week

1. The new-ish bloggy thing seems to be writing a letter to your 18 year old self. What you’d say to her if you could. Your advice, your warnings. I’ve sat down to write this post more times than I can count. I end up writing long, silly, run-on paragraphs in which I detail my youthful hijinks and warn, “You’ll regret that.” Which I then realize is pointless to even mention, and I sit there all nostalgic and in the written form of tongue tied. What it really boils down to is this:

Dear 18 year old Beth:

You are beautiful. Take pride in your body, and your youth. The first time you see your post-baby body in a Target dressing room mirror, you will wonder why you ever hated your body so much. And for heaven’s sakes, slow down. There’s no reason to be in such a hurry to be an adult, trust.

And oh yeah, wear sunscreen.

Much love, 33 year old Beth

2. Voting is still open for the Circle of Moms’ Top 25 NorCal Moms contest! Please vote for me and for all of your NorCal favorites! I know you guys did this for me last year, and you rocked it! Not pushing it so hard this year, but it would be nice to end up on that list. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support! Voting ends in one week, and you can vote once each day.

3. Preschool started back up this week! And I was SO nervous about Bowie’s first day back. Just, how he would adjust, if he would get overwhelmed and what might be done about his newly acquired swearing habit. But, I was assured by all teachers and one of the working parents that he had a fantastic day. And then I worried how he’d be yesterday, for my work day, because often if I’m there and things aren’t going his way, he takes it out on me. And there was a moment during opening circle time when things weren’t exactly happening the way he wanted, and he tried to bite me. But all in all, it was another amazing day. I’m cautiously optimistic that today will go well, and his first couple of days back will be incident-free. A luxury I have not had the pleasure of experiencing since February. And he swore yesterday, but it was directed at a swing, and not a person, which is a minor victory. And the school’s newest teacher just kept responding by putting different words into his sentences. Bowie: “You shit swing!” Teacher: “You silly swing, you’re not doing what Bowie wants!” Bowie: “Shit, I can’t get my foot out!” Teacher: “Ugh, I’m so frustrated that Bowie can’t get his foot out!” Awesome preschool teachers For. The. Win.

4. Sunday marks 37 weeks of pregnancy. As in full term. As in, you can make your grand entrance at any time, bubba. I’m getting invites to birthday parties and emails about preschool meetings for the first few weeks of September and I get so excited thinking, “Well, I could have my little guy before then.” In all reality, I’ll probably be sitting here, a week past my September 16 due date, feeling huge and sore and tired, just like I was with Bowie. And if walking endlessly around our hilly neighborhood, eating pineapple by the pound and drinking vats of raspberry leaf tea taught me anything, it’s that you can’t hurry a baby that’s happy inside mama. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m choosing to remain very optimistic. And when all is said and done, he WILL be here by the end of September, no matter what.

Loveliest of weekends to you all, and if you need me I’m somewhere in that thick blanket of fog covering the Bay Area. (Actually, as I type this, the sky is sort of…well, I don’t want to jinx it.)

36 Weeks

36 weeks, people! THIRTY SIX WEEKS!

I have some way, somehow, made it to the last month of this pregnancy! It feels like it’s taken for-EV-er (not helped by the fact that the owner of our corner market says “I thought you were due like, last week?” every single time I walk in there. Which is a lot. Ahem.) but here we are!

I am almost as giddy as I imagine I will be on my due date, because the next four weeks have the full, busy promise of flying by at light speed. Doctor’s appointments, preschool duties, final preparations. My days will be full. And short.

I’m still getting that question: How are you feeling?

If I had to pick just one word, I’d say “tired”. If I got an extra word, I would say “hungry”.

I don’t sleep well at night anymore. It’s a 7 to 8 hour battle of wills with my own body. I have to pee approximately every 2 hours. And that’s if I don’t have a beverage with my dinner. I also have to roll over every hour or so, because for some reason if I lie on one side for too long, the hip I’ve been lying on is excruciatingly sore. Only relieved by lying on my back (NOT ALLOWED) or rolling over to the other side to start the process over again. I remember having a hard time sleeping toward the end of my pregnancy with Bowie too. But back then I had the luxury of naps. And days off.

Also, Bowie used to sleep very reliably until 7 a.m. but has lately taken to waking at more of the 5:30 or 6 a.m. hour. We have been letting him lay in bed with us in the hopes that all three of us can snooze for another hour, but that rarely works.

My days are also very tiring themselves. Some days just getting from the front of our house to the back is exhausting. So, you know, those days when I actually do stuff, like go grocery shopping and sweeping the floors and doing a couple of loads of laundry, I’m ready for bed by 6 p.m.

And the thing with my appetite. I’m hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Always. It never ends. I will finish a meal, a big, satisfying meal, and I will feel really full. For about a half hour. “I’m starving.” “Didn’t you just eat that big turkey sandwich from the deli?” “That was a whole 20 minutes ago, fool!” Thank goodness I haven’t gained that much weight this pregnancy, or I’d feel bad for stuffing my face so much.

My last pregnancy, I ate anything and everything in sight. But this time, I have to watch what I eat pretty closely because of the diabetes. So, I have to find easy go-to snack foods that are high in protein, low in carbs, fairly healthy and not sugary. Cheese. I eat a lot of cheese.

Baby has also moved a bit lower into my pelvis in the last couple of days. Getting out of bed, getting off the couch, getting out of the car and really just walking are a JOKE. Well, not exactly. Jokes are funny. This BLOWS. So much pain, radiating from my pelvis and hips all the way down my legs. And forget the “pregnancy waddle”, this is more in the camp of “pregnancy hobble along like a 90 year old with arthritis in every joint who can’t find her walker”. My belly is also so much bigger than it was with Bowie. I was looking at some old pictures, and even a couple of weeks ago, I was bigger than I was at 38 weeks with Bowie. Right now, I’m about twice the size of that old picture, and I’m still only 36 weeks along with this guy. What the what? So, enormous pressure I haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing before. And I thought I knew all that was in store for me.

But, all things considered, I’m doing fine. Dealing with all of this while having to run around after Bowie was a little terrifying at first. But, we’re doing all right. All my other bothersome symptoms I’ve either gotten used to or they’ve thankfully waned a bit.

Now I get to psych myself up for labor, a labor I’m really optimistically envisioning is shorter and easier than my first go around, because I’m also optimistically hoping to get through it without resorting to the epidural. Not that I’m against epidurals in any way. But, I had one with Bowie and it mucked things up a bit. Slowed my labor down considerably, and so they gave me drugs to speed it back up again, which caused some serious contractions, which lowered Bowie’s heart rate to dangerous levels, which meant an almost C-section. Also, I had the shakes and nausea for at least 8 or 9 hours after the damn thing wore off. So, please let me do this without an epidural this time? Optimism! Yay!

I’m also thinking a lot about Bowie. He knows there’s a new baby coming, a baby who will be his little brother, but I know he is completely unaware of the bomb that’s about to drop on his little life. It’s a huge shift in reality for an already very sensitive four year old. My poor little guy. But, I just know he’s going to be a great big brother. We were sitting and having a heart-to-heart the other day and I said, “You won’t be sad if mommy and daddy are busy with baby brother and can’t help you with something, will you?”

And he said matter-of-factly, “No, mama, I’m going to have to help you with baby brother.” Heart: melted.

Thanks for hanging in there with me for this whole crazy, whiny ride. Almost there, almost there, almost there…

Friday Post Which Needs a Better Name

1. It just dawned on me last week as I scrambled to put together a Friday post that it was likely not a very good plan to institute a weekly post regimen right before giving birth. So, this tradition may disappear as quickly as it began. We shall see.

2. As the baby gets bigger and moves lower, it’s getting really painful to stand and walk. So you know, nothing important or anything. One trip to a store is like 3 or 4 trips to the bathroom. Annoying.

3. Thank you for the comments on here and on Twitter about the differences between children. I am not freaking out that much anymore about figuring out a new kid all over again. I did it once, I can do it again. And this time I have most of the basics under my belt to rely upon.

4. The swearing has improved. A little. But it’s still happening. And he’s also added “stupid” and “shut up” to his regular rotation. Which, while not those evil swear words society has deemed unacceptable, they still aren’t great things to be throwing around at preschool. And now, I have a new issue: he likes to lie and say he heard me say a certain word (which 99% of the time is really a lie, I’ve been on my best behavior). So, what do I do with that? He doesn’t quite get the concept of lying, so saying, “Stop lying!” does nothing but make him crack up.

5. Preschool starts back up on Wednesday. All at once too soon (because this reminds me I need to start shopping around for a KINDERGARTEN, my GOD) and not soon enough. I need a break. And a solo trip to Target.

6. Nesting, nesting, NESTING! I never went through this when I was pregnant with Bowie. I am crazy. I reorganized my tampons, people. Officially Sunday, I am 36 weeks pregnant, leaving just 4 short weeks until my due date. And yesterday I had a small moment of panic thinking of how soon this could happen if he came a little early (hey, a girl can dream). Could be as early as 2 weeks, right? So I flipped out a little and organized and reorganized everything. Washed all the baby’s clothes, ordered the final needs from Amazon. Then spent the late afternoon in a near-coma on the couch.

7. I have been nominated again by Circle of Moms for a blog award, this time Top 25 NorCal Moms 2012. If you have a spare moment, go here and vote for Very Bloggy. And your other NorCal favorites too, of course. You can vote once per day, and there’s 2 weeks left to vote. Thank you all for your support, with this and everything else!

8. This picture is actually already as old as last weekend, but it’s so cute, I think I might get arrested if I don’t post it on my blog. He fell off his bike going “down the big huge hill that goes under the cool bridge”. Biggest ouchie he’s had to date, I think.

Different

Whenever I have a conversation with a friend who already has more than one child, the topic of how different they all are from one another always comes up. Little Johnny did x, y and z. Little Susie did none of those, she did a, b and c instead.

The basic feeling you leave this conversation with each time is HOLY LORD, my baby was such an awesome sleeper / eater / pooper / bather / babysitter stayer-wither that surely, SURELY, another child will just be hell.

I’m trying not to psych myself out too much on the subject. But, there are a few things I’m starting to wonder about as Life With Two Children creeps closer and closer.

Here’s a list of the things Bowie never did:

1. Spit up. Never. Really, he literally never did.

2. Require formula. Breastfed like a champ. Took me a few weeks to get used to it, but he was right there from day 1.

3. Need to go to the emergency room. Not once! Well, knock on wood, the kid is only 4. But I read about people having to take their infant to the ER and I can feel the terror in my veins.

4. Get constipated. Never. Not once. Oh the horror stories I’ve read about babies who can’t poop.

And some things Bowie thankfully did spectacularly:

1. Slept. At first it was the typical newborn wake-every-two-hours routine. But, within a month he was sleeping 4 hours at a time overnight, and slept through the night at 3 months old.

2. Like I said, breastfed. Zero issues. 13 months. Nailed it.

3. Self soothed with a pacifier. As a wee one, he had trouble keeping it in his mouth. But, it always worked to help soothe him to sleep. See also: didn’t become a thumbsucker.

4. Didn’t get attached to a lovey. I kind of secretly hoped he would. It’s just cute. I also assumed he would, as for a time in my own childhood I couldn’t leave the house without my stuffed Bugs Bunny, two small stuffed dogs and two blankets. But now I’m pretty glad, both because I’ve never had the “WHERE’S THE LOVEY?” bedtime scare, and also it says a lot about his confidence.

5. Transition to a toddler bed. SEAMLESS. Well, he fell out the first few nights. But after that ended: SEAMLESS.

So, I kind of have a mini heart attack whenever I think about having to do these things all over again with Little Man #2. Clearly it won’t go they way it did before. There’s just no way we could be that lucky twice.

And there are some things Bowie didn’t do well at all. Like not even a little bit:

1. Potty training. Holy hell you guys, it took us an entire year and a half to get this kid fully, completely, wearing-underpants-instead-of-Pull-Ups potty trained. When people warn you as a new parent that you’ll be dealing with lot of pee and poo, they’re not talking about diapers. 

2. Fall asleep alone. As a baby he would nurse until he fell asleep. And when I weaned, I gave him a cup of milk which he drank to fall asleep. And when we finally, begrudgingly, took away the cup of milk around age 2 1/2, one of us had to sit in there with him or lie in his bed with him until he drifted off. We’ve only been able to leave him alone in his room, unassisted in any way, to fall asleep for about 3 months now. Yes, three months ago, I was still climbing in bed with him. And even now, bedtime is still not without its hang ups.

3. Napping. Well, he did fine. Average. I mean, I did tell you he was a great sleeper. But, he was totally done with naps by age 2. I was so jealous of all my playgroup friends who were so bummed to have to leave to get home for naptime. I wanted to shake them and yell, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?” Not that he absolutely won’t ever take a nap, BUT if we allow it, he will be up until 10, maybe 11 p.m. So not cool. But I have friends with 4 year olds who can allow a nap, and still have a reasonable bedtime. SO. JEALOUS.

In a perfect world, some of this stuff would be exactly the same for the new dude, and some stuff would be totally the opposite. But, need I remind you, this is not a perfect world? It’s a little terrifying, the prospect of not knowing how all this stuff is gonna go down. I feel pretty confident doing this mom thing, but they’re going to hand me a tiny, squirmy, blank slate of a human being in 5 weeks. And it’s going to be, “What the heck do I do with this?” all over again.

If you have 2 or more kiddos, how did it go for you? Were they pretty much the same as each other? Or were they so vastly different from each other that you refuse to believe that they are made of the same genetic material?

Friday Digest 3

1. NESTING has kicked in, full gear. Tossing out old stuff, scrubbing walls, cleaning out the fridge, folding and refolding all the baby clothes. And fighting the urge to buy everything we need from the registry for just a few more weeks.

2. I only gained a half pound since my last OB visit two weeks ago. That makes a grand total of about 11 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Not too shabby! It’s been a very eye-opening experience being on this low-carb diet, having to read labels and control portions and monitor how it all affects my body. They seem mildly concerned that I’m not gaining weight in the exponential numbers I was during my first pregnancy, but the baby is active (understatement) and I’m measuring exactly where I should be. So, I’m fine with it.

3. To give you all a glimpse of life with a really picky eater, a story. Mere moments after I posted Wednesday about the Pasta Salad’s Feet You Should Kiss if Pasta Had Feet, Bowie announced that “I don’t like spinach or slimeys (salami) anymore and I don’t want this supper.” Ugh. We dealt with it and he ate (most of) it. But still. The picky eating. Ugh.

4. My Old Man Kitty turned 19 years young this week. Coupla bum kidneys and a touch of senility, but he’s hanging in there. He got to hang out in the backyard and have some treats that Bowie picked out at the pet store. A good 19th kitty birthday, in my opinion.

Have a great weekend, catch you on the flip side.

Summer Noms

It’s been far too long since I wrote a food post. I’ve been in a major recipe rut for months now, and having to be on a low-carb diet hasn’t helped the cause any. But, I felt inspired today to post my favorite, favorite, favorite pasta salad recipe, for a couple of reasons.

1. Us San Franciscans are just beginning to enter our real summer, which comes a bit later than it does for the rest of the country. September and October are our hot, sunny, stellar months. We’ve had some good days so far this August too. And we’re rockin’ it. So, it’s time to whip out the “summer” recipes–i.e. those that don’t involve the oven and/or are served cold.

2. Every time I make this salad, Bowie enjoys it a little bit more. The last time I made it, he gobbled up every last drop. If you know my son at all (or have read my Twitter account on any given day) then you know he is about the pickiest eater there is. Won’t try a new thing ever. ESPECIALLY if it’s green. But he eats every single morsel of this salad. Once you see the ingredients, you’ll understand why this is so noteworthy. So, parents of picky eaters: read on.

You’re likely wondering how I can include a pasta salad in my diet when I’m supposed to be keeping it low-carb. First off, I use whole wheat pasta, which is better for the ol’ blood sugar than regular white pasta. Secondly, I can tolerate more carbs later in the day, so right now I reserve this dish for dinner. Thirdly, it helps to eat the pasta in conjunction with the other ingredients. And finally, our old friend portion control.

Ok. So. This recipe is based on one I found a while back on Real Simple. Well, it’s exactly this recipe, except that they advertise it as a lunch dish and the recipe “serves 2”. When I make it, I double or triple it, and really just eyeball the amounts needed of each of the ingredients. Which is why, to the dismay of some of you, I don’t have any exact measurements listed here, only the ingredients you need. You can decide how much of everything you want, which I think just adds to the beauty of the recipe. Ok, here you go:

Most Delicious, Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad Ever

Cooked and cooled pasta, penne works well

Bocconcini (smallish mozzarella balls) or chopped fresh mozzarella

Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Baby spinach, chopped

Salami, chopped

For the dressing:

3 parts olive oil

1 part white wine vinegar or rice vinegar (my “parts” are typically tablespoons)

salt and pepper

Mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Give it a taste and adjust based on how you like it. Put it on the salad and toss well to mix. It helps if this sits in the fridge for a half a day or so to let the flavors mix, but totally not necessary.

That’s it. Simple to make, easy to find ingredients, nice and light for those hot summer nights. And the leftovers keep for days. Yay for easy lunches!

Happy eating! And happy pleasing your picky kid!

(I mean, I hope it helps, at least. Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be when someone says they have the “key to getting a picky kid to eat!” and you find it doesn’t work for your kid.)