Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cue the Violins

It was very hard for me to leave the house today for work. My son kept saying “No mommy go, mommy stay home” over and over and took my lunch and water bottle out of my hand to entice me to stay. Little does he know, no enticing is necessary; I would give anything to stay, but work calls…

Of course, I had to act as though my leaving was a great thing. “Mommy will be back to play in a few hours.” 8 1/2 to be exact. "When I get home, we'll get out the play doh and make animals and have so much fun!" But he would not relent today. He was screaming “I want mommy” as I walked out the door, tears in my eyes.

Cue the violins…

Who wouldnt want to stay home with this face all day?


Woman in library to my son: How old are you?
My son: Two minutes.

What an advanced two-minute-old.

BPA is not OK

In my dreams, I see lots of mommies and daddies (and folks without kids) chanting that slogan until, finally, BPA is eliminated from food containers and kids' toys and, well, everything. I had not heard about BPA until I started shopping for bottles for my son, and even then, all I knew was to choose the BPA-free bottles. But as I started learning about its effects and its widespread use - particularly in food storage, money (yes, dollar bills contain BPA), receipts (screw the IRS, I no longer ask for or keep receipts) - I knew I had to eliminate where I could.

I am not qualified to give a science lesson on BPA and nor do I think you want one. So to put it simply, BPA is a chemical used to create hard plastics. It mimics estrogen and creates reproductive mutations in the womb. It is linked to heart disease, reproductive issues, low sperm count, increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, among other issues. Canada has declared it a toxic substance.

Yes, there are studies out there that attempt to discredit the science that BPA is harmful. I have three things to say about that. First, who sponsors those studies? Second, I live in Los Angeles, where I have no choice but to breathe toxic and polluted air, so why not decrease the ingestion of chemicals where I can. Third (and probably most important), if the science is "inconclusive," I refuse to be a lab rat and will not allow my son to be one. So here's my solution to the BPA issue:


The lining of canned foods is made with BPA and it has been proven that the BPA leaches into the food, so canned vegetables are a thing of the past. We try to eat fresh vegetables mostly, but I also have a stock of frozen veggies in the freezer. Whole Foods' frozen veggies come in BPA-free plastic bags. I would love to say that we cook our beans from scratch but, really, who has the time? I only buy Eden Organics canned beans, where the cans are not only BPA-free but there is no sodium added so we control the salt content (there are other organic brands with BPA-free cans, but we love Eden Organics so we're sticking to it). There is no such thing as BPA-free canned tomatoes. But I stumbled upon Pomi Tomotoes, which comes in BPA-free cardboard boxes. While it is not organic, it is grown in the hills of Italy according to the EU's organic standards. And the only ingredient is tomatoes (have you ever looked at the ingredients of Hunt's canned tomatoes? Might surprise you that tomatoes is but one of 9 ingredients, and there are 980 mg of sodium in one can; by comparison, Pomi has one ingredient - tomatoes - and 60 mg of sodium in the whole box). I buy Pomi in bulk on

Food storage:

I avoid any plastic with the #7 recycling code on it because that is most likely to contain BPA. I still have BPA-free plastic tupperware in my house but we rarely use it because BPA-free plastics have also been found to leach toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals. I use glass storage for almost everything. For my son, stainless steel or silicon. We use Lunchbots for lunches and Kids Konserve Nesting Trio for snacks and stainless steel water bottles for water when we're out of the house. I have used the Kinderville products since the puree stage - the big and small storage containers are fantastic for snacks, plates are great for meals, and the cups are great for - I'm guessing you can figure out what they're great for. They can be safely heated, too. I would also recommend Dandelion products. I have not used them so cannot vouch for them (I already invested in the above and did not need anything more) but the products are made from corn. Thank you, innovative company, for making the overabundance of corn in the US into something fantastic (ie, a non-toxic plastic substitute) instead of something disease-inducing (ie, high fructose corn syrup).

Even if you continue to use your plastics, just keep in mind that BPA and other harmful chemicals tend to leach when exposed to high heat, so don't microwave in plastic containers ever (microwave safe does not mean that it is safe for you; only that the plastic won't melt) and don't wash plastics in the dishwasher (this alone is reason enough to invest in good glass storage containers).

This was a pic from a while ago. It's of my son enjoying my grandma's food in his Kinderville plate (yes, I took the plate to Israel with me on a visit to see my grandma cuz he was too young for glass plates, I didn't want him to eat on plastic, and I'm neurotic like that).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Mommy, love Sammy"

That's what he said before he gave our dog (Sammy) a great big hug.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Off With the Sippies

We are done with sippy cups. DONE! (Actually, we have been done for a couple months but I am only now getting around to writing about it.) Oh, how I hated cleaning those. The nooks and crannies are excruciatingly annoying to clean. The transition was tough. My son transitioned from bottles very easily at about 13 months, but he screamed and cried and screamed and cried for the sippy part of his cup for days.

I started by giving him his milk in the same cup but without the sippy top. He was not happy and refused to drink his milk. When I threatened to take the cup away and drink the milk myself (which I never could have done...I hate milk unless accompanied by a double fudge chocolate brownie), he finally obliged and drank about half. This same routine happened three times a day for seven days. Of course, I started to get worried that he wasn't consuming the obligatory 16-24 ounces of dairy per day that the doctor ordered, and talked myself into believing that I'm being selfish and that it is more important for him to have his milk than it is for me to not have to clean those sippies. But I stuck it out and that is proof positive that determination and consistency with a kid goes a long way. After about a week and a couple days, he plum forgot about his sippies (until he accidentally found them a few weeks later in the back of the cabinet, but by then, I think he only saw them as a nostalgic piece of his past). He still wasn't drinking as much as I wanted him to drink, though, and I didn't want to buy the milk boxes because the packaging is so wasteful. And then a light bulb went off in my head. Straws! No, not the plastic, wasteful ones. Beautiful, shiny stainless steel straws, which I very easily clean with Dr. Brown's handy little brushes. My son loves them and drinks his entire cup of milk with them, and so I love them, too!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Mommy, Be Funny"

My son's funny. He's always had a sense of humor but now he can express it! The other day, I came home from work and he says to me: "Mommy, be funny," and put his left-side green Croc on his right foot and the right-side dinosaur Vans on his left foot. And then laughed and laughed. He thought it was hilarious, and so did I. Here's a not-so-good picture. What a love...


I love my daily RSS feed. My latest obsession is IKEA Hackers (, where people post their latest (and genius) modifications to and repurposing of IKEA products. What a brilliant idea. IKEA is so cheap (albeit not in the most convenient locations), and there are some ingenious ways to, for example, turn a bookshelf into a bed. It's almost time to put my son in a big-boy bed, and I've been looking at this for inspiration because I love the idea of a fort plus under-the-bed storage.

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Hair Stuff

I'm totally going to try this: Homemade DIY shampoo and conditioner. The ingredients sound good enough to eat (because they are), and I'm so curious about whether and how it will work. Shampoo ingredients: castile soap, green tea, olive oil and honey; Conditioner ingredients: water, apple cider vinegar, rosemary and herbal tea for fragrance. Right now, I use Hugo Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner. How did I find it? I went on the Cosmetics Database website ( and searched for a shampoo/conditioner with a 0 rating. It's pretty good. But I'm always up for a change, especially when the change includes ingredients as delicious (and natural) as the ones mentioned above. Keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I read a very cute New York Times blog post the other day about a parent's struggle with her child's iPad addiction. I have been anti-iPad, anti-iPhone, and anti-TV when it comes to my son. (Full disclosure: I am notoriously obsessed with reality TV and iPhone games so the hypocrisy is duly noted.) But now that he's 2, I struggle with the fact that there are some educational shows on TV that would benefit him (like Sesame Street) and there are some fantastic iPhone apps that teach him real skills, and the occasional movie can be fun, funny and educational, and shouldn't he benefit from those? The answer is yes, and so he does. I would say he watches about an hour or so of TV per week, plays puzzle or drawing apps on the iPhone about 3-4 times per week, and watches one movie per week. I really realized the benefit of movies the other day, when my son took a piece of spaghetti, put it in his mouth so that two sides were hanging down and said: "Mommy, woolly mammoth" (pic below). (The cuteness and imagination required for that is astounding, to me at least.) Now, he's been to the La Brea Tar Pits several times in his young life (free on second Tuesday of every month) and has seen the huge stuffed woolly mammoth there, but he truly got to know (and love) the woolly mammoth (and the sabre tooth tiger and the sloth) by watching Ice Age. Still, I think a child benefits more from books than media, from drawing or painting with actual materials rather than with a finger on a device, and by using his/her toys and surroundings for imaginative play. But I've come to terms with the fact that media is moderation.