October 2010

And we dressed him up as street food.  Penang-appropriate.

Nasi lemak is the national dish of Malaysia and can be found everywhere in Penang.  The banana leaf-newspaper cone is rolled then typically filled with half a hard boiled egg, tiny crispy fried fish, roasted peanuts, spicy sambal paste and coconut steamed rice.  The bottoms are folded over and origami-sealed making a perfect little package you can take and eat anywhere.  I thought this rightly described Miles.

He was in the costume about 5 minutes on Halloween morning but, as his bedtime coincides with most Penangers’ pre-dinner snack, we missed out on any festivities this year.  Better for me, anyway, since I haven’t yet introduced chocolate, sugar, or potassium sorbate and I would have had to eat all the candy myself!


Miles and I have a little routine going.  Monday is the Gurney crawlers playgroup, Tuesday we go for a run/walk at the botanical garden followed by coffee, Wednesday we go to another playgroup, etc etc.  Sometimes we end up playing with the same babies (and mommas) several days a week, and I was thinking its kind of like going to work.  Not the “work” aspect of it, although we are all certainly on the job, but the social aspect.  I like it 🙂

Miles and his colleagues, hard at work:

As I mentioned, we have not been feeling particularly well the past few days.  And like they always say, “starve a fever, feed a cold”.  I don’t know if I had a fever or a cold, or both, so I just decided to eat and hope things started looking up.  All was going well until I decided to check on this bread and flip it around in the oven and managed to tip it over, ruining the top and burning 3 of the fingers on my left hand.  Aggghhh, back to bed.

Regardless of the aforementioned inadvertent flip, this bread turned out ugly but delicious.  It is a slight deviation on your run-of-the-mill banana bread, a little bit cakey-er, but it maintains the moistness that comes from our little monkey’s favorite snacks (banana & yogurt!).  Chocolate chips and crystallized ginger make it special to me, but I could see adding chopped hazelnuts or coconut for equally interesting results.







Chocolate-Ginger Banana Bread (adapted from thekitchensink)

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder (dutch process)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 medium sized very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c yogurt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 dark chocolate bar, chunked
  • 1/4 c crystallized ginger, slivered
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9×5 loaf pan.  This will completely fill a 9×5, so prepare 2 pans if yours is a little smaller.
  2. In bowl 1, Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In bowl 2, mash the bananas (hands work very well for this) and stir in the yogurt.
  4. In bowl 3, place sugars and butter.  Use an electric mixer (or your kitchenaid stand mixer if you were not forced to leave it behind when upgrading to 220V power source) to beat until slightly lightened in color, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Still using the mixer, add half of bowl 1 to bowl 3 and mix until combined.  Scrape the sides.  Add all of bowl 2, mix.  Finish up with the rest of bowl 1.
  6. Fold in chocolate chunks and ginger.
  7. Bake 60 minutes-ish (check at 50, but don’t be afraid to go a little longer), being careful not to spill out the raw middle while turning it after 30 minutes.  A done cake should test with only a few crumbs sticking to a toothpick or sharp knife blade inserted into the center of the bread.
  8. Get well soon.

It finally happened.  Our family got sick.  I haven’t been under the weather since morning sickness 16 months ago.  Miles has thankfully never had to deal with being unwell.  And then this weekend, bam.  We’re all out of commission.

Tim and I suffered fever, chills, and strange eye-ball pain.  Miles has been normal temperature, but has been sneezing like crazy (snot-nosed little kid!) and just screaming at the top of his lungs for no reason.  He’s been able to sleep a bit more than usual, void the 10:30pm and 4:30am wakeups, which helps me rest and recover.  Luckily Tim got out of the woods within 3 days, so I am hoping to be up and functioning tomorrow.  In the meantime, I have a chocolate banana bread in the oven and plan to bake my way well.

I am so thankful for our health.  I realize that to go 9 months without any serious illness makes us so lucky.  Something good has come of this, a gratitude for our health and wellness.

Miles has now officially spent as much time outside the womb as he did in it.  If you look at the charts, technically his development has slowed considerably (18 months ago, he was doubling in size every 12 hours), but you could have fooled us!

Check out updates from this month:

  • Food! Probably the biggest change this month comes in food consumption.  He went from 2 tiny solid meals a day with lots of nursing to 3 big meals, 2 solids snacks and nursing only 5-6 times a day.  He will eat anything, and some of the combos I admit I find a bit strange (papaya & tofu, for one)  I follow Ruth Yaron’s Super Baby Food Diet with a super porridge in the morning, yogurt based lunch, and a tofu or starchy veg based dinner.  I give him some finger foods between meals, and he kind of has the pincher grasp going.  He can certainly get the stuff into his mouth.
  • Play. Miles plays constantly.  Luckily, he doesn’t seem to need “real” toys, what ever is in the kitchen cupboards or left around on the coffee table will do nicely.  Favorites at the moment include a box of clothes pins and a full laundry hamper (which he will immediately empty, frustratingly even when it is full of clean, folded clothes).  I am thinking of transferring laundry duty to him.
  • Communication & Verbal Skills. Miles said his first word – dada!  He was climbing around our bed about 2 weeks ago and went to Tim and said “dada”.  And then this week he said “mama”!  The verdict is still out if he knows mama is me, or if it means food. 🙂  This month his body language has developed significantly, he makes it very clear without words what he wants.
  • Motor Skills.  Still crawling, standing, and cruising with more confidence and grace, he almost never has a hard fall.  He has started to let go while standing, then balancing for a few seconds before holding on again, and can now “stand up” on his knees (like standing, but knees where feet would be, on the ground) and execute a pretty good squat.  He will walk along a bit if we hold his hands.  Our place is pretty well baby proofed by now, since he is into everything under 1m high, and uses his recent stretch out and tiptoes to get even higher.  As far as fine motor, there is the pincher grasp mentioned above, he waves “hi” and “bye”, and gives the sweetest open mouth kisses in the world, even to that beautiful baby in the mirror.  He can clap and use the sippy cup by himself.  I have a little feeling the clapping during meals might be signing “more” which we have been working on…
  • Sleep.  Sleep is going well, and I am so so relieved (and rested!).
  • Random.  Taking a break from toilet training at the moment, he started hating it…Separation anxiety is rough, so I just stay with Miles all the time, knowing one day he will not want to be around me at all and just trying to enjoy it while it lasts…No new teeth, which probably explains my comment about sleep above…Miles is ready for some new outfits; he’s been in the same five 9 mo Carter’s jungle collection onesies for over 4 months!  Hopefully the eating triggers a growth spurt and we can move into some of the cute new clothes he got from GG & Grandma Bolhouse!

Yesterday, we took Miles for his 9 month well-baby visit, our first visit to the doctor in Penang.  It was a slightly different experience than we would have at home, but all the basics were there: temp, weight & height measurement (in metric); stethoscope on front and back; and of course – shots!

Where it differed…

  • The pediatrician is located in the hospital, you enter the same door as the stretchers from ambulances
  • There is no such thing as making an appointment, just show up during office hours and get in line
  • We went at night, around 6:45pm, as the doctor has evening hours on Wednesday, very convenient for working people
  • Upon arrival, we checked in at a main reception desk, received a paper with our name on it (our file), then put it in a sort of “inbox” next to the doctor’s office.  We were 2nd in line
  • The nurse said the doctor had not yet arrived and had we had dinner yet, because it might be a while.  We went for a walk – outside of the hospital
  • First question: “What seems to be the problem?”  Well, we were there for a well baby visit, no problem… “No fever?” Nope.
  • Normal visit: he looks healthy; do vitamins if you want, no harm; no need to do fluoride supplement; no scare tactics, no worry; we were on the same page with what vaccines came next, and he got 2 shots (crying 😦 )
  • We discussed the BCG – Tuberculosis vaccine.  This is the one that leaves a dime-sized scar on the upper left arm, the one as a child I always associated with people who are foreign and imported, because we don’t routinely do it in America.  We haven’t decided about it yet, but it is routine in Malaysia.  Luckily, at this age he could do it in his thigh where it is less likely to scar
  • We received our checkout papers and were on our way – to the cashier to pay, in cash, for our visit.  She was astonished that we had no meds to pick up.
  • Visit + 2 shots = $110.  More than we paid at our pedi in Austin who didn’t take insurance.  The visit was $20 & name brand vaccines $90.  I have to file insurance separately with Aetna, and hopefully that goes well.

All is well, and we hope to not go back until next year, for his 12 month well baby visit, where we can again answer “nothing” when asked the inevitable first question “what seems to be the problem?”

It’s official; Miles is no longer the big kid on the play-mat:

  • Weight: 18lb 8oz (8.4kg; 15th percentile)
  • Height: 28.5″ (72.5cm; 50th)

Doctor said he is healthy, and slow weight gain is probably due to his activity level.  I’m sure his (cube-like) feet are still in the 99th percentile 🙂

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