Words and images by Reagan
Now that I’m out of the really intense new baby time, I can look back and think, damn girl, that was tricky. Yes, it took six months for me to feel REALLY out of the thick of it. Little E is sleeping pretty well, my boobs aren’t leaking through my shirt and I’m ready to think about things other than trying to keep a baby alive. These days, she will let me set her down to play for 45 minutes and will occasionally nap for two whole hours *by herself.* This all means I can now make things like roasted sweet potato soup for lunch (out of the leftovers of our first foray into baby solids. A post for another time). This was unimaginable, six months ago. Hell, two months ago even.
Needless to say, back in those early days, after my partner and his meal-making skills went back to work and left me ALL ALONE with a two-week-old, I had a hard time making lunch. I didn’t really know about setting a newborn down in her bed so I could have two free hands. I wasn’t capable of it. And E wasn’t going to let me know. That kid loves to be held. So I figured out how to balance a baby in one arm and open the fridge with the other. I foraged. Toast was my friend, even if slightly tricky to butter one-handed. A handful of almonds here. A fake crab stick there.
I hit a low point when E was eight weeks old. I had grown tired of eating one-ingredient snacks all day. I just wanted a real lunch. I finished nursing and rocking the kid and she passed out on me, as she always did back then. I ever so carefully extricated myself and transferred her to the couch. I watched. And waited. She didn’t stir. I was free! I tiptoed to the kitchen, where I could keep an eye on her over the counter while I made my favourite lunch….grilled cheese sandwich!
I so very carefully pulled out a pan from the drawer beneath the oven without making the slightest clank. I grew braver, defrosting my bread in the microwave, cringing at the beep beep beeeeeep. And then I threw caution to the wind. The sandwich was frying and I thought, to hell with it, I’m making soup too! Out came the can opener and the pot. I was drunk with the giddy anticipation of a lunch that included three food groups. My epic meal was just about ready when I heard E peep. Then wail. As in “where the heck did my comfy mom-pillow go?!” I zipped over to pick her up and she was happy again. We cuddled, she made her sweet little sleepy newborn face, and then I realized, shit, my sandwich is going to burn. And my soup! Nooooooooo! Obviously, I’m not going to hold a baby in one hand while I take a pot of now boiling soup off the burner. I had to set her down. She started to wail again. And the thing with happy babies like E that rarely cry is that when they do, it’s extra upsetting because you aren’t used to it. I was so green (and probably pretty postpartum hormonal-y still) that I could barely stand it. She screamed on the couch, while I averted a sandwich fire and poured my too-hot soup into a bowl. I set my now mostly carbon grilled cheese on the coffee table to cool with the soup and nursed E until she chilled out and fell back asleep. For 45 minutes I stared hungrily at my blackened, congealing sandwich and over-boiled but quickly cooling soup, just out of reach.
I did finally eat that cold grilled cheese sandwich (one-handed) and drank the soup right out of the bowl. However, I needed a better way to eat more than one food group at a time. Eventually I remembered the mega smoothie I had perfected over the course of my pregnancy when fruit and yogurt were the only things I wanted to eat. I hid vegetables in there and it became a full-course meal. Somehow eight weeks of newborn had erased this magical elixir from my brain.
Here’s my favourite way to get protein, fruit, vegetables and dairy into my diet in one fell swoop.
Lets call it The One Arm Bandit Smoothie:
Into a blender, add:
- 1 cup frozen mango (any frozen fruit is good but a yellow palette means a more appetizing colour when you add green things. Strawberries are delicious in this but the smoothie comes out a sort of sickly dusty rose).
- 1 banana broken into pieces
- 1 container of peach-mango flavoured dessert tofu (these come in packs of two)
- 1 cup of vanilla yogurt
- many handfuls of spinach, as much as you can jam into the blender
- Add orange juice until the ingredients below the spinach are just covered.
Blend it all up and enjoy! You can see the spinach but I’ll be damned if you can taste it.
This should probably serve 3 people but I just drink the whole blender and treat it like a meal. Delicious!Add to favorites