Friday, July 1, 2011

Knitting and New Moms (this one's for you!)

It may shock you (or if you know me well, it might not!) that I spent most of my preteen, teen and young adult years on the stage. It was home to me! I loved taking on a new character, I loved creating, I loved sharing a new world with an audience.

During my Sophmore year of college, I played Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa. My character knitted, like, ridiculously well. I, at 19, did not. So with the other "sisters," the knitting lessons began. Our wonderful instructor, Debbie, told us that although it might be hard to learn at first (we had to learn how to knit cuffs for gloves using the old tiny needles), it would become second nature to us and we might even find ourselves reaching for the knitting during finals to relax. Well. . . I loved Debbie, but I thought she was a tad crazy for saying this! But I took my knitting back to the dorm room and set out to become a more believable Agnes. It did not take long for the knitting needles to sail across the room, narrowly missing my good friend's left eye (oops). Every night, I made myself knit for a minimum of 2 hours. I cursed, I threw needles, I pouted (hehe), but every night, there I sat. In rehearsals, I got better at knitting while playing my role (talk about multitasking!!) but every night, I would inevitably drop stitches, tangle my needles, and eventually have to rip it all out and start over. Opening night finally came and at the end of the show, I looked down at my knitting basket in surprise. I had made my first flawless cuff, and I hadn't even been paying attention! It just happened, it just worked.

When I started cooking for B, with our short list of ingredients (masa, arrowroot, pears, and bananas), I cursed, I threw cookbooks (before I exiled them to the living room altogether), I hurled pans at the wall. I scraped lots of mushy looking science experiments from pans, soaked a ton of dishes and went through a lot of dish soap. But in a few weeks, recipes started to become edible. And in a month or two, recipes became perfected. In another few months, I expanded recipes, knew all of the instructions by heart, and knew how to successfully troubleshoot (most of the time!).

Now a year and a half later, our ingredient list has expanded, but more significantly so has our repertoire. The occasional pan does become airborne here or there, but the kitchen has become a happier place. I still wish B didn't have FPIES, I still yearn for easier ingredients to manipulate into recipes, and I certainly still crave the ability to cook only ONE meal for all family members, but all in all, it has become our new norm. And just as I did eventually find COMFORT in knitting (Debbie was right!), I now find comfort and peace in baking in our FPIES test kitchen. I love the joy of helping other parents figure out how to make their own FPIES kitchen "just work"!

I have noticed many new moms popping up in the Facebook and Baby Center groups. In a way, this makes me sad because this means another set of babies is having to go through what B experiences, but in a way, I am glad because it means there is more awareness and parents are finding each other. So to all of you new mamas (and daddies!) as you start your journey in FPIES, I know it feels daunting. I know it feels overwhelming and to be honest, brutally unfair at times. There are parts of this journey that don't get easier over time. But you will find your new norm, you will find your new day-to-day living, and you will find your own peace and comfort. It might be in a place you would never expect. Most importantly, we have to continue to find one another. When we do reach out, when we do connect, then it does get easier. Please open yourselves to connecting with others and open yourselves to finding your comfort. The door to Baby B and my kitchen is always open.


  1. Awww I love this post. Even though it is because of FPIES I am so glad to have you as a friend!

  2. Awww! I am so glad to have you too!! Its good to have not only other mom-of-toddler friends, but also mom-of-toddlers-dealing-with-food-insanity friends to boot! :)