Our life with Luka is fun, challenging, interesting and overall awesome. With every language spurt, he becomes less of a baby and more of a little boy. His favorite activities are singing, dancing, playing his toy guitar, watching Yo Gabba Gabba, helping us "do dishes" at the kitchen counter, and generally wreaking havoc. For toys, Lu seems to naturally gravitate towards anything you can push, like cars, trains, etc.
We took Luka on his first vacation this summer, to Destin, Florida. The five hour car trip went much smoother than expected thanks to heaps of snacks (travel size packs of hummus and peanut butter, bread, bananas, soy milk, and some breakfast biscuits to-go from our favorite vegan bakery), toddler books, and for the last whiny leg of the drive, some toddler shows on our touch pad. Lu handled the trip like a champ. The ocean was pretty scary to Luka at first, but as long as we held him he was thrilled to be in the water. He would laugh like a crazy person every time a wave crashed on us. He loved being in a hotel, and slept amazingly well in a Pack-n-Play we placed in the room adjacent to the bedroom of our suite. The kid was so exhausted from beach activities that he crashed and slept 12 hours straight both nights we were there. For eating vegan on vacation, we booked a hotel with a refrigerator so we could bring our own groceries. This was a lifesaver in a town that wasn't particularly vegan-friendly. Both nights though, Ken went out for dinner and brought it back. Moe's burritos to the rescue on night one, and Mellow Mushroom pizza with Daiya cheese and veggies the second night. Lu loved eating on the floor of the suite like a picnic.
Ken and I took our first overnight trip away from Luka this summer, too. Ken's company sent us to the Virgin Islands for four days, and my amazing and generous sister-in-law took care of Luka while we were away. We would try to video chat with him each night, but he was too busy running around playing with his cousins, aunts, uncles, and nana and pop-pop to care about his parents calling him! It was a welcome break to reconnect with some quiet time, but we missed that kid tremendously. My heart hurt every time I thought of him. But we knew he was in good hands, and he had a lot of quality time with his extended family. I feel very lucky to have had that option, as I never really knew my extended family growing up.
Luka's eating habits ebb and flow like the tide. One week he will shove anything into his face that he can, and the next week he will barely nibble. So goes toddler life. As of his 30 month well-visit, he is still very small at only 21.5 pounds. But he gained over an inch in height in six months and has no developmental issues whatsoever, so his pediatrician is going with him simply being small because of his premature start and also his genetics playing a role in his size.
The kid loves kale chips!
Other favorite foods right now are: any and all FRUIT, especially grapes, clementines, peaches, plums, pineapple, and blueberries. For vegetables, he loves roasted broccoli, asparagus, corn, kale (in chip form), carrots, and cauliflower. He also really digs brown rice, lentils, hummus, pasta, oatmeal, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, tortillas, any kind of bread, tofu, coconut yogurt, veggie "bacon" and Gardein sausage-style patties. Luka still doesn't like most beans or raw leafy vegetables, unfortunately. But we keep trying them with him anyway. Blending up butternut squash or sweet potatoes with cashews and olive oil into a pasta sauce is still a good trick and Luka loves to eat them that way. Same goes for spinach, collards, and kale. And our kid who used to down big healthy green smoothies has recently decided he doesn't like them anymore! The horror!!! Hopefully he's just temporarily sick of them, and will come back around to smoothie soon. They were the best way to get a bunch of nutrition in.
Vegan breakfast at Dough Bakery. Luka loves their biscuits and tofu scramble, and of course the cinnamon rolls.
Another big thing that happened this year is I went back to work full time. I really wanted to be home with Luka until he began kindergarten, but unfortunately our funds couldn't hold out that long. It nearly broke my heart to put him in school so young, seriously. I cried every day for months over the decision. I never thought it would be so difficult to be separated from this child. After a lengthy search, we found a school that we are happy with and that Luka enjoys. Full time care for Luka presented a whole new set of issues with him being vegan, but we have adjusted to that, and the school works well with us on the matter. My next post will be how we deal with a vegan kid in a non-vegan daycare, for those of you who are interested.