Thursday, January 26, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

I've been having a fantastic week.  Well, flu aside.  But still, a fantastic week.  I decided early this week, before even getting sick, that I was going to bum around the house all week.  No errands.  No appointments.  Not even coffee with friends.  I'm on strike and only doing the bare minimum this week.  I have so far only left my house to drop off and pick up Logan from daycare.  Well, aside from my quick run to Wal-mart this morning to pick up a new set of knitting needles.  I mean, a girl's gotta have something to do, holed up inside her house all week ;)  I even skipped the daycare board meeting that I volunteer for this week. 

And man, I needed this.

I've loved every single minute of it, despite being sick.  Maybe this is actually why I got sick again.  To remind me mid-week that my intention had been to hang out at home and not to get caught up running the million and one errands that always seem to need to be done.  So for that, I am grateful.

It seems that all of the stars have aligned this week.  The one appointment I did already have booked got cancelled.  Logan finally started getting up no earlier than 5 am, and even treated me to 6:30 this morning (insert huge smiley face here).  Chloé has been back to sleeping through the night, 8-9 hour stretches at a time, which is beyond miraculous.  And she's been a doll throughout the day as well, sleeping insane amounts and being incredibly happy, smiley and full of coos whenever she's awake.  If I had to mail-order a baby, this is what I would order.  In fact, if I could mail-order this kind of baby, maybe there would be no hesitations about having a third.

Logan has been blissfully content at daycare, as usual, reminding me continually that there is no reason for him not to spend his days there.  In fact, it is making me start to think about how awful life would be for the little guy if I were keeping him home all day and preventing him from getting the chance to play with other little kids all day.  He was playing in his crib the other morning when I said to him "time to go see Jo-Anne" and he literally tried to throw his leg up over the side of the crib, in sheer excitement, trying to clamber out on his own.  And then yesterday when I went to pick him up, it took 15 minutes to get him to come anywhere near me.  I stood watching him chase non-stop after the other kids, giggling like a little maniac, his eyes shining with pure happiness. And he then howled with rage as I scooped him up, having tricked him into coming over to give me a kiss.  Yes, he's very happy there.  And that warms my heart.

As Lyne stated so perfectly, I need more weeks like this.  And maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to learn how to make the decisions I need to make to create days like this. 

Which reminds me of something else that I've been meaning to blog for awhile, but just haven't gotten around to.  About trusting your gut. 

As those who follow my blog know, Chloé was the most quiet, happy baby ever known to man (ok, at least ever known to me), when she was born.  And she then progressively started getting fussier and fussier, stopped sleeping through the nights as well, wanted to be held all the time, and shrieked bloody murder every time I tried to breastfeed her.  It all screamed reflux to me, having gone through it with Logan already.

I brought this up with the doctor at her 2 month appointment, but he suggested we wait on giving meds.  Two weeks later, it had become a disaster.  It was becoming impossible to breastfeed her, she was fussy all of the time and a quick visit to the CLSC alerted me that she was no longer putting on adequate weight.

So off to the doctor's we went, in hopes of some reflux medication, or some other reason for why she had suddenly had such a huge change in temperament.  I was disappointed when I arrived to learn that we weren't going to be seeing our family doctor (who I've known for years and quite love), but rather, the nurse practitioner.  Fine.  I'm open-minded.  

But he plainly stated that there was nothing wrong with Chloé.  "Babies cry", he told me.  Making me feel like a neurotic mother who can't handle a crying baby.  But that's not the point... she's not just a baby who cries a lot. Or at least, she never used to be.  Which to me, signals that something is wrong.  But that was it.  His point of view was that nothing was wrong and that it would pass with time.  No meds.  Despite my polite insistence.


So I headed off to visit my ex-colleagues, who are all health care professionals, to see if any of them might have some suggestions for me.  And I basically burst into tears because I was so frustrated with the way I had been treated in the doctor's office.

Why is it that a mother's (or father's) intuition isn't trusted?? I remember being at a conference about infant language development years back and the speaker said that when a parent expresses concern about their child's language development, 90% of the time, there is something to truly be concerned about.  90%!!! That's huge.  And yet, we are treated as lunatics when we follow this instinct.

What about the time when we started suspecting that Logan's ear infection had returned, had booked an appointment for the following morning, only to have his fever come back the morning of the appointment???? What can you say to that about intuition?  Parents know their kids better than anyone and know when their behaviour has changed significantly from normal.

I think this is part of why it took so long to get Logan's reflux under control when he was little.  I'd feel like the meds weren't working well enough, but perhaps wouldn't push it enough with the doctors, and consequently, they wouldn't get adjusted.  I'd insist a little, but then basically would just wait until it was so out of control that I couldn't handle it any longer, before going back, yet again, to plead my case.  I didn't want to be that neurotic mother, crying in the doctor's office about how frustrating it was to have him waking up screaming bloody murder every single hour, still, at 7 months of age.  But I'm starting to realize that maybe being that neurotic mother would have gotten me solutions faster.  

So on my colleagues' advice, after having been turned down by the nurse practitioner, I marched back into the walk-in clinic that evening, armed with steel resolution that there was something wrong with my baby and that I wasn't leaving until they suggested something to fix it.  And after a 3 1/2 hour long wait with both Logan and Chloé (past Logan's bed time with no food, no more milk towards the end and only two little cars to entertain him - can you say, extreme torture in the most unfair form???), we finally got a chance to see our doctor.  Who prescribed some reflux meds.  

Thank God.  I think I would have shot myself in the head right then and there if I had waited all frickin' day for nothing.  

But wouldn't this have all been that much easier if I had just been listened to at my first appointment?  Taken seriously?

Yes, this was the day that my facebook status said that I had had a day from hell. Because I did, quite literally, feel like I had been transported there.  All this for some frickin' reflux meds??

The doctor basically said that we'd know in a week whether or not she had reflux, depending on whether or not the meds were working.  And here we are, two weeks later.  Chloé is back to being the calm, happy, smiley baby she used to be.  I went back to the CLSC this morning and her weight gain is back up to normal.  She no longer screams while breastfeeding.  She no longer wants to be held non-stop.  In fact, she's upstairs, cooing away in her swing, as I type this.

All this to say, trust your gut.  Not just with babies.  No one knows better than you what is good for you.  Or for your kids.  Don't let others influence you.  What works for you may not work for someone else, so don't let them tell you that you're doing it wrong.  Fight for what you believe in.  

And a huge thanks to my ex-colleagues for giving me the confidence to do so.  I owe you months of not having to listen to a screaming baby all day long.  So thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Today's recipe comes from Crazy Plates, a wonderful, healthy cookbook, that I used to use a ton back in university.  For no particular reason, I have fallen out of making these recipes, but there were several that I used to make very regularly, this being one of them. 

I made this the other morning as Chloé slept in her car seat.  I didn't have any red peppers left, so I just doubled the amount of carrots.  And I grated them in my food processor instead of dicing them, just so it would save some time.

2 1/2 C tomato sauce
1 1/4 C salsa
4 tsp. chili powder
3 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 C each chopped, cooked chicken and cooked brown rice
1 can (19 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 C each diced carrots and diced red bell pepper
1/2 C chopped green onions
2 tbsp. each lime juice and chopped, fresh cilantro
12 6-inch corn tortillas (I used whole-wheat)
1 1/2 C shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 C low-fat sour cream (optional)

1.  Combine tomato sauce, salsa, 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, and oregano in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, combine chicken, rice, beans, carrots, red pepper, onions, lime juice, cilantro, remaining 2 tsp. chili powder, and remaining 1 tsp. cumin in a large bowl.  Mix well.

3.  Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.  To assemble casserole, spread 1 C sauce over bottom of baking dish.  Arrange 6 tortillas over bottom, overlapping as necessary.  Spoon another 1 C sauce over tortillas and spread evenly.  Top with 1/2 chicken-bean mixture and 1/2 cheese.  Arrange remaining tortillas over cheese.  Top with another 1 C sauce, followed by remaining chicken-bean mixture and remaining cheese.  Spoon any remaining sauce over top.

4.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbly and heated through.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Top individual servings with a dollop of sour cream.

For a vegetarian version, omit chicken and substitute an extra can of black beans.

Makes 8 servings. 

Difficulty level: moderate

1 comment:

Kris said...

Looks delicious!