How med students handle uncertainty could predict career future

Thanks, Madeline. You, along with four years of musical theater, have most definitely taught me to roll with uncertainty. Although I always liked unplanned organic adventures and surprises before, that kind of variability in a medical setting made me hyper-anxious. Not so much anymore. So thanks, baby girl.

The survey found that high tolerance for ambiguity was associated with students’ intention to work in underserved areas and with lower levels of perceived stress.

Tolerance for ambiguity—or the tendency to perceive uncertain situations as more desirable than threatening—is an important competency for physicians. For instance, the AAMC includes tolerance of and adaptation to stressful or changing environments as part of its core competencies for entering medical students.

via AMA Wire®: How med students handle uncertainty could predict career future.

Quiche Lorraine

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Another easy baby-approved meal. Bacon for the win. Quiches and pies are fall favorites around here. (Bacon fat + pie crust = maybe not the healthiest meal, but M needs some more baby fat rolls before I worry about that.)

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“Sheesche? Sheesche?” Madeline couldn’t wait long enough for me to snap a photo before demanding a piece to eat. Hence the missing wedge.

Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb bacon (lower sodium preferred for baby), cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 lb shredded gruyere cheese
  • 9-inch pie crust in a pie pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Over medium-low heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain off fat as needed, leaving 2-3 tablespoons in the pan. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain.
  3. Add onions to the fat in the pan and brown over medium-low heat, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pierce holes or slits (use a fork or knife) in the pie crust bottom. Bake the pie crust for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper together until blended.
  6. Layer ingredients in the pie shell as follows:
    1. At the bottom, place 3/4 of the cheese and spread evenly.
    2. Spread a layer of half the bacon, then half the onions, and repeat with the other half of bacon and onions.
    3. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
    4. Pour the egg mixture over all the ingredients to fill the pie pan enough to just cover the top layer of cheese. If needed, add another egg blended with 1/2 cup of milk.
  7. Bake quiche for 30 minutes or until center is set.

Swedish meatballs

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This recipe is my version of the meatball-egg noodle dish, adapted from recipes from the Fannie Farmer cookbook, The Dirty Dish Club and Food.com. After some initial skepticism, Madeline approved. This one might become a cold-weather staple.

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Swedish Meatballs (or, Meatballs with Egg Noodles in a Sour Cream Sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz wide egg noodles
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 1 tbsp each for the meatballs, sauce and noodles, plus more as needed for the sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley, divided into 1 tsp for the meatballs and 1 tsp for the noodles, plus more for optional garnish
  • Meatballs:
    • about 1.25 lb ground beef, pork and veal (sold at our grocery store as “meatloaf mix”)
    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 cup minced onion
    • 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 cup flour for dredging
    • 2 tbsp olive oil for frying
  • Sauce:
    • 1/2 large onion, minced
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 2.5-3 cups beef or vegetable broth
    • 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Meatballs (start the mix several hours ahead or the day before): 
    1. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, carrot, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp parsley. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
    2. Form 1-inch meatballs, dredge them in flour to coat all over, and set aside. I spray my hands with a bit of cooking spray to prevent them from getting too sticky.
    3. In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Lightly brown the meatballs on all sides and remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through at this point. Unless your pan is very large, this step will probably require working in batches.
  2. Sauce:
    1. With the pan on medium-low heat, add the minced onion to the pan and caramelize the onions, about 20 minutes. You can start the noodles while you are waiting.
    2. Combine the flour, paprika, onion powder, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and cloves in a small bowl and set aside.
    3. Add 1 tbsp butter to the pain and stir to melt.
    4. Add the flour mixture to the melted fat and onions and stir quickly to form a roux. If the fat seems too scant for the amount of dry ingredients, add more butter. Continue stirring the roux for 2 minutes.
    5. Add the broth, stir well, and bring to a bubble.
    6. Add the meatballs, cover the pan, and reduce the heat, allowing the meatballs to cook through.
    7. Once the meatballs are cooked, turn the heat very low so that the sauce is not bubbling. (High temperature might cause the sour cream to curdle.) Stir in the sour cream and turn off the heat. Continue stirring to mix well.
  3. Noodles: Prepare the egg noodles according to their directions. Drain most of the water and return the noodles to their pot. Toss with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp parsley.
  4. Assembly: Place noodles on serving dish. Spoon sauce and meatballs over the noodles. Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh parsley.

 

“Peek boo!”

With Madeline strapped in her booster seat (so as to stay out of my way), I began to assemble her teepee. She kept squealing “Wow! Eeeee!” as it took shape. Then Daddy inadvertently set her loose and she started playing in it before I was finished with assembly (note the ouch-waiting-to-happen slippage on the wood floor). For our small apartment, I suppose this teepee is an acceptable use of 9 sq ft.

Iced pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

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Mama’s primary accomplishment on this cloudy drizzly day:

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These are for Madeline’s class party on Friday. Amazing things get done when mommy has the day off! Between the pumpkin puree and the reduced amount of sugar (compared to regular chocolate chip cookies), these treats qualify for nutritious snacks in my book.

The recipe is from Very Best Baking:

Iced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • vanilla glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp milk
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease baking sheets.
  2. COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. FOR VANILLA GLAZE: COMBINE powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Drizzle or spread glaze on cookies.
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Dancing baby

She doesn’t really care for children’s tunes, but put on some pop/hip hop/any dance track and she’ll have a party.

She’ll bounce to any hint of a bass rhythm. This includes washing machines.

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Buckles

The toy of the week is buckles. Madeline has been playing with every buckle she finds, and she started buckling the straps on her booster seat:

I’m fairly certain she also UNbucked herself in the grocery cart this morning. If she really figures out how to unbuckle herself from various baby receptacles, we will have a problem.

There is nothing quite as serene as the quiet of a busy baby who falls asleep.

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M helps with laundry

The things babies do that crack me up! Today, Madeline celebrates her toddling independence by “helping” with laundry:

I was folding/sorting Madeline’s clothes and ended up taking out all the stuff from her drawers to reorganize. I sat on the nursery floor with piles of clothes around me. After watching me for a bit, Madeline decided to transport her socks from her sock drawer (which I was not organizing) over to our bed down the hall (which we frequently use for laundry folding). She must have made about 5 trips to and fro, carrying her socks. When her sock bin was empty, she proceeded in reverse, carrying them back to her sock bin. She did all this without saying a word to me, very deliberate and focused on her task. She finally tired of this activity with about half the socks remaining on our bed, and we went downstairs to get a snack after all her hard work.

Please excuse the poor quality of the images; my iPhone is not up to performing in low-light conditions.

Happy 4th!

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Madeline’s first trip to the beach

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Miss Mads arrives in her shore outfit:

Miss Mads gets acquainted with the waves:

Miss Mads discovers an old-school pull train toy and takes it for a loop around the deck:

Miss Mads plays in the sand and harasses Daddy with the shovel to play too:

“I’ll never miss another bedtime.”

Madeline has been going through a developmental growth spurt this past month or two. We have observed that she

  • very clearly loves to dance (as in the video here) and also loves to watch dance (she was suddenly mesmerized by a dance video I came across while web surfing),
  • claps to music with a strong bass beat (today, she clapped regularly for a few seconds when Flip Fantasia came on in the car, and just to test her, I played it again a while later, and she did the same),
  • figured out old-school 1970s toys (a pull train with a whistle) almost immediately when we went to visit the grandparents,
  • matches her socks when we fold laundry,
  • matches shapes on her sorting toys and claps for herself when she succeeds (and when she doesn’t, too),
  • recognizes objects she’s seen once (a Trader Joe’s bag of freeze-dried strawberries, which she snatched unbeknownst to me during our next trip to the store; a display of fruit pouches after her first one at Karla’s wedding, for which she lunged frantically to grab),
  • recalls activities she’s done once (a week ago, we read Eric Carle’s book of food and made a silly game where I ask a question and we shake our heads no; today, she brought me the same book while vigorously shaking her head no with a big grin),
  • recognizes hats, sunglasses and shoes as such even if she’s never seen them before (which she demonstrates by trying to put them on),
  • points to the “puppy” in various picture books, even if they don’t look like Henry,
  • perks up and says, “Daddy!” while looking expectantly when she hears someone at the door.

Not long ago I was somewhat concerned that Madeline was developmentally slow, even with accounting for her late premie status. Although she has far greater receptive language, she still has relatively few intelligible words besides “mama,” “daddy,” “bye,” “shoes” (“shuce!”), and “socks (“shocks!”). Alas, I should not have doubted her, for she soon demonstrated the extent of her comprehension.

Since my schedule can be irregular, Chris has been putting Madeline to bed the majority of the time. They have their own little routine, and she generally goes to bed quietly without a fuss. Last night, Chris had to do some work outside, so it was my job to put Madeline to bed. All was going fine; we played with toys, read a story, settled down, and I lifted her in her crib. She’d had a big day of playing at the sprayground and she was clearly tired. As she stood holding the side rail, I said, “Bed time, baby girl. Good night, Madeline.”

A question on her face. “Daddy?” she asked.

“No Daddy. Daddy’s not here.”

At that, she began to wail. Long story short, she was very upset, refused to sleep, and shrieked at the top of her lungs in that special way that she reserves for only Mommy. At one point she was even leaning against the side rail half asleep, with chin resting on her arms, eyes closed, and continuing to voice her feelings. She never sleeps well when she goes to bed upset, and she had multiple awakenings throughout the night.

When Chris came home, I told him about how she asked for Daddy and was very agreeable until she was told Daddy’s not here. Chris thought quietly for a minute, then said simply, “Well. I’ll never miss another bedtime.” Asked why, he explained that he never thought Madeline expected their bedtime routine, that she looked forward to it. Sometimes when she’s very tired she reaches for the crib as he’s putting her down. Chris had assumed that she went to bed more willingly if he put her down because she didn’t care much about staying with Daddy, in contrast to her separation anxiety with Mommy. But now that it’s clear that little Madeline wants her special bedtime routine with Daddy, that she asked for him and cried horribly for him to come put her to bed —

Now, he’ll never miss another bedtime.

(Point, Mommy!)

Karla and Rob’s wedding

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My dear friend Karla married her longtime beau Rob in a beautiful ceremony and reception that reflected their cozy laid-back vibe perfectly. They were wonderfully accommodating to us with regard to Madeline, even welcoming her with a bucket of toys! They are going to be wonderful parents 🙂 Congratulations, newlyweds!

On another note, we discovered the following:

  • A wedding full of pediatricians makes the best baby entertainment/childcare ever. Period. For your tot’s next birthday, forget the magician, the balloon artist, and the live appearance by Elmo. Just hire a cohort of pediatricians.
  • Madeline LOVES to dance. We thought she might be overstimulated with the party and loud dance music, so we took her off to the side toward the trees and pond. She shrieked to be put down and toddled a beeline straight back on to the dance floor, where said pediatricians had previously been twirling around with her. We tried reigning her in at least twice, and each time she toddled back to the party. On the dance floor, she would bounce and sway and clap. Here’s hoping she has more rhythm than either Chris or me.

Toddling, exploring, and meeting Danielle, who would become Madeline’s best friend for the evening:

Roaming amongst the pants and skirts:

Playing with Danielle and meeting the rest of the pediatricians:

The bride and groom during their toasts:

By 7:30pm we thought Madeline might have been tired, but she protested leaving the party and headed straight back to the dance floor:

She ran back to the dance floor whenever we tried to carry her away.

We realized after several attempts to head home that we have a party girl, and she had several dance partners to bounce-twirl her around:

The next morning, she slept in:

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Happy Father’s Day 2014

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Last year around this time, Madeline was still nursing every 3 hours, plus a few times overnight. So, all Daddy got was a Photoshop collage Father’s Day card that half-asleep Mommy made at 6am. Oh, and a trip to the spy exhibit at the Franklin Institute.

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This year, Mommy planned a bit more. A few weeks before Father’s Day, while Daddy was at work, Mommy bought a tie and some craft supplies. Mommy, Baby, and the coffee table all donned protective gear. After some fabric paint, a bath, and a call to Poison Control (just in case), we had a special gift for Daddy. 

So today, for Father’s Day, we had brunch Devon Seafood on Rittenhouse Square. The weather was beautiful, and we dined al fresco both for the view of the park and to diffuse the occasional baby squeal.

Daddy liked his gift very much.

In the afternoon, we went to Washington Square to enjoy more of the sunshine.

Madeline loves to see Henry run around, so three dogs running around looks even more fun!

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Memorial Day 2014

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At Washington Square.

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Spring 2014

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13 months: attempting balcony escape

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13 months: swing fun at Smith Playground

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13 months: the year’s first spring weather weekend

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cruising the park

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M holds her legs straight out when she’s happy

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13 months: getting acquainted with the top of the activity cube

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14 months: learning to use a spoon

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14 months: painting Henry with food

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Daddy’s birthday — what is that?

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spiffy work gear

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Hi again, Henry.

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15 months: M already loves shoes just like Mommy!

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15 months: showing Mama how the shapes go together

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The Baby Birthday Picture Conspiracy

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This all took place a while back. Better late than never.

 

Stacking blocks, dancing, and escaping to the balcony

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Today was a big day of firsts for Madeline – at least, the first time that we’ve caught her at these particular forms of mischief.

First, she climbed over the threshold of the office onto the balcony. The baby-proofing challenge just bumped up a level.

Next, she started dancing to daddy’s electronica dance music (who knew Chris had this???). Before, she would bounce here and there, but today she sustained a full-out baby bop until she fell over, then got up and bopped some more.

Finally, Madeline showed us she can stack blocks. I made a two-block stack and asked her to try, and she took my two-block unit and put it on top of a third block. (Baby’s way of showing up Mommy.) Then with a “Yeeaahhh!!” she knocked them down. Then she stacked three blocks by herself.

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When Dad chooses baby girl’s outfit

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20140602_MBBatpark_2Onesie AND romper AND pants. I remember when the snaps on her newborn pieces baffled him. Therefore, I should not be surprised at the result we have today. All I can say is he exceeded my expectations.