Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five-a-days

I've had a most unhappy revelation.


A few weeks ago, I took a long and melancholy walk into our living room to break some sobering news to my husband.

"Honey" I reported with all due solemnity, "You and I are going to have to start eating vegetables. Like every day."


David was understandably undone by such news and demanded that I explain further. I told him that Snoodie, who had heretofore happily gobbled up any and all foodstuffs (and, to be honest, a number of decidedly NON foodstuffs) that were put in front of him, had suddenly begun rejecting a whole slew of items at mealtimes with EXTREME prejudice.

Gone were the halcyon days when I'd watch my little boy cram strawberries, broccoli, and pears into his gaping maw with abandon! Instead his preferred dinner had devolved to the point where he was regularly dining on six pieces of white bread. PERIOD.


Having rushed to my computer to google "my toddler won't eat" in a panic, I discovered that, according to the anonymous non-medical professionals at Ask.com, my dear son was rushing headlong towards a nasty bout of early-onset scurvy. And so, I became determined to dig in my heels and fight the nutrition wars with all I had.

I consulted Snoodie's pediatrician, who, much to my non-delight, explained to me the concept of FOOD MODELING.


See, it turns out that our kids are, like, totally watching us. And believe it or not, what we do in front of these children is apparently significantly more important than what we tell them to do. This means that the best way to get our children to behave in the way we want them to is for us to model that behavior for them every single day.

BUMMER, huh?


I shared this information with my husband over dinner. I talked through the doctor's points while enjoying a meal of 2 SuperPretzles, one frozen KitKat, half a peanut butter sandwich, and a Diet Coke. David listened intently while sampling from his three preferred food groups: Chocolate, Fried, and Beer. Or I should say, David listened as intently as he could manage, considering we were both sitting in front of the TV at the time watching a rerun of WIPEOUT and checking our iPhones as we ate.

Things haven't always been quite so dire chez nous. When we were first married, I actually took some cooking classes and was filling our newfound China with yummy and vaguely healthy meals on a semi-nightly basis. But, after birthing my second child in as many years, the fact is that my passion for spending an hour in front of the stove each night (as well as my ability to do so without misplacing one of my offspring) has gone the way of the rotary phone. And this downhill slide has led us to our current state - where we regularly dine on whatever items can be grabbed in under two minutes and consumed without hassle in front of the glowing box of joy.


But, as the Bradys will tell you, "When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange. Move your heart into what you're gonna be." (
I would have sworn it was "who you are into what you're gonna be", thanks Google!). In any case, those singing kids are on to something! IT IS TIME TO CHANGE! I shall attempt to direct my almost two-year-old towards the plum on his plate while shoving him away from the pop tart in my hand NO MORE!

Instead, starting this month we will find ourselves all gathered around the table at mealtime, Daddy and Mommy smiling and ooohing over the deliciousness of our carrots and broccoli! Singing the praises of peaches as we eat them with abandon (and occasionally through gritted teeth)! And there, at our healthy family dinner Snood will sit, watching us in rapt attention....


..........while gnawing happily upon his pile of white bread. FOR NOW.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Short Fat Vacation

In that I can call anywhere that I am with my two boys under the age of 2 "vacation" I am on vacation this week.


This means that in between 8 feedings a day (x2 for many of them), diaper changes, sunscreen applications and let's not forget the beloved cross-country airplane journeys, I will be RELAXING and not writing a blog.

Look forward to all new musings come next Wednesday.

Until then....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Hard Eight



This week Crinkles will turn eight-weeks-old, and, in my house, that means hope begins to return.


I remember talking to a friend of mine a few years ago who was going through a really bad breakup. She was trying to figure out what it all meant.
  • What if the failure of this relationship meant that she was on some fundamental level incapable of any kind of real stability in her life?
  • Where had it all gone wrong?
  • Would she ever find love again?
At the time, I was in the middle of preparing for my first marathon and I shared with my friend a theory that I like to call:

"THE NEXT LAMP POST"

While I was training for the big run I found it WAY too disheartening to think of eventually having to run 26.2 miles, especially when I was struggling to run just 3 or 4. Instead, I got into the habit of breaking each run down into smaller and smaller pieces. I might not be able to run ten more miles on any given day but I could always make it to at least the next lamp past. So I just kept moving forward, one lamp post at a time, and eventually I'd finish my miles (for the record, I lived in Brooklyn at the time - VERY good lamp posts and an endless supply).

What I told my lovelorn friend was this - from the sound of things she was at about Mile 3 of her breakup journey and she wasn't going to make it if she kept trying to imagine the big picture. She was in a "next lamp post" place and all she needed to concentrate on was putting her head down and moving forward, nothing else, until she got through the worst of it. (For the record, this September that same friend is marrying one of the finest dudes in Christendom, so happy that!)


Having my first child brought the "next lamp post" theory home for me all over again. When they first handed me my baby boy at the hospital I was, of course, elated and overwhelmed. But I must admit that by the time we got him home from the hospital those feelings had changed to deflated and overwhelmed.

Questions flooded my mind:
  • How am I supposed to know what to do with this guy?
  • How long can I humanly survive on three hours of sleep a night?
  • What if I actually murder my husband one of these days for claiming he will be home at 7:00 and then actually arriving home at 7:07? WHO WILL RAISE MY CHILD THEN!!!

I was going nuts.

Until I remembered my beloved lamp posts. During night feedings, crying jags, and late-husband episodes, I stopped asking the big questions. Instead, I would simply say to myself, NEXT LAMP POST, NEXT LAMP POST, NEXT LAMP POST.

I kept this up, day after day, for eight weeks. And then, at eight weeks, some amazing things started to happen:
  • The days began to get more organized, meaning I didn't have to breastfeed 86 times a day.
  • The baby started sleeping for longer and longer stretches at a time so that I was no longer lumbering through life like a brain-starved zombie.
  • And, folks, let's talk about the SMILES!
The smiles started and, folks, it was GAME ON! Suddenly this being who has been little more than a demanding and oft-crying MOUTH started making eye contact with me and just BEAMING as if to say, "Oh look! It's you! The greatest person EVER! I'm just so happy to see you!" And then he'd look away for a minute before looking back like, "WHAT? You again? I LOVE looking at you! How did I get so lucky!?"

And this went on all day. And it was freakishly awesome! And it all happened at around 8 weeks...


...so thank God I made it that long.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Travelogue

Well, what can I tell you folks? This week firework-y spectacularness and cold beers RULED and sitting in front of a computer and writing blog entries, as they say...DROOLED.


David and I traveled to Texas, a land where the deer run free but more importantly, where copious amounts of in-laws joyfully watch my offspring while my husband catch up on what's been going on in our lives for the last two months and indulge in the long forgotten arts of nap-taking and uninterrupted snacking. HEAVEN!


All this to say that this week it's a blast from the Dictator past! Enjoy.

From July, 2009

I am beginning to suspect that I may have given birth to the world's fastest human.


Seriously, I put the kid down and turn my back for a minute and he's three rooms away, a glimpse of his disappearing bald head leaving me my only clue as to his location. And so, this week, instead of a lengthy essay on the foibles of motherhood, I am instead providing the few random observations I am able to generate before Snoodie Gonzales makes his next break for it.

Enjoy:

WASH AND FOLD

When I used to picture being married as a young girl, so many wonderful images came to mind. The wedding day, a honeymoon on some tropical isle, a handsome husband coming home at the end of the day, maybe a little house with a yard and a kid or two scampering about. And, I must say, I'm lucky in that, many of these visions of my future life have been have been spot-on so far.

Ah, marriage!


One reality that I neglected to conjure in my dewy day-dreams of marital bliss, however, was the sheer number of hours that I would spend glued to the couch, watching daytime television and folding someone else's boxer shorts.


I mean, seriously, I don't understand how three people (one of them under three-feet-tall) can possibly be generating this much laundry!

The other day I did a week's worth of loads and found within it exactly 32 pairs of underwear. As Snoodie is still in diapers, this would seem to suggest that my husband and I are changing our drawers approximately 2-3 times a day (a calculation that lead to David coming home that evening to the sight of me ranting as he opened the door, "How can we be going through this much underwear! We only have two butts!").


It reminds me of a quote from my Aunt Terry's recently published "Disregard First Book". In one chapter she describes being asked by a friend to go to a Chippendales-type male review. She declined, explaining that as the mother of four boys, the only thing the sight of a nude man made her think of...was laundry.

LAUGH AND LEARN AND DEVELOP CLINICAL INSANITY

In an attempt to distract the Snood from his obsessive quest to drink from our stored paint cans, I have continued purchasing the loudest most light-em-up toys I can find.


Using gadgets ranging from what we call the 'obnoxiously loud driving simulator' to the 'strangely shrieking bear', I have succeeded in buying myself several 15-minute intervals of freedom, during which the Snood sits still, fascinated by the bright colors and funny songs.

I use this precious time to cook dinner, do some frenzied cleaning and/or occasionally indulge in the delicious pleasure of peeing with the door closed. The downside of this system, I've found, is that by the end of the day my brain circuitry has been completely reprogrammed by the high-pitched music emitted by these toys.

As we sit over dinner, David attempts to tell me about his day as I stare off into the corners of the room in a zombie-like trance, chanting under my breath

One - two - three - four - five - six - seven - eight!
Then there's nine - counting's really great!
With numbers! When you have nu-um-bers!
Then you can count!

until he eventually hands me several beers and encourages me to drink them until I can hear him talking over the voices in my head.

ANIMAL PARADE

Snoodie was wearing this set of recently inherited overalls the other day. The embroidery depicts three cute little animals: a zebra, a lion and a giraffe. It features the slogan "ANIMAL PARADE".



This led David and I to spend a recent dinner contemplating said animal parade. Seems like it would be a pretty short parade, no? And less of a parade, really, then just and out and out bloodbath.

An excited cheer would arise as the merry zebra and noble giraffe took their first confident strides onto the parade route, only to be replaced by shrieks of horror as these two marchers were immediately set-upon, ripped to pieces and devoured by the third member of the parade, the carnivorous lion.

David and I used to discuss things like the usefulness of the microlending model to erase 3rd world poverty at the dinner table.

Things change.

IN CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I have absolutely no conclusion this week other than the fact that it appears that the Snood has figured out how to climb into the garden and is eyeing my newly planted daisies hungrily, so I must away.

Until next week I leave you with strict instructions from my husband. If you come upon me wandering the streets and singing the following in a maniacal fashion:

A sunny funny storybook!
Is such a wonderful place to look!
We'll play and learn with all our friends!
And hope the fu-un never ends!

hand me a beer and point me towards home. And if you see Snoodie crawling by in a blur send him this way as well.