She Wont Eat That….

                I swear I had the best of intentions when my firstborn started transitioning to real food. I bought those tiny mesh bags for self-directed feeding and cut up hefty chunks of bananas and avocado and proudly presented her with these to teeth on. This resulted in green and yellow mush being smeared all over every surface of my house except my child’s mouth. They are gross. I chucked those in the trash after a couple of uses.

                My next effort was equally fraught with complications. While on maternity leave, I went to the farmer’s market and loaded up on squash and apples and other sundries. I traipsed back to my house with my treasures and dutifully roasted, and sautéed and blended them into a bland, organic, locally grown cadre of healthy baby food. These were all lovingly food-processed and poured carefully into ice-cube trays and stored for later consumption.

                When it came time to try Z on baby food, I presented her with these, and she would pinch her mouth together like the vault at Fort Knox. She would shake her head back and forth as if to silently declare her discontent. If I did happen to manage to sneak a bite of squash past her clenched maw, I was met with screaming and spitting. It was an exercise in frustration.

                Finally, my nanny provided some commercially made baby food and Z selected about three flavors that she will eat.

                As a physician, I also had very strong feelings on JUICE. I informed my mother about the risks of JUICE at length to include obesity and diabetes.   This went out the window when Z’s turds were the consistency of jagged rocks and so infrequent that their appearance resulted in great distress. Now she gets a cup of the dreaded JUICE each day and is as regular as a German train.

                I have been judged by friends and family alike about my daughter’s pickiness and limited diet. My mother has admonished me extensively about my many failings in introducing variety to her diet. I have borne this ridicule from friends and family with a fairly good nature offering to let them “try”. My mother was met with the same stubborn screaming, “I NO LIKE IT” response that I experience when trying to get my daughter to try new things.  

                I have offered any of her little friends five dollars for any new foods they can get her to try. This resulted in one of her friends cleverly wrapping a piece of hot dog in a Cheezy Poof. Z was not deceived. She hurled that Cheezy Poof Dog out of her friend’s grasp with indignant, furious vigor.

                I have also been counseled, that she will “eat when she gets hungry”. I am just going to tell you how it is. No. She. Wont.

                Several hours, and one tear and snot soaked toddler later, she still won’t eat anything she doesn’t like.

                Here is a brief but comprehensive list of things my daughter will eat:

  1. ANYTHING chocolate
  2. Chips (Cheetos and Doritos – not the Cool Ranch kind.. She says these are gross)
  3. A grilled cheese (Only if it is very lightly browned)
  4. A peanut butter sandwich (if it is chocolate peanut butter)
  5. Mechanically separated chicken fries
  6. Popsicles
  7. Yogurt
  8. Baby food (spaghetti flavor, fruit flavor, and chicken flavor, and baby cereal).. and yes at two and a half years old, she still eats baby food at least twice daily.
  9. Cookies and Candy
  10. Desitin (she begs to eat Desitin at every diaper change declaring that it is delicious. For what it is worth, I have tasted it and it isn’t horrible)
  11. Hand sanitizer
  12. Dirt and/or Sand
  13. Any lotion (again, she begs for me to put it on her hand and she licks it off with gusto)
  14. Boogers (which she also has declared to be “yum yum yummy in her tum tum tummy”)

                Pretty much anything else she is presented with is declared as “gross” or “I NO LIKE IT”. So withhold your judgment. I have tried smoothies and hiding healthy fare in other dishes (see the above hot-dog wrapped in a Cheezy Poof). I am assuming she won’t go to college eating baby food and Desitin, and if she does, I will send her baby food and Desitin care packages by the dozen.

 

 

Stagnation

IMG_20140218_185602_659                I have a confession to make.   I co-sleep. I know, I know, there was no stronger opponent to this abhorrent practice than myself. As a physician, I have had the unpleasant, heart-breaking task of pronouncing four babies dead from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and all but one of these was due to co-sleeping. Now granted, alcohol or drugs were involved in each of these cases, but that did not alter the tragic look on the parent’s faces, or my hardline stance on the practice. It was during this depressing time in my life that I determined that I no longer wanted to work in an Emergency Department setting. It was also when I became a strong adversary to the co-sleeping movement. I preached loudly to patients and friends alike about the dangers of co-sleeping and how they would most certainly roll over and smother their baby beneath their ponderous, non-organic food eating American fat rolls.  

                That was BBB or Before Baby Bird. I understand that there are some co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attachment-parenting, modern hippies who actually enjoy co-sleeping and do this as a matter of personal preference. I assure you I am not in this crowd. I enjoy building a pillow fort around myself and having as much sleeping space to myself as possible. I would get twin beds like Lucy and Ricky if my husband would let me. My co-sleeping experience is a little less granola and a little more like being held hostage by a tiny tyrant.

                Baby Bird will absolutely not sleep without being able to both touch and see me, and if Baby Bird doesn’t sleep, then NO ONE sleeps. We have tried tricking her by putting a pack and play or a co-sleeper in the room, even shoved up next to the bed with my arm draped precariously off the edge of our bed to be in constant contact with her minute, heaving chest. Baby Bird is neither fooled nor appeased by that. She wants to be IN our bed, and as of late she has added an extra entertaining and particularly demanding element to her evening routine.

                The newest element of torture she has employed against us is obligatory hand holding. That’s right, hand holding. I must take her diminutive fist in mine and hold it between my hands until she falls asleep. Don’t tell my captor, but I secretly love this part of the bedtime ritual. She caresses my hand with her free hand over and over again until she falls asleep while wriggling her petite captive hand betwixt my palms. I fall asleep happy every night.

                Then, the creeping sensation settles in. I am in that dreamlike state somewhere between waking and sleeping. It is subtle at first, a gradual loss of proprioception. We have all experienced it. Your body is heavy and you no longer can feel where your leg is in space without twitching it slightly. I know logically that my hands still encase this petite treasure in their grasp, but I can no longer feel her movement against my palms. Occasionally she will quiver in her sleep and I will feel her precious presence. Sometimes, even though I know it may wake her, I stir slightly myself to feel her move.

                I reflect on my relationship with God. When I am standing still and refusing to move in my faith it is harder and harder to feel His presence. Sometimes I will feel a flicker of his movement over me in my stagnation, but in order to really feel Him, and I mean really feel Him, I find that I must move. Even if it is the slightest shadow of a movement toward Him, I am rewarded by the feeling of His enveloping presence.

                For now, I will enjoy the ephemeral, all too transient feel of my baby’s touch. I wonder if God in His omnipresence and eternal nature finds our touch so fleeting as well, as this time passes us by, or can He just revisit joyful times with us at his will?

 

Context is Everything

                I stand in the living room with Z’s foot poised inches away from Baby Bird’s head and she says in a questioning voice with a cherubic smile, “I kick the baby?”

                “NO, you cannot KICK the baby,” I emphatically reply.

                “Please, I kick the baby?” Her face starts to crumple into the beginnings of a crying jag.

                “Z, remember how you got a spank earlier for stepping on The Neurotic Beagle’s tail?” I patiently explain.

                Z nods, staring at her feet.

                “Well it is going to be about twenty times worse for kicking your baby sister in the head than for stepping on The Neurotic Beagle.”

                “Pleeeeeeaaaaaase, I kick the baby?” She wails. Apparently there is no reasoning with two year old logic. It seems perfectly rational to her that she is having a tantrum because I audaciously did not allow her to kick her sister in the skull. I am suddenly a very mean mommy.

                I spend the next several days wondering what type of sociopath I am rearing. I ask other parents if this behavior is normal.   I speculate as to the future of their relationship. After all, I have planned for them to share a room. Do I need to fit Z with one of those Hannibal Lecter masks so that Baby Bird still has a face when she wakes up?

                Then, earlier tonight, they are cozy, snuggly on the couch, and I realize that all my fears are baseless and they are sisters who love each other and share a beautiful bond. Until, Z looks at me and sweetly asks, “I kick Baby Bird?”  

                My heart sinks, I get ready to have another argument with my two-year old. I start to protest, as my two year old starts to tear up, and defiantly proclaims, “I do it anyway!”

                I try to reach out and stop her before too much damage is done, but Z moves too quickly and nearly smothers her baby sister with a flurry of kisses. I sit there astonished, “Z, did you mean you want to kiss your sister?”

                “Yes, kick my thister,” she lisps in her sweet two year old way smiling up at me.

                Long story short: all is right in the world, and I am a paranoid, over-protective mess.

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