Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dinner is Served! (on the floor)

I was very, very happy to find this little clip on the Wholesome Toddler Food Web site.

Toddlers Do Not Eat 3 Full Meals!


My Toddler does not eat at Dinner!

You will notice as the day progresses that your toddler becomes less and less hungry. Rest assured, it is common for toddlers to eat great at breakfast, eat "ok" at lunch and come dinner time, your toddler may eat either miniscule bites or leave behind a 99% full plate.



Good, because that adequately describes my nightly experience with dinner. Claire and I get home from daycare/work, and I immediately begin preparing her dinner. Let's take last night for example. I'm trying to give her a variety, but I have trouble thinking of different things that she would actually eat. Last evening I decided on tuna fish. I was going to mix in some peas and a bit of mayo, little cheese. I forgot I used the last of the peas last week. Hmm. OK, I'll give her broccoli then, but on the side. So here I went. Steamed some broccoli. Then melted bit of cheese on broccoli. Mixed a little mayo and cheese in w/some tuna. Let broccoli adequately cool and then got Claire in her seat w/her watered down apple juice, bibbed her up, locked her in, and served her dinner. Fast forward two minutes. Claire has sucked down her juice, and thrown her entire dinner on the floor except for two bites. She then eats the two bites and claps for herself.

Every night. EVERY night. The night before...baked chicken and cauliflower. Ten minutes later, I'm kneeling on the floor picking up mashed up chicken and cauliflower to throw in the garbage. GRRRR. Night before that..scrambled eggs. Eggs all over the floor. I think you get the drift by now. The only thing that ever gets more than two bites is mac and cheese, and I refuse to serve her that every single night. So basically what it comes down to is I cook dinner, I pick it up off of the floor, then I give Claire fruit or applesauce, which she eats all of, followed by milk, which she drinks all of.

I considered just not cooking dinner for her at all, but I just can't do that. There's the very rare night when she'll actually eat...spaghetti, fish...although the next time I serve the same foods, they will find their way to Floorsville.

Guess I'll just keep trying. I have learned at least to really limit the portion size so I'm not wasting too much. And Claire has gained about one half to one pound each month and is in the 50%-75% percentile for weight in her age bracket, so obviously she's not malnourished.

Mommy is just sick of scooping her grocery list off the floor.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Binky Dilemma

My almost 17-month-old is a crack addict.

OK, I exaggerate, but her pacifier, aka "Mr. Binky," is her personal crack. And it's not even the age-appropriate, orthodontic-approved pacifiers. It's the First Years green newborn pacifier they give you in the hospital when they are born. Yikes.



She has always been a "binky baby." As she grows older, I'm finding it is actually getting worse. She wants it constantly now. I was trying to only allow it in the car and for naptime and at night for sleep. But she gets so distraught that I, who always thought of myself as the tough cop mom who goes by the book, allow her to have it more than I should.

My child does fine on car rides. She does fine in restaurants. She does fine in the grocery store/Target/mall. She does fine for one reason: she has the binky. No tantrums, no screaming. She also goes to bed at 7:30 pm and sleeps until at least 7 am the next day, if not longer, w/o waking up. So is this really just benefitting ME? Am I being too lazy, not wanting to sacrifice her good behavior? Can you believe I sit here on a daily basis and have anxiety attacks over this? I do.

I logged onto babycenter.com. Of course I found the appropriate question (you can find everything on there!):

How do I wean my baby from her pacifier?

There were many responses, both in support of the pacifier and of course the inevitable "you are a lazy, horrible parent if you don't wean by age 1." Here was my favorite response (any spelling or grammatical errors are not mine!):

READ THIS IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPATHY FOR YOUR BABY: Many of you say that when you see a toddler with a pacifier in her mouth, you wonder what the parent is doing wrong. I think one of you even said that you wondered if the parent was neglecting her child! It's judgments like these that make me nervous when my 19-month-old asks for her "binky" in public. I am a really good mom, and my daughter is one of the happiest, sweetest, verbally and physically advanced kids I know. But since she was born she has gotten tremendous comfort from having her pacifier in her mouth just prior to naps and bedtime. Occasionally, when we're out in public just before one of her naps, she'll ask for it. Sometimes, if the nap is really overdue, I'll give it to her, and she usually falls asleep shortly afterward. But most days we follow a nice daily schedule that includes nap and beedtime rituals involving storytime, teeth-brushing and snuggle time. My daughter brings her binky into her crib with her and, after a couple minutes of sucking, falls fast asleep. Since she was six months old, I have wrestled with the idea of taking her binky away, and I even made half-attempts on several occasions, only to witness my daughter getting very upset. My pediatrician says it's perfectly acceptable to allow the binky as part of her bedtime ritual until she is 2 or 3. I think when I break it down, my only reason for wanting her to stop using it is the public stigma, as evidenced by the many comments posted on this board. But eventually I came to the conclusion that the pacifier wasn't hurting my little girl one bit. She is a well-adjusted, remarkably happy child, and if the pacifier gives her a little extra comfort at bedtime, than so be it. After all, we grown-ups have our own bedtime comfort rituals, whether it's a cup of tea or reading a few pages of a book or watching a little junk TV before falling asleep. I think ultimately we have to ask ourselves, what is the motivation for taking the binky away? Is it peer pressure, or is there some deeper reason? And we also have to ask why on earth are we being so hard on our kids before they're even pre-schoolers. God knows our society makes them grow up faster than they should in every other way -- so why deprive them of something so innocent and inconsequential as a binky?

heehee..of course I like that response because it basically supports what I'm feeling and alleviates any guilt. I do know hands down that she'll be weaned by her 2nd birthday (my wonderful, awesome pediatrician says it's OK until that age, and I go by anything he says!). But should I maybe try to do it before then? Or maybe I can try to cut back to only the car and only for sleep again. I can't believe I stress so much over this stuff. I do recall my pediatrician saying if I take it away too soon, she'll resort to sucking her thumb, which is actually worse for jaw and tooth development/alignment.

OK, back to the original plan. Weaning at age 2. Thanks for staying patient with me on my latest parenting dilemma.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Klingon

Houston, we have reached the planet Clingy.

The Fuzz is going through a very clingy phase right now. She wants to be picked up constantly. She is in a constant state of raised arms. She whines and cries if I am not holding her (or if she is not sitting on my lap) every minute I'm with her.

I'm conflicted. Do I pick her up every time she wants me to because I want her to feel safe, loved, and secure? Or do I not because I want her to learn independence? I'm trying to do somewhere in between, but her pitiful little cries twist my heart. And I'm starting to step on her because she's totally underfoot.

Did someone write a book on this? Ha, for every new situation I think I need a manual.

I had a lot of ideas on how I wanted to raise my child. I still believe in most of it, but the problem I hadn't thought of is the when. When do I implement these things? Rose and I were talking about the whole time out thing, the putting the toys away stuff. Right now, Fuzzy would totally think time outs were a game. I know my child inside and out, and if I kept carrying her back to the naughty seat or whatever, she'd think that was great, thus totally defeating the purpose. So right now my behavior modification technique is simply diversion. If she is getting into something she shouldn't or doing something she shouldn't, I turn her around, hand her something appropriate, etc. That seems to work fairly well.



I also really wasn't paying attention to things like putting toys away. We'd play, I'd put Claire to bed, and then I'd pick everything up after she was sleeping. Never gave it another thought. But recently I thought, crap, maybe this is the time when I should be teaching her to help put her stuff away. So the other evening after we read books, I said OK, time to put our books away. Some of her books sit on the top of her toy box..there's a nice little shelf there perfect for them that she can reach.

So I'd put one away, then hand her one. She eventually caught on and I'd clap and praise her endlessly when she did. She got sick of that quick though. I had to keep steering her back toward the books. I stuck with it. That's the name of the game I think; I have to be totally consistent. Being totally consistent is harder than I thought, because it takes patience and time. You all know how patient I am, right? ;-) (Hush, Rose!)

I guess I just need to relax, try to use my best judgment, maybe ask how other people have done it, and yes...I NEED A BOOK!! HA!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just a Quickie

OK the last blog showcased my cynicism quite adequately I think. Just to redeem myself, I just wanted to tell you...

* I ate Cool Ranch Doritos for lunch and that made me very happy

* I love when my baby lets me hold her and she puts her head on my shoulder. There is no love like that. There just isn't.

* I am starting to soften up when it comes to Nadya Suleman. Slowly.

* All of those things on my list that I didn't like...that's just me. Everyone should do what works for him/her.

* I honestly do not like the him/her subject agreement I force myself to use with singular pronouns such as everyone. But I do it because the grammar gods force me.

* I wonder if more people would read my blog if I had this rich, robust family life and lots of love and happiness like Nie-Nie. A lot of my blogs are dark. I don't think it will change because my blog is my outlet.

* I had a soy chai latte this morning and it was so good.

* I can't wait to see my friends on Saturday. They read my blogs and refrain from telling me to go to hell. I think that's really great. Thank you!

* The guy who does Elmo's voice, Kevin Clash, is from Dundalk!

* Yesterday Claire crawled over the arm of the couch onto the end table, stood up on the end table, and started hopping up and down. Then she looked at me and grinned. I'm in trouble. Big fat toddler trouble. But you know what, I had to turn my face the other way because I was laughing :-) Oh, but I did then go and get her down from the table. Honest.

* I wore my red coat today and I love it.

* I can smell spring in my imagination and it is going to be fresh and clean and uplifting.

* One of these days when I'm not strapped for cash...one of these days...I'm going to send myself a huge bouquet of tulips just 'cause.

* I still have my job in this recession. That is a blessing.

OK, I've been called back to work. Happy Manic Monday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Out of Style

I am living in the wrong age. I think I should have been an adult living more in my mom's time. Why? Well, as always, there's a list. Oh, and as always, a disclaimer...I'm an honest person, and some of these things may not go over well w/people. But that doesn't mean I'm going to hide behind a facade. So with no further ado...


I am not into:

1. Green living
2. Attachment parenting
3. High-tech gadgets
4. Herbal remedies
5. Labor unions
6. Hybrids
7. Yoga
8. Blu-Ray
9. Bluetooth
10. Texting
11. Feng shui
12. Staycations
13. Meditation
14. Homeschooling
15. Wal-Mart
16. Soy anything (except in my chai lattes, because it just makes it taste better)
17. Tanning...real, fake, or anything in between
18. Oprah's Book Club
19. Laser eye surgery
20. Reality TV

My true self? She likes:

1. Just living...if it happens to be green by default, fine
2. I don't think I should call it detachment parenting..I should just call it sleep in the crib and sit in your bouncy chair parenting I suppose
3. The use what already works until they screw you. An example, had to get the DVD player because they stopped selling VHS. Will use DVDs and CDs until they force me to "upgrade" (using that word loosely) to mp3s and whatever other overpriced crap they come up with
4. Drugs. Good old-fashioned drugs! Advil. Antibiotics. Pain killers. Bring them on. They work. Screw echinacea and licorice root.
5. An honest day's work with no entitlement. No strikes because they won't pay me $73an hour. Do your job and shut up. If you don't like it, someone else I'm sure would be happy to take your job. Gone are the days of "The Jungle."
6. My Honda. It uses gas. It probably screws the environment. Sorry, I love her.
7. Not really into the exercise of the moment. Go back to the 80s. It was aerobics. Not trendy. I think I'm good with just taking a walk.
8. Blu-Ray sort of goes with the point I made in number 3.
9. Bluetooth. Get the stupid thing off your ear. I could write a multitude of blogs about cell phones in general. People survived without them. Now every moron in the grocery store is attached to one.
10. If every moron in the grocery store doesn't have the phone attached to his/her ear, then he/she is staring at it, glazed, jamming away at the keys. I hate texting. It has made us lazy with our language as well. OMG. R U serious? LMAO. ROTFL. LOL. C u later.
11. I put my furniture where it fits. I put the pillows and decorations where the hell I want.
12. A vacation is going away from the place I am everyday. I don't need Disneyworld. But I do need out of Baltimore County, or at the very least Owings Mills.
13. I'd rather sleep. You can call it very deep meditation if you prefer.
14. Did you get straight As in every class? Did you go to school within a year of each of these subjects such as chemistry, calculus, and Spanish/French? Then you're not going to be able to teach your kids these classes as well as a trained teacher. Argue with me. Fine. I still won't believe you. And of course there's the social interaction and learning to be accountable that you don't get w/homeschooling. Next.
15. Wal-Mart is hell. Next.
16. Soy is not a miracle cure. Do some research.
17. Tanning goes along with smoking. Hi, I'm vain, so I'm going to elect to fry myself into cancer. I didn't ask for cancer. Why would someone else?
18. I like to pick my own books. Oprah is not the end all. Next.
19. I hate wearing contacts/glasses. But I don't want someone screwing w/my eyes. I know someone who already had to have a "touch up." You can touch up my car, my hair. You do not touch up my eyes.
20. Human dysfunction at its best, shown over national TV. I want to escape for a while...do not show me the morons I want to escape from.

I say how I feel. And that's how I feel this Saturday afternoon. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Enough Already

I have to type very quietly (which slows me down...grrr) because the Fuzz is in her crib resting. She came home from daycare yesterday w/a fever. She seems to cough a lot at night (a product of the sinus legacy both her father and I cursed her with), but she's coughing even more now. You know, like ME.

A quick timeline...

Week and a half before Christmas: Claire comes down with terrible cold---snotty, feverish, yucky

Week before Christmas: Mommy catches said cold. Mommy can actually verbalize her misery, so she whines a lot and swallows many Dayquil.

New Year's Eve: Claire comes home from daycare. She's sleepier than usual. I pay no mind because she sometimes won't nap for them. I should have paid mind. I hold her, she lifts her head up long enough to puke all over me, puts head back down. I spend half the night changing bed clothes and Claire every time she vomits. New Year's Day is spent recovering w/Pedialyte, toast, and applesauce.

Day after New Year's: Yep. Mommy is puking. Mommy spends the rest of the day recovering w/ginger ale and crackers.

Week following New Year's: My ears begin to hurt. My sinuses begin to hurt. Then my ears shut completely. They hurt BAD and I have a fever. Off to the doctor I go. Severe ear infection, possible punctured ear drum. Fourteen-day course of high-dose antibiotics. A week later I am forced to go see the ear, nose, and throat doctor because my left ear has not opened. Now added to the antibiotic is a six-day course of steroids.

Friday, February 28: Claire had come home the night before w/glassy eyes, one of them "gunky." Claire wakes up the next morning (Feb. 28) w/diarrhea. I convince myself it's something she ate. She is happy and running around as always. I get her ready and drive her to daycare. As we pull into the daycare parking lot, I hear her whimper. I get out of the car, open her door, smell her, promptly get back into the car and drive us right back home. Drag the Pedialyte back out. Bananas. Rice. Applesauce. Toast. I've got the BRAT diet down pat.

Sunday, March 2: I go meet my friend, Jodi, in Columbia. Best friends since our childhood in Pennsylvania, she is now in Edgewater, MD, with a baby (Ava) 4 1/2 months older than Claire (Ava was born on my birthday!!). I haven't seen her since October. We are both w/o babies, which of course is a miracle. The whole time I'm there my stomach feels crappy. I make it home in time to...sigh...puke. I continue the rest of the evening and into Monday chained to the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 4: I notice my throat is feeling dangerously close to sore. I'm coughing every once in a while. You must be joking. By the weekend, I can't swallow and I am coughing profusely, my eyes now gunky (see Feb. 28). On Monday I beg my doctor to see me. Swab test confirms strep throat (which I also had last August). The rest of the crap...headache, coughing, gunky eyes...is a virus that has to run its course. I get penicillin for the throat.

Wednesday evening, March 5: I stay home from work to rest, as I'm getting no sleep at night from coughing. I pick Claire up from daycare at 5:30 and notice she's warm. We get home, she eats normally (well, better than normally because it's mac and cheese--her fave--w/hidden pureed cauliflower and raspberries for dessert). We sit down and she is listless, so I put Elmo on and she sits very quietly and watches the whole DVD. That is not like her. She feels warmer. She is coughing more. I take her to change her into PJs and take her temp. 100.2.

TODAY: Home from work again. Claire home w/me. Coughing and fever. Mom is on her way from Pennsylvania, because she knows I'm at my wit's end. I'm so tired of being sick. I just want us to be healthy. It's the one thing I detest about daycare..the constant exchange of germs. Claire gets it, I get it, I give it back to her...it never ends.

Let's hope the fresh air of spring knocks this out once and for all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's Been a Hard Day's Night



FINALLY, I get to kick back with a cold one and watch Elmo. You have NO IDEA what this day has been like...the napping, the eating, the playing with my friends...it's all a girl can do to get through the day. Now if you don't mind, I'd like to just chill now...thanks.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just an Old-Fashioned Girl Living in High-Tech World

I'll start this by saying I have not had cable television since 2002 and still do not own an ipod (or any other brand of mp3 player). It took me years beyond the norm to get a DVD player, and I still listen to CDs.

I don't know if I really have an objection to all the new technology so much as I'm just not motivated enough to acquire it for myself.

However, there is a piece of new technology that I will never have an interest in owning. I'm not sure if there are other models of this device, but the one I'm familiar with is called the Kindle (or now Kindle 2) on amazon. Essentially, it's a device where you download books and read them on the screen. Apparently it's about the size of a paperback book and the thickness of a magazine. There are over 240,000 books you can download. Now the Kindle 2 even has the ability to read the book aloud to you.

I don't know about any other voracious reader out there, but I'm a very tactile person. I'm all about sensory overload, and I LOVE the feel and smell of books. This is what leads to my not-so-economical habit of wanting to actually own books as opposed to checking them out at the library (that and the fact that I have a disorder that prevents me from returning library books on time it seems). And as a sidebar, I think libraries are one of the greatest institutions ever created and believe in the system wholeheartedly. I just personally love to own books.

I love to smell the print on the page. I love the feel of the cover. I have actually bought books just because of the look and feel of the cover. (Don't judge a book by its cover. Um, I'm guilty as charged. However, I read some good books by this method, including "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb as an example.)

I just think all of this modern technology is making the world a little colder and robotic. Take a look at your bookcase. Look at he different colors and sizes and textures of the books that are there. Distinctive. Eclectic. Memorable. Irreplacable.

So I guess I'll remain among those who stay old school. I'll be folding the corner of a particularly good page of my Sue Miller novel while listening to my mix CD on my personal CD player. Then I'll go adjust my ancient antenna so I can get a better view of whatever is on the four channels that come into focus on my analogue TV set.

And I'll be grateful that so much advancement has been made, but I still have the choice to stick to what works for me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mixed Nuts

So yesterday I went to the psychiatrist.

My mother is reading this and I imagine already horrified, but hey, what else is new.

But like I said, visited my friendly neighborhood psychiatric practitioner yesterday. I've been trudging along the murky, sludge-filled path of depression for about 20 years, and I have visited more than my fair share of these guys. I wish I could say the situation has been rectified, but it hasn't. So the pattern is I go to someone for months or years, get on a medication, go to some therapy, and then kind of just exist.

This pattern, I decided, needs to be broken for no other reason than I have a baby, and she needs more of me than I'm able to give while handling this illness. That's not acceptable. Not even close. So I'm grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns once again.

So back to the story. I sulk as I drive up to Towson, pull into Sheppard Pratt, and haul up to the Neuropsychiatry Department in the Gibson Building. Then I walk into that dreaded hell known as the waiting room. How many people are fans of sitting in any waiting room? Well, kids, sitting in a psychiatrist's waiting room is a whooooole new ballgame. There's always one person talking to everyone in the room about nothing that makes sense. There's always one person who smells. And there's a whole lot of people who look...well...frightening. I imagine I'm one of them; my face is pretty transparent. While in the waiting room, it read: "Do not look at me, do not talk to me, I'll go postal on you." Oh wait, that's actually my day-to-day face, but anyway...

So FINALLY, the doctor comes out and calls me in. I go into his office. I look at him. I look at the office. He looks like every other psychiatrist I've ever seen. Collegiate. Somewhat disheveled. Sweater with elbow patches. Worn out shoes. Innocuous, his words carefully chosen.

The office looks like every other psychiatrist's office I've ever been in. Old Oriental rug on the floor. Bookcases overflowing with psych books and journals. Desk a mess. Box of tissues on the table (for when we crazies invariably break down). I notice the tissue box is branded with the drug Cymbalta. Those dang pharmaceutical companies. They want you to know that when you're breaking down, remember, Cymbalta is there to catch your tears.

So thus begins the questionnaire. I repeat what I've repeated a bazillion times before. He asks about medications. I unearth a piece of paper where I've typed...typed...all eleven medications I've been prescribed throughout the years. He asks the standard questions.."Do you hear voices?" Yes! I can't get that stupid girl from the Progressive Insurance commercial out of my head! "Do you think anyone is conspiring against you?" Yes! Yes! Everyone on the stinking highway, doctor! Yes!

He scrawls some notes. I study his degrees up on the wall. He prints off some papers and gives me instructions. Restart your original pills. Get some blood work. Meet with a therapist. Get old medical records. Come back in two weeks.

I thank him. I practically run through the waiting room to get out and I burst through the main doors out into the frigid cold and the air feels AMAZING. I breathe it in very slowly.

I drive home, thinking about what I have to do and my new self-imposed rules. Internet at night limited to one hour (aack!). Bed by 10 pm. Exercise a few minutes three to four days a week (ick).

I get home to bouncy baby. She runs to me, joyful at my appearance. I grab her and hug her, hoping she somehow avoids this dreaded disease that I have. The one that alienates you. Ruins relationships. Robs you of self-esteem. Chokes you with profound and palpable sadness and anger.

OK, so it starts today. Another slow journey. Hope this one finally finds its happy ending.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Evils of Facebook



Facebook is not good for my depression. I can already see mom shaking her head. Yes, mom, I know, I need to stay off the internet.

The internet used to be a great way for me to relax. It still is in some cases. I read people.com, Dear Abby, and a host of other fluff, which is always a good way to wind down.

So then there's Facebook. Facebook initially started as this cool way to "see" people I haven't seen in ages. It was amazing how many people I've reconnected with. But lately, some low points have seeped in.

Pictures of old boyfriends who are now happy with wives. Pictures of families on vacation in all sorts of different places I'll never go. Pictures of homes I will never be in. All sorts of reminders that I'm in a place I never thought I'd be and don't like. It makes my constant feeling of being trapped even stronger. Yet I log on day after day. Masochistic? Probably. I'm good at that.

There is a girl who was a very close friend...I'd say best friend...for several years in high school that I also roomed with in college for two years. We could not have been closer. Through a falling out we lost touch, and after I found her again, I found that she was a completely different person. And she tells me she hates remembering her life in high school and college because that was the low point of her life. Well, that's great, except that I have memories with her that are still special to me. And she never wants to remember. She hates that time. Now she is happy. Attorney husband. Big house. Two beautiful daughters. Lots of friends. Lots of love. I am left w/the college memories that are some of the best times I've had. I am left wondering why I can't have the husband, the house, the life I've always wanted.

So Facebook has definitely been a double-edged sword. And I imagine once I venture back into therapy very soon, my therapist..if he or she is any good..will once again tell me to limit my time on the computer. I guess I've gotten caught in the habit because I have no cable and am alone most of the time. But I suppose there needs to come a point where I just walk away and try to focus on what is going right in life, because that can get buried under the mound of Facebook envy, and it needs to be unveiled.