Wednesday, March 30

And in the "Duh" Department...

Some folks e-mailed me that they were curious what Doodles's nutritionist had to say. [A recap for those who don't remember: Doodles eats only crunchy carbs with the occasional smooth yogurt or smooth baby food fruit. No real fruit, no veggies, no meat, no non-milk dairy, no soy, no nutin'!] Let me share the great wisdom she gave us. Let me save you the $100 (because our insurance doesn't cover nutritionists) and give you all her little secrets. Let me save you an hour of your life being grilled about your child's eating habits and skip right to what she had to say. Are you ready? This is a biggie:

"Sounds like your son is pretty hard core." Yes, folks, that's what she said as she shooed me out the door. Basically, she gave me two options. The first was to wait for a weekend (so Adam would be home too) and starve my little eating machine until he was willing to eat what we wanted him to eat. Way to not make eating a power struggle! The second option is to get him some "feeding therapy." Yup. It's a real thing. Food therapy. Oy. Anyway, after finding out that our insurance doesn't cover feeding therapy, either, we got in touch with our local Early Intervention, and we have an evaluation scheduled for Doodles in about a month.

What comes next? If we can't potty train him does he get Toilet Therapy? And what about me? Is there any I Need Five Quiet Minutes to Myself Therapy? How about for Adam? Is there I'm Addicted to my Computer Therapy? I see a lot of business opportunities out there for any of you budding entrepreneurs!

Double Trouble

Doodles wasn't just cranky on the plane ride to Miami. He was sick. Which makes me feel like a bad mother for complaining about him. We got to Miami and it turns out he had a double ear infection. The exact words of the local doctor (after removing copious amounts of wax in order to peer in) were, "Oooh, those ears are ugly!"

So we got the good-old reliable antibiotic prescription. Only, we were in Miami. What difference does that make? Well, in the Yankee northeast, when a child is prescribed antibiotics, it comes in a pretty pink-tinted, bubble-gummed flavor elixer. Doodles loves the stuff. He will suck it out of the syringe. But in Miami, antibiotics come in a pale white, tropical fruit flavor nastiness. And Doodles hates tropical fruit flavors. Getting the medicine down him is a two-person task, with one person holding down his arms while the other forces the medicine into his mouth.

The medicine did the trick, of course. But I think Doodles learned a valuable lesson: don't get sick in the south.


Doodles has become the cling-child. He must be with Momma at all times and only Momma will do. Right now he's terrorizing his poor mother's helper by standing at the kitchen gate shouting, "Mommamommamommamommamommma," over and over and over again. The plus side to this is I'm getting extreme amounts of cuddle time but the down side, of course, is that I can't be more than three feet away from him. It's not enough that I walk with him these days--he wants me to carry him everywhere. And, again, only me. Adam won't do. Not enough that I have this unborn parasite to contend with; now I have a living, breathing parasite who wants to suck the life out of me as well.

Wednesday, March 23

Spring Has Sprung

Well, would you look at that? Sunday, spring officially started, and sure enough, today was sunny and warm with a high of 84. I love it! Oh, wait, that's right. I'm on vacation in Miami Beach. Boston is under a winter storm warning because they're expecting between six and eleven of inches of snow in the next twenty-four hours.

Doodles and I caught an early morning flight down. The last time I flew solo with him, it was a challenge but I was able to appease him with "D," aka the portable DVD player we got just for the trip. Ah, but the child has widened his horizons. There's so much more to life than just D. The airport was a blast for him. He stood at the window and said/signed over and over, "aihplane! aihplane!" I had a hard time pulling him away from the window to get him on the plane. As soon as I got the car seat into his seat, he wanted to play with the straps. Now mind you, he didn't want to get into the car seat, just play with it. A few forceful tugs on my part and in he was.

In the beginning, I was able to distract him with food. But then, somehow, my bottomless pit child filled up and wanted new things to do. But I had planned ahead. Doodles will sit at home for 45 minutes just lacing and unlacing his sneakers. There isn't enough room for him to do that in the car seat (he has a whole little routine down) so I bought him some lacing cards. It was a brilliant purchase. Only he played with it for fewer than two minutes. I pulled out books--new and old. I pulled out the magnadoodle. I sang him songs. No dice. So finally, we get in the air and I pull out the secret weapon. The DVD player. Which worked for about 20 minutes. And then he said, "All done. All done," violently making the sign. I tried singing again, but he cut me off with a "No!" (So much for my American Idol dream.) Milk (which I practically had to beg off the flight attendants because they don't actually serve milk on flights anymore) and a granola bar worked for about twenty minutes.

Of course, the flight was incredibly turbulent because of bad weather so we were flying low, which added almost a full half hour to our flight time. And it was too bumpy to let him walk around. Which is why I'd like to apologize to all the folks on Flight 937 sitting in rows, oh, say, 1 through 40, for the toddler who screamed for 30 minutes straight. At first I tried to appease. He turned down graham crackers. Said no to all my songs. Didn't want to be stroked or kissed. Didn't want to be read to. So, I did what any sane parent would do. I gave up. Yes, I am that mom, the mom with a toddler screaming in public who is simply ignoring him. The mom with the crying baby on a business flight who is doing nothing to quiet him. The mom casually reading American Way while tears stream down her child's face. Honestly there was nothing else that could be done. Eventually, he fell asleep about forty minutes before landing.

The only thing I can do is I promise that I shall not fly solo with that child (or future child) again for many, many years to come. I think I might be able to accompany him when he flies off to college. But it still may be a little too soon.

Wednesday, March 16

Battle of Wills

My 18-month-old son has decided he no longer needs his nap. My 36-year-old weary tired self has decided that he actually needs to be taking longer naps. Who do you think is winning this battle? I type guiltily as he screams from his crib. But this is nap time, and dammit, that child is going to nap or at least stay in his crib until I've had time to take a few deep breaths.

Doodles has been more or less charming lately, but today he's been in a "no no no no NO!" kind of mood. This has been the first nice day out (and who would believe that I would consider 40 degrees to be nice, but, hey, after what we've had, 40 degrees is downright balmy) and I decided we'd walk down to Walgreens to pick up a prescription for me (Tylenol 3. Oh, how I love Tylenol 3! For pregnancy headaches, Motrin is a no-no, but apparently codeine is just fine. Sometimes pregnancy can be a beautiful thing). Doodles did fine on the walk, although at one point, he started to nod off. Oh, I don't think so! So I gave him food. Food always works. When we got home, I felt bad for having him cooped up in the stroller so I offered to let him play outside. He happily got down and started saying "Bubbles," which is what he thinks snow is. After a few minutes of "Bubbles" and giggling, he pointed at absolutely nothing, looked at me firmly, and said, "Nmengish."

"What would you like, honey?" I asked.

"Nmengish," he demands.

I have no idea what this is and I tell him so. He's becoming visibly upset and walks to the steps to go up to the house. Now he just pouts and starts to scream. "Do you want to go inside?" Scream. "Do you want to walk up the steps?" Scream. "Do you want to play?" Scream. "Do you want to go for a walk?" Scream. I give up and sit down on the steps, only to be pushed off by my child who is screaming, "No no no no no NO NO NO!"

Finally, I carried him inside where he did eventually stop screaming. The solution? more food, of course. I gave him lunch, I played with him, read him some books. He then walked to the bottom of the stairs and said, "Sleep." So I brought him upstairs, read him a few more books. He put his head on my shoulder in his tired way. I put him in his crib, where he's been screaming for, oh, about an hour now.

That's the kind of day we're having. I've even written a little song about it (with apologies to the Bangles):

It's just another nap-free Wednesday
I wish it were Saturday
Because that's my pass-him-off to Daddy day
It's just another nap-free Wednesday.

Hey, did you hear that sound? It was sound of my will snapping in half. I'm going to get the child. Round 286: The Doodlebug.

Wednesday, March 9

On My Mind...

I'm exhausted and Doodles decided to have a nap-free Wednesday, so while the mother's helper is here, I'm hiding out in my office with a bag of Double Stuf Oreos, which will make me feel better right up to the point when they start making me feel sick. And I'll quit eating them about five Oreos after that. So today you will get a random, free association blog...

...I had my first trimester genetic screening. I begged during the ultrasound for them to tell me the sex, but the doctor insisted it was too early to tell. I think it's just a plot to make me suffer more. The results were really good. Good enough that I'll skip having an amnio (I am advanced age, after all, so they're required to offer me an amnio). For my age, the odds of having a child with Down's Syndrome are 1 in 175. From my test results, my personal odds are 1 in 1,741, which is lower than those of a twenty year old. The odds of Trisomy 18 for my age are 1 in 449, but my odds are less than 1 in 10,000. Considering that the odds of a complication from an amnio are 1 in 250, I think we're on the right track...

...Doodles is entering the language explosion phase. And he's adorably messing up his words. We have a ton of Sesame Street books and stuff, and he can correctly identify Elmo (what 18 month old these days can't?), Bir', Cookie (of course), and Ernie and "Burp." He can mimic back, "I wuv you," which I milk for all it's worth. Adam finally figured out that "B! B!" is Doodles way of asking for his laptop. Doodles loves saying, "Ahtchoo!" when we sneeze...

...I just finished copyediting a porn novel. Gotta say, it wasn't nearly as interesting a job as I would have thought it would be...

...This pregnancy is completely different from the last. I've been really queasy and nauseous this time around. More lower back pain. Probably the same amount of exhaustion...

...When I'm not feeling sick, though, I tend to forget I'm pregnant. With Doodles I devoured every Baby Center e-mail and scoured the sites checking for daily pregnancy calendars. Now, every few weeks, I think, "Hmm, I should check in one of my many pregnancy books for a refresher on what's happening." And once in every four of those times I actually remember to do it....

...Okay, I've hit the point where the Oreos are making me sick. Hmmm, wonder how many more that means I'll eat?...

...I really wanted a girl when I was pregnant with Doodles. But I got to say, this time around, boy is a known entity. Girls are, well, different. And they, apparently, require all new clothing unless you want to forever be saying, "No, actually, she's a girl. We just like to dress her in all navy blue." I don't have the big ultrasound scheduled yet, but it's got to be in the next two to six weeks. I'll let you know as soon as we know. And, no, there will be no discussion of names, once again, until the baby is born...

...What does it mean when you're free associating and you have nothing to say? Does it mean there's nothing left in your mind? Or just that your mind is kaput? All I can think is "Those last three Oreos were a mistake," "Just two hours and forty-five minutes till Doodles goes to bed," and "Why is there a hole in my ceiling?" So I guess we'll leave it at that today.

La La La La

I had this really vivid dream the other day. It was my turn to perform on American Idol. As I got up before the judges, it occurred to me that I'm perhaps one of the worst singers ever. This is not an exaggeration. I can't keep a tune and I don't understand what all this talk of on or off key is. It all sounds the same to me. Then it occurred to me that I don't know the words to any songs. I stood up there, panicked, wondering what I was going to do. I racked my brain and before I knew it, I was singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep." Paula, Randy, and Simon and all the others in the room loved it and started clapping. Encouraged, I went on to sing my "ABCs." Everyone was cracking up and Simon said I definitely got points for originality and I could move on in the competition. I have no idea what all this means except I'm taking it as a hint that Doodles could stand to listen to a touch more Modest Mouse and a little less Wiggles when I'm around.

Wednesday, March 2

The Great Divide

I've always divided the world into two kinds of people. Of course, where I am in life dictates what that divide is. For instance, when I graduated from college, the world was divided into those with jobs and those without. I was in the latter and I was in awe of the former. Later in life, I began to focus more on relationships, and the divide came between those with boyfriends and those without. Sometimes those on the other side of the divide were to be envied. Sometimes they were to be pitied. For instance, for a long time the concept of marriage horrified me. I felt so sorry for my friends trapped in the outdated institution. They seemed to lead such horribly boring existences. (I think it's reasonable to say I changed my opinion on this one.) For a while when I was at Amazon, the world was so obviously divided between those who had pre-IPO stock options and those who didn't (I'm not sure why everyone didn't see the world that way!). Envy doesn't come close to describe how I felt about that one.

Now, the divisions I see are all child-related. When I was pregnant, all I saw were women with rounded bodies and those with slim, baby-free bellies. I suddenly realized that the divide came simply down to those who have children and those who don't. And to a certain degree, I still feel that way. I have happily maintained close friendships with some non-mom friends, but really, all my new friends have kids, because it's simply easier. They understand when I go to bed at a ridiculously early hour. The know instinctively that, no, I haven't seen the latest, most-talked about film. They don't flinch when I whine for the umpteenth time about my temper-tantrumy toddler and my lack of sleep.

Yet, there's more to it than just who has kids and who doesn't. I see that there are actually divides among the moms. There are the new moms, those with adorable newborns in slings who are shellshocked from sore br*easts and round-the-clock feedings. These moms, as freaked out as they are, still have that sheen of idealism. Back when Doodles was still a Doodlebug, I never understood why more experienced moms would slowly move away from me and my newborn at the park. It's because in those days I was prone to making pronouncements like, "I'm going to make all of my child's food and use only organic products" (this one still cracks me up, especially today as I have my mother's helper feeding Doodles Girl Scout Shortbread cookies to keep him appeased). They could tell I was thinking things like, "Why is that mother allowing her poor child to play in that snow without mittens?" (Again, triple Ha! The day I get mittens on Doodles is the day I start sedating. Hey, sedation... hmmm....) (And by the way, I promise I never said anything like that out loud!)

Then moms get to the next stage: experienced moms. When realism sets in. When you know that your child is going to eat Ritz Cheese Bits three meals a day and that, no, you hadn't intended to cosleep but hey, there's your toddler in your bed most nights anyway. And yeah, your kid is yanking a toy away from another kid, but what are you going to do? I see those moms of newborns eyeing me with disdain as Doodles crams another handful of Goldfish into his mouth, getting ready for a temper tantrum about, oh, really nothing. And I just laugh. Because soon they will be standing where I am. So the world is divided between the new idealistic moms and us tainted cynical moms.

But then, I've noticed there's another divide. There's a group of moms out there who are so beyond where I am that I think of them as the big-time moms. That divide is between those of us with one child and those out there who have children. I see those moms with more than one kid out there, and I'm kind of in awe of them. I've seen a woman, with her newborn nursing in the sling, bound across the room to stop her child from clobbering another with a toy car, with her br*east never slipping from her baby's mouth. I've seen them expertly maneuvering that double stroller in doorways so narrow, Doodles and I barely fit side by side. They sagely watch their children wreaking havoc with the confidence that no real harm is going to be done while us singleton moms panic at every bump. This is the big divide as I see it right now.

Are you still with me? Do you see what I'm saying? Let me put this another way: Life has suddenly become somewhat more manageable. Sure, Doodles has hit 18-months with a vengeance, but ever since I learned to just let him scream and work his tantrums out for himself, it hasn't been too bad. And he's way more fun than ever. He's walking and talking and trying to make us laugh. And for me, I've gotten more freelance work than I can actually handle. My running is at its peak. I'm actually making time for my creative writing. Adam and I can finally see our marriage resurfacing from the explosion of parenthood.

So we've done the only logical thing we can do. We've decide to f*ck our perfect lives up big time. We're crossing that last divide: Brown Brown the Sequel, a.k.a. The Deuce, is due September 3, 2005. God help us.