Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Yeah, Sure, The Sky Is Falling. And I Feel Fine-ish.

Sometimes I sit around admiring Madeline and Avery’s little pot bellies. They stick out in the most adorable way and give them a ridiculously impossible profile, the kind of absurd dimensions where you wonder why they don’t topple over. I take a certain pride in thinking I fill those bellies up. And then a wave a panic rolls over me and I don’t see pudge but rather distention and those aren’t tummies filled with lovingly cut-up grapes and homemade chicken nuggets, they are tummies filled with gas and emptiness. Then I start poking their stomachs and continue for a while until I realize I don’t know what to feel for. What does starvation even feel like? It amazes me how quickly I can switch from “they are just fine” to “oh my god they are starving, right in front of my eyes.” This is a little insight into my daily parenting panic. And it extends in ten million directions. I am astonished at the so many ways that one can be/feel like a failure at parenting.

Starvation isn’t such a reach, based on the amount of food I find on the floor and their mercurial appetites, combined with my own peculiar food habits, which includes occasional skipped meals, a virtual food strike in the hot days of summer and a pathetic lack of protein in my life. I eat no meat but chicken, and I don’t feel bad about eating chicken anymore because I have concluded that chickens are by far the most annoying farm animal — if not animal — on the planet. This is based on recent experience. We went to a dairy farm up in Northampton (maybe Hadley) and there were these great, lumbering, almost regal-looking cows, who would walk right over to us and point their giant noses at the girls and just watch us, blinking s-l-o-w-l-y and looking like they had something to say. They seemed so kind and gentle and easy-going, like I could be friends with them, if they were human. They would be the friend who always said “I don’t care. What do YOU want to do?” I almost felt bad that I eat the occasional hamburger (that is the only beef product I eat), but then I think how tasty cows are, sandwiched between a fresh bun, with lots of ketchup and mustard and sour pickles and red onions, and I get over it. They also give us milk, which gives us cheese, which truly is nature’s candy. And don’t even get me started on ice cream. Cows are great.

But chickens are just plain annoying. First of all, they live up to their names of running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Have they no sense of direction? Do they exist in a constant state of dizziness? Watching them makes me weary. Second, they tried on several occasions during the above mentioned farm visit to lead my over-excited girls into traffic. I’m not kidding. The chickens ran for the road, with my girls hot on the heels, and then the chickens make a sharp turn, back to safety, while my still-not-good-at-banking girls headed straight into the road. Were it not for us scooping them up and bringing them back to the safety of the grass, the girls would keep running into the street. Evil chickens. So I no longer feel bad that I eat chicken. And I will eat more of them tomorrow. With delicious white wine cream sauce.

Speaking of wine, this is the absurdity of life as a non-drinker: I want to make the above mentioned white wine cream sauce, which requires three tablespoons of white wine, but I don’t want to have a whole opened bottle in my house. It is not like I would grab it, run into the closet, close the door and down it, but who knows. But mainly it is the fact that I don’t want to waste it. So last night I went to a few liquor stores looking for those mini airplane-size bottles of wine, and can’t find them. Are they out of style? Does no one drink shots of wine anymore? Is it wrong to knock on my neighbor’s door and ask to borrow some?

In a delicious sense of irony, both girls says “dada” but it means “what’s that?” How’s that for their first double entendre? They will point to something, ask “dada” and then repeat what I say. Well, attempt to repeat. Avery seems to be increasing her vocabulary and becoming more verbal by the day, if not hour. I am always amazed at some of the words she knows. Madeline is a little behind her, and seems content to let her sister talk. It is impossible not to compare, then worry, then fret, then panic, then seek counsel, then assume that I am certainly failing my children. I know how silly that is, but reason and logic apparently flew out the window once I had kids.

From toddler diets to chickens to wine issues to vocabulary….

And now, just to wrap up this random post, a snippet from an argument Nicole and I had over the weekend:

Me: You’re being mean.
Nicole: You’re being mean.
Me: No, I am not mean. You are being lazy about picking adjectives. I am being bratty and immature, yes, but mean, no.
Nicole: Fine, you’re being bratty and immature.
Me: Fine. But you’re being mean.

Notice I gave myself the last word? We were arguing over dinner. More specifically, we were arguing over the fact that I wanted Nicole to decide what to order in for dinner and she had the *nerve* to ask for my input in deciding. In my defense, I just didn’t want to make any decisions at all. I just wanted food to show up in front of me. But there is probably no way I can spin this to make me seem in the right. It all seems so silly in hindsight, no? And it seems like almost everyone I know is having various versions of spousal conflict these days. Is it the weather? The economy? General ennui?

If you are still looking for the password for my “secret” blog, email me. This blog, right here, is still my main blog. I am seriously considering migrating, but, as I said, that involves change and we all know how I despise change. When I add a new post to the secret blog, I will alert you all here. And I want to thank you all for your links and stories and really wonderful emails. They really cheered me up on an otherwise gloomy, rainy, post-argument crappy Monday.

Pictured above, another reason why cows are great: They are weather prognosticators: When they lay down it means rains a comin’. I love that. Chickens, those evil, tasty farm animals, predict nothing, except that the sky is falling, when in fact it isn’t. And Madeline with her hands all over the goat. This is why I need to remember to carry that hand gel with me at all times.


ms.bri said...

There is absolutely no point in worrying about toddlers and eating because the whole thing just sucks. Beck eats pretty well most days but he still turns up his nose randomly all the time.

This is the most heartening thing you can read re: toddler diet:
Brazelton's Minimum Toddler Survival Diet:
Dr. Brazelton advises that this “baseline/minimum” program will cover basic nutritional needs during a toddler’s negative period:

* 1 pint (16 ounces) of milk (or equivalent in dairy products; cheese, yogurt, etc.)
* 2 ounces of iron-containing protein (meat or egg) or cereals fortified with iron
* 1 ounce of orange juice or fresh fruit
* 1 multivitamin (to cover for uneaten vegetables)

from this random place, which is also worth reading: http://www.childhoodhealth.com/health-information/nutrition/toddler-eating-habits

As far a I can tell from a quick survey of vitamin bottles at the pharmacy, they all say 2 and up. So I guess we might have to wait a bit for that. I keep forgetting to ask my pediatrician.

ms.bri said...

Eh. Here's the link again.

rebecca said...

i think that they still sell those little four-packs of wine, little mini-bottles that are each one glass. although i think it would be funny to knock on your neighbour's door and ask to borrow some!

about the vocabulary -- believe me when i say that you will be thankful later that only one of the girls is particularly verbose. my stepdaughter #1 (apparently) spoke in full sentences since about 12 months and hasn't stopped since; her younger sister, like your Madeline, lets her older sister do the talking for her and thank GOD because i don't think there is room in the house for any more words! :)

Jennifer said...

Bri- Thanks for that. That is exactly what I needed. Of course, now the girls are eating green beans (maddie) and apple (avery) so I feel relieved. I just need to let go. One day they LOVE raisins, so we go out and buy them one of those GIANT 15 pound bags from the wholesale place and the next day they gag like they can't stand them. Note this only happens once we make a sizable investement in said food.

And rebecca, I saw those little four packs, but i guess i thought they were wine coolers! I think i may go get that! My other option: There is fondue place downstairs from me and I KNOW they have wine and if I asked them to give me 3 tbsp I am sure they food (for free even). But I just feel so silly asking!

K J and the kids said...

Thanks Bri! damn. I seriously could have used that information months ago. (sigh of relief)

Nice segueing. very smooth girl.

I too get wrapped up in my kids big tummys and then starving kids in Africa and then it leads to child rape and then aids and then kids who raise their siblings because their parent died of aids and then I end with....wait for it....how in the fuck can a 6 year old raise 5 brothers and sisters younger than him with no food, no water, and dirt and I'm barely hanging on with my own.

Poor chickens. :(

Good luck with the wine. I suggest giving a bottle to your neighbor and then asking for a few tbsp every now and then :)

Jeannine said...

On the subject of toddler nutrition, I wanted to share a tip that worked for us. My daughter would not take milk from anything other than her bottle, and since my babes are now 21 months, I really wanted to kick the bottles for good. So I tried everything, from special cups to straws to the milk in sippy boxes you name it. Nothing worked. Until I bought some N.uby silicone soft spout cups yesterday. My son finished his and my daughter drank about 75% and all done before tub and jammies! We went to bed last night without a bottle for the first time with no issue at all. I am in shock, but it worked for us. Give it a try if you haven't used that type before.