Archive for July, 2009

You Know You’re A Parent When…

This morning I was drinking a large glass of water.  Ginger decided she wanted some and started taking sips in between shoving handfuls of Cheerios into her mouth.

When I attempted to reclaim my glass of water, I noticed a fair amount of Cheerios crumbles in the bottom of the cup.  Ginger’s backwash.

I drank the water anyway.

How To Stuff Your Child To The Gills

Any parent of a toddler knows the battle that can ensue at mealtime.  Sometimes your child doesn’t like what you are serving.  Sometimes your child simply refuses to eat, period, despite the fact that you are serving French fries, chocolate cake, and large dollop of candy-coated lard.

My darling Ginger likes to scare me by not eating much of anything for days on end.  I offer food but she’d rather play.  Or torment her brother while he eats.  Or follow me around, asking, “What are you doing Mommy?  What are you doing Mommy?”

Once in a blue moon she’ll gorge herself on cheese or yogurt or faux chicken nuggets (which, I must say, taste surprisingly like actual chicken nuggets).  But in between, she’ll eat the occasional grape and not much else.  If she wasn’t so healthy and active, I’d be terrified.

However, I seem to have stumbled upon a surefire way to get her to consume massive quantities of food.  You see, Ginger is in that maddening transition between needing-a-daily-nap and not-needing-a-daily-nap.  Back when she was transitioning from two naps a day to one, it took months for her to be able to consistently go without a morning nap, so I’ve been down this path.

This time, however, we have been negotiating the no-afternoon-nap for nearly a year.  Some days she needs one, some days she doesn’t, but she is always – ALWAYS – convinced that she does not need nap.  She could be falling down tired, leaning against the wall because she doesn’t have the strength to stand on her own two feet, and she will insist she is NOT tired, darn it.

So the quickest way to get Ginger to do something she doesn’t want to do is threaten to make her go take a nap.  The fact that lunch occurs just before naptime is pure serendipity, and I milk it for all I can.  As a result, Ginger now eats the world’s largest lunch because she will do anything to postpone the nap that she doesn’t want to take.  Today she ate blueberries, cantaloupe, two “pink pancakes” (pancakes made with pancake mix, apples, and – I kid you not – pureed beets), more blueberries, mini-waffles, goldfish crackers, and a mini-thermos of milk. 

Each new threat of a nap triggered a request for more food.  It was fantastic.  The very best part was that she ended up taking a nap anyway, probably because she needed to rest up to drag her improbably full belly around.  In light of the fact that she now gives me zero quiet time first thing in the morning, any nap is a reason to celebrate.

I’m now hopeful that my daughter will manage not to waste away.  Tomorrow I’m going to really push the envelope: I’m going to tell her that she has to take a nap if she doesn’t eat some veggies.

Ginger Gets Devilish

For anyone who doubted the veracity of my claim that Ginger had scrawled satanic verses all over our driveway, I present this small art project that Ginger brought home from camp last week. The top of the shell was painted, and apparently Ginger decided to show off her writing skills, which consist of only three letters. You can see the results.

In light of the fact that she attends a Quaker camp, I’m sure this went over well with her teachers.

Devilish shell

I Love You, Now Go Away

Here is one of the many ironies of parenthood: you love your children to pieces, but want nothing to do with them.

I exaggerate, but only slightly. In a nutshell, Ginger is now 3 years old and is full – FULL – of energy. We could do step aerobics all day long and she’d still have energy left at the end of the day to run a marathon. Apparently this is typical for toddlers, but no one warned me. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since there is nothing I could have done to prepare for this anyway.

The problem is that I don’t have the ability to keep up with her. Making things worse is the fact that we are stuck at home for at least 3 hours every afternoon while Fred naps. Forcing a toddler to hang out at her house and behave civilly for 3 hours is sort of like doing a 3-hour countdown for a rocket launch with the rocket revving up the entire time. The rocket gradually makes more and more noise, rattles, shakes violently, and ultimately launches whether you are ready for it or not.

So my goal in life now is to find activities for her that don’t require my involvement. Basically, I want to dump her somewhere and have someone else entertain her. Fortunately such a program exists and is called “pre-school.” Unfortunately, she will have this only three mornings a week, and not until mid-September.

I’m looking for anything: dance class, language class, make-mud-pies-and-spitballs class, whatever. The problem is that although these classes are everywhere, many are for children aged 4 and up. The world is engaging in age discrimination against my little Ginger, darn it!

And in the midst of all of this, I’m feeling more than a twinge of guilt that I, a stay-at-home-mom, am trying to pawn my kid off on someone else because I’ve run out of ways to entertain her. Isn’t this my job? Shouldn’t I be teaching her how to play a musical instrument, or cook a gourmet meal, or paint a masterpiece? I just assume this is what all the other SAHMs do. Not that I spend ANY time worrying about what other parents do to get their kids ahead or anything…

On the other hand, am I really doing my job when I plop her in front of Sesame Street because I don’t know what else to do while her little brother is napping and we’re trapped in the house and need to be relatively quiet? I can only bake so many things with her help that neither she nor her brother end up eating anyway, and frankly, my tolerance for coloring with crayons or lying on the floor whilst Dr. Ginger examines me has its limits, particularly when my head is off thinking about all the things I need to do around the house because I used to have that time when Ginger napped and now I’m simply accustomed to it.

Guilt, guilt, guilt. It just never ends. Hopefully getting rid of my child for a few hours every day will help with that.

My Refrigerator Is A Threat To Public Health

As I’ve posted on here many times before, I am completely inept in the kitchen. A couple examples here and here.

One of my many kitchen malfunctions is to buy food and forget that I have it. GrumpyDaddy occasionally audits the refrigerator, tossing out old food and wagging his finger at me for being wasteful and having the memory of a 98-year-old man who is convinced he walked uphill both ways to get to school.

So the other day at lunchtime, Ginger was standing in front of the fridge, trying to figure out what she wanted. She saw the container of cottage cheese and asked for some. Yay, I thought, a healthy choice! I’ve trained my child well!

So I opened it to discover that it was pretty rotten. As in stinky and bad. So much for a healthy choice. So that got chucked.

Ginger then saw a container of ricotta cheese and asked for some. I know this doesn’t taste good on its own, but I am a pretty big believer in learning experiences and I want to do anything I can to encourage my picky eaters to try new foods. So I pulled it out, opened it up, and… discovered that it was green. Not that familiar fuzzy, moldly green, but a strange, mint green color that I’d really never seen on food before. It was all quite alien and I’m actually bit surprised that the ricotta cheese didn’t talk to me. So that got chucked as well.

Poor Ginger was a bit confused at this point but I spotted some applesauce and offered that. Golf claps all around as now both kids were quite excited about lunch. I pulled the jar out of the fridge, opened it, and you know how this story ends.

The good news is that my children got fed. The bad news is that I am left to wonder what else in my refrigerator is older than my children.

Learning To Write

Ginger is starting to write letters and someone close to her, who shall go unidentified for reasons you are about to understand, has been trying to teach her some letters. The letters this person has chosen to teach include E, a first initial of someone in the family, H for some unknown reason, and L, presumably because it’s an easy letter, with only two pen-strokes (or crayon-strokes, as the case may be).

Well, little Ginger simply delights in practicing her letters using chalk on the driveway, so our driveway now looks as though someone has graffitied various spellings of “hell” all over the place.

Worse, because it’s in child-scrawl, it looks like the sort of thing you see in cheap horror films. If Ginger starts wandering around the house and growling “redrum,” we are moving.

A Thursday Confession

My confession for the day: occasionally… OK, oftentimes, when I’m cleaning up my kids’ snacks off the floor, I just eat them. And sometimes, they aren’t, shall we say, *freshly* dropped snacks. In fact, I end up eating some darn stale Cheerios and Goldfish crackers at times.

But the truth of the matter is that when I’m crawling around the playroom, trying to clean up the toys, and come across a stray cracker, I just can’t be bothered to pick it up, stand up, walk into the kitchen, dispose of it properly, and then go back to picking up toys.

Put this in the category of things I never thought I’d do before becoming a parent. Yuck.