Sunday, June 24, 2012

Not the kind of overachieving I was hoping for

We're on Day Four of Sick House, which sounds like a PBS miniseries, and certainly is quite dramatic, but is not nearly as well-costumed.  Elle managed to combine catching a virus and strep, which has led to several days of lousy appetite, a refusal to drink anything but water, and general crankiness.  (On my part AND hers!)  The antibiotic took care of the strep quickly, but the virus just has to work its way through.

So far I seem to be OK.  We'll see if it lasts.  Apparently if you're going to catch strep it takes three days, and I don't see anything. Yet.

I'm used to the picky eating, but the refusing milk is just strange for my kid. Elle would do nothing but drink milk all day every day every night FOREVER if you let her, so this is completely not normal.  And she won't have anything to do with juice, either, no matter what I do to fancy it up.  She also wants nothing to do with ice cream, sherbert, or popsicles.  I haven't tried a slushy, but it's a good bet that won't work, either.

Friday she barely drank anything, but fortunately yesterday she was at least drinking water (not as much as I would like, but she had the required number of wet diapers, so...) and at dinner last night, she ate more than she'd eaten since Wednesday.  It certainly wasn't BRAT-diet approved, but if she's gonna eat Pirate Booty, Mama's gonna feed her Pirate Booty.  (Also, applesauce, which I forced into her.  I hate doing that, but needs must.)

At least she's been sleeping well at night and napping well during the day (I was even able to work from home a little both Thursday and Friday), so that's good.  She's starting to stir now and I am hopeful today's the day she goes back on her normal picky toddler diet.

This is one of those times when it would be much, much easier to be parenting with a partner.  There's no respite.  To be fair, I didn't put out a call to the troops (my friends) asking for help; I know people would have come by.  But with a partner, they're just there, and if you're trying to get medicine down your struggling toddler's throat there's someone else to help.  That would be nice.

But we're fine, we're hopefully on the mend, and I should get back to work tomorrow.  Right before I go away for the week of the holiday.  :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Elle in motion

I sometimes marvel at how smooth her skin is, how warm her cheeks are, how soft her curls are.  She's so busy that she rarely has patience for my hand on her arm or my touch on her face; she has to get on to the next thing and the next thing.  Her schedule is packed, after all.  I'm just a speed bump in her race to world domination.

And then, one night this week, she touches my arm gently, drawing her hand along it like I've done with hers, and looks at me and smiles.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I have to admit I've always been the kind of person who likes a routine.  I realize that probably makes me dull (and if this admission is the first time you've thought I was dull, then I'm shocked), but it is who I am.  I love getting away and doing new things, but on a regular basis I like a fairly predictable life.

As a single person, this probably meant I was "not adventurous enough" and "too rigid."  As the single mother of a toddler, this is freaking AWESOME and the best thing ever and I WIN.

Show me a parent who says their toddler doesn't do well with a routine and I'll show you a parent who's probably not really paying attention to their child.  I am guessing there's an age where routine becomes less critical, but it's certainly not when they're very young.

(I do not consider myself a parenting expert, and I generally don't want to say "this is how you should do things!"  But this particular case is a big whomping exception to that.)

I'm not saying you can't/shouldn't be spontaneous-- that's nuts.  Elle gets a late bedtime or an on-the-go meal every so often.  (Note that I do not mess with The Nap.  Never mess with The Nap, man.  Never.  Unless you are CRAZY and have a DEATH WISH.)  But I strongly believe that young children, with their limited capacity to understand their world and even more limited capacity to control it, respond best to a home life that is structured and predictable.  They may not want a bath, but the fact that a bath is part of their evening routine (most nights, anyway-- ahem.  Don't judge me!) is comforting, understandable, and helps them feel safe.

Most moms I know, and parents I've known, embrace this.  After all, having your child(ren) on a routine means your own life is easier to manage; if you know they go to bed at 8, you know that by 8:15 (hopefully) you can pay your bills or wash your kitchen floor or relax and watch some TV.  But I know at least one family that has never had their daughter on a routine, and while she's a sweet, bright little girl, she is also a holy friggin' terror.  Elle can have some truly monumental meltdowns, but this girl's put Elle's to shame.

I understand the need to continue living as you lived pre-baby, but that's not always possible.  Or wise.

And I think what it's important to remember is that it is not always going to be like this.  Routine will not always rule the world.  You will not always be a slave to The Nap.  You will not always have to worry about getting home in time to do a quickie version of the bedtime routine, in hopes that you are able to do this before your child becomes so overtired that sleep is only a mirage.  You will not always have to have a baggie of Cheerios in your bag or a sippy of water in your tote, because eventually your child will be old enough to say they're hungry or thirsty (not demonstrate it with a meltdown) and you can grab them a bottle of water and let them know you'll eat when you get home.

The challenges associated with a small child are, fortunately, temporary.  I know they give way to new challenges, of course.

But for now, in my house I suck it up and get Elle by her regular bedtime as much as I can.  In the long run, it's best for everyone.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My life

I was talking to a co-worker today, and we somehow got on the topic of parenting.  "I wish," she said, "that someone had just told me that I was going to be tired all the time."

I know this isn't the most profound statement ever made about parenting, but it just rang true somehow in a very real way.  I can take all the "me time" I want, I can have friends watch Elle to give me a break, I can do everything to take care of myself.  No matter what, I'm pretty much tired all the time, deep down in my bones.

I am not saying this to complain, either.  I'm saying this like I might say that it's raining right now, or that I love brightly colored shoes.  It's just a fact.  A fact of life.  Of my life, like my terrible curly hair or my poor vision or my pink-painted toenails.

This is my life.  It's a good life.  It is not where I expected to be, no.  But it is where I want to be right now.

Even if I am always tired.