Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sleep: The Last Unicorn*

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.
- Leo Burke

I was reading about sleep deprivation last night. And although I was reading a book** about child development, the book mentioned as part of its chapter on children and sleep that studies performed on adults who were averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night functioned similarly to individuals who had not slept in 24 hours.

I can’t remember the last time I had a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. I feel that I am irritable, prone to weepiness, and not ever functioning at optimum capacity. Not surprisingly, it’s not a good feeling.

One of the best ways, I have read, to ensure that you get enough sleep is to establish a bedtime for yourself. Before I became a parent, I pretty much just went to bed whenever I felt sleepy. This meant that some nights, I could get ten hours of sleep, or, if I was feeling particularly peppy, that I could stay up late and get by on five or six hours. Right now, with my sleep debt, the concept of eight full hours of sleep seems like the most heavenly thing imaginable. I told Sweet Dub last night that we need to get to bed by 10 PM. He thought that was really hilarious, and not really helpful, since we are being awakened every night in and around the 2 o’clock hour by Miss Celie. It takes at least 20-30 minutes for her to get back to sleep in the middle of the night, so even so we will not get a full eight hours of sleep.

We are the Crabby Blah Blahs. Hear us whimper.

P.S. it looks like Miss Celie may have another ear infection, so we’re heading back to the pediatrician this afternoon. (The screaming you hear is just inside my head.)

* By which I mean: it's rumored to exist, but has proved elusive. Have you ever read that book? I went through a Peter S. Beagle phase when I was about 15, but that is a tangent which I am cutting short --hmmm, right now.

** The extremely popular NurtureShock! Read it and weep! No, actually, it’s really fascinating, in the “I know I should go to bed but I just got sucked in to read the next chapter” kind of way. It pokes holes in a lot of assumptions we have about modern parenting. I’ve been wanting to read it for months, was waiting for it to come out in paperback, and finally just gave in and bought the hardcover. I regret nothing!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Skinny Mini

At our last pediatrician visit a couple of weeks ago, we discovered that Miss Celie had a “raging” ear infection (the doctor’s words, not mine), and that although she’d grown two inches since her last checkup five months ago (yes, we’re off schedule), she actually weighed less at 17 months than at 12 months. I know Celie is a horribly picky eater, and I had been dreading the appointment, because the list of foods she will eat is quite small, and lately she had begun rejecting certain foods that she previously would eat.

Dr. H said we might need to take her to an occupational therapist to work on her food aversion. (This is an actual thing, this food aversion!) But then she conferred with one of the other doctors in the practice and they came up with a plan whereby we are to offer Miss Celie food once an hour while she is awake. We are only to offer her foods which she actually likes, although they do want us to try giving her PediaSure or Carnation Instant Breakfast as a supplement. (It turns out she hates PediaSure and will only tolerate about one tablespoonful of Carnation Instant Breakfast in her milk.)

If she doesn’t gain weight on this plan, by April 21st, they will send us to jail. No, no, I kid. They will refer us to a nutritionist and possibly also an occupational therapist, who will re-teach her how to eat. (I am serious.) I don’t know if this comes through in my regular blogging, but we are actually pretty healthy, balanced-meal eaters. Viva has even commented that her teacher says she is the only kid who brings healthy snacks to school. (That is rather alarming and fodder for a whole post of its own.)

We are educated, middle-class, blah blah blah, which I hate even writing, but I feel like we have all the tools at our disposal for our little one to be healthy and flourishing. Is our kid failing to thrive? In all honesty, I walked away from the appointment with a giant lump in my throat, feeling like a terrible parent.

Sweet Dub’s reaction was similar: “I feel like we let her down,” he said.

Celie doesn’t look underweight. She has a layer of baby fat, and she has curvy little arms and legs. She has a little potbelly, as most healthy kids her age do. She isn’t fat, but her genetics are going to predispose her to that. Sweet Dub and I were both skinny kids and we are not large adults.

She’s also been teething, this time with molars, and she’s caught every cold that’s come down the pike. Her appetite has not been great. At the moment, she eats most kinds of fresh fruit*, cheese, some yogurt, applesauce, peanut butter, crackers of all types, some pasta, and that’s really it. Oh, and air, in the form of any kind of puffed veggie-type food item like Pirate’s Booty or Snapea Crisps. She won’t eat baby food, she won’t eat potatoes (except the occasional French fry, her one food vice), she won’t eat rice or bread, and she won’t eat any kind of meat. She also won’t eat tofu. She eats green beans and sometimes broccoli.

It’s tough. Sometime she will eat things they offer her at daycare and then she won’t eat the exact same thing at home. Months ago she tried peas from a classmate's plate, and ate a bunch of them. She would eat them at home, but then one day she refused and hasn't eaten a pea since.

She is often crabby, and I am quite sure she is just hungry. But if you offer her a food she doesn’t recognize she will turn her head away and screech until you remove it from her sight, or at least from her highchair.

Someday I will look back on this and shake my head at how overly concerned I was, as I watch Celie eat a bowl of ceviche or something. But for now, I’m in the thick of it, and feeling pretty bad.

P.S. My doctor even suggested feeding her ice cream to fatten her up. Not sure that’s the road I want to take – first of all because of the sugar, and second of all because I don’t want her to grow up thinking of ice cream as a food group. Talk to me in a couple of weeks if she still hasn't gained weight.

* Except bananas. What kid doesn’t eat bananas?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


In direct contrast to the last couple of posts, today’s post is a bit fluffier. Think cotton candy. Sprinkled with just a light dusting of exasperation. Read on…

Well hey, it's that time of year again. What’s that, you say? Well, it’s Viva’s birthday! (Almost.) She will be seven in just nine more days – that’s right, she’s an April Fools baby. So I sent out birthday party invitations by email to some friends, and one emailed me back that she won’t be able to make it but by the way, she ran into the mom of one of Viva’s bestest besty friends in the whole world at the farmer’s market last weekend and the mom asked my friend to give me her phone numbers and call her because bestest besty friend misses her so much.

If they are bestest besty friends, you ask, why are we not in touch?

I’m so glad you asked. Viva and her friend (let’s call her BeBe) used to attend preschool together and were inseparable, and then her mom elected to take her out of private school and put her in a charter school. I’m not mad at that – if I could get Viva into a charter or magnet school, I would probably do the same.*

What I am mad at, and long-time readers (all two of you! Hi there!) may remember this, is that two years ago, we had decided to let Viva pick one friend to take to Disneyland for her birthday, and naturally Besty Best was that friend. I ran it by BeBe’s mom first, and told her no pressure, she didn’t have to decide right away. But I made it clear that we would pay for both of them to go with us for the whole day, and that food/treats/etc. were all part of the deal. Basically all they had to do was show up. And then I called her. And I called her. And she never took my calls. And I never heard back.

And you know, try explaining that to your 5-year-old. She was very upset, and I was all mama bear furious. (How dare you snub my kid? At least have the decency to call and say you can’t go, for whatever reason - make something up if you have to, for heaven's sake.) We ended up taking my sister and nephews and had a lovely time, despite my morning sickness and fatigue.

At any rate, I know what I should do. I should do the right thing, do what would make my kid happy, right? I should suck it up and call her. I know that. I just don’t want to!

* Just found out Viva got waitlisted for second grade at a charter school for the second year in a row. She is number 83 on the list. I love public school,** oh yes, I do.

** I’m not being sarcastic, I really do love public school. I just wish the ones in L.A. weren’t so hit and miss. And that the school-year schedule made sense for parents who work full-time and have no family support. I can’t really have my kid out of school for three weeks at a time at Christmas.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sorrowful; Grieved; Sad

On Monday, a hospice liaison came to visit my Nanna. In light of the spread of her cancer, they discussed the options: radiation, chemotherapy, or palliative care. My grandmother chose palliative care, so a nurse came on Tuesday and brought a wheelchair, oxygen, a bench for the shower, and morphine; and came back on Wednesday to review her medication schedule with my mom. A hospice nurse will visit on a regular schedule from now on.

So those are the facts. My head is all awhirl and I feel kind of sick and sad. I'm trying to think positively. I don't want her to suffer. I feel horrible that my mom, an only child, is experiencing this long, torturous process all over again - my grandfather died of metastasized prostate cancer nearly 6 years ago, at home, with hospice care. It was awful, horribly awful.

Trying to think of something positive to say, but right now - I got nothing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tongue Tied.

I keep starting posts and deleting them today. When I re-read them, I feel they are hardly worth the effort of reading. So I delete. And then I rebuke myself sharply. And then I go sit in the corner and weep hot tears of futility. And then I think to myself, man, that salad I had for lunch is just not cutting it. I wish I had some chips or something. And then I realize that part of the problem is that I am so easily distracted these days. And then I go back to daydreaming about chips, and vacation, and the upcoming Macy’s sale.

Now that I am out of the habit of blogging it seems I can barely string two words together. Oh, noes!

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Mmm, chips.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

I have a family member who insists on making huge grand life decisions with (seemingly) nary a thought to the consequences. I don’t understand why, when faced with two possible routes on the road of life, this person invariably seems to choose the one which is clearly marked, for all to see, “Train Wreck.”

It is very frustrating to get a phone call with details of the wreck after such a decision has been made. I am never sure what to say. I try not to be judgmental (I know! Laughable!). It is difficult.

Keep things simple, I want to say. Address one problem at a time. Don’t create additional drama when you already have enough going on.

And if you can, eat a piece of red velvet cake. It may help put things in perspective.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Something's Gotta Give

“Something’s gotta give,” we (as in Sweet Dub and I) keep telling each other. And yet it doesn’t.

We are stretched kind of thin these days. Work, for both of us, has been extremely demanding. We’ve been working on the weekends at times, trading off childcare with each other. For Sweet Dub, it looks like there will be no relief until June 18th, when the final project of the four he has slated must be done. Note that well, my friends. June 18th. Not to mention that whenever I can, I am driving up to visit my grandmother, who--it should be noted--has three kinds of cancer and is apparently too frail to have any treatment beyond pain medication.

We are a little fried, if you want to know. This morning, I went online to check Viva’s school schedule, and then I called Sweet Dub to tell him we need to make sure and schedule a vacation in late June.* And then I went online and did a little summer camp research. Have you noticed that it’s March?

Don’t wish your life away, I tell myself. These moments are important. Your kids are still so small. There must be time to sit down on the floor of the closet at the end of the day and take a little warm person into your lap and read “Please, Baby, Please” for the hundredth time. Or to sneak into bed with the Big Girl—the one with the legs that are ten feet long—and wake her up with raspberries and tickles. Is there anything quite like the giggle of a little kid?

I think not. And then there is Ella. I just can’t be too down when I listen to her.

When an irresistible force such as you
Meets an old immovable object like me
You can bet just as sure as you live
Something's gotta give, something's gotta give,
Something's gotta give.


* And not to be morbid or anything, but with my grandmother this sick, scheduling a getaway is probably not all that practical. What if something happened while we were away?