Monday, June 29, 2009

Procrastination runs in the family

So now I know where I get my inclination to stay up until all hours. My parents just had a 50th wedding anniversary, and the night before, we were all up until 2:00 a.m., matting photos, coming up with a table seating chart, sewing part of the party outfit... It was as if it were the middle of a workday. You can bet I scoffed when my husband woke up from his 8 hrs no more spritely than I after my <5.

My poor son. He is so damn tired. He got to bed one of the nights miraculously around 7 p.m., but the other nights -- with the northern and western extra 60-80 minutes of light (Michigan vs. our home in the DC Metro suburbs) and all the excitement -- he got such little sleep. The night we arrived, he went down at almost 10:00 (no nap, no real down time all day). Another night was almost 10:00 after a nap 3:30-5:00. The night of the party he was so overtired but couldn't even fall by 11:00 (he'd had a little chocolate at the party and a hard-won 2.5-hr nap earlier that day, thanks to a low of fossil fuels). The night we flew home (last night), it was almost 10:00 p.m. by the time we got him down; he'd had zero nap and not even 8 hrs of sleep the night before.

Today he was exhausted and could not figure out how to go to bed ... wanted me, but then wanted more food, cried and cried with his dad (the usual to-bed-putter and his sleep-mate for the past several nights at my parents' house).

Maybe part of the problem was that this morning, I had an appointment with a designer to discuss wall color and the organization of my new office... for the house we are moving into this week. (And that we got possession of today, but there was no electricity because I never called the company.) He was so confused trying to play in an empty house, wanting whatever was different than his current reality: "I want to go home and rest in my bed" (which he never does.) Then, "I don't want to go home. I want to stay here." Also: "I don't want to take the wagon. I want to ride my tricycle." Then later, when we have only the trike to take home: "I want the wagon!"

After this weekend seeing the way my whole family operates, I have no illusions that I will change my temperament, but I really do hope we can make some strides toward less last-minute and more thoughtful ways to approach life once we're settled in our new space (whenever that will be). But as long as he's three, is everything I try going to be thwarted anyway?

I've got to hope that sleep will help. Speaking off, I'm a little undercooked in that department, myself.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

All or nothing

When it comes to food, I'm into extremes. I spent the whole week juicing and detoxing and eating only super healthy foods that made me feel great (and get down to 101 lbs., just about right for a flat-chested, shoulder-less, small-boned but with hips 5'0").

I've been happily off of sugar for over a month and haven't even had the slightest desire for even a decaf or anything else on a no-no list. I was even vegetarian again for four days (well, except for homemade chicken stock, but that's like a magic elixir food).

The point is, I was clean and pure. And that was good. It wasn't even hard.

Then I missed out on my mommy vacation and had to confront the fact that we're moving in two weeks and seriously have a ton of decisions to make. So today dipped into a jar of chocolate sauce and must have slathered about a quart of it at least six egg-rich coconut flour mini-muffins. And the decaf that washed it down has me revved up late after a few weeks of decent bedtimes.

So I can be half-assed about backing up my computer and accidentally allow it to be reformatted before copying all my files. But when it comes to how I treat my body, it's one side or the other, either like a saint or a sinner.

Well, at least I'm still sober.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First babysitter to-bed

It wasn't even intentional, but the babysitter made my son fall asleep. At 5:30 p.m. On a sunny summer evening. And then he slept until 5:50 a.m.

They were reading books on the couch while I was on my way home from an appt. I was a little annoyed -- both at her for letting him fall asleep so late and at myself for not being consistently home and quiet 1-2 p.m. so he would get used to resting then, even if the regular nap has been over for about 9 months now (since he was 2 1/2).

It freaked me out a little not to talk to him before bed. What if the girl had drugged him or something? I mean, I assumed he would wake up and have dinner and then go to bed super late, which is what happened the other day when we drove through busy traffic to pick up his dad and look at environmentally-friendly flooring at Amicus Green Building Center. (That night, he fell asleep 3 minutes before we arrived, slept in the stroller while we closed the place down and then slept almost all the way home. Then he was wired and we didn't even try to put him to bed until we went up around 10:30.)

But last night, he stayed tanked out on the couch with the sun shining on his face and while we talked in regular voices. My husband tried to no avail to wake him up and so eventually carried the kid upstairs where he transferred to his bed without a hitch. I was worried he'd wake at some ungodly hour or wet the bed, but he stayed dry and asleep all night until 5:50, when he toddled down the hall and said, "I just looked out the window and saw that it was morning time." I told him to go pee in the potty.

And then I was glad I left out a snack and water. He took them in his room, turned on his IKEA moon light and snacked and read books, which bought me an extra 10-15 minutes of horizontal time before we came downstairs.

Unless I finally get my act together to go to bed early and wake up before the little one, I think leaving out some nuts (& this had rice crackers) might be wise.

After that snack, he had a full breakfast -- first strawberries, then more strawberries with coconut milk and homemade nut butter, then his leftover rice tortilla from yesterday with chicken, goat cheese, lettuce and carrot, then an egg with zucchini and peas plus some ham. Then "chocolate" greens powder in goat milk. Then some of my fresh beet, lemon and greens juice.

And since I'm doing a pseudo juice fast and since we got up so damn early, we had time to read stories. I missed him last night!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who are you, kid?

No sooner do I finish writing a post on how electronic media is ruining my child (not exactly) but he totally proves my point. He whines, "Please, Mommy, please can I watch Curious George while you make dinner?" And then to my no he melts. Not creamy and smooth like butter but gross and chunky like one of those soy-based milkshakes from a fast-food restaurant -- gloppy and disgusting. A puddle of tears, red face, limp or mad body.

At least he's not hitting or biting or anything, but he is chewing on his hands a lot and also on his shirt... I don't know if he's processing something from last week's craniosacral session -- he was already doing the mouth thing; that's part of why I took him in. Maybe it's going to get worse before it gets better as he moves through some funky energy. Did the new sitter somehow scar him? They seemed to be doing fine while I was in the basement. Maybe it's a reaction to some kind of food -- delayed from small amounts of trial gluten a while back, or from the additional goat, or the millet toast. Cashews? It's not like he's eating McDonald's or even pizza or anything.

The guilt is kicking in that if I could just nurse him, he'd be okay. And those LLL books about weaning say chewing on hands is a sign that a child weaned too soon. Plus when he came into our bed this morning at 5:40 (which is ouch early for us for him to be ready to be awake), he wanted to "warm" his hands in my shirt but then said he just wanted to see/touch my breastes. And twice today he stroked my nipples, once in front of another person. No more little camis for me.

I was solo tonight and could NOT get the kid to sleep. Too bright outside, neighbor kids making noise... I'd jogged us to the post office and was planning to shower after he went to bed, but we needed something to kill time and kick him over into ready to sleep. So I showered and he probably ate way too much Weleda kids (baby?) tooth gel. I can't trust him with anything. I'll have to write a whole separate post about what he dumped out on his bed today.

Anyway, I told him to leave the blinds down as I was getting out of the shower. After I lowered them, he raised them again and I got really mad and stern. I was worried that I was so upset I'd freak him out. But he reacted like he did earlier today when I started crying: he copped this Mr. Maturity persona complete with reassuring foice. He patted my belly and said, "You're a good mama." Earlier he told me, "Don't worry, Mommy. It's okay. You don't have to worry." All with very controlled, calm wording.

He also got super upset when he bit his tongue. I said I knew that hurt; it had happened me, too. Then he asked me to show him how I did it, and, eyes still moist, he reflected. "I just did it and it hurt so I cried. I got sad."

Out of control at some moments but frighteningly self-aware and practically serving as my therapist at others. Who is this kid?

When I first met my friend Lisa who had a baby about 48 hours after I had E, she said, "Oh, he's Mercury Retrograde." I was clueless but she said this is not a time people choose for big events. "Maybe he'll be calm when there's chaos around him," she offered. I don't know, but I'm freaked out by my three-year-old and don't know what he needs right now.

TV Blues

Last month PBS Kids hosted a lovely event for us DC Metro Mom bloggers. I ought to have posted something about it, but it was kind of culture shock for me, and I didn't want to write and sound ungrateful. Before the event, I didn't know anything about Super Why or any shows for preschoolers. I came away with a great respect for the creators and all the research they put into these shows. I'm certain that if the students I taught in high school had watched the shows that scaffold literacy skills, many of them would have had an easier time reading. I'm glad these shows exist for populations that are going to be in front of a TV anyway.

But I still don't think I want my son staring at a lightbox of whirling pictures. Especially not shows with fast-paced images that, as an educator, I think are a recipe for generalized ADD. And yet, after the event, I started using some You Tube (mostly PBS) and the Steve Songs DVD we got in our swag bag to keep my son occupied so we could keep the house clean for showing/selling.

Now TV/computer just feels like that yucky place I didn't want to get to -- where he wants this thing that gives me some time to clean, cook, etc., but I still don't think it's at all good for him. He's passive, and those glassy eyes just say heroin addict to me. He's whiny about wanting to watch something and mad when he has to stop. He's not sleeping as well (not necessarily related, but it's possible).

And watching is not doing anything for his spirit, his soul, or his imagination. Those are the pieces not represented on the PBS whole child chart and those are what Waldorf education values. Another mom at the event openly made fun of Waldorf (she brought it up; I just listened). I don't care what you call it, but I really think all this pushing kids to develop skills early -- even if the learning is "fun" -- is cheating them out of what ought to be magical time of their own making. TV may keep my son out of my way, but I think it keeps him out of his way, too. That is to say: disconnected from his body.

I don't know that I'll try to go fully TV-free. Most days are, but some days, a little saves me a lot of headache. I think I'd feel better, though, if I actually did some looking into programs I might feel good about for slow pace, real people/places/animals and/or maybe language exposure (Spanish or French) instead of whatever Curious George episode -- or hip-hop parody! -- pops up for him to click on. Yikes! A little word stuff or science stuff or get-along advice is fine, but I'm not going to seek it out. I'd rather he make up his own ideas about things and take his cues from us (but only on our good days!)

See also: The Unplugged Project

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun again with food! Finally!

After weeks of letting my son subsist almost entirely off of rice tortilla and goat cheese; apples; and a snack trap of rice crackers, pecans and raisins, I was so excited to finally get my kitchen back (once we signed a contract on our house) and get to the farmer's market for some fresh produce. What a joy to actually find joy again in making meals -- and eating meals, too! For me, stress around mealtime is almost as bad for my body as eating forbidden foods (gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar).

I had fun making a veggie face. In retrospect, the simpler one looks cuter, but I decided to add some a mustache and goatee of baba ganoush (one of my son's favorite words these days), some (raw/live) sauerkraut, goat cheese teeth and ham earrings. E ate this whole guy and a second guy, and then some.

If you've never seen the funny things done with vegetables and fruit in Fast Food and other books by Saxton Freyman and Joost Elffers, those images really are a hoot. I hate to think of the food that was wasted in making them, but they do give a lot of ideas for fun things to do with food. My son has often happily eaten veggies, but it's fun to be creative, and it's great to see him making up his own stories about what bites of food are to him. "Do you see, Mommy? This is a ...." Thanks for the hint, kid!