Saturday, November 5, 2005

Lessons from a parent

Lessons from a parent are priceless, so I will begin with a lesson in baby illness. Since BC is down for a while and Arwen is moaning in her crib somewhere between I am sleepy and I'm about to cry because Mommy's voice is so beautiful, I'd love another song, I am in limbo at the computer as is usual this time of night.

She picked up a cold from a friend's kids. I can't blame the kids and I can't blame the friend because she helped me when I needed it most. She took Arwen while I was in surgery on Wednesday and she told me "The boys have snotty noses" My response was something like "Oh, I need your help more than I am worried about a little cold being passed around" My mind was saying something like, Hey, she's 15 months old....That's almost 16 months....she's invincible. A little cold can't touch her! So here we are with Tylenol and Simply Stuffy and Little Colds medicine on every flat surface in the house. There may even be an empty in her crib because she likes to play doctor and distribute cold medicine to her bunnies. You should see them on Simply Stuffy. They go wild. Arwen on the other hand just moans until she's moans herself right to sleep.

Tonight's lesson has little or nothing to do with medicine, but more to do with food versus the care of your child. I had surgery on Wednesday and I wanted a big (Very well done) steak, a little salad and a nice salty baked potato. After surgery, all I could have was soup. So we waited until tonight to fill my desire of red meat. Arwen took a good morning nap and a nice long afternoon nap. So I thought, let's go out to eat a big fat steak. (all though I usually get the little skinny ones, especially since I like them well done. There doesn't ever seem to be much meat once you sear it all away)So we put Arwen's new fleece on her which is way too big because she doesn't like to eat like we do. We put her new little furry hat on her head, she does have a cold afterall, didn't your mother tell you to wear a hat or you'll catch a cold. Why didn't our mothers know better? Anyway, in honor of grandmothers everywhere, we put a hat on her head. And she kept it on until we took it off at the restaurant. There's a surprise around every corner with her.We waited our 10 minutes, but my watch argued that it was closer to 30 minutes.

We were seated, got Arwen's nifty booster/high chair set up and gave her goldfish to eat while we waited. Jeff, thinking ahead, brought the DVD player to keep her entertained. It's a trick that we learned from other parents. You want to sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal, the atmosphere, wall art, company, whatever, bring something for your kids to do. This is really why Baby Einstein was created. Sure Julie may not have known that when she created it, sure she says it's a tool to help parents interact with their children and help them learn, but we all known it's really so we can get stuff done while they learn by watching things flutter across a 7 inch screen. Me, not thinking ahead, hadn't charged the DVD player since I last used it on an airplane....hhmmmm, back in July. So we break out the childrens menu and the 3 crayons they supply. Arwen must be very hungry because she keeps trying to eat them, but I tell her no and she shakes her head no. Eat goldfish instead.

Ah, the waiter. I put Arwen's order in first so it will come when it's ready and not when my meat has been butterfly and seared to it's death. Grilled cheese and mashed potatoes for the little one, please. She seems pleased at Mommy's choice until it actually arrives. The mashed potatoes are really potato flavored garlic. What kid likes that? She won't touch the grilled cheese because it has Kraft American cheese product on it and not real cheese. Plus it came with pickles on top that she just didn't know what to think of.Now is the moment for tears. I take her out of the chair, hold her while I eat my salad. Jeff takes her from me holds her while he eats his salad. He is successful at giving her little pieces of bread, but nothing else. When our meal comes, my well done steak is pink through and through, Arwen is fussing and not eating anything. I asked the waiter for the mac and cheese from the children's menu. Probably should have gone that route anyway. Sure, no problem, be right out, he says. I wonder if mac and cheese being the savior of most days will help to entice her back into her chair so Jeff and I can eat. Jeff eats while I hold her and make her angry by offering her some of my baked potato. The mac and cheese arrives. Now I know that kids of many ages eat from this childrens menu, but I also know that though Kraft cheese product is not good on bread, it is good in a powder on top if macaroni noodles with a little milk...especially if you are one the eats from a children's menu. And we're not at The Olive Garden. They bring out a huge bowl...one Arwen could have bathed in...of penne pasta with melted cheese. What kid likes that?Not Arwen.

But this is not just she doesn't like what's offered on the menu. This is that pesky little cold. When was the last time you let some one drag you out on a Saturday night to a busy restaurant and tried to force feed you when all you really wanted to do want stay home, cuddle on the couch with your bunny and a blanket and go to bed early. I've had nights like that substituting a good book or movie for bunny, and I just say no to those people that try to drag me out.So the guilt started hitting me. I told Jeff, "We can't eat. She's hot, runny nose, doesn't feel well and doesn't want to eat. We shouldn't have come, We have to go home now." I don't think I gave him a second to respond before I was up getting her coat on. Jeff is a wonderful man and a wonderful husband. He knows when to put me in my place and when to quietly pack up, ask for to go boxes and pay the bill. Arwen was crying, so I took her out to the car. Jeff got the food, and even a bonus order of coconut shrimp from someone else's plate....gross, and paid the bill, brought the highchair, diaper bag and DVD player all out to the car. He's a great husband. So why did some asshole have to ruin his evening more by saying some stupid comment to him about pissing the wife off so much the she left? I wanted to go back and kick him in the teeth. I whisked our child out of their to keep from upsetting her and the other patrons more, my husband was left with the food, the bill, the stuff...you parents know about the stuff, and asshole at the next table. Jeff helped more that I did. I took the easy road and jerkoff had to ruin it Jeff who was the cavalier left standing.

Anyway, lesson learned. You spend you entire day peeing when it's convenient for your children. Eating when they will allow you, waking when they do, showering when they're sleeping, basically living your life around them and their schedule. When they are sick, this applies even more. Now is not the time to think of yourself and what you would like to have, but it's time instead to sit on the couch with them and their bunny and blanket and repeat everything you see on a Baby Einstein video in effort to get one more learning session in before bedtime. And it's Ok to skip dinner when they don't feel well. Trying to force feed them will only make it worse. Once she wouldn't eat a cookie, I knew there would be no food in her tummy tonight. And I guess that's better than cleaning up puke in the middle of the night because she ate when she didn't want to.

Lesson learned.
Stephanie