It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve just finished eating breakfast with my son. On my menu today? I had my usual scrambled egg whites with salsa, (remember I’ve cut wheat, dairy, sugar, and now alcohol). On my son’s menu? I fixed him some of those same scrambled egg whites with a little melted American cheese, which he will eat about 5 times out of 10. I probably could’ve gotten him to eat them this morning if I hadn’t also included leftover sour cream coffee cake from Rein’s deli on his plate. Any idiot parent knows that if you want your kid to consume healthy foods, then you serve just that and nothing else. You don’t make your child a separate meal or substitute any menu items from what the rest of the family is having. If they don’t like it, then they just don’t eat. Tell that to a mommy whose kid has about three items that he will actually ingest on any given day of the year! My son’s diet mainly consists of McDonald’s chicken nugget happy meals with apple dippers (he gags on french fries), rolls or bread of any sort, and peanut butter. Don’t even get me started on the peanut butter because I know that I’m going to be up a creek with no paddle once he enters the public school system.
As I watched my little boy pick around the egg whites in order to make sure he got every last bit of the “sugary pieces” of coffee cake, (meaning the crusty sugar coated top part), I thought about how there are so many things I do as a parent that I SWORE up and down I would NEVER do when I had children. You know the high-and-mighty pregnant chick who thinks she has a perfectly well thought out agenda for how each and every day of her baby’s first 18 years of life will go? Yeah, that was me too. And if that is you right now, take my advice and get any preconceived notions about parenthood out of your head immediately. Trust me, this will save you a lot of days spent crying on the couch wondering what the hell happened to your foolproof plan.
When I was pregnant with my son, I used to run around preaching to everyone who would listen about how much I hated pacifiers and how there was just “no way in hell” that my baby would ever have one. I was convinced that pacifiers were an absolute “crutch” and that if a new baby was never introduced to one, then he/she would never know the difference. As I was reading one of the hundred or so baby and parenting books that had been given to me as a gift, I got really hooked on the whole concept of “self-soothing” for a baby. My baby would NOT need that pacifier and he (we knew we were having a boy at this point) would do just fine if I left him in the crib, let him “cry it out” and learn the technique of “self-soothing.” It is at this point that I will advise every pregnant woman reading this to throw out each and every single baby book that you were given aside from “What to Expect While You’re Expecting.” Reading too many of these other books written by “experts” may cause you to wind up in a mental institution after your bundle arrives.
My son was a pretty calm baby when we first brought him home from the hospital. He really only cried when he needed to be fed or changed. My husband and I were convinced that we had a real winner on our hands! I remember bragging about my newborn a bit…afterall, we were almost three weeks into our journey as parents and we were still pacifier-free! The little bugger must have understood what we were saying and thought to himself, “I’ll show you who is in charge around here!” Suddenly, out of nowhere, our perfect little angel was screaming at the top of his lungs from about 7pm to 10pm every single night. We tried everything. We walked him up and down the halls. We rocked him. I tried the whole “Shh Shh Shh” thing while bouncing up and down that my mother had learned from her grandmother and had taught me. I tried leaving him in the crib to “self-soothe” and that about turned me into a maniac. NOTHING was working.
Someone had given us a few of those forbidden items known as pacifiers for a baby shower gift. In a desperate attempt to save our sanity, my hubby looked at me on one of these evenings of terror and said, “WHERE THE HELL IS THAT THING?” It was hidden away in one of our kitchen cabinets. I could barely hear him over all the racket, but I reluctantly went to the cabinet, took the item out of the package, washed it in boiling hot water, cooled it off, and then decided that I was at my wit’s end and would give it a shot. I popped that sucker into my baby’s mouth and the next thing I knew, there was SILENCE. Yes, SILENCE. Well, maybe there was a little bit of noise from him sucking the finish off that thing, but other than that it was completely quiet.
That was the moment when all my good intentions went straight out the door. My baby was now a “paci-baby.” And you know what? I didn’t CARE! My husband and I did what we HAD to for our survival. Having a newborn completely turns your world upside down. If you focus for too long on trying to do what the “experts” say is right, then you will never get out alive! It was probably just as well that I learned this lesson earlier than most. I have done my best to apply it to other aspects of parenting, including the whole food issue. Granted, there are some kids out there who are phenomenal eaters and will eat anything you put in front of them. These kids are usually accompanied by mothers who love to brag about this to their other mom-friends who have McDonalds loving kids like mine. You know what I say to them? “KISS MY GRITS!” My kid may live on Bertucci’s rolls and chicken nuggets most days of the week…he also watches more TV than he probably should and had that pacifier until he was three years old (gasp!), but you know what? He is happy, and SO well-adjusted and I have better things to do with my time than worry about what he is going to eat for dinner that night. I am just thrilled if he eats at all! I have learned what works for ME and MY family and OUR survival. Don’t worry missy, your kid will give you grief in some other way down the road! And when he/she does, I hope that you learn the concept of “survival of the fittest!” As long as you love your child with all your heart and he/she is happy and healthy, then you are doing the RIGHT THING. Being a good parent doesn’t mean being perfect, it means being a survivor!
Ok, enough of my ranting and raving. Now that I’ve successfully finished writing this I need to go give my son the piece of candy out of his Halloween bag that I promised him if he left me alone without interrupting me so I could get this post done.
The Mommyologist’s Last Word: “My son chose a box of junior mints as his little bribery reward. Upon putting the first one into his mouth, he started gagging, proceeded to regurgitate it into my hand, and then started crying that he wanted a “different candy!” It’s official, my son gags on junior mints. Maybe he’ll do better with the milk duds. I rest my case!”