Category Archives: Hungry babies

What Are We Missing?

I do believe that every parent has thought at some point that they must be doing something wrong- that the tornado of insanity descending on those of us with small children throughout a 24 hour period cannot be normal. But, maybe I should face the possibility that it is just me and that everyone else skips about their days with ease, order and structure.

I’ve lost count of how many mealtime madness posts I have written.  I keep thinking we will find some sort of magic key that unlocks the secret door to enjoyable dining, but I feel no closer to this treasure than I did two and a half years ago when baby number one started eating something other than what naturally dispensed from me, with no preparation, no mess and no clean up.  Man, those were the days.

I have shared many meals with other families and have noticed the rules that are in place for their toddlers. Rules that seem to be understood and followed. Rules that I had every intention of setting and fiercely holding to myself.

-We sit at the table until everyone is finished.

-We try everything on our plate.

-We eat something green at every meal

-We eat what is served

-We don’t throw food on the floor

-We don’t throw cups of liquid at our sibling

-We don’t use pasta sauce as finger-paint on the table.

You know, the basics.

But, once baby number two came along, I lost the ability, time and focus to enforce matters such as broccoli eating onto my 16 month old, while simultaneously breast-feeding at the table and attempting to steal a few morsels off my own plate to keep from passing out after day’s worth of no sustenance for myself.

I am tempted to say that these meals during which I have noted the stellar behavior of my friends’ children and the contrasting atrocity of my own, have been with single-child families.  But I am fully aware that I am possibly making excuses for being a shitty parent who has lost all control, and that perhaps there are plenty of parents with children 16 months apart or closer, who have managed to maintain some modicum of pleasantness during the evening meal.

So, I ask all of you Saintly ones for help.

Our children are complete, unruly little maniacs at dinner time, and should you show up at 5:30 pm, I might contemplate selling them to you for a small price.  I cannot think of another parenting woe that compares to this one. Sleep deprivation- HUGE.

Still, dinner time takes the cake.

I was at a baby shower yesterday, quietly listening while a mother of a six month old spoke very knowingly about her ideas of food and nutrition for her daughter.

“We only give such and such.”
“We believe such and such.”
“We only do such and such.”

I wanted to blurt out,

“Here is my number. Get back to me when she is over one and if you add another kid to the mix”

But I shhhed my mouth by stuffing it with three too many scones and
escaped to the bathroom to allow my eyes the rolling they were twitching to hold back.

I too, had very lofty plans. And perhaps I’m just pissed that regardless of hours, days, months, and years of boundless effort and energy, they are simply not in action.

I exclusively breastfed, and when solids were introduced, I started with homemade vegetable purees.  I spent hours preparing my own nutrient-rich baby food. Never has a plate been set before my children that lacks rich, vibrant color.

But, sadly I am on the brink of giving up. I spend weekends  preparing food and concocting meals that I believe will excite my children, only to have them pushed  away, thrown, or just plain refused.

Both kids.
So I can’t blame it on basic nature of inborn character.

The meal they will eat?  Breakfast. By breakfast time, they are so hungry there is barely a peep for half an hour. Waffles, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt…all in one meal. It’s a morning buffet at the Motherfog house.

Lunch?  Maybe a piece of cheese and a cracker.

Dinner- forget about it.

(the obvious seems that they have too many calories in the a. m.,  but we have tinkered with this scenario with no positive results and feel that at least one meal should be complete.)

But, please believe me when I say that dinner is something on which we have placed great importance. In Los Angeles, my husband rolled back his hours in order to facilitate a sit down family meal.  And yet, here we are, in the thick of Hurricane Hugo every evening at 5:30 pm.

I do believe that we all wonder from time to time if we have missed some sort of mark with this parenting fiasco, only to have the truth be told that there is no mistake; parenting  is chaotic, messy and disorganized by nature, especially during toddler years.  But, something tells me that with this particular issue, we have indeed missed the mark in our house.

Yes, with children so close in age we did sacrifice the ability to focus heavily on certain matters. For my own emotional and physical health, I had to loosen the laces on my perfectionistic standards.  But have we really ruined our children’s chances of ever becoming healthy, respectful diners by having them 16 months apart?  Surely not.  We are not the first to enter the eye of the storm and we won’t be the last.

So, what is it? What are we missing?

Sincerely,
Bat-shit and hungry

Have a click!

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For the Love of God, Don’t tear the Waffles!

Currently, there are three major safety precautions we take in the Motherfog household.

1.) Keep all small, chokable objects out of reach.

2.) Never leave children unattended in the bathtub. (Although we have been allowed 50 percent less vigilance these past five weeks given that only one-half of our children is currently allowed to bathe in a tub.

3.) Be sure NOT to break, rip, or cut Zachary’s food before acquiring clear and specific permission for such a drastic action.

Today

8:00 am

Both Mommy and Daddy committed a sin of all sins.   What were they thinking?  No one knows. No one will EVER know.

The story goes…

The breakfast choice of late has been whole grain mini waffles. For those unfamiliar, they come in sets of perforated fours…four-leaf clovers, if your will. (Although my daughter calls them butterflies. Their perfect symmetry does not resonate truthfully with the shape of a butterfly, but I’ll let this one slide given her young age of 19 months.)

It is a known fact that Zachary must, and I stress MUST do his own tearing of these waffles (this rule goes for ALL FOOD…bananas, pizza, chicken, toast, etc. ) Should we absent-mindedly toss four separate waffle disks on his tray, the hills better be nearby, and we better get runnin’.

What did I do this morning?

I tore his waffles.

Holding my breath, and hoping the little prince might be distracted with yelling at his baby sister (who has adopted the pesky habit of saying “Mine, Mine, Mine” with a naughty grin, for no other reason than to get a rise out of him, as she isn’t actually claiming any object whatsoever), I placed the waffles on his tray, praying for a pass.

Nope. Not today. Tears immediately poured down his cheeks as he erupted into the most deadly of cries.

The silent cry.

The one where you wait…

and wait…

and wait…

…for what seems like minutes, for that initial ear-drum popping blast, wondering how on earth tiny lungs can hold on for so long.

I turned to my husband and asked if the box was empty. Thank heavens. There was one left.

ONE

A three-minute interlude commenced at the table, “The wheels on the Bus” keeping both children happy while the toaster thawed and crisped the last butterfly.

“You have got to be kidding me!”

Bellowed from the kitchen.

Thinking my husband had accidentally fresh-squeezed a mosquito into the vegetable juice he prepares me every morning, I turned and said,

“What?” (Secretly relieved as I was looking for an excuse to pass on my morning kale, broccoli and parsley – I’m good with just coffee today, thanks.)

“I broke the waffles”

Gasping, I shot up from the table.  He and I fumbled frantically around the kitchen in a panic, searching for a quick fix for this unfortunate transgression. Time was running out!  From the table, Zachary piped in,

“Where’s my waffle?”

Like teenagers trying to cover up their debauchery by filling their parents’ vodka with water, we grabbed the maple syrup and tried to use it as glue.

“A hair dryer? Should I go get the hair dryer to make it more sticky?”

Finally, I served the gluey breakfast and upped the motivation for my rendition of “Wheels on the Bus” hoping to sweep his attention away from broken waffles and toward my brilliance as a song and dance gal.

Our cover up was sort of successful. He did ask why the waffles came apart so easily, but miraculously bought our ludicrous answer.

“You have just become that good at ripping waffles, Zachary!”

Disaster averted.

I know what you’re thinking.

Ridiculous.

Why cater to a child to that extent?

A spoiled brat in the making.

I say this,

Hold your judgments, if you please.

The kid is on day 30 of his time in a half-body cast. The least we can do is let him tear apart his own flippin’ waffles.

But, my dear ones,

Tomorrow

9:00 am

Saw to plaster, plaster to trash.

Sayonara Sir Spica

Starting on Saturday, he eats what we serve.

Intact or not.

Knowledge is Powerlessness

One of the major issues that plagues me on a daily basis as a Mother is that of nutrition and instilling healthy eating habits. With every meal, snack and morsel laid in front of my children, lies a twitch (or sometimes a violent shove) of doubt about my choices.

These days, this issue is more complicated than in previous decades.  All you have to do is ensure a balanced diet, enriched with fruits and vegetables, right? Great!  Just be sure to set aside post-bedtime hours for preparation, so that nutritious items are readily available and able to be thrown on the table, lickity split, and you’re good to go!  Check off the “healthy nutrition” portion on the parenting checklist!

Jessica Seinfeld’s book “Deceptively Delicious” has many great and nutritious ideas, however the book is lacking a shipment of her nanny and spacious, fully equipped kitchen. Her “quick and easy” recipes are not so quick and easy without such luxuries. That said, I still recommend the book for inspiration and to those who excel at planning ahead. And definitely to those who have nannies and spacious, fully equipped kitchens. Please enjoy the art of cooking without children screaming under boiling burners and tugging at your pant legs until you are running around the kitchen in your underwear!

But, this issue goes beyond lack of time and money, leaving even those with ample funds in the toxic lurch with the rest of us.  While diets chock-full of colorful produce used to be the most key factor in the health of our bodies, things are now not so black and white.

I have always believed that knowledge is power, and have taken to the bookstores, internet health sites and doctor’s offices for thorough investigation, only to feel more POWERLESS with each new discovery.   The article below was sent to me from a friend (video attached), and its content makes me want to throw in the dish-towel on the whole thing. We are bombarded weekly with new findings concerning the toxicity of our toys and foods.  Many of us, like myself rush off to health food stores to stock our cupboards with “Organic” labeled items in a panicked attempt to shield our families from growing cancers and developmental issues.  However, this story tells us that even emptying our savings accounts on pricey “natural” groceries does not protect us from these poisons in our environment.

I urge you to read the article or watch the 3 minute video, but my teaser will tell you that a leading ORGANIC formula (one that we attempted to give our daughter a couple of times with thankfully no success) contains high levels of organic and inorganic arsenic.

http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10425025-high-arsenic-levels-found-in-organic-foods-baby-formula

The question is, if we can’t trust companies that are supposed to be known for their commitment to the health and well-being of our babies, with supposed painstaking compilations of natural ingredients, who can we trust?  What do we serve? And what on this earthly planet can we eat?!

Ford/Toyota Chronicle followers:

The new transmission is in the Sienna, but the computer that operates the gears has now failed, and therefore needs to be replaced.  Under warranty, of course!  A lawyer wants to take our case.  However, this would require frequent trips back to CA for arbitration.   If we are to win, we pay nothing, but should we lose, attorney fees are all on us.  The stress of all of these things has us giving up and hoping for the best.  A sage cleanse is perhaps in order for Rocket!

Pseudologia Fantastica

Before posting my last entry, I paused. Do I dare publish this?  People are going to think I’m making this up? This is ludicrous!  This CANNOT be a true story!

And then, I myself started to question it. You know those moments in life when you think, “This is insane.  It has to be a dream,” and you close your eyes and will yourself awake? Well, I have yet to awaken out of  this knotty and disheveled yarn.

Interestingly enough, on my way back from Fresno, a magazine article on personality disorders appeared in the seat-back pocket in front of me.  I became intrigued as learned about “Pseudologia Fantastica”. AKA, pathological lying.  Hmmmm…. interesting, indeed. Definite peanuts for thought.

It seems as though this psychosis can actually create a steadfast belief in the mind of it’s victims, that all they are saying is in fact the truth.

“Pseudologia fantastica may present as false memory syndrome, where the sufferer genuinely believes that fictitious events have taken place, regardless that these events are fantasies.” (1)

As the puddle-jumping aircraft toted myself and ten other passengers to our connecting flight in Los Angeles, the mind numbing drone of the engine propelled me into a rabbit hole toward the Twilight Zone.

If it is true that those suffering from Pseudologia fantastica often believe their own lies with absolute, unwavering conviction, could it be possible that none of what I have been posting is true? Could I actually have no husband, no children, no Broadway career, and most importantly no Sour Sienna?

My head was spinning! Who am I? What is life? What is reality? Does this blog exist?

Cue creepy “doo, doo, doo, doo” music.

Upon my supposed landing in Newark, NJ, I am going to request an immediate transport to the nearest mental ward for observation.

But, before I check in to my padded room in Belleview, shimmy into a straight jacket and allow them to administer shock-waves and electrodes to my brain, I will give you the update to my current “fantastica” reality.

Erin’s husband fetched my babies from the side of the road, and brought them to the safety of their home for a joyful play-date, fully serviced with Clifford the Big Red Dog, and strawberry pancakes.  This sickly brain sure does conjure unbelievable friends!

Hubby was towed, along with the Sienna to the nearest Toyota Dealership to get the news that the transmission is completely irreparable. Gone. Kaput.

However, it seems that this malfunction slipped undetected, under the noses of the Toyota Warrantee Commission and is fully covered. Good news.

Bad news…

Although the two major components of the car are about to be brand spankin’ new, the Hogles no longer feel safe in the Sienna. Call us worry warts if you will.

Erin and her Husband have graciously lent us their second vehicle for the weekend.  GALPIN Ford has agreed to pay for our rental car thereafter while we await the repair, and will be contacting us on Monday to discuss the possibility of saying a final farewell to Rocket.  The Bottle Banning Baby fared perfectly well.  She was still completely offended at the mere suggestion of milk in a bottle or cup, but ate lots of food, drank lots of water, and found no need to awaken during the night-time hours.  Who needs Mommy?

Stay tuned…

If the hospital is unable to rehabilitate, I may have more stories for you.

Footnotes
(1) a b Dike CC, Baranoski M, Griffith EE (2005). “Pathological lying revisited”. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 33 (3): 342–9. PMID 16186198.
^ a b c d Dike, Charles C. (June 1, 2008). Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease?. 25.

Horse For Dinner

Because dinner time is a delicate balancing act, I never quite know how it’s going to go. Too much snacking and proper food is not desired…not enough and we’re past the point of no return.  Yes, I’ve talked about this before, but trust me, dinner time with toddlers deserves 2 posts…or 10. My husband has shifted his work schedule back one hour to facilitate a family dinner, putting the meal at 6ish. Sounds feasible, right?  However, it is my experience that 5 to 5:30 is the usual window of choice for those that are 3 feet and under, and the drastic mood shift that happens between 5:30 and 5:50 is quite astounding.  Come over. See for yourself…or just come over….and help…. please.
Tonight, in order to keep my son from ripping off his shirt and turning into a large green monster, I pulled out what I like to call the “Song and Tap Dance”. It’s always different, this performance, and usually quite entertaining. I was artfully able to hold off the melt down by having him join me in singing:
“I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse!!!
 A horse, a horse, a horse!!!!
Neigh, Neigh Neigh!”
There may or may not have been a triple time step, a tour jete, and a kick line involved.
See, fellow parents?  All you need is a little exuberant creativity, and an evening is saved!! I am so thankful to the Boston Conservatory for my very costly degree in Musical Theatre, to be able to come up with such brilliance. I understand that not everyone has been blessed with such useful training, but please don’t fret. I’m here to help.
6 minutes later…..
Dinner is served. The pounded chicken breast, breaded in pureed broccoli and seasoned panko, (painstaking prepared during sacred nap time) is lovingly placed in front of my two year old.
45 seconds later….
Kicking and screaming ensues, a tray containing gourmet food lands on the floor, tears flow, and an almost intelligible plea is bellowed.
 “Horse! I want horse! I eat a horse!!!”
Didn’t see that coming.
Due to our lack of edible neighing creatures, my son refused to eat, and went to bed without dinner.
Awesome.
***”I Could Eat A Horse” sheet music and choreography, available upon request.
Send prepaid envelopes to:
Emily Smith’s Genius Guide to Parenting
Southern, CA. USA
It will find me.

For the love of God, where are the grapes??!!!

For some reason, I always seem to push the limit with Zachary and the timing of dinner. He becomes too hungry, falls apart, and in turn upsets Isabelle.  And there we have it, the dreaded witching hour, brought completely upon myself.  This translates into two screaming and hungry children while I attempt to breast feed with one arm and throw together a healthy meal with the other.  I have to ask myself why this happens so frequently.  In my defense, once the alternating nappers are awake for the remainder of the day, changed, dressed and given a snack, it’s 3:30.  Call me selfish, but I NEED TO GET OUT.   It doesn’t help that getting into a vehicle in Los Angeles is like jumping into a black hole.  Even a trip down the street to the grocery store somehow turns into a 2 hour excursion.
Yesterday, we were at an indoor playground for the latter part of the day. “Daddy should be leaving work soon! Let’s have him meet us here?” I missed my husband dearly. Having him there to help me load and unload 2 kids at dinner time after a long day didn’t even cross my mind. But by the time he got to us, it was already almost 6 O’clock, and Zachary was beyond hungry. Thank God I packed grapes for the car!  Steve buckled him in while I secured Isabelle and our two cars joined the other 4 million vehicles going 5 mph.   I love Los Angeles at 6 O’clock, and every other O’clock for that matter.   Within seconds, Zachary started screaming and crying for grapes and I could find them nowhere in the car. I called Steve.
Me – “Um…where is the bag of grapes I handed you to give Zachary?”
Steve -“I have them in my car. Why? Does he want them?”
Me – “What? I can’t hear you. He’s screaming for grapes.”
At the next light, I pulled up beside Steve and he skillfully tossed the bag across his passenger seat into my driver’s side window just before the light turned green. Disaster averted.   I would love to go on to tell you about the cop who pulled us over for dealing drugs, but I vowed to tell the truth, so I will wait a few months before making stories better. 
In summary, for the nutritional well being of my children, if not just for my own sanity, I really should plan on being home by 4:30 to prepare a healthy dinner.  Perhaps,  also donned in an apron while the kids quietly play with wooden blocks, listening to Chopin to enhance cognitive skills.  I’ll put that on my list of goals for tomorrow.

Happy Meal Times