Monday, September 17, 2007

Food! Glorious Food!

It's like that old cliche with God and the shit that happens to you. According to lore and bumper stickers, he has a formula worked out for each and every one of us on just how much we can take before we're ready to gas up the car, put on some diapers and hit the road to beat the crap out of a love rival.

For anyone reading who has more than one child or is struggling with illness or grief or Britney's ill-fated comeback, the following might seem laughable. If so, then I'm thrilled to have cheered you up!

I didn't know about the whole breastfed baby taking a bottle time-window imperative. In fact, I'd pump and Harlow would take a bottle at two months just fine. So I didn't know I would need to keep this up, that one day she'd just decide that nope, not having it, no bottle only boob for me. But this was a speedbump. We regrouped. I jumped on the internet, I bought bottles. I bought slow flow nipples because breastfed babies supposedly like to work harder for the milk. I bought fast flow because they like them to mirror the letdown. I bought em long, I bought em skinny with drop ins. I bought a bottle that looked just like a boob if mine were blue and smelled faintly of China. And the thing they all had in common? None of them worked. She'd latch on, start to work away. Not breathing, I'd give Caleb a hopeful smile from my hidden perch around the corner and then psych! Boob, please.

And the naps? From 3 hours to 20 minutes? What can anybody get done in 20 minutes that's appropriate to talk about on a baby-themed blog? And in addition to her not wanting the bottle, she wanted even more of me. I tried to feel flattered. For weeks her feeding times have narrowed and narrowed to where I felt like I was suddenly nursing a newborn again. Except this newborn didn't want anyone holding her but me. No Nana, no Aunt Lindsey, even Dad was becoming suspect. Again I hopped on the internet. Nothing on five months old and separation anxiety. My time away evaporated. With zero schedule in place, we couldn't be sure when hunger would strike and holy hell would break loose because the magical boob was off trying to get some cardio or take a bath. So we formulated a plan. We were gonna hire some babysitters, maybe some students from Rhodes needing some extra cash. Girls with a high tolerance for fussiness, unlike Harlow's parents. I was gonna pump everyday. Harlow was going to try a bottle everyday. New people were gonna be around and help feed her and I was gonna get a little more time back.

And then I went and broke her leg.

The karma gods must have been listening. Now she needed me that much more. On top of the guilt and sadness of the pain I'd caused her, there was now a terrible but undeniable component. I felt smothered. Work was insanely busy, and running back and forth between the store and the house to nurse only ratched up the tension. Sunday, instead of being able to relax, I was just done. Poor sweet baby was itchy with a rash, congested, and did I mention the broken leg? And she just wanted her mama. Mama just wanted to hop in the car and drive far, far away.

Instead, she made a phone call. The answer she got? Rice cereal.

Harlow had her first gloppy, bland but real slurp of people food last night, and if you call literally trying to grab the bowl from my hands so she could eat more a success, then we have a successful eater on our hands. I think it turns out she's been kinda hungry all this time. To look at her, you wouldn't guess. But with my doctor's blessings along with the boob's, she had some cereal for lunch and dinner, and lo and behold, she hasn't needed to nurse round the clock. She had her first hour long nap today in weeks. We put her down at 8:30, and with only the most minor of protests, she's been asleep for 3 1/2 hours straight.


I love rice cereal. I want to elect it president, and marry it and have its self-feeding, gloopy babies.

But it makes me feel bad that I didn't figure out how hungry she was sooner. Worse, it also makes me sad that this signals the beginning of her no longer needing to be so dependent on me, and that irony is a mean, stupid bitch.


Stephanie said...

It's going to take more than a witty, heart-felt essay on the stress of keeping our kids properly fed to pull me out of my post-Britney-at-the-VMAs funk. Thanks for trying, though.

Kristy said...

Next stop, constipation!

RJA said...

Out of all the potential candidates offered up as of late, I'd vote for Rice Cereal as president, or mayor, today.

Stacey Greenberg said...

i can't compete with these witty commenters!

can't wait to hear about the mashed bananas!

Melissa said...

My red hot love affair with rice cereal was fun while it lasted.

We just got our first rice cereal poopy diaper.

RJA said...

A red hot love affair is going to ruin Rice Cereal's chances for election anyway.

Secret Agent Mom said...

Unless it's Rice Cereal Ford, of course.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

There are better foods than Rice Cereal Ford for you and baby to fall in love with, trust me!

Darcy said...

Grady turned 5 months on Thursday. He is also in the 98th percentile on height and 91st on weight. For weeks now people have been harping on me to feed the kid some real food. I find it hard to have a huge baby because it makes him less baby like already, so I've held off on Rice Cereal. Then, I was just about to break when he got his first real cold. He is now on me nonstop. I'm pretty sure President-Elect Rice Cereal will be doing a Grady campaign stop VERY SOON. Let's hope he's as convincing as he was to your sweet girl!