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The X-Factor

22 Feb

Okay moms, I’ve decided.  All this stressing, worrying, consulting, reading, class-taking, and flash card purchasing is in vain.  For the first six months, you only have control over 10% of what your kid does well and doesn’t do well (sleep, eat, latch, take solids, sit up, roll over, laugh and crawl).  There will always be another kid that makes you wonder about your effectiveness as a mother.  Don’t let it erode your confidence.  Some kids just have it:  the X-Factor.

Beatrice was always a great sleeper.  By 8 weeks she had a schedule, slept 5-6 hours at a time and went back to sleep easily after waking to nurse.  Her brother Gus….not so much.

I started a new baby playgroup for Fussy Gus and we have met several other moms and babies (all of them first time moms).  I am sure they are sick of hearing me talk about how different Gus is from his sister and what a great sleeper she was.  Who am I trying to convince?  Maybe if I say it out loud enough, I’ll convince myself that I’m not doing anything wrong, or, rather there isn’t anything else I could or should be doing. I just have a fussy baby.

Then yesterday it hit me.  I hosted playgroup at my house.  While a few of us commiserated over interrupted nighttime sleep, babies that have to be held all the time and low milk supply, I was in awe of one mom and baby.  Not only did “J” sleep from 11-6 each night, and had been doing so for weeks, when we asked his mom about nursing, she said she produced 4-5 ounces… per side.

“PER SIDE!!!”  we all exclaimed.  She had 200 bags of frozen breast milk in her freezer.  Meanwhile I was happy to get 3 whole ounces when I pumped (way back when I still pumped).  They sell supplements, herbal teas, even a line of snacks to help with Mother’s Milk.  Old wives tales tell us to drink Guinness every day.  Our Pediatricians tell us to eat fatty foods.  And all of that stuff helps to an extent. Some women just produce a lot of milk and others don’t.

I think, among all of Bea’s friends, their moms and I have probably read just about every sleep book out there on the market:  Happiest Baby on the Block, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, the Sleep Lady, Ferber, etc.  So I’d consider us all pretty educated on the topic of sleep.  Why, then, did some babies cry from colic for three months and not sleep through the night until a year?  My expert answer is: Who the hell knows?  Some kids just have the X-Factor and some don’t.

We all started out feeding our eager six month olds healthy veggies and fruit.  Many of us reveled in making our own baby food.  There wasn’t a colored jar on the shelf that Bea wouldn’t heartily gobble up. So, why, then, does one little friend eagerly gobble up whatever vegan-friendly concoction his mom makes in the Vitamix, and Beatrice suddenly only likes chicken nuggets, rice and plain noodles?  On veggies, he’s got it. She doesn’t.

I nursed Bea for five months, so I was fully prepared to stick it out again with Gus (yeah, it hurt just as much as the first time.  Needles. In. My. Boob.)  But poor guy was losing weight.  We supplemented and he was still losing weight.  He was ravenous after a feeding because he wouldn’t stay on for more than 3 minutes.  So I stopped after two weeks.  Why?  Beatrice had the X-Factor on nursing.  Gus did not.

So, I am happy to say, let’s not stress anymore.  Do what you gotta do, moms. If your baby does not have the X-factor, its ok.  By six months, he will have caught up for the most part (and if he hasn’t, your ped will help you).   If you or your kid is lucky enough to have the X-Factor, be glad, but don’t get complacent.  Your next one may not.  🙂

Devious ways

29 Sep

Its amazing how devious I’m becoming as my daughter gets older.  One morning recently I was reminded of the episode of South Park, entitled Scott Tenorman Must Die. Stay with me, here.

In the episode, Catman is bested by an eigth-grader, Scott Tenorman. Cartman thinks that he can buy Scott’s pubes (yes, you read that correctly) and it will still count the same in the manly column as growing your own.

Anyway, of course his friends call him out and he spends the rest of the episode trying to get his money back, and Scott just keeps outsmarting him.

That is, UNTIL the very end when, well, if you haven’t seen the episode I won’t ruin it, but let’s just say Soylent Green is Made of People.

So, on this particular morning, I plop some scrambled eggs on Bea’s tray (which she just happily ate for me a few days prior) and she started whining. She put one to her mouth, did a little lizard lick, and put it back down.

Whaaa? Something the queen doesn’t like? No, Goddammit, I made these eggs just for you and you need protein. Hmmm, look how good they are, mommy’s eating them. Oh, maybe if I give them to you on a fork. No? What if I cut them up real small for you? Not going to work, huh?


Grrrr.  So, I begrudgingly mixed up some oatmeal and peaches and started feeding her.  I noticed the little scrambled egg bits still left on her tray.  I thought, what the hell?  So I put some in the bowl, mixed it up so they were nice and coated with oatmeal and fed it to her, making sure she got a good chunk.

Chew, chew, weird face, chew, chew swallow.

“You like that?  I put eggs in it!”  I said to her, in a similar tone of voice that you would use to tell your high school rival that she has a booger hanging out of her nose.

Another spoonful.  Gulp. “Yeah, that one had eggs too,” I say, laughing. Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo.

I’m not sure why this mattered so much to me.  I’m stubborn and a control freak, and I realize there will be battles I will lose.  But clean trays feel like a victory, and wasted food that I cooked, in general bothers me.

This is what my FB status read later that day:

“Dear Bea, remember this morning when I tried to give you scrambled eggs and you closed your lips tight and swatted my hand away?  And instead I gave you oatmeal and peaches? Well guess WHAT?  I put the scrambled eggs IN the oatmeal!!!  You ate it anyway!!  mwa-ha-ha-ha… I win again!!”

So, I’m not nearly as devious as Cartman, but I’d say I got a fair amount of satisfaction out of this one.  She’ll even the score eventually, I have no doubt.   😉

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