Thursday, October 19, 2006

Crying Over Spilled Milk


When not causing her mother to cry over spilled milk, Charlotte can be found helping with household tasks. Here she assists with folding the laundry. Moments later she folded Daddy's underpants using only her head.


Not everything at our house is beautifully written prose. Not every day is full of good grammar and good fun. Some days I just can’t take it.

Before you read any further, I want to clarify—this is not a complaint, though I think sometimes we certainly have a lot to complain about. Nor is it an attempt to make it seem like our parenting job is any harder than anyone else’s. I simply don’t believe in competitive parenting. No matter how difficult Charlotte’s medical situation can be, we are both always grateful to have our grinning, goofy kid in our lives. But, some days, I do cry over spilled milk.

At least once a day, feeding Charlotte is a battle. I have to hold one or both of her little hands firmly in my hand and put the glass to her lips. If she’s remotely cooperative, she’ll drink. Today’s post-nap snack found a most uncooperative urchin. She ate well at first and then got bored. She began flailing her arms, trying to knock the cup out of my hands. (Keep in mind that Charlotte drinks best from an open cup and does not feed herself. When she knocks the cup, it’s a mess.) I took one hand, then both hands and tried to get her to drink. She threw her head around, like a horse does when it really doesn’t want to follow your instructions, in order to avoid the cup.

We took a little break and Charlotte munched on a crunchy. Then I tried again. She flailed and tossed again. Then took a sip, and then tried to remove the table from her chair. She can pull the table off of her Stokke and if it were to fall, she’d get hurt. I had to sternly tell her “no.” She laughed. We tried drinking again.
This time, Charlotte was more violently opposed to drinking and managed to knock the glass pretty hard, dousing herself.

I lost it. I ripped the bib off of her neck and pulled her out of her chair. As I put her into her baby-zoo (playpen), I started to scream and cry hysterically. So did Charlotte. I turned away from her and screamed to no one in particular that I just can’t take it anymore. There we were, mother and toddler, each crying hysterically. Charlotte mostly wanted out of her baby-zoo so she could go rescue Mommy Kitty (who I had tossed across the room during lunch because she was distracting baby). Once she had Mommy Kitty, she was just fine. She’s playing nicely now, stopping every now and then to say “Ba ba ja dee da da.” As for me, I was literally crying over spilt milk. I eventually stopped crying, but, no, I’m not just fine.

This eating problem and reflux make parenting un-fun every time we sit down to eat. Philippe and I love to cook and enjoy good food. Yet, we fight daily with our baby to get her to eat. I worry that she'll never enjoy a gastronomical experience the way we do, that she'll associate eating with her mommy's distress and anger. This is not something that goes away overnight, as normal as we work to make our lives feel and appear.

How many of my dear readers have to feed their kids this way? How many of you clean up vomit daily, after watching your kid bring it up in a painful, violent manner—we’re not talking stomach flu, we’re talking violent retching. We’re talking about the body basically rebelling. And then, the kid smiles when it’s over. She’s truly amazing. Do you have any idea how hard this is if I don’t tell you? Consider this a reality check, sent with love and gratitude that you’ve read this far.

Well, Charlotte’s pump is just about to finish her snack. What does the end of snack time mean? Well, it means just two more hours until dinner.

Martinis, anyone?

3 comments:

Trish & Jacob said...

Oh my goodness! You hit the nail on the head with this one!

"we’re talking violent retching. We’re talking about the body basically rebelling. And then, the kid smiles when it’s over. "

I can't believe what these kids go though...it's sad to see retching as "normal" yet...to them it is. It's an everyday thing...just like eating to most kids.

{{huge hugs}} to you and charlotte...sometimes it's ok to cry over spilled milk.

Darshani said...

I too, cry over spilled milk. I have had that exact same type of temper tantrum. It's so, so hard. I have basically given up with Nitara for now. Sad to say. It's all in her hands. One of these days she'll realize that having a tube is not as cool as she thinks it is, and she'll eat. I saw a little girl in Children's Hospital last week. She was a preemie with a heart problem. She pulled up her shirt and showed me two scars: her heart surgery scar and her new, pink button scar. Her mom said she just one day decided to eat and she did. All the therapy in the world didn't want to make her. The mom said that she had to want it as much as everyone else did, and until that happened, just keep practicing the feeding skills a little bit each day. Have faith that one day we too will be talking to some other parents as we sit there waiting for the doctor to check our childrens' gtube scars.

As I was talking to that mom, I was looking around the waiting room and spotted a few babies with NG tubes. One of them was crawling around and mom was trying to catch him before he crawled over his tube and pulled it out. Yeah, I've been there too. We are not at the end of our journey, but we have comes so far since those baby NG tube days. So have you. So has Charlotte.

Just know that you are not struggling alone. It doesn't make it any easier when you face each meal with Charlotte, but just know you are not alone, okay?

Fer said...

Hello... I found your blog in google while I looked for reflux dissease. What can I say?... I feel like I've known you FOREVER. I am so familiar with what you live day by day. I have a son, Juan Pablo, and he is only 11 months old and he has been through so much and this post only reflects one day in my life. I've been there and I'm sad about that. Anyway... feel free to email me at anytime, I'd like to talk to you and maybe we can share our kids experiences... My email: maferarceamare@gmail.com