Day Ten Update

Maddie is on the planet! And things are very good around here. She eats and sleeps, and if she cries, she’s either hungry or she’s about to do an explosive poop, both of which can be easily remedied. In fact, Maddie has been the easiest part of the last ten days.

I am thrilled not to be pregnant anymore; as Mother Load readers know, I was ready for my delicate condition to end about two months before it did. The labor itself was as good as it can get, really. I was in early labor when I arrived at the hospital on Friday morning- enough that I could read the paper in between contractions. But, being eight days late, they took pity on me and admitted me anyway. We started the Pitocin drip at 8:30 am, and by 12:30 pm, an APB was put out for my OB so our baby could be born. (He had predicted a 3 pm birth, and was not in the hospital.) Once the good doctor arrived, Maddie arrived within ten minutes, and was exercising her lungs before her shoulders were even out.

So far, so good. But in the adrenaline-fueled euphoria that follows a birth, I always lose sight of the fact that I may have left the Pregnancy Frying Pan, but am about to land in the Post-Partum Fire. The swelling! The stitches! The ice packs! The cabbage! (If you’re thinking, “Huh? Cabbage?” count yourself among the blissfully ignorant and ask no questions.) For about ten days now, I’ve sprinted about the house for a few hours, doing laundry and cooking and saying, “What? I’m fine! No I don’t need to sit down!” Then, I feel like a train has hit me, and I need to lie down, and that’s right about when the boys get home from preschool.

The boys, you ask. How are they adjusting? Well, well. They were so thrilled to welcome Maddie home that they started vomiting and diarrhea-ing all over the apartment before she and I even got home from the hospital. So far, Maddie has slept peacefully in a baby carrier, or in Nana’s arms, while I try to tend to the insatiable needs of two sick little boys. The bug seems to have passed over our home at last, and now the hardest part is keeping Maddie away from her brothers’ MRSA-ridden kisses and dirty hands.

Did I say two sick little boys? Sorry. I meant three. David came home last Thursday night and, when I asked him what he wanted to do about dinner, said, “Huh. I’m not hungry.” Now, anyone who knows David knows that these words have never come out of his mouth before. Before we went to the hospital last Friday morning, he had a protein shake and a bagel with tofutti spread. Once we got there, he had a Power Bar, and he left me to go get himself a turkey burger at 10:30 am. David’s metabolism is so high he needs to eat approximately every 17 minutes merely to avoid wasting away to nothing. So when he said he “wasn’t hungry,” I said, “Do. Not. Do this to me.”

Poor Daddy’s stomach cramps started that night, and we slept in separate rooms so at least we’d each be up all night for different reasons. He didn’t get out of bed at all the next day, except to plod to the refrigerator for more Gatorade. And while he was not able to be much help, I will say, he suffered a terrible 24 hours without so much as a kind glance from his formerly loving wife. That’s the breaks when you have 3 kids.

I am being summoned by La Principessa from the next room. Lunch time!

It’s a GIRL!

Mairead Catherine Wilson Flaherty, aka “Maddie,” was born last Friday, October 19th, at 1:15 pm, after a short and easy (relatively speaking) labor. The shocker was, it’s a girl; the even bigger shocker was that she was eight days late and weighed over a pound less than her brothers, a featherweight at 7 lb 3 oz.

We are all doing great so far! More soon!

Book Traps. Wow. GENIUS.

I’m really digging, there’s always interesting stuff to be found on there. And one of this week’s entries was pure genius: from a blog named “Recovergirl,” a parenting tip called Book Traps.

Here’s what you do. You lay out an enticing book or two in a spot where your children will happen upon them, and see what happens. If you have more than one child, set multiple book traps. According to Recovergirl, your child will happen upon the trap and happily sit down to read, and it works every time.

Even better? Unscheduled naps may occur.

Recovergirl has expanded the “book trap” concept to “game traps,” and will lay a game out on the floor in another room whenever she needs 10 minutes to herself. (She says she uses this time to clean her children’s room. I say, you’re a better mom than I am, Gunga Recovergirl.)

I have not actually tried this idea yet but I think it is so brilliant that I can’t wait for the boys to get home. I’m hoping it will help with those half-hour nursing sessions that are in my very near future.

If anyone else gives it a try, let me know how it works for you!

Baby, you are officially on notice

OK here’s the deal: Baby, if you have not arrived by this Friday morning, we’re going in after you.

My OB suggested this to me today, very gently, and then said “I know you’re going to say, oh please can’t you just leave me alone–”

“Stop right there,” I interrupted. “You had me at ‘Friday morning.'”

Watch this space for further updates. I’m not kidding, Baby. We can do this the hard way, or the even harder way. But you’re comin’ out.

OK, it’s my fault, but it’s not my fault

Posted by Picasa

Finally, a scientific study we moms can applaud, because it tells us something we actually didn’t know already, and even gives us a break in the process.

According to this week’s New York Times, if your child is a Picky Eater, They Get It From You. But not because, as non-parent parenting experts like Rachael Ray have said, you just didn’t work hard enough to vary their diet– but because children can inherit “neophobic” food genes from their parents. It’s nature, not nurture.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief upon reading this, since it vindicates me and what I have been saying to snide “you just have to let them go hungry, they’ll eat eventually” sanctimommies for a few years now.

My older son suffers from what Kim Severson’s article calls “childhood neophobia.” For those unfamiliar with this syndrome’s symptoms, it manifests itself as a basic inability to eat much besides PB&J, chicken nuggets, and pizza.

My younger son, on the other hand, is a Hoover like his father, and will suck up absolutely anything in the refrigerator, including stuff even I wouldn’t dream of eating: unseasoned egg whites, day-old swordfish, olive tapenade. He opens his mouth, chews, and THEN says “What this?” If anyone is a freak of nature, it’s him.

I swear that I have really done nothing to create this difference between my two children. I do make sure to give my younger son a variety of foods, so that he won’t shut down like his brother. But when I put a spoonful of pad thai, or whatever, on my older son’s plate, I watch him gag at the sight of it touching his penne pasta. (That’s penne only. Not mezze rigatoni, not other tubular pasta, just penne.)

Now, one reason to seek out this article, if you have a picky eater like me, is to feel a little better about your kid’s place on the spectrum. My son will eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, white beans, edamame, stuff like that. One of the kids profiled in the New York Times has self-limited her diet to egg noodles and pizza crust without toppings. So I’d like to thank her for making my son look like the Galloping Gourmet by comparison.

I have always rankled at the smug parents who suggest that my son’s eating habits could be easily solved by not catering to them. “Let him go hungry and he’d eat,” they say. “MY daughter Clementine has been eating sushi since she was 14 months old.” Believe me, I’ve tried the “eat this, or nothing” technique, and often, still do. But he doesn’t eat. At all. Until his lowered blood sugar creates a tyrant that you can’t live with. He would truly rather starve than let meatloaf pass his lips.

Now, armed with the evidence of my younger son’s robust eating habits, and this new study, at least I can accept that it’s not my fault. Well, kind of my fault. I actually wasn’t a particularly picky eater as a child, but my youngest brother was, and he still prefers everything he eats to go from freezer to microwave to table, encased in a succulent pastry shell. So I think my son can really thank/blame his Uncle Mike for the taste buds he has.

Which doesn’t mean that I’m giving up. We have two months until my son’s 5th birthday, at which point, we have been brainwashing him, his tongue will magically change overnight and he will like lots of foods he never liked before. This morning, while my younger son and his daddy were scarfing down egg whites, my picky son said, “We don’t like egg whites, right Mommy?” I had to agree. He thought this over for a moment. “But when I wake up and I’m five,” he said, “I will put one little bit on my tongue.”