Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Case of Bad Timing

I think Petunia is trying to kill me. Or at least, I can't rule that out. Her sleep has gone to hell right at a time when I am trying to get up to speed on a new project at work. It is a high profile project, and a bit political. A lot of people are depending on me to get this right, so it would be nice if I were getting more than 5 hours of broken sleep at night.

But I'm not. Petunia's still getting over the cold that coincided with the ear infection. If her congestion is doing anything similar to what mine is doing, she probably feels like her face might pop off. Plus, she's getting at least one new tooth in, possibly two. And she's hit separation anxiety a tad early, and finds it very distressing when I leave the room. (Incidentally, this phase is much less annoying the second time around- maybe because I know it ends? This time, I find the little crinkled up face and earnest tears of distress sort of cute, and I mostly want to rush back, pick Petunia up and give her hugs and kisses.)

Given all of that, it is not surprising that her sleep is not as good as it could be. It is still better than Pumpkin's was at this age- Petunia is only up 3 times a night. Pumpkin was up 5 times. The really annoying thing is that Petunia is hard to get back down after the second and third wakings and has been waking up early and in a foul mood. This morning, I took her for a walk at 5:30 because I was afraid her screaming would wake Pumpkin.

Making matters even worse is the feeling I have of a missed opportunity. My mom was here last week, helping out while Hubby was on a business trip. We had planned for her to spend some time holding Petunia in the middle of the night, to try to gently wean her off one of her (at the time) two night feedings. I had high hopes of having improved sleep. I think having those hopes dashed, and knowing that I have a good month or two (at least!) before the separation anxiety improves and I can really try again to improve things, has made the current sleep situation even harder to take.

Still, I have recently been reflecting on Pumpkin's sleep history, and feeling pretty good about how it all turned out. Pumpkin's sleep issues were hard to handle at times. OK, they were hard to handle most of time time. But we tried to do what we thought she needed, and to keep to our parenting philosophy, and here we are, with a three year old who goes to sleep on her own and has been sleeping through the night for over a year. I want to feel just as good when I look back at how Petunia learned to sleep through the night (or relearned, since we had a short period in which she slept through the night when she was about 2.5 months old). So I guess I'll just suck it up, dust off my skills for coping with sleep deprivation, and remember that this phase seems far, far longer when you're in the midst of it than it seems from the other side.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Zenbit: Fractal Tree

Location: Trail to Suicide Rock, near Idyllwild, California, USA
Date: September 9, 2006

Friday, May 21, 2010

Perfectly Exhausting

Wow, am I tired.

Hubby is out of town this week, off on a business trip. He'll be back on Sunday. One work week in which I was the sole parent has exhausted me- and I even had the excellent assistance of my mother all week.  In my defense, I did have a sick baby at the start of the week (Petunia was recovering from an ear infection and high fever), and had done most of the nighttime parenting the week before, since Hubby was recovering from food poisoning.  I also started a new project at work. It is a high profile project that is outside my normal area of responsibility, so it is a bit of a stretch for me. It was a truly unusual week, a confluence of several exhausting things.

Still, it is a glimpse of the life of a single parent, and it has made me very grateful for my husband.  I have also been grateful for Pumpkin and Petunia. Petunia has started every day off with a smile, because she positively bounces with joy when I walk into her room in the morning- even on the days when she was sick. Pumpkin has cheered me up at the end of every work day by singing along to her favorite CD on the way home from day care. I defy anyone to remain stressed or grumpy while a sweet little voice sings "Witch Doctor" from the back seat ("ooh-eeh-ooh-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla walla bing bang"). And to top that, when the CD, a mix I made for her, reaches the song she has decided is my favorite, she demands that I sing, too. So I warble along to "Six Months in a Leaky Boat" and smile, and get home in a great mood, despite the traffic and the crazy day I left behind at work.

I often hear other mothers wonder how single parents do it. On one level, I completely agree. I don't know how they do it. But on another level, I know exactly how they do it- they same way any of us get through our lives. One day at a time, optimizing while we go, sometimes hanging on by the barest of threads, and sometimes thinking that our lives couldn't be any more perfect.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Quick Thought

If you ever think that your partner isn't doing as much work as you are around the house, arrange to have him or her go on a week long business trip, and see what you think after that.

I'm only halfway through AND I have my mom here helping, and I am more convinced than ever than ever that Hubby does his fair share around here! I'll confess that Hubby and I sometimes have that conversation about who is slacking off and who is working too hard, but in reality, we're both doing our share. I think that once you add kids to the equation, it is easy to become convinced that your partner is slacking off. Surely if he was doing his share, you'd have more time to yourself!

I'd write more, but it is housecleaning week on our chores schedule, and I need to go clean the kitchen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Three Cheers for Outside the Crab

Well, it seems that it really was that easy. Pumpkin is now going to sleep on her own. There were no tears associated with this change, and there has been no more than the usual negotiating for more stories.

However, because the universe must balance things out, Petunia has an ear infection. She was miserable this weekend, running a high fever that neither acetaminophen or ibuprofen could really control, and clearly uncomfortable. I finally took her to the doctor on Sunday (after hours pediatrics- so not my regular doctor), and got the diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics. Now, I don't usually treat ear infections with antibiotics. The latest evidence is that they'll mostly clear up on their own, and too frequent use of antibiotics can lead to problems with antibiotic resistance. But late Sunday afternoon poor Petunia was so miserable that I caved and went and got the prescription filled. I gave her the first dose at 6 p.m. Her fever was gone and she was feeling better by midnight (when she woke up for her first feed of the night). I can see why people thought antibiotics were wonder drugs when they first became available.

Petunia is staying home from day care despite the fact that she is fever free, because she is still not eating normally, and is prone to occasional bouts of extreme fussiness. No doubt her ear is still bothering her, but it is giving me flashbacks to Pumpkin's babyhood, when she would fuss and fuss for no reason I could figure out, and I couldn't calm her. I hate how helpless that makes me feel.

Anyway, my Mom was in town already, so Petunia can stay home. My Mom is here helping out while Hubby is away on a business trip. She was expecting to have lazy days at home alone, while the kids were at day care. That's not how it is working out....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

There is No Way It Was Really That Easy

People who know me in real life and long time readers of this blog know that Pumpkin's sleep has never been an easy thing. When she was a baby, she woke a lot at night. Finally, at about two years old, she started sleeping through the night. But she has always needed someone to "snuggle" her to sleep. If I am home, she almost always wants me to do this. She likes me to lie in bed with my back to her, while she plays with my hair and drifts off to sleep. This usually takes about 30 minutes.

Well, I decided that it was time to change that. I consulted Isabel's excellent Bedtiming book and decided that the period between 3 and 3.5 years old is my last good chance for awhile to break this habit. As much as I love the time with Pumpkin, I need to get more time in the evenings for chores (and blogging, of course).

I was stumped about how to do this without a lot of drama and tears- two things that I don't have a lot of patience to deal with at the end of a long day. Inspired by my success with the binky fairy, I finally decided that I would offer Pumpkin the chance to get a new stuffed animal to snuggle to sleep with. We would read her stories (Hubby and I take turns doing this), I would lie down with her and listen to the first four songs on her favorite CD of lullabies, and then I would turn off the music, turn on her air filter (aka white noise machine), and, instead of getting back in bed to snuggle her like I usually do, I would hand her the new stuffed animal and leave the room.

I explained this plan to Pumpkin and she seemed interested, even excited. I asked her what stuffed animal she wanted, planning to take her to the toy store over the weekend to buy her a new stuffed horse or something. She said she wanted a stuffed crab. A crab? I asked. A crab, she confirmed.

So we ordered this online:

It came today.

So tonight, Hubby read Pumpkin stories. I read her "the last story" (a frequent request when Hubby reads her stories- I don't mind). We've been reading Winnie-the-Pooh. I read her the story about Eeyore's birthday. By this time, it was about 15 minutes past her usual lights out time. We turned the lights out, and listened to her songs. As the last song was almost done, she asked me to tell her a story that I made up and started telling to her at bedtime well over a year ago ("the zebra story", about bedtime at the zoo). I did, getting up and turning off the music at the agreed upon time. I finished the story, handed her the crab (whom she has named "Outside"), and left.

And she fell asleep on her own.

I won't believe it was that easy until we do it again tomorrow night. But enjoy this post- the time to write it and my new guided tour of my blog page was brought to you by Pumpkin and Outside the crab.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Reassuring Opinions on Bisphenol A

I came across a link to a scientific opinion piece about bisphenol A (BPA) recently, and thought I'd post about it here. It should reassure those of us whose babies were fed from bottles made before the BPA uproar forced manufacturers to switch to different plastics. The author of this piece, and a companion piece written for a more general audience, is Richard Sharpe, a scientist at the prestigious Medical Research Council in the UK. As far as I can tell, he has no connection with the plastics industry. In fact, a quick survey of some of his publications indicates that he is concerned about the effects of some environmental influences on human reproduction- just not BPA.

Dr. Sharpe argues that there were design flaws in the study that ignited all of the concern about BPA, and that multiple later studies have failed to replicate that original finding. A recent study again failed to replicate the findings, and Dr. Sharpe thinks that this should be the end of the argument.

Of course, the original study's authors refute this argument in a letter to the journal that published Dr. Sharpe's opinion piece. There is a published rebuttal to this letter as well, which unfortunately, I can't access.

All of this back-and-forth is about whether or not BPA is likely to cause reproductive issues. There is also an argument about whether or not BPA is likely to leach from the bottles in any appreciable amount under the conditions that they are usually used. (A couple of years ago, I had references on that argument, too, but I can't find them right now- suffice to say, some groups say "Yes! Heaps of BPA leaches out!" and other groups say "No! Those first groups were doing their studies all wrong!" Back when I was making the decision about whether to change Pumpkin's bottles- this uproar really hit the mainstream when she was about 9 months old- I decided that I believed the second group more.)

Scientific arguments like this are actually not that uncommon. What is unusual here is the extent to which this has played out in the "regular" press and the fact that public opinion has already forced bottle manufacturers to change the composition of their bottles. In my opinion, public opinion was driven largely by a report from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice- which is not exactly a neutral, science-based organization. To me, this is an example of the politicization of science, just as much as the shenanigans pulled during the Bush administration were, and it is just as wrong. Science should be about testing hypotheses and reporting facts, and not about spin. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

The problem with arguments like these is that it is next to impossible for a non-expert, even a scientist in a related discipline, to really sort out who is right.  In these situations, it is helpful to get a feeling for what the majority of experts in the field think. And luckily, someone has surveyed toxicologists on their opinions about what environmental exposures are harmful. Only 9% rated BPA as a high risk. (There is a lot of other interesting data in that link, too.)

So why does this all matter if the decision has been made? BPA is gone from baby bottles. Well, a lot of us still have older bottles. About 1/3 of the pumped milk Petunia gets, for instance, is delivered in Pumpkin's old BPA-containing bottles.  But more fundamentally,  it bothers me to see science used to force a change when the data doesn't necessarily support that change. The BPA was replaced with other chemicals, not fairy dust. Who knows whether those chemicals will be deemed safe in 15 years? I can tell you that at least one of the reformulations produced an inferior bottle. We needed additional bottles for Petunia, so we bought some new ones from the same brand we used with Pumpkin. There were two options, and we bought some of each. We've pretty much stopped using one of the types of bottles, because it didn't rinse clean in the dishwasher. I didn't like the fact that I had to rewash those bottles by hand almost every time. Besides, if the dishwasher soap is sticking to the bottle, what else is?

I came across the link to the opinion piece by Dr. Sharpe in the comments on a post from Science-Based Medicine about the recent report from the President's Cancer Panel. The entire post is worth a read, if you have the time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We'll Pull This Story Out If She Gets a Degree in Chinese Literature

Today was Pumpkin's 3 year check up. Yeah, we're a month late. I was a bit too slow in making the appointment.

After doing the usual physical exam, the doctor asked Pumpkin a bunch of questions to make sure she was on track developmentally. One of the questions she asked was, "Can you count to ten?"

Pumpkin dutifully starts counting: "yi, er, san, si, wu, liu, qi, ba, jiu, shi".

The doctor's eyebrows went up, and she looked at me.

I blushed and said "Um, that's in Chinese."

The doctor laughed and asked if she can also do it in English. I assured her that Pumpkin can count to ten in English as well as Chinese (and Spanish). Pumpkin went on to sing her alphabet flawlessly, and I was able to testify that yes, Pumpkin speaks in complete sentences. Complete paragraphs, even, run together into extended monologues. So she passed her developmental exam.

The backstory: Hubby is jealous of our various bilingual friends who are raising multi-lingual children. He really wanted to try to get Pumpkin to learn another language now, when she can still hear all the different sounds. He argued that we should have her learn Chinese, since so many people speak it, it is only going to get more important in the coming years, and some of the sounds are so different from those found in English. I argued for Spanish, since it is more practical in our particular part of the world and would be easier to teach. He wouldn't give in, so finally I said "fine, she can learn Chinese- but you're in charge of figuring out how to do it."

A couple of weeks later, I told the story of that argument to a friend of mine who happens to be of Chinese descent. She said "I'm going to start [her 3 year old daughter] in Chinese lessons soon. Do you want to split the cost of a tutor?" I said sure, and Hubby got his way without doing any work. Pumpkin and my friend's daughter now have a 30 minute Chinese lesson with a tutor ever Saturday. My friend has even sent us a list of good books and DVDs to use to supplement the lessons.

Lest you think we're some sort of weirdo gung ho parents trying to ensure our daughter goes to Harvard... this is the ONE class we do. We haven't even gotten Pumpkin in swim lessons yet, although I think that should change this summer. And I think Hubby should research those and get them set up, since he got a free pass on the Chinese lessons.

Monday, May 10, 2010


So, Hubby was actually sick.

Since no one else here is sick, we suspect food poisoning from his take out hamburger.

I had solo baby duty last night. Petunia "only" woke up 3 times, but the 3rd time, she took about 40 minutes to get back down.

I had been looking forward to 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, since Hubby was planning to do the first feeding with a bottle. Instead, I got about 5 hours total sleep.

I was almost jealous of Hubby as I dragged myself off to work today and he stayed home to rest.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Perfect Mother's Day.... Almost

If I describe my Mother's Day, it will sound perfect.

I had asked that I not have to cook at all today. Hubby is an excellent cook, but because I get home earlier and he is a slow cook, I do almost all of the cooking these days, and I wanted a break. Hubby went and bought take out for lunch, and he and Pumpkin made a nice pizza for dinner. (Yes, Mom and Dad, I got some pictures of this. But Pumpkin wouldn't eat any, which knocks the common advice of having her help with the cooking off of our list of things to do to get Pumpkin to eat more things. This did not surprise me- she's an enthusiastic helper whenever I make scones, but still won't eat them.)

We decided against a visit to any of the obvious family outing sort of places- we went to the Zoo on Mother's Day once and were overwhelmed by the crowds. It is far better to do that some other weekend. Still, we wanted to do something as a family. We settled on taking a trip to the farmer's market, something we've wanted to do with Pumpkin for awhile. We chose the market in Solana Beach, because it is a bit more spacious than some of the others in town, and this matters when you're going to be pushing  a stroller and herding an energetic three-year old through the crowds.

The market trip was successful. We bought some nice looking produce, discovered that we now have a local farm that produces grass-fed beef, and provided some free advertising to one of the stands selling strawberries. The man behind the stand saw Pumpkin eying the strawberries- they are her favorite fruit- so he gave her a sample. She bit right in. It is prime strawberry season here, so the strawberry was big, red, and juicy. Several people stopped to admire our darling little girl with strawberry juice dripping down her chin.  I think a few of them bought some strawberries, so that free strawberry served the farmer well.

(Pumpkin did not deign to try any new fruits or vegetables, despite several opportunities to do so. She didn't even look tempted. So there goes another suggestion for how to get Pumpkin to eat new things.... I was not surprised, and wasn't really expecting the farmer's market to magically turn her into a lover of fruits and vegetables, so that didn't really bother me.)

So why do I say the day was only almost perfect? Blame Petunia. She had been slowly improving her sleep again, and had dropped down to two wakings per night. She would nurse quickly and go right back down. Hubby was getting great sleep, and even I was doing OK. But for the last two nights, she has been up more frequently, and harder to get back down. Last night was particularly rough. I have that familiar fuzzy, almost sick tired feeling, and Hubby is doing even worse than I am. He is blaming the spectacular poop-splosion he dealt with this morning, but that's just because he's a bit funny about poop. I don't think Petunia is actually sick. The latest signs point to teething, which I am always a bit slow to suspect, because Pumpkin was never really bothered by teething. But Petunia is, and her two upper canines are slowly working their way in (yes, she has fangs). I think Hubby's sick feeling is due to being bone-tired.

I'm taking pity on Hubby and not asking him to do the first feeding tonight with a bottle, which was the original plan. Petunia seems to be sleeping better tonight that she did last night- she had already woken up several times by this point last night- so perhaps we will both luck out. We're off to bed now.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

First and Foremost, It Is Sexist

Every now and then, I check in at the Mother Lode blog at the NY Times. Today, there was a post about celebrities being "first and foremost" moms. It got me thinking, which I suppose makes it a good blog post.

I wish that this was not even an issue worth thinking about, but I think it is, not because I think we should care how some celebrity defines her life, but because of what it says about how all of us define our lives. Am I "first and foremost" a mom? Or a scientist? Or a manager? Or a techie? (Or, for that matter, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a book lover, a blogger, a traveler, an out of practice fiddler....?)

I am all of those things. At once. At any given moment, one aspect or another is probably dominant, but it is rare that I spend a day where I am "first and foremost" any one thing.

I don't think I am unusual in this regard.

I think the need we seem to have to make women declare their allegiances- are you a mom or a worker?- is part and parcel of the same thinking that makes it so common for me to be asked about how I achieve work-life balance, while no one has ever asked my husband that question. Not once.

And it is closely linked to an insidious type of sexism I've been noticing more now that I have added "mom" to my list of roles. Some people want to explain away the differences in the number of women in certain professions or at the highest ranks in most professions by saying that it is not sexism causing those differences. It is the fact that women become mothers, and that causes them to limit their own careers. So there is no problem, you see, because it is all personal choice.

Well, I call BS on all of it. If motherhood is preventing large numbers women from obtaining their career objectives, that is sexism- unless fatherhood causes the same impediment. The time during which there is an actual, biological difference in the parenting requirements of mothers and fathers is just too short to lay the blame for the large inequities that persist at the feet of motherhood.

None of this is to belittle women (or men) who choose a different path, and don't want to stay in the work force once they have kids. I think that in most cases their list of roles encompasses more than "mother" (or "father"), too, and if it doesn't, that is fine. But can we please stop acting like women who choose to have both "mother" and "worker" in their list of roles are required to choose which one comes first? That is a false choice, and unless you ask the same of all the working fathers out there, it is a sexist one.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Advice from a Picky Eater

Can you stand one more post about food?

I've decided to take Carrot Cake Pancakes out of heavy rotation- after eating them twice, Pumpkin has decided that she doesn't like them and no amount of bribing her with bits of butter (yes, you read the right) will convince her to eat them now. Hubby and I like them, so we'll probably still have them occasionally, but not once every week or two like we have been doing. I'll give it a rest for awhile, and try again later.

However, tonight, I had a bit of a win- Pumpkin ate pasta from the same dish that Hubby and I ate, and I didn't have to wash the pasta off first (yes, you read that right, too). I have a simple pasta dish that I've been making in different variations for years. It has:
  • 1/3 package of my favorite shape of pasta (currently "Paris wheels", a.k.a. Ferris wheels, a.k.a wagon wheels- Pumpkin's name for them is derived from a Dora episode with a Ferris wheel)
  • ~1/2 cup cheese (usually feta, but in the new, more child friendly incarnation, the Italian mix of preshredded cheese- after much experimentation, I think my favorite brand of this is Sargento)
  • ~1/2 cup of diced tomatoes (I use grape tomatoes, because they require less chopping)
  • ~1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Fresh basil, if available
  • ~1/2 tbs of olive oil
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
You cook up the pasta and then dump all the other ingredients onto it in a bowl and mix it up.

Last time I made it, I reserved some pine nuts and convinced (OK, bribed) Pumpkin to try them. She liked them. I suspected she would- she likes a lot of different nuts. So this time, I made the pasta with the same cheese she usually sprinkles over her plain pasta (the preshredded stuff), and convinced her to try some of our pasta. I didn't give her any of the tomatoes, and I had to pick off any trace of basil... but she ate it. And asked for more. I'm very excited to have discovered another recipe that I can make that we will all eat with minimal modifications. (Next time, I'll leave the basil on the side, and Hubby and I can add that at the table.)

All of this has got me thinking about picky eating, and how toddlers/preschoolers eat, and how to maximize your chances of having low stress about food without just giving up and feeding your kid nothing but junk.

I've written before about my thoughts on my own picky eating. Based on my own experience, I think picky eating comes from several different things:

Taste- some foods just don't taste good to some people. I've mentioned super-tasters before, and described how green vegetables taste bitter to me. I don't think this is the only way in which people's taste preferences differ, though. Taste is controlled by proteins (the receptors on our taste buds), and proteins are produced by genes, which will usually vary within a population.

I don't think there is much you can do about foods your child doesn't like the taste of, except wait it out. There are foods that I used to hate the taste of that I can now stand to eat, even if I wouldn't consider them favorites. I put this down to the fact that your taste buds deteriorate with age. (I don't care what that article says- I think the deterioration starts earlier. How else to explain that I now like blue cheese?)

You can try masking the taste of vegetables. I find that orange juice or bacon mask the bitterness I taste in green beans. Cheese makes just about any vegetable palatable, and a good stir fry sauce can really help, too. I know that a lot of kids will eat just about anything dipped in ketchup or ranch dressing. However, we haven't really had any luck with this approach.

Texture -I don't like beans, not because of the taste, but because of the texture. It literally makes me gag. I can't explain why, but I know a lot of people who have issues with the texture of some food or another.

I don't think there is anything you can do about a texture aversion.

Neophobia- This is the fear of eating something new, which, as I alluded to in my earlier picky eater post, is not necessarily a bad thing. I will admit that I take this to a bit of an extreme, although I've gotten better at trying new things as I get older.

I think most kids have a bit of neophobia in them, too, and some kids (like, say, my Pumpkin) have A LOT of it.

The standard advice on dealing with this is to just keep offering the food. That has occasionally worked for us, but we have had better luck with a more complex approach. I try to grow Pumpkin's tastes slowly, moving from things she likes to similar foods. She liked tortellini, so I slowly introduced ravioli. She liked crackers, so we introduced dried fruit that crunch like crackers. She liked the dried strawberries, and we were (miraculously) able to use that to convince her to try actual strawberries, which she liked. (This same approach has not worked on apples- she eats dried apples and applesauce, but not actual apples, no matter how they are presented.)

I also use a bit of bribery to get Pumpkin to try new things, but I use this carefully. I think this approach can really backfire and lead to a contest of wills. So I tend to only bribe her to try things I think she will almost certainly like and that aren't too "scary"- for instance, I told her she could have a juice box with dinner if she tried one of the "grown up" pastas tonight. She liked it, and ate about 8 more with no further bribery.

Presentation issues- when I mention that Pumpkin is a fairly pick eater, a lot of people tell me that I should mix vegetables  into things she likes, like mac and cheese. This may work for some kids, but it absolutely would not have worked on me as a kid. In fact, there could be two foods that I liked, but wouldn't eat if they were mixed together. I have gotten a lot better about this as I've gotten older, but I still tend to prefer things "plain"- no sauce on my hamburger, please.

For this reason, I tend to tread carefully when trying to get Pumpkin to eat things like pasta dishes. I make sure that she likes all of the ingredients first, and even then, I'm not surprised if she is hesitant to try it.

Plain old stubbornness- this is probably the most frustrating reason for picky eating, and I think this is the one that leads parents to do things like insist that a child stay at the table until she tries everything on her plate. I think that this strict approach will work for some kids but be disastrous for others. If your kid is pretty stubborn, I would NOT get into a contest of wills over food. It is just not worth it, because you really can't make a kid eat. And, as someone who has gone hungry on occasion rather than eat something I didn't want to eat, I can tell you that unless you're willing to be quite draconian, the old saw about how a child won't starve herself just isn't true.

Another common approach to deal with stubbornness is to try to reason with the child. I think this can backfire, too. I think I have mentioned before about how I stopped eating pizza because my parents told me that the red sauce on pasta was the same as pizza sauce.

I think Ellyn Satter  has the absolutely right approach to dealing with stubbornness- just ignore it. Don't make a big deal out of it, and maybe your kid will relent later, when he can do so without losing face.

I've used bribery a little bit to deal with stubbornness, too, but as I mentioned above, only very carefully. I don't usually bribe with desert or candy (at least not when it comes to getting Pumpkin to try other food- I happily bribe with candy for using the potty, but that is another story altogether). I also think that peer pressure works well on stubbornness- Pumpkin will eat somethings at day care that she won't eat at home, and I suspect that is because she loses more face for not eating things at day care. I figure that eventually, she'll let us serve her those foods at home, too.

I know that my picky eating seems completely irrational to people with more adventurous tastes. I just refer back to the evolutionary advantage of being a cautious eater- you're less likely to inadvertently poison yourself! I don't get the moral judgment that seems to get attached to picky eating. Sure, it is inconvenient for me and my family, but as long as I get the nutrients I need, why is it a big deal if I've never eaten an artichoke? And as long as we're providing Pumpkin with reasonably healthy food options, and modeling good eating behavior, why is it anyone else's concern that she has yet to find a green vegetable that she likes?

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Petunia is playing happily on her own- we got some "new" toys out of storage yesterday, and she is really enjoying the stacking rings and big, soft blocks. Pumpkin is still asleep, and Hubby just went back to bed. So I thought I'd take a moment before I make my breakfast to point out the new pages I've put up. Blogger has introduced the capability to create static pages, and of course I had to play with that.

I moved my housekeeping info (including my email address) to a page. I also created a book list. Right now, it only has my favorite parenting books and some kids books that we've found useful, but eventually I want to add some other categories.

Finally, I moved my notes on baby development from Google Docs to a page. I have a hard time remembering what milestones are coming up and when the known fussy times occur. So I finally started writing things down as I read about baby development. The notes are incomplete, but I've put them up in case they are helpful for anyone else.

Petunia's sleep continues to be mediocre- nowhere near as bad as Pumpkin's at this age, but nowhere near as good as I want it to be. So I'm tired and grumpy, and tend to use all my spare moments to sleep. That is why posting has been so sparse lately. Yes, I'm blaming it on the baby.