Growth Spurt Bullshit

Z will probably freak when he sees that I’ve written this down because it will anger the gods who will surely rain fire and brimstone down upon our humble abode. C has slept through the night for the last three nights. We have no idea what changed, but we will fucking take it. Particularly because T isn’t sleeping so well these days.

All the parenting books say that when kids regress a bit or start to act out a lot they are going through a growth spirt or developmental leap. After T’s current spirt or leap or whatever he better fucking be ready to take college level courses. Kid has been potty trained for a year and he’s been having accidents right and left. He’s also decided that a fantastic wake up time is somewhere in the 4 or 5 o’clock hour. Strangely enough neither Z nor I are cool with either development.

Would you guys like to judge me and feel all superior and really good about your parenting skills? No problem! T is addicted to TV. It is all he wants to do. He begs for it, he cries for it, he refuses to play. And we cave. A lot. We tell ourselves that it will be better when he can go outside. Syracuse really does blow in the winter when it comes to easily entertaining kids. And right now Z is crazy busy with work stuff, I have been dealing with a sick toddler (fingers crossed-he’s well right now), homework and class, trying to get  dinner on the table every night, and a pesky anxiety disorder.

So we use the TV to our advantage.

I am probably going to hell for this, but I had no patience for the pee accidents even if they were a developmentally normal event. I told him if he peed himself he’d lose TV for the whole next day. Worked like a motherfucking charm. He has had two accidents since then, rather than multiple accidents a day.

The night thing has been tricker. He’s scared of night time. And jesus, it kills me. Because at his age I was also scared. Hell, I’ve been scared of nighttime for almost my whole life. Z is going to be away for four nights next week and I’m already sweating it. So I want to help T, but he also needs to go to sleep and Z and I have stuff (work in the shop for Z, homework for me) that we actually have to do after T goes down. He’s been crying in the middle of the night and he’s been up super early. We take turns comforting him in the middle of the night, but fuck getting up at 4:30am. So I came up with the bright idea to let him veg in front of the TV while we slept an extra hour and a half. Thank you for existing Nick Jr! And seriously friends, go ahead an judge me for my shitty parenting again. I deserve it.

I was explaining this new early morning TV thing we’d been doing to my shrink, all proud of myself for coming up with a solution. I also told her that his teachers can’t wake him from his nap at school, so the rest of the kids do a cool activity and he just sleeps through it. The teachers and I are worried about it and have been brainstorming ideas on how to get him up. Especially because he gave up his nap last summer.

And here is why therapy is awesome, folks. My lady has a degree in social work. She is also a physiatric nurse practitioner. She is certified to perform talk therapy and to write scripts for meds. It’s a fantastic body of knowledge. She said she agreed his behavior was a major problem. “He is having his REM sleep during naptime and he is napping during the night.” It seemed so obvious when she said it. She kindly told me she understood why we (ok I-Z was totally not crazy about my plan) were letting him watch TV in the wee small hours, but she said we were rewarding him for getting up. “Let him be up in his room. Give him crayons and paper or books or toys, but make him stay in his room until 6. He’ll get bored and go to sleep. And stop the napping at school.” Again, it seemed so obvious.

So every night we talk to him about what is going to happen. We tell him if he comes into our room before his clock says 6:00 that he will lose TV for the whole day. From 4:30 to 6 little man has been curled up on the rug in front of the heating vent in our bathroom. He’s been cuddled up in the hall, he’s been in and out of his bedroom. But he has only lost TV one time, and he isn’t napping at school.

I might be squashed like a bug by those angry gods for saying it, but things are getting on track at night time in this house. I think we are close to sleeping through the night. And by we I mean Z and me.   We don’t really give a crap about the kid’s sleep at this point. Our sleep deficits are too great to care about others.

star wars operation

Playing Star Wars Operation with Daddy. T just likes hearing the noises R2D2 makes when he hits the sides with the tweezers.

tenor guitar

One of the projects Z has been franticly trying to complete is this tenor guitar. He finished it last night. It’s made from the leg of an antique piano that might have been in the Lincoln White House (anecdotal info backs it up, but there is no documentation). He’ll be playing it in a performance with a Modern Dance company in DC next week. And the picture doesn’t do it justice, it really is beautiful. Sounds good, too.


Dinner Party

Z and I are not into competition style TV shows unless they are on The Food Network, and even then we watch only a handful. Listen, I’ve got nothing against crap TV. In fact, I adore crap TV, but the competition stuff just doesn’t tend to speak to us. The major exception to that rule is Worst Cooks In America. We’ve watched every season. When the ads start playing for the new shows we get downright giddy. We love it because the contestants are supportive of each other, they are genuinely trying to learn a new skill, and there is no meanness. Most importantly it is fucking hilarious. It would be like me doing a computer programing contest. The fish out of water thing is a lot of fun.

The show premiered Sunday and Z missed the first 15 minutes. I was DRVing it, but he told me it was so close to the beginning that I didn’t have to rewind for him. “Oh, you really want to see all of it.” I told him. I’d already laughed so hard I cried twice. And when he saw one of the contestants dry heaving after he tasted his own cooking he thought it was hilarious as well. But he agreed that the best part was the feisty lady who was vocally in lust with Bobby Flay. She had on nails with a capital N. By the time she was done cooking one of her thumb nails was mysteriously missing. Watching it the second time was just as good as the first, better actually because I had someone reduced to tears of hysteria right next to me. “How does that even happen?” I asked as I was gasping for air. Thankfully, she wasn’t eliminated at the end of the episode. She is awesome and I really hope she does learn to cook. I’ll tell you what, every finale we’ve watched in the series has had us crying sincere tears as we cheer on both contestants who have learned so much in a few weeks. And the episode where the final four cook for their families? Forget about it. Z and I weep for the whole hour.

For a few years I baked professionally. I’m not a chef, but I do know my way around a kitchen. Anyone could learn what I know how to do. Baking and cooking are no great mysteries, to be competent you don’t need innate talent or artistic ability, you need to take the time to learn. So it isn’t like I have this great secret talent, I’ve just acquired a skill that a monkey could master given enough time. I cook for our family because I love to cook.

On Sunday I made ravioli for our dinner last night so I only had to worry about making the sauce and dessert yesterday. I was in good shape before our guests arrived. I even remembered to grate some parmesan. I have an awesome box grater that was made by microplane. Awesome, but kind of dangerous. It is sharp as fucking hell. I was using the medium holes to make delightful little curls of parm when I pulled my hand back fast and said, “Oh shit, shit, shit, shit,” Z grabbed my hand. “Are you ok? Let me see.” “I fucking cut my nail. Shit, I can’t find the piece of nail, Z. What do I do?” Z thought about it for half a sec. “Forget about it. No one is ever going to know.” After sifting through the cheese looking for the piece I considered throwing it out…and then I just put the bowl on the table. After a moment Z said, “You realize you are that woman on Worst Cooks In America right?” And again I laughed so hard I cried.

thumb nail

I mean, come on. It was my thumb just like the TV lady. Although it was only a small piece of nail in my case. I keep mine trimmed super short. The other difference is Bobby Flay doesn’t interest me at all.

So what is the moral to this rambly lesson? If you come to dinner at our house I will make you decent food usually made from scratch with love. But be warned, we are gross enough to also serve you body parts. I mean, this was the first time I knowingly served part of my body along with the food, but what if fingernails are gateway drugs to cannibalism? This could be a very slippery slope for us. One minute I’m accidently including nails, the next I’m feeding Ray Liotta his own brain in my dinning room. Clearly we are not to be trusted.

 Even worse than the body parts is  my social ineptitude. I don’t know how I ever make friends I am so painfully awkward in social situations. Just thinking about my inability to act like a normal human last night makes me way more embarrassed than the nail situation. It’s best for everyone if I stay in the kitchen as much as possible. Even if it does mean eating body parts.

breakfast pie

The best part of dinner parties? Key Lime Pie and fresh whipped cream for breakfast. I’m in love with this pie. It’s the 3rd time I’ve made it this month. And yes, I’m back to cowardly Instagram.

waiting for pie

Someone was having a little trouble waiting for his bite of pie.