Friday, September 28, 2012

What do I do? I'm a writer.

I just sold my first piece of writing.  Folks here will find it very familiar but after this one, I'm writing original essays (probably on themes you have heard about) for the same editor.

The website recommends choosing one religion or another for interfaith families but I appreciated that they didn't cut out the bits of our story that communicated that we were raising Esther in both faiths.

I keep going back to the website because they offer really good resources about how Jews actually go about the business of being Jews, in all the different traditions and this is unique on the internet, as far as I have found.

You should go.  Make a comment.  Or come back here and make one.  Or better yet, tell me what you'd like me to write about next in 800-1100 words.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A good eater

My daughter's appetite is legen . . . wait for it . . . dary.

She eats everything you put in front of her.

Especially fruit. Oh my gosh, the fruit she consumes.

Her appetite is so epic that my brother likes to hold her and feed her things, just for the pleasure of watching a child eat what he has offered her since his own daughter is a very picky eater.

Normally, I take very little credit for how good-natured my daughter is.  Seriously, I'm not going to take the blame if she goes bad, so I just tell people that she came out of the box that way.  I think she's just like Rory Gilmore and basically she'll raise herself right as long as I don't get in the way too much.

So, although I'll point out that I use the baby-led weaning method in introducing solid foods, I have no idea if that had any actual impact on the type of eater she turned out to be.

However, because she was never spoon-fed baby food, she has some very well-developed manual dexterity when it comes to handling her food.  She has almost complete control over the food on her tray and is actually getting pretty good with a fork.

She does deliberately throw her food from the tray to indicate that she has completed her meal and we're working on that ("Can you hand it to Mama when you're all done?") but since she's only 15 months old, my expectations for this sort of behavior moderation are low.  When reminded, she'll often hand it over.  Unless she is smiling mischievously and racing me to throw it as I'm racing to clear it from the tray.  15 months.  Totally normal.

So, last night, neither Jacob nor I were feeling very well so we decided to be bad parents and sit on the couch watching Battlestar Galactica while Esther was still awake.  She played by herself over in the corner very nicely for about half of the episode and then began to want our attention.

We decided to just lean into the bad parent thing and stick her in her high chair with a larabar, followed up with some honey cake that Jacob's mom sent us for Rosh Hashana.  Seriously?  We didn't even put the effort into cutting up some fruit for her.  An energy bar and cake while strapped into a chair facing the TV where sci-fi violence was being portrayed.  Totally normal. Actually, she was perpendicular to the TV so that if she looked left, she could watch Cylons seduce humans and if she looked right, she could see us.  We're not monsters, even if when she looked right, all she would observe were slack-jaws and dilated pupils instead of her normally scheduled attentive parents.

At some point, she uncharacteristically fumbled some of her cake and dropped in on the floor.  We know this -not because we were monitoring her- but because she began to pointedly make eye contact with us while pointing at the floor.  I've never seen her do this before.  The kid was in a panic.  She was pointing with her hand through the leg opening to better illuminate for us when the cake must have gone, rather than a more generic over-the-tray point.  She was articulating her gibberish with an intensity that I have never heard before.

We laughed and ignored her.

Seriously, she had a full half of the cake still in her other hand.  She was going to live.  Plus, it was pretty tense waiting to see if the Cylons had followed the colonial fleet through this faster-than-light jump, too.

She began to insist.

Her gibberish was distinctly cadenced to communicate, "I don't think you understood me.  I DROPPED my CAKE."

She was pointing with her arm fully extended.

I swear to you, people, we ignored her pleas for another five minutes.

That's an ETERNITY to toddler.  Unless the forget about what they wanted and move on to other interests, which is what we were hoping she would do.

But she was persistent.  She was not only upset that she was missing out on cake, she was also clearly upset with herself for fumbling it.  What kind of terrible parents would not hit pause to soothe their child's wounded pride?


Finally, I got up to find the dropped cake since she was so focused that she would not even eat the cake that was in her hand any more.  She was not crying her proto-tantrum cry of frustration.  She was not whining her usual bid for attention.  If Esther can advocate for herself with this much dignity and tenacity as she grows into an adult, she will do very, very well for herself.

And when I found it?  It was the size of a pea.

It's good to know we've all got our priorities straight.