It’s been a while since I’ve talked about our parenting experiences. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting happening, it’s just that everything is going so fast. Just as we get used to a set of routines (for instance, the five-to-eight month-old version of the rules, which I have to say we had down pat) the game completely changes. I’ve been trying to joke that as long as everybody in our house is clothed, fed, and somewhat happy, then we are doing okay, but here lately we’ve been lucky to feel like we’re getting any two out of the three right.
Maybe we should only be parents of a constant rotation of five-to-eight-month olds.
BWAHAHAHA, sorry, I think I lost my mind there for a second.
Anyway, one good example of the shifting sands of time is Noah’s eating habits. If we could just feed him the same amount of formula forever, we’d be golden. I’ve gotten really, really good at making bottles, and he’s always been really, really good at drinking them. But of course, for some reason we have to introduce solid foods and try to teach him to pick up small chunks of stuff that don’t taste as good as his milk, or convince him that drinking out of a sippy cup is much better than shotgunning a bottle of formula. In essence, he’ll always have to work harder for his food from here on out, and there’s every indication from every other parent in the world that soon, after he fully transitions to “real” food, he won’t want to eat at all. So then we’ll have to worry about him starving to death. Cool.
These transitional problems are, of course, not insurmountable. But to solve them requires a certain creativity and imagination. When you factor in that we still have a basic level of exhaustion in all things, you can imagine that creativity takes a hit. Our poor brains are preoccupied with survival. For instance, it took us weeks if not months to figure out a way to give Noah his last bottle of the day without it counting as “giving him a bottle to go to sleep,” which we learned from our doctors is one of the first cardinal sins of parenting, beginning somewhere around six months. (The solution was just to rearrange the order of his nighttime routine and do the bottle before the bath.)
Another dangerous game of roulette as he gets older, we’ve found, is the process of slowly introducing him to new foods. These days, you never know what a kid is going to be allergic to, so it’s best to introduce only one new food at a time just so you can do some reverse engineering if things go sour in the aftermath.
So far we’ve been lucky, until recently. After a relatively normal breakfast where we let Noah nibble on some fragments of scrambled eggs, we went about our day and ended up going shopping for some babyproofing supplies. No sooner had we left the store than Noah, quietly and without warning, emptied the contents of his stomach all over himself. And the car seat. We rushed home, cleaned him up, and tried to give him some more food to make up for the “lost” meal, so to speak. Three words: more projectile vomiting.
After some feverish racing around to clean him up, a quick debate about whether we should go straight to the ER, and a call to the after-hours on-call pediatrician, we finally settled in to a night of gradual doses of PediaLyte and general sleeplessness. By the next day, our little guy was fine, but we don’t know what caused the episode. We are tentatively chalking it up to an egg allergy, since that was the only new food he’d eaten that day, but we’re just not sure.
How do people survive to grow up to be adults again? I was hoping Noah would avoid the food allergy arena altogether, but is each new generation of humanity carrying us swiftly towards our ultimate destiny of just being allergic to everything?
Since there’s no way to answer those questions, I guess we’re stuck with a game of throw-up Russian roulette. Just add another chapter to the ever-changing rulebook of parenthood – which is, of course, printed backwards. In invisible ink.