Sunday, April 24, 2005

Ungrateful venting about my perfect child

Every time I go on a solo trip with Her Mermaidness--and this is the fourth so far by my count--I almost immediately am struck with more awe and respect for single parents than metaphor can encompass. A mountain of respect? A full-night's-sleep of respect? Ohhhh, I'm so giddy with renewed respect that I can't even tell you.

Actually she's been very good, very restrained, patient polite, charming: all you could ask of a 4-year-old guest at her grandparents' house. But she does need to know WHERE I AM AT ALL TIMES. Which starts to wear. She's plugged in to "Elllla Enchanted" right now so I have a half-hour or so.

She won't go to bed until I do. This is standard for Mermaid Girl on vacation: she's a reluctant-to-bed girl at the best of times, and if we're somewhere new and exciting the possibility of missing something is just too much for her to bear and there's no point in even trying to get her down until there's nothing else going on. I suppose if we invested lots and lots of energy in it we could manage, but hey, it's our vacation too.

Usually RW and I take turns on bedtime when we're on vacation, as we do the rest of the time-- it's just that vacation bedtime duty involves the whole evening, and also sleeping next to the Girl all night as otherwise she wakes up in the middle of the night in a strange place and freaks out. But due to the draconian vacation policies of RW's place of employ, I'm on my own this time. So my evenings are pretty much shot.

(I remember last April, when MG and I went to San Francisco to meet up with my dad and stepmom who were going to a conference there, in our hotel room at 10 PM or so, hearing the cable cars clanging below me, all the riches of the City so tantalizingly close and yet completely out of reach. Thinking of visits to Rosie and Nora back in our 20's, when we'd hit Amelia's and also their neighborhood bars. Dancing! Drinking! Going to bookstores and Osento! And then to be back again, lying next to my restless then-3-year-old. Grounded.)

So far there's nothing I even want to do by bedtime this trip; I'm too beat. Also, I'm getting a bit concerned that for three days MG's eaten nothing but lunch meat, Babybell cheese, and a couple of carrots. My stepmother, a gourmet cook, (who by the way cooks a mean gefilte fish, very good for breakfast also I discovered this morning) was taken aback at the first meal we had here: she'd prepared a lovely little bowl of spaghetti for MG and I abashedly explained that the kid won't eat tomato sauce. We haven't been here for a couple of years and in that time MG's culinary tastes have narrowed considerably. When she was 1 or 2, I swear, she ate everything. Now she'll only deign to touch the aforementioned items and maybe an egg. Oh, and french fries. And tuna fish, SOMETIMES.

At home we give her a choice between what we're having and a piece of cheese or some peanut butter in a bowl. Maybe we're catering to her too much, but I don't want to make food a big-deal power struggle, and if she doesn't get regular protein hits she becomes Low Blood-Sugar Monster and honestly, no one wants to deal with that. So I've been passing her bits of turkey breast and corned beef every hour or two, and keeping her sippy cup filled with milk. It doesn't seem like the healthiest diet in the world, but hey, she's functioning so far and that's pretty good.

Oh my time's up and I haven't even gotten to the seder last night or the Upper East Side day (pilgrimages to the Alice statue and the Eloise picture) on Friday. The next two days are the most chock-full of activity--another seder, an afternoon with RW's visiting Danish relatives, brunch tomorrow with friends visiting their parents, and a photo session--so I'm probably offline until tomorrow night. By which time I'll probably have more pointless grousing to do about MG's minor flaws. Poor kid.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, what can I say. Your daughter and my daughter are soulmates.

Despaira is 7 and gets her entire vegetable intake from Strawberries, Honeydew, and Pink Lady Apples (no other variety is acceptable). Oh, and Rose's Lime Cordial, the only remotely fruit-related liquid she will drink.

Waitress: Would you like ketchup with your french fries?
Despaira: No, thank you. Ketchup is almost a vegetable.

We still have the story, lullabyes, snuggle, etc. etc. at bedtime, too. This is what I reckon: Think of your child as a fashion accessory. When it's quite small, and again when it's a bit older, you can just take it along with you. We had a fabulous time doing cafes and the Eiffel Tower a few weekends ago.

love, e wein

7:10 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

There is COLOR in that food. My middle child is on a "all tan diet" cheerios, bread, fries etc. He does eat apples that are peeled. Here's the sad thing: He's twelve years old. They're supposed to outgrow this nonsense. Or we are. Someone is.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A certain younger brother of a blogger I know used to eat only food of a particular shape: cucumbers, bananas, carrots, hot dogs, you get the idea. He did outgrow this at college.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

Eliz used to eat only white food that wasn't touching anything else.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are all making me laugh my head off! thank you. There is a kid at Mark's day care who throws up when he doesn't feel like eating his lunch. I must remember it could ALWAYS be worse.

love, e wein

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! Osento!


4:08 PM  

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