Parents Hazing Time

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Every time Daylight Savings Time approaches, I make the same joke: here comes Parents Hazing Time. And then I watch Cedar roll his eyes. If you google how to best prepare for it (which I also do every time, the night before), you generally get a response that you should start getting ready three weeks prior by shifting your child’s bedtime progressively in fifteen minute increments. Uh-huh. If I had that kind of control over bedtime, I certainly would not be needing Google to help me through. So, if these recent colds, teething and Albuterol (a steroid we administer for A.’s Asthma episodes that was possibly used as a stimulant in the Tour de France) are not enough to create a terrible bedtime situation, then Daylight Savings Time is here to seal the deal. I consider it the worst of holidays, even though it’s not actually a holiday at all.

E. and I started the day with an 8AM visit to the gastroenterologist’s office in St. Paul. Another two things that I really don’t like: leaving the house before eating a good breakfast and driving across the cities during rush hour. It was a hectic morning, but we got some heartening information.

Our doctor doesn’t think that we need to rush into the feeding tube. E.’s weight is slowly, yet consistently increasing. Also, he noted that kids with other genetic conditions have their own growth charts— children with Down’s Syndrome have one, for example, that more accurately reflects realistic growth for them. So it doesn’t make sense to compare E. to other children because she’s on her own growth path. There is no chart that quite fits for her because her genetic condition is so rare. Her docs will continue to monitor her weight gain, but we’ve managed to avoid further intervention for now.

I did ask about putting E. on a steady diet of chocolate pudding, only partly because I’d like to eat the leftovers. The doctor replied that it actually would be a good idea, and that literally anything high calorie/high fat is ideal. He listed off some classic favorites: french fries, ice cream, pizza, etc. I can’t imagine feeding a 9 month old french fries, but once she can manage the roughage I’m taking her to the Malt Shop to do things right. Some people would give anything for this diet.

I always know I’m feeling a little better when I’m at least able to laugh about it. But if I could all of the sudden activate a superpower, I would choose radical mindfulness. Staying completely and utterly in the present with all of this. That would change everything.

It’s crazy, shockingly hard to stay in the moment, to not get ahead of myself. I have to bring myself back to what actually is— rather than whatever scenario I’ve created in my mind, multiple times a day. Thoughts like, “Will she ever get to ride a bike?” and “Is she going to be able to go to the same sweet Montessori school as A.?” I have scores of these questions. I even wonder about any possible grandchildren, who have a fifty percent chance of having E.’s same genetic map. That’s how far down the line I can go into the future. She’s not yet one and I’m thinking about how IVF might be a pretty good option, should she decide to— and be able to—pursue parenthood.

I would be happier if I could stay here now, in the baby zone, with the baby concerns. And then I could be there later, whenever we get there, dealing with everything else.

Maybe I’ll get better at this. Maybe I won’t be fully, one hundred percent present all the time (you can count on that). But maybe I’ll shift towards being more in the moment rather than in the next decade. Slowly. Maybe over time I’ll manage to get more comfortable with the not knowing, more comfortable with the every day benign questions that scrape at me, like the perennial, “Is she crawling yet?” When it’s sunny out and I’ve gotten six hours of sleep in a row, it seems like I’m most likely headed there.

Maybe I’ll say, “Not yet” like I always do, but I won’t jump into my worries about the future and I won’t look back at what might have been. I’ll say it and I’ll look that person in the eye. Maybe I’ll smile straight on. Or maybe I won’t smile, but I won’t apologize for it either. I’ll be right there, in that very finite and particular time and space, aware of how finite and particular it is, and that will be that.

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