Milk Madness

A bit over a month ago, my then six month old learnt the word "mama" and very quickly understood its power. My bub now uses it as an incantation, having realized that his mother can be put under a spell upon hearing it. Of course, the more you use a word, the less powerful it becomes (hence why some religions forbid saying the word of their god/s and why Christians have blasphemy and using the word of God in vain etc). After all, with two kids screaming mama at opposite sides of the house, as if they were about to be engulfed in a ferocious fire - what's a girl to do? Sometimes I have to tend to the toddler whose intrepidity and insouciance are a second away from causing him grievous bodily harm while the infant that dropped his teether reacts like the sitting U.S. President in the midst of penning a tweet.

My toddler is now competing with my infant. When he notes which few books to I read to his younger brother at bedtime, leaving his elder brother with the remainder of his library, he specifically requests those books at bedtime.... just to see if he can wield that scepter to a refined result (inevitably I skulk in holding my breath on a ninja mission to retrieve the called collection). My boys now avidly compete for my attention, for toys, for least they are fond of books. Admittedly though, my infant's voracious appetite for literature has led to no uncertain digestion of its literal contents as he scrambles to chew everything in sight. As an only child, I am struggling somewhat with this rivalry and my role in fostering the fraternal fort. My husband, one of three, continues to have to remind me that it is not encouraging to tell our toddler that if he doesn't eat his veggies, his baby brother will soon outgrow him and warns me that I shouldn't make comparisons that foster competition and may eventually lead to hostility. I suppose that is an issue, but had he not mentioned it, I would not have thought of it, partly (and naively) because I didn't think there were any negative consequences to fostering competition, which I thought would simply lead both of them to strive to be better.

I have much to learn in this respect ...and in parenting in general, for just when you think you have a handle on your kid, they grow up and thrust new problems unto you.

Our toddler was an avid and diverse eater. We felt so blessed watching other parents do acrobatics at the table just to have their kids taste but a few morsels of food as a price for their entertainment. We were amazed that he loved lemon, raw onion and curry. Now, his tastes are becoming plainer and while he continues to adore salmon and broccoli, we've had to create games for him to have a diverse meal at dinner when he would rather opt for a bowl of pasta or bread. The things you do to endear yourself to your toddler's picky palette... make up songs about vegetables, do puppet shows, use deceptive nomenclature to entice them to take the first bite (for instance, we cut up a red capsicum or pepper and called it "red chips" and our toddler thought he was getting an unusual treat, only to realize he liked it and now we can call it by its proper name without pacifying a tantrum).

My younger son is becoming quite a character, evolving out of the shadow of his elder brother. The other week, I sat stupefied and then admittedly burst into laughter and set a carnivorous camera on him to capture the moment for the remainder of the family, as he turned and started to play his brother's piano. He did not thump the keys, but he delicately and purposely played a tune (and continues to do this daily). He must have seen his elder brother and his brother's best friend play on it and decided it was his turn...

All is still not quiet on the sleep front. While we have progressed to using the crib, I am still nursing 4 times a night. It seems we're caught in the downward spiral of nursing-peeing and I will just have to cut out two feedings. A doctor friend of mine told me I should have this done this months ago. After all, being hungry for one night isn't going to do much damage and it will kickstart a new metabolism, in which they eat more during the day... but I am a coward.... just hearing "mama" and that cry make me run to my bub and give him milk. Possibly it's my Balkan heritage, a peninsula that has finessed guilt to such a sharp manipulative machine that it falls on you as expertly as a guillotine, but the guilt - at least thus far - always wins...until it doesn't. It took 10 months for me to revolt with my first and my younger son may not have as long an imperium over me. At a certain point the precipice is reached whereby survival simply demands more sleep and in the end sleep trumps guilt.


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