Thursday, March 17, 2011


So today was match day. I got my number one choice for residency, doing anesthesia at the Mayo clinic. Prior to my residency, I'll be doing a year long internship at a hospital in Salt Lake City. The match ceremony was quite a rollercoaster event. They randomized the envelopes containing our match assignments, and then called us up one at a time. I was about halfway through the group, got my envelope and headed back to the group of married students. I tore it open, unfolded it and read where I was headed. One of our good friends is also heading there too, so Sweete Wiff will have someone to be with, after our year in "zion". I'm a bit of a masochist, so I deliberately chose an intern year that I knew would be hard, but rigorous and prepare me well for residency. At least I will be able to go skiing on the few days that I have off. It's a huge blessing for us and the answer to many prayers that we wound up getting our first choice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Throwing him a bone

After fighting over dinner for the past three nights, Spiff brought a special treat home with him tonight. He got some fancy steak from a drug rep luncheon, and he was nice enough to eat the leftover chili he brought with him for lunch, and bring the good stuff home to his wife for dinner. It was delicious, and we decided not to share it with Gunner. I offered him Malt-o-meal and hot chocolate instead. You would have thought that Christmas had come early.

As he dove into his hot cereal, practically head first, he exclaimed, "I'm so happy!"

And then, "This is so yum," as he ate lemon pie for dessert.

Apparently that's how we have a happy dinner experience at our house.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winning Dinner

Gunner has always been a picky eater. I gave up a long time ago trying to get him to eat what we eat for dinner. As a baby, if he tried something he didn't like, he would spit it out all over me. I don't like getting spat on, so I gave up. He has been picky ever since.

I envy parents with children who eat. I have had an almost two-year struggle about feeding him. I decided not to make feeding him a fight. He won't eat what we eat, but he needs to eat so that he'll be happier. I have offered him foods that I knew he liked, including quesadillas, crackers and peanut butter, plain macaroni noodles, ramen noodles, and lots of pancakes. It is tiring to make dinner for Spiff and me, and then make something else for Gunner, but I have done it because it was the only way he would eat anything.

Recently, this has all changed. Gunner has recently decided to not even eat the alternative food we offer him. Dinner has become a fight over any food. He is not interested in sitting down to eat, and it is a fight to get him to sit and eat dinner with us, much less ingest anything. So, we decided that if he is not going to eat the alternate food, we are not going to offer them anymore. Like any normal and sane family, he will eat what we eat, or not at all.

I bet you can imagine how this new policy has gone off with him. It's not exactly a hit, to put it mildly.

Yesterday was pie day. I got up in the morning and made an apple pie (thank you, Mhana, for the apple peeler!) and a lemon meringue pie. Gunner helped me make the pies and we all drooled over them all day long. Then we had beef pot pie for dinner last night. Potatoes, carrots, beef, and biscuits on top. We told him that he had to eat one bite of potato, carrot and bread, and then he could get pie. Only one bite of each. We have really high expectations around here.

Gunner wouldn't touch it.

Even for pie.

And the fight that ensued lasted into the night because he was hungry and cranky. He went on numerous time outs, and he lashed out at us by hitting, kicking, spitting, and biting!!! Yes, biting! I still can't believe that one. He was so badly behaved that we sent him to bed without the usual calming routine. I can't speak for Spiff, but I sure felt defeated as he cried himself to sleep saying, "I want read books. I want sing songs!" It was so pathetic, and I felt so bad for sticking to our guns as I listened to him cry.

Let's skip ahead to dinner tonight. We had chili and cornbread muffins, which is a meal that he has actually eaten and enjoyed before. Tonight, he ate the cornbread and a little bit of cheese, but he wouldn't touch the chili. Even when we offered pie. Even when we lowered our expectations to ONE bite. Just one.

A fight ensued, which included several time outs. It went like this:

A two-minute time out on the naughty chair.
A chance to eat a choice of one bite of meat or one kidney bean. He chose not to, so we did...
A two-minute time out.
Another chance.
A two-minute time out.
Another chance.
A two-minute time out.
One last chance.

And guess what?! He ate a kidney bean. He chose the bean and proceeded to take teeny tiny bites of it, alternately with a drink of milk to wash it down. We rewarded him with a slice of lemon pie. I know that it's an unbalanced work/reward effort, but...

I win!

With one kidney bean.

I can't believe that I feel so proud of this accomplishment, but I do. I'm super happy to have won this power struggle tonight. Please wish us luck with dinner tomorrow.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Transition

Hobbes is a good baby. He's the kind of baby who makes you want to have more babies. Even in the middle of this adjustment period when I'm not sleeping more than four hours at a time, Hobbes is such a sweet, cuddly, content little guy that I find myself thinking I could have ten more just like him! (I exaggerate. There is no one on this green earth who should believe me when I say that I would like to have that many children.) But seriously, he sleeps well, he eats well, and now that he smiles at us, I find myself doing almost anything I can to get him to smile at me. It's so stinkin' cute and addictive, I just have to have more!

This adjustment to two kids is hard. On one hand, I think that the baby thing is way easier on me than it was the first time. Other than being terribly sleep-deprived, I don't find Hobbes to be that difficult to take care of. Two years ago, when it was baby Gunner, I swear he was so demanding that I couldn't find time to eat or dress myself.

On the other hand, there is toddler Gunner. This transition is hard. He LOVES his baby brother...terrifyingly so. He can't seem to leave the little guy alone. He is constantly and energetically giving him wet, sloppy kisses on his head, "helping the baby" by shoving a binkie in his mouth, giving him blankets and toys, or (my favorite) trying to pick him up and carry him. It seems that no amount of teaching, at this point, can get him to understand that some of these behaviors are actually dangerous and are better left to his parents. Gunner is also acting out for attention. Combine that with a raging case of terrible-two naughtiness and the fact that I have less patience than normal due to chronic sleep-deprivation, and we get the sad result that Gunner and I don't get along that well sometimes.

One time when Gunner was being particularly difficult, I mentioned to him that he was driving me crazy. Then later in the day, he did something that made me sigh in exasperation. He looked up at me and said, "You crazy, Mom?"

I just laughed and said, "Yes. Yes, I am."

It's sort of amazing how kids have the ability to see situations so clearly sometimes. He has given me a tool to check myself and turn the situation around when I get frustrated with him. When I feel sad about something, Gunner is the first person to look at me and ask, "You happy, Momma?" And when I lose my cool with him, he is the first person to forgive me. I am so lucky that this little person, this little child of God, continues to love me, even when I don't feel like I deserve it. It's also very humbling to realize that I mean so much to him that he continues to want and need me, even when we aren't getting along.