Monday, June 30, 2008

Fork off!

So the kid was ready for his very own toddler-type utensils. How did we know? He kept grabbing the fork and/or spoon out of our hands and attempting to use it. Very insistent, this kid. 

And so I embarked on a search for Utensils That Were Not Made in China or Otherwise Covered in Lead-Encased Toxic Goo.

Hey, guess how well I did? Everything is made in China. I want a little baby-size fork that wasn't made in China, I should cook up some steel and make one myself.

Know what I love? Feeling like Bad Mommy because I might be allowing some sort of evil tainted death-causing plastic to come within two miles of my precious child, while also feeling entirely exasperated at the fact that these plastics are unavoidable. It's a lose-lose, with guilt. 

So finally I find a little cutlery set that promises to be phlatate-free, and hooray. I'm still not entirely clear on what phlatates are, but whatever it is, we're not having any. I get a You're Not Poisoning Your Child gold star.

Little one, of course, couldn't care less either way. He likes the fork, though. It makes smooshing the food all over his tray so much easier.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The difference between baby crying and toddler crying:

Baby crying is insistent and constant, and the sound of it upsets you. But it's not loud. You only think it's loud.

Toddler crying is EEEEEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. And repeat. It is piercingly, nerve-shatteringly loud. And it can strike at any moment.

I get why parents will buy any toy, any candy, any enticing anything for their child just to make them please stop screaming. I hope not to ever do it. But I get it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What would Stacy and Clinton do?

So we're bringing the kid to a wedding soonish. Yes, he was invited. No, we're not insane. Apart from the inevitable babbling during the ceremony -- with any luck, he'll throw in a few raspberries while he's at it -- and the likelihood that he'll snarf entirely too much of my filet, it should be fine. The hard part, apparently, is getting him wedding gear. 
Because toddler-boy dress-up clothing either doesn't exist, or is, I assume, some sort of special-order craziness on the level of christeningwear. (Which would be great if I wanted him to look like Tom Hanks in "Big.") Store after store after store, and nothing but little T-shirts, little polo shirts, little cargo pants and little jeans. I'm not hunting down a tiny tux with vest and cummerbund here, just a nice button-down shirt and some non-jeans pants. Which don't exist, except when they have big cartoon logos all over them.
Meanwhile, over in the girls' aisle, there are rows and stacks of adorable little ruffly dresses, pretty in pink with sparkles. Any one of these dresses would be fine for a wedding or a fancy-dress party or, I don't know, playing princess?
I used to wonder why girls were always so much quicker to dress up than boys; why you'll see a couple out for dinner and she's got a dress on, full makeup and teetering in heels, and he's slouching along in yes, a polo shirt, and very likely cargo pants. Clearly this little dichotomy is beaten into our heads from birth. 
The same, incidentally, extends to shoes. For every fifteen cute little pairs of mary janes I found, there were two pairs of sneakers and one sad-looking pair of pseudo-oxfords (in the wrong size). And that was in the stores that actually carried age-appropriate shoes. Instead of, say, a shoe store, where I had the following exchange:
"Hi, do you have toddler shoes?"
"Is that a brand?"
"No, toddler size shoes." (Blank look.) "Like for a 1-year-old?"
"Oh. What size would that be?"
"Like a 4 or a 5?"
(Wandering helplessly through the racks for a minute.) "No."
So I hope no one minds if the kid wears his red Crocs with the only non-jeans, non-cargo pants I was able to find after seven stores' worth of looking.
Man. I'm not even sweating my own outfit this much.    

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Step right up ...

And see the Amazing Hoover Child! He eats, he gobbles, he snarfs it all! Just try waving a morsel in front of his li'l face and see how quickly it disappears! Truly an amazing sight! Come one, come all -- he's always hungry!
Or maybe that's just what it *seems* like, watching people shove food at my kid.
Granted, he eats. Pretty well in fact. I get that this instant ease with solids is maybe a little unusual. Not to mention many of those foods are veggies. But still, I'm beginning to get the vibe that people see his eating as some sort of parlour trick. And that they're giving him food -- occasionally behind my back -- because it's fun, not because he actually needs to eat.
For that matter, why the instant obsession with dumping junk food down his throat? "Can he have cookies? Cake? Juice? Fig Newtons? Whipped cream? Ice cream? Juice? Weird little plastic-looking fruit gel things?" (Okay, I have no idea what those things are really called. But apparently they come with kids meals.) Why, is there some sort of hurry? Do they think he'll be deprived of childhood forever if he doesn't experience his first sundae before he can walk?
I swear I am not a killjoy. I like junk food as much as the next human. I have some fond childhood memories involving it -- trick-or-treating (always hoping for the peanut butter cups), birthday cake, Hanukkah gelt. Sinfully forbidden bits of Easter candy. Cupcakes. We had ice cream the night we got engaged and an ice cream cake at the wedding. Sweet tooth? Oh yeah.
But that's just it -- teeth. As in, my kid's only got six of them. Shouldn't we wait a little longer before letting him rot them out?
For that matter, shouldn't we sit back and enjoy him eating his spinach while we still can, before he discovers French fries?
Of course food is never just about food. There are always underlying emotions and issues. The loved ones looking to stuff his face are trying to show their love, and I appreciate that. But that's what I'm trying to do, too -- by always keeping in mind his family heritage of diabetes and weight trouble. And yet I feel like I'm the one who looks bad here. 
Well, at least no one's tried to slip him a beer yet.
That I know of.