Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy???

I have a nine-year-old son. Some would say that's all that need be said, but I feel the need to expound. He has developed this habit of contradicting anything and everything that his younger brother says. If S-- says that the sky is blue, A-- will say, "Well, actually it's not blue. At least it's not always blue. It's blue most of the time, but not all the time. So it's not actually blue but ......," and it goes on and on and on.

Each night at dinner, we have to listen to A-- argue every word that comes from S--'s mouth. Sometimes he argues with me or his dad. When Phil has had enough, he will stop A-- and lecture him on the need for this arguing to stop. Inevitably, A-- insists that he has only one more thing to say, but it's always the same point he's been arguing for the last ten minutes. (I find it funny, though, when he makes statements, presented as factual of course, that are completely wrong.) He seems to have this intense need to be right about everything.

I understand exactly what my son is doing because I remember doing it myself. I have always had this intense need for accuracy. I don't like ambeguities or inaccuracies. I used to interrupt stories being told if the person telling the tale left out or twisted what I felt was an important detail. It's a bad habit that I've worked on for years. I finally came to realize that my "perceptions" of the truth may not be the truth for someone else.

A few years ago, a very wise friend asked my husband a question that has become a catch phrase for us: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?" Yes, you might be absolutely correct about something, but is it more important to establish your position when it will cause contention and anger or is it more important to create peace and happiness? It's all about picking your battles.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Poopin' Is Cool!

At least that's what it says on the pen I got from some website called (The pen even has one of those yellow smiley faces on it. Does this mean that I should smile every time I go to the bathroom?) I heard about ColonBlow from someone in book club and just had to check it out. I thought, "No way could this be real!" I have one word for you: WAY. They claim that there are up to 10 undigested meals residing in your intestines at any given time. How gross is that?!?! The make their money off of health-conscious folks who feel that a regular, internal housecleaning of sorts is a good thing. A word of warning if you decide to check it out: there are pretty disgusting pictures of actual poop.

So I'm wondering what the fascination is with fecal material? My good friend Lorien had a rather "hands-on" experience with it recently that she so kindly shared on her blog. A comment on that blog mentions a child who grabbed a handful out of his diaper and decided to take a bite. Other children have decided that poop makes great fingerpaints for the walls of their room. One of my former neighbor's kids took a bite out of a dog jobbie that he found on the grass. I've had personal experience cleaning poop out of the bathtub when one of the boys suddenly got the urge during tubby time.

And then there's the story my sister's friend and fellow R.N., Terry, tells of a patient she had once. (Hold on to your shorts, folks, this is a good one.) The lady was old and senile and was convinced that she was pregnant. Every time she had a bowel movement, she'd wrap it up in toilet paper and hide it in her room somewhere. These bits of shit were her "babies" and she would become distraught if anyone took them and threw them away. One day Terry was taking care of her and trying to secret these little bundles into the trash can. She was pretty thorough in her gathering attempts, but she could still smell poop. She bathed the lady, changed the sheets, and did everything she could think of but the smell wouldn't disappear. Terry had her coworkers check her over to see if she had somehow gotten a stray smear on her, but they saw nothing. When she got home and could still smell it, she had her husband check her over again, unsuccessfully. Finally, she decided she'd better shower. When she went to take off her uniform, she discovered something in her shirt pocket. You guessed it: the old lady had tucked one of her "babies" safely inside.

Anyone want some Exlax?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

That's Nutrition!

Guess what my 22-month-old chose for his lunch today? A small piece of bread, some Honey Grahams cereal, and a handful of Reese's Pieces. Hmmmmm. Sounds close enough to a peanut butter and honey sandwich for me. He ate it, too. I felt like I stepped directly out of the Bill Cosby routine where he gives his kids chocolate cake for breakfast: "Hmmm, eggs, flour, milk...that's nutrution!" Sure--bread, peanut butter in the candy, and honey from the cereal--it works. I doubt my husband would agree with my logic.

I hate making lunch for my kids. There--I've said it. I, a stay-at-home mom, go against all conventional images of mom's who choose to be at home and state my position on the mid-day meal. I guess most of it stems from the fact that my three sons won't all eat the same thing, but I think some of it comes from my lack of confidence as a nutritionist. All moms obsess about food with their first child. You know how it is: no cereal until 4 months, start with vegetables and then go to fruit, no milk products until 1, then no orange juice or peanut butter until 2, restrict juice intake, and so on and so on. You'll jump through any hoop to ensure that your child will be as strong and healthy as possible--no early onset of heart disease or diabetes.

I followed "the books" religiously with my first son. He was pretty picky for a while, but he's now nine and will eat most anything I fix. He still has his dislikes, and I try to respect them within reason. My second son got pretty much the same feeding program as the first, with a few exceptions. (Is it normal/healthy to allow your 15-month-old to eat an entire jar of green olives all by himself?) He turned out to be an incredibly picky eater. I don't know how he does it, but the kid survives on cereal, chocolate milk (Ovaltine) and fruit snacks--literally. He'll occasionally throw in a ham sandwich, some baby carrots, and some applesauce, but that's it. I worry that his skinny little body isn't getting what it needs, but he's still growing taller and taller.

So given that my other two sons have thrived in spite of my efforts, it's no wonder that when son number three came along I started to not care. Not that I gave him uncut grapes at 6 months or anything, but I didn't have a heart attack if he took a bite of my peanut butter toast. In fact, he'll be two in October and is the only one of my three boys who LIKES nuts! I wouldn't have know this except that my RN sister, who should know better, has been feeding him nuts at her house and proudly announced to me that Tommy likes them.

Knowing that my kids seem to be healthy regardless what I feed them or what they eat when I'm not there, it seems almost pointless to make lunch a big deal. You want chocolate chip cookies with milk for breakfast? Sure, honey. How about some ice cream on your waffles?