12.07.10: More Goals, Parental Sacrifice, and Choosing Organic

Week Four Goal:

Add push-ups, crunches, and lunges 3 days this week.

Get act together on blog.

Now, I usually discourage non-specific goals like “get act together.”  Because that’s not really a goal, that’s an admonishment, and a setup for rebellion.  So, let’s put a frame around that bitchy little goal, shall we?

Create and post 5 entries in each section of the blog.  Establish domain name.

Okay, that might be a little lofty.  But I can do it.  If the baby will sleep!  Or, as she is doing now, if she will play quietly and contentedly in her Death Trap Jenny Jump-Up.  Don’t tell the CPSC on me, I have one in the house.

I’m typing standing up in the kitchen.  I do many things standing up – eat breakfast, eat lunch, talk to Mister on the phone (while folding baby laundry (mine doesn’t get much folding.  Or laundering)), cruise Facebook (finally got act together and got back on there).

Baby Girl had her six-month checkup yesterday.  She’s fine.  I guess we knew that!  She’s quite long, in the 95th percentile (already with the percentile talk, I hope I’m not an insane mommy, but I probably will be).  Her weight is in the 70-something percentile, and her head circumference is in the 60-something.  Normal, normal.  She got five (FIVE!) shots.  All the vaccinations, plus a flu shot.  I’d hoped to put off the flu shot, since she felt so icky after her four-month shots, but we’d have to wait a month if we didn’t give it today.  So we socked her with all of it.  And she was absolutely fine.  She slept a lot while Mom and I shopped at the mall.  She ate just fine.  And if she was a little out-of-sorts or fussy in the evening, it was nothing compared to how feverish and uncomfortable she was last time.  I wonder if it’s not because at four months, she got all the shots in one go.  This time, there were separate pricks (huh huh) for each one.  I can’t imagine that the delivery method would matter all that much, since she’s still getting socked with a bunch of crap at once.  But maybe it does.  Or maybe she’s just older and stronger.  For whatever reason, she’s completely herself today.  That is to say, silly and wiggly and chatty.

I do many things standing up, one-handed, on the fly, crammed into a sliver of time.  It’s Motherhood, I know.  And it’s funny – you can know intellectually that Life will never be the same, that your priorities and your Self will never be the same.  That your perception of Time, Success, and Accomplishment will forever shift.  But any “preparation” you try to do means nothing when you’re in the soup.  This is the Real Deal.

I’ve stuck to my guns on this organic thing for her.  I just feel like it’s the right thing to do, even though it can be inconvenient, and certainly expensive.  But dammit – the longer I can put off exposing her to pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and who-knows-what, the better.  Her formula and rice cereal are not organic, though.  I figure they’re juiced up and fortified and created in a lab, and there’s so much synthetic stuff in there to make sure she gets her vitamins and whatnot, organic doesn’t make much sense.  It’s a classic example of an unpronounceable ingredient label, and I always preach that if you can’t pronounce the ingredient label, then the food probably isn’t the best choice.  But in this case, since I wasn’t able to give her breast milk for an appreciable amount of time, I’m going for the fortification.  The organic cereal, for instance, doesn’t have near the vitamins and minerals that the street-level stuff does.  The whole point, best as I can tell, of the cereal is to get some iron and other things in her.  So … not organic, since the organic doesn’t really do the job.  Now, fruits and vegetables?  And meat and dairy?  You bet your ass she’s organic.  And you bet her ass I treat her better than I treat myself!

But surely there’s a lesson imbedded in here, something about educating yourself as best you can and making the best decision you can, the one that you are comfortable with and can live with, philosophically and practically (read: financially).  There’s also a lesson in the idea of taking better care of your kid, or your family, than you do of yourself.  Noble thought, surely, and doesn’t that mean I’m a good mom?  If I take better care of my kid than I do of myself?  I’m not sure.  I’m not sure that putting myself on the backburner makes me a better mom.

Sure, there’s sacrifice inherent in becoming a parent – or in entering into a partnership, or buying a house, or taking on a new job, or pretty much anything new and slightly daring.  But I don’t think it’s a badge of honor to say that you always put the family first, that they get better stuff than you do, that they’re more important.  When it comes down to it, on whom do they rely?  Who needs to be strong and permanent and always there, firing on all cylinders?  You do.  So by short-changing yourself, in a real way that’s not too roundabout, you’re short-changing them.  Martyrs may draw honor and self-satisfaction from self-denial, but are they better parents and partners for it?  I say no.

Now, of course, the child comes first.  Because she can’t do much for herself!  So when both of us are hungry, she eats first.  Obviously.  When she needs something, I drop everything. She’s noisy as hell when she gets too hungry, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my meal if I put her off!  But because she comes first, does that mean I don’t eat?  Or that I eat junk from a drive-through?  Nope.  I still eat, and I eat good things.  Sure, sometimes I’m standing up, but I eat good things.

I’m able to do this because I have parents who are unbelievable, who have invited us back into the nest for a time.  So as I’m partner-less for another couple of months, I have a resource to whom I can say: “can you hold this?  I have to go to the bathroom something fierce …”  Not everybody has this resource.  And if I were having to do it all and still be Back West, at this point when Baby Girl is so much more active (and therefore demanding), I wouldn’t be able to do it.

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