It’s true that some of the most accurate parenting advice is This too shall pass although it’s rarely appreciated while you’re in the midst of whatever it is that shall someday pass. I know I’ve had myself an involuntary eye-roll or two when the sentiment’s been offered in my direction, like thanks so much for the reminder I should be all zen about this shit instead of indulging in a good old-fashioned freakout, but since I am not motherfucking Yoda over here I guess I’ll just continue my useless hand-wringing, if you don’t mind. Would you tell someone in the midst of passing a kidney stone not to whine like a little bitch? Okay then!

Like a kidney stone, the various difficult stages small children go through tend to irritate the linings of your urinary tract. Er, wait: your heart. Whatever. The point is, it’s irritating when a child suddenly refuses to eat any food whatsoever except for, say, crackers, and MONTHS go by while he exists purely on sodium and white flour, and meanwhile you’re hearing about other kids who eat things like TOFU and LENTILS and HUMMUS, and clearly you made some sort of irrevocable nutrition mistake somewhere along the line and now your kid is going to succumb to scurvy, and there’s going to be a big article about you on the front page of the paper: SCURVY-RIDDEN TODDLER FED ONLY SALTINES; WOMAN TO BE CHARGED WITH BEING A BAD MOM. AND ALSO AN ASSHOLE.

That was Riley. I mean, not the scurvy thing, ha ha (I think), but seriously, he ate crackers for like a year. I don’t even know when the food madness receded, exactly, but it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve stopped worrying altogether about his diet. He’s not the most adventurous eater but neither is he limited to items that leave a salty crumble in their wake. The extreme pickiness that sucked up so much of the real estate in my brain, entire quadrants that could be better purposed for remembering where in hell my keys are, was a stage. Like the good people predicted, it passed.

Ditto the hitting stage, the greatly-preferring-his-father stage, the Blue’s Clues addiction stage, and of course, the refusing-to-poop-in-the-toilet stage. Each one caused me all sorts of anguish: what am I doing wrong? What could I be doing to make this better? And while there are entire books devoted to answering those questions and offering strategies and coping skills, sometimes the answer is simple: this too shall pass.

Lately I’ve been fretting about Dylan’s ongoing wee-hour wakenings and wondering just how bad I’m making things by continuing to get up with him. I know I shouldn’t be giving him a bottle, but I do; I shouldn’t be rocking him back to sleep, but I do. (JB tells me I should let him cry, and I say the person who actually wakes up when the baby cries is the person who gets to make the decision on what approach to take, while the person who lies there snoring like an elephant seal can suck it.)

I can feel the brain-quadrants rallying together in order to more thoroughly devote themselves to the subject of SLEEP, and here’s what I’m telling myself: this too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. And then I’m all, hey, Yoda? STFU and get me a Red Bull.


73 Responses to “Passing”

  1. Christina on February 9th, 2009 9:49 pm

    You are SO living my life!

    My son has graduated from the “Blues Clues Addiction” stage to the “Hitting” stage…in tandem with the “I might eat one actual meal a day if you are lucky” stage. He went from eating fairly well (fruits, veggies…and yes, hummus and lentils LOL) to only eating pancakes, fruit snacks, crackers (and sometimes cheese) if we are lucky. He eats way better for daycare than he does for us. At home, he won’t even stay seated for a meal…I’m ready to get the high chair back out just to strap him in. UGH. This too, right??

  2. Sonia on February 10th, 2009 12:14 am

    Best. Comment section. EVER!

    Peanut butter and air. My kid lived on those for what seems like YEARS. He goes through phases of rather adventurous eating for oh….. 3 minutes, before reverting to peanut butter and air. As crazy as it makes me, I’m trying to not make it a bigger issue by freaking out about it. I have no suggestions, just wanted to offer up an amen. Someone above mentioned the home made ‘What Pirates Eat’ book, and seriously, that is a fantastic idea!

    My boy has always been a good sleeper, unless something was kicking with his disease. And because I said that out loud a week ago, he hasn’t slept through the night since. Me and my big mouth!

  3. Katy on February 10th, 2009 1:29 am

    I am way, way too obsessive to let anything pass. I have to wring my hands and obsess and plan and start sentences with “RIGHT this is RIDICULOUS I am doing something about …”. And I never do, I just let things work out their own way. Laziness is central in my parenting skills or lack thereof.

    My now nearly 4 year old daughter spent 18 months eating nothing but ham sandwiches minus the bread. Now she will eat lots of fruit and occasionally potatoes. Woop!

  4. nora on February 10th, 2009 6:32 am

    I used to fret about whether my daughter would eat properly (for the longest time she would only eat three things: grilled cheese sandwiches made with white sharp cheddar cheese and whole wheat bread, and strawberries, and graham crackers), and if she would ever sleep through the night. I worried and worried about it. Then I had my second daughter… I didn’t have time to worry any more. Suddenly one day I realized recently that both of them sleep through the night (well, of course the 6 year old does, and the almost 2 year old does wake to nurse once or twice, but that doesn’t bother me at all), and they both eat anything I put in front of them except brussel sprouts and beans… I was just too busy to notice that everything smoothed out and I don’t have those things to worry about anymore…. these things do pass… but sometimes while you’re in the middle of the problem it is hard to see that. Good luck!

  5. Shutter Bitch on February 10th, 2009 7:33 am

    I don’t know how much you’re interested in delving into the subject of sleep if you already think you devote too much brain power to it, but I went through something similar with my first born. Not during the night, but at bedtime, he would require a bottle and about an hour of rocking to go to sleep. And gradually one hour turned to two, and so on, until it was a big problem.

    The book The No Cry Sleep Solution (link: really helped us. It’s neither Cry It Out of CoSleeping, and it made a difference between 2 hour rocking sessions down to fifteen minutes of snuggling after the bottle and I could put him down in his crib and he’d put himself back to sleep.

    Just thought I’d float that up if you’re interested. Ferber and the cosleepers aren’t the only ones with ideas on the matter.

  6. Paige on February 10th, 2009 8:09 am

    I haven’t succumbed to the magic of twitter yet, but to answer your question about new music…I highly recommend Ladytron’s newest album Velocifero. Especially the tracks “Ghost” and “Versus”. I’m also really looking forward to Lily Allen’s new album, which I think comes out this week. I loved the combo of her sweet ladylike voice and filthy lyrics on her last release, so I’m hoping the new album will be similar. (Obviously, the kiddos will need to wear earmuffs when you’re listening to it.)

  7. patois on February 10th, 2009 9:59 am

    “It goes by so fast.” “This, too, shall pass.” “Enjoy them when they’re young.” All of those rate up there with “I know just how you feel” when told to someone who has just had a loved one die. Yeah, never saying any of those. Ever. But “because I said so” is okay by me.

  8. Jenny on February 10th, 2009 10:03 am

    I actually like the this too shall pass advice, because I get stuck with the idea that my kids will ALWAYS be this way, and nobody’s gonna like a 32-year-old who picks her nose and eats it, or hits his cubiclemate when he gets frustrated. It’s good to remind myself that they will probably get civilized out of this. I hope.

  9. Kate on February 10th, 2009 10:24 am

    My firstborn slept thru the night at 4 months. My second? Not until she was 21 months old. I gave her a bottle at night (for the sake of my sanity and her preservation) until she was about 18 months old. So I feel your pain. My rationale was that she always was a little bird eater and was legitimately hungry in the night so I went with it. The more I fought it, the more of an issue it became. It was just quicker and less painful to go give her some damn milk.

    I read something somewhere when my son was a baby that said that babies cry for a reason. And by responding to that, they learn to trust you. I just never could get that thought out of my head, even at 3am when I was getting up for the umpteenth time.

    And I won’t tell you that my husband gets up as much as I do with the kids even now. Obviously he didn’t when I was nursing, but if it was a non-food issue he got (and gets) up. Of course, I didn’t get the 2-month salary ring so maybe that’s why. :)

  10. Kelly on February 10th, 2009 11:13 am

    My god, I could have written this. Except I’m not quite as far along as you are with Riley, so I don’t feel like much has passed yet.

    I MUST have done something wrong on the food issue. And why does he always look at me so suspiciously? So sad my own kid doesn’t trust me when I offer him food. :)

  11. Fay on February 10th, 2009 12:22 pm

    Wake. Him. UP. Wake him up wake him up wakehimupwakehimup!

    People, it is 2009. Men made these babies too. They can change diapers, they can wash dishes, they can get up in the middle of the night sometimes. Men too can have it all!

    (Sorry. Pet peeve.)

  12. Ally on February 10th, 2009 12:51 pm

    Just a few tips on sleeping, that I think I got mostly from Ferber, and also from message boards.. My 22 month old didn’t start consistently sleeping through the night till she was 18 months, so I think I’ve tried just about everything. I did teach her to fall asleep on her own and awake at 3 months (following the books advice), but the middle of the night wakings took FOREVER to stop. Anyways, one of the things that worked to get rid of the middle-of-the night feedings was to dilute her formula with more and more water each night, so that she’d get used to not needing the nourishment. That worked. But she still woke up being used to the water. For that we had to do the crying it out thing.. many many times. We would also give up on it, and just give her water, until she was 18 months when we realized she really didn’t need the water, and did one FINAL “cry it out” thing, which worked, or at least worked for the past 4 months – mo wakings.

    So.. i do suggest to somehow cut out the rocking, and the feeding.. and i don’t know any other way of doing it other than letting them cry. I know, NOT fun.

  13. Tony on February 10th, 2009 1:20 pm

    Since it’s 2009, “men made these babies too”, and “women live on the premises too” (my quote), I’ll have my wife give you a call after I tell her she needs to mow the lawn, snowblow the driveway, do some landscaping, clean and maintain the pellet stove, take out the trash, rake the leaves, trim the trees, and do laundry…..

    For the record (and to save myself from an ass-kicking), my wife does plenty.

  14. Kerilyn on February 10th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Please, please write that book.

  15. Red on February 10th, 2009 2:02 pm

    As a mom of a kid who can self-induce vomiting in under 60 seconds, there is no option to going in and feeding at 2am (luckily he is back to sleep within 30), unless one wants to spend 45 minutes with spouse cleaning up vomit, changing sheets and clothes, washing kid, etc. I’ll wait until he can understand what I’m saying and can articulate himself before trying to eliminate the middle of the night feeding. At least then we can have a toddler “conversation” about it.
    And he totally eats crunchy foods and fruit and yogurt. Cheese sometimes but not always. Pasta, meat, and veggies are the WORST. THINGS. ON. EARTH. according to my son. Sigh.

  16. g~ on February 10th, 2009 2:52 pm

    Well, I can’t *prove* that I am not a spy but I would like complete control of the remote, the DVR and I vow to only watch football in HD. Doesn’t that qualify me? Alas, whenever I ask for our remote, my husband merely shakes his head ‘no’ and points to his crotch.

  17. victoria on February 10th, 2009 3:16 pm

    Now I must go have a PowerBar Cookie Performance Bar.

  18. Tony on February 11th, 2009 9:07 am


    I’m not so blunt about my remote controlling ways. I am a very cunning Elephant Seal.

    For my fellow Elephant Seals out there, I have a tip.

    Go out and buy yourself the most complicated universal remote you can find. You’ll find that she’ll hand over the remote willingly to avoid a trip to her therapist. Let’s face it, most of our wives don’t know anything more about our home theater setups outside of on, off, play, channel changing and volume. And that’s if they can get all the inputs aligned.

    Those of you seals who have simply TV and cable/satellite box, shame on you. Outside of the fact that a HDTV without a surround sound setup is against Man Law, you are making TV control too easy for your women.

    Make sure you have at least six different pieces of equipment attached to your TV. More pieces of equipment equals more confusion on inputs, especially with a receiver. That’s the most important piece of equipment. It adds an exponential element to setting the system to the correct inputs.

    And if you really want to confuse her, many receivers and TV’s allow you to change the name of the inputs. Reverse them. You’ll never have to fight over the remote again.

  19. Michelle on February 11th, 2009 12:00 pm

    My daughter, who is almost 7 months old, keeps doing the same thing. I don’t remember the last time I slept completely through the night. I only recently started kicking my husband awake to help but since I’m still nursing, there is only so much he can do. Plus I can hear a pin drop in my sleep so if I’m awake, I figure I might as well deal with it. I’ll try telling myself “This too shall pass.” Maybe that will soften the 2 a.m. calls.

  20. Kaushik on February 12th, 2009 4:08 am

    Quadruple LOL @ “And then I’m all, hey, Yoda? STFU and get me a Red Bull.”

    Remember this line, I shall…

  21. worldmomma on February 12th, 2009 7:57 am

    Great post! I love it.

  22. Danyele on February 13th, 2009 3:03 pm

    you still get up with him??? i hat eto say it but your giving him a reason to wake up. i know you have heard it before and hate to hear it, but its the truth. stop getting up with him!!!!! otherwise dont complain.

  23. Sundry on February 13th, 2009 4:23 pm

    Oh Danyele. Please to suck a bag of dicks, and also get a primer on the purpose of blogging: TO COMPLAIN.

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