When you have a baby in BC, they send a public health nurse to come and make sure you know what you’re doing and that your living room isn’t a meth lab, and with the little pork chop, things were no different. And while the nurses at the hospital were amazing and lovely and I wanted to bring each of them home to live with me, the public health nurse sucked.
I am sure that she meant well. She contradicted everything the hospital nurses said, and then went on to list the things I was doing wrong and the things I shouldn’t do wrong in the future. And then she gave me some pamphlets, and a DVD about purple crying, and told me I should let the baby decide our schedule because wanting to get more than an hour’s sleep in one go is selfish and his needs are sensitive. Did I want him to have abandonment issues? Did I want him to be an emotional eater, a problem drinker, or an Adam Sandler fan? I am sure that she meant well. Or maybe she was just kind of an asshole.
Either way, figuring that she knew best, I tried to follow her instructions so as not to permanently ruin the boy. I was never able to get him off the bottle so he will probably be obese and emotionally distant. One thing you find out pretty quickly is that every nurse, doctor, or person with children is an expert and is happy to offer his or her opinion, and each of those opinions contradicts all of the other opinions you’ve already heard. And that everything you do wrong will eventually be the reason why your child grows up to be a nihilist or a crackhead.
Piece by piece the public health nurse’s advice unravelled. He preferred the bottle, and we preferred sleeping three hours at a time, and then four hours, and now sometimes seven. We run the bath a little warmer and he doesn’t cry, and we let him watch TV sometimes when one of us is making dinner and the other has to go to the bathroom. The last warning she offered was about putting the baby to sleep on his stomach – you’re never supposed to put a baby to sleep on his stomach.
The kid wouldn’t nap. He was tired, and he would cry and cry about it, and it was, quite frankly, tiresome. We both knew that he needed to sleep, but he had to sleep on his back which was the rule. And so every single day, we would battle over naptime, and I would put him down to sleep as he rubbed his eyes and his fat bottom lip quivered. And he would cry and I would give it 25 or 30 minutes and then I would pick him up and the two of us would sit down on the couch and he would complain about how I was mistreating him and I would agree that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here.
We did the whole nap-on-the-back thing today, and it went the way it always does. But today, after I picked him up and pat his back and told him that we do like him, we just like him better when he’s rested, I put him back in his crib, down on his stomach, and within 30 seconds he was asleep, and though I checked him every five minutes to make sure he wasn’t dead, he slept nearly three hours.
The baby napped today. THE BABY NAPPED TODAY.
So I did what I like to do when I have some time alone. I made a little treat, and read a little bit of book, and had a full sandwich uninterrupted and it was everything I thought it would be.
The little treat was a little bit of jelly. The sun has come out the past few days this week, and there are Meyer lemons at the public market, and for the first time in months I felt like something cool and fruity instead of something hot and chocolate. A little lemon juice, some sugar, and a pot of green tea turned into something pleasantly bitter and refreshingly tart – the kind of thing one might enjoy during a few fleeting moments of quiet.
If you can’t find Meyer lemons, use regular lemons but increase the sugar to a full cup.
Green tea and Meyer lemon jelly
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 packets of unflavoured gelatin
- 2 teabags of green tea
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (from two or three Meyer lemons)
Bloom gelatin in 1/2 cup of cold water. Scrape into a pot with the rest of the water, the sugar, and the tea bags. Heat until sugar and gelatin have dissolved, but do not allow the liquid to boil.
Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let sit for five to ten minutes, so that the tea can steep to taste.
Divide between six ramekins, and refrigerate until set, two to six hours.