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September 29, 2010

Beetlejuice, Part 2

We last left our long and gruesome tale having returned the Similac formula which contained just a little too much fiber and discovered that our son had gone on a hunger strike. While skimping on baby food at the grocery store would have undoubtedly kept me closer to that elusive goal of staying within our weekly budget, those fun, kid-loving people like our local pediatrician or DCFS are much more willing to hand out gold stars for parenting if your child is eating.

Purely by a cruel twist of fate, that hunger strike happened to coincide perfectly with our monthly date night which was scheduled to take place Friday evening. Date night is a high priority in our house and something I wasn't willing to sacrifice. It's the one night each month when the hubs can count on the fact that I will spend an extra ten minutes in the shower to shave my legs. Let's face it, with a baby running our lives, the man would gladly cuddle up to my cactus knees, but if having smooth legs will make me forget about those dried sweet potatoes which are permanently embedded in my hair, ten minutes is a small price to pay.

With date night looming on the horizon, Nathaniel and I sat down at the bargaining table and I offered anything and everything I could think of to entice his little taste buds to take a bottle. A golden nuk? A king-sized crib? Llama rides at his first birthday party? My firstborn child? Oh, wait. Despite the ridiculously appealing list of things I had to offer, there was only one thing that could hold his interest: beetlejuice.

Since I was fairly certain that I would lose my parenting gold star for serving insect larvae to my child, I stuck to my guns, offering a small buffet of formula to the baby in the hopes that one would taste particularly appealing. The hours crept by and though I was able to get Nathaniel to eat a bit of solid food, it slowly became apparent that he had no intentions of nursing a happy hour bottle before the hubs and I left on our date. So when the grandparents arrived at our house to babysit, filled with the heaven-sent knowledge and patience that comes with raising three boys, I couldn't help but hope that they would have the magic touch.

While out and about, the hubs and I ate an entire meal without stopping to retrieve a lost sippy cup or pull cereal from the baby's ears. But while we were treating ourselves to a few hours of adult conversation, reality had set-in at home. In a trait that has been passed down from generation to generation and slowly whittled into evolutionary perfection on his mother's side, Nathaniel maintained his stubborn streak with a mouth that was firmly cemented shut.

My sincerest apologies to the grandparents.

By the time we got home, the hubs and I were past worrying about sustenance and were far more concerned about dehydration. I was starting to get desperate, so you can imagine my relief when Nathaniel awoke in the middle of the night crying for a bottle. Admittedly, I expected to offer the bottle only to have it tossed halfway across the room in a fit of screaming rage, so I was shocked and thrilled when he chomped down on the bottle and sucked it dry.

I was also grateful that my boob wasn't clenched between those four sharp teeth.

Believing that the hunger strike was a thing of the past, I happily went back to bed to do a victory lap with my pillow. But as Saturday morning dawned, it quickly became apparent that my hope from the previous night was nothing more than wishful thinking as the baby continued to refuse his bottle.

Saturday, like the two preceding days, was an exercise in parental patience as Jonathan and I prepared and discarded bottle after bottle of formula. Day three of the hunger strike came and went with little improvement and, as night approached, our concerns for dehydration were repeated.

It was Saturday that caused us to draw a line in the sand: we needed to see dramatic improvement in the subsequent 24 hours or we would be making a trip to the pediatrician's office first thing Monday morning. We knew that this bottle strike couldn't continue; it wouldn't be healthy for our little boy. So Jonathan and I prayed, specifically asking God for the health of our son. Asking that he would eat. Trusting that he would take a bottle or if something was seriously wrong, that we would have the wisdom to take him to see the doctor.

As the sun crept up on Sunday morning, we realized that our prayers had been answered. Once again, Nathaniel began drinking his bottles and filling his diapers with poop that rivaled the potency of a nuclear reactor.

After a weekend of wasted formula and a house finally free of beetlejuice, the hubs and I are relieved that our child is eating and the Similac drama is finally over. Another parenting challenge has been conquered and our baby is none the worse for wear. I think that deserves a gold star.


  1. Gold star indeed! Glad it wasn't too serious and he's doing great now!

  2. Have you tried a sippy cup yet? Sophia loves hers! We don't fill it with anything but water and she still loves it. She hasn't had juice yet, so she doesn't know any different. Maybe Nathaniel needs a change. Just a thought.