Thursday, March 3, 2011

Or Not...

It’s weeks like this one that make me feel ashamed to blog. Let’s start out with my sacrifice of dairy. I mean really, how weak is that? For one thing, there is a completely acceptable substitute for milk in soymilk (the vanilla flavor is my favorite). And sure, giving up dairy precludes me from eating a lot of yummy desserts and all cheese but let’s be frank, it just ain’t that tough. And on the blogging front, a life without dairy doesn’t really lend itself to compelling stories or earth shattering revelations. Remarkably, life goes on much the same way with or without milk.

So as one might imagine, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday went off without a hitch. I hardly felt like I was fulfilling my Lulu Lent because the sacrifice was so easy. But then Wednesday night happened. I am lucky enough to live in the same place as a multitude of my cousins and a few of them happen to have little, young families! Wednesday night I had plans to babysit my cousin and his wife’s three darling boys. I had taken care of them before and the boys could not have behaved better. They were sweet to each other and to me and the only meltdown was brought on by their parent’s arrival back home.

Wednesday night was a completely different story. The two younger boys in particular were having a rough go of it. The three year old would spontaneously burst into inconsolable tears which in turn, caused the 10 month old to wake up in a sour mood. I was able to get the two older boys to bed while simultaneously dealing with the unhappy baby. I felt certain with two down for the night it would only be a matter of minutes until the youngest followed suit.

Boy was I wrong.

I consider myself to be somewhat baby adept as number four of seven children. I grew up with babies around and was often enlisted to help take care of them. But every trick in my fairly, well-stocked book failed miserably. Food, singing, rocking, swaying, bouncing, swinging; none of it could stop this baby boy from crying. After forty minutes I knew I had one last hope… my mom.

As the mother of seven children, calling her a baby expert would be a gross understatement. I am still kicking myself that I didn't call her sooner because after hearing all the things I had already tried and listening to the baby wail in the background my mom said without hesitation, “try walking up and down the stairs and call me back if that doesn’t work.” Guess what? I didn’t have to call her back. It still took another thirty minutes until the baby was truly asleep enough for me to lie him down in his crib but after my first three steps up the stairs he ceased to cry or utter a distressed sound.

So what you may ask, does all of this have to do with dairy? Well quite simply, after a busy day of work and the three long hours of babysitting, there was obviously nothing left to be done but eat a large slice of pizza. And no, I did not remove the cheese. I wish I had stopped there but the dairy binge bled over into today when I ate more cheese in the form of a delicious Mexican casserole and baked brownies with large amounts of butter and ate them with ice cold milk.

I guess I could take some solace in the fact that my only notable slip up thus far came during what I deemed an “easy” sacrifice. And honestly, I don’t feel that terrible about my failure to endure a life free of dairy. But what I’ve learned from this lapse in resolve is that going easy on yourself in the beginning makes it more difficult to be hard on yourself in the future. I never felt invested in giving up dairy in the first place, making it easy just plain give up after dealing with sobbing babies for hours. So for better or for worse, next week’s challenge is truly going to push me and hopefully will spark a little more determination.