Monday, April 25, 2011

Alpha Readers, Passover, and Paci-over?

Hope everyone had/is having a wonderful Easter, Passover, and beginning of spring. We're on Day 7 of Passover at our house and I'm proud to say I'm still hanging with the dietary restrictions thus far. My track record during pregnancy is slightly blemished in this regard: when I was prego with Monkey I fell off the wagon around Day 6 after getting the distinct feeling that I would burst into flames if I didn't have a bagel immediately.

[As an aside, DH has a new theory that since the Israelites ate unleavened bread because they didn't have time to wait for it to rise before leaving Egypt, a more appropriate modern equivalent would be eating ONLY fast food for 8 days. I see a couple of issues with this, including both the health implications and the oddity of gathering around for a seder with a bunch of Burger King value meals. If he gets any rabbinical support for the idea, though, I'll keep you posted.]

Passover is all about freedom from slavery, and I always like to take advantage of the opportunity to examine the things that enslave me: especially bad habits, outdated ways of thinking, and even the overabundance of choices in my life that can sometimes be paralyzing in themselves. Of course, it's also a wonderful opportunity to be with family and friends and take stock of what is most important -- the things I would bring with me if I suddenly had to leave my current life with no time for the bread to rise.

In the realm of bad habits, we also decided that Passover was an appropriate time to try breaking Monkey of his pacifier addiction. He has only ever used a pacifier for sleeping and naps, and months ago gave it up for naps at school when I forgot to send it in with him for a week. But we've noticed lately that it is taking longer and longer for him to give it up after waking up in the morning, and I'm getting concerned that we missed our window to take it away before he got too attached. On top of potential orthodontic and speech issues, we'd like to avoid having that kid who is four or five and still using a 'binky.' So, yesterday we took him to pick out a "big boy toy" -- a drill and hammer set, nice -- and this morning allowed him to play with it after saying "bye-bye" to all his pacis and putting them in a bag.

Everything went great with the plan until nap time. He cried for almost 45 minutes, saying "paci" the whole time, and we totally caved. In preparation for this experiment, I'd read lots of stories online from moms who tried this technique -- usually on a slightly older child -- and the results were far better. The stories often ended with something to the effect of, "He asked for it once and we reminded him he'd given it away, so he calmed down and went right to sleep." NOT the case today.

I can't decide if he's not ready/old enough to give it up yet, or if selfishly, I'm just not ready to give up the easy nap. I almost always start out his nap time with a sizable list of things to get done while he sleeps, and listening to his tortured cries for an hour is pretty much never on the list. At any rate, once I handed over paci, he lay down and went right to sleep. So we're going to regroup and try another strategy in a week or two. My overall goal is to follow the advice of his pediatrician and get rid of it by age two, just under two months away. Tick, tock.

Finally, a book update: 'The Marriage Pact,' (working title) is almost complete in first-draft form, and I am collecting all kinds of feedback from my Alpha Readers, for which I am most grateful. We are finding character inconsistencies, plot holes and annoying phrases. One trusted friend and fellow English major has helped me identify a couple of key themes, and taken me to task for my myriad abuses against semi-colons. I haven't had this kind of feedback since I was part of a writer's group in Portland, and I have to admit it's been really fun.

I am beginning the first major revision now, hoping to have something readable in the next few weeks. I'd also like to express my gratitude to many of you who have volunteered to read the book and haven't yet been asked to do so -- I'll definitely be looking forward to your thoughts a little later in the process. In the meantime, if you haven't already done so, please visit and click the "like" button at the top right to show your support, and follow all the latest!