For years now, since before the girlie was born, I've had a little stack of parenting books by my bed. They come and go - all of the baby care tomes are gone, and I'm slowly replacing them with books like Reviving Ophelia and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen - but until the other day, there were three in the pile that we really didn't need: Weissbluth, Ferber and Satter.
It was like some kind of magical thinking: As long as the sleep books are under the bed, the child will sleep. As long as the sensible eating book was at hand, the child will eat.
Of course, she doesn't sleep, except with me. Oh she went through a period of sleeping in her own bed every night right after we got her a heated mattress pad, but she fell back into her old ways soon enough, and now every last stuffed animal she owns is on the floor of her room and she only goes in there to fetch clean clothes. I've given up.
And she doesn't eat, except with ketchup. The other night she ate salad for dinner - hallelujah! a green vegetable! - with a dressing that she'd made by stirring equal parts of ketchup and vinaigrette together. She eats rice with ketchup for lunch. Rice cakes with ketchup for snack. Hard-boiled eggs dipped in ketchup. She's discerning: only Heinz will do. Frou frou organic ketchup from Whole Foods? Feh. Homemade stuff from the Greenmarket? Feh.
I know that one day she will go into her room and close the door and blast the stereo and refuse to talk to me. I know that one day she'll eat something other than ketchup.
But I finally gave up those books, those talismans, and passed them along to my brother and sister-in-law. Maybe they'll do someone else some good, under another bed.