I’ve decided to take a quick break from my newest pastime – that would be eating anything that is remotely edible, not nailed down or hasn’t been thrown in the garbage – to write a blog. And my blog is about…eating. Primarily, this insane, insatiable, can’t-get-enough appetite that comes with breastfeeding. To semi-quote Crocodile Dundee, “That’s not hunger. [Wields loaf of bread and Costco-sized jar of peanut butter] Now that’s hunger.”
I always knew breastfeeding required an additional 500 maternal calories, but never realized just how deep the hunger would hit, or how indiscriminate it would be. For example, I will whip together a batch of guacamole large enough for three people, fully intending to save some for Dan later on that evening, then polish it off with a bag of pita chips strapped to my face, feed bag-style. When my parents bring over a dozen bagels and cream cheese, I will blow through two and a half of them in a single sitting (not three, because that would be piggish), slathering them in cheesy white frosting, then shove another one in my face at 1am while nursing. I will eat food that I normally deem too unhealthy or fattening, like the four-pack of giant caramel-and-M&M-covered apples my friend Alyson brought me. I will eat off of your plate. I will eat off of strangers’ plates. If you take me to visit your great grandmother in her assisted living facility, I will eat the mushy peas and carrots off of her plate, even as she’s mid-bite. That’s how hungry I am.
True story: Last week, I asked Dan to pick up a large chocolate chip cookie dough Dairy Queen Blizzard for me. Upon inspection, I deemed the ratio of ice cream to cookie dough unacceptable. I then did two things, each more ridiculous and gratuitous than the other. First, I spent precious baby-is-sleeping-so-this-would-be-the-perfect-time-to-cacth-some-zzzs time to walk to the grocery store and purchase a tube of Nestle cookie dough, half of which I then dumped into the Blizzard. Second, I actually called Dairy Queen and complained to Ash the teenage manager that my Blizzard was insufficiently cookie dough-laden and demanded a free replacement. Which I then wasted even more precious time, a few days later, procuring, during one of my first excursion out sans bebe, in between returning some bum nipples to Babies sR Us and hitting the gym for the first time since February 6, a day before my c-section.
These are not the behaviors of a sane, rational woman, but they are the behaviors of a nursing mom. Hillary Rodham Clinton told us it takes a village to raise a child, but a more apropos quote would be, “It takes a village to feed Leslie.” I’d like to take a moment to thank the many people who have gone out of their way to put delicious food into my stomach and, therefore, help Evie grow up into a strong, healthy little girl who will be horribly embarrassed by a mother who eats tube cookie dough by the pound.
My parents, who have essentially morphed into my own personal Peapod service. I’ll send a flurry of texts to my mom – “Bananas,” “granola with raisins and almonds,” “organic milk with DHA,” “organic sweet potatoes,” “dark chocolate-covered raisins,” “greek yogurt” – and, despite the fact that her cell phone is from 1981, she somehow manages to receive each one and then drag my dad to the store, pick it all up and ferry it to me within 24 hours. (My mother also baked me a batch of her special [read: delicious, not pot-laced] brownies while on vacation in Los Angeles and paid an obscene amount of money to overnight them to me, a move which goes against every fiber in my tightwad being but was greatly appreciated.)
My sister-in-law, Jessica, who bought us a personal chef. Last Monday, a woman magically appeared at my door bearing boatloads of Whole Foods grocery bags and proceed to turn our kitchen into a Top Chef-esque paradise where panko and walnut-crusted chicken, chimichurri-marinated flank steak, roasted Brussels sprouts and edamamae hummus magically rubbed elbows in Tupperware containers. We had dinner and snacks for a week and the only thing I didn’t mow down was the pot of gazpacho, which I realized at the last minute might upset a certain person’s little belly.
My grandparents, who always send me an Edible Arrangement when something momentous happens. Nothing says love like flower-shaped pineapple slices.
My other sister-in-law, Sarah, who, in addition to shipping humongous boxes of hand-me-down clothing and blankets, thereby stocking 85% of E’s closet, also sent a brick of homemade chocolate chip banana bread, which came in handy during those first early nights of breastfeeding, when it was 3am and I was juggling burping and singing I Got You, Babe with a desire to eat my own hand. (There is a rumor circulating that I allegedly ate hunks of Sarah Goldman’s homemade banana bread in the middle of the night without washing my hands, post diaper change. Fact: In some countries, eating with the hand you recently changed your baby’s poopy diaper with is considered a wild compliment.)
Julie, who came to the hospital bearing two dozen cupcakes (iced with the letter E in buttercream, no less). No, I did not eat all 24 of them, but I certainly ate 2 + 4 of them.
My mother-in-law, who has been shipping me my favorite raisin challah from a bakery in Michigan for the past 10 months. The sweet-studded, doughy egg bread was a bizarre pregnancy craving of mine, one which kept me sufficiently carbo-loaded for my workouts and comforted me when I’d wake up in the middle of the night, ravenous. The baby was born; the pregnancy craving did not diminish. I only pray I don’t crave any other Jew-y food during subsequent pregnancies, as gefilte fish and brisket don’t travel that well. Challahhhh!!!
The EVOL Burrito people, who shipped me a case of chicken and veggie burritos to sample, plus a cute onesie for the little burrito sleeping in her bassinet as we speak. In two minutes, I have a hot, satisfying South-of-the-border treat waiting for me in my microwave…and I’m not talking about Sofia Vergara.
And a host of other friends who have stopped by with salads, Cinnabons, Swedish Fish, gift certificates to local restaurants and more. You know who you are. I thank you, from the bottom of my belly.
PS Between feedings, diapering and Tummy Time, this blog took me a week-and-a-half to write.