Friday, February 27, 2009

Kissy Faces

Playdate With History

My friend Kallie just left our house after our children had a playdate together. Way back when Trevor and I were first married, Kallie and her husband, Michael, were some of our first "couple" friends. They had two dogs, and we gathered enough so that we became interested in having a dog like theirs, and we ended up with Mosey (totally unlike their dogs, but they were our inspiration). Kallie was newly pregnant when we met, and after their baby, Hope, was born, we would babysit her every now and then. And today, while Berit and I were waving goodbye to our friends (new friends, since Berit and Hope have never really known each other or played together -- more on this later), it struck me that I was babysitting Hope when I found out I was pregnant for Berit. 

Since then life has gotten hectic. Mike and Kallie are both chiropractors who have a busy office, both of our families have two girls now, and Mike and Kallie have a whole horsefarm/home renovation happening. We never, ever get together anymore, and today was such a breath of fresh air as Kallie and I picked up as if no time had passed. I think we're old friends who have history, and we'll never lose that connection. I remember when they called us just an hour after Hope had been born, and I knew our lives had changed because someone had had a baby, and in a way she belonged to all of us as our first child in the little group we had formed. And here she was today, nearly a lady at four years old, so polite and sweet, and completely fast friends with Berit, who said, "I love my new best friend Hope." 

Oh, if only we could go back four-and-a-half years and tell our younger selves about our lives now. I'm sure we'd be pleased that our children love each other. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weeping Mess Of A Child

Which is to say, Berit, lately. Currently she's sobbing as loudly as possible, has woken up her sister, because she wanted to do something one way and has been forced to do it another (this something being WALKING DOWN THE STAIRS). 

She's been like this for the past week or so; constantly touchy, especially mean to her sister, pushing, yelling, taking. It's like her third birthday ushered in a whole new temperament, one that we are not used to dealing with and it makes us a little crazy. A lot crazy.

It typically starts with her whining because I'm peeling potatoes instead of playing with her, even though I've been playing with her for the majority of the day. Then it escalates into a full-on tantrum, she manages to wake up any other sleeping family member, and Mom turns into Monster Mom. Today I made of stack of all the positive discipline and parenting solution books I put faith in and set it on my nightstand. I'm even a little tempted to skip book club to stay home and read them, but I know I'd just end up cleaning the house instead (which from the look on Trevor's face would be fine with him). 

It's frustrating because she's usually such a nice, good girl, and we've always been able to reason with her. Now there's no chance for reason, because it's all yelling and wailing. And oftentimes thrashing. 

As you might expect, I'm very curious to know how long this will last. To be honest, I keep wishing a grandparent would call and say, "Why don't you send Berit over for a nice long weekend?" Because going from one extreme to another has made for a worn-out mommy. It's hard to want to play with her, when she's acting so mean to others.

I know it's just a phase, but it's one for which I was unprepared and now I feel like I need to quickly play catch-up with my parenting books. Instead, I'm going to head upstairs and clean out the tub Marta pooped in tonight. And then I'm going to book club. I think they'll have wine there.

Talky Miss Clever

I know it's really annoying to hear a mom bragging and bragging about their kid's latest achievements. But I couldn't help posting tonight about Marta, who has discovered possession. It's not just that she walks around the house holding up her cup or a bracelet or the coveted Map from Dora the Explorer and screeching "Mine! Mine!" Now, instead of pointing to Berit's milk and saying "Bee-beet" (Berit) or "milk," she says "Bee-beet's." No, it's not some fluke where she said it once and now I think my kid's a genius. I've been testing her for the past week and it's true, she even does it for "Daddy's," "Mommy's," "Mimi's" and "baby's."

She's just been thriving lately in language and it is so fun! I love hearing her tell people about her "tent," "bike," "book," "backpack," "gate," or any other word she randomly knows. I also really like that I can explain things to her, to an extent, and she gets it. She has also started taking multiple directions, like "Go to your chair and get your book." 

I'm noting these things because I was wondering when it was that Berit did them, and I wasn't blogging then and wasn't a very good scrapbooker (pregnant-and-puking as I was), so I have no record. If we do have another child, I'll be able to look back and remember Marta's cleverness and compare my third baby's abilities with her, and love that baby accordingly. Kidding! Just a little joke for those of you who still care enough about all of this to have stuck with me. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Memory, Birds and, Well, Me

I need to post about the big birthday party, but I'm waiting for our pictures to be developed (yes, I still use an old film camera). In the meantime, I was just playing memory with Berit, and thought to post about it. See, we had all the cards set up and we were both looking forward to the game, me because I love when she's interested in learning games, and she because she's been begging me to play with her one-on-one all morning and finally I could. So we get started, and she's doing awesome -- three matches to my zero. And then she starts flipping cards over, frustrated, clearly looking for something in particular, so I ask her about it. "I'm looking for the bunny," she says. I glance and her matches and see that she has the carrots. "Is it because you want to feed the bunny a carrot?" I ask. "Yes," she says. She then throws all of her other matches into the pile, messes them up so I can't see which one is which, and starts flipping the other cards, looking for the bunnies. When she finds them she lays them over the carrots and announces that she. is. done. Nice. Good learning all around.

I keep thinking back to Friday night. After putting the girls to bed, Trevor went over to his parents' house because his brother and his brother's family were staying there. So I put on my earbuds and listened to an audiobook while I made cakes for Berit's birthday party. Before I knew it it was 1:30 a.m. and I was wrapping up both the book and the cakes. It was so peaceful, so entertaining. I love the quiet of a sleeping house. And even though I love my husband and I enjoy spending time with him, I also really like being alone. For me, being alone and doing something like baking or cleaning while listening to an audiobook is completely restorative. I feel efficient and productive and totally relaxed. I should make a point to do this once a week, as it's only Monday and I keep wishing it were still Friday evening.

We have recently hung a birdfeeder on our sliding door; the kind that's see-through so the kids can watch the birds eating. It's great because the birds are already used to us peering in at them, and rarely flinch when the kids walk right up to the door and bang on the glass. This prompted a little red squirrel to be interested in the crumplins that the birds dropped on the deck, so we had to put a tray of sunflower seeds out for the squirrel, who doesn't care if Marta walks over, picks it up, puts it in her pocket and takes it to the grocery store. Seriously, it just hangs out there all day long, watching us watching it. But then we had a huge snowfall that covered the tray, so I put a big old roasting pan on top of the snow, and the birds and squirrel climb in to munch. I guess what I'm saying is that we've got a tray, a roasting pan and a bird feeder within two feet of our sliding door and it's a mess out there. I'm considering cleaning it all up, but really I'll just wait until the cursed snow melts and it's time for spring cleaning. I think I'll just keep dumping seed in the vicinity of the tray and pan and hope no one calls for a house showing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finally It's Official: You Are Three

Dear Berit,

You have been 3 years old for months. Today is your birthday, but you have not acted like a typical 2-year-old since the summertime. Somewhere between the last hot, sunny day and Thanksgiving, you grew in both inches and maturity. I remember I had just ordered you your fall clothes. I brought the dusty package in the front door and you, ever willing to help, fetched my (closed) knife to open it. Out came the adorable 2T long-sleeved tees and jeans I bought, mostly at full-price, because you didn't have anything warm to wear as the leaves fell and the air chilled. I washed them all and hung them in your closet, and felt satisfied that you were ready for the long stretch of cold that had started to envelop our region. The pants had adjustable waistbands and the shirts were tees -- even if you grew an inch during that time, surely they'd last you till spring.

And two weeks later, the jeans were too small. At first I thought it was just a defective size, but no, all the pants, then all the shirts, were too short for your suddenly long legs and torso. Again I turned to the online shops, and bought round two of the same clothes. 

Around the same time, you began to do the following:
Boss everyone around.
Push your sister.
Act out complicated dramas with your dolls.
Turn every game and activity into "house."
Jump higher, do somersaults, climb things at the gym, catch and throw balls with ease.
Read more complex storylines (Madeline, Dora, Belinda, Fancy Nancy).
Wear dress-up clothes over your everyday clothes every day.
Insist that you are Cinderella. 
Eat fewer foods, but eat more of the foods you like best.
Go up and down the stairs like a big kid.
Play by yourself upstairs and downstairs.
Run household errands (for example, fetching towels from upstairs to bring downstairs, or getting toys from the basement by yourself to play with upstairs).
Play and understand games.

Oh! So much more. It was like a lightbulb had gone on in your mind and suddenly you were three years old, well before your actual birthday. In fact, people assumed you to be four more often than two or three! 

Much of this comes, I think, from your serious nature. Now that we have Marta, we're learning that babies aren't always calm and reflective like you were. You were never very goofy or willy-nilly, and you still aren't today. You are sensitive, thoughtful, respectful, rule-minded, stubborn, caring, and insightful. You come up with complex explanations and make up stories about things that never happened (but are lovely and magical). 

You are dramatic. Not in an outspoken, florescent way, but more in your emotions. You are either very bored or very entertained (by yourself or others). You are very happy or very sad. You are very smart or very disinterested. You are always in princess character. 

You are sensitive. You are easily overwhelmed by emotions, sound and light. You don't like to be tickled but love a gentle back scratching. Your skin is like government radar, picking up the tiniest invader or itch. You scare quickly and avoid something if there's a chance you'll be moved to an unpleasant feeling about it.

You are completely yourself. No one has made you one way or another; you haven't become sporty and outdoorsy like your dad would have made you, you haven't become bookish and overly responsible like I may have done. You are just you. Wherever you go, you are yourself completely, and I absolutely love and admire that about you. 

I worry that you may overthink too many things. When carefree children play around you, you join in tentatively, and even when you're deep in play with them you still pause before chasing them or making a move, because you're assessing their ... what? I'm not sure. What their reaction will be, maybe, and if it's what you want to happen. You are desperate for everyone to be happy and calm, and if things are stressful you act out. You even become tense by your own acting out! As you throw things or push or yell, your mind is turning and I can see you thinking about what might happen. This causes your voice to raise or crack or you to run in anticipation but also in an effort to change the outcome of the situation for the better. You're not sure how, but you know you're wrong and you need to fix it.

And when you do act up, it doesn't take much to change your attitude. I simply have to explain things and you come around, with hugs for everyone when we invite them (though you'd be too hesitant to give them uninvited). We constantly try to show you that you can be openly loving, though I think it's difficult for you because the baby gets so much more hands-on attention, and you are still finding your place as a big sister and the eldest daughter. I hope this gets easier for you; I hope you find enjoyment in these roles someday.

We love taking you places and exposing you to new things. You thrive on exploration and discovery, though you aren't interested in simple things like collecting leaves or coloring. I wonder what kind of a person you are growing into; some parts of your personality are so evident and concrete, others are more seasonal and unpredictable.

We can hold long conversations with you about most subjects, and if we're discussing something that you don't understand we need only explain it to you and you weigh in. We love listening to your three-year-old ideas and often wish the world were so lovely and simple. 

Three years ago you became our reason. I left my career, in which I was thriving at the time. Your dad worked harder and stressed more. We bought a bigger home and car, and invested in the safest baby gear, a thousand baby books, a comfortable rocking chair and organic living. I became relatively obsessed with helping children in need (and still am today -- a passion I believe you and I will share, as you ask me about it regularly and often talk about ways to help children). 

Three years ago you surprised me by arriving with a head of blond hair and eyes of blue. You surprised me by not crying a peep when you were delivered, and only whined when the nurse took you to bathe you -- and even then you stopped when your dad recited the lines of a book he used to read to you while you were still in my womb. You surprised me because we did not bond instantly in the way all the books say we should have; I loved you unconditionally but they took you right away to the NICU to monitor your tiny heart, and I waited to get to know you better before falling deeply, deeply in love. 

Three years ago we became dependent on each other. I was regularly (though quietly) criticized for holding you constantly (literally, my dear), even through the night. You slept in the crook of my arm and all day long I rocked you, played with you, devoted every second to your fullest enjoyment of life. Even when you napped, I held you. 

When I was pregnant for your sister I worried that you'd feel abandoned, and I think you did a little. You and I were a team; we very rarely left each other's side for more than a few minutes. It is only through the grace of God that you love spending days and nights on end at your grandparents' houses, because for the first year of your life I barely even let them hold you. 

And today people have said, "Can you believe it's been three years?" And truly, I can. In fact, I can't believe it hasn't been more, because everything before your birth is a bit muddled, and everything after has been full of life and brightness. (This is, I'm sure, due to a lack of sleep, but also because my priorities have so changed since you arrived that I wonder who I might have become had you never come along.)

The world will be better because of you. Not only because you bring love and joy to those of us who know you, but because you have inspired us to give more wholeheartedly to various organizations that protect children and the unborn. Your caring spirit is also likewise dedicated to helping those who are less fortunate, even just by sensing another child's desire to play with your toys or share your snacks at church, and your mature shoulders already hold an understanding of the needs of children around the world from the letters we write to and receive from the child we sponsor in your name. 

And yet you are still just three. You love to play, and mostly to be played with. You love to be the center of attention and be swung in circles or danced with or read to. You are three and you are a child through and through. It is so sweet, so lovely, so innocent to watch you play dolls or music or blocks. My favorite times are when you lose your inhibitions and run and jump and act wild and silly. We let you jump on the bed and watch movies and choose your own snacks because you are a very good child and you deserve to be set free from your seriousness whenever it strikes you. We try to indulge your princessness and you wear your tutus anywhere and everywhere. 

I love that you're three. I'm giddy with excitement (constantly) about the possibilities of this age. I'm looking forward to taking you places you've never seen before and watching your mind work through an aquarium, zoos, museums, dances. Preschool starts this fall and you'll begin ballet next month. You have entered Big Kid Land and I think you've been waiting to be here since you were born. I can't wait to find out what you think of it all.

With never-ending love, from the heart you grew three sizes with your serious, quiet delivery three years ago...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Romance (Parent-Style)

Trevor and I always pretend we're not interested in Valentine's Day, in the interest of saving money and by telling ourselves that we're so darn in love that every day is like Valentine's Day. (Please imagine the look I'm shooting you via the computer right now.)

Helpfully, I don't like to get flowers. I don't like spending money on a gift that dies after a few days, but mostly I don't like receiving something that DIES. Every time I see cut flowers I think of how they were recently growing in the soft, dirty dirt and basking in the warmth of the sun (or at least of a balmy greenhouse) and then SNAP! They're cut, rolled up in dry paper and put on display for all to witness their withering death. (Good for roses, with their prickly thorns. They should at least impart a little pain for their suffering.) Trevor likes this aversion to cut flowers, because he doesn't have to fork out the cash for them at every minor holiday. 

But flowers do not a holiday make, and when the big day rolls around with all of its love and fluff and commercialism, neither Trevor nor I can help wanting a tiny, little treat from the other one. This year we've decided to go out for brunch after church today (that he and Berit are attending, because Marta is sleeping and I am hand-washing the floor, as we are out of Swiffer wet cloths and oddly enough, we no longer own a mop). But I thought I would give you an idea of the past two days of Valentine celebrations for a laugh, because truly, it's just life.

Friday, February 13 (Pretend Valentine's Day, because we don't need two days of sugar for the kids, and we have a party this day)
5:30 a.m.: Marta wakes. I preheat the oven and start making heart-shaped cupcakes.
6:30 a.m.: Berit and Trevor wake. Everyone wants cupcakes for breakfast. I let them eat the ones that crumble out of the heart-shaped molds.
10:30 a.m.: Valentine's Day party at Emma and Andrew's house. Bargain with Berit to eat her lunch, because there are sweets everywhere. Several runny noses attached to hand-holding, toy-sharing children run around the house. Babies share cups. Moms groan and laugh. Why not? We're tired. We made cupcakes at a-quarter-to-six this morning.
3:30 p.m.: Trevor watches the girls while I go to my orthodontist's office for a quick wire-snipping. Suddenly I remember that I have no valentine for Trevor. Quick stop at bookstore turns into long, Valentine's Day gift spending spree.
5:30 p.m.: Dinner is over; girls each open a foil-wrapped chocolate heart. They each get books. Trevor gets a card (more funny than romantic), beer brittle and Tom's Natural Licorice (more for me than him). Berit gets an Izzy and Trevor a grape Crush. Marta gets thin, crackery breadsticks. Trevor receives a valentine from Berit that reads, "To Prince Charming, Love Cinderella." I made it, even the very detailed renderings of Cinderella and Prince Charming on the front. Berit scribbled two lines on it, but was more interested in telling me how many birds needed to be perched on Cinderella's hands than actually making it for her father.
9 p.m.: Trevor goes into the bedroom to shower. I pick up the various pieces of dirty laundry strewn about the house and take them into the room to put in the hamper. As I walk into the bedroom (no, no sexy rose petals or soft music playing, don't worry), Trevor, in his underwear, says "STOP!" He's writing my card. I go into the living room, and he brings it out. For once, it's not funny. It's not really romantic, either. I get the feeling it's the first one on the shelf (unlike him, but possibly because he was in a hurry to get home so I could leave for my ortho appointment). We smile, goofily. Heh. Valentine's Day cards.

Saturday, February 14 (actual Valentine's Day)
8 a.m.: I go spinning. Since it's Valentine's Day and I did not receive any treats from my husband or cards from my children, I take myself out to breakfast afterward. (Technically I run into the coffee shop, order a coffee and egg wrap to go, and eat it in the car on the way home.) 
3:30 p.m.: We take the kids to the waterpark, which is packed with bullies and wicked children who try to shoot waterguns at our tiny baby and dump huge buckets of water from high jungle gyms onto our sensitive toddler's head.
4:30 p.m.: We leave the waterpark. Nothing like changing the whole family into swimsuits and out of swimsuits in one hour's time. 
5 p.m.: We go out for dinner at.... Big Boy. The place is filled with people who feel that Big Boy is the place to go on Valentine's Day. (Parents with children. The very old. High school sophomores.) As Marta throws her food on the floor and Berit is too cold/too hot/too cold/too hot and needs her coat put on/taken off/put on/taken off, I look at Trevor over my "cheesey spinach soup" (Velveeta and minute specks of previously frozen spinach) and his "lumberjack potato pancakes" (insanely delicious, of course) and say, "Happy Valentine's Day." And we laugh so hard that we choke, and the girls stop misbehaving and laugh, too. 

Oh, the... love. It's just... never-ending. It's as if every day is Valentine's Day, isn't it? 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Trevor Time

A couple of days ago I opened a box of organic tomato bisque for the girls and me for lunch. Afterwards, I put the remaining soup, still in its box, in the refrigerator. 

The next day, Trevor hung out with the girls while I took the computer to a coffee shop to get some work done. I came home and he said, "That soup was really good. I had it for lunch." I was pleased because he's not always such a willing participant in my enforcement of almost entirely organic eating. (He likes to eat junk, made from junk dye #49 and junks fats and junk fructose junk syrup.)

Later that evening I took the soup out of the fridge, thinking I'd finish it off at dinner time, since the girls were eating grilled cheese and I wasn't planning on cooking. Trevor saw me and said, "Did you add cream to that soup? Mine was darker." And I said "No, straight from the box."

And Trevor said, "Oh, I got mine from the bowl."

And I said, "Well, then yours was darker because you ate straight tomato paste."

And Trevor said, snottily, "WELL, it was pretty GOOD."

Saturday, February 7, 2009


This morning:

Me: "Trev, today I really want to give the house a good cleaning, then I'm going to go someplace quiet to write for a couple hours, so I can get a few freelance projects wrapped up."

Trevor: "OK. You want to take the girls to Traverse City instead?"

Me: "YES."

Friday, February 6, 2009

On the Up and Up

I really, really don't want to jinx things, but no one has gotten sick, and today is Day Five. So I feel like we might be looking at brighter days ahead -- both figuratively and literally, since today is in the high 20s and this weekend is forecasted to be in the 40s!

Marta does have a little sniffly cold, which is weird because we have been NOWHERE all week, but whatever, it's easy-peazy compared to the throw-up scare. 

I'm now faced with a house full of stomach flu supplies, like bedroom floors lined with old towels, miscellaneous bowls and pots wherever the kids sleep and play, and a plain old mess from being cooped up in the same handful of rooms all week. 

I've currently got chicken marinating and the rest of tonight's dinner ingredients set out on the counter, but since Trevor came home from work early and took Berit to the waterpark and dinner, I think I'm just going to have cookies and call it a night. This weekend is full of promise, with a clean house just hours away, the sunshine streaming in, and everyone (for the most part) healthy. Ah, we're back to normal.

C'est Fin

Yesterday Morning:

Berit: "I need to use the potty."

Me: "Oh, yeah, OK. Go ahead."

Berit: Does. For the rest of the day. Even in public. Is continuing to do so.

Just like that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Groundhog's Day

Last summer, sprinklers were an issue. Whenever I put the sprinkler on the lawn -- as in, every day -- we told Berit she could play in it. And, even on the hottest days, when she was truly considering it, she wouldn't go near the water. 

Every now and then, when passing a neighbor's sprinkler that was set up at the edge of the road to water toward their house (as in, it wouldn't sprinkle toward us, only away), Berit would come with me and ever-so-gently touch the spray of water coming off the big streams. 

We talked about sprinklers, showed her how they worked, whatever she wanted us to do to help her feel comfortable being outside at the same time the sprinkler was on. 

And yesterday, while we were eating lunch, I said, "...It's like a sprinkler." And she said in pure innocence, "Mom, what's a sprinkler?"

I said, "You know, a sprinkler -- with water? Like the one from outside?"

And she had no idea what I was talking about.

This kind of thing has happened lately with her memory. Things we did last summer or a year ago are completely wiped clean, and we teach it to her all over again. It's so funny! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sick and Crazy

On Sunday night I once again met up with my old friend Stomach Flu, who held my full attention for 12 straight hours. It's the second time SF and I have had the pleasure of sharing the same human body this season, and I can't tell you how much I enjoy the surprises SF brings. Like, will it be throw-up? Will it be *other*? Will it be both at once?

Anyway, now I'm waiting. Waiting, of course, for my children to start vomiting in the middle of the night and continue to do so all over the house for 12 straight hours. It's not the mess factor I hate (though I don't really know anyone who loves to scrub throw-up out of carpeting). It's the anticipation. It's going to bed at night, exhausted, pushing the monitor button to eyeball the kids one last time before leaving their awakenings up to my ears only, and snapping to attention because I realize that at any moment they could wake up covered in throw-up, screaming. Their bedding needs washing immediately, their pjs are stuck to their bodies, there's throw-up in every crevice/nostril/fingernail on their bodies and they really, really need a bath but all they want to do is be held and go to sleep. And then it happens again and again, because they are babies and don't realize that they should just get up and throw-up in the bathroom like civilized people. 

Neither of my children has ever begun their stomach flu bouts during the daytime. Have yours? I don't know why it's always nighttime, when they're so unsuspecting, so untelling of mysterious symptoms. It wouldn't be so bad if they woke up in the morning, threw up and spent the next 12 hours sick. At least then we could watch them constantly. But what am I saying? I DO watch them constantly, even at night. I am glued to those monitors with every sniffle, every coo, every shuffle of the blankies. 

I'm living in such fear of the SF that I've got both of their bedrooms tricked out in case of illness. They've got pots for us to hold once we've got a system down, old towels covering the carpeting, blankets already laid out as beds for me or Trev to lay on, waters ready. And I will be so, so pleased to not have to use them. 

I figure I've got until Friday before we're home-free. Unless, of course, today one child becomes infected but fights it off silently and then infects the other on Saturday or something. Does this even happen? All I know is the last time we got the stomach flu, each of us got it exactly four days apart. It's only Wednesday and we're already going stir crazy, trapped in the house! (Though at -19 --YES, NEGATIVE NINETEEN -- we're not going far anyway.)

In other news, Berit and I were crafting today and it occurred to me that she is in no way interested in playing anything at all if it can't be made into "house." For example, we played Play-Doh yesterday, and we could only make balls of various sizes to represent mommies, daddies and kids, and then we had to play with them like they were those people. And then today I got out the glue, paper, macaroni and fuzzy balls and tried to help her make something, and she did stick a few pieces of macaroni onto the glue, but mostly gathered up the fuzzy balls, named them and played house with them. I ended up just drawing different scenes onto construction paper and letting her pretend it was a dollhouse for her... fuzzy craft balls. I tried getting her to match things, notice similarities and differences, pick out textures, even make a mess with the glue, but nothing doing. Just house. What does this mean? There are very few math skills being built up in playing house. Will she not be the famous heart surgeon who travels the world healing impoverished nations that I had planned? Will she be a mere (gasp) housewife who thrives on putting babies into cradles, taking them out, and putting them back in?

Have we been cooped up too long, living in fear of the vomit? Am I making up mirages to analyze out of boredom?? Am I suffering from lack of sleep, lack of inspiration, lack of protein due to my week-long enforcement of the BRAT diet?