My Night Life (A.K.A. Dessert)

10.06.08 Baby's 21st Week

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"You know how babies scream when they're tired?" quipped a friend with a better sense of humor than mine. "What if every night before bed I just started shouting I'M SO TIRED I CAN'T TAKE IT AHHHHH?"

He was kidding, but you know, some nights, the only thing stopping me from doing just that is my dread of waking Leo. As Aaron puts it, having a baby is like your best friend coming over--and never leaving. There are no weekends, no lazy afternoons, no vacations. So when Leo finally calls it a night, there better be dessert.

An hour after dinner every night I realize that the International Committee for Heroics has once again overlooked recognizing me with a medal for being a mom. Then I figure I better fix myself a little something sweet. And I do not mean a fat-free serving of fresh fruit.

It's lucky my pantry raids aren't premeditated, because when I stumble into the kitchen what I'm after is, oh, an enormous brownie sundae. Or maybe a wedge of moist carrot cake with an inch-high drift of cream cheese frosting. Yet the Zoe who grocery shops on Saturday mornings persists in stocking the house with plenty of nice, fresh and dried fruit and maybe, if she's feeling decadent, one little dark chocolate bar.

As a result, I usually emerge from the kitchen with some fruit, toast with honey, applesauce, or decaf tea with milk and sugar. I enjoy my little sweet something, then get back to thinking about the brownie sundae. In fact, I'm thinking about it right now. I'd like caramel sauce and walnuts on that please. Coffee ice cream. Sliced banana. Don't skimp on the whipped cream.

Oh, sorry! As I was saying, I'm insatiable in the evenings, and my dessert search sometimes repeats a second time, provided I haven't passed out on the couch. I think it must be a common mom predicament, the feeling that you need to reward yourself since no one else will, and the reality that the only energy you can summon is to walk to the kitchen and fix some dessert. But there may also be more to it. Because I don't just want a sugary treat after dinner for the fun of it, I'm also somewhat...hungry. Even though I still eat Aaron under the table (an unladylike habit that I thought would pass after the pregnancy!).

Let's consider this more before we agree that I'm a glutton. Did you know that a nursing mom needs as much as 500 extra calories a day (almost 2,700 in all, according to href="/yournewlife/174">this article)? The calorie counts vary from source to source, and I assume that how big your baby is and how much they're growing also affects this. But clearly, Leo is not living on the caloric equivalent of a fruit cup. The kid grows out of onesies rapidly, and he spends most of his waking hours turning over repeatedly, kicking his feet and waving his arms over his head.

A brownie sundae is probably not called for, but I am going to make a point of planning for--let's call them late-evening-snacks-of-the-non-savory-variety--that offer protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. At least until Leo starts eating solids, I may as well admit that I'll be back in the kitchen most nights. Hey, I'm after my just desserts!

Maple-Ginger Plum Parfaits