In grad school, if someone really liked a story, they’d smile to themselves and would say with great reverence, “It’s like jazz” — which to be honest, always made me throw up in my mouth a little. What does that even mean? That that particular work for fiction was random with no recognizable melody? (“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin earned this compliment a lot, and that novella had an actual jazz player in it — double ka-pow! The last phrase — “the very cup of trembling” — still baffles me. Totally over my head.)
As much as I’ve made fun of that turn of phrase, I think I get it, but I’m applying it to CSI Baby. There are all these rules and experts who dole out information, but once you have the kid, you still kind of have to make it up as you go along. So we’re learning, and once we learn one thing about Sasquatch, we have to ditch it, because he’s changing. He keeps changing!
Luckily, Husband is a Diaper and Swaddle Ninja (no surprise there. He’s quite fastidious. When he makes our bed, you can bounce a quarter off the sheets. When I make our bed, it looks like I made it with my feet…which is what I sometimes do) and as equal a partner as you can have. (It can’t be equal, because it’s all on the girl, people.) Last night, Husband said “After your massage, don’t rush home. Why don’t you go to Starbuck’s and write for a while? I’ll stay home with the baby and do laundry.”
Um, I think that’s totally a line from Porn for New Moms, am I right?
I work with someone whose wife has MS and he’s mentioned in the past how NYC is so not wheelchair-friendly. His wife has to motor a few blocks sometimes to find a sidewalk with a ramp. I kind of couldn’t relate so it didn’t mean anything, but now that I’m slowly re-entering society with the aid of a kick-arse stroller (borrowed through a friend of friend. People are so generous!), I’m finding the sidewalks challenging, restaurants too narrow, etc. I have yet to attempt the subway system, but there’re only a few with elevators, and the whole thing just surprises me. I just thought by now the city would have its act together. Sort of seems very 80s to not be handicapped friendly.
These seem to be the cardinal sins of being a parent — when you introduce any of the above. So far, I’m batting 2 out of 3, and if it helped him sleep, I would park the baby in front of the TV without guilt. Sorry. I did have a moment when I fed the baby formula. One friend who wanted to visit during a feeding was like “What about those nursing covers? Can I get you one?” And I’m like dude, maybe, if feeding were some peaceful, Mother Nature activity. For me and Sasquatch, it’s like a battle of wills where we wrestle till the other acquiesces (usually me). One late night, I had had enough and broke out formula and it totally felt like the equivalent of an alcoholic breaking out the vodka.
Another lesson — baby folds of flesh can be very deep. Like I just discovered a bit of severe diaper rash last night at 1 a.m. that may have been there for a while, but that’s because I had no idea that baby rolls were that DEEP. (Sorry, no other word comes to mind). That did make me feel guilty.
Finally — my other lesson learned this week? Hand sanitizer really hurts when you have a paper cut. Thank you.
Catching up with some TV with the DVR and caught Zach Galifianakis hosting SNL yesterday. His opening monologue sounded completely improvised (it was so different from other monologue writing) and he was so odd, selling off-color or really stupid jokes by just staring directly into the camera. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen on TV in an age and totally made me miss performing.
Also, Vampire Weekend performed. Any suggestions on what album to get?
I do, I love my ma and my da. They have been phenomenal rock stars in these hazy first weeks, making sure I eat and sleep, doing baby laundry. Actually, I think in making sure I eat, they have forgotten to eat anything themselves a few times. And my mother is one of the funniest people I know…unless I’m running on two hours of sleep. Samples form this week:
Me: I think my beauty peaked when I met Husband, when I was 27.
Mom: That’s not true.
Me, anticipating a warm, fuzzy reassurance.
Mom: You peaked when you were 22.
Me: This breastfeeding business is neverending. I’m like feeding and pumping for three hours and then have to start over.
Mom: (overexcited, slightly blaming me) I know! That’s what I had to deal with when you were a baby!
Me: Cool, so when the baby gets older, let’s make him feel guilty about it.
Mom: See, see! His head is less round than yesterday!
Me: Don’t take it personally, Junior. She’s always like this.
Me: Can you pick up some cheese on your way here?
Mom: No, I understand cheese you guys eat. What about cheddar?
Me: Sure, cheddar is good, cheddar is great.
Mom: I know cheddar.
Mom: Oh no, the blanket is covering his mouth! He can’t breathe.
Me: Oh boy.
While we’ve had some Michael Jackson-in-Germany-with-the-baby-covered-in-blanket moments in our Swaddle Olympics, so far, we have kept the baby alive. Yay! This is mostly because we’re showing superhuman control in not eating his head.
Baby came a bit more than two weeks early. I had the pleasure of two births — natural and an 11-th hour c-section, so right now that I’m out of the safety net of the hospital, am much more blott-o without the protective nurses and major drugs in my system. I feel like I’ve been launched from major surgery into the Amazing Race. Don’t get me wrong, the baby is totally cute and I sing like Adam Sandler to calm him down, but I am TOTALLY at the beginning of this experience and have a long road ahead.
If you don’t hear from me, it’s only b/c I’ve lost my mind.
Dude, today, I think it felt like it took me thirty minutes to walk a city block. It was strange to walk so slowly that I felt like a 90-year-old meditative monk or something, with everyone whizzing past me, but I guess them’s the breaks.
The only thing that’s really tough is getting out of bed. I have no core muscles right now, so rising up from the horizontal position is a pain. What I need is a helicopter air lift. As it is, I get myself up by using Husband as a rock wall climbing wall, grabbing to parts of his pajamas as little leverage spots. He’s pretty nice about it, even when he’s asleep. If it were me, I would get mad.
My mom is fixated on the baby having a round head. To her, I think, it’s like the ultimate in beauty. We’ve already gotten in several fights about it. She insists Baby needs to sleep on his stomach with his head sideways, so his head doesn’t flatten from the mattress, whereas current parenting wisdom says babies should sleep on their back to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
I’ve actually asked friends about this, and the answer I got was “When a child is totally neglected, as in never picked up or held, they get flat heads. For instance, children in orphanages have flat heads.” Mom has come back with “There is a special helmet you can put your baby in. I will buy it for you.” When we fight about it, I literally melt down into “Death trumps flat head! Mother status trumps Grandma!” but she’ll just talk over me about how one of the best gifts she gave me as a parent is my round head.
Fortunately, after a serious talk about how the topic raises my blood pressure, she has dropped the subject with me. But darn it, Mom gets her way. After all our bickering, I now totally surreptitiously feel up the back of baby heads and children heads, checking for round head. I made my cousin feel my head up the other day. She said I have a SQUARE HEAD. What is THAT about.