Cutting Your Teeth

Yo, we’re wrapping up two baby milestones this week — first tooth and first barf. Both are really special for different reasons. Baby has been chewing his fingers and drooling tablespoons of drool down his shirt for what feels like years, so the claim of “teething” seemed like a crying wolf thing, you feel me? But now, truly, he is teething. I felt a small jagged edge on the bottom of his gums, and it was thrilling. Unfortunately for this kid, teething means suffering. He’s got low fever, lethargic behavior, and physical pain to grapple with. Yesterday, he threw up not once, but twice. (Stop eating now, because I’m going to go on and on about this topic.)

In the past, when he’s peed on me and performed a slurpee machine-style number two, I froze in terror. Now it seems that vomiting inspires an equal woman-of-action mode in me, which is I remain paralyzed until Husband says I ought to think about getting up or something. The first barf was momentous, a scene right out of “The Exorcist,” but starring Baby. It was truly remarkable to witness how much quantity could emerge from such a small body. We cleaned for hours.

Barf number two will always be close to my heart, because Baby threw up down my shirt. The silver lining here is we didn’t have to wash any furniture or floor, because it was all…in my bra.

Hells yeah, I went there.

Hells yeah, I’m writing entire blog entries on baby body fluids. I’m living the dream, people.

But on another note, we all just want Baby to feel better and feel thankful he was somewhat vertical for both barfing incidents, so he didn’t have to contend with choking. We can’t wait till this phase passes, so Baby can go back to being his usual sunny self. Now, I really get what “cutting your teeth” means.

subway etiquette, part 2

Today’s commute home was insanely packed. An older African-American woman gave up her seat for me today, because she thought I was pregnant. Aww yeah, the body is back.

My Son, My Executioner

There is something about having Baby that makes me acutely aware of my mortality, of the mortality of everyone in my life. I’m not the first to think that. Husband said Donald Hall wrote a poem about it:

My son, my executioner
I take you in my arms
Quiet and small and just astir
and whom my body warms

Sweet death, small son,
our instrument of immortality,
your cries and hunger document
our bodily decay.

We twenty two and twenty five,
who seemed to live forever,
observe enduring life in you
and start to die together.

~Donald Hall

P.S. MC Abe, don’t read this!!! I don’t want you to get bummed about over the darker entries!

When Actors Act Blind

It’s a toss up for me — what do I find more annoying — actors who play mentally retarded characters or blind characters? Right now, it might be the latter. I’ve been watching Covert Affairs, a series about a young FBI agent who pretends she works at the Smithsonian (yes, it’s as cheesy as it sounds, but I need to watch something as I fold laundry, and Grey’s isn’t back on yet, speaking of cheesy shows.) There’s a supporting character who is an ex-field operative, very smart, who is relegated to office computer hacking work, though he longs to re-enter the field; oh, and by the way, he’s blind.

I don’t know why it bugs me so much. Maybe because every time the actor cops a feel on all the furniture around him, I know that he can actually see, and how goofy are all those efforts when you can really see? It reminds of this play I saw in undergrad. This very sweet, well-meaning young lady was cast as a blind character, and to prepare, she walk around campus for hours with a blindfold on. Whenever I saw her, or when I think of that now, it just makes me tired. It just makes acting seem so un-fun. I mean, how stupid of a use of time is that? That’s about as fun as memorizing lines.


Parenting Regrets

I went to the doctor recently and it was hard to get his attention, because he was crushed with patients and whipping out his Droid every two seconds to check medication safety issues, etc., but at some point when he found out I had a kid, he slowed down and said, “If I have one piece of advice for you is to get your kids the best teachers you can. I have four daughters. The eldest two were dancers, the second one was sports, and the youngest one is a violinist at __ conservatory [sorry, I’m literally blanking on the name but it’s a good one –Ed.].”

He whipped out his droid and played an mp3 that featured a Mendelssohn quartet, and this rich, flawless, inhumanly beautiful sound filled the teeny exam room.

“My one regret as a parent was not to get her the best teacher right away. We just had her study with someone in the neighborhood until that teacher said he taught her everything he knew and it was time to study with a new teacher. When we brought her to this excellent teacher, she was eight years old and she had to unlearn everything she knew and start over. When I think of that, those wasted years, and how she might be farther along now, I feel intense regret.”

You know, from my perspective, if this is the only parental regret this guy has, he’s doing pretty well. I mean, he had four kids and they all went to college, so that achievement right there is remarkable. Kids are not cheap, as he kept saying during my exam. And while I’m not free of random panic and guilt, I also feel like I’m not a delinquent, so how bad of a parent can I really be? And starting Baby’s path with a non-delinquent mom, I mean, that says winner to me right there. Is that the wrong attitude to have? Perhaps there is room to be more self-critical. (My own mother would undoubtedly say YES, YOU HAVE THE WRONG ATTITUDE! COMB YOUR HAIR! HOW CAN YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE LIKE THAT! Ha ha hee ho ho wha.)

banana apocalypse

Wow, so did not pull off the working mom balance this week. Had two nights of four hours sleep, one fever, one baby with runny nose, two missed meetings (thought they were on Thursday, when they were on Wednesday), one future planning session regarding my parents (bringing up realizations of parental mortality that were unwelcome and had a psychic cost), one black cardigan with white spit-up and ripped hole in arm pit, one week since I did the dishes, one week since I folded laundry, three nights of sharing my zombie company with in-laws in town. It’s all fine now, but dude, by Wednesday, I told Husband, ” I am so not pulling it off this week.” When previously lost baby bottle was found at daycare, where I had forgotten it, I told him, “Yeah, that’s just part of me batting a thousand.”

But now, it’s Friday, it’s over. I’m going to sleep till 6 a.m. when Baby needs me next (Par-tay!) and am unwinding with white wine in a glass that smells like…spaghetti sauce.

Banana apocalypse is just what we call the mess on Baby’s bib after he’s had solids. It’s like banana genocide, a banana that died for all our sins. I am like banana apocalypse this week.

Oh, and today, I told my friend Becca that Baby has started to thin out (nothing to be alarmed about, just normal baby growing), and that it’s really putting the pressure on, since I still haven’t.

Thank you.

Un dia at Dia Beacon (hardy har har)

Finally got around to checking out the Dia Arts Center, a conceptual art museum in an old box printing factory, in Beacon, New York, and took my folks and Baby. When we got up there, I realized, “Oh yeah, I hate conceptual art.” But it wasn’t all that bad. There was a time when I went to a museum every free weekend I had, but somewhere along the way, I burned out on seeing paintings and sculpture, and while Dia didn’t renew my interest in visual arts exactly, I still dug some of it.

In general, I dig stuff that’s more obvious, and conceptual art generally feels very cold to me, cerebral. There was one exhibit of smashed-up, smooshy car fenders, which to me seemed like the most stereotypical art installation known to man kind. There was one exhibit of string — just string extending from floor to ceiling at different angles, and I had to caution my father to quit rolling the stroller over them, through them. There were some pieces that seemed like…very expensive, large holes.

But not all of the art left me detached. Louise Bourgouise had an entire floor of her sculptural pieces. When the elevator doors open up, you’re greeted by a large hanging, ragged, teardrop-shaped mass, reminiscent of an upside down pig in a butcher shop. Being on the same floor of her art was like being surrounded by gigantic tumors — it was damn creepy and I was psyched to get out of there. Another exhibit I liked much better was Richard Serra. He created a bunch of steel abstract circular pieces as large as the hull of a ship that were sometimes circular, sometimes labyrinthine. You could enter most of them and the path would narrow or widen. They all made me feel like Kate Winslet in Titantic, but in a good way, like a in version where the ship doesn’t go down. (?) The best part was when I asked my mom what would we do if they happened to close the sculpture on us, and she said she would tear up her jacket to make a rope for us to climb out.