Friday, December 25, 2009

So Tender and Mild

As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted a baby for Christmas. This year—my 35th on the planet—I finally got one.

I could not be happier.

I am, in fact, so full of love for her and Dr. Husband that I almost can’t stand it. My cup seriously runneth over—and I haven't even started hitting the sauce.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Be of Good Cheer

Today is the winter solstice, which I believe means tonight will be the longest night of the year which means I might have to take my own life today because LAST NIGHT was the longest night I’ve had in a long time and it was pretty miserable and I don’t think I can handle a repeat, particularly two days before the arrival of my parents and brother and the full frontal assault of Christmas.

Apparently the gods really didn’t like my hubris—or perhaps my pseudo-Catholic invocation of “miracles” about the baby taking a nap in her crib on Friday. The baby is still fussy, including most of last night.

Granted, Dr. Husband and I are lucky. (You hear that, gods? We’re lucky! I’m grateful! Thank you for this blissfully well-behaved-almost-all-the-time child!) The fact that a bad, sleepless night with our baby stands out from the other nights with our baby is reason enough for some parents of newborns to refuse to speak to us and/or permanently hate us. And though a night of a baby making whiney “eh-eh-eh” noises and then crying if you try to move her off your shoulder or change positions slightly or take a deep breath—well, I’ve babysat enough kids and read enough books and heard enough parenting war stories to know that “eh-eh-eh” noises AREN’T THAT BAD, even if they’re keeping you up all night. She could be, for instance, screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs all night long or threatening to run away from home and take the family cat with her.

The problem is partly that we expect her to be a decent sleeper. She almost always is, so why would we bother anticipating a night of constant fussing? As loathe as I am to admit it, sometimes Dr. Husband really is right about his happiness/reality/expectations equation. So from here on out, I’m going to assume that my child will never sleep and I will never get to put her down and I will never get to shower again. Because thinking that way is sure to make me feel better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good for Goodness' Sake

The baby continued to be a Christmas angel all the way through Dr. Husbands’ workplace holiday party Friday night. She charmed everyone present and did not whine or cry or make even the tiniest peep the entire time—a whole hour-and-a-half!—we were there.

Then, because karma is the bitch that she is, the baby has been fussing non-stop ever since. We told her that Santa will only come if she stops being so difficult, but she just got this look on her face like I can’t believe you’re stooping to idle threats already. I’m only a month old, people. Haven’t you got anything better up your sleeves? And then the real crying began.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Baby's All Grown Up

Not only did my child nap long enough on the couch this morning for me to do a load of laundry, bake a cake for Dr. Husband’s workplace Holiday Party, and clean the dishes (Martha Stewart, I’ve got your number!), but at this exact moment—2:03 in the afternoon—my child is napping again all by herself—in her crib. As Dr. Husband said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do that before.”

Indeed. It’s a goddamn Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Welcome to the Nursing Home

So, I’m standing in my kitchen rinsing some stray coffee grounds out of the sink when I catch a whiff of a rather nasty sour milk-type smell. I run the disposal, but the smell is still there. I transfer a used plate from the counter to the dishwasher, but the smell is still there. I stick the sponge in the dishwasher, but the smell is still there. I spy pieces of breast pump lounging in a bowl of water and think, Ah-hah! Of course! I wash them out and drain the bowl and stick it in the dishwasher, but the smell is still there. Fuck it, I think, and carry the baby into the living room—and the smell follows me. And I realize the smell is emanating from me—from my shoulder, specifically, where my darling baby girl spat up earlier this morning whereupon I decided that it wasn’t worth it to put her down—which would wake her up, which would make my chances of getting any work done “zero”—and change shirts—which would mean another load of brights which would be annoying because the last load just finished the rinse cycle, and, no, I can’t just toss the shirt in the laundry basket because, hello! The smell! So I left it on and forgot about it, and, yes, I’ve learned my lesson.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Modern Condition

The baby’s Social Security card arrived in the mail today. Now she seems like an honest to god person. No, it wasn’t the peeing or the pooing or the eating or spitting up or crying or cooing that made her seem real—it was a two-by-three inch piece of blue and white paper that the government sent her in the mail.

She’s supposed to sign it when she joins the workforce. So strange to think of this cute little lump getting her first job and paying her first taxes and experiencing what will hopefully be her first—and only!—inkling of why some people decide to become Republicans.

Friday, December 11, 2009

We All Have Our Beefs

The baby and I attempted to go out to lunch today. Pretty exciting stuff. Leaving the house! In a car! All for the love of a bacon cheeseburger!

Around 11 we started getting ready. I nursed her. She pooped while eating. I changed her diaper. She pooped again, leaking through her clothes. I changed her again. I laid her on the bed so I could get dressed. I put on some pants. The baby started to wail. I picked her up and calmed her. I laid her down. She started to wail. I left her on the bed anyway and put on my shirt. I picked her up. She continued to fuss, so I burped her. She spat up all over her sleeve and my shirt. I changed her outfit. I put her down. I changed my shirt. She, predictably, wailed. I looked at the clock and Holy fucking hell—time to nurse again.

It was 2pm by the time we finally left the house, both of us in clean clothes, one of us fed but screaming nevertheless because she doesn’t like being in her car seat since it doesn’t involve human contact. This is unfortunate when the bacon cheeseburger of her lactating and ravenous mother’s fondest desire can only be found on the other side of the city—a 30 minute car ride away.

It’s also unfortunate that her mother forgot that the burger of her fondest desire can only be paid for with cash.

By the time I lugged the baby in her loathsome car seat into the nearest grocery store to use the ATM and back into the car and to the burger joint, I had pretty much lost my appetite, and my will to live.

I ate 3/4ths of my burger while the baby blessedly slept, and I swooped her out of there the second she cracked an eyelid and realized she was sitting in the wretched car seat.

She screamed so hard on the way home I was convinced she was starving to death and pulled over to nurse her as rush hour traffic whizzed by and I fretted as I went to collect her from the backseat that I would either lock her in the car and myself out or one or both of us would be hit by another vehicle or I would hit her head on some part of the car as I nursed her (the steering wheel seemed a good choice) or some creepy old man would ogle my exposed breast.

In general I consider myself pretty calm for a new parent (others have even commented on this themselves! people who aren't my own mother!), but this tranquility apparently vanishes the moment transportation—or screaming—become involved.

As we resumed our drive home and the baby resumed her screaming, I decided that we won’t try to leave the house in the car again until the baby is 3, which is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that Christmas is right around the corner and unless I can get out and do a little shopping, all my precious baby will be getting from me is the gift of life—and whatever crap I can find for her on the internet.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Ladies' Lounge

The baby and I braved a department store today, as I was in desperate need of a pair of pants to fit my current post-partum form and psyche. (“Why don’t you just wear your maternity pants?” Dr. Husband suggested. Why don’t I just wash down a bunch of pills with some vodka and slit my wrists and, for good measure, stick my head in the oven?)

It turns out there’s this whole underworld of moms to be found at 11am on a Tuesday in the Nordstrom women’s bathroom. They have a few chairs and a couch, so it is the place to nurse and, apparently, the place to judge and be judged.

I’d just finished feeding the baby and in the 13 minutes it took me to hook my nursing bra back together she let loose one little cry, probably because she realized, Ack! I just ate lunch in a public bathroom! and this random other nursing mom looks over and says, “Sounds like someone is still hungry!”

Then, as I finished fixing my attire and my baby stared at a nearby light fixture, random nursing mom #3 told random nursing mom #4 she was glad to hear that #3’s baby likes looking at people’s faces because if a baby seems more interested in gazing at objects, like, say, a ceiling fan or, say, a light fixture, than at a person’s face, it’s an early sign of autism.

And then, as I we headed out the door and I tried to convince my fussing baby that riding in her stroller couldn’t be that bad, a random child-free woman waltzed into the bathroom and said, “Looks like someone needs to be fed!”

It looks to this mom like a couple of someones need to mind their own business.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Pretty in Pink

The past few weeks I’d been worrying that my baby was going to start having gender identity issues, as her entire wardrobe before her arrival consisted solely of gender-neutral clothing—slate-colored leggings, brown sweaters, pale-aqua shirts—clothes that, come to think of it, no man would ever wear—at least not off Broadway—but it turns out when you stick a baby in a plain-white onesie and a pair of ice-blue leggings, she looks like a boy. It turns out all those ruffles and frills and flowers and hearts adorning all those pink, pink, pink shirts and jackets and rompers and sleepers are the only things in the world that will ward off the questions, “How old is he?” and “What’s his name?”

Who cares if people don’t correctly assess the sex of the baby? you say! That’s what I used to say, too, back when I naively thought a person could dress her newborn in pale green and have the world receive her as a girl. But it turns out I feel very protective of my offspring—ready to pounce on anyone who fails to see her for exactly who she is: an adorable, brilliant, motivated, fashion-forward, perpetually hungry girl. What else does she have at this age beyond her sex to define her? She’s not old enough to acquire her own message-bearing t-shirts or haircuts.

So I bought her a package of girly knit caps: a white one with pink flowers, a pink-and-white striped one, and one plain pink. She was wearing the pink-and-white striped one this morning when a fellow customer at my local coffee shop asked, “So, what’s his name?”

If the antidote is more pink, we’re in luck as this week the pink has been pouring in from friends and relatives and relatives of friends and friends of relatives like a tide of frosting on Valentine’s Day: pink footie pajamas with a matching pink hat; pink overalls with a pink-trimmed shirt; a denim dress with pink sequins, pink leggings, and a pink undershirt.

I have to say that even though when I put my baby in the frilly white bunting in which I myself was brought home from the hospital, she appeared to be dressed in drag, my pale white baby girl does look rather good in pink.