The Baby and I Have a Cold, So Today Is Cancelled

Are you sitting on your couch with your shirt off and tissues up your nose? If not, you’re really missing out. It’s what all the cool kids are doing today, and by the “cool kids,” I mean “me and my daughter.”

When I first had Katie, multiple people advised me to sleep when she slept, which proved difficult. In the first place, babies sleep unpredictably. A nap might last 15 minutes or four hours and there’s never any way to tell which kind of nap it is until it’s over.

Secondly, there’s lots to do around the house when you have a newborn. If we weren’t washing bottles, we were doing laundry.

But, as time goes on, I’m growing to like the spirit of that advice, which is: real life is cancelled for a while. Put on comfy clothes and find a spot on the couch.

Yesterday, I had a moment of ambition and decided to tidy up a bit. I got as far as removing three blankets, two spitup-stained shirts, and a pile of rank burp cloths from the couch. Once they were gone, I could see an exact outline of my butt in my favorite corner. The remotes were on the cushion beside my butt imprint. The sofa table behind my spot held three coasters, ringed with coffee, water, and seltzer respectively. It was very clear that I’ve been spending a lot of time here.

“Ugh, it’s like a nest,” I said to Adam, waving at the grimy blankets and butt imprint.

“Aw, it’s exactly a nest,” he said, looking teary, and then I looked again and saw it with different eyes.

It’s a nest and we’re in it. Outside, the woods are particularly dark and deep right now, but we’re as safe as it’s possible to be, and we have each other.

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to have a cold. Excuse me while I add another layer of blankets to our nest.

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I Am Eating All the Mango, for Tomorrow, We May Die. (OK, Not Us. But Democracy, Anyway.)

So, that sucked.

I’m sitting here on the couch with a baby in my lap, one tit out, and all of the mango slices we just bought. I’m going to sit here, feeding my lovely lamprey, eating expensive fruit right out of the container, and call everyone I know, starting with my senators.

I feel helpless, and it seems like all is lost. This would be a great time for reinforcements to ride over the ridge and rescue us at the last minute.

But I fear they’re not coming. We’ll have to be our own reinforcements.

This is a hard day, you guys. I hope you can get your hands on a snuggly baby … or at least some mango slices.

Babies Are Funny

At our last pediatrician appointment, the nurse asked me to fill out the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, which measures the risk of postpartum depression. Fortunately, it wasn’t timed: even with Adam there, it took 20 minutes to fill out a single page in between diaper changes, baby soothing, diaper bag rearrangement, and so on.

The very first question stumped me:

 

I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things:

  • As much as I always could
  • Not quite so much now
  • Definitely not so much now
  • Not at all

 

“This is a problem,” I told Adam, showing him the sheet as he fiddled with the stroller. “We need another option.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. We need an option for, ‘This baby is fucking hilarious and I never stop laughing.'”

Babies are funny, you guys. I didn’t really know until I had one. It helps that I love fart jokes, and Baboo spends about half her time passing gas or pooping.

This afternoon, she shit all over her car seat. That might not strike you as hilarious, but you have to envision the full picture: she was asleep in her car seat in a puddle of shit, and she didn’t even open her eyes. She didn’t even move.

The day before, she screamed at me for five minutes because I put her in a swaddle and she couldn’t access her hands. Keep in mind that I tied her hands down to start because she kept smacking herself in the face while she was drifting off to sleep.

So, to sum up: sitting in her own shit? No problem. Temporary inability to poke herself in her own eye? UNACCEPTABLE.

Babies are funny. Get yourself a baby, and you can totally give up cable. When they’re sweet and giggly, you’ll be too entranced to need any other form of entertainment. And when they’re ridiculous, you’ll be laughing too hard. Also, you’ll be busy, probably cleaning up poop.

 

 

8 Things I Didn’t Know About Babies Before I Had a Baby Myself

The Great Baboo is eight weeks old today, and for the entirety of that eight weeks, I’ve been meaning to write a few words about how stupid I was about babies before I had one.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still stupid. Stupider, in fact, by virtue of not having slept for more than a few hours at a stretch since April. But now I’m also too tired to worry about my own stupidity, so I’m counting that as progress.

I will say that I had set the bar low for myself. I bought a bunch of baby books, but they weren’t about *my* baby, so they were pretty boring. I knew I couldn’t struggle through them all, so I just concentrated on the parts having to do with survival — ours and the baby’s.

In this regard, Adam’s dad-books were better than my mom-books: the baby care industrial complex doesn’t expect men to obsess over developmental stages or childrearing philosophies, so they keep it light: lots of pictures and practical advice, next to no guilt or complicated theory. Adam’s books told me how to pack a diaper bag and soothe a crying baby, and they never once told me that I was a shiftless whore for wanting to feed my baby formula or take some time to myself to read a book now and then.

Anyway. I’ve learned a lot since those pre-baby days. I almost always remember to put new diapers in the diaper bag and both Baboo and I have managed to escape these early months with only minor injuries. (My nipples look like they’ve been pulled through a keyhole; Baboo has a cut on her thumb from overzealous nail-clipping. I’ve nearly recovered from both.)

Here are a few things about babies (or the process of having a baby) that I didn’t know a few months ago:

  1. Babies’ heads are weirdly shaped. Before I had a kid, I thought Edward Gorey was just having a little fun when he drew infants with squashy, oblong heads. But no: they’re really shaped like that. My first thought when I saw my baby was, “Where’s the top of her head?” I fully expected the doctors to tell me that she was missing something crucially important in the cranium area.
  2. Sleep deprivation makes you forget things. Here’s how I now describe movies I’ve seen: “It was a superhero dealie — you know, not with Batman, the other one — and that guy is in it, the one who looks hotter with a beard.” (BTW, this might mean that I’m describing either a Superman movie — not Batman, but Superman — or an Avengers movie — not DC, but Marvel. IMHO, both the new Superman and Captain America look better with beards.)
  3. Dilaudid is amazing. They gave me some in a pump after my C-section, and I spent a blissful 24 hours pushing the button every eight minutes or so. I also remembered every dream I ever had, and had a lovely conversation with my grandparents, who are deceased. When the hospital staff came to take the pump away, I made what I thought was a compelling argument for keeping it. It was: “Noooo. Dooon’t. Just dooon’t.” It didn’t work.
  4. Nothing else is really important when you have a kid, except for things that affect that kid. I was sort of afraid that might be the case, but what I didn’t understand was that this means many things are crucially important, because your child lives in the world. You still care about your job and your community and your health, because your baby needs you to make money and be a whole person and maintain a support network and not keel over in the supermarket while buying diapers.
  5. Wisdom is really exhaustion. Who gives a shit about people being wrong on the internet when you’ve only had an hour and 45 minutes of sleep?
  6. I have opinions about child rearing. Before I had Baboo, I was aware that there were many schools of thought about how to raise a kid, but other than thinking it was silly to create more isms, I didn’t have much of an opinion about them. Or so I thought. Now I realize that I have a lot of deeply held beliefs about baby feeding and baby sleeping, etc. (I still don’t care what anyone else does, as long as they don’t abuse or neglect their kids.)
  7. Things can go south in a hurry when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. After an uneventful pregnancy, I developed gestational hypertension and needed a C-section. Afterward, my incision opened up and I broke out in hives all over my body, probably in reaction to breastfeeding, which I initially swore I wouldn’t do, but wound up doing anyway. (More on that in a future post.) Basically, everything went from awesome to unbelievably shitty in the space of a few weeks.
  8. Babies grow *fast*. Three days ago, our baby had two modes when awake: crying and blinking. Now she peeps and coos and smiles and laughs. Adam said, “It’s like she went to sleep one night and woke up with the ability to communicate.” It’s hard to take our eyes off her. Also, we don’t want to.

 

 

 

So, I Had a Baby

Just about seven weeks ago now, I had a baby, and I’ve been meaning to write something about all of that, but it turns out that’s it’s hard to get much done when you’re trying to keep a newborn alive. However, right now Baboo’s dad is bathing her and I’m hiding in the living room, finishing up my coffee from this morning (at 8:09 pm) so I thought I’d take a moment to catch up with you guys.

Having a baby is awesome, that’s the first thing I want to tell you. I’m not kidding. Yes, I’m sleep-deprived and feel stupid a lot of the time and worry that everything I’m doing is wrong. But on the upside: joy. I’ve never in my life been as happy as I am now, even if I’m also exhausted and worried all the time. In photos, I have the deranged expression of someone who recently joined a cult. One that uses heavy drugs to control their followers.

Babies — they’re good. The other day I took our new little person to the grocery store. While we were shopping, a lady of about my age walked by us and peered in the carriage.

“Oh, a little baby,” she said reverently.

That’s how I feel these days. We have a little baby, and it’s the best. I wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling surprised.

Conversation With Adam

I’m nervously watching my Facebook today to see if the stolen data notice pops up. In the meantime, memories like these are why it’s so hard to think about leaving. From a few years back:

Adam: Ugh, everything’s terrible.
Me: I’m gonna fix it for you.
Adam: How?
Me: I’m gonna draw a dick on your forehead.
Adam: And that will solve my problem how?
Me: Perspective! Once you have a dick on your forehead, you’ll be, like, “Wow, I didn’t know easy I had it before I had a dick on my forehead.”
Adam: You’re the meanest lady I know.
Me: “Those were the days. The days when my forehead was dickfree.”
Adam: I’m sorry I cleaned your belt with saddle soap today.
Me: Aw, don’t feel bad. Because then, you see, you’ll find out that I drew the dick in washable ink. And you’ll feel so happy! It’ll be like that scene in “Fight Club,” only without the fear of death.
Adam: Are you on drugs?

Also here’s a cat that looks like the Punisher:

OK, fine, it’s Photoshopped. But technology should be used for *nice* things is my point.

Breaking Rules in the Most Boring Way Possible

One thing they used to tell new bloggers back in the day when people had the attention span for blogs was never to write about how tired you are or how you have nothing to write about.

Observe me as I break some rules.

I have plenty to write about — I am hugely pregnant now, just rotund, full up to the eyeballs with baby — but I am also very tired, and I’m more interested in the tiredness than I am in almost anything else.

It’s a different tired than the first trimester, which felt like being lightly drugged. I just wanted to sleep all the time. It was kind of refreshing.

Now, in the third trimester, I am bone tired. In fact, I finally understand the meaning of that phrase — I’m so tired, I can feel my bones, and they sort of hurt, and also, maybe they’re coming apart at the molecular level and will soon crumble into dust.

I have had two naps so far today, and neither one involved real sleep. Instead, I just lay there on the couch, staring at the wall through slitted eyes until I started hallucinating. Pink coins fell in a shower, over and over again, like a screen saver at a casino.

“I wonder if it’s OK to see that,” I said aloud to myself, as I lay huddled on the couch. The baby kicked me in the bladder, and I ignored it for as long as I could before getting up to pee … again. The hallucination or whatever it was stopped as soon as I got up to go to the bathroom.

The good news, of course, is that I’ll have the baby very soon, and then I’ll be a whole different kind of tired. They say a change is as good as a rest. WE’LL SEE.