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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Who Is Beano and What Will She Be Like?

Before I got pregnant, I assumed that I would know a lot about my baby long before she was born. My mother says that she knew who my sister and I were when we were in the womb — and this was before ultrasound was common, so she couldn’t even see us.

Adam scoffed at this when I told him.

“This is like when you claim to remember things that happened to you when you were six months old,” he said. “Memory is unreliable. You think you remember because you saw pictures and filled in the gaps.”

“No, it’s for real,” I insisted. “My mom knew that I’d like to stay up all night, because I started doing the rumba as soon as her head hit the pillow, and she knew that Meggy would be shy and quiet, because she was a much more mellow baby. The memory thing is real, too: Meg remembers being weighed on a baby scale.”

“Sure, she does.”

“Women remember things much earlier than men do.”

“That’s because women are lying liars who make things up.”

I’m not going to get into the memory thing here, but Adam may have a point about inventing insights about babies, because I can’t say for sure that I really know that much about the Great Baboo (aka Beano, aka The Miracle Child).

I’m sure of the following:

  • Beano hates: the Doppler, loud noises, and when I get stressed out about stuff
  • Beano loves: car rides (Zzzz), spicy food, Mel Brooks movies, her thumb

Also, on the last ultrasound, she clapped her hands and got the hiccups. It was the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I once got to feed a baby lamb with a bottle.

I have a few other inklings. I feel like she’s probably a very determined person, but that might just be based on the skill with which she avoids the ultrasound wand. I think she’ll probably be a very silly person, but I don’t know how she’d turn out differently with me and Adam for parents.

I don’t know whether she’ll be shy, chatty, bookish, athletic, practical, dreamy, organized, creative, and/or analytical. I don’t know what her romantic or sexual orientation will be, or her gender identity, or whether she’ll be a plump person like her mom or a muscular person like her dad or a lean person like my aunt or my grandfather.

I’m guessing she’ll have wavy or curly hair, based on our hair, and that her eyes will be brown, because Adam’s eyes are brown and mine are hazel and I still remember a few things from high school science classes. She probably will not be excessively tall, since both her parents are compact, for ease of travel.

I hope she’ll love the Oxford comma, and be kind to herself and others, and be fairly liberal (or at least not someone who would cut funding for CHIP). I don’t care what she does for a living when she grows up, or whether she’s a genius or good at school or sports.

All jokes about punctuation and politics aside, she doesn’t have to like the things we like, although I hope for her sake she can at least tolerate hockey and Sherlock Holmes or it’s going to be a long childhood.

Most of all, I’m just glad she’s here. I wish she would live in my belly forever, and also that her birthday was tomorrow.

Yesterday, on the car ride home from Christmas at my sister’s, I told Adam that I thought the solution would be to grow a pouch, like a marsupial.

“That way, she could climb back in whenever she got cold or we needed to go someplace in a hurry,” I explained.

Since that’s not possible, I guess I’ll just focus on enjoying the last four months of pregnancy. It’ll be good to keep that goal in mind, since I’m already getting a few mid-to-late pregnancy symptoms that tell me the third trimester will be less comfy than the second has been.

For instance, on our car ride to Maryland, my feet swelled up to the size of pontoons and spilled right over my socks. It was like something you’d see on a medical reality show, and I was honestly afraid that my skin would burst.

They went back to normal pretty quickly though, and I got out of a lot of kitchen duty during the holidays because everyone was horrified by my hooves. So, I guess I can’t complain.

And in any case, I don’t mind having a few complaints. I’m just glad that Beano – the Great Baboo, the Miracle Child – is with us. We’ll figure the rest out as we go along.

Cathal Mac an Bheatha