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January 2006

Jan. 31
Happy Birthday, Jo!

Happy Birthday to the best Auntie in the world!

Here is a cute picture for you:

and another one:

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Anna-Maria's Foolproof Conception Instructions

1. Sign up to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity

2. Start a new local chapter of Unifem, the U.N. Fund for Women

(Optional) 3. Buy some expensive tight-fitting shoes and pants

Viola. You WILL become pregnant.

I have been evading the Habitat for Humanity people for the better part of a year now, but they finally caught up with me ten minutes ago, having figured out my work number. I had to admit that no, I am a shallow selfish creature, I have no time to volunteer because I would rather play with my kid and when I am not doing that, I would prefer to stare blankly into space/sleep. Now I am feeling ever so guilty, but also like I should send a donation, since they are directly responsible for Eliza's existence.

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Jan. 30
New Exercise Program: Swimsuit Wrestling

Not like THAT, you dirty bird.

It must be confessed that Jim and I occasionally come at parenthood like a pair of scientifically irresponsible researchers: So, what would happen if we... (put this hat on/play Led Zeppelin loudly/feed her cheese/etc.) I say irresponsible because our subject pool, consisting of one baby, makes any results inherently suspect, especially as said baby has been known to change her mind on a dime.

But we persist in gathering our data in our efforts to construct a personality profile, which now goes something like this: Baby likes cheese; hates hats except when she can pull them off and play with the tassels; has no use for baby-targeted items including music, toys and television programs; prefers to play always with the most dangerous possible option she can get her hands on, be that keys, cats, or utensils; and is committed to mobility to the point of foolhardiness, lunging/throwing self in the directions of the desired object with little thought to actual ability to move or to the obstacles in her path.

In our latest efforts to determine whether baby will grow up to be Evel Knievel or Albert Einstein (and currently, as you can see, she is trending toward the former), this Sunday, we took her swimming.

Jim volunteered to be the in-water part of the support team, seeing as how I refuse to expose that much flesh, which left me as swimsuit-putter-on-er.

First, I had to remove Irascible Baby's clothes. Because she does not approve of lying down, I have found that the way to get the most cooperation from her r.e. changing is to let her stand for as much of the process as possible. Which means that I put her in front of a mirror and then use one arm to pin the lunging baby who wants to lick the reflection, and the other for clothing grappling.

We wrestled our way into the swim diapers, and thence, into the swimsuit. I don't know if you've ever tried to help a not-really-capable-of-standing-who-nonethless-insists-on-standing-on-the-wet-tile-floor baby into two consecutive very tight pants-type situations, but it's kind of like trying to wedge two uncooperative cats into their carriers simultaneously. Twice. It's technically possible, but I don't recommend it.

However, could she be any cuter? (The beatific glow is a happy accident caused by the humidity of the pool room befogging the camera lens.)

Once clothed, I handed her off to Jim, who was in the disturbingly (i.e. if everyone peed in the pool it would be this temperature) warm water, and the response from our daredevil was a decidedly chickenhearted clinging. When he stretched her out at arm's length and swirled her through the water, she was horrified and started to cry, and when he brought her in closer again, I thought she was going to burrow into his chest for safety.

She was creeped out by the water and weirded out by the floating noodles, and had this expression on her face most of the time. I think this picture was taken right after she saw the dad with the alarming fur sweater back hair, and frankly, I can't blame her:

She did mellow out a bit once Jim gave her this watering can toy to gnaw on and, clutching it desperately, consented to spend about 15 minutes in the wet stuff. By the end, she had gone from naked terror to mostly OK, and she even cracked a smile toward the end:

Working on the theory that she used to scream like a banshee whenever she took a bath and now bath time is her favorite time of the day, we are enrolling her in baby swim class.

Also, that bathing suit is to die for.

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Jan. 29
Because Toys Are (Still) for Sissies, Not Babies Who Crawl

The small two-legged creature cares not for toys; this we know from previous postings. This week's non-toys playthings: Jim's guitar, a padlock, plants, the bad-kitty spray bottle, cables (still), paper (still), lightbulbs (for .00002 nanoseconds before we realized what she was grabbing at and freaked out), spoons (wooden and metal, some plastic), medicine droppers, carpets, and this lovely branch from the vase in the corner of the living room. The branch had the added bonus of driving Barney nuts:

In other news, Jim and I are greeting with some trepidation her discovery of the crawling mechanism. She has been doing a lot of pre-crawlig behavior and I had predicted she'd be crawling before the month was out, and lordy, if it ain't true. She only goes for three steps (or whatever you call it on all fours) and then collapses because she's still working out the coordination and the strength, but it's honest to God crawling, not the weird backwards commando shinny or that funny 1980s breakdancing caterpillar move.

***

The diaper rash, an update.

We are now treating it with Nystatin anti-fungal cream on the principle that perhaps I was right and the doctor was wrong, it WAS thrush all along. The butt-skin is now crusty in a new way that may signal healing, or the fact that her butt is about to fall off.

I'll let you know...

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Jan. 27
Red

Over the past ten days, we have tried the following diaper rash cures:
Airing out the tushie
Slathering the tushie with vasoline
Bathing the tushie in water with baking soda
Slathering the tushie with zinc oxide cream
Slathering the tushie with lanolin cream
Bathing the tushie in water with oatmeal
Slathering the tushie with a mixture of zinc oxide and oatmeal
Slathering the tushie with a mixture of lanolin and oatmeal

None have worked, with the added fun bonus that airing out the tushie induces hypothermia in our lovely climate.

I finally called the doctor back and asked them if they had any suggestions, because I was fresh out of ideas. They said to air the tushie out some more and I told them to sell that to someone else because I'm not buying.

Now, we are trying a yeast-infection cream on the theory that though it doesn't look like one, perhaps it is one, and that is why it has been so intractable.

As I was telling one of my friends yesterday, it's starting to remind of when I was a kid and I would get hiccups, and people would make suggestions for hiccup cures that initially sounded OK (hold your breath; drink some water) and then progressed to become steadily more outlandish (eat a spoon of peanut butter; stand on your head and eat a spoon ful of sugar) to the point where I started to suspect that now, people were just messing with me. Because, you should see the various oatmeal concoctions, mmm, yummy.

Jim outright refused to apply them. "It's just too weird," he said.

Yeah, I hear you.

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Jan. 26
The Small Creatures Who Sleep, and More

First, let me dispense with the cuteness.

Here is Barney, the clumsiest cat in the world, making an unwise dozing choice, but somehow not falling ass-over-teakettle off the computer:

Next, here is my baby girl, fast asleep after a hard day as a subject of scientific study:

Huh, you ask, what's that about studies?

Well, the university where I work has a child development department, and we were recruited for a study they were doing about how 8-month-olds play with objects with and without sound, or something like that.

Eliza sat on a hardwood surface, and then on a carpeted surface, and received first a rattle that makes noise, and then one that doesn't, on each of these surfaces. These 4 variants would be repeated in a no-light situation.

We ran into several snags. First, she decided that what she really wanted to do was crawl into my cleavage (a theme that was carried to its logical conclusion later in the day when, during our playdate with some friends, she inserted a Zwieback between my boobs for, I don't know, safekeeping, maybe?). Then, she didn't want to take the rattles from the scientist (STRANGER DANGER!). Finally, she consented. The rattle that made noise, she shook back and forth. The one that didn't, she tried to eat.

Then, she got hugely distracted by the other toys that were lying on a shelf nearby, to the degree that she tried to crawl over me to get to them. (One of the milestones the baby books are forever blathering on about is "will work for toy." Oh, my god, will she work for a toy. She will work overtime without pay for a toy.) I thought it was very odd that they would leave distraction materials lying around like that and wondered if that was the actual point of the experiment.

Anyway, I spirited the other toys away (thus arguably ruining the clandestine experiment) and we tried the dark thing, but every time we turned off the light, she flung the rattle away and headed for my chest again, so the guy finally gave up and said they would just use the light part of the experiment.

We have no idea what they learned from our tiny genius, but we got a free T-shirt out of it for her, so, score!

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Jan. 25
Tragically Unclear on the Concept: The Stroller Visor

I took this picture this weekend and forgot about it until I was poking through my files just now. I had her sitting in the stroller with the visor angled pretty far forward, when she grabbed it and did this, and just looked so pleased with the adjustment that I couldn't stop laughing.

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It's a Good Thing You're so Cute

Eliza woke up at 2:30 a.m. and was not to be gotten back to sleep by normal means, so I changed her diaper, wondering if the diaper rash had perchance gone terminal. No, although picking oatmeal out of various crevices required more attention than I was happy to muster at that hour (but more on that in a second).

I got in bed with her and she consented to sleep until 5 — well short of the 10 1/2 hours she needs, but she would brook no more sleeping-related activities of any sort (and especially none on my part).

So I drug myself downstairs and tended to Missy, who was not making motherhood very rewarding, what with the incessant unnnhhhheeeeeeeee unnnhhhheeeeeeeee unnnhhhheeeeeeeee unnnhhhheeeeeeeee. Sadly, my child takes after her father in that lack of sleep affects her dramatically. Except he's MUCH nicer about it than she is, since she has also inherited my flair for the overly dramatic reaction to minor emotional trauma.

By 6:45, I was gathering materials to make the sign I was going to hang around her neck saying, "Free to a mediocre good home," when I decided that, really, what needed doing was for her to go back to bed and start the day over. As soon as I lay down on the bed with her and started stroking her hair, Eliza sighed, started gnawing furiously on her binky, and went to sleep. See, sweetie? Sometimes Mama DOES know what she's doing.

I lay there and gazed at her, wondering how I could transfer her to her crib without waking her up, but then I decided to sleep on it for a while.

We woke up shortly after 8 (why, yes, that is when I'm supposed to be at work, thank you for asking), and in two minutes of being awake the second time around, she smiled more than the entire previous 2 hours, and she waved at me again, to boot.

Meanwhile, the diaper rash. I asked my Guru of Everything (As a life-skills-challenged person, when I got this job, I was thrilled to discover that one of my colleagues is one of those people who knows many important facts about stuff grown-ups do. Seriously, whether it's picking wedding photographers, applying for a mortgage, painting your house - she's better than Google! Everyone should have a Guru of Everything. I'd lend you mine if I could.) what she did for her kids' diaper rash. She recommended a mixture of zinc oxide (A+D, Desenex, whatever) plus oatmeal. Barney tried to eat it, Eliza tried to eat it, and I'm not sure it's working, but I feel very pro-active, so it has that going for it.

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Jan. 24
Some Things that Work, and Some Things that Don't

Yesterday, I explained that Eliza will only wave at herself. As of this morning, that is obsolete information.

If Jim and Eliza are downstairs when I go outside to go to work, they come to a window and watch me go to my car and drive off. Yesterday, they got to watch me cursing the snow, as well, as I spent a half hour shoveling out my damn car amid the fluffy deluge, and who the fucking fuck decided NOT to call a snow day?! It's a good thing we just replaced the windows with doublepaned glass, because no child should be a witness to that much swearing.

This morning, the entertainment was watching me try to figure out how come those little holes out of which squirts the windshield washer fluid are both suddenly angled downwards on the driver's side. (This is a whole topic in itself, why the windshield, the wipers, and the fluid always seem to malfunction on the driver's side but not the passenger's side.) Anyway, I was trying to figure out how to repoint the little holes, and when I looked up, there they were again, my two favorite people. And I tell you, when you smile at your kid and her face lights up with an answering grin, that never EVER gets old.

Jim held her arm and kind of flapped it up and down as I waved back at her, and then all of a sudden I realized, wait, that's not Jim making her open and shut her little hand in that fantastic way that babies have of waving. That's HER!

I jumped up and down and carried on like a fool, and she kept waving and grinning.

It was a most excellent start to the day.

***

On the downside, we have butt-rash recidivism.

Because she is a cloth-diapered baby, Eliza has never had diaper rash trouble. Here and there, we've had some redness quickly addressed with a preemptive slather of Desenex, but that's it, and hello, I'd like to introduce myself, I'm sanctimonious mom.

Oh how the mighty have fallen! And also are stupid. I had gotten some Burt's Bees diaper ointment because it smelled prettier than the Desenex, and when she had one of her periodic could-possibly-one-day-become-rash episodes of redness, I covered her with the Burt's Bees stuff. The rash got worse, and I congratulated myself on my timely intervention. The rash spread. I gobbed on more Burt's Bees. I took her to the doctor because I was convinced that the thrush in her mouth had migrated (it does, you know). The doctor said, uh, no, but have you used any new lotion or soap lately? Why yes, I say proudly, the Burt's B — Oh. Crap.

Vitamin E, to which I am sensitive in topical applications, is proudly promoted as one of the key ingredients, and apparently my kid shares this sensitivity.

The treatment? Stop using the ointment, leave her tushie naked to air out and slather on the vasoline.

Well, the kid's been naked so much she's probably going to join a nudist colony when she grows up, and we're singlehandedly driving up the price of oil with our liberal petroleum jelly usage.

The rash, sadly, remains, improving only incrementally each day. I'd take her back to the doctor, but I'm afraid one of two things will happen:
1. The doctor's office, whom I already call on a weekly basis because I have some new Eliza-related paranoia, will decide they've had enough of me and fire her as a patient, or,
2. They'll have us come in, take a look, and declare, why, that's not diaper rash, that's NEGLECT rash! And then they'll call DSS.

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Jan. 23
A Baker's Dozen of Important Facts People Should Know About Eliza

1. She is the cutest baby ever. See photographic evidence below:

2. She thinks Cats in Hats are hysterical.

3. She has not, as yet, grasped the concept of "gentle" as pertains to petting the cats.

4. Her favorite music, in no particular order, includes Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, Garbage, PJ Harvey (Yes!!!!), U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Shakira. When she finds a song she especially likes, she sings in a key having nothing whatsoever to do with the music and waves her arms around in a manner that looks vaguely conductor-ish.

5. On a related note (Ha!), she is fascinated by Jim's guitars, especially the cherry-red Fender. She stands in front of them and twiddles the knobs and ploinks the strings.

6. Her favorite person is her own reflection. The best way to get her to stop crying is by showing her a mirror. Her reflection is also pretty much the only person to whom, on occasion, she will consent to wave.

7. When she is happy, and you are holding her, she puts her face up really close to your face, shakes her head back and forth and says "ahhaahhhahhhahhhahhhahhh," over and over, creating a nifty doppler effect.

8. If you bounce her, she will say "Ahhahhahhahh" to the rhythm of your bouncing.

9. Her favorite things to play with are paper and remote controls. She is not fooled by toy remotes.

10. She likes flap books, which makes reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" very challenging, since she flips the half-pages very quickly.

11. In the bath tub, she likes to suck on her washcloth and must at all times have a soap or shampoo bottle within reach.

12. She loves coffee shops in general, and Starbucks in particular. She and Jim go to one almost every day.

13. She got her middle two bottom teeth when she was 4 months old, then didn't get any for three months. Now, she is growing some top teeth, but mostly in a vampire-type arrangement that has the potential to look extremely creepy indeed unless those middle top teeth get a move on soon.

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Jan. 21
Playground

It was kinda warm out yesterday, so we went to the playground.

Jim wore his sexy new leather jacket. I like the new leather jacket.

The kid wore one of her coats that makes her grumpy. Then again, all coats make her grumpy. Between that, and the anti-fungal meds she's taking for thrush which she hates, and how I take her out of the bath when she gets pruny, and how I change her diaper, she's none too fond of me these days. It's pretty distressing, but I try to remind myself that Moe hated me for a while, too, when I had to give her meds. And in some ways, apparently, cats resemble kids, and so I am hoping that, much as Moe has come around, Eliza will too once the antifungal meds are done, summer comes, and I don't know, she gets toilet-trained, maybe?

Sometimes, when we dress her to go outside, Jim and I whine pre-emptively, so she doesn't have to. She does anyway, most of the time.

 

Back to yesterday's activities. When we arrived at the playground, Eliza consented to be put in the swing. Hanging there, though, she looked none too sure about the proceedings. Then we tried the slide, which she loved when we tried it in Texas, except that was a really huge one (comparatively). Technically, the playground equipment was just for kids, but we figured kids are so fat these days that it was probably safe for us, and so we zipped down the slide with her on our laps, which she LOVED. She seemed to think the min-slide was for pussies, though, because she looked around pretty disdainfully and dug in her heels, so we had to look for new equipment.

 

Ahhh, success - the teeter-totter! She loved it. I had quite the time getting on since I was wearing an ankle-length dress and did not want to R-rate the proceedings (there were a bunch of other families there), but eventually we were all arranged and bouncing along. Daddy took pictures.

After that, we went home, ate yogurt, and grabbed large handfuls of Barney fur.

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Jan. 20
The Cat Has Trained My Baby

One of Barney's favorite things in the WORLD to do is to sniff people's breath. He is not subtle about this, either. He will come and stand in front of you until you open your mouth, and then he will insert his snout sort of like an inversion of the old sticking-a-man's-head-in-the-lion's-mouth circus trick, except the man is tiny, and orange, and has really huge feet and fish breath. (Huh. Does that work as a metaphor?)

He does this to everyone. When Jim's dad and step-mom came over last year for Easter, he kept getting on the table and going to stand by Judy. He had her pegged as simpatico, and she is. She did not, however, feel that he should be on the table and tried various cat-behavior-correcting strategies, including saying no and hissing at him. He stood there, eyeing her attentively, and she triumphantly declared that her strategy had worked. We didn't have the heart to tell her that really, he was just interested in her chicken breath.

So, he's really committed to this and it's to the point where when he hops up on a counter and strolls over, Jim and I automatically open our mouths and start exhaling at him.

Lately, he has been going up to Eliza and adopting his open-your-mouth-please stance. And our tiny sponge, she has gotten with the program: He comes over, she opens her mouth and starts panting.

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Peter Brady, I Feel Your Pain

So, you know how in every lame sitcom, at some point, someone's going to use an inappropriate soap in some appliance and the inappropriate soap goes all wonky and foams up and it's like, woah, the soap that ate my laundry room!

I always dismissed this as sitcom ridiculousness, kind of like how a struggling chef and a waitress would be able to afford THAT apartment in New York, but it turns out that it's true!

On Wednesday, I desperately had to run the dishwasher, but there was no dishwasher detergent, no matter how many times I closed the cabinet and waited for the soap-gnomes to deliver. So I grabbed some plain old dish soap and squirted it around the dishwasher on the dirty dishes, locked the bastard and hit start.

Nothing happened, except it started running, so I went into the living room with Eliza to play. 15 minutes later, though, I had to get something from the kitchen, and lo, there, extruding ominously from various cracks and pores around the door, were gobbets of bubbles and rivulets of water.

I dammed up the liquid with towels, but I figured I'd better open it up and assess the soap situation, and woah, the soap that ate my dishwasher - foam, incredibly dense, fluffy, foam, was trying to eat my dishes. And this was just the rinse cycle - we hadn't even gotten to agitation yet. I plopped Eliza on the floor with a toy, grabbed a tupperware and started bailing.

Luckily, this took care of the problem, but I have learned my lesson. No more inappropriate soap from me!

PS - The dishes, they were fine. Very lemon-y fresh.

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Jan. 14
OMG!

WHY does EVERY diaper change have to be a GODDAMN NATIONAL TRAGEDY?!?!?!

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Jan. 13
Arguments in Favor of Torture/Death Penalty

I believe killing and torture is wrong, whether it's sanctioned by the state or not. But some people are animals who don't deserve to live, like this guy.

And my attempts to be respectful of all cultures are really challenged when I read things like this.

Cultures who, as a matter of policy, kill/abort/abandon their female offspring in favor of male offspring are off-balancing their populations' gender distribution. Eventually there will be a shortage of baby-makers and a resulting plummet in birth rate. How close to extinction will they have to get before they shape up?

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Jan. 11
Pensées

Ever since Katrina, I've had Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" stuck in my head.

***

Today I went to the dentist. Usually, about a week before an appointment, I do that sad, desperate flossing thing so that when the hygienist asks if I'm flossing and I say yes, I'm not totally lying. This time, I didn't bother - I don't have time for flossing, what with the baby wrangling and laundry and more that I have going on.

Anyway, the hygienist asked, "How's your flossing?" and I said "Terrible!"

The answer surprised her so much she laughed and forgot to scold me.

***

I don't like those guys everyone calls "nice guys." They're usually so wedded to their self-image as "nice guys" that they're indiscriminately nice to everyone. I would like you to like me for me, not because you have a reputation to uphold.

***

Several years ago, I went on an ill-advised deep-sea fishing trip with my then-boyfriend, my mother, and her boyfriend. The ride out was fine, but they stopped the boat for fishing. This did not sit well with me, and Dramamine notwithstanding, it took about 5 minutes before I was leaning over the side getting hideously, horribly seasick. I thought my stomach was going to crawl out my nose.

A man and his young son stood nearby with their fishing poles, probably hoping that vomit acts as chum, thus offsetting the fish-frightening noises I was producing.

The man edged closer and asked, "Would you like some Dramamine?"

I said, "I took some, it's over there," and pointed to a patch of vomit floating away.

I feel that it shows considerable presence of mind to be able to joke when you are that seasick, but he was unappreciative.

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Jan. 5
Blogging as PTSD Therapy

So, this Christmas being Eliza's first, I figured we'd better visit a grandparent, and, my mother being the farthest away (Texas) and having the least access to her grandbaby, she won.

I also decided that I would go out early with Eliza, with Jim to follow us about 4 days later.

It is at this point in the story that my colleague, Penny, interrupted me and said, "Wait, you traveled by yourself for your child's first plane trip? Why didn't you come talk to me?! I would've told you that was a STUPID idea!"

Yep. Shoulda talked to Penny.

We got up at our usual time (5 a.m.) and were making good time until we noticed that a. the car was encrusted in ice and b. that we had to drive in that crap. At the airport, we were held up in the security line from hell. Apparently everyone was getting the anal cavity search, because it took forever. I had to take off my shoes and the baby carrier, and I'm surprised I didn't have to whisk Eliza through the X-ray machine.

I ran, in sock feet, to my gate, because by this time I had about 15 minutes till take-off, managing to drop my license in the process, so no sooner had I arrived, panting, than security called me back to pick it up. A nice lady from Continental told me to stay put and get myself together (I think she was unnerved by my fuzzy fuchsia socks) and she'd run and get it for me. I vowed to write a nice letter to Continental.

At this point, I should note that Eliza was dressed in black velvet pants, a red fleece shirt with 2 kitties on it, and red socks, with a santa hat stowed in easy reach to put on when we reached Texas.

I announced to our row-mate that I was sorry he'd drawn the short straw and had to sit with the lady with the baby, but he was sanguine: "What goes around comes around - I've got three of my own." I did notice he took out his Bible and read portions of it during the flight. I'm not sure whether he was praying for a quiet baby or a safe flight. In either case, his God deserted him, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We had lots of time to discuss what it was like to travel with children because the crud that encrusted our car also covered our plane, and we had to wait a good 90 minutes before we were de-iced.

Finally, we took off - bumpy, but if that had been all, no big whoop.

By the time we reached cruising, Eliza was starting to smell very urinary. Not wanting to give the cabin an eyeful of baby coochie, I headed for the bathroom, thinking (or was I) that there would be a changing table. The flight attendant (a man) told me nope, "improvise," making vague allusions to babies on closed toilet seats.

I would like to note for the record here that peeing while holding an angry baby is difficult, especially if you are trying not to actually sit on the toilet seat.

I closed the toilet seat and put Eliza on the lid. She was vocal with her disapproval of the proceedings, in no small part because the lid was curved, and registered her distaste by peeing right as I removed her diaper, soaking her onesie and her shirt. There was changing of the above, and there was screaming. Stupid Continental without changing tables. We were NOT the first mom and baby to ever fly - what were they thinking?

An hour or so later, the pilot ordered everyone to sit down and shut up (only he said it nicer), and made a sudden descent. As we levelled out at a new altitude that can best be described as "bombing run," he came on the intercom to explain, only without using any of the words I'm going to, that there was a pressure loss in the cabin and he'd descended to 8,000 feet so we wouldn't suffocate.

Two minutes later, he came back on, and again without using any of the words I'm going to use here (seriously, this man should be working for the UN) he explained that the wingflaps that would help us brake were malfunctioning, and that we'd be landing without flaps, very fast, on the longest runway, with fire trucks in case the brakes caught fire.

We made it, but I would've headed straight for the margarita bar inside the gate were it not for Eliza and the fact that, oh yeah, now I still had to make it to Corpus Christi from Houston and I'd missed my connection.

This is where my love for Continental curdles and grows to bitter hatred, because they refused to move me up in the standby list despite the facts that a. it was not my fault I'd missed the connection, and b. I'd just had the flight from hell and c. oh yeah, screaming baby. Maybe the 6 p.m. flight. It was 1 at the time.

This is where I briefly pay tribute to all the lovely people who kept me from going insane - the nice guy who offered to give me his seat (Continental bitch wouldn't let him, saying snippily that the seat would go to the next standby person "And it's not HER!"), the business guy who asked me if there was anything he could get me (I was deeply depressed at this point and told him "no, there's nothing anyone can do for me anymore"), the many people who commiserated. Anyway, I don't know whose screaming, mine or Eliza's, finally did it, but somehow, we got onto a 3:30 flight, and made it to Corpus.

I am still in the process of drafting my irate letter to Continental (and have I mentioned, by the way, that it's Continental that I hate so much now? Because it's Continental that I hate, in case that wasn't clear), but there had better be some first-class tickets anywhere in the US in their response letter.

Eliza got off the plane wearing a onesie (also slightly peed on but I'd run out of onesies by that point), and velvet pants. Her socks had disappeared.

I felt awful for my poor kid - if the flight had taken as long as it was supposed to, she would've been fine. As it was, there was no nap to be had since everytime she nodded off, the intercom came on to wake her up again, and nine hours into our ordeal, she was inconsolable. And I don't blame her.

I can't tell you how annoyed I was when, on the flight back, when Jim was with me and able to help carry the load, everything went smoothly and the baby slept the entire way.

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Jan. 2
You and Your Educational Toys Can Go to Hell, Woman, Just Give Me a Spoon!

Today, Eliza spent large portions of the day being annoying.

This is one of the things they don't tell you about in the books: that you will have moments where you find your kid totally annoying. In Eliza's case, being annoying consists of whining after about 2 minutes with each toy and maintaining a sort of buzzing mosquito (but louder) eeeeeeeeeeeee sound until a new toy is placed before her, to be inspected and inevitably also discarded within 120 seconds. It's like circuit training with ADD monkeys.

She does not do this all the time; in fact, she is often the bee's knees to watch as she sits, completely absorbed in whatever it is that she is playing with, drooling and panting at the same time. There is nothing cuter, except for all the other cute stuff that she does, of course.

Anyway, after the fourth or fifth circuit of exersaucer-bouncer-music table-rattles-stuffed animals-etc., I was getting pretty tired of this and starting to count the minutes until I could give her a bath and put her in bed.

And then I noticed that she had spied with her maniacal eye the bungee cord we use to hold her door shut (75-year-old house, don't ask). I handed it to her, and lo and behold, she was utterly mesmerized for a good 20 minutes.

Over the next three hours, she played with: a drinks coaster, several remotes, window blinds, pens, an ottoman, some refrigerator magnets, several spoons, a washcloth, and a bowl. She also attempted to liberate the phone and tried to eat several paper napkins. And not an eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee was heard the entire time.

When Jim called from work, I gave him a report of our child's activities, he suggested that we try reverse psychology on her and start playing with her toys all the time. Because that's what it's all about - she wants to be playing with the big people stuff. This couldn't be clearer really, because I have given her a defunct remote, but every time she sees the one we still use, she tosses her impotent battery-less version aside and lunges for the other one.

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