I am not done being vain about myself. Though my ass
now takes up two counties and totally qualifies for Mompants and my
hair has those weird frizzly gray bits in it, I still delude myself
that I am somewhat fashionable.
However, my vanity as regards myself is NOTHING compared
to my vanity about my daughter.
Intellectually, I will grant you that there may be cuter babies. But,
see, even as I write that I realize that it is a completely insincere
statement because in my heart of hearts, I am convinced that Eliza is
the cutest baby ever.
When she wears her polar fleece footie pajamas and her
feet get sweaty and smell like little baby cheeses, I think they are
the cutest little baby cheese feet ever. When she tries to escape from
me mid-change and squirms around on the changing table bare-bottomed,
I am pretty sure that no baby has ever had a cuter tushie. She also
has the best dimple ever, the bluest eyes ever, and even the incisors
of death couldn't be cuter, really.
A women at a restaurant we went to recently said we
had a cute baby and I said "I know" before I could stop myself.
And when I walk through the mall with Eliza strapped to my front in
the Baby Bjorn, I smile at everyone and I hope they can't tell that
my brain is shouting "That's right, I am walking around with the
CUTEST BABY EVER!!!!!!!!!!" because of course they already know
since they have just seen the CUTEST BABY EVER hanging off my front.
Sometimes, I look at other parents and feel sad for
them because they may think they have the CUTEST BABY EVER, and perhaps
in an Eliza-free world they would - the way maybe the second best golfer
in the world would be the best golfer if not for the stratospherically
more talented Tiger Woods and there's no shame in coming in second to
that - but they are wrong.
No More Boobies For You!
File breastfeeding under "One of those things I
was dead set on doing but reality got in the way."
For some time now, I've been supplementing the boobie
supply with formula because apparently, I am one of those women for
whom going back to work, pumping, and trying to breastfeed does not
work - the pump's not as effective as the baby in getting the milk out,
so it seems like there's less demand for milk, so the milk factory starts
to lay off the little worker ducts.
I have, however, still been breastfeeding as much as
I am able, on the principle that anything was better than nothing, and
The Poo seems to still really enjoy our nighttime feeds.
Into this mix have come two bottom front teeth and, more precisely,
her discovery of what they are for. Last week, I got a tentative nibble.
Even nibbles, with those sharp little teeth, are fairly attention getting.
This afternoon, my sweet girl revealed herself as the
sadist she really is. She bit me, hard. I yelped, removed my tender
flesh from her reach and told her "NO!" I'd no sooner tried
again than she clamped on ferociously - think lion shaking its prey
by the throat. I stopped, regrouped, and tried the other side, only
to be greeted weith more bitiness.
My sore bosom area and I have now decided to wean.
What I Was Too Nice to Say
When I was pregnant, I kept up with karate as well as
I could. I taught classes until 16 weeks (abdominal workouts are not
advised after that because of the weight of the uterus on certain veins),
and attended classes until about 33 weeks. The only thing I cut out
immediately was sparring - except for some extremely slow motion and
light contact stuff, I stayed far away from my classmates, concentrating
instead on kata (forms) and other no-opponent techniques, which worked
out fairly well in my school, since we have a pretty strong emphasis
on karate as a moving meditation.
However! Early on, one male practitioner told me, in
a tone that conveyed in no uncertain terms that I was a totall pussy,
that it was fine to do contact stuff until I was 12 weeks along because
the baby was safe behind my pelvic bone. And at another point, one tried
to convince me that as long as I wore protective gear, I could do contact
stuff until the day I delivered - he'd seen women do this with his own
eyes (again, the subtext: you total pussy).
What I thought each time, and wish now that I'd said,
was, "You know what, why don't YOU go get pregnant, and come to
karate, and we'll hit you in the baby and see how you feel about it."
Both times, though, I was rendered speechless by the guy-ness of it
all and could only smile and shake my head, bemused at their cluelessness.
That Can't Be Right
How I hear the line in the chorus of Mandy Moore's "In
"Nothing but panties in my pocket"
Scientology Baffles Me
Yeah, so, TomKat are having a baby.
Well, yippee for them, I thought, until I read up on
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard crazy-ass instructions for birth.
Dana Stevens of Slate explains it in detail here: http://www.slate.com/id/2128041/
and all I can say is Yeah, Holy Crap!
These ideas about a. no sounds made during the birth,
b. no pain relief, and c. leaving the baby alone for a day are the sort
of thing that set the feminist — and now, mom — in me frothing
at the mouth. And though I briefly debated naming my daughter after
the anesthesiologist after I got the epidural, it's the other two things
that I find the most offensive.
Not that I'm judging or anything, but having just been
through a birth, I can only say it's a sick chauvenist pig organization
that would deprive the woman of the right to her voice during the experience,
and you'd have to be a cold, cold bastard (or brainwashed, there's that
option) to abandon the baby like that.
I can see that, maybe, you'd want to avoid that scene
that they always show in movies where the woman starts cursing out the
husband for having impregnanted her, but honestly, how many women really
No, what you need your voice for is energy. Surpressing
a moan, a grunt, a cry, whatever it is that you feel called to do during
labor and pushing actually saps your energy, whereas expressing it gives
you more. In karate, when we want to put maximum energy into a blow,
we shout (you've seen it on Walker, Texas Ranger, people), and it really
does work — in the dojo and in the birthing room, I can now tell
you. To force a woman not to vocalize is to rob her of part of her arsenal
for coping with one of the most arduous things a person, male or female,
can ever do. And the more you rob a woman of her coping mechanisms,
the closer you edge her toward complications.
In our case, I'd characterize the sounds in the birthing
room as generally positive ones. We joked around, we talked about our
baby-to-be, my husband reassured me I was doing OK and that he supported
me when I agonized (OK, briefly) about whether or not to get that epidural.
These were sounds of love and joy, and I remember them fondly as integral
to the experience. I don't think that the occasional grunt or pant mixed
in there is going to scar my kid for life.
Furthermore, there's a safety component. In our case,
our daughter experienced low oxygen levels after her shoulder briefly
got stuck on the way out. I very much appreciate that the obstetrician,
nurse, and pediatrician communicated with each other about the situation.
But hey, silly me, thinking it was a good idea that these people should
discuss my daughter's well-being — all they really needed to do
was swaddle her and leave her in a dark room by herself.
I was going to say that this is Barney and Moe's favorite
time of year, except I'm not sure they actually enjoy it. But I sure
enjoy watching them.
Barney and Moe are very enthusiastic about birdies.
Whenever they see one sitting on the fence or in the bushes near the
house, they snap to attention. Moe usually makes her weird chirping
sound - I used to think she was trying to talk to the birdies, but I've
been told that I am an idiot and that actually, this is some sort of
cat hunting communication. Certainly, it usually brings Barney at a
run, and many a day has found the two sitting by a window, kibbitzing
about the wildlife.
In the fall, though, their little hunter instincts go
on overload, because of one crucial misinterpretation of the world around
them: They think leaves are birdies. And they flutter by the windows
like nothing's the matter and like there's no cat waiting there to eat
them. Barney always has a really shocked look on his face, like he's
thinking, "Woah, these birdies are pretty bold!"
And then they run from window to window, watch the bold
birdies, and the whole time, it's like they can't get over it - each
new leaf occasions a fresh cat Omigod.
Perhaps this is why they sleep so much in the winter
- they're just tired from all the freaking out they have to do in the
If you're not a parent, you may not want to read this...
I can now say with authority that it is a myth that
the poop of babies who breastfeed smells better than that poop of babies
who formula feed.
The past few days, we have started supplementing Eliza's
daily allowance of boob juice with formula, because apparently my boobs
are downsizing. I am having the traditional oh-god-I'm-inadequate-as-a-mother
reaction to this, but Eliza could give a shit. She actually seem to
like bottles, because she can hold them herself, although sometimes
her arm system malfunctions and the bottle suddenly shoots out of her
grasp and halfway across the room, occasioning furrowed-brow shoutiness.
Anyway, this morning, I was changing her and left her
bottom uncovered a minute to air out while I grabbed something from
a shelf underneath her changing table, when I heard a sound to chill
my heart - that almost-empty-squeeze-bottle sort of squirt that signals
a pants explosion, only there were no pants to contain the explosion.
Baby poop, you see, is sort of a mustardy affair, not really solid at
all, and it flies out, at least in my delicate flower's case, with an
alarming and deadly swift effectiveness. In short order, a radius of
about 5 feet was decorated with yellow-brown splatters, including changing
table, wall, door, floor and mommy.
And here I was worried that she'd be constipated from
In the middle of it all was one happy, smelly baby.
She lay there unperturbed, making her favorite new noise, an unbelievably
irritating amalgam of cat-hair-ball-hacking and high-pitched shrieking,
with a soupcon of grunt: iiiiirchhh!!! iiiiircccchhhhh! iiiiiirchhhh!
There's no way to explain it except that I must be in
love, because I enjoyed every minute of this start to my day.
My Little Monkey
Apparently, Eliza has reached some sort of monkey phase
of development - she wants to do what we do, although she puts her own
spin on things, usually involving more drool than we would have applied
to the situation. The other day, it was the typing, today, reading.
Let me 'splain:
This morning, I was reading the New York Times magazine
with Eliza on my lap. She drooled for a while, then lunged for the magazine
and scrunched up a page, ripped it partway out of the magazine and tried
to eat it. I felt that her goals for the magazine were incompatible
with mine, so I gave her an old magazine to leaf through while I continued
with the new one.
She was thrilled and tore into her reading materials
with gusto. When I went upstairs to change her from her sleepsack into
an outfit with pants, there was much annoyed shoutiness until I went
back and got her magazine, which she then happily continued to leaf
I love that the way she scrunched the cover, William F. Buckley, Jr.
looks like he's in a really bad mood. (see first photo)
After Jim got up, I explained what had been going on
and he sat down with her to continue reading. My favorite moment of
the day came when he told her, "Honey, you've skipped a couple
of pages." He actually made her go back to the pages she'd missed
and read them. Apparently, she appreciated it, because here she's looking
at a make-up ad she missed.
The other day, I was sitting at the keyboard, checking
some email and responding to messages, when Eliza started squawking
in that way she has that tells me in no uncertain terms that she is
annoyed. This is usually the sound that wakes me at 4 in the morning
when she has lost her binky and wants me to find it NOW, dammit, except
somehow even though she's squirmed her way into my left armpit she's
managed to spit it all the way over my bloated whale corpse and it's
now stuck under the pillow on the other side of my body and there's
a mad scramble as the squawks get louder and louder and more and more
annoyed and I have to find the damn thing now before full-scale meltdown.
Anyway, as I said, I was being treated to this favorite
of my daughter's noises, and eventually noticed that it was connected
to the repeated lunges at the computer keyboard. At first, I thought
she just wanted to lick it, because that's what she does with everything
after all, but nope, my child has literary aspirations. As soon as she
got her little mitts on the keyboard, she began smashing them up and
down enthusiastically, so I opened a blank document to record her thoughts.
Here is what she had to say:
Njjj55555 dtt firstname.lastname@example.org d5 email@example.com no z b
n q ~~~~ gjb -‘8ijjjjjjjjjjjjjjnwwws
Notice, please, that she seems to have discovered some
sort of email address insertion doodad. I sent it to my sister, who
said she was particularly moved by the eloquence of the j's.
So then this morning, she was sitting in my lap again,
and again, she lunged for the keyboard.
Intriguingly, this time, she activated both the copy
and paste function, as well as the French accent over the capital I,
which my mother and I spent more time than I'd like to admit trying
to figure out how to do last weekend while she was here.
Anyway, here's Eliza's second blog:
Cbl ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik
l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik
l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik l ,, kooookiiiiiik
]]]]]]]]]?????????????? . ccccccccccxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
,m, ;;;;;;;rrrrrrrrrr. 40\
?””.. ,,,,,;llyhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnb n