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October 2005

October 26

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.

October 21
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 My Pocket":
"Nothing but panties in my pocket"

October 19
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 do that?
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.

October 16

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 fall.

October 13
The Poopsplosion

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 the formula...
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.

October 9
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 through/destroy.
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.
(second photo)

October 7
Guest Blogger

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 c5443ra5pfrey@4inc.comrdgggzz d5 pfrey@4inc.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 Æaaaaa?\
]]]]]]]]]?????????????? . ccccccccccxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx¸ÎÎÎÎÎÎÎÎÎÎÎ ,m, ;;;;;;;rrrrrrrrrr. 40\
?””.. ,,,,,;llyhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnb n
3]]]]]]]66Yj888MK ,