Friday, July 28, 2006

Can I post this without making a comment?

The culture has told her she's not a real mother unless she's the one getting up in the middle of the night with the baby. So her identity is inextricably linked to her actions, to doing the endless chores of parenting. Men can take it or leave it

When Moms Are Gatekeepers:
Women want their husbands to do more of the childraising — but some are having trouble letting go.

via Blogging Baby

~EDIT~ Okay, apparently I can't. Go without making a comment, that is.
The Blogging Baby folks ask: "What do you think? Are women the better nurturers? Or is it just a matter of wanting to be in control?"

Neither. For me, I really think it's internalized sexism.

I've really struggled with this. It seems that, despite my/our beliefs:
about equality, feminism/egalitaranism, how important we think it is to raise our son to be a man who loves home and family and treats people as individuals, how important we think it is to model flexible roles not limited by gender..
..the truth is when the going gets tough, I have felt like the kid is my job.

Reflecting on this, I found that I had strong default programming telling me that, no matter what else has been going on - who's been working all day, who's exhausted, who's feeling fresh - tending to the baby was my responsibility. And when World's Best Husband did some tending - got up with him while I slept, for example, which he has been happy to do - I felt like it was a really significant personal favor to me. Not like I was receiving grace, but more like I was borrowing time. Like he was covering for me.

Well, this is just stupid. Not only does this not line up with
my beliefs
my experience
logic or common sense
but I hasten to point out that I grew up with a STAY AT HOME DAD! My father cooked, cleaned, and did most of the caring for us, as well as working as general manager of the newspaper. (My mother was the proprieter and editor in chief.)

(This was a very unusual arrangement in the early 1960s in rural Cowpatch, PA. Believe me. None of the other Brownies had dads baking for the bake sale.)

Hmmm. It occurs to me - just this second - that my slightly unusual upbringing may be part of this programming. It may have something to do with the way I always felt closer to my dad than to my mom, always identified with him. I don't know. It also seems to be tangled up with feelings of superiority, perhaps a little mild martyr action.

Anyway, I've gotten a little better about this. You would not believe me if I told you how hard it was, how much discipline it has taken (don't be hatin') for me to leave SuperBaby with SuperDad and have a regular night off. I generally leave after my dinner but before baby's, and go hide out in the bookstore with coffee and magazines until they close.

And I come home, and everyone's intact. Of course. Nothing has burned down and no one has gone to the emergency room or the locked ward. Of course. I am a self-important ass, but a slightly-better-rested ass, and over time, perhaps a little less self-important.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pleased to say that this is NOT true of my kid....

but well-put, no?

as she is a light sleeper, and sometimes at night while she is asleep in her room at the back of the house I can wake her up from fifty feet away by imagining the sound an eyelash would make if it drifted to the ground.

That Heather certainly has a way with words.

And speaking of the great blogs of many people I have never met:

My husband walked into the kitchen to hear me heave a heavy sigh.
"Aw, honey, what's wrong?"
"Oh, some woman I've never met broke up with her boyfriend."
And my husband backed silently, slowly out of the room.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monster Crib

My brother did the impossible today and transfered the crib from babyland down the hall into our room. I'm not sure how he did this, as the crib, assembled, is too large to fit through any door in our house, and I am not aware that he had the specialized crib disassembly/reassembly tool.

Nonetheless, there it sits, with a sleeping baby inside.

From my vantage point, this is the largest crib in history, at least the size of out California-king sized bed. It soundly dwarfs every bookcase, dresser and hamper in the place. World's Cutest takes up about one-ninth of it. In every other context - in my arms, the carrier, even the stroller - he seems freakishly large. Here in the crib, he's so tiny that you might overlook him, forget you put him in there. "Hey, honey, where'd you put the - oh, wait, I see him now. Never mind. He was there all along."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Plan

My child spent most of last night explaning his plan to me. That would be his 60,000-Point Plan to Stay Awake for the Rest of His Life.

Here is the plan:

Point 1) Don't go to sleep tonight.
Point 2) Don't go to sleep tomorrow night.
Points 3 though 60,000) Don't go to sleep the night after that.

Naturally, I suggested revisions. He would have none of it.

First, I tried to explain the elegant, almost poetic simplicity of just sticking with Point One; that would cover it. He patiently explained to me that history had never been made with a measley One-Point Plan.

I switched direction at that point, and tried to convince him that he could just limit himself to Point Two. (Much as Satan himself convinces people that "I'll go to the gym tomorrow" is a good excercise plan.) Alas, he stood firm. Well, not 'stood', exactly. But he was quite firm.

Eventually, though, all the talking and the literary analysis took its toll (as it always does) and he started to look kind of glazed. A little breastmilk and a quick backrub was all it took to overcome The Plan.

For that night.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Doctor Jeckyl and Mister Baby

You know how I mentioned that World's Cutest has been a little....needy, lately? A little demanding?

A little...horrible?

Okay, I know I didn't say 'horrible'; I would never say that. And he's not consistantly horrible, not at all. He's as charming as ever, smiling and laughing, flinging his arms out in excitement when he sees one of us, giving badly-aimed, wide-open-mouth kisses.

Just as charming as ever.
Precisely 50% of the time.

And it's impossible to guess what triggers the change. I honestly can't think of a thing. One minute, he's Sweetie Baby, and the next, he's yelling as if someone's stabbing him. He can't stand to be left alone for a moment, when he's in this state, but picking him up doesn't necessarily stop the howling - just puts the source closer to your ear.

Plus, he's so active - within a muscle twitch of actually crawling - that it's risky to turn your back for long, even when he's asleep. Which mean that, if I need to do so much as turn a page or answer the phone, he needs to go into one of the containment devices (crib, pen, saucer.) It's really important to me that he not grow to hate his crib, but that seems to be the road that we're going down now.

Last night he woke up 4 times. I'm dyin' here.

I've said before that motherhood has made me much more aware of my mortality, much more aware of my life as a physical being generally. Ah, yes...I remember the days when I lived in the ether almost all the time, the voicemail/email/mp3/philosphy and theology world....but pregnancy jostled me right out, right into a world of fluids and leaky parts and insane starving hunger and taking up way too much room....And of course that was nothing compared to parenthood, the pumping and the pee and the diaper cheese and the chipping of the dried peas out of the eyebrow - his, not mine, usually.

And the tireness, the previously unimaginable bone tireness, the mornings when even your skin is tired. That's what makes me think about death - not about my own death particularly, and certainly not about killing myself or anything. Just about the fact that I live in a body, and bodies have their limits.

And Mister Baby is bumping me up against mine.

He's hungry all the time, on account of another growth spurt; he's capable of over-peeing a super-absorbent overnight diaper. He's been teething continuously for about 4 months, swamped in drool, which is turn creates a rash on his creasy neck, but no teeth yet.

Boy oh boy, do I need a night off.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lunch is on Grandpa

lunch is on Grandpa, originally uploaded by funky fat girl.

A bonus photo, because these days it's all about the food, for God's sake.

Prior to the holiday, we had a lovely visit with the World's Most Devoted Grandparents. Dude, he has them totally snowed. They think he hung the moon. I've never seen anything like it.

dinner and a show

dinner and a show, originally uploaded by funky fat girl.

Ian seems only mildly impressed with his first-ever magic show. He's watching his father perform at the Fairfax 4th of July fest.

It was 1,000 freaking degrees in the shade, which can slightly diminish the fun of a small town ballfield carnival. It can also diminish the audience - the children themselves were beginning to gdiminish before our eyes, shriveling in the spots on the grass. Luckily, their mothers came in the middle of the show to swoop them into the shade and ply them with water bottles and sunscreen, just before they burst into flames.

DESPITE the shriveling and the swooping, it was a good show, and the 20 or so that saw the whole thing had a lovely time. Then the three of us, a bit shriveled ourselves, repaired to the Amphora for sandwiches and gallons of coke.

World's Cutest Baby, of course, did not have a sandwich, though he gave it a good eyeball and seemed to be evaluating his chances of making off with mine. Luckily, he was distracted by the insanely beautiful teenaged waitress, who seemed to be from Russia, and who was so completely taken with our boy that, when we would ask for something - say, a spoon for rice pudding - she would rush off to get it, than wander back to gaze at him, having forgotten why she ever left the table.

Dave S., who is pretty much my favorite of our magic friends, showed up to watch the show, which was wonderful. (oh, don't be so sensitive! I like you too! I didn't say Dave was the ONLY magic friend I liked. Just that he's a particular favorite. It's a Phoenix thing. Can't be helped.)

So World's Cutest had a nice day, which was a very good thing, as he had a couple of less-nice days recently. Just as I was finishing lettering the tiny 'Free to Good Home' sandwich board, I recalled that book we read.

We read this book called Wonder Weeks, which suggested that babies go through entirely predictable fussy (by which they mean clingy/sleepless/bitchy/impossible) periods, which coincide with significant cognative leaps. When your baby's synapses reach a new milestone - say, the first glimmer of object permanance, or some suspicions about cause and effect - his world is suddenly a lot bigger and more complicated. More interesting, but also more stressful, at least as he's getting used to it. So it's not surprising if he's a little crabby for a few days, if he needs a lot more attention.

Frankly, the World's Cutest Baby has been such a walk in the park for the most part - great health, pretty good sleeper, good eater, casual disposition - that I think I have more trouble coping with these little hiccups than I should. I'm sure the mother of any colicky, sensitive or otherwise more-normal baby would scoff at me, hanging here at the end of my rope. "HA!" they'd scoff. "That's tough? You're hiding in the bathroom from THAT? Why, listen to this -" and launch into some tale of totally average babyhood - say, a child that poops every single day! - that would make me shudder in terror.