Sunday, October 26, 2008

B Through BBBBBB: A Comprehensive Rating System for Infant and Adult Burps, Belches, and Other Oral Emissions

B (or "onebie"): Gas only. Varies widely in length, tone, and volume.

BB (or "twobie"): Mainly gas. Some stomach contents enter throat.

BBB (or "threebie"): A just-prevented BBBB (see "BBBB"). Also, Big Blue Boat.

BBBB (or "fourbie"): Stomach contents exit mouth at negligible velocity.

BBBBB (or "fivebie"): Moderately forceful expulsion of stomach contents. Does not cause distress.

BBBBBB (or "sixbie"): Extremely forceful expulsion of stomach contents. Unpleasant. Not suitable for illustration.

If you are turning 64 years old today*, the hard copy of this is to be your present (plus a few more colors). Happy Birthday! A worthy present for a man of such mature and refined tastes!

*and if you are my father. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Helpful Hints

One never knows what to get a baby. They don't need all that much, and one doesn't want to give something superfluous. If you're wondering what to get our little cherub for Christmas, here's a hint. She doesn't have one of these yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

For the Record

When I was pregnant, I often wondered what I would have made of the bizarre sensations I was experiencing if I hadn't had never-ending input from Culture and Science to reassure me that they were all Perfectly Normal. It was nice to be able to know what oddity to expect next, and even how I might expect to feel about it. It didn't keep me from worrying, but it helped make the process less mysterious.

But now that I'm well into the postpartum phase, I have a new set of physical experiences, with a lot less input from culture and science to help me navigate them. One hears, "You'll be very tired." But that goes exactly nowhere in describing the sensation of chronic sleep deprivation. "Very tired" is when you stay up late finishing a term paper (okay, or a novel). You feel a bit raw; in some ways kind of... peeled. Your defenses are lower, lights seem brighter, sounds are more grating. It's a feeling I'm reasonably familiar with.

But chronic sleep deprivation is different. Three months of it has given me the feeling that there is a cat that lives in my ribcage, and it's a scrawny, half-blind, dirt-matted scrap that's making that low, rumbly cat noise that tends to precede an all-out teeth-and-claws attack. I can suppress the temptation to act on these feelings, but the beaten-down stray is still a tangible presence in my chest.

Sounds nice, huh? Well, it's almost worth it just for the contrasting feeling I get with enough sleep. Last week, with two whole naps some days (thanks to Supergrandma) and a baby who was going through a "Let's sleep when it's dark out!" phase, I felt fine. Superfine, even: like the sugar. The cat in my chest was a fat, purring pet, with big calm eyes and a thick coat. Enough sleep makes me feel like I could climb a mountain, cook a five-course meal, and give a riveting speech to three hundred strangers, all at the same time.

It's like having motherhood-induced bipolar disorder, and, according to a couple of new-mom friends who have leveled with me, Perfectly Normal. So, Culture? Science? Make a note of it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Please notify when available

The Babyprodder

Duplicates a mother's gentle "are you still breathing" poke, resulting in an audible baby sigh but not a woken baby. Powered by remote control, soft nightlight included

Teething Epaulets

To be worn by the parent (or patient, slobber-tolerant grandparent). Hard silicone nubs mounted on absorbent terry cloth, to allow baby to pursue her two hobbies: gnawing on whatever comes within hailing distance of her mouth, and seeing what's happening behind you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Plum Torte

April 2008, my kitchen:

Him: I have a business trip to Mexico in October.

Me: Oh, that'll be fun.

Him: [waiting]

Me: [counting on my fingers] Wait, October? This October? Mexico? Oh, no you don't, bucko.
She'll only be three months old! No way! Quit your job! Tell 'em to stuff it! We'll survive somehow. Like, by, um... well, we'll figure something out. There's just no way you can go away while she's still so little.

Him: Well, okay, I'll stay home if you want, but your folks will be nearby in October. Maybe they could help out.

Me: [exhaling, lowering the knife] Oh, right. Right. Have a good time! Bring home some little Mexican baby pants or something.

October 2008, my mom's kitchen:

So here we are, me, my mom, and my three-month-old daughter, hanging out, missing The Dad, waiting for The Grandad to get home, singing the lumberjack song, clipping tiny little fingernails, and making...

Plum Torte

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
6 ripe purple plums
lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Halve and pit the plums. Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat well. Spoon batter into an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with high sides. Place plum halves cut side down onto batter. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Bake 35-45 minutes.

Never Mind

In the months after September 11th, I had a fatalistic habit. Right before I checked the news on the radio or the internet, I'd wonder to myself what fresh tragedy I was about to discover. That habit has become less pronounced, but I still brace myself a little whenever I turn on the news.

Apparently, this grim attitude has seeped (sept?) into other parts of my brain.

My computer thinks it's online, and the connection signal is strong, but I can't seem to load any pages. It's like the whole internet just disappeared. If you read this, you'll know I was wrong, but right now I have a sinking suspicion that the civilized world has come to an end, and it just hasn't reached me yet.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm with her.

The baby's doctor is great. He's thoughtful and patient knows the value of prefacing almost everything he says to anxious new parents with a soothing, "That's an excellent question..."

Since my current doctor is a dolt, and this guy's in family practice, I'm in the process of switching to her doctor. Being an excellent doctor, he's in high demand, but being in family practice, he gives preference to family members of existing patients.

All this is just to say that for the first time today, I dropped my daughter's name, and it got me in the VIP door. First time of many, I bet, kiddo.