tales from the crib

Tuesday, oct. 6, 2009   |   0 comments

So…where were we? Oh right, I squeezed a baby the size and weight of a party ham from betwixt my lady parts and then the WORLD AS I KNOW IT EXPLODED into a parade of projectile baby shit and special vibrating chairs and complicated-sleep-system books frantically scanned in the wee, wee, wee hours (with infant screaming under) and also fountains of urine.

These past ten weeks have been strange indeed, chock full of contradictory feelings and sensations. We spend the bulk of our days just sitting on the couch, thrilled yet also scared and even just a tad bit bored as we gaze unto the baby, watching him lava lamp from criminally cute Professor Smile to ear-wrenching, purple-faced Enraged Tadpole. The months have whizzed by — it still seems like he was born just yesterday — yet somehow my life back at work feels like ten hundred years ago. Meanwhile I manage to feel simultaneously far too ancient (listen as my knees pop every time I lean down to pick up the 15-pound bowling ball of a baby) and entirely too immature and inexperienced to be a parent. On our first visit to the pediatrician, Desi suddenly found himself drenched in pee, and the nurse was all, “It looks like someone put his diaper on wrong….” Cut to Marco and me, whistling innocently. Nurse: “Well just wrap him in his blanket for now.” Back to Marco and me, exchanging stricken looks of “blanket? what blanket?”

There’s so much I’ve been wanting to capture here in these pages! But unfortunately I don’t seem to have the energy or time or brain matter to spare on writing. I feel like I’m constantly playing that game Concentration, the one where you puzzle plastic shapes into their appropriate holes as time tick-tick-ticks away, and if you don’t finish in time the whole game flies apart and you leap six feet into the air and then spend the rest of your life in therapy? These days I’ll get maybe two minutes into a bath or a bowl of oatmeal when The Tyrant Awakes (“Baby Alive!” yell Marco and I) and I’ll race to spoon a few more food morsels in the direction of my mouth and then — quick, quick! — it’s back to the mommy salt mines. Even when he does manage to sleep for longer than a handful minutes, the downtime is tainted with the looming spectre of his potential awakening. I always have one ear cocked for baby yells, a state of constant readiness that scores my long, house-bound days with a spicy mix of tension and intrigue and lower back pain.

As I type these words, it’s midnight and I’m nodding off and Desmo is scheduled to awake any minute, so I’m frantically trying to squeeze in a session with the freaky Metropolis-esque breastpump so hopefully the baby will have enough to eat when I scarper off to the Russian River this weekend to get myself wined and massaged at the Broad Summit. (Yay! And yet…the idea of two whole days away from the baby makes me more than a little nervous. What if Marco has a meltdown and permanently goes out for cigarettes? What if all the time on the bottle causes him to develop a fetish for rubber nipples and he refuses to breastfeed when I come back? What if I experience some sort of biological baby withdrawal and come crawling back just one hour after I get there?) And while I’d love to type to you about my near-religious experience ziplining trip through the redwoods with Maggie and how the 1.5 solid hours of adrenaline it produced sent me down a Pavlovian spiral of labor flashbacks. Or how the cat’s been celebrating the baby’s arrival by peeing in all the heating vents. Or about how there’s this book called Black on White that is nothing but page after cardboard page of black silhouettes of everyday objects. (Here’s the back-of-book description (spoiler alert!): “Black illustrations against a white background depict such objects as an elephant, butterfly, and leaf.” We call it Desmond’s Boring Boring Book…but he absolutely LOVES it. He can and will spend hours studying its spartan pages, while you cast about for some, any kind of color commentary. “See these two shapes that look like crackers? See how…round they are?”)

But all I have time to share is this one short message: To whoever programmed the Medula “Pump In Style” Breastpump to wheeze in such a way as to sound exactly like the first tentative cries of a baby slowly awakening in the next room: Thanks a lot, jerk.

white shadow

desi wearing his onsie from auntie erin, featuring a screen of one of our famous photobooth sessions from high school

me, 100 feet in the air

more words on: babytime


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