Karen mocked me yesterday for my nifty new countdown script, maliciously wondering why I didn't choose one with a stork or a big-headed cartoon baby on it. Deeply wounded, I told her I hope she gets an equally cheesy ticker when her adoption is well and truly underway. As I poked around the Internet in search of an appropriately saccharine picture to torment her with, it occurred to me that there should be a cheerful graphic for every precious moment in an infertile woman's journey to parenthood. Here are some suggestions.
Number of months until the last cycle is paid for
Sticks of butter consumed while in the throes of depression
Miles of fiendishly sticky red tape to fight through
Gallons of urine fruitlessly deposited on HPT sticks
It's 1978 and the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, is born. It is a year of wonder. But 1978 is also a year of turbulence, a year of wanton carnage and emotional violence.
I will explain.
In 1978, the Jonestown massacre occurs.
The Bee Gees' "Night Fever" is the year's bestselling single.
Harvey Milk is assassinated for being gay. Twinkies take the rap.
Serial killer Ted Bundy murders his last victim, then is apprehended in Florida.
The Unabomber sends his first mail bomb.
John Travolta cripples cinemagoers with a one-two punch right to the motherfucking groin with Grease and Saturday Night Fever.
The comic strip Garfield debuts in newspapers around the country..
And doctors are handing out these by the thousands.
[Many thanks for the graphics to a benefactor who prefers to remain unnamed.]
Julie's mom: Are you sure you're hittin' him hard enough?
Sometimes I frighten even myself
Sure, this is sick...
...but I think this is probably worse.
Thanks to m. for the link.
And the Grammy goes to...
Cake, steak, take
There are some things I've been meaning to tell you:
- When I was still slogging through the dark and carbless doldrums of the gestational diabetes diet, I valiantly tried to give myself a pep talk. "Why, this pregnancy thing is easy! Nothin' but blue skies ahead, I tell you. In fact, it's a goddamn cake walk."
"Yeah," said Paul, "without the cake."
- I do not like the term breast milk. It's a weird kind of synecdoche that makes me imagine disembodied breasts being processed like soybeans: soaked, crushed, cooked, and pressed for their rich and healthful juices.
Since breast milk seems to be the term of record, however, I think I am going to start calling the kind that comes from a cow steak milk.
- The cat, barely a year old, is a little too playful to be trusted around baby-related implements. The nail clippers routinely end up on the floor. The pacifiers have to be washed many times a day because he's fascinated by the clicking sound they make when batted across the kitchen tile. And this morning he made off with my nipple shield.
Here's what upset me most about that: even the cat has a better latch than Charlie.
Turns out you can judge a book by its cover
Super Funtime Slumberpalooza!
Despite the most patient attention, the most loving guidance, and the most familiar, relaxing routine, it is often difficult to induce Charlie to go to sleep at night. Won't you help?
Special bonus Variety Pak™: After you've settled him in his crib, you'll have just enough time to do this challenging word-seek puzzle before he's yelling his wee fuzzy head off yet again.
Sad rabbit, bad habit
I am not ashamed to say I love Goodnight Moon. It's a sweet book, a lulling book, a gentle story with lovely illustrations. I read it to Charlie frequently. But there's something about it that bothers me. Something mysterious. Something...upsetting.
I approve of the other pictures in the room. Yes, yes, we like the cow jumping over the moon. All well and good. And the three little bears sitting on chairs? Fine, fine. Perfectly fine. But a rabbit. In hip waders. Fishing for another rabbit. Presumably using a fishhook?
That just doesn't seem right.
Once the full horror of a fly-fishing hare looking to snag itself a young'un had dawned on me, I scanned the book carefully for other hidden evils. You know, like maybe a pack of condoms carelessly left on the nightstand. A bong in pride of place on the mantelpiece. The face of evil peering out of the dollhouse. That kind of thing.
I was relieved when I found nothing nothing, that is, but a clue.
On the bookcase behind the quiet old lady, I found a clue. Amid the well-ordered ranks of books I spied a copy of The Runaway Bunny, another children's classic penned by the same writer and illustrator as Goodnight Moon. Intrigued by this shout-out, I got all sleuthy with it and pulled out Charlie's copy.
I am here to tell you that that is one messed-up story.
It's all about a sad little bunny who wants to run away. He tells his mother so. Now some would have you believe that what follows is a testament to the comforting warmth and protection of a mother's enduring love. But others okay, I find the message a little, well, creepy. No matter how cleverly the bunny imagines eluding his mother, no matter what fanciful means of escape he conjures, she thwarts him by insisting that she will always find him. No matter what.
There is no escape, little rabbit.
Now, I know what the intended message is. The mother engages the young bunny's rebellious desire to be out on his own and assures him that she'll always be watching over him, no matter what. I understand that a child might find the story comforting whatever you become, wherever you go, whatever choices you might make in your life (see condoms and bong above), your mother will love you. I know I'm reading the story through the eyes of a 21st-century smartass instead of the less cynical lens of the 1940s. I know.
I promise I will contemplate the error of my ways as I go back to paging peacefully through Goodnight Moon. And I will try very hard not to wonder what the old lady's knitting.
Travels with Charlie
In a few weeks I'm making the yearly pilgrimage to points south for camp, the week when the women and children of the family get together in a cabin in the woods for Popsicles, cards, food, face-painting, matching clothes, illegal fireworks, and lots and lots of booze. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which of these are the adult pursuits and which are for the kids.
This will be my first trip with Charlie, and Paul is staying home. I've been spending the last several weeks obsessively imagining how it will go you know, bumbling ineptly through airport security as I forget to declare the Swiss Army knife Charlie insists on carrying in his pocket ("I know, officer, but he really likes to whittle"), hastily installing the car seat in coach class while Charlie is temporarily stowed in the overhead storage bin for safekeeping, stealing his foil pouch of salted peanuts while he's engrossed in the SkyMall catalog, that kind of thing.
After a confusing few days when I thought I'd take him in the Baby Bjorn and carry his car seat in a travel bag on my back, leaving me no option but to balance the fully-stocked diaper bag on my head, I've decided that it's a better idea to take him in his usual stroller with his car seat hooked cleverly around one of the MacLaren's handles. This arrangement, while convenient on its face, is not without its problems; if I unthinkingly let go of the handles, the load on the back of the stroller is heavy enough that there's a significant possibility that Charlie will be vaulted high into the air as if launched from a medieval siege weapon.
Note to self: Do not let go.
I've also been thinking about how to feed Charlie en route. He's already started solids, so my working plan is to take several Ziploc bags filled with prepared food, borrow his Swiss Army knife, snip off a corner at mealtime, and neatly extrude the pâté de la maison directly into his cooperative maw. If I keep the Ziplocs tucked snugly in my bra, they'll even be perfectly warmed and ready to serve.
I must remember to bring enough for my other row mates. It would be rude not to offer to share.
Note to self: Buy bigger bra.
The most pressing concern has been how and where I might change a noisome diaper while we're on a plane. About this matter I've heard hair-raising stories from parents and childless passengers alike; it seems that many, if not most, aircraft are not equipped with changing tables in the bathrooms. I won't even consider changing a diaper in our seats, as I consider that the very nadir of discourtesy to the patrons in the immediate vicinity. Instead, I have worked out a list of alternate locations:
- across the laps of the patrons in the palatially roomy bulkhead row;
- the galley during meal service; and
- the floor of the aisle of first class.
If none of the above are available, I will knock politely on the cockpit door and ask to do it there. I have every expectation that the pilot will find my request eminently reasonable.
So obviously I have pretty much everything figured out. I do have a question, though, about using a car seat on the plane. I bought Charlie his own seat because I didn't want to have to fight over which one of us gets to use the arm rest. I'll be taking his car seat on board and would like some confirmation: if he's usually in a rear-facing seat, does the car seat also face the rear on the airplane? Should I be concerned about whether it will actually fit that way? If the person in front of Charlie chooses to recline, will my small sweet son be smashed into paste? And will our car seat a Graco SnugRide, measuring 16" at its widest point fit within the narrow side-to-side confines of a coach seat? If you've traveled with this seat before, can you please share your experiences?
Also please tell me soonest what you think of my cunning plan to use Charlie as my emergency flotation device in the unlikely event of a water landing. Screw the seat cushion and the inflatable vest I'm pretty sure babies are buoyant.