Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Really, Who Am I?

Our family has various names they'd like to be called by Evan, eventually. All types of creative names that are variations on the Original Grandparent (OG) names.

In my day it was like, Hey Gramps, turn up the A/C ya cheap old bastard, and Grandma, do my chores, I'm watching cartoons.

Not this generation of grandparents, though. These old hippies want names like Siti and BaBa and Poppyseed muffin. Hebrew names, Arabic names, Polish names, nonsensical names.

Oh but then there's my dad, who would prefer to be referred to as "Grandfather." Nerd-alert.

Nonfiction: I'm at work, uh, all day and night. Indeed, I've been watching that masterful little piece of cinematography you see below pretty frequently to remind myself of what baby looks like. That way, when I finally get home, I'm not all "hey, who are you, infant? You think you can just lay there all the time, you little freeloader? Beat it, you!"

Anyway, so I was watching it again a few minutes ago and suddenly felt all lost and weird inside. I was like...yo that's my baby. She my offspring, dude. As lame as it sounds, it sort of hadn't totally hit me until that moment. See, I don't really feel like a mama. That's what people are calling me these days, and I keep looking over my shoulder, all, "who? That lady over there? Yeah, she's kinda old and saggy, she's probably a mama."

At first methought I was more like dad. Cause I play Grand Theft Auto like it's my job and I think "Ain't No Fun If the Homies Can't Have None" is the best track on Doggystyle.

But then I realized, I don't feel like anything, really. Does having a kid automatically make you a mama, or whatever? Or do you earn the title once you've scraped fecal matter from the face of your watch a sufficient number of times (again, nonfiction. How does it get there so often?)? Because I don't feel like a mom. I feel a little like a shepherd. Occassionally minding a solitary, excessively small sheep, usually while E is in the shower.

But grandparents are totally cool with being grandparents. I was like: are you ready for this, parental unit? They're all, hell yeah I'm ready to be a Poppy/Siti/Grandfather. I was born ready. It's probably because they've done the whole parental thing already, and being a grandparent is some sort of custodial cakewalk in comparison. But still, their hyper-readiness for us to produce offspring makes me wary. What's in it for them, damnitt? Sometimes I think they're just reveling in the feeling of payback. Leaning back in their chairs, occasionally pointing and laughing as I stumble my way through taking care of this baby.

"Ha ha, look at you. Up all night, eh? Ya like that? Ah, ha ha. Oops, there's a little fermented regurgitated breastmilk on your arm there. Oh, ho ho."

Meanwhile, I just shuffle around with my staff, an inept shephard with no name of my own.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This is What I do on Friday Nights Now. Who am I?

I'm only slightly freaked out that my Friday nights of late no longer consist of passing out face down on the sidewalk in front of my apartment building.  Now I do this.  It's more of a natural progression than I would have guessed.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things Someone Should Have Told Me Before I Had a Baby

1. You will never find the right baby sling, no matter how hard you try.

Baby-wearing devices were invented by either 1) an asshole or 2) a morbidly obese person. I've tried three, and each is a colossal failure of cotton dessign. The Hotsling worked the first time I used it, but now droops sadly when I stuff my poor baby in, who winds up lying flat at the very bottom of the fabric pouch, staring up at me with a look of utter disdain. Then we've got the Terra Cotta or something, which is as ineptly named as it is designed.

And finally, the Moby. Oh, where do I begin with the Moby? Why is the Moby so long? Why, God, why is it so long? One size fits all, in that it is so large that it is big enough for anyone on the planet, including a silverback gorilla.

I loathe the Moby with a violent loathing. I want to kick it in the face, but it is just a 98 foot long pile of cloth, so it doesn't care what I do to it. In fact I think it grows each time I begrudgingly extract it from its tiny cloth bag, just to mock me.

Seriously, who the hell invented this thing? All it is is a strip of fabric so long that if you tried to hang yourself with it, you'd fail, no matter how high your ceilings are. Oh, I should mention it comes with a 50 page instruction manual on how the fuck you use it, since that's how long it takes to explain why anyone needs a 98 foot long strip of fabric. Which leads me to...

2. Immediately dispose of any and all items requiring an instruction manual.

There is nothing so frustrating as scanning an instruction book while simultaneously trying to operate the device you have no clue how to use while your poor, patient baby waves her arms and grunts and begins to cry because it is taking you eons, EONS, to figure out said device, and baby needs snuggling or swaddling or food and there you are, futilely scanning the pictures of smiling moms, searching for the golden shred of knowledge that will TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOAL SO THAT YOU CAN MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE.

If it needs a manual, toss it in the dumpster. Unless it is a car seat. Those really just ought to come with some sort of fairy or elf who magically manipulates baby's arms and legs through the various straps and buckles the various plastic elements properly because adult human hands are incapable of such precise movements without years of prior training.

Lo, the heartbreaking wail of a baby being strapped to a torture device carseat. Bet you didn't know that...

3. ...your heart will be broken, pinched, spit on, and bitch-slapped on a daily basis!

That thin little wail your baby emits when you buckle her into the carseat? Your fault, you sadistic asshole. Her wide-eyed look of alarm accompanied by outstretched flailing arms? Hey, that's because she thinks you're about to drop her! Nice going, idiot. How about when baby stops eating, turns bright red, shrieks, then starts eating again? Oh, that's just because it hurts to eat, people. It just hurts to eat.

Babies can't catch a break, and that shit is sad. Baby used to be all snuggled up cozy inside, sans bright lights or cold air or nurses who drop things on their heads or inept parents. And then they come out and you know what bitches? It's hard out here for a baby. She may not be dodging bullets, but the bathwater temperature can be dicey and her hoes are arguably more trouble than they're worth.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Due Time

We're trying, with some success, to forget the whole hospital ordeal and move on. Thanks so much to those who commented - I can't tell you how good it felt to get reassurance from you that what happened really WAS fucked, and we weren't just psychotic crunchy people with a grudge against western medicine.

Anyway, it helps that Evan is so goddamned perfect it hurts. She sleeps, she eats, and she is awake, wide-eyed and mesmerized by light filtering through the tree leaves. She smiled yesterday -- her first true, eyes to mouth smile -- at the dog. She loves to float in a sink full of warm water, as long as she's got a two-handed, iron-clad grip on the finger of a larger, sturdier individual. She is instantly rendered unconscious, even in the midst of a full-blown hiccup attack, with a head massage. She tolerates kisses with a look of mild disgust.

As fucked-up as her arrival was, our 1 Great Triumph was that she never had one drop of formula. E pumped every three hours starting the morning after her birth, and her milk came in on day 3, which I consider a minor miracle due to the circumstances of her delivery. Evan was bottle-fed breast milk at the hospital, and once she got home she transitioned to breast-feeding within a week. Her diminutive stature and narcoleptic behavior made it difficult at first, but an extremely strict lactation consultant with many small plastic instruments and a bubbling cauldron turned things around, and then they were off and running.

Some minor bumps along the way:

1. Choking at every feeding. We realized that E's boobs were functioning like beer bongs, forcing milk down the poor baby's throat at a speed alarming to a newborn. E made some adjustments (switch sides every 2 feedings) and things have improved. She still chokes at the first feeding on the new side...any advice on how to prevent that? I've experienced few things as heartbreaking as listening to my tiny, hungry infant splutter and gasp for air. Although her milk-bong induced coma is sort of hysterical.

2. Excessive, at times scary, projectile spitting up. I'm embarrassed to admit that there were a few times in which I felt afraid of my baby. Note to new parents: don't prop up your baby and stare at her in the middle of the night in a darkened room. Babies look kind of creepy in dim light, and when their eyes suddenly cross and white liquid shoots out of their mouth, jesus christo, who wouldn't say a little prayer?

Anyway, we spent a couple of days worrying that she had reflux, so we called our lactation consultant who laughed and pointed her finger at us and laughed some more. You'd know if your baby had reflux, she said, cryptically. Just prop her up when you feed her, and don't bother me with such nonsense in the future, fools, for I am busy ensuring the babies of the world Gain Weight and Thrive, and frankly your baby's thighs are much too large for that preemie diaper she's wearing.

8 pounds, 2 ounces on her due date. I could not be more proud of E. She set about the breastfeeding thing with steely-eyed, lock-jawed determination and lucky for all of us her body cooperated and Evan is totally thriving.

And you know what? Since the day I met her, the longest this baby has cried is the time it takes to stuff a pre-fold diaper into a cover. Slap the diaper on, pick her up, and girlfriend's like, waa- what up, gangster? What was I crying about?

I don't presume that things will stay so easy forever...but it's hard not to feel like we lucked the fuck out with this one.