My mom drives me crazy. I somehow believe that my grandmother had more sense.
For instance, me, my daughter and my mom were sitting on our patio, enjoying the day. A squirrel hopped along our fence. I’m not a big fan of squirrels, I actually find them rather annoying, but that’s about it. My mom freaked out that the squirrel would somehow hurt my kid who was sleeping peacefully in her super-safe car seat.
“She (the squirrel – ed) was hopping atop the fence, but then she stopped and stared at the baby!”
I tried to talk some sense into my mom: “She stares at me too, she’s a dumb animal. But there is no known specie of carnivorous squirrels.”
My mom probably felt cornered because she said: “What if she missteps and falls into the car seat?”
If you think that my mom is crazy, consider her brother. He was ones driving down the freeway with his daughter and her kids following a minute or two behind. He saw an eagle sitting on the tree by the freeway. I guess that eagle was particularly sinister looking because he found it necessary to call my cousin and warn her about the eagle.
My uncle gives out a false aura of rationality in everyday life… On the other hand, he’s not completely lost because he now realizes that he must had irritated my cousin tremendously.
My daughter is growing and becoming more and more complex every day.
Every morning I come to her bassinette and wonder at how much larger she seems. I had to teach myself to recalculate my every move because her body is bigger and heavier each time I pick her up, and if I don’t recalculate every move, I might hurt her.
When she was born, my mother marveled at her very feminine sigh – practically the only sound she produced when she wasn’t screaming her lungs off. No worry, in a weak or two she discovered a new sound, and dropped her little sigh. That sound was an old man’s grunt. She stuck with that one for a while. Her repertoire is much larger now, and she no longer does neither the sight nor the grunt. Her favorite is a pirate’s ARRRRR!
She talks to us with her many sounds. I’m sure she’s full of bright ideas. She’ll be so much fun ones she starts talking!
She’s becoming a social being, which consists of her wanting to hang out and resisting sleep. She gets herself overtired, and she exhausts her mom who now has to carry her around constantly and tickle her silly. Putting her to bed for some well-deserved sleep is not an option.
According to Consumer Reports all diapers are now good. That couldn’t possibly be true, and it’s not. The one brand I found the best is Pampers. I tried out several different kinds.
- Long’s Drugstore – they have a name for their diapers that I can’t recall. They are pretty good absorbency-wise, but very stiff and leave red marks in tender little skin.
- Huggies –absorbent and softer then Long’s, but still leave marks;
- Cabbage Leave – Actually they are called 7th Generation. Those are the diapers that you buy in Whole Paycheck. At the first glance they are not overpriced, though, same price per diaper as Pampers. However, they are the least absorbent of all brands I tried. Because I had to change the diaper much more often, they, in fact, are more expensive then competitors. They claim superiority over other diaper brands via eliminating chlorine. According to them chlorine causes diaper rash. All other sources I consulted site excrement as a source of diaper rash. In any case, my daughter doesn’t get the rash ever since I started using Petroleum Jelly on her buttocks. I suppose an absence of a chemical can’t hurt, but I don’t want to be a chump either. Cabbage Leave has another advantage: When other diapers feature cartoon characters widely recognizable to a person who grew up in this country, but unknown to this particular mom, Cabbage Leave is tasteful beige. Really, diaper fashion is more important to mommy then to newborn. Not to mention that your everage newborn doesn’t watch Sesame Street. At least I hope she doesn’t. Since Cabbage Leave doesn’t feature any corporate characters, the company doesn’t pay licensing fees. Unfortunately they are too cool to pass the savings to the consumer.
4. Pampers – the most annoying in appearance, but the softest and the most absorbent.
Shortly before I had my daughter, I posted about a late pregnancy nightmare of mine.
I suppose I was too pregnant to really make anything of the dream.
This dream is set in three locations: Israel, a hipster hangout, UC Berkeley. They appear in reverse chronological order of what was important to me. In other words, I’m going back in time.
Dream starts in Israel, the homeland, where I am visiting with immediate female relatives. I am dreaming about my roots, feminine nature and continuation of our bloodline. Key event in this part of the dream is my family loosing our largest suitcase. At this point our largest suitcase is my uterus – at least if we are to believe Dr. Freud. There are many places where leaving your luggage unattended is not recommended. Any airport would do. Any place in Israel would do. One of my mom’s girlfriends, now an Israeli, told us of her adventures rushing to retrieve her purse in a park before police would get to it and destroy it. An Israeli airport is doubly precarious. Anyhow, equally significant is the fact that I was chasing our largest suitcase down the escalator. Down the birth canal? Giving birth is dangerous both for myself and everyone around me, and it has to be stopped.
Curiously, much of the action in this dream is taking place on the stairs, escalators and elevators. Again, the birth canal. The second act is near Mama’s Royal Café. It’s a popular breakfast place, but I found the food gross, and never frequented there. If it popped up in my dream, it’s because you know – royal mama. I’m seating at the bottom of the steps and breastfeeding. I.e. I gave birth and am now a mother. It’s working out. I’m bonding with the baby; I am in public, although near the café not inside of it. Still the baby doesn’t seem to intrude on my lifestyle too much.
But wait! I have a class, and I go even further back in time (and further away from my current home). I listen to a typical Berkeley lecture, and Berkeley is not a place where the faculty is likely to tell girls importance of motherhood in woman’s life. The class, by the way, is an undergraduate lecture. I found my undergraduate experience meaningful.
I leave after class oblivious about leaving my large bag behind. I’m relived that I don’t need to carry anything, i.e. there is no pregnancy, no burden. BTW in Russian pregnancy literally means “burdened”.
After leaving the building I remember about my baby. I left it upstairs, i.e. it never leaves the uterus, and I have to take the elevator (up the birth canal) to retrieve it. Curiously negotiation might have been in issue in my baby’s death. As I stood between floors and waiting for elevator talking to a person who always finds the middle ground my baby lied in her plastic bag suffocating. In other words, time is coming for me to give birth; if I don’t the baby will suffocate in the uterus.
Equally interesting is the later dream I mentioned in the beginning of my post. That one wasn’t a nightmare. Ségolène Royal, a mother of four, won French elections with a healthy margin. Remember Mama’s Royal Café? In other words, motherhood wins.
In addition to daughter-themed poetry, I came up with daughter-themed song parodies. This creation, to be sung to the tune of “Yellow Submarine” is to be sung when changing the diaper:
In the town where I reside
Lives the girl who squirts her poop.
And she tells us of her life
In the land of milky boob.
You’re a very wiggly little thing!
Wiggly little thing!
Wiggly little thing!
Wiggly little thing!
…Perhaps I should stop blogging about my daughter’s bowl movement. Despite the anonymity offered by the Internet, and despite my limited readership, stories about her precious defecation patterns can cause much embracement a couple of years down the road.
My milk was slow to come, and, towards the end of my baby’s first week there was much talk about augmenting. I kept hoping that it was unnecessary, but my daughter wasn’t gaining weight, and although she was peeing quite a bit, she wasn’t pooping.
We made multiple visits to doctors and lactation consultants. Finally, one lactation consultant, an earthy Jamaican lady, said that it looks like the milk will be sufficient and the baby will poop sometime soon.
“Prepare yourself. I have a feeling that it will be a big poop!”
Sure enough my daughter pooped that very evening. I thought to myself, if that’s a lot of poop, I can deal.
My husband produced the last remaining bottle from our wedding to toast the occasion. Yet the next day was poop-deprived again, and I began to worry. That evening my daughter was sleeping in her car seat while her exhausted new parents stared at the TV screen. All of a sudden her face turned red and she produced the special two-step cry she favored the first month and a half of her life. Curiously she was still sound asleep.
“I bet you if anything, she pooped again,” – I said.
We brought her upstairs to her changing table, took of her diaper – and there it was, the megapoop we were warned about!
Since then she was pooping with ease. Her favorite place to poop is her changing table. We raise her legs to clean her tender behind, so, naturally, any leftover poop storms out. Sometimes there is quite a bit left because she projectile poops on the table, the wall and even the dresser across the room. She’s quite wiggly, and she manages to stick her feet into her soiled diaper despite our best efforts to restrain her.
Lately she began to display some grace, though. While we agonize about stopping her poop midair she gives us her very special big toothless changing-table grin.
My daughter Luuuuuuvs my dad. She follows him with her eyes across the room, and when he comes up to her, starts vocalizing. She is visibly disappointed when he moves away.
Due to arthritis complication my dad is not allowed to hold the baby. Was he allowed, he wouldn’t do much of it anyways. He loves her dearly. He looks at her picture all day long when he’s at home, but he’s not very helpful when he’s around, and he doesn’t know how to play with her. We had to prop him up, to tell him to talk to her about things like how his day went. He usually produces something like “I woke up, had a cup of coffee. Then I went to a sore and bought a book. Then I had another cup of coffee.” I plea with him to tell her about the book, but he refuses: She doesn’t understand this yet. He didn’t play with baby me much either. Yet somehow my mom reports that he was involved in bathtime help when I was little. His old training kicked in when yesterday he went into the bathroom when we were washing her. I made him hold the towels.
Why or why does she like him so much? I have three working theories.
- Because he’s not involved in baby care he doesn’t upset her. She’s never frustrated with him for not sticking her tit into her mouth fast enough. Or for the above-mentioned water torture known as bathing.
- Scent. I hear that there was another baby girl, my mother’s girlfriend’s daughter who was into him. Perhaps he smells good to babies.
- He’s a bib baby himself. Perhaps they sense a related soul.
Parenthood does strange things to women. I remember visiting a new mommy friend last December and listening to her acknowledge that she’s not that into dressing up anymore. She fought her fashion inertia, however, coming up with creative outfits that are still not too involved. I was pregnant at the time and obsessed with pregnancy fashion. I was a pretty hot pregnant mommy, looking back at it…
But today I find fashion silly. And my daughter being naturally gorgeous won’t need much accessorizing!
In the past I found daytime TV profoundly boring, and I still do. I don’t watch Oprah or The View or any of that crap, but I keep my TV on news channels, and daytime news falls significantly below my standards. Nighttime news is also below my standards, but it’s not quite as bad. I find TV an easy breastfeeding diversion. I prom myself up with pillows, place my daughter on top, and turn it on. On a good day I get my fill of Anna Nicole, Paris and Diana. On a bad day it’s a rescue worker falling into a ditch – on every channel.
And yet I’m getting to be the daytime news demographic. I can’t get a news story about vegan parents who starved their baby to death via vegan diet out of my mind.
The baby was the same age mine is now when it succumbed. I fantasize about what should be done to the parents. Should we just “shoot them” or commit then to lifetime of starving baby videos? In any event vegans should be preventively fixed. I feel so passionate about it, I would call TV station if the subject comes up! Am I becoming one of them, a dreaded boring housewife? The baby was the same age mine is now when it succumbed. I fantasize about what should be done to the parents. Should we just “shoot them” or commit then to lifetime of starving baby videos? I feel so passionate about it, I would call TV station and demand to fix vegans! Am I becoming one of them, a dreaded boring housewife?
New mothers often ask me for advise… ehr, no. Lets pretend they do.
My advice is this: Steal hospital swaddling blankets. Receiving blankets you buy in stores are no good. They are too small even at birth. Fancy blankets are too slippery. IKEA has some good baby blankets, but they are too warm for summer nights, let alone summer days. Then they are the blankets designed specifically for swaddling, but they are tailored to infants of certain size, so they only fit well for a couple of days.
Why can’t anyone produce proper size blankets for sale is beyond me. I assume there is market for something like that. Then again, maybe there is not. A good deal of baby products are designed for baby showers, i.e. they supposed to elicit baby sounds from grown women. If I had to single out the single most useless baby product I proudly own, I’d have to say its diaper duck. A diaper duck is a ducky that looks like a ducky you get for your baby in hope that it would calm down for a second when you are washing it. A diaper duck, on the other hand, is something that goes into mommy’s diaper bag. Its staffed with small blue plastic bags in which parent can put a soiled diaper before disposal. I wonder if they even bother to manufacture refills.
I guess people like buying bay staff, especially baby girl staff. I am now in receipt of the most inexplicably frilly pink onesies; most of them unsolicited. Unfortunately I have to thank every gift-giver profusely, which gives them ideas.
My daughter looks nothing like me. Cleaning up projectile poop of an individual who while being very cute, small and female strangely resembles your own husband is not a very flattering experience. And yet I persevere.
All of a sudden there is a whole range of issues about which I have no opinion. For instance, do I change her diaper now, or do I wait and let her poop her heart out? How do I get her to feed on a schedule? Why is her top-rated baby carrier so hard to use? Are we bonding or what?
Actually judging by how selflessly I get up in early am scrab off her butt, I must have bonded all right. She on the other hand, is she bonding with me? Sure she likes to fall asleep curiously close to my tit. But what is she furring her brow like that for? And why is she so happy to see the dad when he comes home from work if I spent my whole day tending to her every emerging need? To tell you the truth I’m relived to see her expressed so much interest in dad. I can relax at last.
Not only I have little or no opinion about what to do with my precious one, everyone else does! What’s frustrating is that they all seem to say something different. My doula warned me about it. Like she said, it all started in the recovery room in the hospital where every RN had her own uniquely crafted suggestion. At the time I followed the ones I liked. For instance, I told one RN that the baby cried more on the second day then the first night. “Oh, so she already switched day and night”, — she replied. Yeh right! Nevertheless from then on I followed every advice she gave.
Sometimes contradictory advices come from the same person or the same book. Better yet, from a single page of a critically acclaimed book. Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is a case in point. First he brings up all the research that shows that the amount of sleep children get does not vary crossculturally. Then he gives suggestions how to influence sleep. But if there are no crosscultural variations then sleeping habits are not learned, and why am I reading his book?
In other words, I’m confused. If I am to trust the books I read, confused parent is a bad parent because a good parent doesn’t vacillate. Perhaps I need to stop reading.