April 2011

We have been parents for almost six months, five of which have been the best months ever (seriously, babies need to come out of the womb smiling.  It would make everything so much better).  I’ve been back to work all year, but I wish that maternity leave could be spread out over time so that I could be at home now.  I not only can’t keep up with what Netflix is cranking out, but I miss my daughter even more than when I first went back to work.  The weekends and a couple of hours on weeknights aren’t enough to feel like I’m staying on top of all she’s learning to do.  Scheduling visits (for all her Beliebers) and making sure that we get our own family time is like a part-time job.  I hate that our weekends are booked two months in advance.

Whomp whomp.  Anyway, every day with her is a blessing, or however the nonreligious should convey gratitude.   My heart has shoved out love for other things to make room for adoration of Toast.*  She reminds me of Taiko Drum Master.  When you’re playing a good game, cartoons of happy faces and stars and dancing cats shoot out of the drums.  That’s what I see when I see her:  a bunch of animated crap flying from her face.  I LUB HER.

I’m looking forward to the following things:

– Starting on solids, and having her sit with us at the table so we don’t have to take turns eating dinner in two minutes.

– Summer of swimming, which might include sunglasses, though I know enough about her to know that they won’t stay on her head for long.

-Warm-weather clothes.  Babies are cuter when they’re showing more skin.  There’s no non-creepy way to say that,  but it’s true.  Her dad has bought her two pair of shorts.  Shorts for a baby?  Now I’ve seen everything!

– Movement!  We are still only dog-proofed at our house, which is like being baby-proof but with sharp corners and tall CD towers that can be tipped over.  I’m in no hurry for her to crawl and walk because I enjoy this golden age when she is very fun and mostly immobile.  Since I can’t keep those crazy legs from moving, I am also looking forward to having her run and play and wrestle the dog.

– And, other things, like seeing our neighbor-parents, going to baseball games, attending two weddings in the fall with a near-year old, and learning how to efficiently bake and cook while taking care of a baby (which is difficult currently since I take twice as long as a recipe says that one should take, and she can only occupy herself for about ten minutes).

So much fun stuff ahead.  Difficult things will come, too, obviously, but those aren’t nearly as exciting to itemize.

*Most everyone who reads this knows the baby’s name and could find places online to see pictures of her.  I don’t know why I hold onto this sense of privacy that doesn’t exist, or what the actual fallout is of giving her a public, online presence.  I think it’s half not wanting strangers in her business, and half knowing that she is going to want to own her own experiences, and she should be able to control what her online presence should be.  It would not be fair of me to flood the Internet with her life when one day she might not want it there.  However, by the time she’s old enough to have her own computer, we’ll be living in a post-apocalyptic society where only the powerful have access to technology.  I’ll have wasted my time setting everything to “friends only” anyway.

Sunday dinner prep

I didn’t think that I would have time to read after the baby was born, but that’s not been the case.  While my associate has knocked out about 100 books since we became parents, I spend my leisure time or hands-free-baby-sleeping-on-my-lap time playing with my Google phone, watching TV, or reading magazines.  Turns out that I still just don’t feel like reading.  I can’t handle literature (though I read “One Hundred Years of Solitude” while pregnant), am tired of the pop-culture essays and novels that we have sitting around, and just can’t get into anything else that I bought used over the years and never read.  I’m sure this is just a phase, and I probably still read as much as the average person, but I used to read all the time.  I have read two books since baby: “Never Let Me Go,” which I didn’t really like and had already started before baby; and “Hunger Games,” which I read in a week and loved.

Still, I think that reading is a good way to ease out of a busy day and into sleepiness.  And because I like to do stupid things, I have started reading “The Walking Dead” compendium that’s been sitting around our bookshelf for the last year.  I don’t know the history of the series, although it’s a TV show that I haven’t seen.  It’s your basic “man wakes up from a coma to find that the world has been taken over by zombies” story, and follows his journey with his family and the other survivors that they stay with.  It is the worst bedtime reading.  It’s grim, hopeless, violent, and sad.  I read for longer than I intend to because comic books/graphic novels are too easy to get absorbed in, and when I realize that I need to stop and get some sleep I’m too wired and can visualize zombies tapping at the window.  So I have to do something else for 10 minutes to calm down, like look at pictures of the baby or read through a lighter book.  And when I wake up super tired I tell myself that I need to stop reading “The Walking Dead,” but the next night I pick it up again.

I don’t have the tolerance for scary things that I used to, if I ever did.  I’m afraid that one night I’ll take the dog out and there will be a dead man slowly walking toward us and Bunk will go nuts and attack him/it with love and I will run back into the house and let the zombie kill our dog.  And then Bunk will become a zombie and I won’t let her back in the house and Richard will get mad at me.  I do find comfort that if our house was surrounded by zombies that (our alive, still inside) dog would alert us immediately and we can all stay in our attic until death/someone saves us.

So when I go into work the next day looking exhausted, my coworkers first assume that our baby is the culprit, but she never is (she gets around nine hours a night, but probably because we haven’t installed “The Walking Dead” mobile yet), and I have to explain that I was up late reading a scary comic book.

From "The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1"

I participated in the Monument Ave 10k yesterday, which I was worried about being able to complete, but turns out was a lot better and more enjoyable than training for it.   I guess a thing like that exists just for the benefit of feeling good about yourself (and raising money, which I didn’t do this time).  It was fun and I was proud of everyone involved.  Monument Avenue is pretty flat, but at one point I could see a stretch of road ahead of me with thousands of people running.  It was a cool sight.  A reverse-“Walking Dead.”  How could a world with fun runs be overtaken by zombies?