Her Bad Mother

Friday, February 24, 2006

Our top story tonight...

We're still reeling from the Whoozit scandal here at Baby Headquarters. What little dignity Whoozit had remaining after his defeat, by Baby, in combat training was totally obliterated when it was revealed that members of the Whoozit clan are not, as was previously thought, Shaolin masters, but hangers-on in shabby rock star entourages.

So Whoozit is reduced to lowly jester in the court of Baby. A post previously held by this guy...

It's the clothes. You don't get close to the center of power when you dress like this.

... who is now Minister Responsible for Mime and Baguettes. (This, it must be admitted, is a vanity post; the portfolio was created for the express purpose of facilitating the shuffle that relegated Whoozit to the Office of the Jester.)

Baby has retreated to Central Command, where she has been reviewing the files of all the toys in her court to check for any indications of further scandal...

That book under Baby's feet? Yep. That's the catalogue for the Goya exhibit at the Met. Footstool for Baby now. How things change.

... and has been receiving daily tabloid briefings from the NanaDoob, who now holds the post of Head of Intelligence as well as that of Chief of Military Security. All of which is exhausting...

Mommy feels this way too, sometimes. OK, most of the time.

The life of a ruler is a thankless, tiring one. World domination is gonna be a bitch.


Babylympics Update:

In the individual swaddle (binding) event, Mommy has underperformed, scoring very low on both Artistry (too conventional in the binding method, it seems) and Endurance (her binds are not lasting as long as they should to really qualify as world-class.) But she still ranks as something of a workhorse in this event, simply because she practices so diligently. She's hoping to qualify for semi-finals, to at least stay in the game, even though she knows that she has no medal hopes.

In the individual swaddle (unbinding) event, Baby is well on her way to GOLD. She has proven that she can unbind both creatively (one arm! two arms! no arms both legs! one leg one arm!) and quickly (ranges from 2 seconds to some hours depending on the course.) Records are being broken. People will be talking about this for years.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The end of innocence

You try to protect your child from the dark sludge of our superficial, celeb-obsessed culture. (1) Then her toys hit the tabloids, and what, exactly, are you supposed to do?

Now, it's not that I was labouring under the false belief that Whoozit, Baby's former Chief of Security (Toy Detail) and personal trainer, was the only or last of his kind. I know for a fact, for example, that Whoozit has a cousin living in the suburbs of Vancouver. (2)

But apparently - OMG - his people are everywhere. Including - OMFG - loitering near the pouchy crotches of aging rock stars...

This is how you ride, Whoozit? Really? Dude.

... and being stalked by paparazzi and having their faces (okay, Whoozit is all face, but still) plastered throughout German gossip rags. (The Germans, apparently, don't consider Rod Stewart an aging rock star. He's an 'Alt-Rocker,' which any child of the 80's knows that he is so not. He's a 70's hangover. But in German 'Alt-Rocker' can also be translated as 'Old Skirt,' so maybe they're not too far off.) (That said, you never know with the Germans. They like this. And there was the whole Second World War thing. But whatever.)

But, gawd, Whoozit! How am I going to explain this to Baby? That her fallen-but-still-beloved-friend comes from a line of star-f***ers?

Damn. Parenting is turning out to be harder than I thought.


1. Which one day will require hiding those Us and People magazines that, um, somehow find their way into the bathroom.

2. Who alerted us to the shame that has been brought upon the family.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Keepin' it real

We have, my friends, crossed the Rubicon.

My determination to have a baby-friendly home that was nonetheless free of all that is garish and plastic has received its final blow.

Behold, the Exersaucer:

Yeah, okay, she's a LITTLE bit challenged in the hair area...


It doesn't get any more garish or plastic than this.

You would think.

It actually does get more garish and plastic than this, even in the very small world that is the domain of Stationary Monster Trucks for Babies. I take small consolation in the fact that, among SMTBs, the Exersaucer is something of a classic. It is, believe it or not, a more or less restrained machine, efficient in its size and modest in its accoutrements. Unlike, for example, the Fisher Price Intellitainer...

There's actually a kid in that picture. Really.

... which is a humungous, hideous beast of a thing, a construction that could no doubt flatten the humble Exersaucer in a second.

We might have gone the Intellitainer route. Were it not so off-the-chart in its hideousness, and too big for our house. So I congratulate myself on my restraint; even though I swore that I was going to acquire the most pimped-out exercise device that I could find, I have chosen to keep it simple.

Okay, so I'm not keeping it totally real in the baby-rearing department. Got me the accessories and the props. So I'm deficient as a mother, I get it, I KNOW. But the child, she will not be put down for more than 15 minutes at a stretch unless I am right down there with her playing, holding or supporting in a standing position. Which, yes, I am THRILLED to do 90% of the time. But that other 10% is a bitch.

So when I am not reading to her, exercising her, singing to her, dancing with her, tummy-timing with her, cuddling her, speaking to her in foreign languages, introducing her to the histories of the ancient Greeks, Persians and Romans and cultivating an appreciation for Bach (you think I'm kidding) ETC ETC, I would like to rest my arms.

Which is why there is an Exersaucer now, sitting alongside the bouncer-rocker and the baby jail. I like to think that I am practicing the art of constructive confinement - encouraging her to entertain herself and all that. (Ah, how then to defend the swaddle? Confinement directed toward encouraging rest. Constructive? Maybe?)

But really?

I'm just resting my arms.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Because really, it's such an INTERESTING subject...

The swaddle gods, they are laughing. Oh, how they laugh.

I have endeavoured to overcome; I have given up; I have endeavoured again. I have given up again. I have embraced the swaddle, I have cursed the swaddle, and I have embraced the swaddle again. I have foresworn the swaddle; I have crept back, meekly, to the swaddle's embrace. I have been utterly defeated by the swaddle.


The swaddle, as a babycare tool, has been like crack: immediately and completely satisfying, but requiring increasingly intense application to maintain its effects. As I've recounted, repeatedly, the swaddle, she works wonders... until Baby figures out how to defeat the swaddle. Then there is much handwringing and agonizing over WHAT THIS MEANS: has Baby outgrown the swaddle?Is she trying to escape the swaddle? Is it time to de-swaddle? So we try to achieve sleep without the swaddle. We fail. There are tears. Baby will not go to sleep without the swaddle. So we redouble our swaddling efforts. And so on and so forth.

There have been a few brief but glorious moments of swaddleless sleep recently. Keyword: BRIEF. Three naps, one fully unaccessorized, two in a sleep sack. This was cause for hope: Baby can sleep unswaddled! But then, as always, regression...

Today, two attempts to reclaim the glory of the swaddleless sleep failed spectacularly, ending in much remonstration by Baby to the effect of how dare you lay me down to sleep completely exposed to the world? How can you leave your little baby naked, prone, vulnerable? What kind of monster is Mommy? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!?!

Or, in English, WAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaaa?!? WAA waa waa WAA.

This resulted in complete relapse to the swaddle, effected as tightly and securely as possible. Which did, happily, thankfully, bring about the sleep.

How gratefully I tiptoed into the room to check on her, nearly an hour later. Only to discover Baby COMPLETELY UNBOUND from the waist up, swaddle blanket crumpled around her chubby little knees, staring up at me, her big dark eyes asking:

What were you expecting?

Shoot me now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Post Script

To yesterday's post.

Just cuz, well, there's always more to say. And today I don't really have anything new to say. So, POSTSCRIPT...

Yesterday's booby blog can be taken as Exhibit A, solid evidence that motherhood turns perfectly respectable thinking women into effluent-obsessed, body-baring Creatures of the Earth.

Prior to pregnancy and childbirth, I would NEVER have publicly discussed my breasts. I probably wouldn't have discussed them privately. (This is not to say that I mightn't have discussed other people's breasts. I have. Like the ones belonging to a certain Skanky Person I Know, a quote-unquote colleague, who has always insisted upon wearing low-cut tops even though the skin of her upper chest area is in dire need of a dermatologist's attention. I've discussed her breasts. Not publicly though. 'Til now. DUDE - COVER IT UP.)

But I wouldn't discuss my own. Unseemly. I have a very long and distinguished history of extreme prissyness. EXTREME prissiness. As in, not remotely earthy. ANTI-earthy. Totally, totally averse to the gross, the dirty, the biological. (1)

(This prissiness was exploited, I might add, by my exuberant mother who always revelled in the ease with which she could cause me extreme embarassment. A topic for another day, when I have the energy to burrow beneath those particular scars.)

(It was also revelled in by my earthy sister, who used to throw worms and bugs at me just to see me freak, and who said to me, when she had her first child, "YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THIS. YOU WILL NOT. YOU ARE SO ANAL. YOU WILL DIE." (2) And yes, she said it with full caps.)

BUT now, the prissyness, it has shrivelled and retreated, like a man-part meeting cold water. (3) Now that my breasts are no longer my own, I discuss them freely. I walk around topless in my home (oh god when I read during pregnancy that breastfeeding women do that I gasped and whimpered neverneverneverNEVER. Like with the snot-sucking. (4) HA.) I wear ugly catch-and-release nursing bras. I garland the boobies with gaudy jewellery to lure a Hoover-powered infant to my chest. I BLOG ABOUT THE BOOBIES.

I have - my mother is LAUGHING SO HARD somewhere right now - NO SHAME.

But apart from these moments of clarity when I horrify myself, the fog of delicious baby-love makes it all okay.

Spit happens.
And all I see is the big blue eyes.

Which is good, because otherwise my sister would have predicted correctly. What with the indignity and mess of childbirth and the river of effluent that is babycare and the aforementioned utter shamelessness that is breastfeeding, etc, etc, I would totally have died from the grossness long before now.



Apparently the grossness just gets worse.



Menthol also reduces milk supply. FYI.


1. Cf. my discussion of squeamishness v.v. prissiness at this post.

2. Yo, Sis - I'm not dead. Yet.

3. And yet I am still prissy enough to avoid saying 'balls' or 'testicle' in a semi-public forum.

Wow. Got over that fast, didn't I?

4. Did it again today. Still gross.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A booby blog

Boob discovery #1:

Baby is getting bored of the boobies. Not the lovely meals that issue forth from the boobies, which she insists upon having at the ready, but the booby itself. Once upon a time (two weeks ago) she couldn't be pried away once her face was planted therein; now, well, now there are so many more INTERESTING things in the world and so why would one want to keep one's face planted in a boob? (I know, I know, many men, the Husband included, would gasp at the heresy of such a question, because such is the life that they believe awaits them beyond the gates of Heaven.)

Giving Baby her breakfast/brunch/lunch/high-tea/dinner/bedtime-snack has become somewhat complicated now that Baby is more interested in, well, pretty much anything other than the boob. A meal generally begins nicely, but within seconds - oh, look, what is that? A bookshelf? - head bobs back down for a nip, and then - and where did you say Daddy was today? Is he in this room? I can't see him - back in for a nip - hey I've never noticed that plant before; does it need watering? - nip, nip - oh, look, Mommy, you have hands too! - nip - hey, sunlight! - and so on and so forth.

(OMG can I just interrupt this blogcast for an extremely important message? Baby is, at this very moment, sleeping unswaddled. Granted, she fell asleep in my arms before I could get her upstairs so it's not as though she put herself to sleep this way but having put her down she is still snoozing away very peacefully and it has been 30 minutes. Wee little hands clutched together across her little chest. This is so exciting that I would take a picture but I am not so stupid as to risk the swaddle-less sleep just to record the moment. Or am I? No, no, no. I'll just yell it out to the Internet - Baby sleeps unbound! OMG!!!!)

Back to the booby...

There is also the newfound distraction of conversation. Having discovered that Mommy is always right there gazing at her from the other side of the booby, much as she would if she were on the other side of a candlelit dinner table, Baby now enjoys a good conversation during mealtime. (This, however, I have to say, is one the more heart-clenchingly adorable moments in any given day - the sweet little grin from Baby as she realizes that there I am AGAIN to accompany her meal and then she delivers the welcoming coo and then the little monologue about her day and a comment or two on how the creme fraiche is really fine today. She. Is. Adorable.)

Enter the nursing necklace:

If you thought that the days of deploying sparkly things to attract attention to your breasts were over, well, think again. In much the same way that Lejaby bras and plunging necklines draw and hold men's attention to one's decolletage, the nursing necklace draws and holds baby's attention to the milk torpedo.

And it works, by God, it works.

I'm happy about this for the obvious 'whatever works' reasons, but can't help but wonder a) whether this signals a prediliction on her part for really gaudy jewellry that will be only be curable by exposure to Tiffany (which involves its own challenges, um, $$$$), and b) whether that little pink dice (lower right) is going to lead to future gambling problems (when she discovers that she finds odd but profound comfort at the side of a craps table.)

But, hey, what with the future Ambien addiction and all, what's one more item for her to add to the list of ways her mother messed her up?


Boob discovery #2:

Decongestants dry up milk supply, because, uh, THAT'S WHAT THEY DO. Dry things up. I only discovered this fact AFTER I read this. It's been a rough couple of days. The flashiest nursing necklace in the world couldn't have distracted Baby from the fact that the booby-juice, it was a-comin'-in SLOW.

So that thing I said about taking the goddamned medicine? Disregard.

And for future reference, don't listen to anything I say. Or at least, wait a few days to give me time to discover what exactly was wrong about whatever it was that I said. I'm totally flying blind here.


Boob discovery #3:

I'd tether balloons to the boobies, Bedazzle them, tattoo little happy faces on them, anything to make Baby happy.

Okay, LIE. I didn't just discover that and it was really just an excuse for another Totally Gratuitous Baby Picture:

I got this adorable baby and big breasts now? My cup runneth over...

(Yeah, cup pun intended, or would be if it weren't for the goddamned decongestants...)