Her Bad Mother

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Girl talk

Before Baby was born, I was more or less indifferent as to whether I would have a boy or a girl. The things that I was wishing for in a child - beyond good health - were pretty gender-neutral: keen mind, lively imagination, free spirit, that sort of thing. That said, being a girl myself, there was a certain appeal to the idea of having a baby girl - pretty clothes! pretty nursery! pretty clothes! But I also very much liked the idea of a little miniature of the Husband running around - because, of course, I think the Husband is awesome and why not double the awesomeness? and because I think that little boys are just generally adorable. Plus, I have the examples of two stupendous nephews belonging to my sister, awesome little T and his super big brother Z who is growing into the most wonderful little man. And in addition to that, two other adorable little nephews and one big cool nephew on my husband's side. And three mind-blowingly sweet and smart godsons who I love to pieces. Loads of phenomenal boys. I totally would have been more than happy with a little bit 'o boy action.

But we discovered mid-way through the pregnancy that the little being that we were then calling the Peep was a little Peepette. When the ultrasound technician declared matter-of-factly that the blurry alien on her screen was in fact a girl, I burst into tears. My girl! My GIRL! The pretty frilly sugar-and-spice road ahead unfolded spectacularly in my mind's eye and I. Was. Smitten.

(I have to interrupt this happy little revery for a parenthetical bitch note. When you're pregnant, everyone asks whether you know if you are having a boy or a girl. Like it's their business, but that's not the focus of the bitch here. If you tell them - assuming, that is, that you know - most of them will do one of two things: tell you a horror story about the unique challenges of raising a girl or a boy, or - and FYI this is the focus of this parenthetical bitch note - they will tell you about how their sister/their cousin/their neighbour/the third cousin of their sister's neighbour thought that she was having girl but then it turned out to be a boy and they had to redo their whole pink nursery and buy all new blue clothes and it cost a fortune and so they really hope that you haven't decorated the nursery/bought the baby clothes/named the baby/pinned your precious baby hopes on a gendered idea of who that baby is 'cause odds are you're mistaken and you don't want to be crushed when a little boy appears instead of a little girl ha ha ha. Which makes you want to punch them in the face for ruining your day and the whole rest of your pregnancy.)

(The above bitch note goes hand-in-hand, BTW, with bitch notes about people who greet your pregnancy with their own or their sister's neighbour's third cousin's labour horror story - in labour for three weeks! tore a new asshole! couldn't walk for a year! - or with some comment on how absolutely massive you are - ohmigod are you carrying twins?!?! - or with cocktail party questions about your nether regions - are you dilated yet? has the doctor reached up there to feel baby's head? What is it about pregnancy that makes people say things that make you want to punch them in the face?)

Back to our scheduled sugar-and-spice programming.

When WonderBaby Queen of the Known and Unknown Universe arrived, it must be said, she didn't seem especially girly. (She was, however, a more attractive baby than I expected, having been well-primed for some larva-like creature by all the pregnancy book warnings about not expecting a Gerber baby.) She didn't seem especially anything, gender-wise: babies, and especially newborns, tend to be pretty androgynous in their fetalness. Which is why I wasn't perturbed by the gender-confusion part of the Ikea incident. And why for the first weeks of her life it didn't seem all that urgent to girlify her with dresses and taped-on bows and all that.

But now, now that Baby is big enough to fit all the little dresses that have been coming her way and active enough to appreciate a good shopping excursion and savvy enough to realize that a little flirtin' goes a long way... that girl thang is ON.

To wit:

She dresses up in pretty dresses for parties...!

Why yes I DO think that pink is the new black.

She enjoys a nice relaxing bath...!

Thaaaat's nice... ooooh yeah...

She goes shopping with the girls...!

Um, you might want to try the three-way mirror, Mommy... and maybe rethink the horizontal stripes...

Sugar and spice and everything nice doesn't even begin to cover it.

WonderBaby Queen of the Known and Unknown Universe is a girly-girl, people, and she's lovin' every sugary minute of it.

But (oh that spice)...

Keep pointing that camera at me dude and I'm gonna go Sean Penn in YO FACE

... she's still gonna be a little ass-kicker.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

In today's headlines...

A random sampling of current events chez Baby...

The Good News:

1) Mommy's first foray back into her pre-mommy world was, despite the anticipatory angst, just fine. Felt GOOD, in fact. (The post-labour holes in the brain are not so big that whole books have fallen through! Mommy retains her intelligence! Can speak whole sentences! Huzzah!) The jaws of the students were not entirely slack! There may have been - MAY HAVE BEEN - actual learning! Exclamation points were abused!

2) Baby's rocking a new look that we here at chez Baby think is very exciting...


That's worth seeing again, I think...


The Mixed News:

1.a) While Mommy was away, Baby thrived in the care of her auntie and cousins, with whom she had much, much, much fun.

1.b) So much fun, that she barely noticed when Mommy walked back in the door that evening. Oh, is that you, Mommy? Have you met these SUPER FUN GIRLS? No, no, no booby for me thanks - I'm BUSY...

2.a) Baby laughed out loud for the first time!

2.b) While Mommy was away.*

*note on 2b - this is so traumatic (ohmigod the gods they punish me and they laugh) that all I can do is note it as a news line. Expect a rant at a later date when I have calmed down enough to rant.

The Bad News:

1.) The swaddle busting has reached a whole new level. Both arms, both legs, Miracle (ha) Blanket fully undone.


Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Baby steps

Today, I take my first hesitant steps back out into the non-mommy world. They are really little steps, because it's only a few hours a week, and it's very short-term. But still.

I. Am. Stressed.

I'm going to complete the lectures for an undergraduate course that I was supposed to begin teaching in January but didn't because I was too overwhelmed and FLIPPED OUT in the first weeks of Baby's life. I was very busy battling hard to ward off the dark, dark spectre of PPD in those days, fighting off the Intrusive Thoughts and the gale of tears that threatened to swamp me every day and just generally struggling to keep tired head above water. Got through it, and life with Baby is now a lot more like steering a rowboat up a pleasant if rocky river than it is like keeping afloat on a stormy sea and that's GREAT but seriously? That's just mommy progress and it isn't gonna help me back at the university facing a swarm of sullen undergraduates with last year's lecture notes clutched in my unmanicured hands. (1)

To be honest, the whole lecturing thing - even though I haven't had a lecture-appropriate thought in god-knows-how-long - doesn't concern me all that much. I'm a good teacher, so far as I can tell from the grainy photocopies of student evaluations that I receive at the end of the school year (thnx professor!!! u r really good! u rock!) (2), and I've been studying this stuff for frickin' long enough so I should be able to draw upon the resources that I've been acquiring over these many, many years. And? I sorta don't care all that much if the little darlings don't receive the best of me because a) I've seen many, many lecturers in my day and many if not most of them suck. Badly. And at risk of sounding stuck-up (tho' I am that), I'm pretty sure that I'd have to work at it to suck as badly. And b) undergraduate students tend to be criminally ungrateful, so WTF should I shred my soul in an unsung effort to enlighten them? And, most pressingly, c) I'm too preoccupied with the fact that I'M ABANDONING THE BABY.

I'm leaving her in very good, experienced sister-in-law hands, and only for a few hours, and she's going to love it because my god there will be cooing! Kisses! Non-stop holding! But still. Leaving the baby.

Mommy's heart flutters. She didn't think it would, she thought that she'd love this moment, she thought that the heart would race from the exhilaration of freedom. But she doesn't, and it doesn't, and the heart, instead, it flutters, and there is much wringing of the hands and she hopes that Baby knows that no matter how much Mommy pursues/clings to non-mommy things, her mommyness has become and will remain the most important thing she ever is or does.

I'm supposed to just walk away from Those Eyes?


1) University students in their late teens/early twenties are, with some very important exceptions, a singularly grubby and ungrateful lot, and so it is that I can't really view this as labour of love, as did Jezer with her charming Grade-Fours. It's an effort by me to hang on to part of my non-mommy/pre-mommy self, and to keep alive the hope that I will, one day, return to academic life, none-diminished by overwhelming obsessions with swaddling and fantasy nursery governments.

2) I'm not a professor; I'm an 'Instructor.' They don't give you tenure-track jobs until you finish off those last chapters of that little thing called a dissertation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Amazing Chase

(There has been much activity here at Baby Headquarters, and so much to report on: swaddle busts! parties! cat chases! One hardly knows where to begin. But since we have to portion out stories this week - Mommy returns tomorrow, temporarily, to lecturing, for the first time since Baby took over rule of the household - we must choose The Story of the Day. And since New Internet Friend and fellow Siamese Cat Aficionado Christine expressed interest in visuals of the furry Bad Ladies we must go with the Bad Lady Story...)

The NanaDoob has held a privileged position in Baby's court for some time, ever since she took it upon herself to Serve and Protect Baby, and to ward off such evils as the Compelling of the Nap and the Reading of the French. It is, and has been, a role of great importance, given Baby's relative helplessness. Being, for the most part, a chubby immobile creature, Baby required external support persons to act as her 'muscle.' Not unlike, one might venture to say, Jabba the Hutt...

OK, so Jabba is hideous and Baby is adorable. But consider the following Jabba characteristics and deny that Baby shares them: soft, pudgy body (check), multiple chins (check), limited arm use (check), oversize head and non-existent neck (check), excessive slobber (check), ambitions to rule the universe (check), slavish minions (check). I'm just sayin'.

So it has been that the NanaDoob has always acted at some remove from Baby, who has, since her takeover, been for the most part immobilized.

Watchoo lookin' at? You were expectin' robots and gold bikinis???

Until now.

Baby has been training for some time to gain the physical strength that world domination requires, and has recently begun testing herself outside of her various constraining support devices (among which, the arms of her chief minions, the Mommy and the Daddy).

And she decided that one her first orders of business was to test herself against the NanaDoob.

Come hither, pussy minion...

The NanaDoob was overdue for being put in her place. It is, after all, well known that all Siamese cats aspire to world domination. (1) And Baby could no longer allow the NanaDoob to nurture such ambitions. She would have to learn that Baby. Is. Boss.

... for I wish to gum you...

... and slobber upon you! And show you my power!

The NanaDoob, quite understandably, fled moments later. It is, however, unclear as to whether she fled out of fear or out of an understandable abhorrence of mucous.


The above was the second of the Amazing Cat Chases. Baby, it must be admitted, did not move very quickly. Indeed, the movement was very limited. But the effort was made! And there was scooching - the pushing along of the body by way of arm and leg wriggling - to the order of some 6 inches! Baby GOT GOIN'.

Mommy was VERY PROUD. And took many pictures. Most of which do not show Baby at her best, as there was much exertion involved in this exercise...

Aaaarrrrggghhh....dribble... aarrggh

But still! VERY PROUD!


(1) The NanaDoob and her compatriot, The Sissy, have been caught relaxing in Baby's throne, and issuing orders to the toys and (treason!) to the minion Mommy and Daddy. So there is solid evidence that some usurpation has been in planning. They'll need to be watched...

I scoff at your drool, hairless one...

Monday, February 27, 2006

This is not the doll you're looking for...

Over at the Blogfathers' site, there's been some discussion about the evil that lurks at Toys'R'Us. But really, hello? The Death Star of toy stores? It's ALL evil. And we're ALL, at one time or another, sucked into its Tractor Beam. Who among us hasn't flirted with the Dark Side, having been exposed to a) the promise of the sweet, sweet relief of rested arms (only gained once Baby has been put at the controls of standard-Death-Star-issue Command Center from which, presumably, she will blow whole planets to smithereens), or b) the plaintive cries of the child who is seduced by the glitter and glam of the playsluts - the Bratz, the Barbies, et. al. - who leer suggestively in the aisles of the Death Star.

I've no experience yet of the latter, as Baby still prefers bright simple colours and shapes and is (once settled down comfortably in my arms/the baby jail/Central Command) easily amused by any manner of object. But the day, I fear, will come, when she screams for something, in Dutch's words, pink and slutty. Something else to keep me awake at night once I've exhausted my obsessive struggle against ugly baby gear.

But I have a weapon.

Meet Bicephala...

This is not the doll you're looking for...

Bicephala, or 'Biccy,' as she is known to her tight inner circle of friends, is the Cool Kid Around Here. She stays out of the politics of Baby's world, and avoids the controversies and struggles for power that preoccupy most of the other toys (hello, Whoozit?). She just hangs back (yeah, there's a pack of Marlboros tucked into that skirt) and observes, biding her time until she is needed.

And that time will come, my friends. Of this there is no doubt. When the Bratz and Barbie brigade loom on the horizon, she'll be ready.

And she will Kick. Some. Ass.

Yah know I loves yah cuz your feets so big

Ah, the feets...
A perfectly executed Fourth Position (in grand pliƩ, not shown)

... the feets, the feets. The lovely, lovely oversized feets. What more can be said of them, really, other than that they are kissable, munchable, and adorable and that there is much of them.

Well, it's less feet than it is toes. It's the toes of which there is much...

Spider monkey toes. Channel-surfing, cigarette-rolling, piano-tapping toes...

... toes attached to the feet, attached to the legs, attached to the body of the sweetest little creature in the world. When you're carrying that much wonderfulness you gotta have the big feets.

Yah know I loves yah cuz your feets so big...

(With apologies to Fats Waller, Leon Redbone, et. al.)