Friday, June 20, 2014

baby FAQ, month 2

Q: What now seems the most impossible thing about your pre-baby life?

A: That I frequently, even before the discomforts of pregnancy, had trouble falling asleep at night. Now, if the baby is sleeping and I put my head down on a pillow, I am literally out cold before there is time for a single thought. Seriously, you know when you lie down in bed and you think things? I don't remember what that's like.

Q: I have heard a rumor that you were able to button a couple pairs of pre-pregnancy pants.

A: It is true! And all I did was breast-feed and walk around the block with the stroller a couple times! The Weight Just Fell Off ™!

Q: Why must you turn this blog into a house of lies?

A: Fine, I was Spanxed to the gills.

I am actually seeing changes in my body: they are due to lots of cardio, watching what I eat, and being patient. There have been three times in my life when weight did legitimately just fall off: one was when I stopped drinking (especially since the last year of my drinking was almost entirely beer), and the other two were times of intense misery and anxiety.  Having no beer to sacrifice and no interest in nasty break-ups or work crises or oral surgeries, no matter how effectively they may melt away the pounds, patience is the crucial element for me now. But it is nice to occasionally wear real pants in the meantime, and that's when having purchased a spandex girdle several years ago proves unexpectedly useful.

Q: How much fun is Perdita now that she is smiling and babbling and interested in everything?

A: SO MUCH FUN. More work, in some ways, because she's sleeping less during the day and she cries from boredom sometimes, but so, so awesome.

Q: How gross are her diapers?

A: Please, I had a 120-pound dog with a delicate tummy. He got giardia once. A creature one-twelfth his size, whose poops are usually confined to a diaper, is nothing. That said? Occasionally SO gross. (Also I have learned the hard way to make sure that the diaper is securely fastened before putting her down on our bed; or, failing that, to at least put her down on Berowne's side of the bed instead of mine. [That was only pee, but still. And she laughed after doing it.])

Q: How wonderful is the sight of cloth diapers drying on the clothesline in the ocean breeze?

A: It makes my heart beam.

Q: What did you learn from your water heater rupturing this week?

A: That everyone who is at Home Depot at 9:30 on a weeknight has the same sort of glazed, despairing, homeownership-has-just-kicked-me-in-the-metaphorical-balls, look. No one is buying a toilet plunger at 9:30 p.m. because their life is working out exactly as they'd planned. (Well, maybe they are; I don't judge.)

I also learned just how amazingly clean the basement can be made in a day when Berowne sets his mind to it. It hasn't looked that good since before I moved in. 

Q: Books?

A: Books!

Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America, by Cynthia Carr. Carr explores the fall-out from a 1930 lynching in her hometown of Marion, Indiana, and talks to a lot of white supremacists along the way. Unfortunately, the book was overlong (like I said, a lot of white supremacists) and scattered. She had some interesting things to say but it should have been edited way down. 

Raven Black, by Ann Cleeves. The first in her series of police procedurals set on the Shetland islands. I liked it, though it suffers from the character of the simple man-child whom everyone suspects of committing the crime (I see this character a lot in Scandinavian noir as well), and who says naively wise things which make the cynical policeman hero rethink his life. I find that character tedious and condescending, but other than that the book was good.

Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest. Steampunk novel set in an America where the Civil War has gone on for twenty years. I liked the world-building: Priest wisely keeps as close to reality as she can, which I find much more effective than some of the steampunk novels in which every paragraph features mention of some steam-powered cog-ridden device (I read one where umbrella stands and sugar bowls, among dozens of other things which do not benefit from mechanization, were mechanized). I didn't find the heroine particularly interesting, though, even if I appreciated her imperfection and how there wasn't any nonsense about every man she meets falling in love with her. 

And, of course, we're revisiting lots of children's and young adult books, as we read to Perdita (and each other) at night. I'm thinking next up will be The Secret Garden, which I haven't encountered since my mother read it to us as wee tads. Because I remember it begins with Mary living in India, I'm quite sure there will be Startlingly Casual Racism of the type that makes you stumble while reading aloud, but the discussions about that can wait until Perdita's a little older. (There will also be discussions when we get to the part in Little Women where Marmee advocates women biting the furniture rather than displaying any emotion that a man might find inconvenient. Of course, by that point Perdita will no doubt have witnessed enough displays of inconvenient emotion on my part to know that she's not living in a furniture-biting household [well, at least not now that Darcy is gone, though the gnawed windowsills and kitchen chairs are nice reminders of his presence].)

May you all be feeling the equivalent of a sea breeze through your windows on these long summer nights. 

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