Wednesday, March 25, 2015

baby FAQ, month 11

Q: Eleven months??

A: I know! What happened? Oh, right, the bony hands of time.

Q: Any big developments?

A: She has some teeth coming in on top. Eyeteeth, though, not front teeth; apparently she is a vampire. Which would explain why nothing can induce screaming quite like the sun falling across her face in the car.

Q: Well, fangs will help with tearing into that solid food, right?

A: I don't see how she could tear more into it than she does now. Her trencherman skills generate wonder from bystanders when we go out to eat, and the report from daycare this week was that she demanded seconds for lunch and then fell asleep while eating, without ceasing to eat. Her eyes were completely shut but she was still bringing food to her mouth. I'm so proud. I think.

Q: Is she talking?

A: Not really. As people seem to delight in telling me, how early she's meeting all her physical milestones means she won't talk until she's about four and then will have a terrible time with grammar. Because no one can be intelligent and athletic! Apparently the popular wisdom around childhood development is based on high school stereotypes, and my child has already been labeled a jock.  

Q: How is your perpetual daycare guilt?

A: Diminishing, actually. I finally sat myself down and really thought about being home with her, and the enormous responsibility that is, and how ill-suited I am to it. Which is not to say that I'm ill-suited to being a mother - well, maybe I am, but that's not the point. Home with her, I would probably manage to keep her fed and clean and mostly uninjured. But if I were home with her, the only way she'd have access to kids her age is if I went out and found those families and made (shudder) playdates. The only way she'd have access to certain games and toys and learning experiences would be if I arranged them. The only instruction she'd receive on letters or numbers or colors before kindergarten would have to come from me. And the immense pressure of finding a good daycare was, for me, nothing to the pressure of being solely responsible for my child's intellectual and social development in the first five years. I am sure there are parents who are thrilled and excited about that responsibility, and jump right into the playdates and lesson plans and sensory activities. Which is awesome! But it's not for me.

Q: And what are her caregivers teaching her this month?

A: That dinosaurs and babies co-existed, if we are to judge from the temporary wall mural entitled "DAWN OF THE BABIES" and featuring a dinosaur surrounded by little caveman figures with photos of the babies pasted on their faces.


A: It is an amazing sight, and I will miss it when it is taken down. (Note: I have seen the older kids' classrooms, and they are not actually being taught that dinosaurs and humans co-existed. Relatives: breathe!)

Q: What have you read in the time you save by not designing sensory activities or being the parent who points out chronological inaccuracies in the Infant Room decoration?

A: Dr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, by Cristin Aptowicz. There wasn't a whole lot of intrigue in this, but there was a great deal of innovation. I have been to the Mütter Museum, but knew almost nothing about the doctor himself. A solid biography, with the added horror factor of describing the state of medicine in the early and mid-nineteenth century. Makes me more grateful than ever that I was born when I was, and more inclined to sneer at the hectoring "women have done this naturally for centuries" peer pressure towards childbirth. And how'd that work out for everyone? Oh, both women and babies died in droves? Sounds like a tradition we should definitely keep up through shame! Or maybe each individual woman could have agency over her individual experience, JUST SAYING. I like to think Dr. Mütter would agree with me. He certainly didn't have much patience with his colleagues who said that easing pain during childbirth goes against what God wants.

A Death on Diamond Mountain: A True Story of Obsession, Madness, and the Path to Enlightenment, by Scott Carney. I told you it's always "a true story of [something], madness, and [something]"! Always! Anyway, this was my Early Reviewers book about a dude who joined a faux-Buddhist cult and starved himself to death in the desert, while his wife tried to heal him through prayer instead of getting the help which would have saved his life. It's a very well-reported book about terrible, manipulative people.

Sixpence House, by Paul Collins. A slim memoir about Collins trying to move his young family to a town in Wales which has almost more bookstores than inhabitants. When Collins talks about books, it's fun; when he talks about other things, I wasn't as interested.

Gone to Ground, by John Harvey. Very dull police procedural.

The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein, by Dorothy Hoobler. Biography / literary study of Shelley, Byron, Mary Shelley, and others in their circle. I liked it a lot.

Season of Darkness, by Maureen Jennings. Another very dull police procedural.

Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell. Funny popular history about presidential assassinations. Good times. 

And now I must dash if I am to shower before the baby wakes. It's a rare morning when - even getting up at four - I actually manage to work out, shower, and eat breakfast, but I'm okay with our routine. I'm okay with everything about our ravenous vampire jock baby. (A shame about her mullet, though.)

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