When she is awake, she wants to stay awake; When she is asleep, she wants to stay asleep. Much like us, she is a devotee of Inertia.
To bed is a process: Bore into drowsiness. Hold and rock and wait for her arms to turn to jelly. Attempt to put her in her crib. If she kicks once, you're okay. If she brings her legs to her chest and kicks multiple times, repeat the whole process from the beginning. You're about to get a case of Beady Eyes Shining in the Dark.
It's very mathematical and before lying her in the bed one much consider: Am I willing to gamble it all that, this time, she'll stay asleep. Am I willing to start over if it doesn't work, or is that going to crush my soul?
So she stays asleep. Both parents do a tip-toe sprint hybrid, dive into the bed, turn off light and hide faces, stifle the euphoric giggles of success.
Then, inevitably, I decide I need to look at her one more time. Make sure she's doing okay. So I get up, shine an iPhone on her face, maybe touch her stomach. She jerks. I skeedattle backward. Hold my breath. Hide my face in a pillow.
It all feels a lot like Jenga or a Ben Affleck movie that climaxes with bomb detonation.
There is a weird smell and I naturally attribute it to Chuck. It first reared when he got home from work, a job that includes lifting and machines and so it seems natural that he might have a certain smell. It's like feet that have been stuffed, sockless, into running shoes on a zillion degree day. Wandered through a pond. Left too long in a bag in the basement.
I don't say anything because he's self aware and if his feet smell, he'll figure it out. Days go by. The smell lingers. I question his hygiene, then ... I question my own. It's true I've gotten lax with the showers. It's true these pants put on old me, rather than me putting on the old pants. I'm trying, or trying-ish. I swear.
Then I figure it out: Sour milk. It's embedded in our couch.
"We're going to just have to throw this thing away," I tell Chuck.
But it's other places, too. It's staining my sweater. My pants. It's turning the PBG's meager hair to dreadlocks. It's on rags and pillows. It's become our signature scent.
The bambino learned her first trick: She can purposefully, it seems, yank a pacifier out of her mouth. Except she doesn't want it out of her mouth. She wants it in her mouth and that's why, now, after performing her greatest feat, she's weeping inconsolably. So we put it in her mouth. She yanks it out. Weeps. Repeat.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"This is the first time a diaper made me gag. It was all over her body. It was like she was wearing shit shorts." -- Chuck.
I don't really understand the purpose of a baby book, I tell Chuck. This one has three lines for me to relay the circumstances of her birth -- something that requires far more than, what, five sentences? "I mean, I'd probably just write in the link to my post about it," I tell him.
"You know what you do with a baby book?" he says. "You fill it with portraits from Sears. Then you come home after her wedding, look at it and cry."
TOO MANY BABIES
"I hope you got enough to eat, baby," I say.
She's a wee bit underweight and so this has become a mantra I say every feeding session.
Coincidentally, I'd also just gotten groceries.
"I think I did," Chuck says. "If not, I'll just --"
He turns around.
"Oh," he says.
"You have to see this," I say. I've got a top view of the workings of the breastpump and I'm watching myself get milked. My nipple tugged in rhythmic intervals and I'm emitting squirts like those from a small water gun.
"I can see it from here," he says, though he's more fascinated by the elongated nipple. "It looks like a machine that is making hot dogs."