Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our Pet Human (at 40 weeks) ...

It was cold and blow-y. I hopped into the back seat and slammed the door to block the wind. I made some exaggerated Brrr noises as I fastened the PBG into the car seat ... and then I couldn't get out of the car. The door seemed locked, but I couldn't unlock it. 

Obviously the Space Shuttle has some yet-unrealized, tricked-out, child-safety technology. And obviously, because of that child-safety technology, we'd be stuck in the back seat forever. We'd have to split a supply of year-old salt-water taffy and as much breastmilk I could manufacture before the onset of dehydration. 

Meanwhile, the PBG saw my face and cackled, just two puffs of cheek framed by a pink bomber hat. 

I tried to climb into the front seat, but between the clunky car seat and my adult human body, it was impossible. I forced myself forward, resigning myself to the fact that I might have to sacrifice the headrest as I tried to extend my body to the drivers' side door lock controls. I pressed the ignition key toward the buttons and tried to push the one that seemed most like it would undo this damage.

Nothing happened.

The PBG laughed as I sunk back into the seat.

Finally I just sucked it up and called Chuck.

"I'm locked in the backseat of my car," I told him.

Chuck walked out of the house, around the front of the car, to the side and lifted the handle. It opened with ease. I smiled.

An hour later he texted me:

Remember when you got locked in the back seat of your car?


The babe is in the bath and up to her ribs in Johnson & Johnson and she gets wide eyes, whimpers and makes a grab for my arm. She shakes a bit, seems cold, so I splash water on her shoulders and I get a nervous flutter because I'm not sure what's eating her.

And then the smell. Raw ground beef left in the back window of a hot sedan.

Oh. I've been waiting for this moment for, like, ever. It's a right of passage, I guess. According to the kind of people willing to craft a baby bowel blog post. 

"Yo, Chuck," I call. "Come here. This is what it looks like when our baby poops the tub."

He lifts her from the (what is now known as the) Crap Tub, handles the drying, lotioning, diapering, PJ duty and I stare into the water and wonder how to approach this particular stain. Answer: Toilet paper, pressure wash, antibacterial spray, water. And a little bit of PTSD during the next bathtime.


Chuck: Let's make a TV show called "When Babies Attack." 


The PBG learned to crawl-crawl and then two seconds later she learned how to climb up everything. TV stands, stairs, her crib, adult human legs. 

When I walk into her room, she has always worked her way to a standing position in her bed. She grips the railing and beams, every time like it's the first time and SURPRISE! 

This all feels like getting pelted by balls in a malfunctioning batting cage. I think I've said that before, but when I said it before I hadn't made the connection that this person who was once the size of a kumquat would be able to climb a 13-step staircase like five seconds after she was born. 


Me: Oh! I have to order her an Easter present.
Chuck: You have to order a bunny suit so you can loom over her in the night with a flashlight under your chin. 


Chuck: I guess the only part of the day I didn't like was when she grabbed my face and squeezed so hard her whole body shook. 

The saga continues ...

... Then I had the perfect window for a long run, except I was going to do it on a treadmill because it's Just Always Winter Now Forever. 

I grabbed my junk, trotted out the door, checked in at the YMCA (confetti fell from the ceiling because it's been so long) ...

And I didn't have my shoes. 

Thus beginning The Era of the Checklist. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I guess the biggest thing to happen yesterday was ...

For whatever reason, I don't have Chuck's car keys on my chain. I dig in my purse, find them, attach them, all while coming up with hypothetical reasons they were separated from the rest. 

"For the 5k?" Chuck asks. 

No. It was a while ago. I can't remember. 

This is a big production, reattaching them. I'm taking his car to work. Mine has the car seat and he and the PBG are going to go to the store in the afternoon and blah blah boring domestic stuff involving dire straights in the coffee department. So this is what we're talking about, thematically -- me, his car, vroom-vroom -- as I'm leaving the house. 

So, keys in hand, I get into the car and drive to work. I take a left up the final avenue of my destination and get confused. 

This isn't Chuck's car. 
Is it?
No. This is MY car. 
I think. 
Yes. Definitely my car. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

We are all someone's geriatric ...

Finish line selfie, like they do.
1. I ran a 5K today. It has been a while. 

2. Yes. I'm training for a half marathon. But it's like this: I've finished two without training, so any sort of sloppy elliptical workout or half-assed walk-run around the block will be better than that. 

3. I realized a few days ago that I don't get to say: "Yeah, but I just had a baby" anymore because Said Baby pushed a laundry basket halfway across the room and can point out Max on every page of "Where the Wild Things Are." (Well, almost). And judging from the wrestling match we just had while I tried to change her diaper and get her into pajamas, she is the one who should be carrying me up to bed. 

4. It was the first time I had to juice my jugs before a race. 

5. I was three blocks from the starting line -- hair un-ponytailed, number not-yet pinned to my shirt -- when the announcer gave the 3-minute warning. So I had to pre-run run, which means I ran a 5-plus-K today. 

6. Somewhere around the first mile I realized I didn't have a goal. At all. I wondered if I should make one. I decided not to. Mostly this was just a science experiment, I decided. 

7. My first mile split was weak sauce, according to 1990s standards and, I guess, the standards of people who recreationally run 5Ks at 9 a.m. in the wind and rain. Still, it was a pleasant surprise. 

8. My second mile split was faster by a minute. I think I grinned when I heard it. 

9. I texted Chuck to tell him I'd be done about 5-8 minutes faster than I expected. (The texting-while-running thing suggests a certain lack of seriousness about the sport). 

10. When you sign up for a 5K, you do so with the understanding that a heckuva lot of geriatrics are going to leave you in their Ben-Gay wake. It occurred to me today that I could potentially be the geriatric leaving some young poodle in my Ben-Gay wake. There were like 2,000 people running, I must've beaten someone younger and more agile looking. Actually, maybe we are all someone else's geriatric, blah blah Ben-Gay wake. 

11. I saw the Finish Line four blocks away. Then three. Then I wondered why I wasn't running faster. I wasn't, like, winded. My legs didn't necessarily feel like jet packs, though. So I went a little faster and then I went a little faster still. 

12. I like to work up a teary-coating on my eyeballs when I cross finish lines. Okay, whatever. It's unintentional. 

13. It was my worst time ever in the history of my legs, 34 minutes. Totally do not care. 

14. Got shirt. Found my family. Took selfie. Ate brunch at Coney Island. 

In my defense, I thought I had some sort of run-timing app. I wasn't, like, checking my email or Tweeting. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pump and run ...

It goes like this:

"Hey, I need a big favor," he says. 
My Former Landlord usually needs a favor. The fact that he's calling it "big" means it's illegal or medical in nature. 

"I thought I had more money on my card, but I didn't have enough. Usually they'll let you leave your ID. But I have to get (daughter) to school and we're late," he spits nonsensically. 

"I don't understand," I say. 

"Can you go to the Holiday in West Duluth and pay for my gas?" he asks. "It's like 14 dollars."

No. I can't. Well, I can. But I don't want to. That's halfway across town. It's a nuisance errand. And why can't he just get his shit figured out? No. I can't. I can, but I won't. 

"Can't I just call?" I ask. "Pay with a card?"
"Yeah. Call," he says and hangs up. 

I'm looking up the phone number when he texts: "27th St. Holiday."


There is a difference. 

I make the call. Yes, they know what I'm talking about, but no. I have to pay in person. 

I fume. I send more texts with a running theme: FIGURE YOUR SHIT OUT. I'm not going. I fume more. 

I go. I pay for his gas. They give me his ID, which had been collateral. 

I tell him he doesn't have to pay me back. I've purchased rights to this story. And I get to tell it whenever I want. 

So that's what happened. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Pet Human (at 38 Weeks) ...

My left breast is covered in red slivers and tiny blue pinch-sized bruises. It looks catching. A job for prescription ointment. I'm feeding a tiny sadist who has become bored with simply staring into an ivory landscape while she eats. She must poke, pinch, prod and scratch. No meal is complete until she draws pure boob blood.

One of my friends with Le Leche cred tells me about a woman who would flick her baby in the face for this sort of terrorism. I opt for a more verbal response. Unfortunately, at 8ish months, the PBG thinks the word "No" means to grin like a Chuckie doll. 

Edwarda Plier Hands unlatches, looks at me and zeroes in on a nob twist. I watch Chuck's face as he watches the baby grab my nipple with her demon hooves. His faces melts in horror. 

"This is the least of her torture," I tell him. 

She's in the process of learning how to dismantle my trachea with her bare hands. This is worse.



We have a shrieker. A knitting needle-to-brain-level shrieker. It's unpredictable and comes in quick bursts. It can indicate happiness or sadness or vocal experimentation. High school students should have to take her to Target as part of their Sex Ed final.



She's crawling now. Sometimes it's real crawling, sometimes it looks like something that would happen under barbed wire at at basic training. This past Halloween I told Ma Pista that I was sure the PBG would be crawling by Thanksgiving. She just seemed ready.

I should learn to never say words out loud. I sound like a fool.

I had no idea all the minute details that would go into taking a baby from permanently horizontal to a full-fledged crawl. The best phase was when she used a barrell roll, backward crawl combo to get from there to there. Now I'll naively say that she seems more interested in walking, or at least doing a series of Mountain Climbers to get where she needs to be.



The PBG knows No. She doesn't necessarily know what it means. She knows it's hilarious when she shakes her head, though. She responds to all questions, anything with a question mark, with no. Two weekends ago we wandered through Target. I'd hold up and outfit and say "Do you like this?" (Head shake). "Me either. How about this?" (Head shake). "Hmm. Okay. This?" (Head shake).

I envied anyone who witnessed it.

Later we were at Walgreens and I was singing along to Feist in the makeup aisle and she was gasping with giggles and dancing along and I was very pleased at her good sense of humor.

"It's almost like we're co-conspirators," I told Chuck later, still riding high on the most fun day we've ever had as a team.

This past weekend at Target she lost her mind, her screams ripped through my lobes. I had to carry her and push a cart and return clothes to racks, cutting the trip short. We tried again later and lost one of her shoes in the store. Retracing our steps took too long and the shrieking was back and older, more veteran mom-types half smiled at me in this close-mouthed way to express sympathy and that was far worse than any the shriekingest of shrieks.

Now I wonder if I'll ever return to Target or if the PTSD will linger.



The PBG has recently come to own her index finger. She is in a perpetual state of exclaiming "WE'RE NO. 1!"

I recently ripped her pinch grip from my arm. "No, Baby," I said. She looked straight into my eyes and pointed at me.  Never smiling, not breaking her gaze, a single warning digit in my direction. 

With a pointer finger comes great comedic potential. 


Found this in the notes section of my phone from earlier this month. I have to assume it was Chuck, hearing a baby bodily function: 

"Well, that one popped the cork on the shit champagne."


Chuck: "I asked her where my nose was and she pointed at my nose. I asked her where my mouth was and she slapped me. So I think the nose thing was a coincidence."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dismissed ...

Fashion Cat walked past today in a technicolor dream coat and 80s shades. She gave me the elevator and ... kept walking without saying a word.  

(Lost cause. This really felt like a winner when I left the house this morning).

The saga continues. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

The eyes have it ...

I put a contact in and it immediately disappeared into some dark nook of my complex eyeball system. This happens with regularity. In fact, that very morning I'd found a fingertips-worth of sticky lens at the corner of my eye. It was a sliver that went missing more than a month and a half ago, but managed to rest in a place where I couldn't feel it. I didn't spend a month and a half craving the comfort of the cool metal prong of a rescue fork. No. I knew it was there and I waited for it to eject itself.

The new lens was an immediate problem. I clawed at the socket until my vision was blurry and the whites of my eyes were Clive Barker red.

"Oh, yeah," Chuck agreed when I faced him puffy lidded. "That does look irritated."

There are a few ways to find a missing lens.

1. Insert another. The second one might attract the first. They call this science.
2. Monkey around with acrobatic eye rolls, natural lighting, a mirror and freshly washed fingers.
3. Flood it free with eye drops.
4. Wait it out. It might surf to safety on grains of sleep crust.
5. Seek professional assistance from someone who doesn't see you coming, cringe, and say: "Didn't you also once lose a tampon in your body? What a mysterious fort for your soul!"

The doctor doused my eye with a numbing agent. She looked into my eye while I rolled it this way and that. She found the debris in an upper quadrant, so she had me stare forcefully in the opposite direction. Everything became a sort of salmon color. I stared so hard I swore I could see the branches of my own system of optic nerves. She worked the piece free with a Q-Tip. The "Do Not Try This At Home" was implied.

Quick aside: I did learn on the internet that a lens cannot travel to the back of your eyeball and stick to your brain. Phew.

"It's torn," she said. "This is half of the lens."
She seemed to think she was done.
"There's more," I told her.
If there is one thing I understand in a princess-and-the-pea way, it's my personal temple.

A bit more eye rolling and she found it in the other upper quadrant. This one was a trickier little sucker. She dug with another Q-Tip and pulled it free. There was an immediate relief. Like, cartoony-style itchy back and tree bark relief.

"You'd have never gotten this on your own," she told me.

I'm always looking for some kind of superlative at the doctor. ("That's the smallest hernia I've ever repaired. We actually had to make it bigger.") This one will do for today.

And now I wear glasses until my eye muscle memory forgets and I accidentally cram another demon lens into my face.