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February 4, 2009

Doing It Our Way

One of the best things about finally having your own kid is you can parent him any way you want to. For some, that means feeding Junior a sugar-free diet, or not allowing him to watch t.v. until he's fifteen, or loading him up with household responsibilities as soon as he's able to satisfactorily jostle a cocktail shaker. For us, it means we can put silly things on our child's head, sing him demented lullabies, lick his fat fingers, monch his fat feet, and use his face as an easel.

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Oh, COME ON. He likes it.

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Or...maybe not.

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My souffle has fallen!

As predicted, Tuesday was a classic Day Four. I woke up exhausted and was a grouchy, crabby grumblepuss for the majority of what followed. The obvious solution would have been to get back in bed, sleep for a bit, and then try it all again from the beginning, but it's never that easy, is it, especially when you're supposed to be all "grown up" and "responsible" and "conscious" and stuff. On top of that, the baby was being particularly boisterous (read: fussy and LOUD) and I was feeling physically ick as well (I suspect from a combination of too much tea (decaf, what up?) and too much 30 Day Shred,) and try as I might I just couldn't shake the blahs. (Shaking the blahs is particularly hard when your deltoids are so sore you can barely lift a toothbrush.)

Simon doesn't work on Tuesdays, and he wanted to spend the afternoon exploring the new California Academy of Sciences, but I had to back out at the last minute after I came to the "grown up," "responsible," and "conscious" conclusion that if simply getting dressed was such a colossal struggle for me, we'd all be better off just staying home. So we stayed home and I grumbled and groused and then, when I was feeling marginally better, we went to Ikea and bought a rug and some toyboxes and an ice cream cone, the last of which made everything more bearable--especially me.

I know that lately I've sung the praises of getting out and being active with a baby in order for Mama to feel like a human instead of a milch cow, but sometimes a getaway is not what the doctor ordered. On Tuesday, for instance, there was so much chaos in the house and in my head that the only real way to be free of it was to take care of it, not escape it. I felt bad that it was Simon's day off and I wanted to spend it doing chores, but I felt less bad when I remembered that Simon has several days off each week and I would be a fool to feel obligated to spend each one of those in recreation. Just because he's off work doesn't mean there isn't still work to be done.

Part of my guilt, though, must come from my wanting to be as accommodating as possible to someone who is still disgustingly accommodating to me. I thought that with the end of pregnancy would come the end of the foot rubs and the prepared meals and the "no, honey, you can hold the remote"s, but here we are almost two months later and I'm still getting the royal treatment, mainly due to my non-negotiable role as Milk Lady. If baby ain't milked, ain't nobody happy, and so I find myself yet again glued to the couch with a baby squashing my midsection, just on the outside now.

(Last night I couldn't fathom feeding him AGAIN--the hospital lactation consultant called the cluster-feeding before going to sleep for the night "nursing the third breast," but with Womabt it's more like nursing the twelfth breast)--but the poor thing was crying and crying and crying, and Simon couldn't get him to go to sleep, and we were all going crazy, but I just couldn't feed him again (I was nursing (ha!) the early stages of a plugged milk duct--ouch!), so Simon did the only thing he could think of: he opened his wallet and offered me all his cash ($64) if I would just put the kid on the boob one more time. Desperate times, desperate measures.) (If I accepted the offer does it make me a whore or just smart?)

Anyway, it seems we're both feeling guilty about things. Simon likens his breastless helplessness to survivors' guilt; so in lieu of feeding the child, he feeds me (and gives me foot rubs, and lets me hold the remote, and lets me disappear into the computer for an hour). The problem is that then I feel guilty because he goes to work all day only to come home to wait on me and take over every baby chore he can. I was prepared for the newborn months to be physcially exhausting, but I guess I wasn't prepared for the mental challenge, all these little negotiations. Still, I can't complain that our post-baby relationship problems consist of us both feeling unable to help the other enough. Besides, this--and everything now--is just a phase. By the time we figure out how to balance his working life and my mat-leave life, it will be time for me to go back to the office and we'll have to start all over again. So it is and so it shall be forever and ever and ever and ever. Soon, though, we'll at least have a child who'll know what the heck he's supposed to do with a bottle full of milk. (Put it in your mouth and suck it and suck it.)

Lucky for us, we're not so wracked with guilt that we're paralyzed and miserable. We'll still get out, we'll still stay in, we'll still get things done on both lists: Need and Want. Guilt will not defeat us. Nor will it keep us from having fun.

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24 Comments

You two KILL me. Scott and I are sitting here in South City, absolutely dying of laughter. The best parents are the ones with a sense of humor!

I love it! And if that last pictures doesn't scream "Meh.", well then I don't know what does.

The fact that you view it as Simon HAVING to go to work all day rather than Simon GETTING TO ESCAPE THE DRUDGERY AND OF COURSE HE BY-GOD BETTER TAKE OVER WHEN HE WALKS IN THE DOOR proves once again that 1) you are a far nicer person than I, and 2) you rock this newborn business like no one I've ever known. Kudos, you. : )

I don't feel bad that he HAS to go to work (he's part-time right now; WAH), but I do feel bad that when he gets home he has to keep on working (taking care of the kid) whereas I get a little bit of a break. On the days he works, as soon as he comes home he's in charge of diapers and burps and songs and swaddles and rocking. Meanwhile, I get on the computer and read blogs.

We talked about this a little last night though, and he made a good point: He doesn't want to feel like he is "helping" me, like he's "filling in" when I'm unavailable. It's his kid too and he wants equal caretaking responsibility, which makes sense.

One thing I definitely don't feel guilty about is letting him do all the nighttime diaper changes. (Okay, I feel a little guilty but I'm not going to let him stop doing it!)

I love your blog for many reasons, but "draws on baby's face" just shot up to the top of the list. :)

1) I LOVE THESE PICTURES, as I fully intend to give the cat a break and start dressing the baby up in ridiculous ways when she gets here.

2) I'm learning a lot about first time motherhood with your posts (and just in time), so thanks.

Dear Lord. You have managed to snag the most wonderful father in the world for your baby. You are both far nicer people than I or hubby. And Baby Top Chef is fantastic.

HA! I'm doing the 30 Day Shred too and I just advanced to Level 2. I thought I was ABOUT. TO. DIE. but I am seeing some results so I'm sticking with it. It is crazy hard-core though, huh?

That was the hardest thing for me I think when my daughter was young, finally feeling like you have a good schedule or routine and then she gets one week older and everything changes again. Love the mustache!

Love the moustache. So. Much! Hoping that things get easier soon!

This totally made my morning. :-)

Oh, and 30-day shred is kicking my ASS. I think of myself as being in decent shape -- go to the gym several days a week, hike for hours on the weekends -- but I am totally incapable of doing any of that video beyond level 1.

This is hilarious. When you don't want to cry anymore and there is nothing else to do, laugh. It WILL get you through the tough times. I feel for you on the nursing thing. M was on the boob 24/7. I was sore and raw for at least 6 weeks straight and I nursed her for the first 12 months. All i can say is it does get better and your handling everything very well!!! Keep up the pictures, I heart Wombat pictures, LOL!

Not to get all mommy assvice on you, but having had SUCH issues getting my kid on the bottle, I really recommend starting early. Then you have a double-win- a kid who will take the bottle, and Simon gets to feed him. Or course, the lose is that you have to deal with the pump- IMO, hell on earth.

Love the moustache- it makes him look very international :)

So, my daughter has what we like to call "Hitler Hair" and we have been SO tempted to draw a *ahem* matching mustache on her but really that is so out of the bounds of taste we haven't brought ourselves to do it yet (because, of course, I would want to post it on my blog if I did).

It is great that Simon can do the nightime diaper changes - the Mister is pretty much useless when he is tired and on the odd occasion when he has changed her diaper at night he will do something like put a prefold on her with no cover so she soaks through it in a matter of mintues and then gets her clothes all wet. I know he isn't trying to be incompetent - he's just, well, a scientist and his brain doesn't work properly.

he looks very handsome all 'stached up ;)

oh jeez, those photos are priceless. you guys should start a national decorate your baby day.
:)

You guys are too funny. Those pictures cracked me up...

love these photos! wombat looks so much like simon on that last one.

p.s. and not just because of the mustache :)

Gillian--At our house EVERY day is Decorate Your Baby Day!

Man, that kid makes that stache look goooooood!

I was able to squeeze in the CAS when I was in the Bay Area for a conference in early December. Make sure you visit the sustainable roof; you can bypass the 3D bug movie if short on time; and bring your camera for the indoor rainforest.

The hands-on things are, of course, fascinating - when they work (the aquarium had a leak for about 3 hours the day we were there) but equally interesting are the reading materials! But then again, I am a more than a bit of a Biology PhD aspiring nerd....

LOVE those pictures. You two seem like such awesome parents.

I'd say this will be the photo you include in the ad at the back of his senior yearbook, but I have a feeling this is going to be a trend. You'll have lots of things to choose from.

So, when's the site name going to change to "a girl and a boy and their boy?"

My heart is so happy and full right now. Mustaches on babies? The world makes sense again!

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