Archive for February, 2006

The Amazing Chase

February 28, 2006

(There has been much activity here at Baby Headquarters, and so much to report on: swaddle busts! parties! cat chases! One hardly knows where to begin. But since we have to portion out stories this week – Mommy returns tomorrow, temporarily, to lecturing, for the first time since Baby took over rule of the household – we must choose The Story of the Day. And since New Internet Friend and fellow Siamese Cat Aficionado Christine expressed interest in visuals of the furry Bad Ladies we must go with the Bad Lady Story…)

The NanaDoob has held a privileged position in Baby’s court for some time, ever since she took it upon herself to Serve and Protect Baby, and to ward off such evils as the Compelling of the Nap and the Reading of the French. It is, and has been, a role of great importance, given Baby’s relative helplessness. Being, for the most part, a chubby immobile creature, Baby required external support persons to act as her ‘muscle.’ Not unlike, one might venture to say, Jabba the Hutt…

OK, so Jabba is hideous and Baby is adorable. But consider the following Jabba characteristics and deny that Baby shares them: soft, pudgy body (check), multiple chins (check), limited arm use (check), oversize head and non-existent neck (check), excessive slobber (check), ambitions to rule the universe (check), slavish minions (check). I’m just sayin’.

So it has been that the NanaDoob has always acted at some remove from Baby, who has, since her takeover, been for the most part immobilized.

Watchoo lookin’ at? You were expectin’ robots and gold bikinis???

Until now.

Baby has been training for some time to gain the physical strength that world domination requires, and has recently begun testing herself outside of her various constraining support devices (among which, the arms of her chief minions, the Mommy and the Daddy).

And she decided that one her first orders of business was to test herself against the NanaDoob.

Come hither, pussy minion…

The NanaDoob was overdue for being put in her place. It is, after all, well known that all Siamese cats aspire to world domination. (1) And Baby could no longer allow the NanaDoob to nurture such ambitions. She would have to learn that Baby. Is. Boss.

… for I wish to gum you…

and slobber upon you! And show you my power!

The NanaDoob, quite understandably, fled moments later. It is, however, unclear as to whether she fled out of fear or out of an understandable abhorrence of mucous.


The above was the second of the Amazing Cat Chases. Baby, it must be admitted, did not move very quickly. Indeed, the movement was very limited. But the effort was made! And there was scooching – the pushing along of the body by way of arm and leg wriggling – to the order of some 6 inches! Baby GOT GOIN’.

Mommy was VERY PROUD. And took many pictures. Most of which do not show Baby at her best, as there was much exertion involved in this exercise…

Aaaarrrrggghhh….dribble… aarrggh

But still! VERY PROUD!


(1) The NanaDoob and her compatriot, The Sissy, have been caught relaxing in Baby’s throne, and issuing orders to the toys and (treason!) to the minion Mommy and Daddy. So there is solid evidence that some usurpation has been in planning. They’ll need to be watched…

I scoff at your drool, hairless one…

This is not the doll you’re looking for…

February 27, 2006

Over at the Blogfathers’ site, there’s been some discussion about the evil that lurks at Toys’R’Us. But really, hello? The Death Star of toy stores? It’s ALL evil. And we’re ALL, at one time or another, sucked into its Tractor Beam. Who among us hasn’t flirted with the Dark Side, having been exposed to a) the promise of the sweet, sweet relief of rested arms (only gained once Baby has been put at the controls of standard-Death-Star-issue Command Center from which, presumably, she will blow whole planets to smithereens), or b) the plaintive cries of the child who is seduced by the glitter and glam of the playsluts – the Bratz, the Barbies, et. al. – who leer suggestively in the aisles of the Death Star.

I’ve no experience yet of the latter, as Baby still prefers bright simple colours and shapes and is (once settled down comfortably in my arms/the baby jail/Central Command) easily amused by any manner of object. But the day, I fear, will come, when she screams for something, in Dutch’s words, pink and slutty. Something else to keep me awake at night once I’ve exhausted my obsessive struggle against ugly baby gear.

But I have a weapon.

Meet Bicephala

This is not the doll you’re looking for…

Bicephala, or ‘Biccy,’ as she is known to her tight inner circle of friends, is the Cool Kid Around Here. She stays out of the politics of Baby’s world, and avoids the controversies and struggles for power that preoccupy most of the other toys (hello, Whoozit?). She just hangs back (yeah, there’s a pack of Marlboros tucked into that skirt) and observes, biding her time until she is needed.

And that time will come, my friends. Of this there is no doubt. When the Bratz and Barbie brigade loom on the horizon, she’ll be ready.

And she will Kick. Some. Ass.

Yah know I loves yah cuz your feets so big

February 27, 2006
Ah, the feets…
A perfectly executed Fourth Position (in grand pliƩ, not shown)

… the feets, the feets. The lovely, lovely oversized feets. What more can be said of them, really, other than that they are kissable, munchable, and adorable and that there is much of them.

Well, it’s less feet than it is toes. It’s the toes of which there is much…

Spider monkey toes. Channel-surfing, cigarette-rolling, piano-tapping toes…

… toes attached to the feet, attached to the legs, attached to the body of the sweetest little creature in the world. When you’re carrying that much wonderfulness you gotta have the big feets.

Yah know I loves yah cuz your feets so big…

(With apologies to Fats Waller, Leon Redbone, et. al.)

Our top story tonight…

February 25, 2006

We’re still reeling from the Whoozit scandal here at Baby Headquarters. What little dignity Whoozit had remaining after his defeat, by Baby, in combat training was totally obliterated when it was revealed that members of the Whoozit clan are not, as was previously thought, Shaolin masters, but hangers-on in shabby rock star entourages.

So Whoozit is reduced to lowly jester in the court of Baby. A post previously held by this guy…

It’s the clothes. You don’t get close to the center of power when you dress like this.

… who is now Minister Responsible for Mime and Baguettes. (This, it must be admitted, is a vanity post; the portfolio was created for the express purpose of facilitating the shuffle that relegated Whoozit to the Office of the Jester.)

Baby has retreated to Central Command, where she has been reviewing the files of all the toys in her court to check for any indications of further scandal…

That book under Baby’s feet? Yep. That’s the catalogue for the Goya exhibit at the Met. Footstool for Baby now. How things change.

… and has been receiving daily tabloid briefings from the NanaDoob, who now holds the post of Head of Intelligence as well as that of Chief of Military Security. All of which is exhausting…

Mommy feels this way too, sometimes. OK, most of the time.

The life of a ruler is a thankless, tiring one. World domination is gonna be a bitch.


Babylympics Update:

In the individual swaddle (binding) event, Mommy has underperformed, scoring very low on both Artistry (too conventional in the binding method, it seems) and Endurance (her binds are not lasting as long as they should to really qualify as world-class.) But she still ranks as something of a workhorse in this event, simply because she practices so diligently. She’s hoping to qualify for semi-finals, to at least stay in the game, even though she knows that she has no medal hopes.

In the individual swaddle (unbinding) event, Baby is well on her way to GOLD. She has proven that she can unbind both creatively (one arm! two arms! no arms both legs! one leg one arm!) and quickly (ranges from 2 seconds to some hours depending on the course.) Records are being broken. People will be talking about this for years.

The end of innocence

February 23, 2006
You try to protect your child from the dark sludge of our superficial, celeb-obsessed culture. (1) Then her toys hit the tabloids, and what, exactly, are you supposed to do?

Now, it’s not that I was labouring under the false belief that Whoozit, Baby’s former Chief of Security (Toy Detail) and personal trainer, was the only or last of his kind. I know for a fact, for example, that Whoozit has a cousin living in the suburbs of Vancouver. (2)

But apparently – OMG – his people are everywhere. Including – OMFG – loitering near the pouchy crotches of aging rock stars…

This is how you ride, Whoozit? Really? Dude.

… and being stalked by paparazzi and having their faces (okay, Whoozit is all face, but still) plastered throughout German gossip rags. (The Germans, apparently, don’t consider Rod Stewart an aging rock star. He’s an ‘Alt-Rocker,’ which any child of the 80’s knows that he is so not. He’s a 70’s hangover. But in German ‘Alt-Rocker’ can also be translated as ‘Old Skirt,’ so maybe they’re not too far off.) (That said, you never know with the Germans. They like this. And there was the whole Second World War thing. But whatever.)

But, gawd, Whoozit! How am I going to explain this to Baby? That her fallen-but-still-beloved-friend comes from a line of star-f***ers?

Damn. Parenting is turning out to be harder than I thought.


1. Which one day will require hiding those Us and People magazines that, um, somehow find their way into the bathroom.

2. Who alerted us to the shame that has been brought upon the family.

Keepin’ it real

February 22, 2006

We have, my friends, crossed the Rubicon.

My determination to have a baby-friendly home that was nonetheless free of all that is garish and plastic has received its final blow.

Behold, the Exersaucer:

Yeah, okay, she’s a LITTLE bit challenged in the hair area


It doesn’t get any more garish or plastic than this.

You would think.

It actually does get more garish and plastic than this, even in the very small world that is the domain of Stationary Monster Trucks for Babies. I take small consolation in the fact that, among SMTBs, the Exersaucer is something of a classic. It is, believe it or not, a more or less restrained machine, efficient in its size and modest in its accoutrements. Unlike, for example, the Fisher Price Intellitainer…

There’s actually a kid in that picture. Really.

… which is a humungous, hideous beast of a thing, a construction that could no doubt flatten the humble Exersaucer in a second.

We might have gone the Intellitainer route. Were it not so off-the-chart in its hideousness, and too big for our house. So I congratulate myself on my restraint; even though I swore that I was going to acquire the most pimped-out exercise device that I could find, I have chosen to keep it simple.

Okay, so I’m not keeping it totally real in the baby-rearing department. Got me the accessories and the props. So I’m deficient as a mother, I get it, I KNOW. But the child, she will not be put down for more than 15 minutes at a stretch unless I am right down there with her playing, holding or supporting in a standing position. Which, yes, I am THRILLED to do 90% of the time. But that other 10% is a bitch.

So when I am not reading to her, exercising her, singing to her, dancing with her, tummy-timing with her, cuddling her, speaking to her in foreign languages, introducing her to the histories of the ancient Greeks, Persians and Romans and cultivating an appreciation for Bach (you think I’m kidding) ETC ETC, I would like to rest my arms.

Which is why there is an Exersaucer now, sitting alongside the bouncer-rocker and the baby jail. I like to think that I am practicing the art of constructive confinement – encouraging her to entertain herself and all that. (Ah, how then to defend the swaddle? Confinement directed toward encouraging rest. Constructive? Maybe?)

But really?

I’m just resting my arms.

Because really, it’s such an INTERESTING subject…

February 21, 2006

The swaddle gods, they are laughing. Oh, how they laugh.

I have endeavoured to overcome; I have given up; I have endeavoured again. I have given up again. I have embraced the swaddle, I have cursed the swaddle, and I have embraced the swaddle again. I have foresworn the swaddle; I have crept back, meekly, to the swaddle’s embrace. I have been utterly defeated by the swaddle.


The swaddle, as a babycare tool, has been like crack: immediately and completely satisfying, but requiring increasingly intense application to maintain its effects. As I’ve recounted, repeatedly, the swaddle, she works wonders… until Baby figures out how to defeat the swaddle. Then there is much handwringing and agonizing over WHAT THIS MEANS: has Baby outgrown the swaddle?Is she trying to escape the swaddle? Is it time to de-swaddle? So we try to achieve sleep without the swaddle. We fail. There are tears. Baby will not go to sleep without the swaddle. So we redouble our swaddling efforts. And so on and so forth.

There have been a few brief but glorious moments of swaddleless sleep recently. Keyword: BRIEF. Three naps, one fully unaccessorized, two in a sleep sack. This was cause for hope: Baby can sleep unswaddled! But then, as always, regression…

Today, two attempts to reclaim the glory of the swaddleless sleep failed spectacularly, ending in much remonstration by Baby to the effect of how dare you lay me down to sleep completely exposed to the world? How can you leave your little baby naked, prone, vulnerable? What kind of monster is Mommy? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!?!

Or, in English, WAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaaa?!? WAA waa waa WAA.

This resulted in complete relapse to the swaddle, effected as tightly and securely as possible. Which did, happily, thankfully, bring about the sleep.

How gratefully I tiptoed into the room to check on her, nearly an hour later. Only to discover Baby COMPLETELY UNBOUND from the waist up, swaddle blanket crumpled around her chubby little knees, staring up at me, her big dark eyes asking:

What were you expecting?

Shoot me now.

Post Script

February 20, 2006

To yesterday’s post.

Just cuz, well, there’s always more to say. And today I don’t really have anything new to say. So, POSTSCRIPT…

Yesterday’s booby blog can be taken as Exhibit A, solid evidence that motherhood turns perfectly respectable thinking women into effluent-obsessed, body-baring Creatures of the Earth.

Prior to pregnancy and childbirth, I would NEVER have publicly discussed my breasts. I probably wouldn’t have discussed them privately. (This is not to say that I mightn’t have discussed other people’s breasts. I have. Like the ones belonging to a certain Skanky Person I Know, a quote-unquote colleague, who has always insisted upon wearing low-cut tops even though the skin of her upper chest area is in dire need of a dermatologist’s attention. I’ve discussed her breasts. Not publicly though. ‘Til now. DUDE – COVER IT UP.)

But I wouldn’t discuss my own. Unseemly. I have a very long and distinguished history of extreme prissyness. EXTREME prissiness. As in, not remotely earthy. ANTI-earthy. Totally, totally averse to the gross, the dirty, the biological. (1)

(This prissiness was exploited, I might add, by my exuberant mother who always revelled in the ease with which she could cause me extreme embarassment. A topic for another day, when I have the energy to burrow beneath those particular scars.)

(It was also revelled in by my earthy sister, who used to throw worms and bugs at me just to see me freak, and who said to me, when she had her first child, “YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THIS. YOU WILL NOT. YOU ARE SO ANAL. YOU WILL DIE.” (2) And yes, she said it with full caps.)

BUT now, the prissyness, it has shrivelled and retreated, like a man-part meeting cold water. (3) Now that my breasts are no longer my own, I discuss them freely. I walk around topless in my home (oh god when I read during pregnancy that breastfeeding women do that I gasped and whimpered neverneverneverNEVER. Like with the snot-sucking. (4) HA.) I wear ugly catch-and-release nursing bras. I garland the boobies with gaudy jewellery to lure a Hoover-powered infant to my chest. I BLOG ABOUT THE BOOBIES.

I have – my mother is LAUGHING SO HARD somewhere right now – NO SHAME.

But apart from these moments of clarity when I horrify myself, the fog of delicious baby-love makes it all okay.

Spit happens.
And all I see is the big blue eyes.

Which is good, because otherwise my sister would have predicted correctly. What with the indignity and mess of childbirth and the river of effluent that is babycare and the aforementioned utter shamelessness that is breastfeeding, etc, etc, I would totally have died from the grossness long before now.



Apparently the grossness just gets worse.



Menthol also reduces milk supply. FYI.


1. Cf. my discussion of squeamishness v.v. prissiness at this post.

2. Yo, Sis – I’m not dead. Yet.

3. And yet I am still prissy enough to avoid saying ‘balls’ or ‘testicle’ in a semi-public forum.

Wow. Got over that fast, didn’t I?

4. Did it again today. Still gross.

A booby blog

February 19, 2006

Boob discovery #1:

Baby is getting bored of the boobies. Not the lovely meals that issue forth from the boobies, which she insists upon having at the ready, but the booby itself. Once upon a time (two weeks ago) she couldn’t be pried away once her face was planted therein; now, well, now there are so many more INTERESTING things in the world and so why would one want to keep one’s face planted in a boob? (I know, I know, many men, the Husband included, would gasp at the heresy of such a question, because such is the life that they believe awaits them beyond the gates of Heaven.)

Giving Baby her breakfast/brunch/lunch/high-tea/dinner/bedtime-snack has become somewhat complicated now that Baby is more interested in, well, pretty much anything other than the boob. A meal generally begins nicely, but within seconds – oh, look, what is that? A bookshelf? – head bobs back down for a nip, and then – and where did you say Daddy was today? Is he in this room? I can’t see him – back in for a nip – hey I’ve never noticed that plant before; does it need watering? – nip, nip – oh, look, Mommy, you have hands too! – nip – hey, sunlight! – and so on and so forth.

(OMG can I just interrupt this blogcast for an extremely important message? Baby is, at this very moment, sleeping unswaddled. Granted, she fell asleep in my arms before I could get her upstairs so it’s not as though she put herself to sleep this way but having put her down she is still snoozing away very peacefully and it has been 30 minutes. Wee little hands clutched together across her little chest. This is so exciting that I would take a picture but I am not so stupid as to risk the swaddle-less sleep just to record the moment. Or am I? No, no, no. I’ll just yell it out to the Internet – Baby sleeps unbound! OMG!!!!)

Back to the booby…

There is also the newfound distraction of conversation. Having discovered that Mommy is always right there gazing at her from the other side of the booby, much as she would if she were on the other side of a candlelit dinner table, Baby now enjoys a good conversation during mealtime. (This, however, I have to say, is one the more heart-clenchingly adorable moments in any given day – the sweet little grin from Baby as she realizes that there I am AGAIN to accompany her meal and then she delivers the welcoming coo and then the little monologue about her day and a comment or two on how the creme fraiche is really fine today. She. Is. Adorable.)

Enter the nursing necklace:

If you thought that the days of deploying sparkly things to attract attention to your breasts were over, well, think again. In much the same way that Lejaby bras and plunging necklines draw and hold men’s attention to one’s decolletage, the nursing necklace draws and holds baby’s attention to the milk torpedo.

And it works, by God, it works.

I’m happy about this for the obvious ‘whatever works’ reasons, but can’t help but wonder a) whether this signals a prediliction on her part for really gaudy jewellry that will be only be curable by exposure to Tiffany (which involves its own challenges, um, $$$$), and b) whether that little pink dice (lower right) is going to lead to future gambling problems (when she discovers that she finds odd but profound comfort at the side of a craps table.)

But, hey, what with the future Ambien addiction and all, what’s one more item for her to add to the list of ways her mother messed her up?


Boob discovery #2:

Decongestants dry up milk supply, because, uh, THAT’S WHAT THEY DO. Dry things up. I only discovered this fact AFTER I read this. It’s been a rough couple of days. The flashiest nursing necklace in the world couldn’t have distracted Baby from the fact that the booby-juice, it was a-comin’-in SLOW.

So that thing I said about taking the goddamned medicine? Disregard.

And for future reference, don’t listen to anything I say. Or at least, wait a few days to give me time to discover what exactly was wrong about whatever it was that I said. I’m totally flying blind here.


Boob discovery #3:

I’d tether balloons to the boobies, Bedazzle them, tattoo little happy faces on them, anything to make Baby happy.

Okay, LIE. I didn’t just discover that and it was really just an excuse for another Totally Gratuitous Baby Picture:

I got this adorable baby and big breasts now? My cup runneth over…

(Yeah, cup pun intended, or would be if it weren’t for the goddamned decongestants…)

Random musings and other nonsense

February 18, 2006

It has now been fully six days since I last set foot in the outside world. This whole hunkered-down-with-the-sick thing is starting to wear a little thin.

I’m actually feeling a little better, thank you very much, which is sort of surprising given the limited availability of medication and rest. But Baby picked up the nasty cold around Thursday and that reinvigorated our downward spiral into general unhappiness. Or rather, my downward spiral. Baby has demonstrated a remarkable ability to be chirpy in between the miserable little bouts of cough-and-sneeze. It goes something like this: we have a little bout of coughing or sneezing or both, Baby screws up her little face and goes red and makes a big pout and goes w-a-a-a-h. And then sputters a bit. And then looks around for a toy or a kiss or a smiley face, which, when acquired, triggers a smile and then we’re good until the next round of coughing or sneezing. Or until Mommy does something totally invasive and heinous like squirt saline drops up her nose and then go at the snot with a wet cloth. (Note that Mommy can’t even work the snot-snucking magic because Mommy doesn’t want to huff more germs on the precious creature. Note too that Mommy is actually lamenting the fact that she cannot do something so gross as suck snot out of a baby’s nose. Clearly, hell does freeze over when one becomes a mother.)

Curiously, the most invasive thing that I subject her to doesn’t seem to bother her all that much. The taking of the temperature, so that I can be reassured that there is nothing worse than a head cold going on, is not so straightforward as to involve thermometers balanced carefully under little tongues. ‘Cause, you know, that’s never going to happen with creatures who want to chew everything that comes within an inch of their mouths. And the whole sterile thermometer-under-the-arm thing doesn’t – as I learned some weeks ago in the most difficult way possible (1) – take a temperature that is accurate enough to stake a baby’s wellness on. So what’s left is the anal probe – the taking of the temperature through the wee poo-hole. Which I would think would be more unpleasant than having someone delicately dab the mucus away from one’s nostrils, but hey, maybe that’s just me. She just lies there quietly, cooing away at Frog and Hippo, the fellas that hang around the change table (actually, the change mat on the counter by the kitchen sink, which is the downstairs medical headquarters and potty station), paying no mind. (Frog and Hippo are discreet; they keep their eyes averted, as they do during the changing-of-the-diaper. Or maybe they’re just squeamish. I wouldn’t blame them. It gets ugly down there sometimes.) Go figure.


I need to make an amendment to that post where I got all expletive on the asses of the Baby Experts who diss sleep props. I really shouldn’t have been so cavalier (I believe that I said, ‘so the eff what???’ about the purported negative effects of sleep props) in my dismissal of the hazards of relying upon sleep props. A certain Super Awesome Mom (2) reminded me that a big problem with certain sleep props is that they can get in the way of baby being able to get herself back to sleep if she wakes up in the night (e.g., falls asleep to rocking, then wakes up later and can’t get back to sleep because the rocking is no more.) The Experts (towards whom I still reserve the right to get all pissy) call these things maladaptive sleep habits and the Experts, on this topic, are not totally wrong (ahem).

This is, in fact, the problem with the swaddle. Or, I should say, was the problem with the swaddle. Baby generally only wakes up for one of two reasons: she’s hungry, or she’s bust out of her swaddle. Hungry is self-explanatory: until she can get down to the refrigerator on her own she needs me to help her with that one. The swaddle bust, on the other hand, that’s a problem because she can’t reswaddle herself. All together now: MALADAPTIVE. But (aren’t you glad that there’s a ‘but’?) we have a figured out the magic of making the swaddle pretty much unbustable and so that problem is, for the most part, a was, as in past tense. (3) In any case, I grant that one has to be careful in approaching the sleep props, for the above reason. Choose them wisely. And be prepared to work that sleep prop for a l-o-o-o-n-g time. But then rejoice at having found something that brings about the precious precious sleep! And while you’re enjoying your own delicious cruise into sleepdom, try not to think about what you’ll do when the sleep prop is outgrown. ‘Cause Baby will be bigger then, and maybe Ambien will be an option. (4)


1. The journey into parenting hell that was our trip to Emergency when it seemed that she had a fever but really kinda DIDN’T but who could tell (as the evil little pediatrician reminded me like ten times) because I the overfunctioning mother had given her infant Tylenol to bring the imagined fever down and didn’t I know that you should always take the temperature RECTALLY and NEVER give the infant Tylenol even though her doctor had said when she got her shots, like, the day before that that’s exactly what we should do because then evil little pediatricians who think that all mothers who end up in the ER are stupid can’t tell exactly whether there is a fever or not and so they have to stick needles in your little baby and make her cry just to make sure that it’s not spinal meningitis which they maybe wouldn’t have to do if you hadn’t given her the Tylenol and so they hint VERY STRONGLY that IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT that your baby has to have the needles and what business do you have sobbing in the corner of the emergency room while your baby cries because you probably brought this on yourself but because WE REALLY DON’T KNOW because of the IMPROPER temperature taking and the TYLENOL we have to go ahead with these terrible tests anyway. And you just SNAP.


So, yeah, I only take her temperature rectally now.

2. I’m biased because I love this particular mom dearly. But she is Super Awesome, and the proof is in her three totally awesome little boys who are CRAZY adorable and so good and sweet that you could just die. So I listen when she speaks!

3. Baby wriggled out of the swaddle last night. Actually, just one side of the swaddle, which, as anyone who swaddles will know, is sorta weird. Don’t know how she did it. Trying not to think about it; must have (musta musta MUSTA) been a one off. Won’t (WON’T) happen again.

4. Kidding. Duh.


Totally gratuitous picture of Baby, cuz she’s ADORABLE and adorable babies make everybody happy…

Aaawww. (Proud, blubbering mother dribbles on keyboard…)