Archive for July, 2008

He Says It’s His Birthday

July 31, 2008

This man? I love this man. He’s a big ol’ doofus, and sometimes a bit of an ass, but he’s my hero, my heart, the love of my life. And it’s his birthday.

And seeing as he’s always asking me why he doesn’t get more love on this here blog (“Why don’t you write about me more?” I didn’t think you’d want me to. “I wouldn’t mind.” Okay. —silence— “Are you going to?” Maybe. —silence— “You could explain to everyone that I’m really an ass.” DONE.) I thought, why not make this all about him? Which is to say, why not ask you to make this all about him. I’m tired today, and besides, I need to go out and get him cake. You all should do the work. Leave him some love in the comments, and then I’ll take all the credit. (See, honey? I got the intarwebs to make love to you on my blog! Happy now?)

He likes puns, dirty jokes, music and links to stupid things on the Internet. He’s been known to laugh at pictures of meerkats. If you have any tips for making the perfect espresso, catching fish, or dealing with moody wives, then I’m sure he’d like to hear about that, too.

Dispense your gifts in the comments. I’ll get the cake.

Mary Shelley Had NO IDEA

July 29, 2008

I really, really wish that yesterday could have been one of those days that I posted something profound and/or heartfelt and/or intellectually stimulating. Because, god knows, I don’t want to come off as just another stupid, narcissistic mommyblogger who suffers from some terrible delusion that people want to read about what she thinks or – gods forbid – about her children or her depression or whatever trials and tribulations related to motherhood that she thinks – wrongly – might interest anyone other than herself and possibly maybe four or five other similarly deluded women who’ve gone off their meds. But, dammit, I went and blew the wad on thoughtfulness last week, and then went and spent my remaining brain cells railing against misogyny yesterday, so whaddya know? You’re just going to have make do with my vagina.

Nope. Not a bunny, not a reindeer, not Glory Hole with Chewing Gum (Triple J Truck Stop- Yuma, AZ, 2003), not The Wind In My Vagina, not a minimalist profile of a very sad donkey (all actual suggestions, please to go read and pee yourself.) No: these are my hideous nethers.

That was a picture of my lady parts, artfully sketched by my doctor. Although I suppose that we might say that it was less art than it was artifact of doctorglyphics: it was an attempt by my doctor to explain to me how it was that yes, things can get worse than a fourth-degree tear sustained in an emergency delivery! That fourth-degree tear can end up with a botched repair because the surgery was performed so hastily and under such trying circumstances. Yep: botched repair. Sloppy stitchwork. Sewn up wrong. Ripped and slashed in birth and then stitched up roughly into some hideous, half-healed, scarred-up mess. Monster-nethers. Frankenvulva.

Click to enlarge, if you dare. MWAH-HA-HA-HA.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall anybody ever telling me, ever, that the vaginal delivery of a baby could result in varying degrees of genital mutilation. Which, you know, is probably not surprising, given that stories about ripped anal-sphincter muscles just wouldn’t do much for the sales of those glossy pregnancy magazines. And I can’t blame my mother for not telling me, nor the Canadian education system for neglecting to cover the subject of SEX ORGAN DAMAGE in middle school sex-ed. Because, yes, that would probably have scarred me for life, and my parents and my teachers and the architects of sex-education programming in the province of British Columbia knew it. So, it’s no wonder, then, that I had no way of knowing that after giving birth I would, indeed, end up scarred for life.

Of course – of course – it was all worth it, the miraculous gift of my beautiful son – my beautiful progeny – being more than ample recompense for the damage sustained to my birthing parts, which did, after all, just do the job that Nature intended them to do (not, however, particularly effectively. JUST SAYIN) yadda yadda blah. But still. My joy at the gift that is my son does not in any way mitigate my frustration with ongoing nether-discomfort, my distress at the possibility that I will go through the rest of my life with a Frankenvulva and my determination to get it fixed and put the damage behind me (figuratively. The damage is, after all, literally behind me, and, also, below me. But whatever. Details, schmetails.) So. Is he going to hear about this at his wedding? HELL YES.

(Not really. Not unless I’m drunk, that is. Which is a possibility, I suppose. A good one.)

(Anyone who had any illusions about me being some kind of gentle and gracious soul is really, really disappointed right now, I guessing.)

(There’s no way to close this kind of post elegantly, is there?)

(The end.)

A Picture Is Worth Years Of Therapy

July 28, 2008

I received this cunning little sketch last week, and it has been sitting on my bedside table while I decide its fate. To scrapbook, or not to scrapbook? To consign to the bottom of the dustbin, or to frame and display in the front hallway? To deconstruct as artifact of postmodern motherhood, or to roll eyes at and discard?

A fistful of Smarties to anyone who can tell me what it is, or at least make some outrageously funny suggestion so that I can appropriate the narrative of this sketch and reframe it into something that won’t keep me awake at night. Which, yes, is a hint.

(It’s two sketches, actually. The scribble below the fold is a separate image, scrawled with a flourish to underscore a point about the main image, above the fold.)

In Which My Son – Clenching My Heart In His Little Fist – Eclipses Me Utterly

July 27, 2008

And why not? If you were publishing a story about a certain blogging conference in the New York Times, and wanted an eye-catching photo to complement that story, the image of a heart-clenchingly adorable infant draped over his mother’s back as she bogarted a microphone at one of the sessions is far more arresting than the front view of said mother bogarting said microphone, no question.*

Front page of the New York Times Style section at ten weeks of age. The heart, it bursts with pride.

*No comment – YET – on the fact that the article makes women-bloggers sound like a bunch of sappy doofuses – doofi? – in which case, arguably, pictures of said women clutching their adorable babeez just underscores the relentless media focus on estrogen and vaginas and flowers and unicorns and shit when it comes to women bloggers, instead of the fact that we’re writers and tech-geeks and business-persons, but whatever. I’m still chuffed about the picture.

That’s Me In The Corner

July 24, 2008

Two years ago, after BlogHer ’06, I wrote this:

I left behind something that I think that I am going to miss… the me who was happy and fulfilled in the absence of the loves of my life. The me who could assimilate the quiet ache that is that absence, the pressing ache of those missing limbs, into another kind of energy and move, happily, despite that ache. The me who felt both quieted and stimulated alone (sans child, sans spouse) in the company of other women, other writers, other mothers who, for a moment, put the activity of motherhood or whateverhood aside and said, now, what about me? What about us?

That experience? That was missing for me, this year. Because I did not and could not put those other parts of me aside. I did not attend BlogHer this year as the me who has a passion that extends beyond and away from her family, the writer, the friend, the woman who can compartmentalize her manifold selves and carry on, and flourish. I attended BlogHer as a mother, with babe-in-arms and lactating boobs and head fuzzy from lack of sleep and heart sore from guilt and anxiety and all that tremendous and challenging mother stuff that distracts one from the business of being anything other than a mother, full stop. And that was hard. Really hard.

And so I felt, for much of the conference, as though I was watching from the sidelines, from the other side of the curtain, from behind my locker door, my baby clutched like so many books – my vulnerability, my shield – to my chest. Which is to say that, yes, there were moments, some moments, when my experience reminded me a little bit of high school, albeit the kind of high school experience that you see in low-budget after-school specials about how having a baby at sixteen means that you’ll be left out of all the parties and your cute-girl clothes won’t fit and you will feel like an outsider and omg why did you not cross your legs like your mother told you?

But those were only moments, and they had nothing to do with anyone or anything other than me and my own issues and insecurities. It was hard for me to expose myself as a mother at BlogHer, because being a mother in real life is not the same thing as playing one on the Internet, and all of the vulnerabilities that roll onto the screen so easily don’t play so comfortably on a real life stage. No matter how exposed we are on that screen, no matter how bravely, fiercely naked we allow ourselves to be, we are still, end of day, behind the screen, sharing fragments of our whole selves, preserving whatever other parts need to be preserved as private in order to protect our self-regard. So while it was one thing for me to bare my breast and nurse my child in front of the audience attending my panel – because, of course, I knew that everyone would be glad to see it – it was quite another to attempt and fail to soothe my child in public spaces, or succumb to a panic attack in the presence of friends and strangers, or to admit to exhaustion and frustration and sadness when everyone else was trying to party. And so I kept, mostly, to the sidelines, and observed.

And what I saw was this: friendships being formed, friendships being renewed, friendships being celebrated and revelled in and enjoyed. I saw love and tenderness and warmth; I saw women cheering each other on, and men cheering the cheering. I saw all of the things that I’d seen that first year – “women who are, like me, trying to use found moments of lived fearlessness to navigate the murky waters, the frightening waters, of womanhood and motherhood and writerhood (here be monsters, here be monsters. We know this. Still we fly our sails). Among women who are willing to say, out loud, that they don’t know how to always be fearless. Among women who walk with fear, but who carry wit and intelligence and charm and strength as rods and staffs for comfort” – and more.

But I also saw insecurity and anxiety and nervousness and reserve. I saw another mom with babe-in-arms keep to the sidelines, like me. I wish that I’d done more to connect with her, beyond waggling my baby at her baby (an effort that made her baby scream, which, you know, can really make someone feel like a fuck-up), because I wanted to ask her, is this as hard for you as it is for me? I heard a woman crying in the bathroom, and another woman soothing her, and wanted to say something, but I didn’t, because I was embarrassed, having been soothed myself the night before, and still feeling awkward about it. I saw, many times, women sitting by themselves, and sometimes I approached them, and sometimes I didn’t, because I didn’t want anyone to think that I was working the room – don’t laugh, it happens – or demanding attention (oh mah gahd have you seen mah BAYBEE?!?!) or, sometimes, just because I felt stupid and awkward and who knew when the baby was going to start crying again or the front of my blouse go wet and what would I say then (oh, hai, I’m HBM, pleez to excuse the sloppy mammaries and squalling infant)?

I saw a wonderful woman, anxious and hurting, defending herself in front of a crowd of a thousand. I saw a crowd of a thousand wonder, some of them – wrongly, wrongly, so wrongly – whether it was all an act. Actually, I didn’t see this, because I was on the other side of the doors, tending to my baby, my heart, wondering what was up, what was going on, what was I missing now? only hearing the details after the fact, and watching the video, and wanting to wrap virtual arms around my hurt friend, too late to help her in the moment that mattered, because my attention was divided, and while one hurt woman stood up to another (because, yes, it all had to have come from a place of hurt, it just did, and that sucks for everybody, for real) and the conference fell into a hush I was outside the room, in the corner, ruminating on being on the outside, lost in myself.

We all feel on the outside, all of us, sometimes; even the biggest and brightest of our stars feel their distance (let’s mix metaphors and wonder whether, if you prick them, stars bleed their brilliant light and burn holes in the sky. Is this what happened?) Whether we know a hundred people in the room, or one, or none, we feel, in certain moments, lonely. Misunderstood. Lost. Alone. We’re women, we’re human. We can be surrounded by love and still feel isolated. We can project love and still feel empty. We can be friends and make friends and still yearn for friendship. We can be inside and still feel completely outside. We’re internet geeks, girly ones, some with babies, some without, most with vaginas, all with hearts. We’re complicated.

I love us for that. I love this weekend for that. I love BlogHer, and BlogHers, for that. But there is still the ache. So please, can we be gentle with each other, forgiving of each other, this week, next week, and in all the weeks and months to come?

Thank you.

Grover knows. He did the whole conference with a hand up his ass. He gets us.

(THE LOVE. I do not do this exclude. I really, truly, do not. But I can’t and won’t censor my impulse to send warm hugs to the people who really took care of me this weekend, and/or who just added a special degree of awesomeness and oh god I am going to forget somebody really important I just know it but here goes: the spectacular lady who offered the loveliest, most welcome haven from the fray, the wonderful, baby-whispery heart-breakingly sweet man who snuggled J and cuddled J and crooned him to sleep with baseball stats, the lovely, lovely guy who stretched his arm to the breaking point swinging an infant-laden car seat on multiple occasions, the gorgeous young woman who snuggled the babe until his need for boob overwhelmed my entire session, the beautiful pregnant lady who stole my son’s heart – while he was still on the tit oh god – I may now have to call him Jasperalah – and who I was unable to rescue from partum faintage because I have no life skills – and who always makes me laugh even when my head is about to burst from anxiety, THIS beautiful woman whose very presence with her even-more-beautiful daughter made me cry, and the amazing, truly amazingly big-hearted woman who rescued me from my corner and insisted that it was okay for me to cry it out and OH GOD I cannot even refer to her in the third person without tearing up, and this super-smart chick who I wish I could spend way more time with in Canadaland and the amazing women that I hadn’t met before but now will be stalking relentlessly and her and her and her and her and her, oh lord, my girls, my bosom buddies, my heart-friends, my (oh sob) total BFF comrades-in-arms, my hearts… *collapses in tears and smiles*)

Let’s just all cling to the love, kay?

Now The Party’s Over. I’m So Tired.

July 22, 2008

Here’s the thing: I am so exhausted that I can’t even see straight, and also? I can barely even remember most of the past weekend, apart from the memories of having a minor breakdown in Guy Kawasaki’s backyard, sobbing at least two dozen times in two days, and breastfeeding my baby in front of a roomful of people while speaking at my panel on Saturday (the related memory of the moment of realizing, after leaving the stage, that my nursing pads were no longer tucked in their usual place in the gargantuan cups of my hideous nursing bra and so very probably somewhere on the floor of the California East conference room of the Westin St. Francis, that memory? Is also burned into my psyche. Forever. That, and meeting Grover. It was a complicated weekend.) The combination of adrenaline, hormones, emotion and exhaustion fogged my brain. I’m not even one hundred percent certain that I was actually in San Francisco. Maybe it was all a dream. Full of babies and vaginas and Muppets and too many moments where I felt like there was somewhere I was supposed to be and couldn’t quite get there and also my boobs were exposed and I was standing in front of a crowd and my shirt was open. And, also, the two-foot tall men in evening wear. And the unicorns. That had to have been a dream.

Anyway. I’m still just flat-out knocked on my ass by the emotional sucker-punch of a weekend filled with rich love and deep anxiety and messy pain and did I mention the love? There was too much, and not nearly enough, and I am relieved and happy and heartbroken to be home, wishing I was still there and yet so glad to be back here and wanting everything all at once and so, so tired.

Did I mention the little men in tuxedos? No? Well. Like I said, I’m tired.

By Guy Kawasaki’s Swimming Pool I Sat Down And Wept

July 19, 2008

Dear Internets: my name is Catherine Connors and I am a writer. I am also a mother.

Maybe it’s the other way around: mother, writer. This weekend, I’m not sure. This weekend, I am trying to be both, and more: mother, writer, friend, acquaintance, business woman, community advocate, self-promoter, thinker, drinker, writer-mother, mother-writer, woman, self. I am trying to be all things, and I am struggling.

I’ve struggled before. I struggle everyday. Everyday I wake up and immediately put tit to the mouth of a tiny human being whose survival, whose well-being, whose flourishing depends entirely upon me, and I throw my arms around a slightly larger human being whose heart is my own, and as I nurse and hug and love I gaze at my laptop and wonder when the moment will come that I will open it and record this love, this work, this love and craft it into words. And my heart strains in those moments because I know that I cannot have both immediately at once, my motherhood and my writerhood, just as I know in those moments when I share love with my husband or sisterhood with my friends or writerly solidarity with my peers (who are also, so many of them, my friends) that I am doing so as my self but not practicing my whole self – I am not being a mother in those moments, or a writer, or what-have-you – and that’s fine, that’s totally fine and that’s good because that’s life, even if it sometimes feels hard because you so often want to be or feel you need to be all your selves at once. You can’t be everything at once.

But ordinarily, the moments that I struggle with wanting to be all or some my selves at once are private ones. This weekend, they are public – they are public because they are exposed, because I am exposed, because I am wearing my heart on my sleeve, because I am carrying my heart around in a red-and-white polka dot sling and sometimes he cries and sometimes he shits and always I want, I need, to protect him, and that want, that need, that him makes me vulnerable because it puts my fears, my love, my anxiety, my hope all on full display and demands that I deal with those here, now, NOW, while I am surrounded by people, my people, my peers and role models and friends and sisters, while I am trying to be so many parts of myself all at once, and that. leaves. me. raw. It leaves me feeling exposed, it leaves me feeling vulnerable to every flutter of emotion that moves through the room – the triumphs of others, the hurts of others, the vulnerabilities of others, the love of others – because I am carrying all those things of my own, in my arms, and I am doing so in a three-day long moment that demands many other things of me – things that I want to give, want to share – and so I am tired, vulnerable.

And so the other night, I sat down by Guy Kawasaki’s swimming pool, heart in my arms, and I wept, and as the crowd – my peers, my idols, my friends – buzzed around me I tried to close in on myself and shield myself – my mother self, my weepy self, my stressed-and-scared self – from exposure so that I could keep these selves detached, keep these selves from muddying the water of my other selves – my writer-self, my friend-self, my woman-selves, the selves with hopes and ambitions that have nothing or very little to do with the little heart cradled in my arms, head damp with my tears. Those selves, my public selves, the selves through I distill and present my messier selves in my craft as a writer/blogger, those selves fell away and I was left with all the messiness – no words, no screen to hide behind – and I cried. As my heart squirmed in my arms and my soul ached in my gut, I cried.

I have cried, again, many times since then, in moments of inspiration and love (so many of these, here) and anxiety (can I cope, here? should I even be here? am I brave to be here, or am I stupid?) and fear (oh the fear). I will cry many times more. I will be the girl – the woman, the writer, the mother – in the corner, crying, yearning to be seen, and yearning to be invisible. Yearning to feel comfortable in my wholeness, in my love and hope and ambition and fear and tears and baby-shits and all.

Bad Mother Lost

July 16, 2008

Yesterday, I got lost. Badly lost.

Like, lost as in take the wrong train and end up a station with a name similar to the one that you were aiming for but not exactly the same which is to say the wrong station located in the middle of oh my god butt-freaking nowhere such that when you finally realize that you’ve made a terrible terrible mistake but you’re already like an hour and a half into your journey and you can’t turn back because there are two things that you absolutely must accomplish within a limited time frame – pick up baby’s passport at passport office and pick up baby’s grandmother at airport – and so starting over is not an option and in any case that train station that you just left is at the top of a nasty flight of stairs that took you twenty minutes and the assistance of a blind man to get down, what with the infant in the fucking stroller and all – and, since we’re on the subject, why did that same man wait until the stroller had been wrestled down to the bottom of the stairs before informing you that you were, actually, about an hour away from the place that you were trying to get to? – which is how you found yourself standing at a desolate bus stop in front of some sinister industrial buildings with tumbleweed rolling past your feet and the shrill of vultures circling overhead.

That kind of lost.

I do not, however, have the mental or emotional energy to try to work that story into anecdote. After days and days of barely being able to meet the demands of everyday life, that one day sucker-punched me and now I feel entirely incoherent. So the story of getting lost in the dark territory that is Toronto’s near-suburbs must deferred – which is to say, given the reality of blog-writing, lost – as must any account of my bus ride out of the land of the lost, during which I sat across from a gentleman clad in a t-shirt that read Screw Me If I’m Wrong But Haven’t We Met Before?, as well as any recounting of the oddly touching half-hour that I spent in a nursing room at the mall adjoining the passport offices with an on-duty Jamaican cleaning lady and a half-dozen teenage goth girls, one of whom was nursing a beautiful, blond 13-month old who wore a cheery onesie that read Mama’s Boy. Nor am I able to muster the will to rant about the absurdity of infant passports, or the bizarre complexities of the Canadian foreign affairs bureaucracy.

So I will just let the Girl Formerly Known As Wonderbaby have the stage today, and she will use her words* to introduce her newly passported brother to everyone who will meet him this weekend in San Francisco:


His name is JASPER!



(*As proclaimed to a waiter at Boston Pizza Sunday night)

(If no-one sees this baby in San Francisco this weekend, it is because his mother has gotten lost. SEND HELP.)


July 14, 2008

The other night I did something that I had never done before: I Googled myself.

(No, seriously, I’d never done it, not once. Seriously. Because, you know, I’d heard you could go blind from it.)

Here’s the thing about Googling yourself: once you start, you can’t stop. Even when you go through a page of Google listings that have nothing to do you – I share my name, apparently, with numerous Irish women of the 19th century, and at least one high school sophomore in Chicago with a distinguished record in middle-distance running – it’s fascinating. And it’s all the more fascinating when you hit pages upon pages of links to references to yourself. Look – there’s me mentioned in the Globe And Mail! There’s my AlphaMom interview! There’s my first peer-reviewed academic article! There’s that cheesy essay about being Prime Minister that I wrote as an undergrad! Look, everyone: my 15 (fractions of) gigabytes of fame!

It is, in some respects, I suppose, the 21st century equivalent of rifling through a shoebox of mementos – the newspaper clippings that your mom collected and kept in a ragged file folder, the tattered certificates of achievement, that undergraduate essay that got published, somewhere, the picture of your graduating class – except that the things you find aren’t things that you’ve saved – they’re things that the Internet has saved. The virtual detritus of an unfamous but not entirely obscure life. Which makes it a little surreal. I came across that aforementioned undergraduate essay, along with a handful of professional academic articles, a lot of blog-related miscellany and an assortment of virtual newspaper clippings about awards and speeches and the various whatnots of an overfunctioning young woman trying to prove herself in a world that records bits and pieces of that life in code, and holds it out for anyone to see.

That Google search revealed, in some small and completely messed up way, an index of my life (and, of course, my blog life, which may or may not be the same thing) as it has been captured on the virtual screen. It is, for better or for worse, my biography as it appears to the virtual world. So I thought, why not use it to introduce myself? It is, after all, BlogHer week, and we should really be trying to get to know each other, better, no? And what better way to get to know a blogger than through her online profile? Herewith, then – Five Things That You Can Learn About Me Through Google:

1) Despite my protestations to the contrary, I am Tracy Flick. Rather, I was Tracy Flick, once upon a time. I am so not kidding. My career as an undergraduate was one long exercise in look how good I am! I am smart! And a good person! OMG I can totally save the world!

2) It was kind of sweet, though. I meant well. Also, I figured that if I played my cards right, I could be Prime Minister.

3) But then I decided that I hated politics, and committed myself to the pursuit of the philosophic life. In the pursuit of which, I embraced misanthropy, and publicly (academically) defended Hannibal Lector as a tragic Rousseauan figure. I’m still proud of that, as I am for having, in my first peer-reviewed book review, called out Erich Segal for writing what is possibly the worst book on comedy (v.v. the history of classical thought) ever written in the history of the world, ever.

4) Misanthropy gets old fast, though, so I turned my professional interests to love, sex and virtue in the history of political philosophy. Because, you know, love and sex are much more fun to think and write about than are grumpy, bourgeois-hating old men who may or may not indulge in a little cannibalism. Which brought me around to the field of academic research that I stuck with, which was women – and specifically motherhood – in the history of political philosophy. How did I get from misanthropic critiques of bourgeois liberalism to motherhood? Basically, this: they are, if done properly, the same thing.

5) Which brought me here, to the state of being and creating that is Her Bad Mother. Here – the domain of my Bad Motherness, Badtopia, Badmotherlandia, the Badlands – speaks for itself, I think. But if you’re new to HBM, and don’t feel like spending hours reading the archives, or if you just want a refresher on what I look and sound like (I am so much more, after all, than just words on a screen) Google offers you this HBM Live With LeahPeah On AlphaMom TV moment:

It’s two years old, but I haven’t really changed all that much. At all, really. So there you go. Just look for the blond bobbed, recovering-Tracy-Flick-with-babe-in-arms in San Francisco. That’ll be me.

(Um, hey? You should totally do this too! GoogleHer yourself! You know, for fun and edification.)

Exhausted Mom Miscellany

July 11, 2008

The girl-child is home sick today. The boy-child is in on some kind of demon growth-spurt that requires him to suckle at tit every hour upon the hour. The double all-terrain sports stroller that the husband brought home yesterday so that the wee ones and I could travel further than three blocks together is missing the infant insert (you know, for inserting infant) and so we are trapped, TRAPPED I TELL YOU, in a miserable vortex of snot and exhaustion and toplessness – all of us – a spiralling vortex of headachey badness that will not stop until the husband comes home. With liquor.

In the meantime:

1) This is my libido on hormones, painkillers and sleeplessness. So is this. Disturbing, I know.
2) This is – or should be – the last word on The Apocalypse of Feminism.
3) You should do this poll. Because it’s about mommyblogging and Internet privacy and whether you avoid naming names or posting pics (any pics, or just the nekkid ones) and that sort of thing. You know, that stuff that we all worry about as we madly broadcast our lives to the world. Oh, and it’s being done by a really awesome lady who only some of you read but all of you should. (ALSO! She’s going to be at BlogHer, and would love to interview people. Interviews are fun!) Full blurb and deets and contact info here.
4) You all saw mah babee busting a move yesterday? Break it down.
5) Baby toes: are awesome.

These particular baby toes are attached to a baby who was, at the moment that photograph was taken, shitting on my leg – note flexing – but still. Awesome. Makes the vortex worthwhile.