Sunday, April 30, 2006

An Ordinary Perfect Day

Yesterday, I spent the whole day with Lumpyhead.

We had a couple of outings: we went to see my friend Pepper and his new baby, and had a glass of wine (or two) with Aunt Bob, Pete and E. But the dull details of the day - feeding Lumpyhead breakfast, washing bottles, reading books - are the things I imagine fill Bump's day during the week. We didn't do anything exciting, but it was never boring. It was exhausting. It was terrific.

I'll spend all week wishing it was yesterday.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cry It Out

Our first real attempt to let Lumpyhead cry it out last night was a ghastly failure.

Bump called me yesterday afternoon to report a happy baby, looking spiffy in his new duds, going for a walk and looking at squirrels. "Today is the day you thought yesterday was," Bump told me, referring to the fact that I invited ourselves over to Aunt Bob and Pete's on Wednesday evening for a happy hour in their back yard. I heard it was going to be a nice day, but when we got there it was fricken cold.

"We've had nice days all week," Peter proclaimed. "Why did you pick today of all days to do this?"

"Because I heard it was supposed to be nice," I whined weakly.

But yesterday, apparently, was beautiful. There was much walking and squirrel sighting and looking cute, all without me. I left work a little late, and just missed a call from Bump relaying an invitation from Peter to try the Backyard Happy Hour again.

After battling traffic, filling up my gas tank (holy shit), and stopping off at the drug store, I got home too late to do the Happy Hour. Lumpyhead's clothes were still cute, despite his best efforts to cover them with prunes, but the boy was getting tired and cranky.

So I played with him a little, ate a little, and tried unsuccessfully to give him a bottle. At this point, Lumpyhead was so tired he had dark circles and bags under his eyes. He finally took a bottle from Bump and went to sleep in the living room.

Bump and I have discussed how we'll tackle teaching Lumpyhead to go to sleep on his own. Lumpyhead has been sleeping with us, which is another one of those things I was never going to do. (Ha.) I thought co-sleeping was a little creepy. (Creepy? Let's compare getting some sleep to getting no sleep. Yeah, I thought that would shut you up about creepy.)

As for the dangers of squishing, which was my other concern, I read that mothers won't crush their babies for the same reason adults don't roll off the bed in their sleep. There's something in a woman's brain that prevents it. Dads, however, don't have that same mechanism, but Bump sleeps so lightly he wakes up whenever Lumpyhead rolls over, so I'm not worried about him squishing the baby either.

Oh, that Biblical story about Solomon and dividing the baby in half? Because one mother smothered her baby in her sleep? Probably SIDS, not smothering.

I read that, too. Probably on the Internet. So you should definitely take my word for it that co-sleeping is safe, people, as I have no pediatric training or experience with children but I read things on the Internet. And everything you read on the Internet is SO TOTALLY TRUE. Don't be worried that sometimes I remember stuff wrong, or that you're pretty sure I'm talking out of my ass because my buttcheeks are flapping as I say this. Because I have an eleven-month old baby who won't sleep through the night, so I totally know what I'm talking about when it comes to sleep training.

So, Lumpyhead is out like a light, but as Bump places him in his crib - before Lumpyhead's body even touches the mattress - he wakes up. Mad.

Here's our chance to do Cry It Out. The baby is obviously tired, not hungry, doesn't need a burp, and is mad because he's so sleepy and not asleep. I laid him down. I patted his back. I laid him down again. I patted his tummy. I stroked his hair. I laid him down again. I sang to him. I rubbed his head. I laid him down again, and again, and again.

He screamed bloody murder the whole time.

He didn't want a bottle. He didn't want a pacifier. He didn't want to be in this damn dark room in the Crib of Injustice with this crazy woman who wouldn't PICK ME THE FUCK UP ALREADY!

About 35 minutes in, Bump came in to see what he could do. The sight of Bump made Lumpyhead even angrier, so he left.

Forty-five minutes in, I may have offered Lumpyhead a pony. It did nothing to stop the howling.

After over an hour of screaming, crying, gasping, sitting, rolling, standing and definitely not sleeping, I gave up. Bump rode in on his noble steed and rescued the baby and gave him a cheerio. Lumpyhead stopped sobbing. But he wouldn't even look at me.

Let me say that Bump did not sabotage me. I brought Lumpyhead out of his room and he made a flailing lunge for Bump yelling, "Papa! Papa! Help me! This Miserable Hag has left me to cry for an hour in the Crib of Injustice. Save me! Oh, and at 10:26pm she said I could have a pony. Write that down."

He was still ridiculously sleepy.

Eventually I brought him to our room, where he begrudgingly took a bottle from me for about 45 seconds, until Bump coughed from the other room and the wailing began again. Bump joined us, and Lumpyhead took the bottle from him (of course - yet another stake through my heart) and fell asleep. So did I.

Until around 1, when Lumpyhead was again shrieking from the Crib of Injustice. Bump had placed a sound-asleep baby in the crib, where he stayed asleep for only the time it took for Bump to walk through the living room to the kitchen and put a bottle in the fridge.

Lumpyhead was betrayed. "You too, Father? You are in on this, too? You will not free me from the Crib of Injustice? Why? May I remind you that it's one in the morning and you have neighbors? Allow me to remind you of this loudly."

Lumpyhead won't even stay asleep in his crib, I don't know how we can expect him to go to sleep in his crib. I hoped he would wear himself out; that he would learn how to put himself to sleep and apply that knowledge to staying asleep throughout the night. I hoped he would learn that his crib is a safe place, ideally located for babies looking to get some shut-eye. Instead he cried for an hour while my blood pressure spiked and I was left so heartsick I didn't want dinner. He fell asleep and spent the night in the same place he has nearly every night before, where I worry he will roll or crawl off the edge and hurt himself.

This morning when I left, Lumpyhead was sound asleep in his regular spot in the middle of the bed. As usual, he was inexplicably occupying at least 2/3rds of the bed. He was angelic, and even smiled a little when I kissed him. A lazy, assured, triumphant little smile.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Fear the Almighty Google

My friend Alisa lived across the street from me when we were growing up. My home town was tough on her. She moved there when she was in that Middle School Awkward stage, and she was the daughter of a minister. Looking for a recipe for childhood emotional trauma? Be an awkward 6th grader, a preacher's kid, and get plunked in the middle of a backward small town.

We connected because we both wanted to get away from that tiny town more than anything else in the world. Neither of us wanted to be farmer's wives, which was the career choice girls were offered. That, you know, or slutty whore.

I know many people are very happy being part of a family farming operation. I don't mean to disparage it, it just wasn't for me. I do mean to disparage the idea that if you decide being someone's wife and mother is not your only life goal, you're clearly an awful little girl, and no one will ever want to marry you. (What, you're too good for our way of life? Slutty whore. Only it was never phrased quite like that. I'm sure the church also figured into it somehow. God created you to be a farmer's wife. Why do you want to make the Baby Jesus cry?)

As a wife and mother who is happy being both, but who would struggle if that were my only identity, allow me figuratively moon anyone who ever told Alisa and me we should just stop being so uppity already. I'm flipping you off, too, with both hands. Suck it, morons.

The church plays an important role in the daily workings of my hometown. It's scary. When I was in college, I found out my high school hosted an exchange student from one of the former Soviet Republics. He was a muslim until he came to our neck of the woods. The "good" people of Southwestern Minnesota converted him, and he couldn't return home after his exchange. There was much pride about this. I heard from several people how they saved this boy's soul; but no one bothered to help him out after his parents shunned him and his former home wouldn't accept his new brainwashing beliefs. Horrifying. Also, hello placement organization? What were you thinking? Gah.

I don't mean to denegrate faith, but I will pass judgment on an odd little enclave in Minnesota that's probably a little more cult-like than John Calvin envisioned. Yikes.

Alisa moved to Grand Rapids when I was a high school sophomore. We planned to go to a college equidistant from Grand Rapids and my home town. We wrote frequently and called each other often.

What college is equidistant from Grand Rapids, Michigan and where I lived? Beloit. Alisa, a year ahead of me in school, matriculated to Calvin. I was surprised, but clearly she would transfer to Beloit once I got in. I was accepted at Beloit two weeks after I applied. Then I found out I got into Yale, which abruptly brought all plans of attending Beloit to a screeching halt. (The Beloit people kept calling me though, once even describing their school as the "Yale of the Midwest." Um, yeah. I'm not going to attend your school. You just described yourself as the "'School I'm Going to Attend' of your region." Please stop calling.)

Sadly, Alisa and I fell out of touch during my college years. A few attempts to reconnect since then have been fairly dismal misfires. Back when we were kids, yearning to Get the Hell Out of Dodge was a pretty powerful thing to have in common. Now we're both out of Dodge, and struggle to find similarities.

I think my home town scarred her. I don't blame Alisa for wanting to distance herself from anything and anyone associated with an awful, awful place for her. Or, I may just be horribly boring and a terrible phone conversationalist, so she cut her losses and stopped calling my sorry butt.

But I think of her often, so I googled her.

At last contact, she was teaching Spanish at Indiana University, where she received her advanced degrees. It seems she's moved on to Calvin, her undergrad alma mater.

She signed an open letter to the President, in protest of his policies before he spoke at a Calvin commencement. The letter was eloquent and inclusive; it summed up what faith is supposed to represent. Politics aside, the letter gracefully spoke of belief system that a small town full of "faithful" rarely demonstrated to Alisa. I was proud to know her when I came upon the letter.

I hope she's well and happy. I hope she's found security and a sense of belonging, and is surrounded by bountiful amounts of good friends and good wine. I should drop her an email, try once more to reconnect.

By the way her brother, who (last I heard) was doing publicity for a golf tour somewhere in the south, purchased a home in New Orleans in the 432-48 block of Julia St. for $149,500. It was Unit 213, if you're curious. I hope he - and his lovely wife, who I've never met, but hello Lovely Wife! [waves] - escaped the worst of Katrina. He works for the Saints now, which is mighty cool. Go Ian.

Google might be scarier than the Dutch Reformed Church.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Performance Review

So there’s this guy.

I’m not his boss, but I certainly hold sway over his career path.

He says to me, “I think I want a promotion. I deserve a raise.”

What do you say to that?

Yes. Your performance has been exemplary. You deserve at least twice your current salary.

“I’ll do what I can,” I promised.

And I will. But some things are out of my control. I can’t make any guarantees.

I don’t fear this guy quitting over this. He won’t. He can’t.

He’s dedicated to his current position. While he wants more and deserves more, he loves this organization and would never leave.

If he doesn’t get a raise or a promotion, I don’t think he will be angry. Disappointed, maybe, but not upset.

I want - more than anything - for him to be happy in his current post.

So I’ll do my part. I’ll put in a good word for him with the Big Kahuna. I’ll try to make it happen for him.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yo Money, It's Da Shues.

Sunday, we went on a family shopping outing. We all got new shoes. (I know. So. Exciting.) The cool thing? Bump and Lumpyhead got the same shoes.

But at different stores. And, you know, in different sizes.

Bump's new shoes:
Lumpyhead's new shoes:

(I would post a photo of my new shoes, but this already boring me to tears.)

We exchanged some things at Janie and Jack and got Lumpyhead some cute clothes. The whole time I felt like such a fraud.

Crazy Brain: They know you can't really afford to shop here, and the sales people are just humoring you. They're totally gonna talk about you when you leave.

Less Crazy Brain: [defensively] I could afford to shop here, if I wanted. I just don't. Because those shoes cost $34, which is more than I just spent on my shoes at DSW.

Dutch Brain: Cheap DSW shoes. Woot!

Conspicuous Consumer Brain: [rolls eyes] That is such a lie. You wish you spent every dollar and every spare minute you have in stores like this.

Dutch Brain: Hey! This tee shirt you just picked up for Lumpyhead costs $20!
You don't own tee shirts that cost $20, and you wear them for like, fifteen years. And the pricetag on this jumper reads $25. That can't be right, can it? It's supposed to be on sale. What? AAAARRRGH! [Dutch Brain explodes]

Conspicuous Consumer Brain: Wheee! Get that hat, too.

In addition to feeling like I didn't really belong in this lovely upscale store, I felt like I was under pressure the whole time. Pressure to get the best deal, mostly. I wanted to make sure I got the best value for the items I was returning. I was so out of my element. (What is my element? I dunno, Target? With a beer buzz and a barbeque sauce stain on my shirt?)

The items I was returning were gifts. I loved them, but the sizing wasn't quite right. The clothes would fit Lumpyhead now, but are not really suited for warm weather, and we could probably only get one wearing out of each of them. For the price, I wanted to make sure we got lots and lots of wearings from each item.

Plus, the stuff is heart-meltingly cute.

Dutch Brain: Am still here. Am not happy. Am pouting.

Conspicuous Consumer Brain: You forgot the matching socks, Dumbass.

Today's Inappropriate Thing to Do/Say Around the Baby

Bump and I often speak for Lumpyhead, but as Disgruntled Teenager Lumpyhead. "Mom! Don't kiss me! All my friends will see. This is so embarrassing." (I guess that's more like Smartass Five-Year-Old Lumpyhead.)

Bump (as baby): You guys are so lame. This shoe store is boring.
Me (as baby): Sheeeeyit, yo.
Bump: You know, the baby's going to grow up to be a real potty mouth if we don't start watching it. (Read: Maybe you should stop putting curse words into our baby's mouth before he can talk.)
Me: Oh no. The baby will associate cussing with low vocabulary. He will grow up to express himself eloquently and use real adjectives rather than five variations of fuck. Or different inflections of dude.
Bump: [skeptically] You think so, huh?
Me: Yeah, just like he'll pitch in the Big Leagues some day.
Bump: What do you mean? [offended] Are you suggesting he won't pitch in the Majors?
Me: Of course not.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I May Be a Bit Punchy

Last night, I briefly considered going to the gym this morning. When I stopped laughing, I thought seriously about going. Then I realized it would be hard to afford diapers for Lumpyhead and the monkeys that would fly out of my butt.

One point in favor of the ass-monkeys is that we could probably teach them to type, and they could write a post or two for me when I’m in a slump.

Immediate point against the butt-monkeys: their posts might be better than mine.

Lumpyhead woke up this morning around 4 a.m. I didn’t get back to sleep. Can you tell? I’m a little scattered today, and I’m walking about with the “crazy eyes” look. I imagine that around 3:30 p.m., once the after-lunch drowsies kick in, I will find something so hysterically funny that I pee a little. Or I’ll get blood-boilingly angry about something insignificant.

And now for a recurring segment we’ll call “Inappropriate Thing to Do/Say Around the Baby”:

When I finish reading Lumpyhead a book, I say, “The End!” Then I add, “[Something] butt.”

The "something" is usually related to the picture on the back cover. For example, at the end of Little Quack, I proclaim, “The End! Duck butt.”

At the end of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, I announce, “The End! Bear butt.”

Which I think is funny, ‘cuz, com’on, bear butt? Bare butt? Get it? Get it? (Shut up, I’m tired)

At the end of most books, I wind up saying, “The End. Book butt.”

Not so inappropriate, you’re thinking? (Actually, I really hope you’re thinking that. Because if you think “butt” is inappropriate, we’re really not going to get along very well.)

At the end of The Very Quiet Cricket, instead of the usual “the end” statement, I sing “BOMP a chicka BOM baw” and ask if someone ordered a pizza. Or if someone reported a broken copier.

I don’t want to ruin the ending for those of you who haven’t read this Eric Carle masterwork, but in the end, the Very Quiet Cricket meets a Girl Cricket and starts chirping. I think we all know what happens next. (cue porn music)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Was It Worth It?

Nana V had a shitty week. She drove to Baltimore to bring the dog to the eye vet, only to discover her appointment was for the next day. “They couldn’t squeeze you in?” I asked, only to discover that this eye vet is booked months in advance. Asking to be “squeezed in” makes the receptionists laugh. The next morning, Nana V’s car had been towed - from a space in front of her building, a space she rightly occupied - because it wasn’t displaying the correct sticker. By the time she circumnavigated the incorrect signage listing the wrong tow company, waited for the cab, called me for sympathy, and retrieved her car, it was too late to bring the dog back to Baltimore and she missed the appointment. The place will try to fit her in next week if there are cancellations.

So when Nana V called and offered to babysit last night, I took her up on it immediately. One, it meant a free babysitter (hooray!) and two, who can be bummed out after spending some time with this?

So Bump and I went out on a date. A real, bonafide dinner-and-a-movie kind of date. We saw an okay Denzel-Clive Owen-Jodie Foster movie, which I expected to be mediocre, so was pleasantly surprised when it rose to Okay.

“I’ve certainly paid to see worse,” Bump declared as we walked out of the theater.

Dinner was good. Not fabulous, but good. I would categorize the restaurant as “inexpensive” - not cheap, but pretty close: the total was $49 before tip and after beer and appetizers - so for the price, the food was remarkable.

So, a pleasant night of bargain non-suckage.

Wow, don’t you wish you were me?

Bump and I were recently bemoaning the travails of Lumpyhead: the helmet, the butthole embiggening, the new-found mobility, the not-sleeping, etc. My friend looked at the boy wistfully and said, “But it’s worth it, right?”

When I was pregnant and uncomfortable and bloated and nauseous and puking daily and stone-cold sober and complainy, my mother constantly said, “It’ll all be worth it in the end.” When Lumpyhead emerged and was beautiful and good-natured and surprisingly low-maintenance, Mom repeated, “It was all worth it, wasn’t it.” It was not phrased in the form of a question.

So here’s my thing: I don’t see parenthood as an experience that has to live up to the price of admission. It’s not about being “worth it.”

It’s like going on a fabulous exotic getaway, then being asked if the flight was “worth it”. You might have some stories about the actual travel, but the dolt who asks about your flight instead of your trip is probably just trying to be polite.

I don’t mean to get all “it’s the journey, not the destination” on you, because I think if you want a family, there’s only one way to get there.

I don’t mean “there’s only one way” as in birth-your-own-genetic-material, adopt, daycare, stay-home, cosleep, or other nonsense. I mean for you and your family, the choices you make create your route. There’s only one way to get there, and you’re taking it. You’re gonna pay what you’re gonna pay, and for some people it’s a business-class flight with champagne and personal video games, and for others it’s a minibus next to a crate of four chickens.

But you’ll probably come out with some fantastic stories about your trip to Destination Parenthood, whatever method you take to get there.

(A movie, however, can be “worth it.” Was Inside Man worth it? Meh. Sure. If you can score a free babysitter and matinee prices. Otherwise? Hello, Netflix.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Six Weird Things - A YouYou

Girls Gone Child does hehes as well as memes - she responds to the questions for her son. Aunt Bob laid out a challenge on the Six Weird Things meme - she already knew five of my six things (really seven, but she knew 6A too) and demanded I give her two for every one of hers I didn't already know. So I'm doing a YouYou - I guess this would be backsies in the realm of internet tag. Aunt Bob's things are in italics.

Sarah, this is all your fault.

Number One. I have been to the South Pole. When I was there, someone was having a wedding. Me, I had 500 people at my wedding.

Knew that (have seen the pictures), knew that, was there.

Backsies #1: While in Antarctica, Aunt Bob took pictures of every vehicle she encountered. Helicopters, snowmobiles, humongous people-moving-lounge thingies, ice breaking ships, bicycles . . . everything. When she got home, she made the pictures into a book for her Little Guy. It's the coolest. thing. ever.

Number Two. I was on my high school bowling team. I wish we had been this cool.

Knew that, but the Lebowski Fest may trump the Antarctica book as the awesomest thing to ever be awesome.

Backsies #2: When we go bowling, you have to finish your beer if you bowl a strike. Half your beer for a spare. This is meant to even out the competition, so good bowlers eventually can't see the pins. Also, your score is measured against your weight, so one woman's 130 is better than a big man's 170. Special Bonus for Backsies #2: Aunt Bob and Scrubly in a bowling alley, a looooong time ago:
Number Three. When I tried out for my college debate team, I made a well-known columnist guffaw. Later in my college career, I lost an election to a former New Republic editor. The worst part is that my freshman-year boyfriend (if you think I'm linking, you're wrong) is a professor of law in my hometown. His wife teaches as an adjunct. My other college boyfriend -- the one who got it all, so to speak -- sends Christmas Cards to Lumpyhead's Mom but not me. He will never be allowed in the wine pool.

I think I knew that, and I knew that. Knew that, but didn't care about the wife. Knew that (obviously), and double yes to that.

Backsies #3: Aunt Bob won an election in college by beating her challenger in Rock-Paper-Scissors. This is amazing, because Aunt Bob kinda sucks at Rock-Paper-Scissors. I'm certain she was drunk during the competition.

Not to make Aunt Bob even more bitter, but that other college boyfriend and his wife just had a baby. Bump and I got an announcement. Did yours get lost in the mail AB?

Number Four. I fear mayonnaise....and pigeons.

Knew that . . . and knew that.

Backsies #4: Over the weekend, the Little Guy offered to protect Aunt Bob from the pigeons she so fears. I won't scoop her on the story, because I hope it's included in the San Francisco Chronicles.

Number Five. The most amazing feat of human endurance I have ever seen was Lumpyhead's birth. At my little guy's birth, a c-section, big guy said, "I can see your guts." Little guy weighed 9 pounds, 14 ounces at birth. He was 2 weeks early. His mom (aka me) was 10 pounds 4 ounces at birth and three weeks late.

Awww. Blush. And my labor wasn't even that bad. Knew all that other stuff.

Backsies #5: (although this might not count, because it's about me) I leaned against Aunt Bob when I had my epidural. Bump hates blood and almost passed out when I was getting my IV, so we made him hide behind a curtain while I was getting the happy happy Needle of Relief in my back.

Okay, this is about her: When the Odd Nurse threw a hissy fit about the bottle of champagne we opened immediately after Lumpyhead's birth, Aunt Bob chugged the remaining bubbly to shut the Odd Nurse up. Ordinarily, she would have told the nurse to Get Bent, but she didn't want to upset my "birth aura" or something. I also would normally have told the nurse to Get Bent, but I just shoved a human out my crotch, and I guess it mellowed me out.

Number Six. My "check engine" light went on about 5 hours after I paid off my car. Last week. Why the light? Retarded fuel control. Aaargh.

Knew that, but only because I stopped by Aunt Bob's office yesterday after that horrendous informative meeting.

Backsies #6: Aunt Bob used to drive a blue Neon. It was a good car, except riding in the back seat was like some kind of punishment. The front seat was fine.

I know this because I rode in the back seat of the Neon for the entire drive to Buffalo, NY for Emily's wedding. Gah.

Bonus Number Seven. Bump and Lumpyhead's Mom flamingoed our lawn, new year's eve 1999/2000. Before the Outback Bowl began at 10am, someone had called our condo association and complained. We could purchase a 50-flamingo extravaganga in our pre-school auction on Saturday. Starting bid: $25.

Knew about that (obviously) and found the complaint hysterically funny. Am suddenly very very glad I don't have a lawn.

Backsies #7: By the time the condo association called to follow up on the complaint, the flamingos had been gone for four days. Also, Aunt Bob and Pete have contributed very cool things to the pre-school auction. If you need ideas for your fundraising auction, give them a call.

And the real Six Weird Things YouYou, not just backsies:
1. Aunt Bob does not have pierced ears.
2. She can drink more liquor and remain upright than any person I know. This includes men twice her size. I'm not kidding.
3. Aunt Bob can spill anything, at any time. I used to grab a huge pack of napkins whenever I ate with her, because she would always need them. She's gotten much better about this, over the years, oddly enough.
4. On their first date, Aunt Bob and Pete went to see the Brady Bunch movie.
5. Aunt Bob is a better bridge player than my husband or hers. They often ask her advice. (I don't play bridge. "Bridge is for old people!" I yell, as I knit in the corner.)
6. Aunt Bob is a crier, but don't mistake that for "soft." Not for a minute.

That was fun. Mostly because there were about ten things I started to say, then realized I shouldn't say them.

Okay, so I'm challenging you, Goon Squad Lady, whenever you get back online - do a YouYou for one of your friends. Better yet, how about the real-life friends of Sarah do a YouYou for her while she's offline and can't defend herself? I'm looking at you Tammy, Becky, Bridgette, Erin, Kemp, and Angie C. Tell us six random things about Sarah that you know but she hasn't told us. Ooh, I guess I just tagged all of you. Ha!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How I Almost Got Into a Fight that One Time

or: Another Reason Why I Love Electricyoak

One night, a very long time ago, I attended some random house party on the Hill. I knew one of the guys in the house, but not very well, and a couple of my friends and I ended up congregating by the door.

Other guests would walk in and look at us expectantly, then worry about being in the wrong place because they didn’t know us. So after a couple of nervous encounters, I started a “Welcome!” speech. People would walk in, look uncomfortable, and I would spout enthusiastically, “Hey! Come on in! Most people are in the dining room, you can put your coat upstairs, there’s booze on the table, and the keg is out back.” Most people responded by giving me a relieved smile and moving along, leaving me and my friends to drink in peace.

I was getting good at the spiel - in a “Hi, welcome to Bennigans, how many are you tonight?” kind of way. After hearing my greeting, one woman asked “so where’s [Guy Who Lived There Who I Didn’t Know]?”

“I have no idea,” I replied. “I’m just saying hello.”

“Whatever, Drunk Girl,” that horrible woman sneered. And then she flicked me on the forehead. SHE FLICKED MY FOREHEAD! This person I didn’t know, to whom I was just trying to be friendly, assaulted me. Okay, maybe assaulted is a bit much, but she did flick me. Oh, how I hated her with the intensity of a thousand burning suns. But, I was kinda drunk, so I just stood there, stunned, as she went to find whatever-his-name-was.

A bit later in the evening, I saw her again. “Hey, you’re that really ‘nice’ woman who was rude to me at the door!” I shouted fake-sweetly. As I was about to punch her in the face, Electricyoak, who was walking behind me, shoved me forward so hard I had to struggle to get my balance. By the time I was properly upright, that wretched bitch was out of slapping range.

“But, but. . .” I sputtered.

“Keep walking,” Electricyoak commanded.

So I did. We got more beer. I “simmered down” (Electricyoak’s term). Electricyoak had served as my conscience, my Jiminy Cricket, my better judgment. I explained to someone else why I was so pissed.

“Wait, she flicked you?” Electricyoak asked.

“Yes! At the door! You didn’t see? You were standing right there.” I was suddenly indignant again.

“Well, shit. I didn’t know that.” Electricyoak offered. “I would have let you hit her.”

She probably would have kicked my ass.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lumpyhead Bumpahead

Lumpyhead's lumpy head took some lumps this past weekend.

1) We were feeding the fish at Aunt Bob's when Lumpyhead lunged at the fishtank. He clunked his head on the corner of the tank, producing a sad little red line above his left eye.

2) While cruising on the ottoman, Lumpyhead took a header into the loveseat. He has a nice round red spot squarely between the eyes. He managed to scrape a little skin.
And the Misadventures of Baby Destructo Disastro continue.

We set up the Pack-n-Play in the living room as an alternative safe place to deposit Lumpyhead for a minute or two - like when we have to pee. We'd been using his crib (as the safe deposit box, not to pee in), but the crib is suddenly horrible to Lumpyhead. Placement in the awful terrible Crib of Injustice spawns immediate caterwauling, so we needed a new spot. We call the Pack-n-Play his "cage." Because "kennel" seemed crass.

Bump's cousin gave us some roly-poly shot glasses. We never use them, but they're cute - and they remind me of his cousin, who was sweet to get us a gift for no reason. We keep them on a pewter plate on the china cabinet - in front of which sits Lumpyhead's cage.

You know where this is going, right?

Yesterday afternoon, while he was in his cage, Lumpyhead managed to pull the plate of six shot glasses into his cage. I assume there was much crashing and tinkling and crunching. Bump was in the kitchen when it happened, and raced to the cage to see Lumpyhead with a shard of broken glass in his hand.

I came home last night to a shaken Bump and a perfectly intact baby. Also a cage full of broken glass. I cut myself - enough to produce a respectable amount of blood - twice while cleaning up the cage. After an obsessive amount of vacuuming and wiping and more vacuuming and one-more-wipe-just-to-make-sure and more vacuuming, I'm pretty sure the cage is now shard-free.

The baby doesn't have a nick on him, which is pretty amazing. Bump is counting his blessings that he was in the kitchen when it happened and not in the can or something. He managed to intercept the broken glass in Lumpyhead's hand before it went into his mouth, which is also some sort of miracle, as everything the boy touches inevitably makes its way into his mouth now.

I still have no idea how Lumpyhead managed to reach that plate. I can't believe that shelf was within the Zone of Destruction. The boy is taller than we think, I guess, and can stretch and reach like a champ.

In conclusion, even though it has nothing to do with the rest of the post:

Lumpyhead got these in his easter basket from Nana V. Yep, they're plush Peeps. They rock.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Wish List in Seven Parts

I would like . . .

1. a little more patience.

I try to be nice to tourists, but when there's a ten-minute backup at the office door because a pack of visitors can't figure out how to go through security, it's hard to be charitable. Seriously, you're going to take three minutes to dig all the change out of your pockets but then walk through the metal detector with your cell phone or camera or can of Coke? Seriously? Also, it's before nine in the damn morning! How do you have that much change in your pockets already? Did you put a twenty in the farecard machine and buy a single ride pass?

I sighed a lot, which is an annoying way to start the day.

2. to post a comment on someone else's site without noticing a typo immediately.

I swear I preview these things, but don't see my error until after I've hit the publish button. Then I send some flailing email or follow-up post about a correction.

"Oh look, the Grammar Idiot posted a comment again," says the author, rolling his or her eyes.

3. to have down time without missing the baby.

I've gone on record about how Me Time is important, but I feel guilty when I take it. I recognize it's crucial to maintaining my sanity, so why the guilt? Why, when I've left the child in the hands of a fantastic caregiver to do something I've been eagerly anticipating for a long time, do I still miss him?

4. to sleep for several consecutive, uninterrupted hours.

I know, I know, you other parents can stop laughing now. Lumpyhead is not sleeping through the night. Bump and I are debating letting him cry it out, a debate which lasts about a minute and a half. It just seems so . . . mean. I know it's not. I know the boy needs to learn to put himself to sleep. We just can't do it.

I wasn't going to be one of those mothers - one of those mothers who can't bear to hear her baby cry. I would be disciplined. I would be strong.

Snort. I was also not going to be one of those mothers who sits in the back seat with the baby, leaving the front passenger seat empty. "That's just dumb," I thought. "Plus, I get carsick in the back seat." Except that, yeah, I totally sit in the back with Lumpyhead. I'm a sucker.

5. for the boy to poop.

There is some progress on this front. Lumpyhead has been on a poop schedule of every five days for awhile, but we had a little poop Sunday, a full two days ahead of the timetable. Yesterday, a little more poop. Perhaps this is the start of something new? (So much for the hopes of the blog not being about poop all the time.)

6. a good idea for Bump's birthday present.

Bump's birthday isn't until August, so I'm thinking ahead, but right now? I got nothing. I was thinking about getting him a nano, but since we can't even get a handle on the camcorder technology, that might be asking a bit much. Any thoughts? I'm looking at you, internet boys/new dads. What do you want for your birthday? Help a mother out.

7. to stop sneezing.

Allergic rhinitis? Is that you? I haven't seen you in awhile, Old Friend. I forgot how much you bug me, and now I wish I could get out of this little reunion. The DC pollen count is silly high, and I'm allergic to grass and trees. I haven't been taking anything for it, because I'm not sure I'm ready to stop producing milk. Lumpyhead is almost one, we've got plenty of frozen milk stored, but I'm just not sure I'm ready to stop. So, I sneeze. I'm stuck, it stinks, and it's really just my own damn fault. You know how that is? Like when you fart in the shower.

Monday, April 17, 2006

My Weekend in Pictures

by Lumpyhead


Dinner with friends. Those bastards put me in the sailor suit again. Except this time, instead of just taking my picture, they brought me out in public.With the hat, even.I'm drinking to cope with the shame.


Football on the Mall. They didn't give me any playing time, made me wear sunscreen, and wouldn't give me a bloody mary. I had to steal this garnish.Buncha jerks.


Easter Basket with Nana V and Doc. Sweet!
Also, chase old feeble cat. But catching the cat, honestly? Is not as much fun as you'd think.

Then, Easter Dinner in Baltimore, walk in the sun, play with dog.
Note the new outfit, because I spewed a technicolor green beans/milk mixture on the first one. Serves 'em right. Put me in a dry-clean-only linen suit for Easter, will you? Suckers.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Six Random Things

I was never very good at Tag. I was usually the smallest kid in the group, so would end up being It forever until someone took pity on me and let me tag them. Sarah tagged me on the Six Weird Things Meme, so I'm gonna be a good sport about it, even though I'm petulant and sullen and kinda glowering at all of you for this entire post. I kicked at the leg of the table, just for effect.

I'm not sure exactly how this works. Am I supposed to mention six things that no one in the world knows about me? Because that would require soul searching and careful thought and might generate an arrest warrant or two. Can I just say six things that the blog world doesn't know about me? Because that would be pretty easy, plus it could be six things I'm not horribly embarrassed about, like the fact that I'm turtle-slow and always sucked at Tag.

Hmm. Woo hoo! One down, five to go.

2. I'm a great big dork when it comes to money. I record every dollar that I spend. I can tell you how much I spent on groceries in March 2003.

3. $175.94. I had to check, but it didn't take very long. This was when I still split costs like groceries and utilities with Bump, so it's less than I spend now. Beer/Alcohol category for that month: $93.66. Dining Out: $223.35. Ah, the good ol' days of two incomes.

4. I type using a dvorak keyboard. My computer translates the regular qwerty keyboard to the dvorak configuration, so I don't need special hardware. When I type the "u" key, for example, the computer registers it as a "g." The dvorak setup is supposed to be faster and more ergonomically correct, but I doubt there is much difference - it's still the same dummy typing - I am neither faster nor more accurate (as I hoped I would become) with the dvorak keyboard. It really messes with the IT guys, though, which is a barrel of laughs and makes it all worth it. The weird keyboard is also a strong form of security - even if someone knew my password, they would have a tough time entering it.

5. I consistently type "blogpost" instead of "blogspot" when creating links to other blogger accounts. I also mistype "Representative" nearly every time I type it. (Which wouldn't be a big deal except that, you know, I work for the House of Representatives, so it comes up pretty regularly. Dammit. That paragraph nearly wore out my backspace key.)

It's difficult to strike a balance somewhere between "booooring" and "this is not the woman I thought I married and I want a divorce right now and I'm suing for custody of Lumpyhead and I'll win based on the content of this post alone," you know what I mean? I think I may have gone too far toward boring. Plus, I kinda cheated on #3 and #5, they're just continuations of #2 and #4. I'll try to make this last one a juicy one.

6. I lied to you, Internet.

Okay, it's not really a lie, but rather a failure to come up with the right word. I feel like I've left you with the wrong impression, and I've wanted to fix it for awhile, and this is as good a chance as any.

I called myself a widow in a previous post, but John and I were never married. We were together for six years, and planned to get married eventually, but never got the chance.

Since there's really not a term for someone who's lost their significant other, I didn't know what to call myself other than widow. I also find it hard to explain the relationship I now have with Doc and Nana V, so I just call them my in-laws, even though - officially - they're not.

Calling John my "boyfriend" seems wrong, too. "Boyfriend" seems so, I don't know, junior high. Or casual. I was young, but too old for a (titter, titter) boyfriend. I lived with John; he wasn't a guy I'd been dating for a few months. We shared a life.

When I was in labor with Lumpyhead, the nurse asked about the relationships of the people in the room. She pegged Bump as "husband," then left the "and . . ." hanging in the air for us to fill in. I pointed at Aunt Bob and said "sister" and pointed at Nana V and said "mother," and left it at that. Aunt Bob and Nana V looked at each other, shrugged, and nodded at the nurse.

So there you go.

Was that too much of a downer? Okay,

6A. I have a tattoo.

White trash? Me? From way back.

It's a fleur-de-lis, on the shady side of my soft pale underbelly. It's strategically located between 1) the flabby rolls of wrinkly skin that remain when one's beer gut turns to pregnant then shrinks to lactation-induced pseudo-skinny and 2) my left hipbone which hasn't been visible since puberty but is sticking out again. How can my tummy be this fat when my ribs jut out? It makes no sense. And don't get me started on the creepy hair.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Free Day

I took the day off yesterday. Nana V came to babysit, and Bump and I played golf. I haven't played golf since the last Fat Drunk Golfers Association Tournament, circa October 2004.

I shot a 71. Let me put that in perspective for you non-golfers: Tiger posted 71s on the second and third day of the Masters.

Now, before you go all "wooo, she's a good golfer," let me point out some important factors.
1) I did not play Augusta National. I played a dipshit muni course in Falls Church.

A secretive attempt to get a rating for Augusta National produced a Course Rating of 76.2 and a Slope Rating of 148. The course I played had a rating/slope of 64.9 /103 for men from the back tees. (non-golfers: that means I played a bullshit-easy course)

2) I only played nine holes.

Did I forget to mention that? Oh.

What the pros need 18 holes to accomplish, I can do in nine.

You know what? Not playing for a year and a half? and not being very good to begin with? Means you can shoot a 71 in nine holes. Because I'm just that bad at golf.

Some highlights of my round:

Bump and I got to play alone. Just the two of us. I even got to hold his hand a couple of times. (tee hee)

I whiffed three times. Three. (non-golfers: a whiff is a swing-and-a-miss. Like a strike in baseball, except, you know, the golf ball isn't moving. It is still. Completely still. Yet I missed it. Three times. Because I'm just that bad at golf.)

For one whiff my ball was under a pine tree (because I'm just that bad at golf), and a branch caught my club on the backswing. So that was kinda excuseable, except for, you know, being under the pine tree to begin with.

The other two whiffs were on the tee for chrissakes. I have no excuse for that, other than being just that bad at golf. It was with my five iron, a club that is dead to me. Once, while playing golf with Peter, I complained that the fifth hole at Bowie was between clubs for me; my six iron came up short, and my four iron went too far.
Peter: [beat] Wait, what?
Me: My six iron is too short, and my four iron flies the green.
Peter: [really confused] Um, five iron?

Yeah, that club is dead to me. Can't hit it for shit. I forgot about that, apparently. Hence the two whiffs from the tee. Gawd.

At least Bump and I kept the pace. We stayed consistently ahead of the four old ladies behind us.

My tee shot on the 6th? Long (for me) and straight down the middle. And that's how the golf gods keep you coming back. Fuckers.

Oh, and I parred the 9th. That's the golf gods just toying with me. Because on the 8th? I posted a 13. Officially, I can't score a 13. I have to stop at double par for the purposes of calculating my handicap. But I really had a 13 on the 8th.

My first shot over the water on the 8th went skip . . . skip . . . almost dry . . . plunk. That was exciting. My second attempt was well-struck: so well struck that when the ball squarely hit a tree on the other side of the water, it went straight backwards and landed in the pond about five feet from where I was standing. Good times.

My third shot hit a different tree on the green side of the water, but stayed dry. I should have taken a drop after that first ill-fated attempt, but I am just that bad at golf. Even my decision-making is poor.

After the Great Golf Outing, Bump, Lumpyhead and I went to Aunt Bob and Peter's for a seder. It was lovely; the food was great, and it degenerated into a contest over who could make the best fart noise with their arms. We're so classy.

And I drank waaay too much wine.

Quite a day, huh?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You're the Inspiration

It’s Electricyoak’s birthday today.

I met Electricyoak my first day on the Hill. He’s one of those guys you like instantly. When Electricyoak met my dad, I was shocked by how much my dad talked with him. My dad is not a chatter; he’ll spend an entire conversation just listening, especially around people he doesn’t know very well. Electricyoak, however, had my dad prattling on like a middle school cheerleader. My dad said later, “I feel like I’ve known the guy my whole life.”

Electricyoak and I worked together for about five years, most of those spent with a partial wall between our offices. The wall was about eight feet high, but didn’t reach the ceiling. We would talk to each other over the wall - making fun of whoever was on the House floor, insulting rude constituents, that kind of stuff. We once had a conversation made up entirely of Chicago song lyrics. Try getting those out of your head. With the advent of instant messaging, it was like being back in that office, hurling snark over the half-wall, even when Electricyoak moved back to Minnesota.

Happy Birthday dude. Sorry I couldn’t swing an “It’s My Birthday” tiara for you, but you’re a pretty pretty birthday princess all day today in my book.

Will this do?

Monday, April 10, 2006

What Do You Say to An Ugly Baby?

What do you say to an ugly baby
What do you say to an ugly baby
What do you say to an ugly baby
err-lie in the morning

Okay, so Gidge's comment on the baby model post cracked me up. What do you do when you see an ugly baby? They exist, I've seen them. They're scary.

Bump and I encountered an ugly baby one afternoon at the Costco. He (? we'll call it a "he") was wearing the same helmet as Lumpyhead, so Bump and I peeked into the carseat and struggled not to recoil in horror. YIKES.

double yikes.


Yeah, it's taking me a minute just to shake the shock of it, even now.

So, when the rote "He's so cuuuuute" is out of the question, how do you handle it? Bump managed to start a short conversation with Quasimodo's mom about the nice people at the helmet place. I think I stammered something like "how sweet" or "nice pattern on the carseat" while thinking GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN WHAT A HORRIFICALLY UGLY CHILD YOU HAVE as well as "thankyouthankyouthankyou that Lumpyhead doesn't look like that."

I got the whole "there but for the grace of god go I" feeling because I dodged the Ugly Baby Bullet. I also had the "ha ha I just got upgraded to first class for no reason and I'm going to drink all the free booze I can on this 30-minute flight" feeling. Because I got lucky in the pretty baby category (you know, except for the lumpyheadedness) through no doing of my own.

In my limited experience, I've found that the attractiveness of the parents has little to do with how cute the baby is. Junior may grow up to resemble mom or dad, but hot parents don't necessarily make gorgeous babies.

For example,
  • Pretty + Pretty often = Cute
  • but Ugly + Ugly usually = Cute
  • and when Ugly + Ugly = Ugly, well, it's what you expect
  • but Pretty + Ugly can = Kinda Cute
  • and Pretty + Ugly can = Really Cute
  • but when Pretty + Pretty = Ugly, it's really really UGLY.
Maybe it's the cosmic justice of it all that makes the ugly offspring of two pretty people just so damn satisfying.

So, have you seen an ugly baby? What did you say to its handler? Ever seen two beautiful people make a shockingly ugly kid?

Hoo-ray and up she rises, Hoo-ray and up she rises . . .

Sunday, April 09, 2006


I have nothing interesting to say. I can hardly put a sentence together. But hey! I'm posting anyway!

We bought a camcorder in January. My plan was to download the video to the computer and then burn DVDs for loved ones, but we haven't been able to conquer the technology yet. This makes me feel:
a) dumb. How hard can it be? How is it possible that I can't get the right cord or find the firewire port on the laptop?
b) cheap. Maybe I should have spent a little more and gotten a higher-end camcorder. Or I should get a newer laptop.
c) guilty. The grandparents have been waiting for their videos for months.
d) tired. Who has time for this? I've also got a monumental pile of laundry, which is a bad thing when you only have three pairs of pants that fit.

Who am I kidding? Even those pants don't fit very well. Turns out my size 10/12 waist and 4/6 ass don't fit into a size 8. Another downfall of my new shape? Those self-deprecating comments about my "fat ass" that have become routine over the past couple of years don't come across as self-deprecating any more. People just find them kinda puzzling.

Lumpyhead's getting more teeth. His two top front teeth are in, see?

Blurry photo! Also, boogers!

The ones next to the top front teeth (whatever they're called) are also coming in. You can see the top nubs when he smiles really big (or when he's crying and instead of picking him up and comforting him, you try to take a picture of his mouth, but the picture comes out blurry. Also with boogers.)

Ech, what a terrible post. I started a post about insecurity, again, but even that was boring. Blah blah blah.

At least you got to see boogers.

Oh, and nothing on the baby model front as of yet. (You: You're surprised? After the boogers?)

Even more troubling, no poop since Monday. (No! Poop! Since Monday! Monday!) (That probably doesn't sound anything like the Beastie Boys' No Sleep Till Brooklyn in type.) Sigh.

So, that's a really long way to say, "What's new? Eh, nuthin."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You Outta Be in Pictures?

Okay, I get that all parents think their baby is the cutest thing on the planet. "Not only do I think he's cute, but other people tell me he's cute. All the time."

I assume those "other people" - grandparents, colleagues, friends - are just trying to be nice. I mean, what else do you say? "Is he creating fractals yet?" "How's his roto team doing?" Not exactly conversation starters. (Of course, asking about Lumpyhead's bracket last month would have sparked at least five minutes of animated discussion.)

Anyway, normal people respond to "This is my infant son," with "Oh, how cute!" They just do, even if they're shown a picture of a shorn monkey.

I've heard there's a chinese proverb that goes "there is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it." I get it. I get that every parent thinks his or her baby is adorable.

But mine is. Really.

Strangers stop Bump in the grocery store. Acquaintances swear Lumpyhead should be a baby model. The nurse at the hospital declared that he should be in magazines.

So, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna send Lumpyhead's pictures to a couple of agents around town, and see what happens. Here are a couple of scenarios I envision:

Scenario A: Lumpyhead gets tons of work, and we no longer have to contribute to his college fund.

Scenario B: Lumpyhead gets a gig or two, contributes a few dollars to his college fund, and Bump and I get some kick-ass baby book photos and tons of bragging rights.

The Disastrous Fallout (yes, I've thought it out this far)

Scenario A: Lumpyhead becomes a vain sonofabitch who takes his looks far too seriously. He begins to judge other people by their appearance instead of their character. Emancipates himself from his bedraggled mother at the age of twelve. ("God, she can't even get out of the house in shoes that match.")

Scenario B: The three grandmothers will NOT SHUT UP about their grandson. Who's a model. And aren't you jealous of their beautiful grandson? They lose all their friends.

The Possible Fallout

Scenario A: Bump tires quickly of becoming a stage dad. Spends all his waking hours taking Lumpyhead to shoots and auditions. His roto team suffers, and the Barking Spiders finish last. I have to start buying the groceries and cooking dinner. The demand for "prepared food" surges, throwing the Bureau of Labor Statistics' market basket update all out of whack. The Consumer Price Index loses credibility. The Dow and NASDAQ crash.

Scenario B
: Bump becomes highly offended at the first person to suggest Lumpyhead "doesn't have the right look" or "the boy's temperament really isn't suited for this." Storms out of the room with his perfect son in tow. On the way out, Lumpyhead laughs and waves at the bastard who had the gall to reject him.

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.

Oh, I forgot to mention Scenario C: No one responds to my offer to represent Lumpyhead.

And if that happens, fine. I can still reply to the people who coo "he's so cute" with "Thank you. We think so, too."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Dummy Holder

A few Sundays ago, Bump, Lumpyhead and I went out to lunch. We went late, so as not to disturb other diners with our child. Plus, we didn't wake up until early afternoon, so lunch at the regular time wasn't an option. Lumpyhead slept in his carseat almost the whole time, and didn't make a peep once he woke up.

After lunch, Bump suggested we go to a little toy store nearby. The place is cramped because it is chock full of fun. I carried Lumpyhead around, and he gazed at all the pretty, pretty colors.

He gazed until his eye fell upon a particularly delightful toy, to which he responded by squealing.

Me: [bounce baby up and down] shhhh, shhhhh.
Lumpyhead: eeeeee! [reaching]
Me: Do you like that? [fan out several versions of the toy] Do you like the one with the ladybug? Do you like this blue one better? Ooh, look. Here's one with a-
Lumpyhead: EEEE! EEEEEEE! (translation: Why must you vex me, Woman!? I have made my demands clear. GIVE ME the thingy! The thingy! THE ONE ON TOP. Oh Good God Woman you are an eeediot.)
Me: [hand the baby the first one]
Lumpyhead: [gnaw gnaw gnaw]
Me: [to Bump] I guess we're buying this.

We squeezed browsed around the store a little longer, while Lumpyhead chewed on his new prize. I checked the price and nearly fainted.

Ahem. Note to self: next time, look at the price before you've given the baby the toy to chew on.

Fifteen dollars later, we were the proud owners of this lovely wooden German-made strangulation hazard:

(The carpet stains have always been ours.)

It's a pacifier or small toy holder that you can clip to the baby's shirt or stroller. The packaging called it a "dummy clip," and Bump explained that some Brits call pacifiers "dummies." (Me: Oh. I thought they were just insulting me for paying $15 for a wooden piece of crap.) It has a "safety release" - that red double-cone shaped* piece - which comes apart with a little pressure, so it's actually not a baby deathtrap. Still probably not worth fifteen bucks. Fifteen bucks would buy a big martini! In a fancy bar!

Okay, it was worth it, because Lumpyhead loves it. He kept it in one hand for the rest of the day, even when he was playing with something else.

*I'm sure there's a word for that shape, but I don't know what it is. Anyone?

Monday, April 03, 2006

We Have Poop, People!

Results of the new and improved, surgically embiggened butthole road test are in: and it's a success! Woo hoo! You've never seen someone so excited over a dirty diaper in your life.

Lumpyhead had a couple little poop squirts since the horror that shall not be spoken, but no real poop until today. We have a follow-up with the surgeon on Wednesday, so started him back on solids over the weekend. We figured if Lumpyhead hadn't taken a dump by mid-week, we would want to see the doctor anyway, so we might as well use the schedule to our advantage. He had some pears and cheerios on Saturday, and yesterday packed away a stunning amount of pears and cheerios, followed by a huge dessert of green beans. He's also been drinking a lot of breastmilk lately. He was loading the cannon, he just wasn't firing. Until this morning.

Bump just called me to report the news. "It wasn't just a little poop. He filled his diaper. And it was steeeeeenKEY!" Lumpyhead seemed a little uncomfortable while passing it, but he didn't cry.

Yay. Then Bump put Lumpyhead on the phone so I could congratulate him.

This is very happy news after several days of poop-related stressing (Oh my god, what if there's something wrong with his lower digestive system, and his poop chute was just fine? Did we put him through surgery for nothing? What if he never poops unassisted again? What if those watery poops a couple days ago were just what could fit past a terrible mass in his colon? Will the doctor have to dig again? I don't think I can be in the room if that happens again.) and hawkishly watching Lumpyhead for every little cue (He's eating a lot, what do you think that means? He hasn't pooped yet, but he doesn't seem to be grunting and straining, so that must be good, right?).

So the blog that has become All Poop, All the Time may contain less poop-related yammering in the future. While I've been obsessed with literal shit, developmental shit has been happening, like crawling and pulling up and standing and cruising. Perhaps upcoming blog entries will focus on how Lumpyhead seems mildly amused by the word "no," and not on his bunghole. Here's hoping regular (in the "normal" sense and the "non-occasional" sense), smelly, bountiful bowel movements become commonplace in our household.

Also, let's hope my son continues to poop when I'm at work and off the hook for the stank.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy April Fools Day

April Fool's? April Fools'? I'm doing without the apostrophe altogether. Less clutter.

I love April Fools Day. Love it love it love it. I love thinking of pranks and sneaking around to carry them out. My colleagues usually bear the brunt of my love for April 1st. One year, I built a book wall in front of the new guy's door. I had a lot of time that year, but I have to say it was a thing of beauty. I barricaded his entire doorway, and I arranged those sixty or so copies of the Appendix quite artfully, if I do say so myself; I even threw in a couple Analytical Perspectives for visual interest. My first attempt failed pretty miserably (referred to as the "Great Crash of 11:52"), as my bricks were not exactly square and quite slippery. The final product was definitely worth the effort, though, and the new guy? Laughed really, really hard when he came back to his office. He still talks about it.

Our offices were configured then so that some spaces had connecting doors. (The O'Neill Building, which is no longer standing, was a converted hotel.) Those of us who had adjoining offices put bookshelves or other furniture in front of the doors and basically forgot they were there. One year I squeezed through the internal door and duct taped my neighbor's front door shut from the inside. As she struggled to enter her office, asked others for help, wondered aloud what was going on, suspected the cleaning crew of knocking something over that was blocking the door, and finally got in . . . I giggled at my desk. Then I squeezed back through the adjoining door and asked her how her April 1 was going.

My more recent April 1 pranks have been less inventive. All my colleagues have nameplates on their doors, and one year I replaced them with the ones that had everyone's name and title, but in backward-mirror orientation. Lots of people thought their nametags were facing backward, only to realize that, wait, if their nametags were backward, you wouldn't see any words, just the back of the nametag. My boss still has his backward nametag on his door, so I think the prank was a success, but it was no book wall.

The next year I went really old-school. I put tape on the staff assistant's phone. You know this one - you put tape on the clicky-thing that pops up when you pick up the handset, so when the victim answers the phone, he doesn't really answer the phone. I warned the intern, who sat right next to the staff assistant, when I did it, so the phones wouldn't go unanswered during the prank period. I let the staff assistant in on the joke around 11 o'clock, because he kept swearing and was going to call the Superintendent's Office to come fix his telephone. The two hours of swearing were definitely worth the price of admission that day, and all over one little piece of tape. There's a reason that one's a classic, folks.

Two years ago, Bump and I eloped. Yeah, that was a pretty good one, as far as April Fools pranks go.

"I love April Fools Day. Love it love it love it." If you love April Fools so much, why don't you marry it? Well, I kinda did.

We went to the Arlington County Courthouse, got a license, and got married. Then we called our friends.

And yes, we wanted to get this reaction: "Congratulations! [beat] Wait, is this a joke?"

One of Bump's friends was really skeptical, because he'd been burned pretty badly with April Fools jokes earlier in the day. One of them went like this:

Jerk: Hey, I heard you made partner!
Him: (jubilant) I did!?!
Jerk: No. April Fools.

Now, I love April Fools, but that's just mean.

So he was skeptical, but his wife looked at him sternly and said, "You don't joke about something like this." Then she said, "They wouldn't joke about something like this, would they?"

My friend Jerry didn't believe us. Just flat out never occurred to him that we could be telling the truth. After I hung up the phone with him, I told Bump, "Huh, Jerry wasn't that excited. But you know, it's Jerry. He's not one to gush." When he saw us later in the week, he asked jokingly to see the rings. We showed him. His face dropped. "Wait, you really did it? For real?"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should elope on April Fools Day.

Happy Anniversary Bump.