WTF

Edith woke up squalling at 12:30am last night and did not stop. I checked her ears (to see if she was cold) and her diaper (to see if she’d pooped) and then let her go, and it must have been intermittent because I kept falling back asleep, but when I finally looked at the clock again, to see if it had been 15 minutes, it was 2:00am. So I caved and gave her some milk and put her in bed with me.

It was dance dance revolution happy play Edith fun time all night long, until I finally gave up and got up at 7. I guess we both napped periodically in amongst all that. I took some turns pinning her to the mattress with my arms (after which I had dreams that a stranger was holding my hand and jerking it all around as I slept on a bus) and just letting her frolic (after which I had dreams that I had adopted a guinea pig who tap-danced on my head all night). Then when she did sleep deeply and hold still for a bit, I jerked awake in a panic, fearing I had smothered her.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it’s colder, and she’s feeling her oats? I was completely zonked today, and this was terrible timing because it was my last work day before taking off for two weeks and I had a lot to get done. She was somehow not tired at all despite reenacting “The Red Shoes” all night long.

Babies need to sleep eventually, right? I had just been feeling like I was back to being a human being, sleep-wise, and now this. It’s like a minor COVID in my bedroom — one step forward, three steps back.

Birds

Edith woke up at 4:20 am today and she was very demanding all the long morning and when the afternoon rolled around and it was time for swimming, I just couldn’t drag myself through getting us both into bathing suits and down to San Marcos, so we didn’t go.

I felt awful about it — one of my biggest parenting fears is that I will succumb to depression and be unable to take Edith places, and so part of why we have baby gym every Saturday and swimming every Sunday is as a safety guard so that I will be required to leave the house. I really think I was just tired, but being unable to summon the energy to go somewhere is a red flag for me, so it made me feel guilty and worried and worthless.

We went to the playground instead. It was very cold out and Edith only wanted to swing for a little bit, and then she started to fuss, so we walked around the play equipment and then Edith involved herself in her usual business of trying to eat wood chips. A woman walked by and when she saw Edith she gasped and said, “Oh my, what a beautiful child!!!”

This is the proper response to Edith. Usually people just say, “aww, he’s cute!” or whatever, and that’s FINE, but Edith is not “cute;” she is stunning and miraculous, so I was pleased to meet a woman of taste who actually knew an especially fine baby when she saw one.

After awhile, I heard a rustling and I noticed that the large rectangular bush next to where Edith and I were sitting was packed full of little perfectly spherical grey birds. They were all peering out from the branches at us; they were fluffed up yet slick with bright eyes, and tiny, precise beaks. I guess people must feed them, because they weren’t frightened at all, and they kind of followed us back and forth as we went, flocking from one end of the bush to the other, and arranging themselves among the boughs with their little faces peering out in silence.

I watched them for a long time, and then we went home.

Edith’s Body

Edith sometimes sucks on her arm so hard and for so long that she gives herself a painful-looking hickey and it bothers me so much. I hate to see her hurting that little arm. I kind of understand now why some people get so upset when their children get tattoos or piercings — every inch of Edith’s tiny body is sacred to me, and the idea that she will one day treat it with indifference or even hostility is hard to wrap my mind around. But she will! It’s her body, it’s not my body, and while I hope she loves herself and loves her body, there’s no possible way that she will ever love herself as much as I love her. And she will probably go through periods of self-loathing (unless she turns out to be the most well-adjusted person I have ever met, which, here’s hoping).

Although I haven’t experienced it yet, it must be such a painful sort of helpless sadness, to see something that isn’t yours but yet is the most precious, perfect thing in the world to you mistreated by its owner.

I won’t get in her business about it, though.

Well,

so Edith spent the night in my bed again.

We had a long battle about it, and I persevered for quite some time, but in the end, she wore me down.

When she finally joined me, she blew a series of loud raspberries directly into my face, coating me with a fine mist of saliva, and then began to dance.

She feels much better today; I’m a zombie.

Fever

Well, the thing I had been dreading in addition to me being sick with a baby was Edith being sick, and lucky me, we got to experience both firsts in the same week!

Edith woke up from her afternoon nap on Sunday blazing. I took her temperature several times and it was normal, but I did not believe it. After she shivered through dinner and cried when I “flew” her to her bath (usually her favorite part of the evening), the thermometer finally showed an elevated temperature. I called the 24/7 nurse line and a very nice RN walked me through taking it rectally — it was 100.2 so not terrible, but definitely a fever. He told me what to look for and what to do, and then I sped through my evening routine with Edith perched on my hip like a sack of lead instead of asleep like she normally is, so that she could go to bed with me.

It’s been a long time since Edith fell asleep in bed with me, so I was not updated on what’s now involved in her putting herself to sleep. It turns out to be a lot of line dancing, summersaulting, and giggling to herself like Muttley, among other things, and after she finally falls asleep (flat on her face, butt up high in the air), she sleeps very actively. This shouldn’t be a surprise as Edith does everything actively, but this active sleep was very much at me. She had a long expanse of bed to herself, but she preferred to buttress herself against me and then contort and wiggle and thrash and kick and slap. At one point, I was sound asleep when a hand abruptly shoved itself through my teeth and into my mouth like the back of my throat owed it money.

All this to say that I did not sleep well, if at all. I was very worried also, so that didn’t help.

She seems better today but she’s still warm and has some swollen lymph nodes so I might take her to the doctor tomorrow if she isn’t fully over it in the morning. Meanwhile, I don’t think I can do another night of bedsharing, so the big issue this evening will be seeing how Edith takes being disinvited from the Big Bed (again) after mysteriously getting to spend a full night there. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict: not well!

Sick

Edith is mildly ill, so of course, I am losing my mind. It’s working out great for her — she’s gotten to play with my phone all she wants for the first time ever, and although she doesn’t know it yet, she gets to sleep in the big bed with me tonight.

Didn’t want to break my streak, but I have to go fret now.

Santa Parade

My previous neighborhood had a Santa parade every year — the fire department put it on, I think. They’d drive a firetruck around the neighborhood with Christmas decorations all over and Christmas music blaring, and Santa sat on top of it ho-ho-hoing and throwing candy to the kids. The first time it happened, I thought I was having some sort of Lynchian hallucination, but once I figured out what was going on, I looked forward to my kids experiencing it. But then I moved.

So I was excited when I got a notice that this neighborhood would also be having a Santa parade! Today, Edith and I sat out on the front stoop waiting for Santa. Well, I was waiting for Santa; Edith was trying to eat rocks from the front flower bed without me noticing.

Eventually I heard Christmas music and we proceeded to the end of the driveway.

First came a golf cart with a couple in it and a little boy in the back holding up a small boombox playing “Here comes Santa Claus.” After them came a woman driving a convertible and next to her, a skinny guy in a baggy Santa suit sat on the back of the passenger seat, the beard dangling below his chin. “Merry Christmas,” he said to Edith in his regular voice. He had his sunglasses on.

“Well,” I said. “So, that was…Santa.”

Then we went inside and took a nap.

Christmas

This will be Edith’s first Christmas, so I want to celebrate it. But then, I think, does it make any sense to celebrate it? I mean, we will. But I keep thinking:

A tree. All Edith wants to do right now is climb on things and pull on things and chew on things. So we’re going to erect the most glittery, dangly, climbable looking structure imaginable with all sorts of hanging bits and textures to chew, and then….thwart her every time she tries to go anywhere near it.

Presents. Edith has about five thousand toys and books. She plays with exactly two of them (and those she just chews on) and is always far, far more interested in my phone, plastic bags, crumbs on the floor, and climbing into the dishwasher. She will not be interested in any of the gifts we give her, but she will VERY MUCH want to eat the wrapping paper. Which we won’t allow.

Food. Edith doesn’t eat yet. I try to feed her at least twice a day. She ate some hummus one time.

Lights. Edith’s bedtime is 6:30 and I begin to acclimate her to the notion of going to bed at 5:00. She cannot stay up late enough to view any lights.

Baby Jesus. I am an atheist and even if I weren’t, Edith doesn’t understand complex concepts.

So overall, Christmas is primarily going to be an exercise in frustration and denial for Edith. But goddamnit, I have a baby and we’re doing her first Christmas, no matter how much she hates it!

Nightmares

I am pretty constantly having nightmares about something happening to Edith. They are not realistic nightmares, but distressing all the same.

For example, the other night, I had a dream wherein I was discussing my pregnancy with someone when I suddenly realized that my due date was a month and a half prior and that I hadn’t gone into labor and that I clearly wasn’t pregnant anymore, but I somehow had not noticed. I panicked and scheduled an emergency appointment with my OBGYN, but I knew I had lost Edith (who for dream reasons I already knew was Edith).

Another night, I dreamed I was still in the hospital and Edith was still in the NICU and a doctor was dispatched to breezily inform me that they had given Edith a bite of banana but she had choked on it, and had sadly passed away. No one could understand why I was so upset about this; they agreed it was unfortunate, but nothing to lose your mind over.

I forgot about this one until at dinner the following evening (in real life) Edith was having some banana and she took an especially big mouthful for her and it was bulging in her cheek. I suddenly flashed back to the nightmare and illogically panicked that it might be some sort of premonition. So I started to stick my fingers in Edith’s mouth to dig the banana out, but then I worried that what if, in the sort of ironic turn one sees in fiction, my doing that scared her into inhaling the banana so that my responding to the nightmare actually caused the nightmare?

“Edith!” I said, faking cheer and calm. “Can you open your mouth like this? AAAAHHHHH.”

Edith did not do this, but she did grin at me, lips tightly shut, and then she proudly shoved mashed banana paste out from between her closed lips and down over her stomach.

As I’ve mentioned before, Edith’s birth was pretty fraught and I haven’t really gotten over it, but it’s so very nice that my subconscious can incorporate current parenting worries (choking on solids) back into the usual hospital nightmare classic, so the nightmares stay fresh and relevant as Edith continues to grow.

I look forward to future nightmares that Edith’s prom date never brought her back to the NICU and I never saw her again.

Guests

My friends are visiting with their son who is almost two. I was excited to see how Edith would react to another kid, given time and space to warm up to him. Turns out, she wanted to use him to leverage herself into a standing position, which is how she relates to pretty much any person or object these days, and he wasn’t into that, so they agreed to eye each other from across the playroom while they minded their own affairs. Or, that is, he agreed to do that; she agreed to no such thing and was rather hard to restrain, especially when the other child came into possession of a crinkly package of Cheerios.

It’s been nice hanging out with other parents who understand that everything is a massive undertaking that requires an assortment of equipment and ample time and patience. We went out to dinner. I don’t go anywhere or do anything, so every time I am in a new location and guests come, they want to know where we can eat, and I am confronted with the fact that, despite living in a place for three years sometimes, I have no idea where anything is or what there is to do. It’s always hard to explain.

I do have an excuse here, though, because I’ve only lived here for a few months, and I have an infant. In this small town, your options are fast food, bars, or Mexican joints. And after we had visited about four Mexican joints with two small children in tow only to be met with closed signs, we learned (through experience) that Mexican places are closed on Mondays. I didn’t know this before! Or at least, I had never noticed it. Luckily, we finally found a Mexican place with a huge banner out front proclaiming OPEN MONDAYS and it was and we ate, and all was well.