So far, Edith hasn’t really taken much notice of other children her age. She looks at them with this sort of confused and only slightly interested face, as if she is thinking, “Why are you?” Other kids don’t focus on her and do things for her like adults do, and so they don’t fit into her map of how the world works. But she’s just now starting to interact with them a tiny bit.

Yesterday at baby gym, Edith would periodically take notice of another child and crawl furiously to them with a mission in mind. I did not want to know what that mission was, so I usually intercepted her just when she got to them. But there’s a time toward the end of class where kids are supposed to play on their own without parental interference (I have yet to go along with this) and during this time, a little boy came over and snatched Edith’s toy away from her. She took this with equanimity, which I was a little surprised about. She just looked at him thoughtfully, and then at her hand where the toy had been.

Shortly thereafter, she went over to another little girl and snatched her toy away from her. Thus the cycle of social injustice is perpetuated. (I made her give the toy back.)

In Edith’s swimming class, there is a tiny infant, about six months old, the most adorable little button. I’m obsessed with her. At one point, this baby was shouting a bit, warming up to a cry, and Edith suddenly wrenched herself around in my arms, looked at the baby, and screamed. Like, this long sort of communicative howl directly at the baby. I don’t know what she meant to convey, but it was very funny and all of the adults laughed. The baby, though, burst into tears, and at that, Edith…snickered to herself. There’s no other way to describe it, she looked around at everyone with a satisfied expression and chuckled.

So. I guess she’s starting to socialize.


I was a teacher’s pet of the worst order. Not so much in school, exactly, but in artsy classes and so forth outside of school and as a young adult. That is, I was a teacher’s pet in anything I voluntarily participated in.

This morning at baby gym, all the parents were asked to hold our babies’ ankles up in an assisted plank, to help them develop their upper body strength. The entire time we had been doing “circle time” Edith had been insistently trying to crawl away from me to go see about something elsewhere she was suddenly single-mindedly focused on, and I had been dragging her back, and just as we were asked to plank our babies, I happened to be grabbing her ankles while she did her best to crawl away from me with her arms. This is something that we do quite often, and so Edith’s upper body strength is already highly developed. She has no problem with holding a plank for as long as her desire to do what she wants to do despite my opposition holds out, which is to say, forever.

To anyone who had not been paying attention to our ongoing private battle of wills, it looked as if we had immediately executed a flawless plank in response to the request, and the two teachers squealed in delight at being so readily attended to, and said, “Just like Edith! Everyone look at Edith! Great job, Edith!”

I’m embarrassed to admit this. Very, very embarrassed. But I momentarily preened.

Look, I can’t help it! It’s not a conscious thing on my part, it’s something deep within me, something small and hideous, and I can’t do anything about it except try to be aware of it. It comes from being fundamentally a loser and also a lazy and shallow one, and so snatching eagerly at easily won and ultimately meaningless praise from others in lieu of actual accomplishment. I have to hide this tendency in myself from Edith because I definitely don’t want her to feel like I’m invested in her as a proxy for my ego.

Anyway, she’s definitely the strongest, funniest, most creative and intelligent baby at play gym or probably anywhere, which is just an objective fact and not something we should feel boastful about.


My baby turned one today! Well, technically she turns one in about three hours. I can’t believe it, the year has flown. But on the other hand, it’s hard to remember that I existed before her at all. The forty years of whatever I was doing up until her birth just seem like a dim shadowy memory, a necessary prelude to her arrival on the scene.

This afternoon, we had a little party. My mother baked a cake and so Edith had her first sugary baked good, and she didn’t hate it. Her nanny joined us, so all of her favorite people were here to pay homage to her, and we presented her with a number of gifts. At first, she was a little overwhelmed by it all, but eventually, she rose to the occasion and had a real blast. In fact, she was having so much fun that she skipped her second nap entirely. Then we went out to dinner and she had her first french fry. So overall, a red letter day.

Meanwhile, I feel completely done in, and this is after a simple and brief gathering with an easily pleased one-year-old. How will I survive the birthdays of the future?


I continue to ponder language acquisition and how impossible it seems. Take, for example, the word “duck.” We say “duck” a lot around here, as Edith has many ducks in her life, but the ducks are so distinct as to really have nothing in common — she hears the word “duck” while looking at photos of actual ducks, black-and-white line drawings of ducks, cartoon ducks of all stripes — some wearing clothes, others working on a construction site or in a salon, rubber ducks of every conceivable size and color and sporting different garb. The other night, I was showing Edith her bathtime duck, which is blue and holds an Easter egg and paintbrush, and saying “duck” repeatedly, and it suddenly struck me how difficult we make it for babies to figure out what the fuck a duck even is. I mean, it would seem from Edith’s perspective like a duck could be basically anything.

And this is what we consider a very basic vocabulary word. How does anyone ever learn how to talk.


A friend of mine had a baby a few weeks ago, and she has been sharing pictures of her newborn. This surprises people, but I’ve never been completely disinterested in babies. I’ve always thought they were cute and wanted to hold them. But before I had a baby, this was similar to my interest in puppies or kittens or other small, cute things. A desire to cuddle them, a “squee” response.

It’s different now that I have had a baby. When I look at my friend’s newborn, I see Edith as a newborn, and so I experience an overwhelming need to hold him. I want to hear all about him, I want to smell his tiny fuzzy head. Really, I want my own newborn back, but I want for her to exist simultaneously with my current determined, curious, talkative daughter (and ideally also along with my chubby teddy bear of a six-month-old). I’ve been having dreams about newborn babies lately.

This is all so purely biological that it feels reductive, like I am not me at all, but that being me the way I used to be was merely a prelude to turning into a big bosomy maternal urge, with no interest or purpose other than nurturing the next generation.

Not every woman is affected this way by childbirth and early parenthood — I know plenty of women who say they weren’t any more interested in other babies after they had their own baby than they were before, that they only ever cared about their own children. I always thought I would be that way, so I’m very surprised by my now overwhelming interest in all the world’s babies.

I hope it goes away.


Although Edith has started to walk, she still prefers to be walked around by an adult if possible, and this is because she’s not yet steady enough on her feet to kick things, which is her new favorite thing to do. She loves to kick balls along the floor, or any little toy that’s around, and she will do this for as long as a patient adult is willing to accommodate it. Her nanny loops a scarf around her waist and holds the ends of it so that she doesn’t need to stoop over for this activity, and so they can do this basically all afternoon.

Like many mothers, I had entertained hopes that my child might perhaps not be interested in soccer at all when the time came. I have never played or watched a game of soccer in my entire life, and I do not feel I have missed out.

But given that Edith maneuvered a way she could kick balls along the floor before she even learned how to walk independently, I’m afraid that cleats and orange slices might be in my future.


Fuck a time change. Fuck every man without a one-year-old who thought a time change would be a good idea.


Edith peed in my bed today. I don’t know exactly how she did it — she was wearing a diaper and I was holding her next to me, and we were co-napping. So, it seems impossible that she could have peed the bed.

But somehow, she managed it.

I didn’t notice that she did. She woke up, and we were rough-housing around and I noticed that her sleeve was soaking wet.

“That’s weird!” I said. “You must have really drooled on yourself!”

We went back to what we were doing, and then later, I realized that part of my sheet was wet, too. And then I saw that there was a whole big circle of wetness in the bed. And still I thought, “wow, that’s a lot of drool.”

Everything about this was weird — she somehow peed…up…her arm? Like, her diaper was dry, her legs were dry, but one sleeve and my bed were wet.

She’s a magical little child; she does something astonishing every day.


It’s very interesting to watch Edith figure out how to walk. It hasn’t happened all at once — she started taking a few steps in the park (all of which I missed, so I’m tempted to pretend they did not really happen) and then last night for the first time, she started walking around in the house a little bit. I nearly missed it at first — she stands and creeps all the time, so it took me a second to realize that she was toddling along, but once I did it was extremely exciting. And then later, I asked her to show her Grammy and she did, and we were over the moon!

But she’s mostly still just crawling. She’s not very steady on her feet and walking is a much less efficient way to get around.

As I’ve watched her try to make the shift, I’ve thought about how bizarre and unintuitive walking is to begin with. It’s precarious to stand up on end and teeter back and forth rather than scuttle along the ground on four points, with a much more stable base. It’s a wonder we ever started doing it. And with Edith, the issue mostly is that she can’t figure out how to balance herself. She wants to get to where she’s going by pointing her head and the bulk of her body there and driving forward. That’s what worked with crawling and it also just makes sense. But with walking, you actually have to tip your center of balance away from where you’re trying to go and kick your feet out from under you. That seems bonkers; it’s like making yourself tip over backwards.

Which is the fascinating thing about having small children, realizing how improbable and strange it is that human beings do anything at all. You look at this tiny helpless grubworm and you think, there’s no way this thing will ever figure out how to function on its own. And for every skill she starts working on, I think, she will never get there the way she’s going about it, this is impossible. And then she just figures it out somehow.

Right now, it seems impossible to me that Edith will ever speak. I do think she will probably speak late; kids in bilingual environments usually do. But she will speak eventually, she’ll just do it somehow. It seems completely unlikely at the moment. As her nanny and I struggle to speak to each other in our respective languages, it’s especially a marvel to me that the tiniest and stupidest among us manage to just…come out with a whole language (or two!) without doing any Duolingo or anything. How is it possible.


A few weeks ago, Edith had a swimming test because her swim teacher felt she was ready to move up to the next level. Unfortunately she did not pass, because she continued to be hesitant to knock down the foam turtles on the edge of the pool.

“She’s doing really well,” her swimming teacher reassured us. “She just needs to work on those turtles.”

Well, I don’t know what brought it out in her, but today Edith arrived at the pool on a mission. As we waited for the previous class to wrap up, she squirmed in my lap and swam in the air, and once we hit the water, she had only one target, sighted between her squinted eyes: turtles. She swam to them like a woman possessed and punched every single one flat onto its back with a vengeance. The turtles didn’t see it coming. She then proceeded to do the same thing every time, as the rest of us watched in awe.

“I came to the pool today to do two things,” she hissed at the turtles. “Drink pool water and punch turtles. And I’m being thwarted with the pool water.”

I am assured that if she flattens the turtles with as much fury next Sunday, she will advance to Swimboree.