Summer!

For a long time at swimming, it was only me and Edith there, but about a month ago, a few other families started bringing their babies. This was really nice — we reached a “see you next weekend” level of friendliness and one of the moms even brought a birthday present for Edith (which plunged me back into the “how do I say I would like to be friends” zone I thought I’d left behind with my youth).

Today when we arrived at swimming, I thought they were having some sort of tournament. Nope! It was all babies joining Edith’s class. Actually, since there were so many kids, they broke the babies into “tadpoles” and “swimboree” and as Edith is the only kid (except for one who wasn’t there that day) who has graduated to swimboree, we were actually on our own again, albeit next to a massive class full of children, which is really the story of my entire life.

Edith had a great time like she always does, was thoroughly relaxed, and enjoyed herself. Now that she’s in swimboree the coach takes her sometimes instead of me, and Edith could not be less concerned with who is holding her as long as she gets to swim. Last week, the coach was like, “most children really freak out the first time a stranger takes them in the pool!” and I was like, “well, she isn’t really all that into me.”

Although Edith enjoyed herself, the mellow Sunday vibe was obliterated. There was screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth, there were consolations and cheering and encouragement, there were dads photographing from the sidelines, there was splashing, there was chit-chat. Edith kept cutting her eyes to the side at the wailing children and making this face like, “what is your deal, it’s water.” All the littlest babies were adorable — tiny little butterballs in whale prints and ruffles, staring around saucer-eyed and making fish faces.

I’m glad I got Edith into swimming early, that seems to be the trick. I think as long as we don’t take any long breaks, she won’t be afraid of the water. It seems like the kids who are afraid either didn’t start until they were older or took like a year break around Edith’s age and forgot about it. She loves it so much, she loves everything about it. She even loves being dunked under (she is the only one). I guess it’s possible that when she’s older and can register what’s going on more, she might develop an aversion to it, in which case, we’ll probably just find something else to do.

Chill

At baby gym today, they put all the babies in the middle of a parachute and then slid it around. It was interesting to see all their different little personalities and how they reacted — some screamed, some wailed and tried to crawl back to their parents, some laughed and had a great time, some looked confused. Edith sat in the midst of them all, stoic and stone-faced with her hands folded into her lap like a little Buddha. She’s not a super chill baby — I have seen some super chill babies, and she’s not one. But when faced with a new and peculiar situation, her natural response is just to compose herself and wait it out with dignity. I love her so much, she’s just the coolest little kid.

Taxes

Many of you are scrambling to finish up your taxes right now. I’ve done mine; every year, I say I’m going to get a CPA like a proper grownup, and every year, I procrastinate until the last minute and then just use Turbo Tax.

I know I probably should use a CPA, but I’m not really sure why. There’s a general sense that I guess they know a bunch of loopholes and tricks to get you more money back or something? But the few I’ve interviewed by phone have just been like “are you aware of x?” and it’s just the usual deductions and the various extra forms I need for my situation, which I already know and which Turbo Tax steps me through.

I know Turbo Tax is evil because a big reason the tax code remains so complex in the first place is due to aggressive lobbying by Intuit to keep it so, but when things are easy and fast, my morals go right out the window. I still use Amazon. I’m no angel, what can I say.

Anyway, if you are working on yours now, here’s a bit of inspiration to carry you through:

Sticky

One of my fears in having children was that everything in my life would become sticky. I have tactile issues and I really cannot stand stickiness; it bothers me unduly.

One year into having a baby, my house is like a giant glue trap. This is partly because of all the fruit. When I feed Edith, I hover over her with a damp cloth, wiping up every crumblet and splash, and if she starts to crawl off, I take her food away until she comes back. Edith’s nanny, though, not being a neurotic Type A weirdo, regularly gives her apple slices or whatever and lets her enjoy them as she plays. After work each day, I get a damp cloth and go to work spot-cleaning the floors, but the baby herself is also perennially sticky, as are tables, chairs, books, toys, walls. I mean, it’s astonishing how fast this has escalated and become a completely futile battle. Yesterday I was dismayed to see a pineapple join us (arguably the juiciest of fruits).

So back when I lived with roommates, I was fine as long as I had a room to myself that I controlled. I was able to just pretend the rest of the apartment wasn’t my space. I am trying to do something similar now, but I don’t have any area I control. Even my own face has a small sticky hand slapping at it most of the time. Although I’ve washed my own hands several times this morning, my fingers are sticking to the keys as I type this (the keyboard is also covered in some sort of juice somehow).

Which means, I guess, that I have to learn to embrace stickiness or at least tolerate it. I’ll get to work on that.

Gum

I have nothing to say today and Edith was up all night and I’m tired, so this is a plug for gum. Remember gum? I suddenly realized not too long ago that I hadn’t chewed gum in like ten years, so I got a bunch of it and now I chew it all day at work. Why did I stop? Along with coffee, it’s a big help in staying conscious and upright.

Gum! I recommend it.

(Also, it’s fine to swallow gum. It’s an old wives’ tale that it isn’t. I’ve swallowed thousands of pieces of gum in my life and I’m fine. I really hate it when I’m with someone making a big deal about needing somewhere to put their chewed gum. “Do you have a paper? Do you have a paper? DOES ANYONE HAVE A PAPER, I HAVE GUM!!!!!!” Just fucking swallow it, you dumb baby, why are you making this my problem.)

(I might be a little irritable today.)

Scat

Had you happened to pass by my house yesterday near dusk, you would have observed three generations of Urello women crouched by the back gate and having the following conversation:

“All this is pine berries.”

“Some of them are pine berries, some are armadillo poop.”

“I really don’t think so, I think they are all pine berries.”

“Blabbba woo!”

“Ok, look at this one. It’s purple. It’s a pine berry. But then look at this one.”

“Also a pine berry.”

“No, that’s an armadillo poop.”

“Pbbbthhhhhhh.”

“Your eyes are old, that’s a pine berry, there’s no difference.”

“My eyes are perfect, you stare at a screen all day. Look, they look just alike, I’ll grant you, and some are pine berries, but others are armadillo poop.”

“I just really don’t think so!”

“This one!”

“That’s a pine berry.”

“Well, fine, so what do you think is digging up our yard then?”

“I agree an armadillo is is present, I’m not contesting that. What I’m saying is that all these little balls everywhere aren’t armadillo poop.”

“None of them?”

“I haven’t closely examined all 5000 tiny balls, but I have yet to see one that isn’t a pine berry.”

“Baba. Ba. BA!!!!”

“So then where is the armadillo pooping?”

“I’m sure it’s pooping somewhere, no doubt in our yard as well, but what I’m saying is that we don’t have to worry that this giant collection of small balls by the back gate is armadillo poop, because—“

“NO NO NO NO NO”

“NO NO, give it here! Edith! Give it!”

(Sounds of a scuffle.)

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH huh huh huh huh!!!!!!!”

“See? It’s a pine berry.”

“Well, thank god. Ok, fine, I guess we’ll see.”

“What do you mean? What’s to see? You can see right here, either it’s armadillo poop or it’s not.”

“I concede the point, ok? I’m happy if you’re right!”

“Woo wa ma.”

If?”

(Debate continues.)

Sleeping In

I was thinking this morning, as I was being shouted out of bed at 6:00am as usual, that it has been over a year since I slapped snooze on my alarm clock and slept in. For years, it seemed absolutely impossible to get up right when the alarm went off, instead of an hour or so later. It was a constant battle I waged with myself throughout my adulthood; it seemed just a fact of my own personality and of life in general that getting up at the first alert was ever aspirational, but as out of reach in reality as being rich or genuinely enjoying exercise.

And now look at me! It is very hard, it still feels impossible, but all that is necessary to achieve such an ambition, it turns out, is for it to be mandatory. What else about myself could I change if Edith insisted on it? The mind boggles.

Oranges

Edith is going through a phase where she’s once again completely uninterested in food, but she is extremely interested in feeding me. Every morning, I give her some Cheerios and a banana in her high chair, and for a week now, I have been made to eat all of it myself. I give her a little bowl of oranges every weekend afternoon, and both days this weekend I subsequently had to sit there and be fed an entire bowl of oranges, piece by piece. She’s very focused and patient as she inexorably pushes food at my face. It doesn’t work to turn away or hand it back to her or try to put it elsewhere. She doesn’t get upset about it, but she simply does not stop until I have cleared her plate of every last bite. Then, she looks at me with a sort of proud satisfaction.

Details

Life slows down a lot with a baby, so I have a lot of time to notice and wonder about small details that probably wouldn’t have registered before.

For example, in recent mornings I have spent quite a lot of time pondering this:

How did this partnership come about? Who thought of it, and when, and why? How and when was Ice-T approached for it? Why did he say yes? Who photographed him for this, and why this pose? How long did it take to get this shot, and what was communicated on either side the day of the shoot? What are the other 3 workouts involving Coach Ice-T? Why “Coach”? Again…why Ice-T?

This is a good thing to ponder, because no matter how much time I have to sit and think about it, I will never arrive at any answers.

Roseola

Edith has roseola (probably), which sounds very beautiful but is actually a virus. She’s had a high fever for a couple nights and I took her in to the doctor today. There’s nothing especially interesting about this, but it seems worth noting as I expect it is the first of any number of childhood diseases we will get to experience.

The most tricky thing about a sick baby it seems is deciding whether or not to wake them up in the middle of the night to give them fever reducer. The night before this one, I did not wake Edith up — she didn’t feel that warm, so I let her sleep. But last night, she felt very hot to me so I got her up and wrestled some Tylenol down her throat, but then she couldn’t go back to sleep. In fact, I later learned that she was still trying to fall asleep a full hour later! So I felt like it would have been better to have just let her sleep.

(I learned this because my mother, who is fully a night creature, makes a habit sometimes of peering at the sleeping baby via the baby monitor in the kitchen, because we are all insane here and can’t get enough of the baby, and she told me that Edith was still up at 3.)

Meanwhile the armadillo has demolished the beds in the front of our house, and left its poop all over the front lawn, so as we suspected it has neither moved on nor been successfully repelled. My mother has contacted the armadillo guy and is awaiting his response.